Enter the Snowflake's lair... Circulation: 97,025,825 Issue: 191 | 21st day of Hunting, Y7
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A Tutor of a Different Sort

by pandabearb


"Where do you think you're going? You have a tutoring session with Ms M. today," Julie, a blue Gelert reminded Mala stubbornly, as the red Yurble began following her home. Mala made a face at her older sister and looked at the ground.

     "I have no idea what you are talking about."

     "Mala," Julie gave her sister a stony glare.

     Giving an exasperated sigh, Mala turned around and slowly dragged herself to Ms. Muffins' house.

     When she finally stood squarely in front of it, the red Yurble looked up from her feet and stared at the house that would lead to her to a certain doom. It surprisingly didn't look like a house that would eternally doom people, but Mala knew that being innocent was just its cover-up. There were navy blue curtains hanging from the two windows that accented the brown door which sat primly in the middle. The green lawn was perfect, with each blade similar and as perfect as the other.

     Mala was so engrossed with the estate that she nearly jumped out of her backpack when a sharp voice yelled, "Is that you Mala? Get in here!"

     She looked up at the open door and saw a strict-looking blue Eyrie standing there with arms crossed. Her bright yellow eyes bore into Mala like nails and the red Yurble, who had suddenly become very pale, hurried up the path to the front step.

     "Leave your disgusting jacket on the porch. I will not have any dirt in my house," Ms. Muffins said coldly before walking through the door without another word.

     Slightly confused, Mala draped her favorite worn-out denim jacket on the wooden steps before slowly following her new tutor into the Neohome.

     "Wipe your feet off on that rug and then come into the kitchen," the blue Eyrie instructed before moving swiftly into the kitchen.

     When Mala walked in, she was extremely startled to find that Ms. Muffins had now donned bright white oven mitts and was sitting straight-backed at the table.

     "Um," Mala began, more than a little confused. "I think that my owner wants me to have math lessons, not cooking lessons."

     The Eyrie shook her head, as if at the young Yurble's ignorance, and beckoned her to sit down. "Math book," she demanded.

     Mala rushed to get her math book from her backpack and handed it to Ms. Muffins. She took it and rubbed it with the mitts before setting it down on the table. "As I suspected," she commented, holding out the oven mitts.

     "What's wrong with them?" Mala asked, raising an eyebrow.

     "Can't you see all of that dirt on my mitts? And that all came from your book! You young ones are disgusting. I wear these oven gloves so that I don't get your germs. And, as you can see from the repulsive appearance of my mitts, that was a good idea.

     Mala squinted at the oven mitts and tilted her head, but could see not even a speck of anything on them. Shaking her head, she said quietly, "Of course, how smart of you. But what about the math?"

     "Young Neopets never seem to appreciate good hygiene these days and you are all so demanding!" The Eyrie stated irrelevantly.

     "Yes, you're right. I apologize for my fellow peers," Mala responded through clenched teeth. Ms. Muffins was getting on her last nerve.

     They sat in silence for a minute before Ms. Muffins bellowed out suddenly, "What are you doing wasting our valuable learning time? We should be halfway through the book by now! Honestly, you young ones get distracted so easily." She picked the book back up again and began leafing through it, trying to find the right page. "Ah yes, here we are. The wonderful world of addition and subtraction. Mala! What is one plus one?"

     Mala snapped out of the bored daze that she had been in and at the sound of her name and exclaimed, "Twenty-four!"

     Suddenly, she felt a soggy something hit her arm then roll of onto the table. Looking down, the red Yurble was extremely startled to find a mushy breadstick sitting by her. "Did you just throw a breadstick at me?" Mala cried out in frustration.

     Without answering her question, Ms. Muffins glared at Mala. "One plus one is not twenty-four. If I had one Snicklebeast, how many Snicklebeasts would I have?" she asked.

     Mala sat for a second and looked at the ceiling, squinting one eye in concentration. Sighing, she looked at her fingers and her lips moved silently. Finally, in a hesitant voice, she asked, "One?"

     The Eyrie gave the slightest of nods then asked again, "If I had another Snicklebeast, how many would we have all together?"

     After a few moments of tense silence, Mala spoke up, "Two, I think."

     "Right. So, what is one plus one?"

     Mala rolled her eyes and a sly smile slipped up for a second before she pulled her face straight again. "I told you, it's twenty-four!"

     Another breadstick hit Mala squarely in the ear. "Don't be pert, Yurble. What is one plus one?" Ms. Muffins snapped.

     "Sorry," Mala looked down at the table shamefaced. "One plus one is two."

     Ms. Muffins got up and took a pie out from a green shelf in the corner of her kitchen. "Now, here I have a pie," she began and set it on the table.

     "Mmm, pie!" Mala exclaimed. "What kind is it?"

     "Blueberry," the Eyrie said absentmindedly. As if snapping out of a daze, she continued in a crabby voice, "Not that it matters. This is math, not a bake-off!"

     "You're the one that brought pie up, not me," Mala grumbled. "I've never heard of blueberry pie, but it sounds good, I guess." She reached over to grab some of it, but was stopped in her tracks when a breadstick hit her in the arm once again. "I hate breadsticks," she muttered grumpily.

     "No, you may not eat this pie! It's my dinn--I mean it's exclusively for math," Ms. Muffins stopped for a second and cleared her throat. "Now, this pie is cut into four pieces. If I ate one of those pieces, tell me how many we'd have left in a fraction." While the Eyrie was talking, she took out a tool that looked like a garden spade and cut the pie into four equal pieces, then scooped out one of them and set it on a plate.

     "Why can't I be the one to eat a piece?" Mala whined.

     "Because. Now stop that! Just answer the question, please," Ms. Muffins ordered with glinting eyes.

     Mala looked at the pie and counted the pieces, then counted the blank spots in the pan where a piece had been cut out. "It looks like three-fourths would be left," she told her tutor uncertainly.

     "That is correct. Let's say I took another piece out and ate it, then how many would you have left?"

     "You are such a Snorkle, eating all that pie!" Mala blurted out before thinking first. She clapped her hand over her mouth and avoided eye contact with Ms. Muffins. "I mean, I'm glad to see that you like to eat pie. I think that there would be two-fourths of the pie left," she said, changing the topic quickly.

     Ms. Muffins' yellow eyes focused on Mala, making the young red Yurble's skin crawl for a second before her tutor said, "Yes, and two-fourths is equivalent to one-half. I think you're okay on the basics as long as you don't fool around, so we'll move on to a little bit of algebra."

     Mala groaned in agony. Algebra was her least favorite part of math, and the part that she was worst at. "Okay, but be warned; I'm absolutely terrible at algebra."

     "Oh, don't worry, Yurble. Given you're previous performances in this subject, I was already aware of that," Ms. Muffins assured her.

     Now it was Mala's turn to give a hard glare. Ms. Muffins returned the look and won out easily. "Alright, we're going to start out with a simple equation," the Eyrie explained. She got out a piece of loose-leaf paper and a blue pencil from the door then put it in front of Mala. "Write this out; 'a' plus three equals 4."

     Mala wrote the equation on the paper, than looked at it. "I hate this! Why'd they have to go and mix letters and numbers in like that! As if one at a time wasn't hard enough," she complained in an annoyed voice. A sudden breadstick flopped in front of her and landed on the sheet of paper. Mala picked it up with a disgusted look on her face, but then looked at the paper. A long figure with rounded edges was printed along the page. "Oh, the breadstick left a mark! Let me try!" Mala flipped the page over and wrote out her name by pressing the breadstick down in lines. "It's so pretty!" Mala exclaimed when she was done. She paused, and then added, "And so greasy!" Looking over at her tutor, she frowned. "What's wrong?"

     Ms. Muffins was sitting with her arms crossed on the table and her head in the niche that they created. "You know what?" she asked in a muffled voice. "I think you're done. Tell you're owner that you are to come over here once a week, but no more, okay? Take you're breadstick-printed paper and I'll see you next week. Now go!" the Eyrie told her without looking up.

     Mala slowly got up from her chair and looked around, slightly confused. Shrugging, she walked to the door and left through it, shutting it behind her. She giggled, happy to finally be out of there, grabbed her jacket from the porch, and ran down the street to her Neohome.

     Ms. Muffins, who had gotten up to watch her pupil leave through the window, also smiled to herself and pulled the blue drapes wide open. She ran over and knocked a bowl full of fruit over onto the floor and giggled happily as they splattered on the floor. She skipped over to the couch and knocked all the seat cushions off, then bounced on it like a hyper Mynci. When she got exhausted from that activity, she went into her kitchen and picked the pie pieces up. The old Eyrie ate them quickly, getting it on her face and the table. At last, when her stomach was full and the house was in havoc, she went into the living room and sat on the cushion-less couch. "Perfect," Ms. Muffins exclaimed with a cheerful sigh.

The End

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