A Tale of Skunk Perfume
Gabriella sighed as she and her sister, Danielle, trudged through the snow-covered paths that would eventually lead them to the Mountain Lodge, where she and Danielle would stay for a week. Gabriella’s older siblings, Erer and Aneaqua, had important exams to take in Neoschool – so the younger Neoschool neopets had a week of holiday whilst the exams were going on. Gabriella’s owner was going to tutor Erer and Aneaqua, and since they were going to be very busy that week, Neolodge was the option. Gabriella was new, and had been painted only a day after she had been created. She was a Starry Xweetok, and her sister Danielle was a Christmas Wocky. Danielle had been in the family the longest – Erer and Aneaqua had both been adopted about a year ago.
Gabriella wasn’t complaining about being sent to Neolodge – she had never been there before, and was looking forward to a week of relaxation. Also, a family friend, Cassie, had sent her neopets to the same Neolodge for the same reason, and, to console Cassie’s neopets, had promised to ask the Mountain Lodge staff to organize a big Christmas Gala at the Lodge’s best ballroom on Christmas Eve – which was in five days. Cassie’s neopets, Nellie and Kimberly, would be staying in the same cabin as Gabriella and Danielle.
‘Oh, Gabby, I wish the ski lifts weren’t broken!’ Danielle complained, puffing and blowing. ‘I’m so tired!’
‘Well, I think we’re almost there, Dani,’ Gabriella pointed out.
The two continued up the path, wrapping their scarves more tightly round their necks. It was a blizzard, and Gabriella could not stop thinking of the glorious time when she and Danielle would finally, finally reach the Mountain Lodge, and enter their plush, deluxe, cabin, and kick back in their own private outdoor hot tub with a big fat mug of hot chocolate with marshmallows melting in the hot drink...
The snow-covered path finally came to a close and deposited the two, sore-back-pawed neopets onto the highest summit of Terror Mountain. Built on the summit was a large wooden building, surrounded by smaller log cabins. The entire place looked very welcoming, and all of them were snow-capped and had strings of lights around them. There were a few other Neopians having a good game of snowball fight, and another neopet was busy making a larger-than-life snow Meepit. A wooden sign that was pointing in the direction of the collection of wooden buildings and cabins read “Mountain Lodge”.
‘Dani, we’re here!’ Gabriella cheered. She tugged her scarf round her furry neck and began to make her way past the other neopets and towards the main building, Danielle at her heels.
The two of them pushed open the doors and gratefully got inside. It was very cozy and warm in the Lodge. Fires burnt merrily in four fireplaces around the small lobby, and a few neopets were seated in front of them, making s’mores, toasting marshmallows and warming themselves. The check-in counter was erected opposite the tiny lounge. A well-dressed Cybunny was behind it, writing something on a green clipboard.
Gabriella and Danielle approached the counter.
‘Good afternoon, Miss,’ Gabriella said to the Cybunny. ‘Our owner – her name is Jenny – has made a reservation for the two of us. We are to be sharing a log cabin for this week with Nellie and Kimberly, the neopets belonging to Cassie. Here is the paper.’
Gabrielle fished in the pocket of the jacket she was wearing and pulled out a neatly folded, slightly damp piece of paper. The Cybunny took it, unfolded it and read it through quickly. She nodded.
‘Yes,’ she said, reaching for two keys from the wall of keys behind her. She took down two keys with key-chains that showed their cabin number and gave the keys to Gabriella and Danielle. ‘You can use the sheltered path over there to get to your cabin.’ She pointed out one of the paths leading out of the lobby. Then she gave them a welcoming smile and said, ‘Well, have a good time!’
Gabriella and Danielle followed the sheltered path and eventually came out into a small town of log cabins surrounded by a dense wood of fir trees, willows and birches. Gabriella could also spot clumps of berry bushes. She glanced at the number on her key-chain.
‘We’re cabin number twelve,’ she said to Danielle. ‘Let’s go.’
They went round the cabins and at last found a small cabin with a painted sign depicting the number twelve above its door. Danielle inserted her key into the lock of the door, turned it with a faint click sound and swung it open.
‘Oh, it’s so lovely!’ Danielle exclaimed, running into the cabin, followed by Gabriella.
The cabin was furnished with comfortable, plush furniture and had a brick fireplace in the lounge area. There was a kitchenette at one side of the main room and the other side had two doors, each leading into a bedroom. A third door led to the bathroom.
One of the bedroom doors swung open and out came Nellie, one of Cassie’s neopets. Nellie was a blue Acara, and she had on a skirt and sweater.
‘Dani, Gabby, you’re here!’ she exclaimed in delight. ‘Kim and I were going to grab some lunch at the restaurant – but we’re not going yet – we’ll wait for you to unpack and get settled. Kim and I already vacated this room, sorry. So you’ll have to make do with the other room.’
Gabriella reached for the doorknob of the second bedroom and opened it. The room was as expected, small but comfy. There were two windows that had a beautiful view of the wood, and there were two twin beds and a small wardrobe, as well as two bedside tables, a desk and a vanity table.
Gabriella stepped inside with Danielle and had a bit of a fight over who got the bed by the windows. Gabriella won the fight and happily deposited her luggage onto the soft, warm bed and began to unpack. She and her sister unpacked quickly and put on sweaters and pants and scarves. Then the two sisters brushed their fur before going with Kimberly and Nellie to the Lodge restaurant.
At the restaurant, they sat down at a table and ordered good, hot food, enjoying the fact that it was all paid for in advance. They hungrily wolfed down the food, and, while waiting for dessert, they talked.
‘I can’t wait for the Gala in five days!’ Kimberly said. She was a red Usul, and had necklace round her neck. She nibbled at an acorn. ‘It’ll be the greatest! I packed a gorgeous evening gown just for the occasion.’
‘If only we had some perfume,’ Nellie said wistfully, ‘we could smell great for the Gala!’
‘That’s it!’ Gabriella exclaimed. ‘I know a great bargain perfume shop in the Tyrannian Jungle, and I’ll bet they have Lavender Perfume for a good price.’
‘Great!’ Danielle said happily. ‘Let’s go on Tuesday.’
After lunch, the foursome retreated to their cabin to relax. Gabriella made them all mugs of hot chocolate and put in Marshmallow Grundos. They seated themselves around the fireplace as they sipped their hot chocolate and made s’mores.
‘I’m going to pick some berries,’ Gabriella announced, recalling the berry bushes she had seen. ‘Who wants to come with me?’
None of them had any wish of going back out into the freezing cold, so Gabriella wrapped herself in her warmest, heaviest coat and scarf and set off, carrying a basket in one paw.
It was still very cold, but the blizzard had stopped, so it was considerably warmer. Snowflakes were falling gently down from the grey clouds in the sky. Gabriella loved the winter. Though it was cold and best to stay indoors, she felt that there were plenty of fun activities to do in the cold. Gabriella had heard that the Mountain Lodge had a snowboard and ski rental, as well as snowboarding and skiing classes. She and Danielle had signed up for the snowboarding class, and would start tomorrow morning after breakfast.
Gabriella spotted clump of blackberry bushes situated behind cabin twelve. She went over to the bushes and began to pick the not-so-juicy berries. She knew how to make great homemade jam, and was planning on using the berries to make homemade blackberry jam.
As the basket began to be filled up with the blackberries she was picking, a black-and-white perfume bottle rolled out from underneath one of the bushes. Gabriella spotted it and stopped picking blackberries to look curiously at the bottle. She picked it up and sprayed a bit onto her paw and sniffed. The odor was strong and curiously exotic and enchanting.
‘This is even better than Lavender Perfume,’ Gabriella murmured to herself. She wondered who had lost this bottle of perfume. She debated whether to keep it for her and her cabin-mates to use for the Gala, or to take it to the Lodge’s Lost and Found.
‘I’ll keep it’, she decided, tucking the bottle into her coat pocket and carrying on with her blackberry-picking.
When her basket was full to the brim with blackberries, Gabriella returned to cabin twelve. Danielle was curled up in an armchair, a book in her paws. Kimberly was at the kitchenette rummaging for more snacks in the mini-fridge, while Nellie was roasting more marshmallows at the fireplace.
Gabriella went over to the kitchenette and set down her basket of blackberries. She took out a small pot, a wooden spoon and a small knife, and also some sugar. Kimberly suddenly sniffed the air.
‘What is that lovely smell?’ she inquired. She followed the scent and stopped at Gabriella’s side. ‘What perfume is that you’re using?’
In answer, Gabriella pulled out the black-and-white perfume bottle. ‘I found this while I was picking blackberries,’ she explained, and held out the bottle to Kimberly.
Danielle, ever the honest one, immediately snapped her book shut and stood up to say, ‘You should have given that in to Lost and Found.’
‘Don’t be a party pooper, Dani!’ Nellie said excitedly. ‘Think! We could use it for the Christmas Gala, and then we can give it to Lost and Found.’
Danielle hesitated for a long moment before, finally, she nodded. ‘Well, I suppose it’s alright. After all, we shan’t use more than just a few sprays.’
The foursome enjoyed themselves very much over the remaining days. At last, the day of the Christmas Gala arrived.
After a day at the spa and grooming centre at the Lodge, the four female neopets dressed themselves up for the Gala, the final touch being a spray of the perfume each. After a last check in the mirrors, the four set off for the Lodge’s biggest ballroom.
As they made their way to the ballroom, neopets glanced at them with curious, dubious looks, and some even covered their nostrils and ran quickly away from them. Gabriella, Danielle, Kimberly and Nellie wondered why. Did they smell bad? How could that be, when they were wearing the best perfume they had smelled yet?
When they entered the ballroom, their friend, Linda, a blue Kacheek, greeted them, but her smile faded away as she, too, smelled a smelly odor.
‘I know that smell,’ Linda said, slowly backing away. ‘It’s Skunk Perfume!’
‘What? But how can that be?’ Gabriella defended herself. ‘When I sprayed it on a few days ago it smelled great!’
‘You don’t understand,’ Linda began to explain. ‘When it is newly made, the perfume is actually very exotic. But if you leave it to ferment for a few days, the exotic odor will change into the odor of skunks!’
‘Oh, no!’ Nellie exclaimed, beginning to go red in the face with embarrassment.
‘Now we have to take tomato baths!’ Danielle groaned.
‘We’d better go now,’ Kimberly sighed. ‘I bet the spa can do something for us...’
The four fled the ballroom and hurried to the spa. The spa worker told them not to worry, and that, in the case of Skunk Perfume, one vegetable bath was enough to get rid of the stench.
‘I’ll never take any perfume that I don’t know its name and scent,’ Gabriella moaned as they undressed. ‘That was disaster! Now we’ll miss a part of the Gala!’
The four neopets took their vegetable bath and, to comfort themselves, allowed the spa workers to pamper them with mud baths, massages and grooming, before slipping back into their clothes and running back to their cabin, meaning to do something first before returning to the Gala.
They entered the warm cabin and saw the black-and-white perfume bottle sitting innocently on the mantelpiece. Gabriella snatched it off.
‘I suppose we shall have to give this to Lost and Found,’ she said. ‘Well, I’m glad we have to! I do wonder who bought this awful perfume.’
Gabriella, Danielle, Nellie and Kimberly got their scarves and coats and went to the Lost and Found Centre of the Lodge, a lone, small wooden hut on another summit nearby. They entered the hut and found themselves in a square room with many crates and boxes filled with – of all things – Skunk Perfume. There was only one cardboard box filled with stray articles of clothing, books and various other objects. The room was absolutely filled with the perfume’s dreadful smell.
A red Kacheek wearing nose-plugs and a sweater came over to them with a wry smile.
‘Thanks for bringing that back,’ the Kacheek said, holding out a paw to take the perfume. ‘We’ve received a huge shipment of these last night and distributed them to the people that booked the grand deluxe cabins as gifts – and people have been chucking them all over the place when they’ve found out its true scent. So we’ve been collecting these and putting them in here, and we’re planning to send it back to the company that shipped us these perfumes.’
‘Well, thanks,’ the Kacheek said.
While the foursome thankfully scuttled back to the Gala, the Kacheek smirked to herself as she sprayed the Skunk Perfume all over herself.
‘I shall have Will to like me in no time,’ she thought to herself.
Thanks for reading! I hope it has warned you about why Skunk Perfume should never be used!