Bowl of Sandwiches
It was a Monday. No customers. Nothing to restock. Nothing to do.
Kayla sat alone in her potion shop, waiting for some form of entertainment. There had been a drought of potion ingredients in Meridell all weekend, and Kayla was unprepared for business.
“I should just go on a vacation,” she said aloud to her empty shop. “Perhaps I can find some exotic ingredients to make potions with.”
She sat for another few minutes, thinking about the conversation she’d just had with herself. She wasn’t crazy … well, maybe the talking to herself thing was, but the vacation idea wasn’t so farfetched.
“I’m doing it. I’m going on vacation. I’d like to speak to Kauvara, anyway. Neopia Central, here I c–“
The bell above the shop door rang, signaling the arrival of a customer. Illusen the Earth Faerie walked in. Her hair was a mess and she looked like she hadn’t slept for days.
“How is the drought treating you, Kayla?” Illusen asked.
“Not well,” she responded. “What happened to you? You look like you were mauled by a Lupe or something.”
“I haven’t had any ingredients to make most of the prizes I give to the Neopians who do my quests! I’ve just been giving them all of my combs. I ran out and now I have nothing to brush my hair with.”
“Here,” Kayla said as she took off her starry blue hat and handed it to the faerie. “Nobody will notice while you’re wearing this.”
Illusen took the hat and put it on. It was a bit big, but it did hide the fact that her head looked like a Buzzer nest. Kayla handed over her cape as well. Might as well try to make her outfit match.
“Man, I hope this is over soon. We need more ingredients.”
“Definitely,” replied Kayla. “I was actually just about to pack up and go on vacation until the drought is over. I need to pay a visit to Kauvara.”
“That’s a great idea!” Illusen said excitedly. “You asked King Skarl if it would be okay to close up shop for a bit, right?”
Kayla hadn’t thought of that. “Oh, um, I’ll ask. Yeah. Should I do it in the form of a joke, or just come out with a serious question?”
“I think just the question would be best. You don’t want to risk getting him mad.”
“Thanks, Illusen. I’ll go ask right now!” Kayla got up from her stool and made for the door.
“No problem!” Illusen said as she took the now available stool. “I’ll wait here. I want to know what he says.”
Kayla started towards the grumpy old King’s throne room. She heard him laughing hysterically as she neared the door.
“Awesome,” she thought. “He’s in a good mood.”
She watched the joke teller leave (with a bit of spring in his step) and waited a few minutes before going in, trying to psych herself up and figure out how to ask for her vacation. The Guard Draik stared at her as she paced uncertainly.
“Okay. Okay I’ll just ask. Just out with it. Come on, you can do this.” She was talking to herself again. The Draik laughed at her as she entered the throne room.
“KAYLA! Nice to see you! I just heard the best joke, want to hear it?” King Skarl rambled on without giving her a chance to respond. “’Where would a pack of vicious Quiggles upset by a gift of Jazzmosis?’”
Kayla didn’t respond. None of the jokes he finds funny actually made any sense to her.
King Skarl struggled with a fit of laughter before uttering the answer.
“’They offering a bowl of sandwiches!’ HA! Imagine having an ENTIRE BOWL of sandwiches!” He fell to the floor and started rolling around. Kayla burst out laughing. Seeing this large king rolling around was actually pretty hilarious. His crown had fallen off and his robe was tangled around him. It was a few minutes until the two of them were calm enough to carry on.
“Okay, okay. King Skarl, ah – Sir.” Kayla was serious now. “I actually came to ask a question – that really was a good joke though, and I’m glad to see you happy…” she trailed off as she saw the smile fade from his face.
“Out with it, Lass.” Skarl was beginning to get impatient.
“Well, Sir, I was wondering – I just wanted to run it by you, uh – well…” Kayla was wishing she had rehearsed with Illusen back at her shop. “I was wondering if it would be okay for me to close my shop for a bit, just until the ingredient drought is over. I’d like to go on a vaca- ah, I’d like to go visit Kauvara and see if she can give me some potion ideas and I can pick up some ingredients in Neopia Central.” She had blurted this out a bit fast, but it was out there and she felt a sense of relief.
Either Skarl was taking a while to decide how to respond, or it just seemed that way to Kayla. She stood up straight and flashed the sweetest smile she could. King Skarl’s brow was furrowed but his mouth was emotionless.
“Kayla,” he sighed. Then he sighed again. “Do you remember the agreement we made? You helped protect us from Lord Kass. I thought I could trust you. I trusted you to open a shop in MY castle. But now you’re asking me if you can LEAVE!? Are you seriously THAT ungrateful?”
Kayla was quite taken aback by his response. She didn’t think she was being ungrateful, and she was truly thankful for being allowed to run her shop in the castle.
“S-sir,” she said, holding back tears. She had to get him to trust her again. “I’m sorry I asked. I am so indebted to you for helping me out… I don’t need to go. I thought maybe I could help find ingredients that we don’t have in Meridell. I’ll just go back to my shop. I’m sorry for bothering you.”
Skarl nodded solemnly.
Kayla turned and walked to the doorway, stopped, and turned back to him. “They offering a bowl of sandwiches, Sir.” She heard him erupt with laughter as she left the throne room.
Illusen hopped up from the stool when Kayla re-entered the shop.
“Well?” she asked excitedly.
“He thinks sandwiches are funny and that I am ungrateful.”
“The bowl of sandwiches joke?” Illusen chuckled. “Ha, that’s a classic.”
Kayla stared blankly.
“So I take it he said no,” the faerie said. Kayla nodded and Illusen put her arm around her. “I’m sorry. But honestly, it’s good that you asked. If you had just gone and he found out…”
“I know,” Kayla said as she plopped herself down on the stool. “Maybe we can get Kauvara to visit us, and bring some potion ingredients.”
“No! I have a better idea,” Illusen said. She pulled Kayla’s hat, which she was still wearing, down so it covered her face. “I can be Kayla!”
Kayla thought about it for a bit as she watched Illusen re-tie her own robe around her and use it to cover her dress. Illusen did know a bit about potion-making. And King Skarl hardly ever left his throne room. This could work.
“This could work,” Kayla said as helped the faerie adjust her outfit.
Kayla packed her bag and bid Illusen adieu. It took her a couple of days to travel through Brightvale and Kiko Lake before getting to Neopia Central. She hoped everything was going well back in Meridell.
She was exhausted when she finally arrived at Kauvara’s magic shop. It was dark inside. Kayla peered into the shop. Potion bottles and ingredients covered every inch of every shelf, but Kauvara was nowhere to be seen.
The wind blew and caused a rustle of paper. She was standing on a piece of paper, which had apparently been taped to the door at one point. It read:
“Paying a visit to Kayla’s shop in Meridell
Will return soon!