Either way, Pepper woke up with a startled gasp, having never entirely calmed down from the night's events. Pinkie, once again, was already awake.
Pepper wondered how she could do that, consistently wake up early. Left to his own devices, Pepper could sleep entire days away without a thought.
He could not, however, resist the plate of delicious smelling breakfast currently held under his nose by an absolutely gorgeous woman. "Thank you," he mumbled best he could having just woken up, and took the plate from her.
Pinkie was sitting in a chair, her plate near empty.
"You sleep well, kid?" Vanessa asked, sitting herself at the foot of his bed. She leaned over and rumpled his hair.
Pepper, through a mouthful of eggs and a stomach full of butterflies, could only nod.
"Listen, you guys, I hate to ask you this, but would you mind helping me out with some stuff I have to do today? You help me, and I'll help you get ready for the Throwbanger's Ball!" She winked at Pepper. He surmized that, were he made of something less substantial than flesh, he would have melted then and there.
"Of course," he said, but it came out more like, "'Fmmmrse", through his chewing mandibles.
He did not catch the glare Pinkie was sending him.
"Great!" Vanessa said. "I've got to take Smithhugh, one of my mullows, to the vet. Pinkie tells me she showed you the mullows already, eh, kid?"
"Yeah, I'm the only breeder in the area, not too many people are willing to give them a shot. Don't like the mess. My opinion? They're throwing away a shot at some really good friends and helpful companions. I've never had to hire a mover because of those guys." She chuckled to herself.
"You've never moved, Vanessa," Pinkie said.
"That's beside the point!"
Pepper couldn't help grinning. For some reason, Vanessa made him feel more at ease than he had the entire time he'd been in the Dune. Despite, of course, the fact that her beauty made him nervous. He felt like she thought of he and Pinkie as equals, and she didn't put off that weird, creepy vibe everyone else so far had.
"Well, eat up, kid, and meet me in the living room when you're decent. You too, Pinkie," she said, standing up and patting Pinkie on the head. Vanessa left the room.
"You certainly are drooling all over yourself to help her," Pinkie said, once Vanessa was out of earshot.
Pepper swallowed his bite of bacon. "What?"
"How do you know I didn't have any plans today?"
"What are you talking about?"
Pinkie stood up, flipped her hair and imitated Vanessa's voice: "Oh, Pepper, will you help me out with some errands today?" Then, in a high-pitched, mocking voice, "Oh, Vanessa, but of course! Anything for yooooooooou!"
With a sly grin, Pepper said, "Jealous?"
Pinkie dropped her hands to her hips and glared at him. "Are you crazy? No." But she seemed flustered, as if she suddenly didn't know what to do with herself. "Anyway, that's not the point. The point is, we have things to do before the ball, we can't spend all day helping Vanessa."
"I thought she was your friend?"
"Then what's the problem?"
Pinkie let out an exasperated sigh.
Having finished his dinner, Pepper set his plate on the night stand and climbed out of bed. "Come on, Pinkie, what did you need to do today that was so important, anyway? Or, wait, is that something else you can't tell me?"
Pinkie was fuming. She didn't answer him, but her rage was clear as the daylight streaming through the window. She huffed, picked up her own empty plate, and stalked out the door. Pepper practically had to run to keep up with her.
When they got to the living room, Pepper realized that he had never gotten to use the bathroom last night, and as such, was pretty well bursting by now. "Um, Vanessa? Where is your rest room?" he asked.
"Oh, hey, sorry, kid! I didn't tell you that before, did I? It's right down that hallway, to your left." She pointed to the opposite wall of the room, where there were even more hallways. Pepper was almost afraid to go alone, but he figured if he got lost, he could yell for help.
He headed off down the hallway, and sure enough, on the left, he found a door that was wide open, leading to a small bathroom. He went in, relieved himself, and was washing his hands when he noticed it. His reflection in the mirror was missing something.
Pepper gasped, and lifted his hand to his neck just to be absolutely sure, but there was no mistaking it.
His Lucky Thing was missing.
Pepper let out a shriek, his heart racing. What was he going to do without his Lucky Thing? Especially in this place? Nothing had happened to him so far, wearing it, but who knew what kind of scary dangerous things would be out to get him now?
He ran back into the living room. "Pinkie!" He shouted. "Can you take me back to the bedroom?"
"What? Why?" Pinkie could see the fear in Pepper's eyes, and he could tell she was concerned.
"My Lucky Thing! It's missing!"
Pinkie gasped, too. "Maybe you lost it in your sleep?"
"That's why I want to check the bedroom!"
"Okay, follow me, it's this way." She set off down the maze of hallways again. Vanessa, offering to help look as well, followed after them.
Pinkie had barely opened the door to the room they had slept in when Pepper burst through and began frantically searching. The murffle and the woman helped as well.
They scoured the room from ceiling to floor, but it was no use. They found lots of dust bunnies and bottle caps that had fallen behind the beds and furniture, but absolutely no Lucky Thing.
It was gone.
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
Chapter 19: Pseudocyesis
Chapter 20: Plantation
Full Story at pepperadventure