Caution: Quills may be sharp Circulation: 128,277,782 Issue: 261 | 13th day of Collecting, Y8
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At the AstroVilla: Part Two

by kemppotatoe


Cypher was in an much better mood by nine o'clock that night. After taking a nap in the comfy bed, she had been delighted to find that you could bathe in something other than boring water. Her tub, which was in fact larger than three or four of Jhuidah's cooking pots, came with a bunch of different faucets, each with their own fragrant and supposedly healing waters. After a lovely swim in a bubbling pot of eucalyptus water, Cypher sat in a huge velvety armchair, wrapped in a red AstroVilla bathrobe and enjoying a complimentary box of chocolates.

      Within minutes, the assortment of caramel, raspberry, and mint-filled delights had all disappeared. Cypher yawned, stretching her arms in the air. She removed the bathrobe and crawled into the squishy bed, relaxing in its warmth.

      After reading two chapters of The Grand Usul Adventure, Cypher turned off the lamp and rested her Cybunny head on the feathery pillow.

      "Goodnight... uh... me."


      "Good morning, Miss, how was your first night?"

      Mr. Griptor smiled at Cypher as she entered the coffee shop on the fourteenth floor. "It was nice, thanks," Cypher said, as the attendant handed the Kyrii manager a cup of Purplum Mocha.

      "Good," he said, taking a sip, "enjoy your morning!"

      As he walked out, Cypher looked around the coffee shop. It was definitely fancier than she expected. All the workers here were wearing red aprons with gold letters (AV) on the chest pocket, and the stools around the circular tables all matched them. In the corner was a little wooden stage with a microphone and stool, where an Aisha wearing all black was reciting a poem and beating a bongo drum.

      "May I serve you, Miss?"

      Cypher turned and looked at the pet that had spoken, a yellow Bori. He had a small nametag on, and Cypher squinted to see his name.

      "Uh, yes... Dez," Cypher said, nodding at his nametag, "I'll have a... hmm..."

      "Can't decide?" Dez asked, looking up at the menu that hung above the cash register counter. "What did you have in mind? Coffee?"

      Cypher shrugged. It was a coffee shop, right? "I... guess so."

      "Or maybe a mocha, java, tea, or one of our famous Sourmelon Brews?" Dez said this all very fast, jumping on his heels. "For coffee, we've got lots! There's a marshmallow roast, a spice Mystery Island, a Meridellian blend, a banana cream, an orange and mango, plain black with marshmallows... "

      Cypher stared at him. "Uh..."

      "Mocha wise, there's a rather tasty Kabuggle blend that's very popular. Also try the Purplum, Krakuberry, or special Mocha S'more! Looking for some good tea? Try the snowberry, the strongberry, the earl grey, the super sour melon, the fundus fruit, the ummagine... all go splendid with a tigersquash iced bun! How 'bout a good java? Thornberry with cream... strong berry... purple juppie..."

      "OKAY!" Cypher said, backing away from Dez, "that's... really, really great... but please stop reciting every coffee known to Neopia. I'll just have a Pinanna Cappucino, okay?"

      Dez smiled and pushed a button on the cash register. "That's 347 Neopoints! What's your room number so I can add it onto your bill?"

      "Room 650," Cypher said, relieved that he had stopped, though he was still talking fast.

      Dez looked up and narrowed his eyes as if he was examining the Cybunny in front of him. Cypher took a step back, frowning. "What's wrong with you?"

      Dez folded his arms and laughed. "I've heard about you..."

      "Excuse me?"

      Dez hopped off the stool he was sitting on and walked closer to Cypher. "Luther told me all about you!" he said, laughing some more. "It seems you barely know each other, and you already hate him."

      Cypher crossed her arms angrily. "He's a rude little moron!"

      Dez sighed, shaking his head. "According to him, you're a snobby little brat."

      Cypher's mouth dropped open. "Oh no, he didn't..."

      Dez shrugged, smiling. "Oh yes, he really did."

      Cypher now put her hands on her hips. "I don't have time for this. I've told you my room number, now give me my coffee!"

      "You mean your cappuccino?"

      Cypher rolled her eyes. "Yes, the warm stuff in the mug, whatever it is!"

      Dez walked into the back room, and Cypher heard him say, "Do I have a Pinanna Cappucino charged to room 650? Ah, yes. Thanks."

      He returned moments later, holding a steaming mug. "Here you are, Miss," he said, handing it to her. "Have a great day."

      "Too late," Cypher muttered to herself as she exited the coffee shop.


     After drinking her cappuccino in the lounge with the latest edition of the Neopian Times, Cypher approached her suite door to find it propped open. Frowning, she popped her head in and saw that it was only a maid. It was an old yellow Wocky, with wrinkles and a hunched over back, wearing an AstroVilla maid uniform and throwing some towels into her cart.

      Cypher didn't want to disturb her, so she quietly pulled her head back to the hallway...

      "I almost be feenished 'ere, dearie."

      Cypher jumped and practically fell through the doorway. Apparently this Wocky could see through the back of her head! "Oh..." Cypher stuttered, "Th-thanks."

      The Wocky didn't even look at her, but she smiled. "So, dearie. How has your first day been going? I would dink it could be boring all alone, is dat true?"

      "It's been... fine," Cypher said, walking further into her room. She was a little unsure of what to say to this mysterious maid, but she tried to sound mature and like she knew what she was doing.

      "I be understanding dat you' re stayin' for quite some time, dearie! Twenty-eight days, am I right?"

      Cypher sat down on her large bed. "Yes, my owner's away for a pretty long while."

      "Aye, I imagined dat would be why. I must be sayin', dearie, dat even if dis huge hotel 'as all dese activities and stuff to do, it not always bein' fun for ya. I know of dings dat could make it more fun for ya, dearie, I do."

      Cypher looked up at the maid, frowning. "Who are you?" she asked, trying not to sound rude but feeling she may have been unsuccessful.

      The maid, however, looked up and smiled as if she had been waiting for Cypher to ask this question. "My name is Aewa," she said, coming closer to Cypher, "I am da only employee of dis hotel who was 'ere when eet was built."

      Cypher always loved history, and she found this hotel quite interesting... a few questions for Aewa couldn't hurt! "Do you know everything there is to know about the AstroVilla and all its secret passageways?"

      Aewa laughed in a very witchy way. "You 'ave met Luther, right? I dink dat he may know more about passageways dan I do! But concerning secrets, I know almost every little ding dat has 'appened 'ere. Dere are many, many dings nobody knows about dis place. Most of dem being... well..." Aewa paused and whispered, "... not so welcome."

      Cypher looked at the aging maid and couldn't help but think she was telling the truth. She just didn't seem like someone who would make up weird things about a fancy, five-star hotel. Or did she?

      "Like... what?" Cypher gave the old Wocky a curious smile.

      Aewa grinned. "Mysteries. Da past years 'ave shown dat dis hotel's creator, Marvo LeMaer, may 'ave done some dings dat has upset a more powerful source, causing it to wreak havoc on LeMaer's work."

      "What things?" Cypher asked excitedly, "What has happened?"

      "Nothing too serious yet, luckily!" Aewa practically whispered, "Missing items dat seem to 'ave disappeared out of din air! A piano in da lounge dat plays on its own every night at midnight! Suitcases occasionally fly in da air and drop demselves over da balconies! Every once in a while... a guest or a staff member goes missing. And day don't just turn up a few days later. Da previous hotel manager has not been seen for two years now!"

      Cypher's mouth was open in awe. "How many pets have disappeared in the past?"

      "Oh, I'd say about twenty or so in all. Didn't ya every hear about dat famous Usul's disappearance? Ya know, da Gormball one!"

      Cypher thought a moment and suddenly she remembered. "Oh yes! Ursula, the Gormball runner-up in Year 2 and champion in Year 4! She went missing at the end of Year 6 and hasn't been seen since."

      "Dat's right..." Aewa said spookily, "And at da end of Year 6, on da morning of da day she disappeared, little Miss Ursula checked into da AstroVilla."

      Cypher gasped. "You're kidding!" This was almost starting to creep her out a little. "And you say this is LeMaer's fault? Because he upset something?"

      Aewa shrugged. "Legend says dat LeMaer did some nasty business on Krawk Island before buildin' da hotel. Apparently got into some sort of debt and never repaid it. More dan just a couple o' dubloons, I can imagine. On da day dat da weird dings began to 'appen, Marvo LeMaer disappeared as well. No one knows what has 'appened to him or any of da other victims."

      Cypher bit her lower lip and looked around nervously. "Is this place haunted?"

      "It might be," Aewa said mysteriously as she walked to her maid cart and began to push it out. When she was halfway out the door, she turned and looked Cypher square in the eyes. "I told you all dis so dat your stay 'ere might be a good bit more interesting. But, trust me, none of it is lies. You best watch your back, dearie."

To be continued...

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Other Episodes

» At the AstroVilla: Part One
» At the AstroVilla: Part Three

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