A Royal Stroll
“I’m bored!” Skysong, a little blue Shoyru, complained to his Xweetok sister. Margariette just rolled her eyes; she was used to her brother’s constant proclamations of boredom. Next would come some crazy scheme designed to delight and/or cause mischief, which Skysong would pester her about until she agreed to help.
“I know, let’s visit King Hagan’s gardens!”
Margariette stared disbelievingly at Skysong over her bowl of Neocrunch. He couldn’t be serious, could he? “You know we can’t do that, Skysong. Only royal pets are allowed in there, and last time I checked, you still haven’t saved enough for a royal paint brush.”
Skysong’s wings slumped a bit as Margariette spoke. It was his dearest ambition to become a royal Shoyru, but he never seemed to be able to save his allowance. In his defense, he wasn’t careless or selfish with his money. It was just that, every time he got a decent amount of Neopoints, he would find a toy one of his friends would like, or buy lunch for himself and his siblings. No matter how hard he tried, his dream continued to hover out of reach.
“I know what to do!” Skysong exclaimed, his cheerful spirit irrepressible. “We’ll disguise ourselves as royal pets! It’ll be easy!”
Margariette rolled her eyes, letting out a long-suffering sigh at Skysong’s foolishness.
“Give me one good reason why it won’t work!” Skysong exclaimed, determined to take his walk.
“Actually, Skysong, I can give you two!” Margariette replied smugly. “First of all, I’m sure the royal guards will be able to see right through our disguises. Second of all, there’s NO SUCH THING as a royal Xweetok!” Margariette sat back, sure that she’d won the argument, but Skysong wouldn’t be deterred.
“Alright then, we’ll just have to dress you up like... like an Acara! It’ll be great!”
Margariette let out a screech of indignation at the very thought. “Me, dress like an Acara? Not in a million years!!!”
“I can’t believe you talked me into this,” Margariette muttered under her breath as they approached the palace of Brightvale. Skysong just smiled charmingly at his sister, who had covered every inch of her fur in red blush and donned a frilly bathrobe in an effort to look more like a royal Acara.
Skysong was proud of his costume... he’d “borrowed” a green T-shirt and a button-up blouse from his owner to make his robes, and topped it all off with her favorite fruit bowl for a hat and a wooden spoon as his staff. With such a clever getup, Skysong knew he could fool Hagan himself.
With more confidence than Margariette felt, the two little neopets sauntered across the drawbridge and straight into the courtyard. A few more steps found them past the guards and into the royal gardens, just as Skysong had predicted.
“I can’t believe that worked!” Margariette exclaimed, unable to believe their luck. “We actually fooled them!”
Skysong began to reply, but was cut off by the deep rumbling voice of the Grarrl who guarded the entrance.
“Well, well... what do we have here?” he asked with a grin. Margariette looked at the ground, her cheeks turning even redder under the blush, but Skysong glared at the guard with all the royal snobbery he could muster.
“Excuse me, sir, but you are in my way. Now, if you would just step aside...”
“They did WHAT??”
“It really was rather funny, ma’am, if ya don’t mind me saying so. The little buggers have spirit, that’s for sure. You should ‘ave seen the little Shoyru! He was determined to convince me he belonged there. It wasn’t until the Xweetok admitted to the ruse that he backed down. He even threatened to have me fired for interrupting his stroll!”
Skysong and Margariette’s owner shook her head in amazement at her charges’ most recent antics. It wasn’t the first time they’d gotten into some kind of mischief, and she was certain it wouldn’t be the last.
“I really am sorry, sir, and I assure you they’ll not get off easily for it. Thank you for bringing them home to me.”
“Not a problem, ma’am,” the kind-natured Grarrl replied. “Give my regards to the little fellow, and tell him I look forward to seeing him when he’s royal.”
“Thank you, I will,” she replied, then saw him to the door.
“SKYSONG, Margariette!” she called when the guard had left. “Come here right this instant!”
The two pets, now thoroughly cowed from their misadventure, crept down the stairs with downcast eyes.
“The two of you are both grounded for a week! You will spend that time writing letters to the guards, apologizing for wasting their time, and for breaking the garden rules. Skysong, for taking my things without permission, and for orchestrating this little fiasco, you’ll also go without dessert for a week. Do I make myself clear??”
The two pets nodded soundlessly, then made their way back upstairs. Shaking her head in disbelief, their owner watched them go.
Waiting until she heard a door close from above, she allowed herself a smile at the pets’ exploits. Skysong really was a good little Shoyru. Checking once more to make sure no one was looking, she took a small jar down from the top of the refrigerator. She carefully emptied the contents of her pockets into it, then contemplated the neopoints within. Glancing back at the stairs, she smiled again.
“Just a little longer, Skysong,” she whispered to herself, then replaced the jar and set about making lunch.
Just six, short months later, Skysong stared up at the gates to the garden he had wished to enter for so long. He had not been back, even to this entrance, since the day he and his sister had been thrown out. Now, clutching his staff in a nervous paw, he took a small step closer to the gate.
“Your Highness,” a vaguely familiar voice grumbled, and Skysong found himself face to face with the Grarrl guard. “It’s good to see you here again,” the guard continued. “Please, feel free to go on in.”
Skysong smiled up at the Grarrl, then took a deep breath and strode toward the gate. It felt odd, not having Margariette by his side. She’d always shared in his adventures, but this time was different. There was still no such thing as a royal Xweetok, and Margariette would not be able to join him.
Reaching the golden archway of the gate, Skysong stopped. Beyond, he could see a host of royal pets, walking slowly as they conversed in low tones and admired the flowers. It was beautiful, but Skysong found that he didn’t really want to be a part of it if Margariette wasn’t there.
Glancing back, he saw his owner and Margariette watching from a distance. The woman waved at him cheerfully, and Margariette smiled in encouragement. But the smile didn’t seem to reach Margariette’s eyes, and Skysong’s decision was made. Turning to the guard again, he nodded regally and stepped back from the doors.
“I must say, I find it offensive that only royal pets may stroll these paths. While the flowers are superb, the company is not... I think I shall take my afternoon walk with better company.”
The Grarrl nodded, hiding a smile. He had expected no less from the feisty youngster, and was glad to find that his hopes were not disappointed.
“As you wish, your Highness. If there is anything else I may do for you?”
“That will be all, thank you,” Skysong replied with all the royal dignity he could muster. Then, returning to his confused owner and his sister, he grinned sheepishly.
“What fun is a walk in the gardens if you aren’t there to keep me company, Margariette?” he asked by way of explanation. “Hey, what do you say we go check out Faerieland? Maybe Queen Fyora will let us in the Hidden Tower now.”
“I doubt it.” Margariette smirked, but she seemed to have brightened considerably at the suggestion. “Still, I have been wanting to check out the Faerie Paint Brush... last one there’s a rotten Negg!”
As the two raced away, their owner just rolled her eyes and followed after them, wondering what messes they would get themselves into next. They were a rambunctious pair, but she wouldn’t change THAT for the world.