Battle Quills... ready! Circulation: 182,181,004 Issue: 461 | 17th day of Gathering, Y12
Home | Archives Articles | Editorial | Short Stories | Comics | New Series | Continued Series
 

Avey's Castle of Hope: Part Three


by puppy_girl252

--------

Part Three: New Friends to Protect

Avey has been banished from the pound, her favorite place to visit and bring goodies for the pound children. She stands up for a girl and her sister who's mistreated by the pound founder and is forbidden to ever return. Then Avey befriends a stray white Doglefox, and all goes well until Rosalina Siara finds out her kitchen is destroyed. Avey begins to realize life isn't always how to please, and feels her hope fading. Will anything ever be right again?

     ~*~*~

The following days Avey stumbled heartlessly about in sorrow, for she had lost her dear Doglefox and could no longer visit her favorite place to see the pound children. She sat silently through breakfast, even when Belinda served her favorite strawberry pancakes with milk. Her heart ached and felt heavy and sad. She sighed through each day and cried through another. She chattered quietly and shortly with the wise Ixi at the Brightvale Books, and how she wished she could turn back the days to right before she had charged at Miss Beamon. She even sadly passed Brightvale Meadow, where she knew Hope would be leaping freely around with all his new friends. Avey longed for something to fill up the emptiness inside of her, and since she couldn't bring Hope back to the castle, she decided she wanted to break a little rule...

     ***

     The Brightvale Pound was quiet that day, with no children piling at the window and laughing or munching on Avey's goodies. Avey clutched her basket in her paw, sure that she was really going to do this. She waited until she heard the bell, and then children started coming from the pound for their afternoon break outside to get some fresh air.

     When Miss Beamon had gone back inside, Avey ran up to the children, who immediately came at her with questions and greetings.

     "Oh, Avey!" Keke had threw her arms around her friend. "I was afraid I'd never see you again."

     "Me too," Avey said. "But here I am!"

     Avey had passed out all of her goodies and watched delightedly as they munched on muffins and bit into juicy Brightvale fruits.

     "If anyone asks, I'll say the Muffin Mynci came to town!" Keke giggled, then she uttered a pleading cry. "Don't ever leave us again! Oh, Avey, I wish you come here every day like you used to! We've all missed you terribly, you know."

     "I've missed you all so dearly too," Avey said, and meant it with all her heart.

     "Oh, Avey, you were so brave!" Gem cried earnestly. "Standing up for Miss Beamon like that was really noble, even though it didn't do much since she still treats them the same."

     Avey smiled weakly. "Thanks."

     "Oh, Avey!" Keke murmured. "You're such a true friend."

     "Avey, I wish I were like you; strong and always standing up for what you believe in." Gem frowned. "Miss Beamon still mistreats Clara and her sister and it makes me furious!"

     Keke and Gem gazed around the pound yard, and suddenly Avey wished she could help them more then just bringing them goodies. Their eyes held a faraway look that was full of melancholy and lonesomeness. Avey knew they needed more than just a few muffins and fruits... they needed love, an owner to love and take care of them.

     Avey wandered around the yard, watching the young children running around, their fur flying and their cheeks dusty. She realized with a jolt that this could have been her life, without Rosalina Siara there to take care of her. She shuddered at the thought of never taking showers and sleeping three or four to a dirty bunk.

     Suddenly her gazed enlightened upon a little Xweetok, one she recognized as Clara's little sister.

     The little green Xweetok looked to be about five years old. She held a Bear in her paw and a torn red ribbon was tied around her wrist. Her beautiful brown eyes were wide and sad. Avey walked up to her.

     "Hello, little girl. What is your name?" Avey asked tenderly. "You have a pretty Bear there, may I see?" She reached out a paw to hold the Bear, but the little girl backed away. The little girl's face suddenly twisted up, and to Avey's horror, she began to cry.

     "Oh, no!" Avey cried in exasperation. "Do not cry! I am nice." She offered a muffin from her basket. "Do you want a muffin?"

     The little girl took the muffin hesitantly, sniffling, and then took a bite. A small smile spread across her face. "Good," she said, her young voice tinted with an accent that sounded like bells to Avey.

     "Do you like it?" Avey asked, peering into the sad, dusty face of the little Xweetok.

     The little Xweetok nodded. "Emmeline."

     "Emmeline? Is that your name?" Avey asked, enchanted by its beauty.

     Emmeline nodded and pointed to a red Xweetok coming from the pound door. "Clara."

     Avey watched as Clara spotted Emmeline and started running towards her. "Emmeline! Who is this?" Clara was an Xweetok about Avey's age, with the same pretty brown eyes and sweet smile as her sister and cute little freckles that speckled her face. Her voice was clear and forcefully jubilant with an accent that Avey adored so much. Her eyes too, were saddened with a dreadful past.

     "Oh, you must be Avey!" Clara said, holding out her paw. "I'm Clara, and I'm sure you've met my little sister Emmeline."

     "Hi, Clara," Avey said, shaking the small paw in front of her.

     Clara looked around shyly and then gazed back at Avey. "Thanks for standing up for us that day," she said. "You were really brave."

     "Oh, it was nothing." Avey shrugged.

     "It was too!" Clara voice suddenly became very sad and teary sounding. "Miss Beamon is always telling us what to do, and making us do tons of work all by ourselves! She does not feed us but once a day and makes us prepare meals for all the other children."

     Avey's heart was crying for Clara and Emmeline. How awful it must be to be treated like that! And only fed once a day? "Oh, Clara... once a day?" Avey looked at the hungry look in Emmeline's eyes. She handed her another muffin and a Dewy Apple.

     Clara bit her lip. "Yes, and she makes us eat the leftovers... and we're often awfully hungry and.... Oh, Avey! I don't know what I did! Why does Miss Beamon hate us so? She makes us do dirty work and doesn't clean our beds and, oh, Avey, she calls us Greebles! It's dreadful to be called such a name and be compared to such an awful petpet. And... and...." She began to cry, sobs that shook her body and made Avey just want to throw her arms around her and never let go.

     And she did. "Don't worry, Clara. Please don't cry. I'm going to help you. Trust me."

     Avey was destined to help, whatever the cost might be. Clara and Emmeline couldn't live here anymore and be treated like this.

     Clara wiped her eyes. "I don't want you to get in any more trouble, Avey," she whimpered.

     Avey shook her head, her eyes determined and grave. "Don't you worry about me. Anything's worth it for you. I'm going to help you, and Emmeline too. Somehow..." She smiled softly.

     Avey suddenly knew what she could do. It was risky, risky indeed. But worth if it meant helping a friend in need.

     "Clara!"

     "What, Avey?"

     "Meet me here tomorrow at noon, okay?"

     "Oh, Avey, what if I can't? Miss Beamon hardly ever gives us a break and-"

     Avey gave Clara a shake on her shoulders. "No, Clara! Listen to me! You have to be here. I'm going to help you. Be here tomorrow at noon and bring everything you own."

     "But, Avey... why?"

     Avey's eyes held a faraway look and she gazed at the horrible, lonely pound before her. They couldn't stay here and allow themselves to be treated like this. Avey wouldn't allow it.

     "I'm getting you out of here."

     ***

     All night Avey wondered where she could keep Clara and Emmeline where they'd be safe and sound. She wondered about the back room of the Brightvale books, but the wise old Ixi might tell Miss Beamon on her.

     Avey wondered if what she was doing was smart....

     Oh, stop it, Avey! she cried to herself. You can't back down now! You got to help! You've got to give them hope!

     Hope. That made Avey think of her beloved Doglefox she missed so dearly. Hope would want her to help, wouldn't he?

     Avey gazed around at her new room, feeling so fortunate of having such a beautiful family and a loving owner like Rosalina Siara. Avey gasped suddenly, a brilliant idea forming in her head.

     Why, there were plenty of rooms in the Castle of Brightvale that were empty! Why not let them stay in one?

     Avey snuggled deeper into her quilt covers in delight, knowing that she had a safe, warm place to keep Clara and Emmeline.

     It was so easy, for neither Rosalina Siara or anyone really ever went into vacant rooms. She could ask Belinda or Mary for extra food to feed them, and make sure they got nice and clean bedding and things to keep them occupied.

     Avey slept peacefully, knowing she was going to help a friend in need. Hope once again flickered inside of her.

     ***

     "Oh, Avey! Where are we going?" Clara ran swiftly beside her, her and Emmeline's small suitcase banging against her knees. Emmeline tagged close behind, clutching her Bear to her chest.

     "No questions," Avey panted, smashing her newsboy cap against her head for fear it would fly off. "We have to get to safety first."

     "Avey, what if this is a bad idea? What if we get caught? What if-" She gasped, dread gnawing at her heart. Clara couldn't help but a little worried.

     "Stop worrying! Leave everything to me. I promised I was going to help you, and I am!" Avey snapped, determined.

     They ran all the way to the Castle of Brightvale, where Clara and Emmeline immediately gasped in awe at the sight of it.

     "You live here?" Clara breathed. "It's so beautiful!"

     Emmeline looked up, her brown eyes wide with fascination. "It's a princess castle."

     "Oh, Avey! Does a princess really live here?" Clara asked with clasped paws.

     "If you'd call Violette a princess, then sure," Avey said, searching for the back door of the castle.

     "Oh... wow... it's awfully pretty." Clara couldn't stop looking at it. All her life she had lived in a pound with dirty, dusty drapes that hung lifeless from the windows and uncomfortable beds where she was squished between two other neopets. Never before had she seen anything so extravagant!

     Avey opened the back door of the castle. "Come on," she said quietly, a finger to her lips. "Just follow me and stay quiet."

     Clara and Emmeline nodded, and into the castle they went.

     Each step they took Avey peeked around the corner. When she heard something, they pressed against the wall until Avey said it was safe to continue. They had almost gotten to the staircase when Avey heard Mary the Acara maid's voice. She gasped and quickly beckoned Clara and Emmeline to jump behind the royal silk couch. Avey pretended to have just come home when Mary came around the corner.

     Her paw pads were sweating and her heart was beating so viciously, she was for certain Mary could hear it.

     Mary, showing no notice of loud thumping hearts, looked at Avey while scratching her head. "Oh, there you are, Avey. Have you seen my good duster? Your majesty wanted to clean the Gallery Room and I cannot seem to find where I have left it."

     "Oh, umm, no, Mary... I haven't seen it," Avey stammered, forcing a smile upon her face.

     "Oh, well, that's a shame," Mary said. "I'm certain it's around here. Ah, perhaps I left it behind the couch when I was dusting back there."

     Avey's heart thud-dumped and she held in a gasp.

     "You know what age does to you; makes a old maid forget," Mary continued, walking closer to the couch where Clara and Emmeline hid behind, hoping Avey would say something to save them.

     Avey bit her lip and searched frantically for something wise to say. Suddenly a scream escaped her mouth. "NO!"

     Mary, quite confused, spun around. "What is it, Avey, dear?"

     "Umm...." Avey glanced around. "I...umm...your duster couldn't possibly be there... I mean.... you... you dusted Monroe's room last...." She hoped that that was really true.

     Apparently it was, for Mary's old eyes snapped in realization. "Oh, you are right, dear." She shook her head. "How forgetful I've become."

     Avey sighed with relief as Mary went to search in Monroe's room for her lost duster.

     She and Clara and Emmeline quickly made a run for it up the long staircase.

     "Oh, Avey!" Clara whispered. "I was for certain we were going to get caught."

     Finally, with many false alarms along the way, they made it to the room Avey had prepared for them. It was a few doors down from her own room, so she could come if there was trouble.

     Avey opened the door and quickly closed it behind them, uttering another sigh. She smiled at Clara.

     "We made it."

     Clara sighed deeply. "Yes, and oh, Avey! This room is awfully pretty! It's just magnificent!"

     "Isn't it grand?" Avey asked, smiling at the awestruck faces on Clara and Emmeline.

     "The grandest," Clara breathed. She set down her suitcase and opened it. It only held a few things like an old faded pink blanket and a necklace with a sparkling pink stone centered in it. Avey couldn't take her eyes off it it.

     Clara picked it up and let it catch the light.

     "Oh... my..." Avey breathed.

     Clara smiled. "My owner gave it to me long ago. It's my really only possession."

     "It's beautiful," Avey said.

     Clara put it down and looked around the room. "I've never lived in such a place," she said earnestly. "Never."

     Emmeline hopped onto the bed, snuggling deep into the softness. She giggled and a little wave of trust and love warmed inside of her.

     Clara laughed and hopped on the bed too, immediately laughing. "Oh, my, we've never slept on something so soft! It's like clouds! Right, Em? Yes!"

     Emmeline gave another blissful laugh and nodded fiercely. "Yes!" she echoed. "Yes!"

     Avey watched proudly as they admired and glowed about their new home. She felt what she was doing was the greatest thing she had ever done in her life, no doubt about in to gnaw at her heart.

     Emmeline jumped off the bed and ran over and threw her arms around Avey. "Thank you." Little Emmeline had never found someone she could look up to, besides her own sister. She was very timid and shy, but Avey she knew had a kind heart and would never hurt them or mislead them, and she would always take care of them.

     "Oh, Emmeline," Avey murmured softly, smoothing out the fur on her little head. "You're welcome. You're oh so very welcome."

To be continued...

 
Search the Neopian Times




Other Episodes


» Avey's Castle of Hope: Part One
» Avey's Castle of Hope: Part Two
» Avey's Castle of Hope



Week 461 Related Links


Other Stories




Submit your stories, articles, and comics using the new submission form.