Lanya and Lowel
Lanya flipped the sign in the window of the Coffee Cave from "Open" to "Closed". The yellow Shoyru pulled off her apron, grabbed a Tigersquash Iced Bun from her shelves, and stepped outside. Roo Island was a beautiful new location for her shop, and she loved her new building. She'd been there for only one week, however, and she still didn't quite know her way around the island. She'd always been bad with remembering places. She took a thoughtful bite of her bun, surveying the Artist Statue and the fountain below it. It was a beautiful, sunny day, and neopets were all over the place, excitedly bringing drawings into the Art Gallery, muttering lines of poetry under their breath as they left the Poetry Contest, or coloring their coloring pages by the fountain. Today, she thought, was time for exploring. Perhaps she would lose some business by closing the shop for the morning, but really, she couldn't be expected to keep it open all the time.
The square where her shop was located, Imaginart Common, was about the only place she really knew on Roo Island, so she decided to take a nice, leisurely walk about, perhaps ending up in the Games Room. A flustered-looking blue Aisha ran into her on her way to the story telling competition, carrying two sheets of paper with lots of tight, neat handwriting on them. The Aisha didn't bother to apologize, which surprised Lanya. The people here at Roo Island were normally so polite.
She left Imaginart Common and crossed the bridge over to Cooldusk Forest, which she walked through and came out by the Merry Go Round. She decided not to go up Funnydew Dale and instead walked down the path towards the Games Room, and soon she came to the Spring Shop. She had for a while been curious about what it looked like inside, so she decided to stop in.
She jumped back when, immediately upon her entering, the shopkeeper bounced up to her on what looked like—no, what were—shoes made out of springs.
"Ah, do you like jumping too?" asked the purple Zafara. He was wearing brown pants and reddish brown boots, and there were ridiculous purple springs strapped to the boots.
Lanya was taken aback.
"Occasionally," she said, when she found words. "But you know, I'm a Shoyru, I can fly."
"It's not the same sensation as bouncing, not at all. But I'm sure it's very fun! I'm Lowel," added the Zafara, almost falling over on the springs, "and I'm the shopkeeper here at the Spring Shop!"
He bounced back a few steps and then forward again to regain balance. Lanya thought he looked full of endless energy. She coughed and straightened her chef's hat.
"I'm Lanya," she said. "I'm shopkeeper over at the Coffee Cave, in Imaginart Common."
"Oh, that's a nice little place! I've always been meaning to stop in there, but then I--"
He fell backwards on his springs into a bowl, supported on a spring, of Green Springy Slorgs, sending the slorgs scattered all over the room. Then he stumbled into another bowl of Silver Springy Toys, and cleared almost all the Springy Blue Blumaroo toys off of a blue wooden shelf with one flailing hand before Lanya ran to help him. The Zafara wobbled dangerously as she steadied him.
"Sorry about that," he said cheerfully to his customers.
The store was now a huge mess.
"Why do you walk on those things, anyways?" asked Lanya.
"I love bouncing!" he said brightly. "It's worth the trouble. Besides, I'm normally quite good bouncing, but sometimes, things just get a bit off, and it's all over. Ah well! Guess I'd better clean up!"
He picked up an armful of Springy Green Slorgs and deposited them in their bowl, teetering dangerously on the springs as he did so. Lanya sighed. How did he keep the shop going like this? He certainly didn't seem the most capable shopkeeper she'd seen. And yet the Spring Shop was one of the most popular shops on Roo Island. She shrugged and bent down to help him. After all, she was taking a day off, she had nothing better to do.
"Thank you," said Lowel. "What d'you think of Roo Island?"
"Oh, it's lovely here," she said, and she began telling him how different it was from Neopia Central.
They talked, and cleaned, and soon all the toys had been cleaned up and put away, and what was more, Lanya was beginning to think that, despite his endless energy and constant bouncing, she had the makings of a new friend here on Roo Island.
Lowel showed up at the Coffee Shop two days later, that Saturday. He bounced in, almost knocked over a display of Borovan mugs, ordered a Purplum Mocha, and sat down on one of the high stools in front of the counter. He chattered away with Lanya while he was drinking. After finishing the Mocha in an unbelievably short time, he said it was wonderful, and then rummaged around in a bright blue backpack on his back for a while. Finally he pulled out a pair of light blue springs with a strapping mechanism attached on the top—just like the ones on his feet, except for the color.
"We're going bouncing today," he said to Lanya.
"What?" she said, almost dropping the mug of Mint Tea she was about to give to a customer. "But I have a shop! You can't expect me to just leave."
"Meet me on the top of Funnydew Dale at two o'clock," said Lowel.
"But—wait--Funnydew Dale?!?" she squawked. "For bouncing?"
The tall hill which Blumaroll was located at the foot of did not seem like an ideal place for bouncing around—it was too steep. But Lowel had already bounced away.
After much thought about the matter, Lanya decided to meet him on the dale. After all, what was the worst that could happen? She had wings, so the bouncing wouldn't hurt her if she was careful. At fifteen minutes to two, she closed up the shop and left. It took her longer than she'd thought to walk there, so about halfway through, when she reached Roo Island Properties and realized it was 2:05, she jumped up and flew the rest of the way. She reached the dale rather out of breath, to find Lowel there waiting for her, impatiently bouncing from paw to paw, holding the light blue springs in his hand, with no backpack on now.
"Good, you're here!" he said. "Have you bounced on springs before?"
"No," said Lanya slowly, landing on the thick green grass.
From here she could see most of the island all around her. There was King Roo's grand palace, to the left. Stretching out in front of her was Honeywell Walk, with Roo Island Properties on the left side, and the cheerful, bright Merry-Go-Round at the end of it. Cooldusk Forest was to the left of the Merry-Go-Round, and if you walked through it and over the small stone bridge you reached Imaginart Common. Then over in the distance was the Games Room, with Bouncibel Square stretching out in front of it, and making up the perimeters of Bouncibel Square was Bounciway Market.
"Here," said Lowel, interrupting her thoughts and holding out the springs. "Attach these to your shoes."
Lanya took them and stared at them for a moment, before sitting down on the grass and hesitantly strapping them onto her white sandals. Once she had both of them on, she slowly stood up, wobbling slightly. It felt very odd—she felt like one of the toys from the Spring Shop. One false move, and she'd be sent tumbling down the hill, past the scattered houses and all the way down into Honeywell Walk.
"Now let me show you what to do," said Lowel, jumping in place once or twice. "Don't follow me yet!"
He bounced once, twice, and then, with a huge bouncing leap, he began to bounce down the steep hill! Lanya gasped and watched as he went down in great bouncing leaps that got larger the farther he went, and then as he plummeted to the ground. She winced as he landed in a jumbled pile at the foot of the hill. He clumsily bounced back up, falling back down again once or twice, and arrived at the top of the hill with a huge grin on his face and several bruises on him.
"Go on!" he said. "Give it a try!"
"But.... you're all bruised," said Lanya.
"Oh, yeah, a little, but it's so much fun bouncing! You'll have a great time, you won't even notice the bruises! Besides, if you start to fall in a way where you won't be able to bounce back up, just use your wings!"
Lanya stepped back from the edge of the hill. It was too frightening. She'd almost forgotten the springs on her feet and she tripped over onto her back when she stepped back. Frustrated, she pulled herself up, and losing control of her feet, she started to bounce down the hill. Her first bounce down the tall hill terrified her, because the bounce was so large she felt certain she would end in a tree somewhere, covered in scrapes and bruises, and for the time being she had forgotten her wings. But the second bounce was slightly better, and she began to realize that it was, indeed, quite fun to bounce. She almost didn't land right after that one, as the hill was steep and she was going quite fast, but she managed to tilt her feet in the right direction. However, the next bounce was a disaster, sending her tumbling down the hill. Before she crashed into an intimidating, tall tree, she gave her wings a few hard flaps and got up in the air.
"Really!" she said, resting on a branch of the tree and panting. "To think that I actually tried that! Am I out of my senses?"
She was a bit bruised and rather battered, but over all she felt alright once she caught her breath. Then she remembered how fun it had been to bounce, and how it was, indeed, different than flying. She shook her head abruptly.
"Lanya, you are not thinking of bouncing down that hill again," she told herself sternly. "There are houses and trees scattered all over it. What if you crashed into somebody's garden?"
But then she flew up again, under the pretense of saying goodbye to Lowel, and found herself taking a deep breath and starting bouncing again. And this time, even though at the end she did crash into that tree, she had no thoughts about not doing it again. Again and again she and Lowel went up the hill and bounced down again, laughing during the bounces and chattering in between, until the sun set and Lanya gasped midway down the hill.
"Why, it's so late!" she said, after they bounced to the end of the hill. She was beginning to get the knack of it, and could normally get down without falling before she got to the foot of the hill. "I have to get back to the shop!"
"Aw, well, I probably should too," said Lowel. "But that was a ton of fun! You can keep the springs," he added.
She unstrapped the springs and tucked them under her arm.
"Hey, wanna meet me at the Art Gallery Monday?" she asked Lowel before they left.
"Sure," he said. "See you soon!"
He bounced away off to Bounciway Market to the Spring Shop, and Lanya flew back to Imaginart Commons and the Coffee Shop. She was tired, and bruised, and absolutely battered, but she was extremely happy. She had a new friend, her first friend here on Roo Island.