The Possibilities are Endless: Part Four
Mika disappeared into the near-boiling soup. For a split second, I held my breath. Then I plunged my paw down into the pot and wrapped my fingers around her tiny body. When I pulled her out, the Yullie struggled to breathe. After a second she coughed, then took in a long, smooth breath of air.
I let out a sigh of relief, and so did the Soup Faerie and Jenna. “Oh my goodness, the poor little dear,” the faerie murmured. “Look at her fur. It’s been scorched.”
I examined Mika’s fur. She had some bald patches where the hot soup had burned off the yellow-and-green fur, exposing the pink skin underneath. I rushed to the preparation room, where I rinsed off Mika in cold water, making sure she was able to breathe. Once she was cooled, I wrapped her up in a small dry rag.
When I walked back into the front room, I saw the Soup Faerie dumping out the large pot that Mika had fallen into. I bit my lip. That pot would’ve fed at least twenty hungry Neopets, and now it was wasted. I felt terrible; how could I make this up to her?
The faerie turned around, and she raised her eyebrows when she saw me. “How’s the little Yullie?” she asked in a calm voice. The other four volunteers had arrived and were taking their places at the serving counter, each in front of a big pot of soup and holding a wooden spoon.
“She’s alright,” I squeaked. “Her fur is burned, but nothing bad.” I scrunched my eyebrows together, trying my best not to cry. What if she fired me? I would have no place to go. No neopoints to buy food. Nothing.
“Listen, Skyler...” The faerie looked down at her feet. “You’re the best assistant I’ve ever had, and you know me so well. I don’t want to let you go, but I think it’s time you take a break for a while.”
“A break?” I asked. I was only slightly relieved. She wasn’t firing me! “You mean like, a week off?”
“No, actually, I mean maybe a few months off. You know, just for a while. You’re here every day, and I feel like you haven’t discovered who you really are. And now that you have a new petpet, it just makes things more difficult. It’ll give you time to train little Mika.”
I didn’t have anything to say. She wanted to “give me” a few months off? What if I didn’t want a break? “B-but... who will take my place while I’m gone?”
“Jenna said she could work Mondays through Wednesdays and Alisia Thursdays and Fridays.” Obviously, the Soup Faerie had already talked to the Kougra and the Lupe while I was taking care of Mika. It hurt that she left me out of the conversation.
I swallowed hard. “When can I come back?”
“I was thinking maybe three or four months,” the faerie said slowly. “That would give you plenty of time to train your Yullie, don’t you think?”
I nodded. “That sounds like a long time. What will I do to earn neopoints?”
“Well, I know of a few other faeries who could use some help. Illusen, the earth faerie in Meridell, could use someone for collecting and crafting items. And Jhudora, the dark faerie in Faerieland, is always willing to take in stray Neopets as her... helpers.”
I didn’t want to return to Meridell. Besides, I wasn’t good at crafting items. Collecting I could do, but not shaping sticks into fantastic new items. Dark faeries scared me, so I knew there was no way I could work for Jhudora.
I shook my head, looking down and squeezing my eyes shut. “What about Taelia?” I asked, remembering the snow faerie.
The Soup Faerie shrugged. “Taelia doesn’t need an assistant. If you want to you can do some quests for her and she’ll reward you. So will Illusen and Jhudora. I’ll warn you, though, the quests get harder and harder.”
Again, I shook my head. I wasn’t interested in quests. I just wanted to work for the Soup Faerie, like I always had. She was kind enough to pull me out of the pound; had her kindness disappeared because of one small accident with a petpet?
“I’ll be back,” I whispered hoarsely, trying not to cry. “I’ll be back in four months. Mika will be trained, and I can take my job back. I’ll do it even better than before.”
The Soup Faerie gave me a hug, offered me a small bag of neopoints, and then sent me on my way. As I passed the serving counter, Jenna looked down into her soup pot, not wanting to look me in the eyes. I knew she felt sorry for me. Alisia, the white Lupe, didn’t care. She probably didn’t even know who I was.
* * *
The book shop wasn’t hiring. Neither was the grooming parlor, Usuki Land, Uni’s Clothing, or the bakery. The last place I tried was the Plushie Palace, and they rejected me as well.
I knew if I turned myself into the pound, I’d get adopted right away. But would I be adopted by the right person? Someone who would love me for who I was, or would they just notice my color?
I wandered around Neopia Central, feeling lost even though I knew where I was. I could move to a different place, I told myself. Somewhere new for a few months. This is my chance to see the world.
But I didn’t want to. What place was greater than Neopia Central? I walked down to Kiko Lake, with a half-bald Mika sitting on my shoulder. She deserved a home, didn’t she? And I couldn’t offer her that.
In the treat shop, I bought a fruit surprise rock stick. I used to love them when I was little; one of my only young memories. I lifted my head. What if I could track down my old owner? I remember that he had loved me. He had even painted me checkered.
No, I told myself, he couldn’t have loved me. When I got sick with Ugga-Ugga, my owner adopted a different pet and left me in the pound. I don’t call that love.
I left Kiko Lake, walking for nearly forty-five minutes before I reached Brightvale. I had never been here before, but everywhere I looked, it was a lush green. All the bushes held bright, juicy berries, and lots of Neopets bustled about in front of the castle.
I decided to spend 500 neopoints on the Wheel of Knowledge to see what would happen. I won a Brightvale berry, which was yellow with some weird spikes and green spots. My favorite shop was the one that sold books.
The friendly orange Ixi sat behind the desk, quietly reading a book and waiting for customers to bring up their purchases. I stroked the covers of a few books before silently leaving.
In the Motery, I saw the cutest little Weewoo mote. I had never fought in the Battledome before, so naturally, I had no idea what motes were used for. The Scrollery was a bit more interesting, but much more expensive than I’d ever imagined. I reached out to touch the Scroll of Freezing, but pulled my paw back when I saw the price.
I left Brightvale and found myself at the ferry dock. I looked over the prices carefully, and spotted Mystery Island on the list. It was a two and a half hour ride. I remembered Mystery Island being the number one vacation spot in an article I read at Anna’s house.
A vacation sounded nice, actually. I closed my eyes and pictured the paragraph about Mystery Island from the article.
Looking for a place to relax? This is the place to go! The golden, sandy beaches offer many exciting activities – snorkeling, scuba diving, volleyball, and much more. Even on rainy days the island can be enjoyable by visiting the Trading Post. If you’re brave enough, perhaps you’ll even dare a visit to the Lost City of Geraptiku, where there’s treasure claimed to be hidden in a deserted tomb. Visit the Rock Pool, take a Tiki Tour, or even visit the Training School! The possibilities are endless.
“ ‘The possibilities are endless,’ ” I repeated, opening my eyes. “I need to get a copy of this week’s Neopian Times.” I was curious now, and wanted to know what else had been on the list. How else would I find the perfect place to take a vacation?
I searched all through Brightvale and Meridell, and it took me almost a whole hour before I managed to get my hands on a copy of the Neopian Times.
I flipped through a few pages before finally muttering, “Here it is. The Perfect Vacation Location.” It had nearly every different place in Neopia listed, with at least a paragraph of description. “The possibilities are endless,” I repeated to myself, smiling.