The front door slammed and a vaguely blue figure vaulted
its way into the kitchen.
Hunnybee looked up from the bowl of batter she
was furiously stirring, and groaned at the sight of her muddy child.
"Ming, how many times have I told you not to
play in the mud?"
Hunnybee blew a strand of hair off her face in
exasperation. "I send you to school so you can get an education, and this is
what you learn? That's not even a real number!"
LightningBabe laughed and shot back, "Yet."
"Whatever. I don't have time for this. Would
you hand me the chocolate chips?"
Ming hopped on the counter, rummaged through
a cabinet, and resurfaced, empty-handed. "It appears we're out."
Hunnybee's mouth dropped. "But I just bought
some this morning!"
Ming glanced at her watch, and quickly exclaimed,
"Wow, look at the time! I think I will play outside right now."
The Starry Kougra turned to face her mother.
"Go get more."
Ming sighed, wiped the fragments of chocolate
off her face, and hopped off the counter. Grabbing a soda from the fridge, she
meandered through the greenhouse, where Imalya was sunning herself in front
of the large windows. A quick shove, and the Island Ixi was sprawled out in
Ming sprinted into the living room, down the
stairs, through the front hall, and split out the door, latching it firmly behind
Shaking the flaky mud off her fur, she plopped
down on the front steps and cradled her face in her paws. Another errand to
run. And she wouldn't even get a reward for this one, like all the others she
usually ran. But then again, she ran errands for strangers, and she usually
didn't eat all their chocolate chips while they were in the middle of baking.
Ming could hear the click of the latch behind
her, and swiveled her ears slightly to catch what her mother was saying.
"That old lady next door whose name I can't recall
wants you to run to a couple of places for her. She says she'll pay you."
Ming stretched, yawned, and sprang up. "I guess
so. Where to?"
Hunnybee smiled wryly. "You still need to get
chocolate chips, moocher. So get moving."
She held out a piece of paper between two fingers,
and Ming took it, squinting at the old lady's shaky handwriting. "Cheesy Meat
Wrap, Fantastic Fly Pie, and... what's 'abgwine stops'?"
Hunnybee took it back and peered curiously at
it. "That's 'Aubergine Surprise', you doorbell. Get moving." She prodded Ming
off the steps and closed the front door behind her.
Ming pocketed the list (pretty difficult without
any pants) and sauntered down the street towards the Food Shop. She pushed open
the door, delighting in the little jingle that the bell over the door made.
The Chia behind the counter groaned slightly
as she approached. Head cocked quizzically, she pondered it and finally concluded
he must still be cleaning the oven from her last visit. Ming smiled at the memory
of a pizza topped with everything in Neopia... and winced at the memory of Mom's
expression when she saw her most recent bank statement. Who knew your balance
could be in the negatives... with that many zeroes?
Ming cleared her throat and was about to order
when she caught sight of the clock. 3:59.58 - 3:59.59... dear Fyora, not again.
Doomsday arrived in the form of restock. Mountains
of food appeared before the shopkeeper, and with it came the thundering herds.
A storm of color descended on the small shop, and left destruction in its wake.
The shop wizard was less chaotic. Ming flipped
through the wizard's huge tomes and found a couple of shops that looked promising.
She jotted down the usernames and walked downtown to the user shops, where she
found the pie and the wrap.
"Any idea where I can find Aubergine Surprise?"
she muttered under her breath.
A shadowy figure in the corner caught her eye,
and it beckoned to her. Ming looked behind her, and, seeing no one else, slowly
approached the hooded, cloaked creature.
The shadowy shape sighed. (How's that for alliteration?
Hehe... ) "Kids these days," it murmured. "No respect any more."
Ming blew her fur out of her eyes in exasperation.
"Okay, fine. What is thy request that doth bring thou to beckon to me so?"
A low laugh rippled out of the black cloak. "Much
better. I have an errand for you to run, you see."
Ming glanced at the clock. "Sorry, but I'm already
on a pretty tight schedule." She turned to walk away.
"I can reward you handsomely."
The Starry Kougra turned back to face the stranger.
"How good-looking are we talking?"
Ming shrugged. "Sure, why not."
Whoever it was laughed again. "Excellent. Please
fetch for me a Stone Club."
Ming blinked. "A stone club?"
"Yes. And I just know you're going to ask why
I need one."
Ming shrugged. "No, actually." I was just
wondering why a girl who never fights in the Battledome would want one, that's
all. That's not quite the same thing, she thought.
Spinning on her heel, she padded out of the shop
and down the street to the Shop Wizard, where she managed to find the location
of the desired primitive weapon.
A short time later, she carried the package out
the door of the garishly painted shop, and came face to face with the stranger.
"Do you have my order?" He/she extended a hand.
Ming tightened her hold on the Stone Club and
asked defensively, "I don't see any reward. How do I know I'm not being gypped?"
The figure laughed, a low and throaty sound,
and dropped a bag of Neopoints on the ground. "Enjoy."
Ming lowered herself to the ground, still keeping
a solid grip on her purchase. Grabbing the bag, she lifted the Stone Club, holding
it out to the stranger. As whoever it was reached for it, Ming lifted it slightly
higher... and bopped her sister on the head.
As the dazed Ixi stared at stars that were magically
circling her head, a blue and gold face swam into view. "Immy," it called in
a wavery, quivering voice, "Come on. We both know black isn't your color."
As the head shrank from view, Imalya dimly heard
her sibling say, "Thanks for the allowance."
Ming swung the stone club by one paw as she strolled
home. Whistling a nameless tune, she skipped up the steps and opened her front
door. Heading for her room, she unfortunately had a mishap with a lamp in the
front hall as she twirled the club. But who cared?
Flopping down on her bed, she threw the club
into a corner, blowing a hole through a cabinet and part of the wall. Stuffing
the bag of bounty under her pillow, Ming stretched luxuriously and prepared
for a nap.
Her mother's upper half poked in through the
door. "Have you gotten everything for that lady next door whose name I can't
"Darn," Ming stated mildly. "Guess I must have
Mom shrugged. "Meh." She vanished for a moment,
and popped back in again. "What about my chocolate chips?"
Ming rolled over and ignored her mother. "Riiiiiiiiiiiiiiiight.
Okay then." Hunnybee disappeared from view and could be heard walking away.
The footsteps stopped a moment later.
"I wonder where Imalya is."
The pitter-patter continued again, and halted
abruptly. A voice echoed throughout the house. "WHAT HAPPENED TO THIS LAMP?"
Ming hopped off her bed and crept out her window.
"You know, I think I will play outside right now."
Author's Note: People were screaming for a sequel to The Working Girl, so
I give 'em one. Meh. And as for why Immy needed the club... well, wouldn't you
like to know!