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Adventures in Shenkuu


by dunefurandlilypelt

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      "Hey, Sienna, wake up,” Miranda called. She was an Eventide Uni, and her younger sister Sienna was a Rainbow Ogrin.

      Miranda glanced outside, but the view of Shenkuu was distorted by the Destruct-O-match Window she bought last Month of Giving in Brightvale. The cliffs were now a strange combination of purple, orange, and blue. Not a good look.

      She walked over to the Earth Faerie Oven, bought during a summer in Faerieland. Sighing, she placed a leftover Chokato Omelette over a Bacon Omelette for mediocre omelette lasagna.

      “What’s for breakfast?” Sienna asked, rubbing her eyes with her paws.

      “Omelette lasagna, but like, really simple,” Miranda said, “There’s two omelettes left in the fridge. I forgot which ones. You can heat them up or something.”

      “Big breakfast. Nice!” Sienna walked over to the Hover Fridge purchased on spring break in Kreludor. “I think I’ll have it cold today. Yep, it’s two fruit omelettes. Definitely cold.”

      Miranda wondered why every item of furniture they owned was a souvenir. The only items from their homeland they had were a few tins of Black Cherry Tea tucked into the deep shadows of an Antique Glass Bookcase and a Soggy Old Box from the Lunar Temple that Sienna had insisted on decorating and using to store her plushies. Plus, all of their food was Tyrannian. What was that about?

      “Do you ever feel like a tourist here?” she asked, smashing her omelettes into a pile of eggy mush.

      Sienna looked up from her meal across the Amber Coral Coffee Table. “You mean, in the place we’ve lived our entire lives?”

      “Uh huh.”

      She chewed thoughtfully. “Maybe you need to go outside more?”

      “I haven’t done a daily in three days.” Miranda looked down and traced the bumpy coral with her hoof. The last time she went to the Mysterious Negg Cave she couldn’t solve the puzzle after two minutes, and she stormed out.

      “That’s your problem!” Sienna held up a chunk of Juppie Omelette with Twirly Fruit sauce on the bottom with her fork as if to prove her point.

      Miranda finally ate a bite of her breakfast, unwilling to face how right Sienna was. Wow. Bacon and chokato was actually a good combination!

      “I guess I just,” she said, searching for the words, “I guess I wish Shenkuu had a furniture shop. Besides, you know, all the Soggy Old Boxes from the Lunar Temple.”

      Sienna giggled. Then she looked across their Neohome, her ears drooping. “Oh. You’re right, it looks like we’ve lived everywhere.”

      Miranda nodded, absentmindedly flapping her wings. “We didn’t even have the decency to get generic furniture.” Sienna looked like she was about to laugh, but her shoulders sunk and she glanced away.

      “Hey, I think there’s a parade today,” she said, still staring at her Deserted Carnival Bed. She looked back rapidly, bouncing her paws on the table. “Those are always fun. I love those.”

      “Wait, one of the extreme sports races across the city?” Miranda asked. “That’s not relaxing at all.”

      “I’m not trying to relax you,” Sienna said. She grabbed something and fiddled with it. “Ow.” It was her Acid Attack Block Stack Game, and she had touched the acid again. “Getting this game was a bad idea. Anyways, you could win a medal! That’s great. There’s, uh, you can buy a Winter Shenkuu River Rush Board at the beginning. And that’s useful for a lot of activities. It’ll be fun! Maybe it’ll put your mind off this, or improve your home spirit?”

      “Okay, okay, you’re right,” Miranda said, smiling. “They always have a bake sale afterwards. I can make snacks. I can sell them. I can make Neopoints and buy a Pandaphant or something! Or even better, a Gikerot. Those are the best.”

      “That’s nothing at all what I mean,” she said, crossing her arms. “Why don’t you just buy a Gikerot off of the Shop Wizard anyways?”

      “Less of an experience that way, but if we go to Neopia Central before Fanciful Fauna, sure.”

      Sienna shrugged. “Judging by the items in this house, it’s not unlikely.”

      “Fine.” She ran a hoof through her mane, not wanting to argue with her sister. “I’ll go to this parade, and I will bring snacks, but I will also… actively participate.”

      “Yay,” Sienna said, shoulders and paws bouncing now. “You better start making the food.”

      “Says the person who was so against it earlier, ha ha,” Miranda said. She figured Sienna was right, though. “When is the parade?”

      “Hmm, I’m not sure.”

      “I think they’re usually at eleven AM or something,” Miranda muttered. “Oh, wow, that’s in like three hours! Sienna, can you help me? We need to get supplies… and to start baking… and I really wish we woke up earlier!”

      “Hey, it’s gonna be okay.” Sienna walked around the table and hugged Miranda. Even though her little sister was about a foot shorter than her, the hug filled her with self-reassurance she hadn’t had in a long time.

      “Where do you think we’ll get ingredients?” Sienna asked.

      “I think we’ll have to go to the Shop Wizard, after all… think there’s time for me to buy that Gikerot?”

      Forty minutes later, Miranda had flown them both over the frosted mountains between Shenkuu and Neopia Central, and they were running excitedly to the Marketplace. Past the Bazaar, barely stopping to take in the confusing and amazing smells from the Soup Kitchen, and onto the cobbled pathway that led to the Shop Wizard’s hut. They sped by the immeasurable and painfully colored User’s Shops to finally reach their destination.

      “You know, there’s really no reason for us to be going this fast,” Sienna said.

      “Yeah, this makes no sense.”

      They walked through the red curtains, into the Shop Wizard’s hut. Lining the walls (which were lime green with pink polka-dots, strangely) were several booths. The Shop Wizard himself was constantly switching between booths. Miranda saw impatient Neopets waiting for their turn to get him to find them items. Even when he got to a specific Neopet, it still took a few minutes as they tried to get the best deal. In the corner, several Premium pets were breezing through the Premium Shop Wizard.

      “They need to hire more people here,” Miranda said to Sienna.

      She nodded. “Yep.”

      “This’ll take a while, so… we should probably try to come up with an actual recipe,” Miranda said. Wow, she thought. That was dumb of us.

      “Yeah,” Sienna said, shaking her head as they got into what seemed like the shortest line, “we literally did not plan a thing.”

      Nodding, Miranda tried to think of the best things to bake. “Wait, does it even have to be dessert?”

      “That’s what you like the best, though… I mean, it’s your snack.”

      “Maybe I can make a homemade omelette lasagna,” she said, going into an overdrive creativity mode. “Like, I can buy eggs or something… or Neggs if I have to… and then stuff that’s usually in Omelettes that I like. And I can make it together and it’ll be really good.”

      Sienna raised her eyebrows. “That sounds great. And also, I haven’t seen you this energetic since Year Ten.”

      “Wow, thanks,” Miranda grumbled, going through ingredients in her head. “Okay, maybe we’ll scrap the regular omelette flavors and buy a lot of Brightvale Fruit. That’s not very expensive.”

      Sienna grinned, fiddling with the cuffs of her Ugly Christmas Sweater (quite appropriate for a sweltering summer day). “Can we get jam? I love their jam!”

      “Yes, definitely.” Miranda thumbed through an imaginary shopping list. “And I’ve been meaning to ask you: why do you wear that jacket all the time? It must be so warm… besides the fact that Ugly is literally in the name.”

      “Says the person who walks around in an Investigative Uni Jacket and a Paper Hot Dog Hat.”

      “Hey, Unis are known for fashion,” Miranda said. “In five years, people will be winning the Beauty Contest with this combination.”

      “It’s really sad,” Sienna said, pretending to wipe tears from her eyes. “You’re such a pretty color, Miranda, yet you’re wearing this. It’s ruining the whole Eventide aesthetic.”

      “I don’t know about you, but paper hot dogs definitely come into my mind when thinking about the sunset.”

      They burst into laughter.

      Turning serious for the first time since Year Ten (that opposite day was really fun), Sienna looked down on the ground. “It’s nice to be able to joke with you again. You really haven’t been yourself for a while.”

      “Oh…” Miranda could feel the state of staleness she’d been living in for the past few years clearer than before. “I guess I got caught up in being bored and miserable.”

      “Yeah, it’s alright.”

      She turned to Sienna, guilt weighing down her smile. “Hey, if I’m ever making you sad by being so sad, just tell me. I’m not your fault.”

      Sienna’s eyes welled with grateful tears, but they had arrived at the front of the line, so she wiped them away. Miranda turned to the Shop Wizard.

      “Please write your requests items on this,” he said, handing her a Pad of Graph Paper and a Braintree Pencil in an understandable rush.

      “No problem.” He went to deal with other Neopets and Miranda composed her list.

      “A Dozen Neggs, Cackleberry Jam, Jipple Pear Jam, and Screlon,” she read. “That’s about it, right?”

      Sienna picked up the paper. “You can make omelettes with Neggs?”

      “Hmm, I don’t know actually.” She shrugged. “Negg nachos, then… covered with jam and, um, with Screlon squeezed over it.”

      “Whoa, that sounds great!”

      “Thank you,” Miranda said, with a proud smile.

      The Shop Wizard came back and took the piece of paper and pencil. “I’ll be right back with the addresses for each item” he said.

      Not much later, they had a list of the shops they needed to visit. Taking the list thankfully, the sisters walked out of the tent. Miranda stared out at the shops, hills and hills more colorful than Sienna, who was literally Rainbow.

      “Okay, let’s get going,” her little sister said.

      “Yep!”

           Finally, after trekking to four different shops who all had a Gothic Usul as their shopkeeper, Miranda and Sienna were exhausted. They picked a random bench and decided to stay until they got their energy back.

      “She looked the same at all of them, too,” Sienna murmured. “How can they hire so many goth Usuls who look exactly the same. It doesn’t make sense!”

      “I hate to break it to you, but our shopkeeper is a Gothic Usul, too.”

      “So this is fate we are doomed to,” Sienna said with a long sigh, laying down on the bench. “Lost in a sea of sameness, held hostage to the shared desire to have at least one more avatar.”

      Miranda had to laugh at that. “At least we got something to hold everything in.” At the second shop, in addition to the Cackleberry Jam, they had bought an Air Faerie Backpack and an Usul Icepack.

      “Those came in handy, huh?”

      Another hour later, they were back in Shenkuu. Once they saw that a huge crowd had already gathered outside of the Lunar Temple, they realized they were too late.

      “Oh, shoot,” Miranda said. “We should’ve had our food done already, we should’ve gotten home like an hour or ago.”

      “We can still go,” Sienna suggested. “Just forget about the food.”

      “No, I want to make the food. Maybe we can just go exploring on our own? And have an awesome lunch all to ourselves?”

      They were silent as they landed next to their Neohome.

      “You know what? That sounds awesome.” Sienna got off of her sister’s back and opened the door happily. “Besides, this isn’t gonna be tricky. We could just bring plates, a Plastic Butter Knife for the Neggs, and then go.”

      “You’re right, yeah,” Miranda said, walking into the Neohome. It felt different now. Less all-over-the-place and more of a collage to all of the lands of Neopia. She grabbed two plates and the butter knife, her eyes now the ones filled with tears, and turned to her sister. “Let’s go!”

      Soon, they were eating Negg nachos under an orchard of Negg trees. Turns out, they had a great view of the parade. Neopets were zooming through the water, climbing up jagged cliffs, and playing animated games of Cheat! Miranda didn’t know what that was about.

      “So I guess I was right,” Sienna said.

      Miranda looked at her. “What?”

      “When I said that you needed to go outside more. We went outside and, boom, you feel a lot better.”

      “I think it’s more of a change in perspective…” Miranda smiled, and this time both sisters were crying softly.

     

      The End.

 
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