"She is nice. Very blunt, but nice," said Pinkie.
Pepper felt now was a good time to bring up something that had been on his mind for a while now. "It seems as though you know almost everyone around here, or they know you."
Pinkie nodded. "Yeah."
"Why is that?"
"You spend a lot of time in a place, you get to know the locals."
Pepper took a deep breath. "I know, historically, that you aren't inclined to answer questions, but may I ask why exactly you spend a lot of time in this place?"
"I like it here," Pinkie said. Her voice had acquired a somewhat monotone attribute.
"I can see why you would, what with the super creepy smoke creature that clearly wants you gone, not to mention the creature that rips people's insides out and drains their blood. I don't know how you ever stay away."
"Hey, what do you know?" Pinkie said defensively. "There are a lot of wonderful people here, too."
"I see that, I do, but..." And suddenly, he didn't feel like bothering anymore. "Never mind," Pepper said.
Pinkie moved a pile of magazines and paystubs off of a chair and sat down. "Vanessa's really special to me, actually," she said.
Pepper remained silent. He hadn't heard Pinkie voluntarily offer information before, and he was afraid of ruining it.
"She helped me through a really difficult time."
Was she going to reveal what the difficult time was? Maybe it had to do with losing her mother.
"I helped her, too. She was... well, she thought she was..." She trailed off.
"Thought she was what?" Pepper asked, urging Pinkie to continue.
"She thought she was... she LOOKED like she was... but she wasn't. It was... she never wanted anything more than that baby."
Pepper couldn't help but wonder why Pinkie, who was so secretive about her own past and problems, was more than willing to share the secrets of others so freely. He dared not ask, however, in case it upset her. He was quite keen to get back into her good graces, as it would be very helpful in having someone to talk to on a regular basis.
Pinkie sighed deeply. "It hurt us all, actually. Vanessa was the talk of the town, a celebrity mother. Everyone pitched in to help get the house ready, she had several baby sitting volunteers, people were donating blankets, diapers, the works. She even had a name for it. She was going to name it..." she trailed off.
"Well, it doesn't matter now, does it?" she said, but she didn't sound angry. She sounded sad.
"So, what happened? Did she lose the baby?" Pepper hoped he wasn't asking too much here.
"No. She never had the baby to begin with."
"Well, then, how...?"
"She was bewitched." Pinkie's head was drooping, as if dredging these memories back up was tiring for her.
"Who bewitched her?" Pepper asked, losing his abandon for asking questions.
Pinkie lifted her head up and looked at him, as if realizing for the first time since Vanessa left that he was in the room with her. "No one. It doesn't matter." She shook her head and stood up. "You know, why don't we go find our room? I've stayed with Vanessa before, I know where we're going to be sleeping."
Pepper stood up to go with her, when all of a sudden she shouted, "Wait! I should show you the mullows first!"
"Her pets. Nobody else has mullows like Vanessa, she breeds them. Luckily, they're the type of creature that thrives in a cluttered environment, so it's not by chance that she's so good at raising them. Lots of people are unwilling to keep them because they don't want to keep their houses messy just to accomodate a pet, but Vanessa's mullows practically raise themselves in this mess." As she spoke, she was guiding Pepper through a series of winding hallways. He would have never guessed from the outside of the house that there was so much space inside. He made a mental note to himself that he should stop taking spacial dimension for granted if he was going to hang out with Pinkie in this place.
Finally, after what seemed like a good ten minutes of trekking through hallways, they got to a small room filled with what appeared to be a good decade's worth of clutter.
"How can anyone live like this?" Pepper wondered aloud.
"Vanessa's a pack rat," Pinkie explained. "She doesn't throw anything away. Sometimes, I'll come over and help her move her junk in here, so that the mullows are more comfortable."
He followed Pinkie as she climbed over the piles of junk, almost expertly making her way across the room. Pepper didn't quite have her finesse, in fact, he fell at least twice before they finally got to a small clearing in the clutter.
"Here," Pinkie whispered, "They're sleeping."
Lying in the middle of the clearing were five round, fluffy creatures. They looked about the size of basketballs, and were brightly colored. One was hot pink, another, neon purple. There was also an electric lime green one, and the last two were the same shade of highliter yellow.
"What ARE they?" Pepper asked. "They look like Tribbles."
"They're not Tribbles, they're mullows. When they're not asleep, they're really quite useful. They can speak any language, for one thing. They are also a lot stronger than they look, and can help you move heavy objects around if they're trained. You wouldn't want to get into it with an un-trained mullow, or you might end up good and squashed." She nodded firmly, her pigtails bobbing up and down.
"Well, I've never seen one before," Pepper said, doing his best to maintain his own need to know things, as a boy. It had been quickly slipping away from him ever since they entered the Dune, he felt it was high time he got it back.
Pinkie rolled her eyes. "I don't think there's a number high enough for the amount of things you haven't seen before, Pepper," she said bossily. "That doesn't mean they don't exist."
The murffle made her way back through the piles of clutter to the door. Pepper followed her, only falling once this time.
"Come on," Pinkie said, "Let's go to our room."
Chapter 1: Pepper
Chapter 2: Pinkie
Chapter 3: Dune
Chapter 4: Mugget
Chapter 5: Deltiology
Chapter 6: Umbrella
Chapter 7: The
Chapter 8: Exsanguination
Chapter 9: Oubliette
Chapter 10: Ferret
Chapter 11: Defenestrate
Chapter 12: Pound
Chapter 13: Aerodynamics
Chapter 14: Callipygian
Chapter 15: Cosmonaut
Chapter 16: Ensue
Chapter 17: Translucent
Chapter 18: Shindig
Full Story at pepperadventure