To Fix the Fourth Wall
"You know guys, I've been thinking," Kassie began, looking at her siblings who were seated around the breakfast table. Kassie, a green Ogrin, had just finished her omelet, and was leaned back comfortably against her chair.
"Don't hurt yourself." Firestone said idly, not looking up from his book.
"Haha, nice." Xariek snorted, the red Xweetok offering Firestone a hive five, which the similarly colored Kougra accepted, before lightly smacking the other paw that had been reaching for his toast, causing Xariek to pout.
"Oi! You lot! Don't make me go back there!" Eleonhor yelled from the kitchen. The yellow Eyrie, called Leo for short, was the second youngest of the quartet, though he only had a few days on Xariek.
The four were all the pets of Erika, an eccentric teenage girl. She had a habit of running off late in the evening, and then wandering in again at about one in the afternoon, looking like she had just woke up (And for some reason, she showed up at about midnight, and left only an increased number of neopoints and a restocked cupboard behind). Xariek_13 had been created when Erika first arrived in Neopia, while all the others had been adopted from the pound in the following days.
At the moment, it was about seven in the morning, when the siblings ate together before leaving to do their own separate endeavors. Around noon they'd meet back for lunch, then hang around until Erika made an appearance, after which they'd spend time with her for the rest of the day, until she left again.
"But seriously, I've been thinking on some stuff lately," Kassie restarted, unknowingly ending the exposition. "Where do the owners go?"
All action in the house stopped.
"What are you talking about, Kassie?" Leo asked, poking his head around the door frame.
"No, no, hear me out. The owners can't spend all their time in Neopia. They have school, family, work, friends, all sorts of things. So what's the official reason for them ducking out all the time?"
"Uh, guys?" Firestone said nervously.
"And for that matter, what's the reason for having owners in the first place? I mean, it's been said by the staff before that there are both families, with a pair of neopets having and raising children, but how does it try in with owners and pets? Is it magic?"
"Kassie, you might wanna shut up now..." Firestone continued, staring widely at a blank wall that was beginning to crack.
"Actually, why do we have the staff? Why are we all so accepting about them? Do all Neopets know it's just a game, and understand that the staff are in charge of stuff? Does Fyora take orders from them? Why is Fyora in charge anyways? How does the games system work? Why does playing a game earn us neopoints, and how are they dispensed?"
"Kassie stop it, you're gonna-"
The fourth wall of the dining room had indeed collapsed in on itself, leaving behind only rubble, and for some reason, a single piece of lime green jelly.
There was a very long silence as the siblings started blankly at the wreckage. Finally, Xariek spoke up.
"So, on a scale of one to Jelly World, how doomed are we?"
A tile fell off the roof, clattering morosely on the debris.
"I think we're hovering somewhere between Illusen and Jhudora hugging, and Doctor Sloth successfully invading Neopia."
"Wow. That bad?"
"Always, my dear sister. Always."
"So, all in favor of finding someone to fix the wall before Erika gets back, say 'Aye.' Aye!" Kassie yelled.
"Eyebal- Oh, what did you say?"
And so, the trio headed out on their valiant quest to fix the wall before Erika got home. They tried asking around Neopia Central ("Did... Did Xar-Xar just fall in the well?" "I vote we rename her Lassie." "I HEARD THAT, AND I'M HURTING YOU ALL."), the Haunted Woods ("You broke a tree! I can't take you anywhere!"), Faerieland ("OH MY CHEESE I FOUND THE HIDDEN TOWE- Nope, false alarm." "Why must you kill my dreams."), Moltara ("I don't care if my name's Firestone, I'm not jumping in to the magma pool!"), Terror Mountain ("RUN AWAAAAAAY!" "I CAN'T FEEL MY EVERYTHING!" "You just haaad to insult the Snowager, didn't you."), detoured back up to the Healing Springs ("TAKE ME HOME, I WISH TO FAINT IN MY BED." "Shut up and drink the potion."), Krawk Island ("Why did we come here when we have NO DUBLOONS?" "....Because we're stupid?" "Yeah, can't argue with that one."), and even tried to go to Lutari Island ("THIS WAS A TERRIBLE IDEA!" "GAH, WE LOST LEO!"), but finally, the four bruised, burned, sodden and discouraged pets returned home, collapsing upon the nearest soft surfaces they could find. They lay there for a while, slowly regaining feeling in their feet (and one set of wings).
"So... I'm kind of.... guessing... this plan... was... a bust," Kassie panted out.
"No... really," Xariek shot back.
"Guys! I'm back- gah! You fainted! Now I have to go shoving sleeping people in dumpsters. AGAIN," a female voice said from the doorway.
The voice was none other than Erika, sloppily painted grey for some reason, and with little horns glued to her customary headband.
"Not unconscious... just tired," Firestone announced from his position upside down on the couch.
"Do I want to know why?"
"Kassie broke the fourth wall in the kitchen," Leo explained.
"What? Seriously?" Erika gasped, before dashing in to the kitchen. She walked back in to the living room, and fixed them all with a long, unreadable look. Finally, she swooped down and grabbed Kassie in to a hug.
"I'm so proud!" she squealed, glomping the poor Ogrin.
"Agh, no, you're covered in paint!" Kassie yelped, pulling away and frantically scanning over her fur.
"Chillax lil' dude, I sealed it," Erika said with a laugh, waving her hand dismissively.
"Why are you covered in paint anyways?" Xariek asked, rolling over on to her stomach.
"... It's a long story. I was blending in, and that's all I'm going to tell you."
Firestone noticed Xariek about to open her mouth to press Erika on the subject, and acted promptly.
"So, uh, you're not mad about the wall?" he asked, cutting off the irate Xweetok.
"Huh? What? Nah, I've broken, like, five or six fourth walls already this month, it happens, a lot. It's fine, just ignore it and it'll clear right up in bit."
There were many groans of annoyance and misery (As well as a loud scream of "OH COME ON!" from a certain fuming Xweetok).
"So... we went through all that garbage... that entire stupid road trip... for nothing!?" Leo shrieked, looking to be on the verge of either tears or flat out berserker mode.
"No! Not for nothing!" Erika hurriedly assured him. "It's the journey that's really important. Think of everything you learned! The memories you will forever hold dear! The important truths about yourselves and each other that you have uncovered!"
"...Xariek's a raging lunatic?"
"...Don't poke the Snowager with a stick?"
"...We're all idiots?"
"...Lutari Island should not be approached ever?"
Erika gave them all a long look, before shrugging.
"Eh, good enough for me. Lunch, anyone?"
Cheers echoed around the living room, and the five walked out of the neohome, off to the market to be kicked out of five stores in a row for obsessive haggling.
And Erika never did elaborate on the paint and horns, muttering something under her breathe about Meepits whenever questioned, and then quickly escaping the area. The full story never did come out. Not for lack of trying on Xariek's end, but the poor Xweetok just had to deal with it. There are some things the world just isn't ready to know.