"It will be okay, Pepper!" Pinkie said.
"Yeah, kid, we can get you another one!" Vanessa added.
"I don't WANT another one!" Pepper yelled. "You can't just GET a Lucky Thing. You have to discover it. Otherwise, it isn't special at all."
"Well, we'll DISCOVER you another one," Vanessa said firmly.
Pepper sniffed and wiped his nose. "It's no use," he said. "I couldn't take care of the one that I had, why would I even deserve another one?"
He didn't notice Pinkie and Vanessa exchange glances over his head.
"I've had that Lucky Thing for three whole months," he sighed. "I've never been able to hold onto anything else for so long."
He heard a shuffling noise and looked up. Pinkie was digging around in her bag.
"What are you doing?" he asked, but she didn't answer. He didn't expect her to, honestly, he'd gotten used to her not answering questions.
But after a few minutes of digging, she pulled something out. It was a bracelet, silver and shiny and decidedly girly.
"Here," Pinkie said, holding it out. "It was my mother's. I know it's not your Lucky Thing, but she wore this every day and she always said she was the luckiest woman in the world, to... to have... me and my father..."
Pepper could think of little he wanted to wear less than the silver bracelet. But he looked at Pinkie's face, Pinkie's sincere, pleading face. It seemed to say that if Pepper wore the bracelet, it would somehow make Pinkie feel better, too. And not only that, he was flattered that she was thinking of him so kindly. So he took it, girly as it was, and with Pinkie's help, put it around his wrist.
He looked into Pinkie's eyes, which had filled with tears at the thought of her mother. She smiled briefly and tried to wipe them away, as if Pepper had not noticed yet.
"Thank you, Pinkie," he said, honestly. "I really appreciate it."
Their eyes locked for a moment longer, then they heard Vanessa clear her throat, and they both snapped back to the present moment and turned their attention to the Pound player.
"Well," she said, smiling, "If you kids don't have any more gifts to exchange, we should get my Smithhugh to the vet. He's not doing so great this morning."
Vanessa had already taken the electric lime green mullow out of its room and put it in a small carrying cage. Pepper hadn't seen one awake yet; it had four little webbed feet that skittered around frantically, and big, wide eyes that made it seem to be in a constant state of panic. Or maybe it only looked like that since it was in a cage about to go to the vet.
"What's wrong with him?" Pepper asked.
Vanessa waved for Pepper to approach the cage. "Come over here, I'll show you,"
Pepper obliged, walking over and leaning so that he could better examine the creature inside the cage.
"See that there?" Vanessa asked, pointing. "That little lump on his neck?"
Pepper saw nothing, but he nodded anyway.
"Well, it's been swelling. I'm not sure what it is, but hopefully the vet will be able to help and make it go away. Me and the boys have been commissioned to do a job later this week, and I'll need all five of them at full health in order to pull it off!"
"Well, we better get a move on, then," Pinkie said.
"Right you are, my dear. Come on, guys, let's get going." Vanessa stood up, but she didn't head to the front door. Instead, she was walking towards the back of the room.
"Where are you going?" Pepper asked.
"We're going to take the undergrounds," Vanessa said. "You don't want to walk around in all that hot sun and no shade, do you, kid?"
Pepper tried to shoot Pinkie a look, as if to say, "Why couldn't we have been using the undergrounds this whole time?" But she didn't appear to notice.
Vanessa tapped a button on the wall, and a door whooshed open to reveal an elevator.
"Cool," Pepper said, as they all piled on. The mullow in the cage had started making short squeaking noises.
"Oh, shh, baby, hush," Vanessa cooed, holding the cage up to her face. "You'll feel better soon."
The door shut, and they were headed down. For some reason, Pepper felt like their should have been more flash and showiness to the ride down, but it was fairly simple and short. The elevator itself was quite simple, no fancy lights or decorations. There wasn't even any cheesy elevator music, which Pepper had to admit he was grateful for. It was, unfortunately, awkwardly silent as they descended, as no one could think of anything to say.
Finally, the doors whooshed open again, and Pepper could hardly believe his eyes. Clearly, this was where everyone in this place commuted, as the undergrounds were positivly bustling with activity. People were surging around, chatting, eating, resting, and doing the things people do when in transit.
The undergrounds were very well-lit, and looked, to Pepper, somewhat like a shopping mall. Except instead of stores, there were doors to places presumably hidden between here and the surface of the Dune.
"I had no idea this was here," Pepper said to Pinkie.
"It's the common way to get around in the Dune," Pinkie said, "But it's tough to keep a low cover here. That's why we've been walking up top."
"Why do you need to keep a low cover?" Pepper asked. Pinkie remained silent, but he remembered the incident with Och.
After a bit of walking, which Pepper was almost sad to see end as he was enjoying watching all of the people that lived in the Dune, Vanessa said, "Ah, here we are."
They had stopped at a door, exactly the same as all the other doors, except that this one had the number "739" in raised gold on it.
Vanessa prodded a button nearby, and this door whooshed open as well, revealing another elevator.
"All aboard, everyone!" Vanessa said. "Next stop, the vet!"
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
Chapter 21: Filch
Full Story at pepperadventure