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A Chaotic Vacation: Part One


by acexofxspades

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Thursday had started out like any other day. I got up early, read the Neopian Times, had breakfast with my owner (when she finally dragged herself out of bed, that is). I walked my petpet, an Anubis named Pandemonium, or Pan for short, in the woods near our home. Spent the afternoon reading my favorite old books, and thinking up some new practical jokes (Ace had gone out to get some NP by playing games). My usual routine. But as I did all of this, something felt off. There was a strange feeling in the pit of my stomach, like nervousness almost, except there wasn't anything to be nervous about. My prankster's intuition was telling me something was up. Or maybe there was just something in the air. Whatever it was, the feeling subsided some as twilight fell.

     "I'm home!" came a familiar voice from the entryway, followed by the slamming of the heavy oak front door. With a sigh, I lifted Pan off of my lap and left the living room where I had been sitting to greet my owner.

     "You're late," I commented as I walked into the front hall. "What kept-"

     I stopped, startled by her appearance. The teenage girl standing in front of me did not look terribly happy. Her hair, normally light brown streaked with sapphire, was darker than usual, wet from snow that was rapidly melting. Her Sticks N Stones jacket was buttoned all the way to the top, the collar turned up against the cold. Water had soaked into the legs of her blue jeans, half way up to her knees. The sky boots she had taken to wearing, however, appeared to be impervious to wetness, and were dry in stark contrast to the rest of her. Apparently, she was regretting our choice to live on top of Terror Mountain.

     She dumped her backpack on the chair next to the coat rack and handed me a paper bag before beginning to peel off her jacket. "I brought dinner."

     I opened the bag and was met by the wonderful aroma of ultimate burgers and potato wedges.

     "You want to eat in the living room tonight?" she asked, shivering.

     I nodded. "Sure. Are you going to make a fire?"

     "Yeah. But first I'm going upstairs to get something dry on."

     I went into the kitchen to get plates, napkins, and straws for the milkshakes Ace had bought, taking the food with me. Pan has been known to eat entire bags junk food if he can get them, and I wasn't about to take any chances.

     By the time I had gathered everything and brought it out to the living room, Ace had come down stairs, now wearing an "I love the NT" shirt and a pair of many-pocketed black pants along with her boots. I set out the food, drinks and plates on the coffee table while she built a fire.

     "Big storm brewing, huh?" I asked, and set the napkins on the table.

     "Yeah," she replied, pulling her island lighter out of her pocket. "It shouldn't hit for a day or two, though. Or at least that's what the weather report says. It's usually pretty reliable." She lit the kindling, and blew gently as it began to catch.

     Pan whined from his place on the sofa next to me.

     "You ate already," I told him.

     He looked at me with sad eyes. I sighed. He was a master con artist, and almost always knew just how to get to me. With a glance at Ace to make sure she wasn't watching, I slipped him a couple of potato wedges. He wolfed them down and went to curl up on the rug in front of the fire.

     Once she had added a big log to the flames and the fire was burning steadily, Ace came over to sit next to me. She moved a book out of the way, glancing down at it as she did so.

     "The Ultimate Wocky Manual again, Chaos?" she asked. "You've read it at least five times already. You really should try something new."

      "Hey, it's a good book," I said defensively, taking it from her. I looked at the cover. On it was a wocky, like me, but he had a yellow coat instead of red, and brown eyes as opposed to my emerald green.

     We ate in companionable silence for a while, enjoying the warmth that the fire cast, and then Ace spoke up.

     "I think we need a vacation."

     "A vacation?" I repeated. Aha! So that was it!

     "Yeah. I'm tired of being cold all the time. I want to go some place warm and thaw out."

     "Are you sure we can afford that?" I asked. We weren't poor, exactly, but we had just finished building and furnishing the house and it isn't like we had piles of extra Neopoints just lying around.

     "Actually, I've been saving up for a few weeks. We'll have enough, as long as we exercise a little restraint don't buy every cheap souvenir that's shoved under our noses," she said, a bit too pointedly.

     "Hey, that was a quality fuzzle!" I protested.

     "That fell apart the next day," she retorted.

     "Well, the Uni's sales pitch was convincing."

     Ace just rolled her eyes.

     "So where should we go?" I asked, changing the subject.

     "I was thinking about Mystery Island," she said, turning her lighter over in her hands. "You've never been there before, and I could really use a good surf session. One of my friends who lives there tells me that there's supposed to be a very nice swell coming in this week."

     "Mystery Island, huh?" I took a sip of my raspberry milkshake, thinking about Ace's proposal. While I doubted I would want to try surfing (a bad experience with a bathtub tidal wave had soured me on too much moving water), there could be plenty of other interesting things to do. And I had heard tales that the best itching powder money can buy came from the Island. "Sounds good to me."

     "Great. We'll leave tomorrow morning. Oh, and Chaos?"

     "Yeah?"

     "Let's try to stay out of trouble this time."

     I sighed. You cause one little riot and receive a lifetime ban from a shop and they never let you forget it.

      * * *

      We got an early start the next morning, and by 8:00, we were boarding the ferry that would take us to Mystery Island.

     "I wish we could have brought Pan," I said as we walked up the gangplank.

     "I know, I know," Ace responded, readjusting her backpack. "But you know how he gets on the ferry. He nearly jumped overboard last time, and I don't want to have to dive in after him. Besides, Ryan will take good care of him."

     I didn't say anything, just walked to the starboard side and leaned against the railing as the ferry began to pull away from the dock. I had to admit, it was a beautiful day to be outside. The sky was a deep blue, free of clouds, and the sun shone brightly. Ace was right. It was very nice to be warm.

     A few hours later we reached the Mystery Island dock. Ace, who had fallen asleep in a deckchair during the trip, stood and stretched, while I got in line to get off the ferry.

     "Hurry it up!" an impatient voice said from the back of the line. "You losers are going to make me late for my training session!"

     I rolled my eyes. Some people need to learn to slow down and smell the roses.

     Just as I was stepping off the dock, a rough hand shoved me from behind. I fell forward, and only a quick twist saved me from falling into the water. Instead I landed with my nose in the dirt.

     "Out of the way, shrimp," a large yellow Scorchio said, stepping over me. "I've got somewhere to be."

     I picked myself up and brushed off the dirt, glaring at the Scorchio's retreating back.

     "You okay?" Ace asked as she reached me.

     I nodded.

     "Sure you aren't hurt?"

     "I just my pride," I muttered.

     Ace frowned at the Scorchio as he disappeared from sight.

     "Well, it's a big island. We probably won't even see that guy again. Let's just try not to let it ruin our vacation, okay?"

     "Yeah." She had a point. Why let one jerk mess up the entire trip? "So what should we do first?" I asked Ace as we moved away from the docks.

     A guilty look spread across her face. "Uh… Actually, I was planning on going surfing first thing. A few of my friends live on the island, and one of them going to lend me a board. I'm supposed to meet them at the beach in about five minutes," she said, checking her watch.

     "Oh," I said, feeling a bit disappointed.

     "I thought maybe you could go on a tour of the island, since you don't like swimming, and then we could meet up afterwards and go get some lunch. It would only be for an hour or so."

     I shrugged. "Okay. But just this once."

     She grinned. "Thanks Chaos. Come on, I'll show you where the tour starts."

To be continued...

 
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