Battle Quills... ready! Circulation: 90,554,371 Issue: 172 | 7th day of Sleeping, Y7
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Kacheek Tales: Volunteering - Part Two

by pandabearb


Toby sighed reluctantly then nodded. He took charge immediately, which was fine by me, and asked, "Did Mrs. Williams leave you a list?" Nodding, I handed it to him and watched his eyes dart back and forth, reading it. "Did you complete number 9?" he asked seriously.

Smiling, I said jokingly, "Of course. First thing I did, sir!" He was the captain of this make-believe ship now, and I figured he wouldn't mind being addressed as one.

"Very good then. Judging by the condition of the house, I'd say you fed them, so I think that it'd be a good idea to take them to the…erm…facilities, alright?" Toby told me, adjusting quite quickly to his role.

I made a face at him and said with a sugar-sweet smile, "Alright, but you can go check out the "facilities" first and make sure it's all clear in there for our crew, OK?"

He glared in my direction and stomped over to the bathroom. He speedily took a look in there and gave me a thumbs-up - a signal to say that it was all good in there. "First, we're going let them use the restroom one by one," Toby began. "Then, we'll take them outside to the fenced in area and let them frolic while we decide what to do next. Got it?"

Rolling my eyes, I told him that I understood. It wasn't a complex plan or anything. I ran over to the nearest Petpet, a little Noil, and told him that he should go in and use the restroom. I carried him over and pushed him in while I hunted for another Petpet. When the Noil emerged, Toby grabbed him and gently set him in the outdoor fenced-in area. We used the same pattern with all of the Petpets, except for the robotic ones. Seeing how they were mechanical, it wasn't necessary for them to use the "facilities", so Toby just set them outside while he was waiting for a Petpet to be done in the restroom. Half of the morning was gone when, to our knowledge, all of the Petpets were outside. We smiled with relief at one another and high-fived.

"Maybe we should clean up next, Toby," I told him as we stood in the living room looking around.

"I agree. I'm going to be brave and clean the facilities, and you can get out some window cleaner and try to make the windows clear again, alright?" He instructed and with a deep breath, set out to begin his assignment.

Giving an inward sigh, I began searching for window cleaner. First, I looked in all the obvious places. When they didn't show up there, I said to myself, "If I were Mrs. Williams, where would I put cleaning supplies?" I stood next to a closet in the hallway and stroked my chin as I thought. Then it hit me. Actually, a piece of the ceiling fell off and conked me in the head, but either way, I realized where the supplies were. I headed down the hallway and entered a shabby-looking room, the office, which seemed to be used very rarely. Opening a filing cabinet I gave out a happy squeal as I found rags and disinfectants lying on the bottom. I rummaged through the cabinets until I had found the window-cleaner and a rag that wasn't dirty.

I decided to start in the room I was in right now, and I pulled up the shades that were covering the window. Gray film covered the entire glassy surface. I skillfully sprayed and wiped several times, until everything on the inside of the window was no longer there. I gave a satisfied smile as I strolled out of the office and went from room to room, killing the evil dust particles with a swipe of my hand. By the time I was done with all of the inside windows I felt like I should be in the Gallery of Heroes.

As I walked into the family room, Toby was just finishing up. I peeked into the new and improved bathroom and was pleasantly shocked. Everything was sparkling and shiny and there weren't any toothbrushes lying on the floor at all. "I still have to get all of the towels and put them in the closet, but it's pretty much done," Toby said proudly as he dusted his hands off. He stepped out the door and went into the living room saying, "Looks like the windows are all cleaned up. Good job! Should we continue, then?"

So we took the rest of the morning and well into the afternoon to move from room to room in the house, working as a perfect team. The bedroom that I was working on earlier quickly got back into shape and the dishes in the kitchen that seemed to have been piling up in the sink for ages were finally washed. Not a single toy was left lying on the floor and all of the household items were put in their proper place. The food was in the pantry instead of in the couch and the towels were put in their shelves in the bathroom closet. All of the broken pieces of whatever they were got swept up and put in the trash. The office was usable again, as was every other room in the house.

We were half-way through painting over the parts on the wall that the Petpets had scratched as well as patching up the holes in the ceiling, when we realized that we were forgetting something. "Toby!" I exclaimed, alarmed, as something popped into my head suddenly. "The Petpets! They've been outside this whole time! What if one of them escapes! Shouldn't we bring them in so that they can take their naps or something?"

"Don't worry, none of them escaped. But you're right, we should definitely bring them in. I completely forgot about those little rascals. All the beds are ready and everything, right? We remembered to lock the closets and wardrobes so that they didn't get in them and make a mess? And you did remember to Superglue all of the flower vases to the tables so that they didn't get knocked over, didn't you?" He asked quickly.

"Of course I did, silly!" I told him with my hands propped on my hips.

We walked over to the fence and carefully one by one took them into the different bedrooms, picking the right one for each depending on how well they got along with the others in their room and shut the door when we set them in so that they wouldn't escape. Once we got everyone in, we made sure to make a point to announce to the entire room that this was nap time, not play time, and we expected it to be very quiet. They seemed to understand as they each curled up in a bed and their breathing became even and hushed. Toby and I smiled and carefully tiptoed into the kitchen for a conference on what else we had to do.

"How long do you think they'll sleep?" I asked as we looked over the list. "We could do the outside stuff, but I don't know if it'll be safe to leave them alone,"

"Bah, don't be such a worry-Kacheek," Toby told me. "I think we should mow the lawn in their outdoor playpen first so that we can give them a bath their after they're done with their naps,"

I swallowed and said meekly, "I forgot about that baths. That's going to be a disaster!"

"Of course it will be, but that's half the fun, right?" Toby said encouragingly.

"Not really," I answered flatly as we strolled outside. I shaded my eyes and surveyed the yard. We'd never get the whole thing done before the Petpets wake up, but I suppose we could try our best. Together, we struggled through the overgrown lawn and opened the fence door to get in the Petpets' pen. Toby left to go get the lawnmower while I got on my knees and scoured the yard looking for any toys left behind by the Petpets with my hands.

Toby was back in the pen with his equipment ready by the time I had fished out all of the left-behind objects. He gave a wave and then revved up the engine on the mower. While he started cutting the grass, I went out to the shed in the garden to get gloves, a spade, and an empty bucket to get the weeds out of the flowerbeds. I threw open the shed door and coughed as old dust became unsettled and floated in the air. I waved my hands in front of my face to clear the air and picked up the supplies I needed off the ground where they'd been thrown by whoever was doing the gardening last. I shook my head at the shape that this home was in. It had to be the most un-kept house in Neopia.

We worked at the gardening for about three quarters of an hour before we went back into the house to check on the Petpets. I made sure Toby and myself wash our hands and feet off with a hose in the yard before we went into the Neohome so that we didn't get the freshly-cleaned house dirty.

"This is so much more work than I bargained for," I muttered to Toby as we trudged inside. "How could Mrs. Williams even live here? It's a disaster!"

"Ugh, I know," Toby replied, sounding disgusted. "Do you hear some kind of banging sound?" He stopped and listened intently.

I perked my ears and nodded slowly. "It's coming from the bedroom," I said and rushed over to listen at the door. I had no idea what was going on in there so I pushed the door open and stood in the doorway. Petpets were literally bouncing off the walls and jumping on their beds. Apparently naptime was over. "Everybody freeze!" I shouted, very aggravated. All the Petpets stopped in mid-air and crashed to the floor. I cringed. They took that a little too seriously, I think. I shook my head as I saw every pair of eyes turn to me. I felt bad instantly, because every Petpet looked thoroughly ashamed of themselves and one Feepit seemed to be to the point of tears. "I'm sorry I yelled at you," I said solemnly. "But I would really appreciate it if you learned to control yourselves a little bit better and it would be for your own benefit if you decided to be hyper outside, OK?"

Toby stepped into the room and spoke with firmness and yet sounded kind as he told the group, "Cunchicka and I are in the process of cleaning the yard so that all of you can have a nicer time outside. Would anybody like to help us and have a little fun?"

Toby and I smiled at each other as everyone's hand shot in the air instantly. "That's great!" I exclaimed to them. "But before we do that, is anybody hungry?" Again, everybody's hand shot in the air, including my own. "Well then, let's go get a snack and then we can take a "facility" break, alright?" Heads throughout the room bobbed up and down.

Surprisingly, the Petpets quietly filed out of the room and helped Toby and me prepare the food and cleaned up after themselves. Then they took turns using the restroom before they ran out the door into the yard.

"Troops!" Toby shouted, once again taking his role as Captain. "Are you ready to clean? Good! I'm going to need organized groups here depending on what you would like to help with, OK? Cunchicka and I will be the leaders but we are asking for volunteers to be co-leaders and help us out. Do we have any takers?"

One lone Noil slowly walked up to me and said in a small voice, "I am Nicholas. I will help you lead our group if you would like." I smiled and shook his hand. He grinned back and took a place by my side. I glanced over to see that a Babaa was sitting next to Toby with a very proud look on its face.

"Alright! Now we will need one group to go with me, and one group to go with Cunchicka. I will be taking care of the yard work, and Cunchicka will be doing the painting of the shed and Neohome. Please separate into fairly even groups and line up in front of your preferred group leader. Go ahead and have fun!" Toby said happily and smiled.

I watched as numerous Petpets of all species stood in front of me, ready and awaiting orders. "Hi everybody! You're owner asked that we paint the Neohome a light yellow, so that's what we'll be doing. I found some yellow paint in the shed in the garden along with some brushes. We'll need one group to go and paint the shed under the command of my co-leader Nicholas. Everyone that would like to help him can go line up before him. The rest of you can follow me, alright?" I announced to all the Petpets and then briskly walked over to the home. It was getting to be late afternoon and Mrs. Williams was expected back within a few hours. I darted around Petpets doing their cleaning up for Toby and gave encouraging words as I passed. I could hardly believe that we had gotten these little troublemakers to cooperate with us.

"Could all flying Petpets please grab a paint brush, dip it in paint, and do the higher part of the home and all land animals work doing the lower section of the home please. Half of you can go over to the other side and work there. Oh, and take a couple of buckets of paint with you, please!" I said to the group and got myself a paint brush.

It was when we were well on our way with painting the house and I saw Petpets playfully splattering paint on one another when I remembered that Toby and I had forgotten to give the Petpets their baths. "Rats!" I said under my breath as I brushed more paint onto the Neohome. Making a face, I ran some water from the hose over the paint brush and laid it down on the grass. I slowly strolled around the home inspecting the work of the Petpets. They were doing an excellent job and working well together as a team. I saw Warfs stacking on top of each other to get hard to reach places and a Feepit showing a GX-4 Oscillabot how to apply paint evenly on the Neohome walls. I noticed that on the opposite side of the Neohome that I was working on was nearing completion, so I took a few Petpets that were lounging on the grass and led them over to some big tin buckets that were sitting on a portion of the lawn. I grabbed a hose and some soap that had somehow ended up in the shed and brought it over to the buckets. I filled them up and told the Petpets to hop in. Giving them each a sponge, I said that I trusted them to thoroughly clean themselves without my supervision. I laid a stack of towels by the buckets and went back over to see how the shed-painting was going.

Nicholas proved to be a very effective leader and was instructing his group to put all of their supplies in the shed. "Hi, Nicholas!" I exclaimed to the Noil. "Wow! The shed looks awesome! Since you're all done, do you mind going over to the area where I set up some tin wash buckets so that you can all get your baths in before Mrs. Williams gets home?" Nicholas nodded obediently and yelled at his crew to head over to get a bath as soon as everything was set up in the shed. I smiled and went back to the house.

Things were tying up nicely there, and it seemed that they were close to being done as well. I made sure that everyone who was finished made their way to the wash bins to wait for their turn on the double. As I backed up to look at the beautiful yellow home in front of me, I saw Toby coming up at the corner of my eye. "Hiya, buddy!" I said to him. "How's it going in your neck of the woods?"

Toby grinned and said, "Really good! I'm so glad we got these little guys to help us! We never would have gotten all of this done before Mrs. Williams got back otherwise. Oh, and good job remembering about the baths. I completely forgot!" He waved and headed over to the washing area to refill the buckets with fresh water as I saw the last of my Petpet workers finish their painting and lug the paint buckets over to the shed.

I stepped away from the house and looked around the yard. It looked like a completely different estate. The flowers in the garden were actually visible again and the grass was cut at an appropriate length. Someone had done a terrific job trimming the hedges, and had cut little pictures in them. I saw a few different species of Petpets and some Neopets too. Two of them looked suspiciously like Toby and me. I looked at the sky and realizing that the sun was quickly going to rest as the skies started getting darker.

Kreludor could be seen in the night sky by the time all of the Petpets had finished washing and everything was back in place. Toby and I led our charges inside and told them to sit down by the fireplace. We lit a fire in the fireplace and then started doing our very own theatre production of the only Petpet book we knew called Peopatras Petpets. They laughed and made fun of us as we acted it out. We were getting to the climax when the door banged open and old Mrs. Williams was there with the Wocky by her feet.

"So, I trust that you didn't finish all the chores and you can take your leave without pay then?" Mrs. Williams said smugly the minute she entered her Neohome.

"Actually, I think you'll be pleasantly surprised at what you find," I said in my Ha-I-Showed-You voice. "Everything on the list has been completed thoroughly and you'll find that it's too your liking. And I believe you saw your new beautiful yard and freshly-coated Neohome on your way in, no?"

Mrs. Williams' face was scrunched up and had the appearance as if she had just gotten a whiff of old cheese. She quickly walked through the house, and then appeared back in the living room. "I don't know how you did it. And how in Illusen's name did you get them to behave so well?" She walked up and then stared at Toby. "Who in all of Neopia are you?" She rasped at him.

"That's Toby. He's my friend, and he helped me out today. Don't worry, though. You don't have to pay him. But I, on the other hand, am expecting my full wage for today." I said cockily and held out my hand.

Mrs. Williams muttered under her breath as she angrily slammed a bunch of Neopoints into my open hand. "Here you go. Now leave, alright?" She told me rudely.

Toby and I found ourselves being shooed out the door and laughed as we walked down the sidewalk toward our Neohomes.

"Well, was it worth it?" Toby asked me with a glance. "Going through this whole mess, I mean."

My eyes sparkled and a smile slid across my face happily as I turned to him and said gleefully, "Yes! It was so worth it! She was so worried about getting us out of there that the ol' crazy lady accidentally gave me an extra thousand Neopoints!"

"You know that the right thing to do would be to give it back, right?" Toby told me with a slight grin.

I cocked my head and thought about the list of things to do the lady gave me and how rude she had been when she got back. "I know," I told him, my eyes mischievous. "But I think that just this one time we can make an exception, don't you?"

The End

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