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Neopia's Fill in the Blank News Source | 29th day of Gathering, Yr 22
The Neopian Times Week 105 > Short Stories > The Unwelcome Visitor

The Unwelcome Visitor

by arden_starr

“Awwww, Mum do I have to?” I whined. “I don’t want to stay there all by myself.”

     “Landri, we’ve been through this before,” my mother said patiently. “I’m sorry but you’re just going to have to put up with it. It’s only three nights, and besides, it’s really nice there.”

     “But -- that’s not fair,” I moaned. “I don’t want to stay in the Neolodge.”

     “Don’t be stubborn Landri,” Mum said tiredly. “I’ll be back in a couple of days, and there’s lots of other Neopets there too, so you won’t be lonely.” I sighed miserably.

     I, LandriStarr, a dazzling red Kougra (f I do say so myself), was going to have to stay in the Hotel Opera all on my own for three whole nights! My Mum, Arden_starr, was going away for a while on a business trip, leaving me to cope in a strange hotel. Why are parents so unfair? I don’t have any brothers or sisters, but usually I’m always with my Mum, so this was going to be the first time ever away from her. I wasn’t looking forward to it at ALL.

     “Wow!” Mum said breathlessly, as if overwhelmed. “Would you look at that! It’s wonderful Landri!”

     I looked up, and even I had to admit that the Hotel Opera was beautiful. It was a tall, cream building with many floors, so many in fact that it looked as if the building went up to the sky. Neat green lawns rolled away into the distance, with pretty rows of flowers amongst them.

     “Well, what do you think?” Mum asked, smiling, as we walked into the Entrance Hall.

     “It’s okay, I suppose,” I said grudgingly, “but I bet it’s awful inside.”

     “Actually, it’s rather pretty,” came an unfamiliar voice, from behind a desk. We were in a large airy Hall, amongst many bustling Neopets and their owners. Sitting on a gray chair was a handsome green Shoyru dressed in a black suit and winking at me fiendishly. I could tell he was the manager immediately, from his little yellow badge pinned to the front of his shirt, and knew I must have sounded very rude.

     “Erm, I mean, well,” I stammered, feeling very embarrassed.

     “It’s alright,” beamed the Shoyru. “Welcome to Hotel Opera, I am Mr. Freddy. And whom may you charming ladies be?”

     “I am Miss Starr, and this is Landri,” my Mum explained, as she dropped my heavy suitcase on the floor, looking relieved. “Landri is going to be staying here three nights.”

     “Oh yes, I see you have booked her in,” Mr Freddy answered, typing away on his computer. “Well, she’s in Room 158. I’ll have someone take her up to her room right now.”

     As Mr. Freddy went to fetch someone, I gave my Mum a last hug goodbye.

     “I’m going to miss you Mum,” I said, rather woefully.

     “I’ll miss you too,” Mum whispered gently, “but I’ll see you soon. Don’t forget I’ll be picking you up 10 AM NST in three days, okay?” I nodded, and watched her leave, feeling very sorry for myself.

     Three hours later, I was sitting in my room, glancing around me. I had unpacked all my belongings and was sitting on my bed, munching on a hotdog that a maid had brought up for me. I had brought a few of my toys, including my favourite plushie, which was a red Kougra just like me. I was glad I’d packed it, Mum had bought it for me, and it reminded me of home.

     I was feeling rather tired after my hotdog, and decided to get into bed. But just as I was clambering in, I noticed the covers were slightly frayed. It looked as if something had been chewing at the edges. But what could it be? I was so exhausted I didn’t spend much time thinking about it, because pretty soon I was fast asleep.

     The next day I was up early, exploring the Hotel Opera. I found out everyone was friendly, and seemed to really like me. After a quick breakfast, a few other Neopets and I spent all day playing tennis on the Courts, which was great fun. I had never played before and found out that I was actually quite good. Soon I was playing just as good as the other experienced players like Griggle, a pretty blue Blumaroo that I befriended. I was having so much fun… what could possibly go wrong? I was soon to find out…

     Griggle and I were feeling rather hungry after all that exercise, so we decided to check out the Burger Bar. It was a huge, clean bar where a lot of other pets were sitting down, chatting and eating, so it seemed the perfect place.

     “What can I get you?” a Chia wearing a red apron asked politely.

     “Two burgers and two orange juices please,” Griggle answered promptly. A couple of minutes later, the burgers arrived, but they didn’t look very appetizing.

     “Urgh!” Griggle squealed. “Somebody’s already eaten some of mine! It’s got little holes in it!”

     “So has mine!” someone else shouted from another table.

     “And mine!”

     “Mine has as well!”

     “BOTH of my burgers have!”

     Pretty soon, everyone who had just been served were complaining at the top of their voices. The staff hurried around, trying in vain to compose order, but nobody was listening. It took a full hour before everyone was calmed and sat eating burgers again, this time without holes in them. After the meal, as Griggle and I were walking back to our rooms, we couldn’t help but overhear two staff talking. They seemed rather stressed.

     “What happened today sir?” asked a Lupe in a red apron.

     “I just don’t know,” answered the Chia that had served us before, scratching his head. “It’s so confusing. We’re very clean so it can’t be rats. But whatever it is chewing at things, I heard people complaining before about their bed covers. And also curtains seem to be getting ripped! I wonder what it is.”

     “Well whatever it is, we’d better find it soon sir,” the Lupe said grimly, “before it gets out of hand. I mean, if it gets really bad, we’ll have to close!”

     That night, as I snuggled up to my plushie, I began reading The Neopian Times that had been dropped off in my hotel room. It had most of the usual; stories, articles on making Neopoints, remarks on the stock market -- and then something caught my eye. It was a short note at the bottom of the Editorial, small but very important. It read:

     It has come to our notice that a Petpet has escaped from the Petpet Shop in Neopia Central. It isn’t very dangerous, but could cause mild injury if provoked. If anyone finds it, or knows details of its whereabouts, please contact us. The person who finds it gets to keep it for free!

     Surely not, I pondered. Perhaps this was our unwanted visitor? I spent quite a long time pondering this in my mind, trying to think of ways to catch it. Should I tell Mr. Freddy? I decided, just before I fell asleep, that I would definitely inform staff in the morning…

     The next day Griggle and I went to Mr. Freddy, who looked very worried when I explained about the article.

     “Oh dear,” he said, trying not to panic. “Well, erm, I’ll get my staff looking everywhere. Try not to tell too many people, I don’t want a big uproar.”

     “I won’t,” I promised. “But Griggle and I will help look if you want.”

     “Thank you girls,” Mr Freddy answered. “I trust you totally.” And all that day we searched. Up the corridors, under tables, behind curtains, in the gardens…. We got a lot of strange looks from the other pets, who didn’t know what the heck we were doing. But, many frustrating hours later, we’d still found nothing.

     “I’m off home tomorrow,” I said to Griggle, “but if I get a chance before I go home in the morning I’ll have a look.”

     “I’m off home too,” Griggle said, “but we must stay in touch, okay? Promise?”

     “Promise,” I agreed happily. “Well, see you later Griggle, I’m off up to my room for a bit.” We said our goodbyes, and then I tiredly stumbled up to my room. I was just dying for a nap… but the sight that met my eyes put sleep out of my mind completely.

     My plushie lay on the floor, completely chewed to bits. Its ear was hanging off, and stuffing was oozing out of one side; I could see that one of its legs was missing, and its nose was rather wonky. Scratches and teeth marks completely mangled my poor plushie’s body. It was wrecked.

     “Oh noooooo,” I wailed. “My favourite plushie, ruined!” I couldn’t sleep that night, even after a Maid came in and promised that the Hotel Opera would get me another one. I didn’t want another one, I wanted MY plushie! I was even more determined to catch that petpet, and I have always had a stubborn streak. I knew that in the morning, I was going to catch it, if it was the last thing I did…

     In the morning, I met up with Griggle and hurriedly explained what had happened to my plushie.

     “Oh no!” she gasped, looking horror struck. “I’d hate it if someone did that to my Plushie!”

     “I know,” I said miserably. “It was my favourite as well. Anyway, we need to catch this Petpet!”

     My mum was coming to pick me up at 10 AM NST, which left us only one hour. We searched but still we found nothing. In fact, by the time my Mum had arrived I had no hope left.

     “Landri!” Mum shouted joyously, hugging me tightly. “I’m so glad to see you. What’s wrong?” she asked, noticing my glum expression.

     “There’s a petpet that’s on the loose in this hotel,” I explained. “It’s been chewing everything, and it’s chewed up my Kougra Plushie. I can’t find it.”

     “Oh dear,” Mum said, looking sad. “Well, I’ll buy you another one, if you want. It’s a shame, though.”

     Just then Mr. Freddy came up, with a Maid behind him, who was carrying some laundry.

     “Good morning,” he said. “I’m sending up this maid to get your suitcase, Landri. I heard about your plushie, though. Don’t worry, here’s enough Neopoints to buy another. No, I insist,” he said to my Mum, who was about to object. “I think the hotel should, after the problems that pets have been having here. It’s been a bit of a shambles because of that petpet you know…”

     But I wasn’t listening. The maid had just begun climbing the stairs, and had left the laundry on a table. But the weird thing was, the laundry was moving. It was twitching, as if something was wriggling inside it. I leapt forward and pounced on the laundry, hurriedly removing the clothes to find, in the middle of a jumper, the mischievous visitor – the petpet.

     It was small, with a cute button nose and long white tail. In fact, it was the colour of snow from head to tail, which would explain its ease to go around unnoticed in this mainly white-carpeted hotel.

“The petpet!” I shouted with delight. “I’ve got it!”

     After ten minutes of joyous laughing from Griggle, who had just arrived after searching another room; and a congratulations from Mr. Freddy, we finally discovered that the petpet was a Catamara.

     “It’s beautiful,” Mum said, stroking his long tail.

     “Hey, didn’t it say who found the petpet can keep him?” Griggle said suddenly.

     “Yes, it did,” I answered meaningfully, giving my Mum a pleading look. “Muuuum, can I keep him?”

     She hesitated, then smiled. “I suppose so,” she beamed, which made me whoop with happiness. “BUT you must look after him,” she continued, “and keep him away from my curtains!” Everyone smiled, and I finally felt happy.

     “What will you call him?” Mr. Freddy asked me.

     “Snowales,” I said, after some careful consideration, “because he’s the colour of snow!”

     As we left Hotel Opera, I held Snowales in my arms and looked down into his little eyes.

     “Snowales,” I whispered, “you’ve found your owner.”

     He then gave me a look as if to say, “And you’ve found your best friend.” What’s more, I knew the little visitor was right.

The End

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