Karamita and the Lab Jazz: Part Two
Karamita let out one final sob before collecting herself and standing on all four paws. She knew she needed to see her sisters. But above all, she needed to see Due.
Due was the bedrock of her family and always knew how to make her sisters feel better. Since Karamita knew that it was Due that she most needed to see, she made her way to the bakery where Due worked during the day.
Life went on in full Neopian technicolor around Karamita as she slowly walked down the cobblestone path. If there was ever a time that Karamita wished she was another color, it was now. She wished that everyone else could see how grey she felt. However, part of her couldn’t help but perk up once she smelled the delicious aroma of baking bread. She began to sprint down the road as she neared the bakery. As soon as she saw the entrance, she skidded to a stop. She took one long, deep breath to compose herself before making her way into the bakery.
“Ayy! Welcome to the bakery, Acara!” The Breadmaster called out, “What-a can I do you for?”
The Breadmaster always cheered Karamita up just a bit. She made her way up to the counter before hopping onto her hind legs and using her front paws to balance herself against the counter.
“Oh!” The Breadmaster smiled brightly, “You must-a be Due’s little sister! Maramita?”
“No, no,” Karamita giggled slightly, “Karamita!”
“Oh, yes! I should-a remembered!” The Kacheek reached out and ruffled the fur on Karamita’s head, “We always-a gots-a the cakes for Due’s little sisters!”
“Oh, no, Mr. Breadmaster,” Karamita shook her head slightly, “I didn’t come for cake, I came for Due.”
“Ah, Karamita, dear-a sweet-a Dula already went-a home,” he sighed, “But I can tell something is-a wrong.”
“Yes, something is . . .” Karamita looked down at the counter, “How did you deal with Due being zapped by the lab ray?”
The Breadmaster had a look of confusion on his face. It had been nearly a decade since Due had been zapped into a jelly usul. After a moment of contemplation, the memory hit him. “Oh, that-a poor little Dula, it was so sad at-a first!” He chuckled softly, “The poor-a little Usul. . .”
“What happened?” Karamita’s eyes grew wide.
“Oh, dear Dula,” The Breadmaster shook his head with a smile, “She was become a jelly usul! Jelly! I almost had to fire-a the poor girl! She cut off her arm and it fell-a into the batter!”
Karamita took a step back from the counter, her eyes filled with fear.
“Oh, no!” The Breadmaster laughed, “The arm grew-a back! She took a break and learned-a how to work in the bakery without fear-a of getting an arm chopped-a off!”
“Really?” Karamita stepped towards the counter again, “She did?”
“Oh, yes,” The Breadmaster nodded, “And now she’s the best-a cake decorator I’ve ever seen! And she can’t cut her arm off using a pastry bag!”
Karamita smiled, “She had a problem, but you worked with her to help her solve it?”
The Breadmaster sighed and frowned slightly, “Well, no. I hate-a to admit it, but I just told her it was-a silly to want to work here as a jelly Usul. Her-a momma could pay for everything. She didn’t need more neopoints, but-a she told me ‘I love working here!’”
“Oh . . .” Karamita looked down at the floor, “So . . .”
The Breadmaster put one paw under Karamita’s chin and gently lifted her head so that they were at eye level, “She brought me a cake she baked at home and decorated all on her own. It was the most delicious and beautiful cake I had ever seen. No matter how afraid she was of cutting off a jelly leg or a jelly ear, she wanted to work here more than she wanted anything else. All she needed was for me to believe in her. And I did. If you have someone to believe in you, anything is possible.”
Karamita smiled softly, “Thank you . . .”
The Breadmaster pulled his paw away and turned on his heel, “Now, Karamita, you have a house full of sweet sisters who believe in you!” He grabbed a box and turned to hand it to Karamita, “And take-a them this-a cake that is just as sweet as them!”
Karamita nodded as she took the box, “Thank you! I’ll see you around, Mr. Breadmaster!”
The Breadmaster smiled and waved as Karamita made her way out of the door.
As the sun hit her green fur, she remembered why she was so upset in the first place. The Breadmaster and his baked goods had a magical effect on her. She didn’t want to lay down and cry as before, but she did feel her high spirits dampened. It didn’t help that she had a hard time balancing both her bag and the box. She quickly noticed a string connected to the sides of the box. She paused. As a chia, she would never imagine carrying anything in her mouth. But as an acara, it looked like she had no choice. She held the box up to her mouth and grabbed onto the string. Somehow, it felt natural. Putting that out of her mind, she began the journey to her home on all four paws.
After an uneventful trek home, she was finally at the door to her home. Karamita hopped onto her hind legs and opened the door. As she made her way in, she noticed a red wig covered in a black cap on the hat rack. She smiled knowing her sister Sue was home. She made her way into the kitchen.
The sun was filtering through the windows into a room with no source of light of its own. A subtle golden glow illuminated the rustic kitchen. Though she wanted to admire the picturesque room, she was pulled out of her trance as soon as she heard her sister’s shrill, whining voice.
Karamita glanced over at the pirate Xweetok with her head pressed against the table. It was always a little jarring to see Sue without her signature wig, but Karamita did slightly prefer the natural tuft of hair held back with a red bandana to the almost comical red wig.
Due was at the stove making coffee. Karamita took a deep breath as she made her way to the table and sat the box with the cake on the table with great care. Due remained at the stove without realizing the acara was quietly sitting down in one of the chairs.
“I’m making it, Sue,” Due sighed deeply, “You know you could have picked it up from any of the shops on your way home.”
“But that costs neopoints,” Sue whined, “And we need to save neopoints.”
“Sue, a cup of coffee isn’t going to put us in to debt!” Due turned around to chastise Sue. However, she stopped in her tracks as soon as she noticed Karamita. She blushed deeply as her and Sue always did their best to present a happy and healthy home life for their younger sisters.
“Karamita!” Due made her way to her youngest sister and pulled the little acara into a warm embrace, “I didn’t hear you!”
Sue quickly sat up and smiled brightly at Karamita, “Oh, good morning!”
Karamita thought to correct Sue on the time of day, but realized it would be better not to when she saw Sue’s bloodshot eyes and matted fur. “Morning, Sue.”
Due looked over at the box on the table and noticed the bakery’s name on it. She gasped, “Oh! Karamita, you didn’t have to bring home anything!”
“Oh, no, Due . . .” Karamita bit her lip as she glanced over at Due. Out of a sense of embarrassment, she looked down at the floor, “I was upset so I went to find you at the bakery. You weren’t there, so The Breadmaster gave me a cake.”
“Karm . . .” Due frowned, “Are you ok?”
“Well . . .” Karamita looked back at Due, “I’m upset because I got kicked out of the orchestra.”
Sue ears perked up as she jumped from the chair and made her way to her bedroom. Due ignored her sister’s departure as she focused all of her attention to the acara, “Is it because you had trouble playing as an acara?”
“Yes, but, not only that,” Karamita broke eye contact and focused instead on the curtains and how the sunlight illuminated them, “But Miss Finn would let me learn as an acara and she offered to buy me a chia morphing potion. The problem was that she didn’t approve of me having an owner.”
Due’s face went blank for a moment at the mention of an owner. Sue and Due kept a lot of secrets from their little sisters, and most of them regarded their “mother.”
“But I told her, no, no, never, I will never leave my mother and my sisters!” Karamita’s voice raised slightly before transitioning into a whisper, “So I walked out and that was that.”
Due let out a sigh of relief before tightening her arms around Karamita, “I’m glad. I love having you here.”
Sue bounded in clutching a rolled up flyer in her mouth. She hopped up onto her chair and deposited the flyer onto the table. There was a moment of silence as Karamita stared at the flyer.
“I was fighting in a skirmish and someone gave me that,” Sue nodded at the flyer. Karamita reached for it and picked it up.
Due glanced over Karamita’s shoulder and began reading aloud, “Lab Jazz. A jazz, classical, contemporary, and fusion band for the rats that the mainstream can’t handle.”
“They’re in Tyrannia,” Sue gestured at the flyer, “So it’s not an easy trip. But if you got kicked out of your orchestra, it’s worth a try.”
“Tyrannia?” Karamita froze for a second, “Isn’t that the place . . .”
Sue shrugged, “Yeah, I hate it too. But it’s not that bad. I will warn you, though . . . You’ll need to hold off on getting zapped for a bit once you’re up there. I can handle traveling Neopia in one day, but I wouldn’t want you to go through that stress.”
“Well, getting zapped is what got me here in the first place . . .” Karamita sighed, “I mean, I really love being part of an orchestra! If they’ll accept me . . . I want in.”
Sue smiled softly, “Alright. It’s actually amazing timing, Karm. The skirmishes start tomorrow. I’ll arrange our passage with the air service so you don’t have to deal with the pirates.”
Karamita’s heart dropped, “Air service?”
“Oh, it’s not the Virtupets nonsense, don’t worry,” Sue laughed softly, “It’s what the faeries use when they’re too tired to fly. And I don’t blame them – Faerieland is too far up!”
Karamita tilted her head slightly. Her entire life, Faerieland was an island planted firmly to the east of the Haunted Woods. However, she knew Sue was tired so she simply nodded along.
“Grab a coat, though,” Sue hopped off of the chair, “It gets cold that high up.”
Karamita nodded as Sue made her way back to her bedroom.
Due went to the stove and turned it off. She poured herself a cup of coffee and rolled her eyes. “I don’t know why she even asks for the stuff.” Due took a deep breath before smiling at Karamita, “It’ll be a long journey and you’ll need to wake up early. Head to bed, sweetheart.”
Karamita nodded and made her way to her room.
To Be Continued...