Dark Friend: Part Two
*Snip, snip, snip...*
It was the morning after the fair, and Laura was just heading toward her room with some mail in her hands when she heard the sound of scissors cutting something coming from Wanda and Dina's room. She didn't know what was going on in there, but several ideas went through her head, none of which being good. With wide eyes, she burst open their bedroom door and saw Wanda sitting on her bed with a shirt on her lap and a pair of scissors in one paw.
"Wanda!" Laura shouted. "What in Neopia are you doing?"
"Cutting slits in the backs of my shirts," Wanda replied succinctly.
Laura paused, shutting her eyes and placing a single paw on her forehead as she tried to put together a sentence. Eventually, all that came out was, "Why?!"
"It's something I learned from Aillira," Wanda explained. "You see, you cut a slit down the back big enough that your wings can stick out comfortably, and then you put a button or something at the top of the slit so you can keep the shirt in place!" She held up an already-cut-shirt to show to Laura as she explained. "You also have to make sure to climb into the shirt, not pull it from above... do we have any velcro?"
Laura squinted and shook her head in confusion. "Who is 'Aillira'?"
"Oh, she's a Light Faerie I met at the fair!" Wanda said. "She's more of a tomboy than most Faeries, though. She likes action and fighting and stuff!"
"Um, okay... uh, it's nice that you're meeting people..." Laura looked to one side, "but anyway, the mail came... here's a letter for you." She tossed one of the letters to Wanda. "It's from the orphanage."
"It's probably Tom again." Wanda smiled as she snagged the letter out of the air. "That jealous Snorkle."
Tom was a red Wocky who lived at Ardon's Orphanage, the orphanage in Vladimyr village. Wanda once lived there, until she got adopted by Laura about five months ago. Wanda opened the envelope and looked at the letter that was inside it...
Hey, this is Tom! How've ya been? How's life outside the orphanage? Things have been kinda boring since you got adopted, same old, same old...
Well, some orphans have come and gone, a few were abandoned, but a bunch have been adopted since last time I wrote you. Even Rorri got adopted, by some snobby, rich, red Lutari. It's nowhere near the same without her... or you, for that matter.
So what's been up lately with you? Anything exciting or cool? Did you get to go to the fair? Mr. Ardon didn't let us go; we were so mad...
Well, anyway, bye for now!
"Ha." Wanda smiled as she finished reading the letter. "He's both insanely jealous and he misses me longingly!"
"Yeah, sure..." Laura nodded slightly as she looked across the rest of the mail. "Oooh, here's an official letter from the castle!"
She tore open one of the envelopes and set the others aside as she started to read the letter on some fancy, official paper.
"'Citizens of Vladimyr village,'" Laura read the letter aloud, "'As the year comes closer to its closing, I have a few announcements. First of all, there will be no inspections in this upcoming month due to some'..." Laura paused to chuckle, "...'unexpected issues.'"
"Hee hee..." Wanda giggled. "Eleven whole months! Rose really WAS in trouble!"
"Yeah..." Laura agreed, also giggling.
Just before Wanda got adopted, the Princess of Vladimyr village, Princess Rose Daggerking, was sent to an eleven-month-long-time-out. She tried to stick a mystical dagger through Dina's heart, claiming that the baby was a magical creature called "the Indera," who was supposedly a prophesied character who was destined to overthrow the Crown.
After a fit of giggles, Laura continued reading the letter. "'But they will otherwise continue with their regular schedule until further notice. Secondly, the school year is soon to begin, so don't forget to get signed up. Finally, I hope you all had a wonderful time at the fair, and wish you all a fine day. King Kantun Daggerking.'"
"Wow," Wanda said when Laura finished reading. "No inspections... that means no fees!"
"Extra Neopoints! WOO!" Laura cheered.
"Rare items! Fun vacations! New wallpaper!" Wanda added.
Laura looked at Wanda and blinked. "You think we need new wallpaper?"
"Huh? Oh, no no no..." Wanda shook her head, "I'm just saying if we had the time and the Neopoints, we could perhaps get some new wallpaper..."
Laura chuckled and sighed at the same time. "We're not getting new wallpaper, Wanda."
"I didn't say I wanted new wallpaper," Wanda replied. "I just said we could maybe get new wallpaper!"
"Oh, forget it..." Laura rolled her eyes. "The point is, now we've got some extra Neopoints to spend!"
"Yeah!" Wanda beamed. "Should we go spend them?"
"But on what?..." Laura sat next to Wanda on her bed.
"Oh, you know, clothes, toys, wallpaper..."
Laura began laughing again. "I told you, we're not getting new wallpaper!"
"Oops! Did I say wallpaper?" Wanda held up a claw. "I meant writing paper!"
Laura just laughed as she shook her head and rolled her eyes.
* * * * *
Just outside of Vladimyr village, there were some wagons parked in the fields. They had some fancy banners on them; they belonged to the fair. Some Draiks carried boxes and folding chairs to the wagons; they were packing up, getting ready to leave. Cindon was folding a chair. Aillira walked past him with a box.
"Well, another fair come and gone," she said with a sigh.
Cindon nodded. "It is consistently like that, almost instantaneously as you begin to become acquainted with your customers, you must retire from their locality and trek away to another."
"Um, okay, whatever." Aillira raised one eyebrow.
Then a blue Kyrii walked over to the two; he was the fair host. He smiled at them as he said, "Well, it was another great fair! Everyone loved it; it was a hit!"
"Yeah, I noticed." Aillira nodded. "It was so crowded, I kept getting bumped!"
"And there was a profusion of pets and owners alike at my booth," Cindon added.
The Kyrii nodded. "Everyone had a great time. It was spectacular, but..." Aillira and Cindon almost jumped when they heard the word 'but', "...I'm afraid we have a problem..."
* * * * *
"...and right over there is the Vladimyr castle!" Kiro said, showing Yollinda around the village.
"Wow, it's impressive!" Yollinda's eyes widened as she gazed up at the huge castle walls.
Kiro nodded. "Big, isn't it? Laura told me she's been inside it once..."
"Oh, really?" Yollinda looked a little surprised.
"Yeah, it was about five months ago when I got that letter..." Kiro sighed, "...but anyway, that castle was built way back when, when Vladimyr village was founded."
"Outstanding..." Yollinda said in awe, as she stepped a little closer to the castle.
* * * * *
A female Royal Aisha was sitting on her bed pouting. It was Princess Rose, still mad about being sent to her room five months ago.
"Inspections are being cancelled!" she groaned. "And just because I'm stuck in this room for another six months... bah! Well, I'm sure the villagers are happy..."
She looked over to her desk. The book "The Prophecy of the Indera" was still sitting there. She decided to go look at it, so she stood up from her bed and sat in the chair in front of her desk. With a sigh, she flipped through some of the pages randomly, hardly even looking at the pages.
"And that stupid Indera is still out there, growing up and getting stronger..." the Princess flipped some more pages, "and I couldn't get her while I had the chance... that stupid Bori... now I have to stay in here for so long, and I don't even have the Royal Dagger..." Rose stopped at a page with a picture of the ruby-adorned dagger that she wielded in her own paws about five months ago. "If only there was some way to--"
A strange feeling came over Princess Rose, and she could almost hear someone speaking. The voice was inside her mind, though it seemed like it was coming from a specific direction. She recognized the voice, and with a smile, looked toward the window.
* * * * *
"Well, it's time to be moving on," Kiro said, looking up to the sky. "I've so much more to show you, Yollinda."
Yollinda nodded, and was about to veer and walk away, but then she stopped, and looked back at the castle. Kiro noticed, and then beckoned to her. "Come on, aren't you coming?"
"I thought I heard someone call my name..." Yollinda said quietly.
Kiro shook his head. "You're hearing things; no one called you."
Yollinda decided that Kiro was right, and started to follow him again. But once again, she stopped and looked behind her. "There it was again..."
"Yollinda, I'm telling you, there's no one there." Kiro grabbed Yollinda's arm. "Now come on!"
"Wait!" Yollinda jerked her hand away from Kiro. "I know I heard it this time; someone's calling me!"
"What if it's a different Yollinda?" Kiro groaned. "There could be tons of people named Yollinda for all you know!"
Yollinda hardly even paid attention to Kiro. She stepped closer to the castle, then paused. Then she started running towards the castle, exclaiming, "It's coming from over here somewhere!"
Kiro rolled his eyes and sighed. "Yollinda, get back here!"
Yollinda didn't stop and kept running. Kiro just groaned and chased after her, wondering what she was doing.
* * * * *
"WHAT?!" Aillira dropped the box she was holding.
"You are discharging us?!" Cindon yelped.
"I'm afraid there's not much else we can do..." The Kyrii shook his head. "By making admission free, we got plenty more customers, but not enough people bought the food - the only thing that still costs anything - and we don't have enough Neopoints to pay for all the travel costs! We have to dump some extra stuff, but there's not enough extra stuff to dump unless we get rid of some of the acts..."
Aillira had a shocked and insulted look on her face, "You're dumping us as if we were extra stuff!"
"But my fortune telling booth is immensely voguish!" Cindon exclaimed. "Can you not dispense with some of the cargo conveyors, instead?"
"Yeah!" Aillira nodded. "Can't you-- wait a minute... HEY! That's ME!"
"We're getting rid of a lot of them, too." The Kyrii sighed. "I'm sorry, but there's really not much else we can do..."
"You said that already!" Aillira shouted. "Besides, there HAS to be SOME better option!"
"Sorry, but that's the best option there is..." the Kyrii kept apologizing.
"What's wrong with putting admission back up?!" Aillira wondered.
The Kyrii groaned. "I realize now that I was way too confident about how many Neopoints we had... I don't think we'd be able to get enough money if we increased admission to 100 NP, and any higher than that would repel customers!"
"So what you are endeavoring to apprise us of is that we've been insolvent for quite some time," Cindon said.
"Yes, I thought we were quite affluent when we were actually practically broke..." The Kyrii sighed. "But now I'm sorry to say that we have to leave now... but you won't be coming with us. You'll probably have to go back home, now... find some better job, or something..."
Aillira and Cindon - along with several other pets - watched hopelessly as the rest of the fair drove away, abandoning them in the empty and unfamiliar fields near Vladimyr village.
To be continued...