The Lost Locket
"Rysie! Rysie! Breakfast time!" my mommy called from the kitchen.
I rolled over and opened my mouth to release a huge yawn. A sweet, utterly delicious aroma floated around me, making my mouth water. Mom must have been making her special buttery blueberry muffins again!
I kicked my covers off and stretched, yawning again. I blinked my sleepy eyes and rubbed them with my paws. Too sleepy think about anything else, I crawled into the dining room table, where my sisters Priday and Lanilise were bickering and scarfing down the muffins at the same time.
"Hi," I mumbled, sitting down on my chair. I pretended to grab a fork, and when Mommy wasn't looking, I picked up the muffin with my paws and took a huge bite. The sweet, fresh taste of blueberries filled my mouth, and I sighed contently.
I didn't listen to any of my siblings' conversations, and I paid no attention to what Mom was saying. As my thoughts unwound and cleared, I wondered what I was going to do today. Yesterday, I had gone to the park and got a time-out from Mom when a fussy Usul tattled to her that I took her pink Kadoatie plushie home (on accident!). I didn't want to go to the park again today. But there was nowhere else I was allowed to go alone.
I picked up my plate and licked all of the delicious crumbs off, and I gulped down a glass of fresh Kau Kau milk. Feeling full, I hopped off of the chair and ambled back into my room and to Lulu's (my adorable Plushie Ona) tiny bed. She was curled up in her soft purple covers, snoring softly. I clapped my paws together, and she jumped.
"Morning, Lulu!" I giggled as she yawned and flew up to my shoulder. "What do you wanna do today?" She shrugged and fluttered ahead. I followed her down the hallway and toward the front door.
"Where you going, Rysie?" Mom called from the dining room.
"Uhhh... The park next to our house!" I fibbed.
"Okay, but remember not to take anyone's stuff or talk to strangers. Come back before lunchtime!" She turned back to the table. I sighed in relief.
"Okay! No problem! See you in a few!" I closed the door quietly and scampered after Lulu.
"Where are we going?" I panted as Lulu glided gracefully in the cool morning air. She swooped down to the ground, picked something up, and landed on my shoulder with a daisy in her tiny paw. I took it and tucked it behind her ear. "The daisy fields? Don't you think that's a bit far?" I sighed. It didn't matter, though; I always listened to Lulu. She shrugged and flew off my shoulder again, somersaulting forward.
When I could spot the edge of the lush green field of grass, embellished with daisies, in the distance, I slowed down to a walk and tried to catch my breath. Lulu sighed and halted to a stop in midair, fluttering in place for a few minutes. I giggled wearily at the impatient look on her face and relaxed as my paws grazed upon the the first few blades of grass. The sight of carmarillers dancing in the blue sky caught my eye, and I lay on the grass to watch them. I was very close to dozing off into a nap when Lulu nudged me. I jumped up in a disoriented fashion and stared at her tiredly. She proudly withdrew a necklace of interwoven daisies from behind her back, and I grinned at her in surprise.
"Wow, that's so pretty, Lulu! Oh, is that for me? Really? Oh, how sweet. Thanks!" I kissed her on her head and put the necklace gingerly around my neck. Feeling a bit sore after lying in the grass for half an hour, I stood up and stretched, yawning. A tiny glimmer of golden light reflected from something in the grass, and I dropped down to all fours again and squinted my eyes to find the object.
After searching for a few minutes with Lulu curiously floating by my side, I stood up with a tiny, beautiful golden locket in my paw. I turned it over and inspected it from a dozen different angles, and I couldn't spot a single scratch on it. It looked brand new, shining and flawless as it was. I tried to open it, but my uncareful paws were too clumsy to open the delicate thing. Lulu fluttered to my paw and opened it easily. I patted her on the head absentmindedly and peered inside.
A tiny photo of a pink and purple faerie snowbunny was tucked inside. I frowned and tilted the locket to let Lulu see. "Does that petpet look familiar to you? I've never met a snowbunny before." Lulu shook her head and shrugged. "The Neopet who owns this locket must be so worried. How in Neopia am I supposed to find the owner?" I asked to no one in particular. I knew I had to return it. Not just because Mommy would throw a fit if I came home with an expensive looking locket, but also because I knew it was right.
I sighed and stared at the thin string of impossibly tiny golden loops. Without thinking about it, I started scampering toward the dirt path and away from the field, my daisy necklace flopping up and down. Lulu stayed on my shoulder. I knew I couldn't ask my mom for help; for all she knew I was at the park. As smart as she was, Lanilise probably wouldn't be much of a help, and she was at school anyway. Same with Priday.
Lulu nudged me again. I slowed to a stop at the dirt path and looked at her. She handed me a tiny pink piece of fur that was the exact color of the snowbunny in the picture. I gasped in pleasant surprise and took it into my paw. A clue!
"Lulu! Smell it, you can catch the scent and we'll follow it to the locket's owner!" I squealed, jumping up and down. Lulu shook her head, and I stared at her in hurt until I realized.
Oh. Of course. Plushie petpets don't have as good of a sense of smell as other ones. I slumped to the floor and stared somberly into Lulu's eyes for a minute.
"Oh well! That's okay." I smiled with some effort and patted Lulu comfortingly. She sniffed and pouted, and I kissed her on her nose. "Let's go around and see if other Neopets recognize this Snowbunny." Lulu smiled and landed on my shoulder again. I scanned my surroundings to check for any Neopets. No Neopets in sight... Wait! A tiny fleck of green caught my eye, and I walked toward it. A tiny green slug-like petpet stared at me with lazy eyes. A Slorg.
"Hey there..." I hesitantly stepped forward. The Slorg's unchanging stare began to unnerve me. Lulu took the locket from my paw and opened it. The Slorg's eyebrows raised an infinitesimal bit, and a silent message passed from its eyes to Lulu's. She nodded slightly and closed the locket, flying back to my shoulder.
"So...?" I tried to hide my frown as the Slorg inched away slowly into the bushes, leaving a shimmering trail of slime. Lulu nodded and pointed to the north, farther into the field and past the orderly row of blueberry bushes that lined the edge of the field. "That Slorg knows the Snowbunny? Oh good. The Slorg was seriously creeping me out, though... Oh my goodness, Lulu! Look how far up the sun is already! It must be noon, lunchtime already!" I gasped, clutching the locket tightly into my paw and leaping up. I sprinted with an amazing speed down the dirt path through the bushes and shrubs, and along the polished road to my neohome. I sighed in relief when I saw that my mom was still in the kitchen and not looking for me yet.
"I'm home, Momma!" I called as I got in the house, wiping my paws on the doormat.
"Hi Rysie. Did you have a good time at the park, dear?" she asked, pouring some dressing into a huge bowl of salad.
"Uh, yeah! Of course! I had so much fun," I giggled nervously and leaped up onto a chair. Mom smiled and walked over, holding the bowl. She served some salad into my plate, and some into hers. Lulu was busy munching on her golden cotton petpet treats.
"That's good, hun. You didn't steal anything from anybody, right?" She picked up her fork and speared a piece of lettuce.
I piled heaps of carrots, lettuce, and tomatoes onto my fork and stuffed it into my mouth. "Of coursh not," I said, gulping down the vegetables noisily. Oh, carrots. I loved carrots.
"Good, good." She chewed slowly and gave me a disapproving look as I scooped up all the carrots from my plate and gobbled them down noisily. I quickly dropped my fork and chewed with enhanced slowness. Mom nodded and returned to her salad. I made an effort to eat the rest of my salad with good manners; I usually didn't disobey my mom. I had to make up for going to the daisy field without her permission.
I finished my salad and dumped my plate and fork into the sink. Lulu flew on my shoulder and I glanced at Mommy. "Um, we're gonna go out now. Is it okay if we go a little farther? Like maybe the daisy fields?"
"Alright, but the daisy fields are your limit. Stick with Lulu, okay?" She sighed. I breathed out in relief and nodded quickly. Lulu tugged on my ear and I scurried out of the house with her. She pointed to the north again. I ran through backyards, in between shrubs, over fallen trees, and past the daisy fields with her, occasionally picking up a flower or two and sniffing at everything that looked nice. After a few minutes, she halted mid-air and I halted nervously as well.
We were in front of the field's border of trees and shrubs. She squinted and looked around as I shifted my weight nervously. Her eyes widened when a path of pebbles caught her sight, and we walked along the path, not going as fast as before. I could hear the faint sounds of Neopets and Owners talking to each other, Neopets giggling, and Neopets running around and chasing each other in the distance. Houses began to come into sight. It became apparent that we were approaching a neighborhood bustling with youngsters like me. I sighed; this would be the perfect neighborhood for me.
The locket dangled in my paws as we walked along, relaxing in the comfy and safe feeling that enveloped the neighborhood. Smells of dinner being prepared floated around the many trees that surrounded us, and my mouth began to water. Lulu seemed not as determined as before, and after a while I almost forgot why we were here in the first place.
A loud rustling of the leaves above made me jump and sent my heart racing. Lulu's ears twitched, and her eyes widened with horror. As fast as lightning, she dove into the nearest bushes, dragging me along. However, I was too heavy and bewildered to be led into safety, and before I moved a foot, a giant Spyder landed on my paw.
It was huge, disgusting, and utterly mortifying. I shrieked, absolutely terrified, and dropped the locket as I threw the Spyder off of my paw and ran, sobbing, into the bushes. I hugged Lulu with all my strength, my tears pouring down my cheeks like rain on a stormy day. Lulu patted my head comfortingly and wiped my tears as they flowed out of my eyes. I didn't care about anything anymore, I just wanted to go home and be in Mommy's arms. I was sobbing too much to be able to convey an understandable message to Lulu, though.
After a few minutes, my sobs quieted, but I still gasped and choked up occasionally. My nose was stuffed and my eyes were sore. "I-I-I wanna go h-home!" I stuttered, trying to hold back my sobs. Lulu patted my cheek comfortingly. She then frowned, flying around and looking frantically. I was confused (actually I was too miserable to care), but after a minute I remembered.
"The locket!" I gasped. Lulu stared back at me with frantic eyes. I stood up shakily and surveyed my surroundings, trying to see if the locket would shine in the sunlight again. It didn't. I froze when I saw the disgusting Spyder walking along peacefully ten feet away from me. I covered my mouth to keep from screaming, and I leaped the opposite direction into a maze of countless more bushes and shrubs, desperate to get away. Lulu grabbed me and dragged me back. I stared, bewildered, but not able to resist. She pointed at the ground next to us, telling me to stay. I nodded weakly and sniffed a little.
My heart accelerated rapidly as Lulu warily approached the Spyder. I suddenly was afraid for her, which was a weird thing, because usually it was she who was afraid for me. She was more like an older sister (who was unable to speak) than a petpet to me. I wanted to grab her and run away at top speed all the way home, but I held myself back because I knew she was usually doing the right thing.
I watched in fear. She stopped at about a foot away from the Spyder and squeaked something I couldn't understand. The Spyder crawled away, and I ran forward to Lulu. I thought she was chastising the Spyder for frightening me, so it confused me when she shook her head and kept looking in the direction where the Spyder had disappeared into. One of its eight hairy legs suddenly came into sight, and I scurried back behind the bushes, terrified. Lulu watched calmly as it reappeared, holding something shiny...
The locket! I gasped, and smiled widely to myself. Lulu retrieved the locket from the Spyder and squeaked a thanks before floating back to me, a huge grin on her little face. I hesitated as Lulu handed the locket to me, because did I really want to touch something that the creepy Spyder had touched? Then, I remembered that the Spyder had found the locket for us, so I reached out and took the locket, swallowing my disgust.
We walked along as we did before for about ten more minutes, Lulu guiding me through the turns and intersections. We came upon a friendly looking cottage that had pale yellow paint on it and a bright red door. I walked up bravely to the door and looked at the doormat. It had the word 'WELCOME' on it in a cheery little font. I decided that the house was not the type that would be inhabited by Spyders or evil Neopets, so I boldly rang the doorbell.
I could hear faint footsteps approaching, getting louder and louder. Lulu rested on my shoulder, and I wiped the heart charm on the locket to make it look shinier.
A teenage pink Aisha with curly brown hair opened the door, and smiled. "Oh, hello. Can I help you?"
I smiled back. "Well, I found this locket in the daisy fields and I think it belongs to you, or someone who lives here...?" I trailed off, and showed her the locket which looked as shiny as new.
She frowned, but after a few seconds of examination her mouth curved into a smile. "Oh! Thank you very much! It belongs to my little sister... Um wait a moment. Amy? Aaaaamy! This very nice little cybunny at the door found your locket! You should thank her!"
A tiny little Aisha (compared to her sister) who was about my size walked shyly to the door, and her face lightened up with joy when she saw the locket in her sister's hands.
"My locket! Yay! It didn't get stolen, I told you! Put it on! put it on!" she squealed, jumping up and down yet not seeming to notice me. Her sister put it around Amy's neck, and Amy beamed. She looked at me and smiled even wider.
"Hi! Thank you so so so much! What's your name?" she said, her shyness gone. I grinned and nodded.
"Rysaile. And no problem! Your Snowbunny is really cute."
"Thanks, your Ona is too!" Her Snowbunny crept up behind her and leaped onto her lovingly, chirping with glee. "Oh, Kiwi! Hi! Say hi to Rysaile, she found our locket!" Kiwi stared at me and waved a tiny paw. I cooed at it's adorableness and waved back.
"Amy? Dinner's ready!" someone called from inside the house.
"Oh, I gotta go. Thanks so much again, Rysaile!" Amy shook my paw.
"I have to too. Nice meeting you. Bye!" I walked away, and I heard the door quietly shut behind me. Lulu smiled at me and gave a thumbs-up. I kissed her forehead, and she flew off of my shoulder and began to guide me back home.
We retraced our steps and got home half an hour later. Lanilise was already back from neoschool, and Priday was back from whatever nature study she was doing. I walked inside with Lulu and hopped onto a couch, exhausted.
"Hey, Rysie!" Mom walked over to me and patted my head. "Tired?"
"Definitely," I sighed, trying to catch my breath.
"Well, some warm potato soup ought to help you relax. Carrot cake for dessert!" She smiled as I leaped up and followed her to the dining room. The wonderful smell of dinner sure helped me to wind down, and after I finished gobbling it up, Mommy read me a bedtime story and kissed me goodnight. The lights went off, and I fell asleep, happy and peaceful after such a wonderful day!