A Trip to Faerieland
Monty and Sally's mother was a baker. She wasn't known world-wide, but she was good at what she did. Her children could attest to that. After all, they were her official taste testers. They could not be considered well off, but they did live comfortably.
Mrs. Plum had one rich client. This client was quite loyal and the purple Nimmo always did her best to deliver. Until the day she almost couldn't, Mrs. Plum had always delivered. Mr. Runzell lived in Faerieland and came to Neopia on business. He usually took something baked and delicious home with him, but this time, he needed it delivered for his wife's birthday.
Mrs. Plum had no long distance delivery system set up and she informed Mr. Runzell of this. However, he wanted her baked goods for his wife. So, he offered to pay for her to come. She had no one to watch her children while she was away, she told her client. No problem, he said, they could all come. So, Mrs. Plum related the news to her children that they would all be going to Faerieland for one week.
"Even Buzzy," Monty asked.
"Yes, even Buzzy." His mother nodded her head in the affirmative.
Yes, even Buzzy, Monty's very gentle Buzzer, would be going. The young red Scorchio had to ask because it had been a long hard road to get him. Mrs. Plum had always been adamant that nothing harmful would ever come into her home. Buzzy had finally convinced Mrs. Plum of his harmlessness and now the Buzzer was a Plum for the rest of his days. The family of four packed their bags and boarded their coach.
Their Uni was a massive red pet. Mr. Runzell had instructed Mrs. Plum that all carriage Unis were trained not to speak to their charges. Before they could leave, Month flew up to the roof of the coach, which had a wooden bench placed there.
"Whoa," Month breathed and he smiled.
"Monty, get down at once," Mrs. Plum demanded.
Monty whined but he did as he was told. Meanwhile, Sally had gone to their Uni and patted his leg, the only part of him she could reach.
"I'm going to call you Valentine," the little green JubJub exclaimed suddenly.
Valentine swished his tail in response. Sally then took her seat with her family, content that Buzzy chose to sit on her lap, not knowing that Monty had told his Buzzer to do so. It was two days hard travel to get to Faerieland. Not a hard task for Valentine, who took care of his charges well. The entire Plum family was pleased that they were hardly jostled.
Soon enough, Sally fell asleep. Monty enjoyed looking at the scenery, daydreaming about actually flying to Faerieland. Mrs. Plum was reading a book she had brought along with her. They spent the night at Kiko Lake. The natives were quite hospitable and they spent a comfortable night in a summer cabin.
Monty and Sally would have loved to stay but they had to go on. After a very long day, they arrived in Faerieland. To the children's delighted surprise, they were taken to the Faerie Castle! Mrs. Plum knew that the Neolodge had a contact with Faerie Queen Fyora. For one hundred Neopoints a night, a Neopet could stay in a room in the Faerie Castle!
Of course, Mrs. Plum never dreamed that Mr. Runzell would pay seven hundred NP for her to bake a cake for his wife. Mrs. Plum was truly honored. Monty and Sally wanted a tour of Faerieland and were hoping to get an autograph from the Queen herself, or at least spot her. Unfortunately, Mrs. Plum couldn't spare any time to take them herself. She didn't think that Monty was quite old enough to take his sister anywhere without a responsible adult.
It took a lot of talking before Monty said, "Mother, what could possibly go wrong in Faerieland? We will stay away from Jhudora's Bluff and the Poogle Races."
"Please let us go, Mother," Sally piped up beside her brother.
Mrs. Plum looked at the eager faces of her children and couldn't say no, "Oh, very well. Stay away from the Faerie Caves. Ask for help if you need it and take the map with you so you don't get lost. I want you all back by dinner time, understand?"
Off the three went, eager to see everything they could in three hours. They had a blast, playing Faerie Bubbles for half an hour. Then, they entered the Petpet Shop. Sally fell in love with a faerie Mallard who was very sweet but Monty and Sally both knew that their mother wouldn't easily agree. Even Monty wasn't sure if Sally was old enough to take care of a Petpet by herself.
Though, I probably would help her. She gets lonely at times, Monty thought to himself. The earth faerie in charge of the shop was very nice. Monty chatted with her, knowing Sally would be reluctant to leave her new friend. They stayed in the Petpet Shop for an hour, Monty learning all sorts of interesting things about Faerieland. The young Scorchio had a lot of insight into what he wanted to see and do next, so he gently cajoled his sister into leaving the faerie Mallard behind. Sally's large blue eyes watered and she began to cry.
Monty gulped and steeled himself. He hated to see his sister cry! He put his arm around her and hugged her close.
"Aw, Sally, please don't cry. We'll talk to Mother. Perhaps we will convince her! Meanwhile, we have an hour and a half to enjoy ourselves, the earth faerie told me about a lot of neat stuff. Follow me so we can go check it out," Monty exclaimed, fluttering his wings in excitement.
Sally dried her eyes and managed a weak smile. Monty always knew how to make her feel better! Buzzy hovered near her as Monty led them. Monty may have had a definite goal in mind, but, as children do, he got distracted. First, by the Faerie Weapon Shop.
The Scorchio practically drooled over the different display items. He was an adventurous youngster and imagined himself with a Sword of Fallen Twigs in his hand, battling countless enemies whilst protecting his defenseless mother and sister. He was shaken from this revelry by a hard bump. It was Buzzy, who, after fifteen minutes, had gotten tired of hovering in place. Sally was bored silly but she didn't want to interrupt her brother's thoughts.
"I apologize for the wait," Monty said, looking at the cherry tree twig he had dropped.
The Scorchio's green eyes met his companions' gazes and knew he had been forgiven. Hardly without missing a beat, Monty led his sister and Petpet on. It was then they all got distracted by the colouring pages and they spent their remaining hour and forty-five minutes making beautiful pictures for their mother to enjoy. Monty was just adding a last stroke to his picture of two racing faeries. He wished he could fly like that!
Buzzy bumped him then and Monty realized that they had to leave right then or Mother would be looking for them! Gathering up everything, they began to run, getting to their room door right when their Mother opened it. They smiled at her and showered her with their pictures. Mrs. Plum smiled at her happy children, relieved that they were safe and sound. She listened as only a mother could, nodding her head, smiling and asking the occasional question.
Dinner with the Plums was never a quiet affair, but it was definitely more animated than usual. Thankfully, it also meant that Monty and Sally slept well. Mrs. Plum had a relaxing evening after a hard day's work, able to watch the soothing night life of the faeries.
The next day, after breakfast, Mrs. Plum packed her children a lunch, reviewed the rules and let them continue their exploration of Faerieland. Incredibly, it took them four hours to get out of Faerie City. Mostly because of the crowds and Monty deciding to take a shortcut. They got hopelessly lost and were unable to stop anyone and ask for directions. After walking so long that they lost track of time, they leaned against a wall and fell into the Hidden Tower.
They were quite shocked. Monty saw the nearest price tags and his jaw dropped. He didn't know a number that big existed! That's when Faerie Queen Fyora herself stepped in front of them.
"Hello, welcome to the Hidden Tower. You seem a little young to be here. May I assist you in some way?" Queen Fyora queried.
Queen Fyora was soft spoken, but even Buzzy could feel her power. The Buzzer settled into his owner's arms.
Monty couldn't help himself; he stuttered, "W-we g-got lo-lo-lost."
"Lofty, X, I need your services."
A baby Yurble and a spotted Gelert had been passing by, but stopped as Her Majesty called them.
"Please escort these children to where they need to go," Queen Fyora instructed.
"Of course," Lofty said.
The Yurble circled the Scorchio and JubJub.
"Follow Lofty, I'll keep pace," X told the two of them gently.
Sally couldn't seem to stop staring at the handsome Gelert. Monty nudged his sister and they walked side by side following their guide.
"Where are you two headed?" Lofty asked over his shoulder.
"We just wanted to get out of Faerie City. I tried taking a shortcut," Monty replied sheepishly.
Monty saw Sally glace at him and smile. Much to their surprise, their guides burst into laughter. Monty felt his cheeks becoming hotter than usual.
Thankfully, over their laughter, Lofty tried to fit in an explanation, "We're not... laughing at... you!"
"We're laughing at... ourselves," X finished.
They finally composed themselves. Lofty began leading the way, again.
"The first time we came to the city, we got lost ourselves. Unfortunately, we had no guides," Lofty said.
"Thankfully, the inhabitants of Faerieland are kindhearted," X added.
"Yes, and for as long as I can remember, I've been a favorite of fire faeries. Help has never been far away."
For a while, they stayed silent while the baby Yurble led the way through the cobbled and crowded streets. Finally, at very long last, they were out of Faerie City. Almost simultaneously, all of their stomachs growled. They gave each other amused looks.
"Lunchtime," Lofty said.
"Yup," X agreed.
Monty and Sally exchanged uneasy looks. They had lunch for themselves and none to spare.
"Where are you having lunch?" Lofty asked.
Monty looked around and noticed a copse of trees in the distance. He flapped his wings and pointed.
"Over there looks good," Monty stated.
"OK, mind if we join you? We'll get our own lunches and then join you," Lofty offered.
Monty had to think about it for a moment, but then he nodded.
"Great," Lofty and X spoke together.
At once, the two of them began to run back to Faerie City. Monty and Sally watched them go before turning and walking to their destination. They arrived and Monty did notice that these trees were devoid of fruit and they stood out because it was almost like they were hiding something, huddled about instead of spread apart, like most of the trees in Faerieland. It was Sally who noticed the blue Grundo plushie hanging from a branch in the tree above them.
"Monty, look," Sally said, pointing upwards.
Monty looked and shrugged. "I believe that's the Discarded Magical Blue Grundo Plushie of Prosperity. The earth faerie shopkeeper told me about it."
Sally frowned at the long name, not sure what most of the words meant. There was a short pause before Sally spoke up once more.
"What does discarded mean?"
Monty frowned because he didn't know and couldn't answer Sally's question. He didn't want to tell her that he didn't know! As his baby sister she still believed that her older brother knew everything. Of course, he wished to keep that vision intact for her as long as he possibly could. Thankfully, that's when Lofty and X showed up.
Seeing the distress on the young Scorchio's face, Lofty jumped in with an explanation.
"Discarded means that something was thrown away," Lofty said.
Monty looked very relieved and then he and Sally looked at the baby Yurble in awe. Then, Sally frowned.
"That's so sad! That poor plushie didn't do anything to anyone! Its also magical and that makes it extra special," the little green JubJub declared.
"That's right. It's said that this plushie is so grateful for company that it usually leaves gifts for visitors," Lofty said.
"Yes, Lofty got 2,000 NP and I got 1,000," X said, holding up two bags that jingled.
"Now that you mention it, I don't feel hungry anymore," Monty said.
"I am," Sally quickly put in.
So, three of the four settled down to lunch. Monty listened to the others idle chatter. He could hear the sounds of pets at the Wheel of Excitement.
"What does prosperity mean?" Sally asked, after swallowing her last mouthful.
"To be successful, on top," Lofty explained.
"Wow, you're smart," Monty blurted.
"Thanks! I love to read, travel and ask questions."
"Yeah, he does a lot of all three," X added.
"At any rate, we'd better check in with our mother," Monty said.
"Do you need help getting back?" Lofty asked.
"No, we'll manage. Thank you."
"It was nice meeting you!"
With that, the four headed off. It didn't take nearly as long to get back. Sally couldn't stop thinking about the poor plushie. She couldn't imagine how lonely it was. She thought her mother didn't notice her unusual silence at dinner while Monty filled her in on that day's adventures.
Unfortunately, mothers notice everything! Mrs. Plum questioned her daughter while she was putting her to bed.
"Sally, is everything alright?" Mrs. Plum asked gently.
Sally told her mother everything and spilled her low feelings on the Discarded Magical Blue Grundo Plushie of Prosperity's plight. Mrs. Plum nodded and placed a hand on her daughter's face. She had always known Sally had a big heart and a gentle spirit.
"Don't think too much on things that you can't help," Mrs. Plum advised.
Sally looked slightly comforted and snuggled into bed. Mrs. Plum kissed her good night and made her exit. Monty had overheard the conversation, on his way to take a shower (even though he hated water, he was a dutiful son) and then get ready for bed. He loved his sister and by the time he put on his pajamas and kissed his mother good night, he had decided on a plan of action; something he had never done before in his life! He waited impatiently for his mother to fall asleep before sneaking out of the suite.
Deep shadows were a certain plushie's only companions at night. Very light snores, on the edge of sound, could be heard in the small copse. Suddenly, a darker shadow joined the others. It stole into the trees, leapt up and plucked the plushie from its resting place. That same shadow spirited its prize to the arms of a gentle sleeper.
That morning, Sally opened her eyes to see a blue Grundo plushie nestled next to her. She smiled and went to breakfast. That evening was Mrs. Runzell's birthday party. Mrs. Plum was almost flying as she prepared. She didn't notice the newest addition, nor did she hear the conversation between her children.
"Look, Monty! I woke up this morning and Dreamer was here," Sally said excitedly.
"That's great, Sally," Monty said, even though he wasn't sure how long it would last.
Mrs. Plum sent her children outside to play, so that she wouldn't be distracted from her work. The children spent their day pretending to be different Faerieland celebrities. Dreamer, as the blue plushie had been named, was their only spectator and sometimes fellow participator. The day passed quickly for everyone in the Plum family.
Everyone got dressed in their best and Sally had just enough time to make a tuxedo for Dreamer to wear, complete with a top hat. Valentine, their Uni friend, took them to the party. Monty and Sally were left in the company of strange adults while Mrs. Plum went to the Runzells. Almost right away, things started to go wrong. First, everyone was seated for dinner.
Then, Mr. Runzell toasted his wife and Mrs. Plum, making both of them blush. Mrs. Runzell smiled warmly at her husband and Mrs. Plum looked at her empty plate. It looked like the green Grarrl was going to say more, but then his eyes flickered and he sat down quickly. Dinner and dessert (especially dessert!) were quite filling and delicious. Sally 'shared' her meal with Dreamer, giving him every other spoonful, which Buzzy gladly ate for the plushie.
No one noticed the discreet way that Mr. Runzell kept an eye on the proceedings. As the evening wound down, Mr. Runzell asked Mrs. Plum to introduce him to her children. She was actually quite surprised by the request but did so. Mr. Runzell got down to Sally's level and looked very serious, hoping he wouldn't frighten her. Monty gripped his sister and she gripped Dreamer.
"Sally, where did you get that plushie?" Mr. Runzell asked in a low voice.
"Dreamer was there when I woke up this morning," Sally replied.
"This morning, Queen Fyora informed us that the Discarded Magical Blue Grundo Plushie of Prosperity went missing. I believe Dreamer is that plushie. You know it, as well."
Sally looked close to tears. Mr. Runzell looked to Monty for help.
"She won't be punished, will she?" Monty asked anxiously.
"Not if we take the... Dreamer back right now," Mr. Runzell said.
After a moment, the children nodded. Mr. Runzell straightened. Mrs. Plum was busy and since their task wouldn't take too long, he didn't think she would become worried by their absence. They took that last walk. Monty, with his wings had removed Dreamer from his perch to begin with; with his wings, he would return the plushie to his rightful place.
Sally hugged Dreamer close one last time, removing his tuxedo and letting one tear fall as she remembered their great day together, when neither had felt as lonely as they had in days past. "Goodbye, Dreamer. I'll miss you."
Sally spoke in almost a whisper. Monty hated to do it, but he couldn't refuse, not with Mr. Runzell right there. He gently took Dreamer away from his sister, hating that he had been the one to do this to her. I was only trying to help her and instead I've made things worse, Monty thought in horror. He settled Dreamer delicately in the tree and he held onto his sister as Mr. Runzell led them back to the party.
Monty was at a loss as to how he could comfort his sister. They hardly noticed as Mr. Runzell made a quick stop. Suddenly, the green Grarrl turned around, his large hands cupped together.
"Sally, that was a very brave thing you did. I'm proud that you did the right thing without resisting. I... here," Mr. Runzell cleared his throat and gently lowered something towards Sally, letting his hands fall away.
In their place was the faerie Mallard from the Petpet Shop! Sally gasped and Monty gaped. Buzzy buzzed happily. Sally squealed with delight as her new Petpet fluttered around her with blue and pink speckled wings.
"Well, what's her name?" Mr. Runzell prompted.
"Her name is Rose," Sally said, looking up shyly at him.
Mr. Runzell nodded and they got back without any hassle. None of them would ever forget their trip to Faerieland.