Slippery Soup: Part Three
It was time to go inside and begin preparing supper for the hungry Neopians. On the door was a schedule marked with the types of soups served at each meal. "Tchea Fruit Soup" was written in the supper column for that day. I went inside and picked up the gigantic recipe book. The recipes were neatly arranged in alphabetical order and in tabs. Tchea Fruit Soup was a rather complex concoction according to the recipe book:
5 chopped and skinned Tchea Fruits
1 chopped and desiccated bagguss
4 cups of brown sauce
3 Cheops berries, no stalk*
1 Ummagine Core*
1. Fill the cauldron three-fourths full of cold water and bring to a boil.
2. Add the chopped and skinned Tchea Fruits one by one, counting exactly sixty seconds between adding each fruit. It is imperative that exactly sixty seconds pass.
3. To desiccate the bagguss, poke it with a stick and bring close to the flame under the cauldron but do not touch the flame or you'll end up with a damaged bagguss. Add this as soon as it is finished desiccating and ONLY after you have added the five Tchea Fruits.
4. Slowly add the brown sauce while stirring the soup for about ten minutes. Adding it too quickly will result in an imbalance of flavor.
5. Shave an ummagine down to the core. Do not add any of the flesh into the soup. It will completely throw off the flavor.
6. Put out the flame under the cauldron completely. Then add the three cheops berries without the stalks. Make sure they are chopped completely. Let stand for five minutes and then serve immediately.
Adrenaline rushed through me. It was time for me to fulfill my task. I felt excited. Tonight, Neopia would not go hungry because of me. I skimmed the directions and began bringing the water to a boil. I then chopped up the Tchea Fruits and hastily dumped them in. I took a peek at the clock. It was nearly five o' clock! I had to hurry so I threw in a fresh bagguss and poured in the brown sauce quickly and then dropped in the ummagine. I quickly extinguished the flame and then dropped in the chopped cheops berries.
Outside, Neopets had begun to line up in an orderly fashion, ready to eat. At the door was a small strange looking device labeled "Neopoint Balance Checker". I supposed that this device was supposed to check the amount of Neopoints each Neopet had since the soup kitchen was only open to those that had less than three thousand Neopoints. The first Neopets began to file in as I opened the door. The Neopoint Balance Checker remained silent, indicating that the neopets were eligible. I served up the soup in bowls. The Neopets began to sip the soup. The blue Wocky that just walked in made a strange looking face.
"Are you replacing the soup faerie?" she inquired.
"No, I'm just taking her place as she recovers from her injury," I replied.
"Well, good, because I want the real Tchea Fruit Soup. This soup tastes rather atrocious. Did you even use the same recipe?" The Wocky was not afraid to withhold any criticism.
Meanwhile I was taken aback by this comment so I decided to try a spoonful myself. I made a face too, for I knew the Wocky was right. My heart sank... was I already a failure? This soon? The other neopets, although dissatisfied with the taste of the soup, gulped the soup down anyway for this was the only food they would get. One by one, they even thanked me on the way out, causing me to feel even more distressed. What could they possibly thank me for? For ruining their supper?
It was around seven o' clock in the evening when the Neopets stopped showing up. A perfect time for me to lock the door and shut the blinds and cry, something that Fyora would surely frown upon. Faeries were not supposed to collapse to adversity, especially faeries that worked in the royal offices. As the tears came streaming down my face, a knock came at the door.
"What do you want?!" I yelled, choking back tears.
"It's me, Hubert," said a little voice.
"I don't know any Huberts!"
"I run the hot dog stand down the road and I overheard that you had some difficulties with cooking. I wanted to see what was the matter."
"Go away! I don't need any help! Stop bothering me!"
Was I mad? Maybe I was. What made me so angry yet so foolish at that moment is still difficult to comprehend.
"Alright, ma'am. I know, you faeries can do everything with a wave of a wand but in case you need any aid, just holler at me. You know what my stand looks like."
"Hmph! How dare you insult faeries like that!? AWAY WITH YE!"
I could hear footsteps as the mynci walked away. I sighed and buried my face in my hands.
"What is wrong with me. He didn't even do anything and I drove him away. I guess I'm just an overall failure."
"Psst. Alysanne!" came a soft gentle whisper.
I quickly turned around and saw a little bottle on the the table that glowed lavender. As I approached it, the glow grew brighter and I could feel a slight magical attraction to the bottle. I picked up the bottle and peered inside.
"OH! Fyora! You are trapped in a bottle! Let me get you out!" I shouted as soon as I saw a faerie with lavender clothing, eyes, hair, and wings.
"Shh! No, I'm not trapped in a bottle; this is just a bottle filled with my faerie dust. This is my promise to you that I will be with you every step of the way as you struggle. When I sense trouble, I am able to communicate with you through this bottle and you are able to communicate back, but only when I truly believe you are in trouble. Now, tell me what's wrong. I sense distress," came Fyora's sweet, gentle voice through the bottle.
"Oh, Fyora. It's hopeless. I can't cook if my life depended on it. I messed up all the ingredients and they were all listed clearly in the book. I'm just an incompetent fool. Get rid of me, Fyora. I can't do this anymore. Get rid of me, I'm not fit to even work in your castle. Just cast me out as a grey faerie!"
"Alysanne! What have I told you about giving up? I am not going to get rid of you and if you keep asking, I'll assign you an even more difficult job. I only put faeries in jobs that they are capable of doing and I know you are perfectly capable!"
"How can you be sure? You may be the faerie queen; however, there is no magic that allows you to peer into my mind and observe the skills I have. How do you know?! You're just saying that out of pity!"
At that moment, I burst into tears and threw the bottle, shattering the glass and scattering the faerie dust everywhere. Moments later, I realized what I had just done.
"Fyora! FYORA! I'm sorry! Are you still there?! Speak to me!"
There was no answer, only the whooshing of the wind gusts outside.
"FYORA! Please! I need to speak to you!"
I then barely heard her fading voice.
"Clearly my presence has been nothing more than a hindrance. I sincerely apologize for disturbing you. But let me remind you that the real incompetent fool is the one that is ignorant to those that are wanting to provide him or her assistance. The real incompetent fool is the one that cannot advocate for him or herself when he or she is in distress. At this point, you are no incompetent fool. As a friend and as a queen, I would hate to see my friend fall into that trap so please, take a long moment to reflect on your thoughts and actions. You are capable, I know it. Think positive and don't be afraid to ask for help. And now please try to have a good night and hopefully you'll have time to dwell upon a solution to your predicament."
Then a gust of wind blew through the window, taking all the faerie dust away and with that, carrying away Fyora's presence. Although Fyora gave good advice, I continued to break down and weep. Her voice was gentle but her words were harsh. That was just how Fyora was. I was in no mood for harsh words though so I stormed upstairs and collapsed into the bed. I continued to sulk and worry until I realized how tired I really was. All the cooking and serving and the emotional hurdles had me exhausted. Finally, after staring at Kreludor's bright reflection in the sky, I closed my eyes and fell into a deep sleep, ignoring my worries and somewhat ignoring Fyora's advice for the moment. I knew she was right, but *yawn* I was just simply too exhausted to dwell on anything but sleep.
To be continued...
*ingredients credited to d_morton, another NT writer who assisted me in getting past my writer's block