The Best Mistake Ever
Ember smiled at the little Candychan standing on the kitchen counter. He grinned up at her with curious eyes, his wings arched back in a majestic pose. He was the most handsome, delicate, and happy looking Candychan Ember had ever seen. It was incredible to think that he wasn’t real.
The chocolate Usul marveled at her handiwork as she began cleaning up the kitchen. It had been a hard day’s labor, but it had been worth the effort to see the grin upon the lifelike sculpture’s face. With only a few final details to go, Ember rested her paws as she sat down facing the counter, marveling at her creation.
“It’s incredible,” she said aloud. Ember then heard the pattering of little paws from around the corner.
“Ooh, do I smell CHOCOLATE?”
Ember looked up to see a baby Lupe bounding down the nearby staircase, his nose undoubtedly following the delectable scent to its source. His light blue fur stood at attention as he rounded the corner of the kitchen and spotted the chocolate Candychan sculpture sitting on the counter. His eyes widened in awe and his tail wagged excitedly as he ventured forward and moved cautiously toward the counter to get a closer look at the intricate detail and careful precision involved in the making of this edible creation.
The delicate little Candychan consisted of a rich combination of milk and dark chocolate displaying itself in alternating horizontal stripes from the top of his head to the bottoms of his feet. Tear-drop shaped chocolates formed the eyes, and perhaps his most ornate features were the wispy wings made from whipped frosting gathered in fancy spiral patterns on every surface. The baby Lupe’s mouth began to water as he stared in a trance-like state into the delectable eyes of the life-like confection before him. Ember turned to face her brother.
“Sorry, Kandern,” she began, “but this isn’t for you. It’s a gift for a friend.” She then placed a necklace of pastel colored sweets around the Candychan’s neck, at the center of which was a red and pink heart-shaped sweet with the words “to Pandora from Ember” etched into the center. To Ember’s surprise, the little Lupe was even more excited than before.
“Aww! That’s so... sweet!” Kandern giggled to himself at his unintended witticism and looked up at his sister. “What’s it for?”
“Tomorrow is Valentine’s Day,” Ember said, “And the Candychan is for my good friend Pandora.”
Kandern tilted his head slightly. “Isn’t she that cloud Aisha that comes over here sometimes?” he asked.
“Yep, that’s her,” Ember said kindly as she stood up next to the counter again. “You see, the Candychan is Pandora’s favorite petpet in all of Neopia, and so I thought that this would be the perfect gift for her. It may not be a real one, but I’m sure it’ll taste better.” Ember laughed and Kandern echoed it affectionately.
“Wow!” Kandern exclaimed. “It looks great! I’m sure she’ll love it.”
“I’m hoping so, too,” agreed Ember. “I’m almost finished with it. I just need to clean up the kitchen, arrange a time to drop off Pandora’s present at her house...”
Kandern’s face momentarily lit up. “Can I help?” he asked.
Ember frowned slightly. “Hmm, I don’t know,” she said doubtfully. “I’m almost completely done with it. I really don’t think there is anything you can do.”
Kandern lowered his eyes. “Oh, okay,” he said, a look of deep disappointment lining his youthful features. “But wow, she’s going to be so happy when she sees it!” He then looked up at Ember with a renewed sense of hope. “Are you sure there isn’t anything I can do to help?” His eyes were as wide as Ember had ever seen them, pleading with her for a chance to do good. Despite her doubt, Kandern’s baby blue eyes were just too adorable to resist, and Ember nodded silently as she smiled down at the little Lupe.
“You know, I think you can help me after all,” said Ember.
“Really? Yippee!” Kandern’s former pleading eyes lit up and he jumped excitedly into the air. “Thanks a lot, Ember!”
Ember smiled at his eagerness. “Okay, here is what I need you to do,” she said, moving towards the Candychan and eying his bare wings. “I’ve purchased some sprinkles from the food shop. They’re in the cupboard. Go ahead and pour some sprinkles over the wings. Be careful not to be too messy, though. I’ll be upstairs finishing up some housework. Just call if you need anything, okay?” Kandern nodded fervently.
“Thanks again, Ember!” He was doing something close to a somersault now. “I promise I’ll be the best sprinkle pourer ever!” Ember smiled once more at his enthusiasm. While she was still worried about putting the fruits of her labor into the paws of her anxious younger brother, she was nevertheless delighted by his genuine desire to be helpful. There is no way he can mess up something this simple, she thought to herself. She then nodded and looked down to face Kandern.
“Good, then,” she said as she exited the kitchen and headed up the stairs. “If you need anything, just ask!”
“I will!” Kandern cried with glee at the prospect of having the important position of sprinkle distributor. He quickly made his way over to the cupboard of supplies and began examining the contents inside. At the front were several small canisters of colored sprinkles ranging from white to rainbow, ranging in different sizes from long and skinny to tiny crystals. Kandern rummaged through all of them before frowning slightly to himself. “Aww,” he cried, “we don’t have any pink sprinkles.” After moving all of the other canisters out of the way, however, he spotted a small container at the back of the cupboard filled with tiny pink sprinkles.
“That’s it!” he cheered with glee as he jumped down from the chair he was standing on with the tiny canister in his paws. Kandern’s eyes widened as he marveled at the delicate sugar crystals sitting idly in the small cylinder. They were sparkling beneath the kitchen light with a radiant glow, and there seemed to be something almost magical about them. He then made his way back over to the Candychan, positioned the canister over it, and carefully shook an even coating of sprinkles over the wings. Kandern nodded in satisfaction at a job well done. Ember was going to be so proud of him, he thought. He then bolted up the stairs and bounded into Ember’s room to deliver the news.
“Oh, hey, Kandern,” Ember said casually as she dusted the top of her dresser. “How’s the decorating going?”
“Great!” Kandern squealed. “I’m all done with it and I have to tell you, it looks great, if I do say so myself.” He grinned.
“Wonderful,” Ember replied. “When I’m finished cleaning, I’ll come take a look.”
“Okay!” Kandern cheered. “I think you’ll be really happy with it.”
About twenty minutes later, Ember and Kandern came down the stairs together to witness the Chocolate Candychan in all its glory. They arrived at the counter top on which they had been working with it, but only the sheet of wax paper it had been standing on was still present. Ember gave Kandern a confused look.
“Where’s the Candychan?” she asked.
“I d-don’t unders-stand,” he stammered. “It was right here!”
Ember looked at him doubtfully. “Kandern,” Ember said calmly, “did you have a moment of weakness and accidentally eat my statue?”
“No!” Kandern shook his head furiously.
Ember’s level of impatience was rising. “Look,” she said through gritted teeth, “lying won’t get you anywhere.” At that moment, something in Ember seemed to snap. “And you know what else? I gave you a simple job. All you had to do was put some sprinkles on the sculpture, and you manage not only to eat the thing, but then you go and lie about it! Do you have any idea how long it took to make?!” she screeched.
Tears were pouring out of Kandern’s eyes now. “I-I’m sorry,” he sobbed. “I d-don’t know what h-happened. But I d-didn’t eat it, I s-swear!”
Ember took a hard look at the little Lupe sobbing in the floor. He appeared to be sincere. He had never done anything like this before, and there was no evidence to implicate him. There was no frosting on his chin, nor were there any remnants of chocolate on his lips. The sculpture was gone, but whatever had happened to it, Ember was certain it was not her brother’s fault. She then gave him a warm smile.
“I believe you,” she said after a long silence and pulled him into a hug.
“I’m s-so sorry,” Kandern sobbed. “I sh-shouldn’t have left the k-kitchen.”
“How were you supposed to know it was going to disappear?” Ember looked at Kandern seriously. “Don’t worry about it, okay? I can always make another one.”
Kandern looked up at her with sad eyes. “But all that work... wasted...”
“It wasn’t a waste,” Ember said assuredly. “Now, if you help me clean this up, I promise I’ll let you help me make a new one tomorrow.”
Whatever guilt Kandern had been feeling disappeared.“Okay!” he exclaimed and began tidying up the kitchen.
Ember smiled sadly. While she secretly felt that all her hard work had gone to waste, she wasn’t going to let it upset her. She then went over to the counter and spotted the canister of pink sprinkles.
“Where did you find these?” she asked.
“Up in the cupboard,” Kandern said as he continued cleaning the kitchen table.
“Hmm,” Ember said as she picked up the container and eyed it carefully. “So that’s where I put the faerie dust.” Kandern froze immediately before turning to look at Ember.
“Oh yeah,” said Ember. “It’s really handy for certain things. You never know how a little bit of magic can turn the ordinary into something incredible.” Kandern’s eyes began to widen when the doorbell rang.
“I’ll get it,” Ember said cheerily as she headed for the door. Kandern lowered his head in disgrace as he realized what he had done. He watched Ember painfully as she opened the door, waiting for her to discover his horrible mistake. Ember was pleasantly surprised at who was standing on the other side of the doorway.
“Hey, Pandora!” Ember greeted her warmly. “I wasn’t expecting you at this hour.”
“I know,” said the cloud Aisha. Her eyes were full of life and her face donned a friendly smile. “Still, I was in the neighborhood and I wanted to give you this.” She handed Ember a small hand-made card. Ember opened it to reveal a drawing of the two of them together with a chocolate covered lollipop taped inside. Ember’s eyes welled up with happiness.
“Wow, it’s beautiful, Pandora!” she said happily. “Thank you so much!”
“You’re very welcome,” Pandora said with a smile. “I’m glad you like it. I was going to wait until tomorrow but I was just so excited I thought I’d give it to you now.”
“Believe me, I know how you feel,” said Ember. “Would you like to come inside for a bit?”
“Sure!” Pandora stepped inside and Ember closed the door behind her. “So what’s new with you?”
“Oh, not a whole lot,” Ember said, trying not to draw attention to herself. Suddenly, there was a voice coming from the kitchen.
Ember sighed to herself. “Just a second, Kandern.” Ember turned back to Pandora, who was sniffing the air curiously.
“Are you cooking something?” asked Pandora. “It smells really good in here.”
“I was,” Ember admitted. “I was just starting to clean up.”
“Hold on!” Ember shouted towards the kitchen.
Pandora’s ears perked up. “Cool! What were you making?”
Ember looked down at her feet. She wasn’t sure what to say. “I-” Ember began.
“EMBER!” Suddenly a flurry of wings burst from the kitchen. Ember and Pandora watched in shock as a small object flew toward the ceiling and fluttered around frantically in the far left corner. Kandern emerged from the kitchen and looked up at the ceiling in awe. Ember’s jaw dropped to the floor; Pandora was nearly crying tears of joy. There, right in front of their eyes, was the chocolate Candychan frantically fluttering his wings in the corner of the living room. He was frightened. He was confused. And he was alive.
He turned around in mid-air to face the three pets staring up at him in amazement, and spotted the cloud Aisha with tears in her eyes. Whether it was a hunch or instinct, he knew his new home would be with her.
He slowly descended from the ceiling and flew gingerly toward Pandora. He slowed his approach when he reached her eye level, remained floating in mid-air, and gave her a wide smile. It was then that Pandora noticed the heart around his neck. Upon reading the inscription, she looked over at Ember in complete astonishment.
“Oh, Ember,” said Pandora, tears streaming down her face, “I- I don’t even know what to say!” She flung her arms around Ember in an enormous hug. The Candychan began to flutter in excitement. Pandora released her grip on Ember and gave her an appreciative smile. “But how?” she asked.
Ember glanced over at Kandern, who was wearing a look of silent terror and had somehow managed to remain silent during the whole ordeal.
“You know,” Ember began, “I have a way with edibles. In fact, you could say it was just like magic.” Pandora giggled at the explanation. Kandern could only stare in bewilderment.
“Well, however you did it, I can’t thank you enough!” Pandora gave Ember another passionate hug and reached over to pet her new Candychan. It cooed and hummed lightly as she stroked him gently behind the ears. He then flipped on his back, still aloft in the middle of the room. Pandora stroked him under his chin affectionately.
“Hmm, I think I’ll call you...” She spotted the pink sparkles on his wings. “Sprinkles! What do you think?” Pandora was addressing her new chocolate companion as she continued to stroke him. “Do you like that?” He nodded and squealed in approval. Without thinking about it, Pandora reached over to her new petpet, gently scooped him up and began to cradle him in her arms as if he were a sleeping child. Content with having found his new owner, Sprinkles peacefully closed his eyes, comfortable enough to fall asleep. Ember and Kandern stared in amazement as Pandora gently rocked him.
“I better get him home,” she said as she continued to rock him. She then gave Ember a look of immense gratitude.
“This is the greatest gift anyone has ever given me,” she said, tears forming in her eyes once again. “I-I just wish there was some way I could thank you.”
Ember broke into a warm smile. “Just make sure he gets some sleep. He’s had a very busy day.”
“Yes, of course!” Pandora headed toward the door, Sprinkles still asleep in her arms. “I’ll see you soon!” she called as she headed out the door, wearing a grateful smile. Ember closed the door slowly and turned to face her younger brother. Kandern was shaking nervously, still in shock at the events he had just witnessed. Ember stepped over to him gently.
“You thought they were sprinkles, didn’t you?”
Kandern nodded painfully. “Ember, I had no idea tha-”
“Don’t be sorry!” Ember interjected. “I don’t think I’ve ever seen Pandora this happy. And to be honest, I’d rather have a real live Candychan instead of a replica, wouldn’t you?” Kandern mirrored Ember’s look of understanding and a wide smile spread across his face. After a moment of silence, Ember had an idea.
“Wanna make another one?” she asked playfully. Kandern bounded up and down excitedly.
“Sure! But can we make a different petpet this time? I’ve always wanted a chocolate Meepit!” Ember laughed jovially.
“After today, you can make anything you want,” she said. “We better finish up cleaning the kitchen first, though.”
“Yeah, you’re probably right,” said Kandern as the two of them walked merrily into the kitchen. “You know,” he said, “I know I messed up, but that turned out to be a pretty cool mistake.”
Ember knelt down to look Kandern in the eyes. “You know what?” she said, “That was the best mistake ever.” The two laughed playfully, for the two of them were ready and willing to make even more happy, joyful, and tasty mistakes together.