A Kettle and a Cackle: Part Three
I looked at the Unis. Queen Fyora had said that they were bad, but they didn’t look that mean to me. I actually thought that they might like me, up until they started shouting insults at me.
“Hey, you! Yeah, you, the Uni over there! Nice cheap paint job!” one of them shouted, and the others laughed in unison. It was too bad that this was the only way for me to get home, as I probably would’ve taken almost any other option. I sighed. I hoped that I wouldn’t have to deal with their taunts all night. Queen Fyora suddenly put her hand on my shoulder. I had almost forgotten she was here too.
“We’re almost there,” she whispered. We walked closer and closer until I could see all of them up close. There were four of them, and they were all sitting close together on the front seat of the cloud carriage to guide the cloud where it needed to go. There were two sheltered seats in behind them, obviously meant for the passengers. Queen Fyora led me to them and I hopped in. I looked around. I could barely see anything below me, and I couldn’t even figure out what was below me. All I knew was that I was going to get back to my owner before morning, and I was grateful. Queen Fyora paid one of them Neopoints. The one she paid nodded, and Queen Fyora got into the seat across from me. When we took off, the ride was smooth. I figured that, since I had time, I would interview Queen Fyora for fun.
“Um, Queen Fyora?” I said. “Do you mind if I interview you?” She laughed, and I once again heard the sound of wind chimes swinging in the breeze.
“Of course not,” she said, her hair blowing as we flew through the sky. I reached into my dirty kadoatie purse and took out my question and answer pads and a pencil for the last time that night.
“So,” I started, “how did you become a queen?” It sounded a little obvious, but I felt like asking it anyway. I had time I needed to kill.
“My parents were the King and Queen of Neopia, but they both passed on long ago, so I was left Neopia. Simple, really.” She smiled easily and sincerely. I wrote down her words, trying to quote her exactly.
“Is it fun to be the queen?” I tried. I bit my lip, hoping she wouldn’t get upset at me for asking this. Luckily, she didn’t flip out--if she had, I probably would be flying through the air right about now.
“It’s quite a burden,” she said, “but it’s nice to be able to do good things for the people of the world you love. I enjoy it, and take pleasure in making each user’s experience on Neopets a pleasant one.”
“You should be in a commercial,” I remarked. She laughed; I wondered what she thought was funny. I hadn’t made a joke... had I? Interviewing people was just too complicated. Maybe I’d get into the Neopian Times by writing a story, an article, or a series. Yeah, that’s it. Perfect.
I was thinking about the Neopian Times when something happened. You could barely feel it, but the cloud gave a jerk. A small pop that turned into chaos. The Uni Riders turned and stared at each other, alarmed. It was obvious that this had never happened to them before, and they didn’t know what was going on. Neither did I. I looked out of the makeshift cloud window to see how far we were from the ground. I was confused why the miniature dots were getting closer and closer until I made a stunning realization. We were falling out of the sky.
“WE’RE FALLING!” I screamed, waving my hooves frantically toward the frantic and distracted Uni Riders. “DO SOMETHING!” Now knowing what was going on, they leapt into action. They leaned over the side of the falling cloud and located six parachutes. Good, I thought, they packed enough. They had. One of the Uni Riders clambered to pull the tape off of them and hand them out. Another of the Riders gave directions on what to do with the parachute.
“Alright,” he said hurriedly, “first you strap the backpack part to your pack. There are two tabs on it, each one for a single parachute. If the first tab you pull doesn’t inflate a parachute, the second one should inflate an emergency parachute. If neither of them inflate... not my problem. Talk to the people who make these things.
“I need you to sign these waivers to promise that none of this is our fault. If you want to sue someone, sue the malfunctioning cloud,” he suggested. I couldn’t tell if he was joking or not, but I didn’t have any time to analyze. I shoved the pack on over my kadoatie purse, which I had stuffed the pads and paper into while he was talking. Maybe I could write a story about me falling out of the sky. I suppose that could be good, I guess. Maybe, maybe not. Depends on what the editors like, I guess.
I refocused as Fyora nudged me and handed me a waiver and a pen. I signed quickly, in a rush. Unfortunately a rush still took a lot of time for me, as I had to hold the pen with my mouth. Hooves don’t work too well for holding pens or pencils, unfortunately. I listened for a signal to jump from the cloud. I checked to make sure that I had everything and my backpack was secure. I peeked out the carriage window for one last glance at how far up we were before I closed my eyes. Hearing the signal that we were low enough, I jumped.
I had never tried to skydive, but this was surprisingly pleasant. The wind whistled through my mane and tail. I opened my eyes. I was falling so fast! It made me scared, but I kept my fear to myself and pulled the first tab. A parachute didn’t come billowing out.
I started to panic. Everyone else’s parachutes had inflated the first time, and they were all floating safely above me. I urgently pulled on the second emergency tab, and a parachute inflated.
I sighed in relief as I floated down toward the ground, thinking about my adventures. It sure was fun going to Faerieland, getting chased by the Soup Faerie, getting turned into a petpet by Edna... okay, maybe not the last one. But as I floated down toward Neopia where it was dusk, I had time to reflect on my travels. I didn’t know how long I’d been gone, but I guessed around three days. My owner had probably reported me missing and was frantic and most likely had a Neopets detective trying to track me down. I was so glad to finally be going back to that.
I looked up, and Fyora was smiling down at me. I lifted my hoof and waved. It seemed appropriate at the time, but I hadn’t known that it was a bad choice. Fyora’s smiling expression suddenly turned into a look of horror. It was the last thing I saw before I hit my head hard on a Neopian’s roof and drifted into unconsciousness.
“She should be coming around right about now,” I heard the Neodoctor say in the distance. His voice was coming closer and closer. What was the Neodoctor doing here? He worked in Neopia Central! Maybe... maybe... I was back in Neopia Central!
My eyes flew open in surprise. I surveyed the room. I was in my living room, surrounded by my family, my owner, the Neodoctor, and an odd speckled Jetsam in the middle of the room, holding hands with my baby Jetsam brother named Cheeeh--sometimes Belle calls him Cheese, just to annoy him. Then he stabs her with a pen, and eventually everyone in the house is sprayed with a garden hose. They go a little overboard with their fights--literally.
“Wh-where am I?” I asked, confused. My head was spinning, and I had a splitting headache at the base of my neck. I groaned. “How did I get here?” Then, I noticed Fyora standing by the door. When she saw me gazing at her, a smile formed on her face. I guess going to her as a Bartamus wasn’t a dream, after all. It sure seemed like one, anyway.
“You’ve been out for a few hours,” explained the Neodoctor. “You hit your head on your house’s roof when you were trying to escape the crashing cloud.” I guess that part was true as well. “I can give you medicine for your headache, too, if you want.” I told him yes with my eyes, and he went to retrieve the medicine.
“Young lady,” said my owner, stepping forward, “you had me just worried sick! You’d been gone for a week and suddenly one morning I walk out and find you sprawled unconscious on the front lawn? I almost died right then and there!”
Overreacting as always, I thought bitterly. Some things never change.
“Oh,” she said, “and you have a new brother. His name is Qiero. I got him at the pound while you were gone.”
“Oh, hi,” I said nervously, knowing I hadn’t made such a good first impression. “I’m River. Nice to meet you.”
“I know,” he said confidently, “and I think I’m going to like it here. Think you can take me parachuting as well?”
I swallowed the medicine the doctor had brought me and stood up. “I’ll show you around the house,” I said, feeling better.
“You sure will,” he agreed. I knew he would make a great brother.
Thanks so much for reading my series, everyone! I love writing for the Neopian Times. I’m so glad I finally got to write a series! If you want to contact me, go ahead and Neomail my account semicutie3. Have a nice day. (: