A young female human who goes by the nickname of Kilala makes her way down the beautifully paved streets of Shenkuu while holding a small bag full of gifts in her hand. She had been exploring all around Neopia today and stopped at various shops to buy items for her Neopets. While walking down the street she gazes around with a look of admiration and appreciation swirling in her warm chocolate brown eyes. The landscape, the natives, and the food belonging to Shenkuu are uniquely exotic and different than other parts of Neopia; it is simply this reason why Shenkuu has become Kilala’s favorite city to visit. Whenever she’s given the opportunity to see Shenkuu, she is usually seen with her hyperactive and curious Spotted Lupe, Oemu. The two of them, when together, enjoy visiting Exotic Foods and bonding over a bowl of miso soup or Soba noodles. However, today Kilala is spending some quality time with her Faerie Xweetok Kirara and Kirara’s Petpet GinSakura.
They started their day making breakfast together and bouncing ideas in regards to how they would spend the day together. After completing their dailies and earning a good amount of neopoints from playing various amounts of games, they started their journey in Neopia Central and began traveling from there. From The Lost Desert to Roo Island and now Shenkuu; the day has been wonderfully filled with fun and excitement. When Kilala realized she was splurging all the hard earned neopoints that she and Kirara worked for, it registered in her brain that she promised Oemu some Red Bean Dumplings from Exotic Foods and she also promised her bratty Tyrannian Lupe, Yukio, that she would take him to his favorite bookstore all the way in Brightvale. Yukio never proclaimed himself as a bookworm but he loves curling up on the sofa with a nice warm cup of expensive tea and a book between his paws while his Gallion rests next to him. He has a book addiction he can never truly satisfy and therefore every once in a while, he buys a big stash of new books to engulf himself in. Unfortunately, books in Brightvale are extortionate and well sought after by others. Kilala tried to introduce Yukio to other bookstores, but he refused to shop anywhere else when it came to the purchase of a new book. Because Yukio is extremely picky and have a deluxe taste in
things, buying him items can prove to be a challenge since he only accepts high-quality.
"I know you’re tired Kirara. Let’s make a quick stop at Exotic Foods and then we can go home. I also have to take Yukio to his favorite Brightvale bookstore before it closes for the day." Kilala assures her Faerie Xweetok. They had been out doing actives since early that morning and had only taken two breaks. GinSakura is even dragging her hooves clumsily while whimpering and giving them pleading looks; she’s a very tired Alkenore and could use a well-deserved nap to regain her energy.
"I thought we were going to Terror Mountain for slushies?" The Xweetok questions with a cute pout. Today had been a lot of fun and despite the fact that Kirara is very exhausted, it is not every day she gets the chance to spend time with her owner like this. Kilala owns twenty neopets in total, which means her time must be split equally among all of them so no one feels neglected or left out. Sometimes Kirara and her siblings battle for their owner’s attention and the right to spend a full day with her, yet Kilala tells them on a daily basis that they do not need to do such a childish thing; she loves all of them the same and tries her very best to make sure they are loved, appreciated, and happy.
"I’m sorry Kirara," Kilala reaches out to run her fingers lightly through the softness of Kirara’s fur, "but you know how Yukio can get when it comes to his books. I promise tomorrow morning we can get an early start and head over to Terror Mountain." Sometimes it isn’t easy pleasing every single Neopet that she owns, but she does a very good job at making sure she spends valuable time with them individually or in small groups. It’s also a good thing that her pets are so understanding when some plans must be cancelled for the sake of other plans.
The two of them finally reach Exotic Foods and Kilala pushes open the front door, causing a tiny bell to announce their presence to the shop owner who is sitting behind the front counter enjoying a nice helping of Mint Rolls.
"Hello and welcome to Exotic Foods. Feel free to browse around or ask me if you need help finding anything." It’s a script that he replays over and over without fail. The prestigious owner of the shop is a Red Nimmo who tells everyone to call him by the name of Niko. No one knows if it is his real name because the Nimmo is very reserved and mysterious; he carries around a bag of secrets that he has no intentions of ever sharing. The story of how he began working in Shenkuu is also surrounded by a cloud of mystery but everyone stopped asking since he tells a different story each and every time.
Niko deliberately ignores his customers and forces them to find things for themselves even after he’s assured them he would help them should they have any issues. As he’s biting into the last of his roll, items are being placed on the counter and he looks up at Kilala and her faerie pet. He clears his throat and pushes his glasses further up his face before he began ringing them up. Kilala purchased Red Bean Dumplings while Kirara decided to buy Shenkuu Shrimp-Fried Rice along with a bottle of Bamboo Tea for herself. He wrap their items with care and places the food into a plastic bag once he’s accepted their money in exchange for the goods. "Thank you and come again." He mumbles dryly before turning his attention back to his food.
"Dear Fyora he could use a new attitude." Kirara mentions to her owner as GinSakura tries to keep up with them. The tiny Petpet is too exhausted to make it any further and therefore she’s grateful when Kirara scoops her up and holds her close. "I think he secretly spends his time with Dr. Sloth and dark faeries." She adds in while Kilala laughs at her accusations. When they are near the gates leading out of Shenkuu, they suddenly spot a small gathering of curious neopets staring and pointing directly towards them. A nervous shiver runs up Kirara’s spine as she presses closer toward her owner. "…should we be worried?" Kirara questions. The last time they ran into a small group, a Halloween Skeith had wanted to challenge Kirara to a battledome duel. Of course the delicate faerie declined because she is not a battle pet.
"I’m sure it’s nothing. C’mon Kirara, let’s go home." She urges Kirara to continue walking, but as they are leaving through the tall wooden gates, one of the group members, a male Red Kougra, calls out to them and causes them to stop cautiously in their tracks. Kirara is pulled closer toward her owner while GinSakura lets out a growl that sounds too exhausted to be taken as a threat. The Kougra holds up his paws to reassure them that he isn’t there to stir up any kinds of trouble. "Can I help you?" Kilala asks.
"Hello. Pleasure to meet you both." He greets with a warm smile that shows off his teeth and fangs. "My name is Bryson and that’s my crew over there." He points over his shoulder where is crew is standing. "I couldn’t help but notice your gorgeous Xweetok. We work for a shampoo company and we are in the midst of launching our latest commercial to sell are newest brand of shampoo. We need a new model for the commercial and we think she’ll be perfect!" He points a clawed paw at Kirara.
"M-me?!" Kirara’s eyes grow wide and her mouth gaps open. "I’m no good in front of the camera." She stampers out as her furry cheeks turn a bright pink that only adds to her beauty. "You’re better off asking someone else." She tries to reason with them, but Bryson’s crew have already made their way over and they’ve surrounded Kirara and her owner. Looks of awe shows on their faces as they reach over to touch Kirara’s wings and fur as if they have never before seen a Faerie Xweetok before. "I’m not rare! There are thousands of Faerie Xweetok’s roaming around here." She thinks to herself as she stands there and allows them to examine her wings and admire her silky smooth fur; perhaps she has a unique look that makes her stands out from others of her species and color.
"You always wanted to be on Neovision." Kilala says with a bright smile. She accepts a business card given to her by a purple Blumaroo.
Kirara’s cheeks become a darker pink as her embarrassment level rises. "T-that’s when I was younger." She stutters before flattening her ears.
"You do not have to make a decision right away," Bryson tells her with a soothing smile. "We understand we came out of nowhere with this request. Please think it over and let us know by tomorrow evening. We’ll be in Neopia Central in front of the NC mall." Before leaving, he accepts a small sample of shampoo from one of his crew members and hands it over to Kirara who is still holding her Petpet. "Please try out our new shampoo for free. It’s Chestnut Shampoo and we think we’ve done an excellent job with picking the ingredients that went into making this. Let us know what you think about it whether you want to be in the commercial or not." He gives a low bow, "we look forward to seeing the two of you again. Thank you for your time." Bryson and his crew then decide to leave on that note.
"Wow! Talk about random events. Wait until your sisters hear about this!" Kilala says happily as she pictures watching Kirara on Neovision. "I can’t wait to tell Olivia and the rest of my friends about this."
Kirara watches her owner before looking at the bottle of shampoo held in her paw. She brings it close to her nose and gives a sniff before her nose wrinkles up and she holds it away from her face. The strong smell of chestnuts and coconuts hit her nose powerfully and it causes a wave of nausea to sweep through her. She has never enjoyed the smell of chestnuts nor has she ever liked the taste they leave in her mouth. Coconuts are okay, but the weird blend of the two in a shampoo do not seem as if they go together very well. "Ugh…this doesn’t smell too pretty." Kirara complains as her owner takes the bottle from her to smell it for herself.
"Mmm, it smells nice to me. I’m sure it’s going to do wonders for your fur when you use it."
"I’m not so sure I want my fur smelling like chestnuts and coconuts…" she mutters under her breath too low for Kilala to have heard it. The smell has engraved itself into her memory and the mere thought of it causes Kirara to feel a sense of sickness over the weird, odd smell. She highly doubt it’ll make her fur smell good, she prefers the shampoo she’s been using for many years and has no desire to switch it. She follows after her owner who is too thrilled by the chain of events to really be focused on anything else. They eventually make it back to Faerieland where one of Kilala’s Neohomes reside. The still delighted human uses her key to unlock the front door and she’s immediately tackled by a rambunctious baby Lupe who goes by the nickname Sweetie, though her real name happens to be Kikiayoshie.
"What took so long? Do you have candy? Huh? Huh?!" Sweetie begs while her Tanizard wrap herself snuggly around Sweetie’s little neck. When Kilala hands her a lollipop, Sweetie’s eyes light up brightly and her tail wags. "Yay! Candy~!" she joyfully squeals before heading into the living room where some of her siblings have gathered.
"You all won’t believe what happened while we were in Shenkuu," Kilala begins as she sets the bags on the table and enters the living room area. "Kirara may be in a commercial! A Kougra by the name of Bryson even gave her a trial bottle of shampoo to try. It smells pretty good." She goes into a short version of what transpired at the gates of Shenkuu before Yukio waltz into the living room and demands to be taken to Brightvale since he had been waiting all morning to go there and buy himself a list of new books. Once Kilala and Yukio are gone, that only leaves a small handful of siblings for Kirara to talk with. She heads up a flight of stairs and enters her bedroom where GinSakura hops out of her arms and heads for her Petpet bed.
"You don’t seem very happy about this…" Matsuro, a shadow Lupe and one of her many brothers, enter her bedroom and gazes at her with a look of concern. Kirara isn’t flashy and conceited like their brother Yukio is and she isn’t a natural in front of the camera like their sister Zavru. Kirara is very friendly yet shy and can close up easily if she’s overwhelmed. "If you don’t want to star in the commercial, let mother know, I’m sure she’ll understand." Their owner has taken care of them for several years, since they were very young, and therefore she’s more like a motherly figure than an owner.
"You saw how happy she was."
"Only because she thinks it’s something you want." Matsuro argues back softly. "Just let her know how you really feel about it." He advises his sister before he walks out of her bedroom in order to give her some alone time with herself. The minute he closes her bedroom door, Kirara sighs with heaviness before grabbing the bottle of shampoo that was laying innocently on the bed. She may not like the way it smells, but she should at least give it a try…maybe it will do wonders for her fur like her owner claimed. She rolls off the bed and grabs a towel and exits her bedroom to enter the bathroom in the hallway. She flickers the light on and closes the door. She then turns the shower head on and watches as hot water gushes out. Before she dares to step in, she tests the water’s temperature to make sure it’s not scorching hot. She then steps in the shower and pulls back the shower curtains before popping open the cap to the shampoo bottle. Her stomach grumble unhappily and her nose once again wrinkles before she bravely pours a hefty amount into her paws before scrubbing it on top of her head. It lathers with sudsy bubbles fairly quickly and Kirara holds her breath the entire time to make sure she doesn’t breath in the odd smell that seems to upset her stomach. When she’s finished, she washes off every single trace of the shampoo and then turns off the shower before getting out; she tries to get rid of as much excess water out of her fur and hair.
Her skin and fur feels soft and she figures the shampoo wasn’t too bad, but as she’s continuing to dry herself off, she notices clumps of her fur falling off. Her eyes grow wide with shock and the towel drops to the ground.
"W-what’s going on?!" She screams frantically as she clears the mist away from the bathroom mirror so she can get a better look at herself. She notices several bald have already began to form. Panic settles in the pit of her stomach before she screams as loud as she possibly could as she helplessly watches her beautiful fur fall off of her in clumps.
To be continued...