Faeriegal was glaring irately at Battlesunn. “My dress!
You’ve ruined it!” Sure enough, her bright silk dress now had a large purple
stain across it that was spreading rapidly.
Battlesunn had a look of solemnity on her face
that every now and again rippled slightly to hide the laughter that was obviously
bubbling up within her.
“I’m… so sorry… I guess I wasn’t looking where
I was going with that cup of punch… It’s good punch, Max,” she called to the
Lupe, who was standing across from her. “It’s a credit to you.”
“What about my dress?” Faeriegal shrieked.
“Relax, pal,” Battlesunn countered. “If you’re
that mad about it I’ll give you the NP to buy a new one.”
“I’d expect that from you, you stupid, clumsy…
Shelly snorted, this time with suppressed laughter.
Achilles snickered. I had to admit the whole situation did look rather comical,
and tried hard to prevent a huge grin from pasting itself on my muzzle. Many
of the others gathered around were also concealing smiles. Faeriegal didn’t
seem to notice them. She kept yelling at Battlesunn, who received her insults
by nodding and making sounds of agreement, which just seemed to enrage her all
In the end my owner seemed to feel the girl had
been tortured enough. “Here, Faeriegal,” she said, walking over to her. “Just
go home and wash it with Peophin Fragrant Soap and water. I can promise you
the stain will come right out.”
“Yeah, see?” Battlesunn rejoined. “Max does know
how to make good punch. Tastes good, and clothing-friendly. But I’ll pay for
a new dress for you anyway.” She took a handful of NP from her pockets. “78,
79, 80… that should be enough.”
Faeriegal seemed placated, but she still shot
Battlesunn a dirty glance as she snatched the proffered money, called her Acara
again and stalked out of the gate. The glance mirrored the one that Rosabelle
gave Shelly, but neither human nor Gelert seemed to mind much.
The crowd dispersed, seeing that the source of
entertainment was gone. It might have been my imagination, but some among them
seemed happier at Faeriegal and Rosabelle’s departure. Tdyans, Shell and Battlesunn
stood together for a while looking towards the gate. Tdyans shook her head,
although there was a grin on her face. “You really didn’t have to do that, Sunny.”
“More for my own sake, Tdyans,” Battlesunn responded
merrily. “That was worth 80 NP, to see the look on her face. And she’ll never
speak to me again.”
“Can’t say I’m sorry,” growled Shelly. Ezanna
didn’t say anything but he looked visibly relieved.
“Good riddance, I say.” Florepa had come up behind
us, the Gormball under his arm. “She and that Acara of hers, givin’ us a lecture
about Gormball bein’ dangerous ‘n how I shouldn’t be playin’ it with young pets
like these guys.” He swept his paws to indicate the group of young pets who
had been playing with him. All of them looked quite annoyed at the mentioning
of this incident.
“The worst you get is wet,” Moeioe piped up.
“What’s dangerous about that?”
“You could drown,” Shelly said with mock seriousness.
“She picked my Rowzes,” Max said sadly. “Nearly
half of them, without asking. And when I asked her to stop she just went on
and on about how I shouldn’t be selfish.”
“That Acara told us reading had no purpose,”
Achilles snapped. “She’s obviously never read one in her life. I’d be surprised
if she could read any words besides ‘Beauty Contest’ and ‘Grooming Parlour’.”
It seemed like everyone had some sort of complaint
to make. Mordegan had been pestered as to where he had gotten his paint job
until he had run off to hide. Wen, as he bent his head to better ask Max a question,
had been chased away on the grounds that he was a mean Grarrl to bully Su and
Max, and being the compliant pet he was he had lumbered away to sit in the grass
by himself, looking, as he put it, like an oversized lawn ornament. Ezanna and
Tsunami had received endless coaxing about getting painted another colour, and
about a different colour for Rooruon too. Faeriegal had refused to talk to a
mutant directly. All of us thought this the worst insult of all. It seemed to
me that for a person who had read all of our owners’ stories Faeriegal had been
surprisingly ignorant of all they had tried to put across.
“That was really uncalled for,” Achilles said
severely, regarding the twit about Rooruon.
“Achi, it doesn’t matter,” Rooruon told him placidly.
“Some people just don’t like mutants is all.”
“They’re not always this rude about it,” Achilles
“I agree,” Tdyans rejoined. “Sunny, I’ve changed
my mind about you spilling that punch on her.”
“I knew you would,” Battlesunn grinned.
“Well,” Shell said, with the air of a soldier
at the end of a long and hard war, “at least that’s over and done with. We can
rest easy knowing she won’t be back and we’ll probably never see her again.”
We all nodded in approval and agreement, and
proceeded to go about our business. We all had a good time for the rest of the
party and went home quite satisfied, and the whole incident was swiftly forgotten.
The next morning at about breakfast time, we
discovered that Shell had been wrong. We were halfway through our Fluffy Faerie
Pancakes-Wen always gets them exactly the right lightness- when we heard the
familiar swish-thud of an incoming Neomail.
“Who could that be from?” Su turned her head
in the direction of the tube.
“I’ll go see,” I volunteered, even though I was
rather reluctant to leave my pancakes. Shell didn’t like leaving her New Events
box to accumulate with events she already knew about, and I was curious about
it, anyway. I pushed my chair away from the table and trotted into the living
room and over to the Neomail Delivery tube. A pale blue envelope lay on the
sandy floor below the mouth of the tube. The name ‘Qt_Starry_Faerie_gal75680’
was printed on the outside, as was usual for all senders. In glittery blue-green
ink below it was: ‘2 mi bestest pal shell!!!!111’
I was gazing at the Neomail with confusion and
distaste -- I don’t have much patience with chatspeakers -- when I heard the
rest of the family coming up behind me.
“Who’s it from, D-… oh.” That was Su.
“What!” That was Flo.
“Isn’t that from that awful girl we met yesterday?”
“Yeah! What tha Maelstra’s she want?” Flo again.
“Why’s she calling me her best pal?” Shell inquired
somewhat bemusedly of no one in particular as she knelt and picked up the envelope.
“I mean, we only met yesterday, and the only words I said to her were about
cleaning her dress.”
“Judging by what her Acara was like,” I said,
“it isn’t really surprising.”
“Well open it and find out what she says.” Trust
Wen to get us back on track.
“Do you guys smell something?” Shell asked, wrinkling
her nose as she tore open the seal.
“It’s the letter,” I observed, as Shell lifted
it out of the envelope. It was a pale blue sheet of paper with a pattern of
balloons and Baby Poogles on it, and it smelt very strongly of Pebeanjays. In
fact I firmly believe it smelt even stronger of Pebeanjays than our own Pebeanjay
bush in full flower.
“Can I go get a clothespin?” Flo’s voice was
slightly muffled by the paw he was holding over his muzzle.
“Get one for me, too,” Wen agreed, waving his
claw in front of his nose. Su didn’t say anything, but she looked rather faint.
I was tempted to ask for a clothespin myself.
“I’ll read it quickly,” Shell promised, unfolding
the sheet. “It says…let’s see… ‘hi shellylow!!!! u r such a nice person n such
a gr8 frein!!!!! u r gud 2minot lyk eother mean pple im so happy dat ur my bez
frein!!!!1111.’ That’s it?”
“Could ya repeat that, in English this time?”
Florepa asked scathingly.
“Not one of those,” I groaned. “I mean, you hear
enough stories about this sort of thing from the other writers, but you never
think it’ll happen to you…”
“That’s usually the case,” Wen nodded philosophically.
“Shell…” Su broke off and sneezed violently.
“Oh…sorry.” Shell tossed the Neomail and envelope
into the gaping maw of the Delete Tube, whereupon it disappeared with a whoosh.
Su coughed once, then breathed in deeply.
“That’s nice of her,” Flo snarled. “She’s ya
‘bez frein’, but what’ve ya ever done fa her? And vice versa, come ta that?”
“So far? Bored us all to tears, brought up a
pet that makes snide comments about others’ interests, and permanently damaged
the eyes, brains and respiratory systems of the members of this household,”
I said dryly.
“So what are we going to do?” Su shifted her
tail fins uncomfortably. “I mean, I don’t like her in the least, but I don’t
want to have to be mean to her…”
“Oh, Su,” Florepa snorted.
“Just don’t reply to her at all,” Wen declared
firmly. “ That should take care of her. What do you think Shell?”
“I suppose we’ll have to take that course of
action,” Shell sighed. Then she brightened. “Hey, on a lighter note, Sunny wrote
me and said she got a note from Faeriegal…she tried to reply but found she was
“That’s the most cowardly thing TA do,” Flo snarled.
“I mean, what’s up w’ that?”
“Anyway,” Shell interjected, emphatically, “Sunny
sent me the note by Neomail earlier. She thinks it’s hilarious. Here, why don’t
you guys read it?” She opened a drawer containing some letters and tossed us
one. We opened it up and read:
u r a meanie person!!! u shud b frozen bcoz u r mean n u r a relly bad
autor n ur pets r ugly n stupid!!!! mean mean mean mean!!!!!!!!!11111!!11!!
We all burst out laughing with each sentence
(if you can call those sentences) and felt much better for the rest of the day,
confident that that was the end of the matter.
To be continued...