Stachetastic: the Hair-Raising Origin - Part Five
The room was pink. Bubble gum pink. So pink that everything after leaving the room would appear green for several seconds.
Lenora couldn't be bothered to pay any attention to the color of her workroom, as she was focused on spinning and carding strange blue wool that seemed to pulsate with life. She was also focused on humming an improvised tune, but an observer would notice that she was far more focused on the former than the latter, as her singing skill was not the best.
"Lenora!" A yellow Ogrin peeked his head into the bright pink room, and he squinted. "Are you done with those skirts for today?"
Lenora stopped her singing and her spinning, giving the Ogrin her most winning smile. "Of course, Mr. Pierce. I'm only working on something extra--for myself. May'nt I?" She asked sweetly, batting her eyelids.
Mr. Pierce chuckled. "All right, doll, you work on anything you like now that you've finished your quota. But don't prick yourself with any needles, and for Fyora's sake, don't overwork yourself again!" So captivated was he by Lenora's mannerisms that Mr. Pierce did not even slam the door on his way out as he was inclined to do with other workers.
The Aisha went right back to humming and studied her handiwork. Plans, half-buried under piles of yarn, had pictures of capes, a superhero shirt and pants, and boots.
She did owe Norman, after all. The years which separated his saving her life and the present did nothing to diminish the magnitude of his deed. Lenora noted this once more with great satisfaction and passion in her work. It was almost as if she was deep underwater, only she could breathe, she was safe in his arms, she was safe in her passion for clothing. As long as she could keep her head and be peppy as often as possible, she wouldn't sink.
"Norman's going to love these," she muttered to herself, continuing to make the cloth.
"What am I going to love, now?" A Lupe poked his head in through the now open door, and squinted at the sheer pinkness of the room.
"Norman!" Lenora leapt to her feet and hastily grabbed one of the skirts, a ruffled skirt with complex paisley designs that were mind-numbing to hand-embroider. She spread it across her hips as though meaning to try it on. "Don't you just love how fabulous I look in this?" The Aisha twirled, mentally sighing to herself. Good save. she thought.
Norman chuckled. How like Lenora to be distracted by the smallest things.
"Absolutely. Look, I'm just looking for a little friendly advice, nothing more, and I know you're especially busy today," Norman noticed, his ears rising in alarm as he saw small bags under her eyes like the folds of haphazardly placed yarn on her desk.
"You need to sleep, you know." Norman raised a furry eyebrow.
"Aren't you the one looking for friendly advice?" Lenora blinked slowly as she stifled a yawn.
"Yes, of course." Norman slid off his surgical mask and rubbed the tendrils of fur that came spiraling down. "See, I've been trying to think of ways to hide... this." He lifted one thick strand of his moustache, which spiraled to the ground like a forgotten maple seed when he let it go. "I've tried everything, but nothing is what you'd call "fashionable", and aside from the hair on one's head I'm no expert on it." Norman paused and mentally numbered the options he'd come up with to hide the moustache. "A balaclava wouldn't work in the summer, nor would a scarf, unless I was a kind of trendsetter. A braided "beard" would be nice, but I'd have to constantly trim it--Wait, where are you going?"
Lenora shook her head. "Instead of trying to hide the moustache, why don't you just try slowing it down?" She rummaged through a messy drawer and pulled out a large hairbrush.
"Have you tried brushing it when wet?" Lenora asked as if she was a doctor and Norman was a patient.
Norman didn't have time to finish his sentence as the Aisha dumped a bucket of cold water on his head.
The Lupe coughed and spluttered and shook his fur all over the clothing Lenora had made. "What was that for?!"
Lenora didn't respond as she yanked a brush through the long extensions of moustache. "Let go!" Norman pulled back, but the hair refused to snap.
"My, that's strong..." Lenora murmured. She pulled out a purple ray gun, seemingly out of nowhere. "What if we try..."
Pulling the trigger, Lenora was kicked back by the ray gun's recoil as a blast of ice hit the ceiling and burst into several snowflakes. "That wasn't right." She steadied the ray gun and took hold of the moustache. "Ready... Aim..."
"If that thing misses and hits me, I swear--"
A blast of snow splattered onto Norman's moustache. "Perfect." Lenora swung the moustache one way, then another.
"I know freezing weakens hair, but that's what I've been trying to tell you!" Norman whined, sending one of the tendrils to knock the randomly firing freeze ray out of Lenora's paws. "My muscles and hair don't seem to be weakening at all. The brew must have given me new strength or something. Look!" Norman wrapped one of his once-scrawny arms around Lenora's desk and lifted it almost effortlessly.
"Th-That's incredible!" Lenora gaped at his super-Neopian strength. "You used to barely be able to carry Amaryllis! Not to mention the strength of your moustache," she added as she gave the frozen end of the moustache another yank. "That potion Ms. Wyndham was making was practically tailor-made for your moustache!"
"But it always grows back in fifteen minutes!" Norman sighed. "Like I said, I've tried everything. Well, maybe the freezing slowed it down some."
Lenora snorted. "I know when things grow slowly, and I can tell the ice didn't do anything to slow down the growth of your moustache." She began pacing around the (bright pink!) room strewn with piles of yarn and half-done clothes, her ears twitching with thought. "Perhaps red would do," she mumbled thoughtfully.
The Lupe rested his chin in his hands and absentmindedly scratched the top of his head with one of his moustache tendrils. Typical Lenora. Her mind went in so many directions that it was a wonder that her head stayed on her neck 24/7. The thoughts within it had the capacity to send it flying, Norman had no doubt about that. She was probably thinking about some new skirt, or another pattern she could use for some article of clothing or other.
Speaking of clothing, Norman recalled, his ears perking up at the thought, Neopets who didn't fit into clothing often used resizing potions like Downsize! to get them to fit. Perhaps a potion or a spell would somehow alter the speed of the growth of the Lupe's moustache!
"I've got it!" he cried excitedly, kicking up a stray sweater on the floor.
"Me too!" Lenora exclaimed with equal enthusiasm.
The Lupe chuckled. "You first."
"What if Kadoaties had moustaches?"
Norman thrust his paw to his face, sending a small ripple of energy through both sides of his moustache. "That's... that would be an interesting idea," Norman groaned through his paw. "But I mean, what if we used a potion to make my moustache grow slower?" Norman's ears flattened. "Wait, where would we find such a potion?"
"Kauvara's? And it sounds a little risky to me," Lenora warned, picking up the sweater Norman had kicked and setting it on her desk. "Your moustache grew with a potion, so what if there are adverse effects in mixing it with the Supersize! and whatever was in Ms. Wyndham's brew?"
Norman's jaw dropped to the floor at Lenora's intelligent point. "I... uh...." The Lupe racked his brains for an appropriate response, but he could find none. "Worth a shot?"
"Perfect! Let's just drag you over to the Magic Shop, then." The Aisha grinned and tugged on the Lupe's paw. "And we'll let a master of magic handle this."
"Whoa, wait!" Norman whined, nearly making a tendril slam into the ceiling light. Norman's moustache seemed to be moving on its own lately, but it was happening slightly less often than when he'd first grown the moustache. He smiled at his most recent memory with the moustache. His Kadoatie, Amaryllis, loved playing with it, and it was a great sport watching her as the moustache automatically swiveled in and out of her reach. His smile faded. "We can't go to the Magic Shop. There are far too many Neopians, and Kauvara's sure to be busy making potions. It would be difficult to meet with her in private."
It was Lenora's turn for her jaw to drop wide open. "That's... that's a good point." She scratched one of her taller ears. "How about... Sophie the Swamp Witch? Hardly anybody visits her, and my boss knows the way to her house. He was a veteran in the Tale of Woe plot, you know. We can just ask Mr. Pierce and hope that he doesn't get too suspicious."
"Are you kidding me?!" Norman exclaimed, just barely stopping himself from jumping into a huge pile of wool at the mention of her name. "What if she turns us into Mortogs?! We can't risk such bodily harm--the second Defender Dance is in less than two weeks!" Norman wailed. The Lupe stubbornly put his mask back on with the intent to leave the premises. The pinkness of the room seemed to be addling his brain.
"Do you have any other ideas?" The Aisha uncharacteristically snapped, but realizing her abruptness, she made her tone more gentle and coaxing. "I'm scared too. I'd like to accompany you, really I would," she added, noting the dismayed expression of the Lupe at the fact that she would not be going with him. "But I have a lot of work to do around here, and unlike you, I can't take off from my job. Cheer up," she added, noting the dismay on the Lupe's face. "By the time you're done with the visit, I'll have a lovely surprise for you. It's yours after you come back." She beamed at him encouragingly.
"I can't wait."
To be continued...