|Halloween was over.
For those who loved the holiday it was always a shame to see it go, but it was done for another year. The decorations were being put away, the candy was eaten, and the costumes were put up for yet another year. It was time to get into the full swing of autumn now, and there was a grand tradition to get everyone started -- namely, getting all the discounted candy at the Chocolate Factory that didn't sell!
Chance was busy going through several bags of seasonal candy marked down to half price. He pulled out several chocolate and mint bars, crunchy candies, and so many bags of tooth-decaying sweets that he could practically feel his dentist wince.
The Wocky's sugary shopping extravaganza went through the entire store, grabbing everything discounted that he could find. A bright smile covered his face as he walked through, grabbing more and more candy and chocolate.
However, as he reached into a large barrel to scoop out shovelfuls of Chocolate Covered Peanuts, he suddenly...
Date: Nov 10th
...felt someone pat him on the shoulder. Chance slowly turned around and saw the Chocolate Factory shopkeeper.
"I see you have quite a few items in your paws. Would you like a basket?"
Chance smiled and took the basket. Now he could buy even more chocolate!
Chance continued to wander down the aisles putting more and more goodies into his cart. He was heading toward the back of the store when he heard soft crying.
Who could ever be sad in a chocolate paradise? Chance thought to himself.
He veered around to the last aisle and saw a chocolate Kacheek sitting on the floor with tears streaming down its face...
Date: Nov 10th
...as a pink Shoyru pulled several bags of toffee out of its paws.
"Honestly, Kitty! You know that these always make you sick. Why don't we put these back and go find some jelly pops instead?" the Shoyru said.
Kitty nodded and wiped her eyes, relinquishing her toffee. Chance was glad that she wasn't so upset anymore; he hated to think of anyone being upset in such a wonderful place!
"Excuse me," the Shoyru asked him, making him jump slightly. "Do you know where the jelly pops are?
"Sure!" Chance said, happy to be able to help them. "They're down at the front. Do you want me to show you?"
The Shoyru nodded as she took Kitty's hand. They turned 'round to head back to the front of the store when...
Date: Nov 11th
...they suddenly found the Chocolate Factory Kiko standing before them! "Jelly pops, you say?" he asked.
They all nodded their heads in shock and awe.
"Don't be surprised... I always make appearances during sales! It helps to sell all of the holiday chocolate! Plus, it's nice to bring smiles to everyone's faces." The Kiko started to hum as they all stood in silence.
Chance knew that the jelly pops were up front. Being brave, he decided to see what trick this Kiko had up his sleeve. "I'm sorry, sir, but I don't see jelly pops anywhere around here!"
The Kiko chuckled at Chance, a goofy grin on his face, and said, "Of course not! They're all up front, but I was going to make a fresh batch and show you how they're made!"
Kitty and the Shoyru clapped, excited by their good fortune.
The Kiko then led them to a door that was hidden behind the chocolate Nova display and, suddenly,...
Date: Nov 11th
...the floor was dropping out beneath them.
Chance barely had time to scream before he felt his paws scrape against a surface with the texture of sandpaper. Fervent, the Wocky scrabbled at the rough wall. He heard Kitty yowling like her namesake as she too fell, and glimpsed a flash of the Shoyru's wingtip, pink and flailing uselessly.
Too late he realized his efforts would bring him no handhold, and too late he remembered the real Chocolate Factory Kiko never ventured from the back of the shop without his cane.
The Kiko that had led them had no cane.
Why didn't I see it before? I come here the day after Halloween every year, how did I not notice? He thought of the basket clutched in his hand, the chocolate he wouldn't live to eat, and in that moment of terror an idea struck him. "Kitty!" he called, hoping she'd hear him.
But if she had, she could make no response. For not a moment later, he heard a splash, then felt himself being pulled into a warm, moist embrace. That was the last thing he remembered before his vision went black...
Date: Nov 12th
..."Wake up, wake up!" Chance opened his eyes to Kitty and the Shoyru. His head hurting, Chance rolled over onto what looked like a giant gummy rat. Blinking to clear his vision, Chance realized he was stuck in what looked like a giant underground storage facility.
Mountains of boxes were stacked at all ends, each with a different label from "Chocolate Treats" to "Overly Sweet". The place was huge and badly in need of organizing. Many boxes were damaged, and some had fallen over, revealing the delicious contents inside. Suddenly, a light flickered overhead. It was the Kiko!
"Well, well, well, my trap has been successful! You unfortunate pets now have the task of cleaning the Chocolate Factory Kiko's storeroom! You see, I am a mere imposter who was assigned this job as community service after stealing from the Soup Kitchen. But I have no intentions of wasting my time cleaning! Now hurry, if you ever want to get out of here alive!"
Kitty started crying. There seemed to be endless boxes all over the place, and it would take years to sort through them all. Chance came over to comfort her when he was interrupted by a shout from behind a tower of boxes...
Date: Nov 12th
"Why do I hear other voices? Come quickly and help me clean!" An older Kiko emerged, carrying a stack of boxes piled higher than she could see. She stumbled, causing the boxes to fall to the ground. One spilled open, leaving packaged peppermint candies all over the ground.
"Look what you made me do!" The older Kiko was very stern, despite her clumsy behavior just a moment before. "We're supposed to clean up this quarter of the room before supper, but you disappear and come back with guests?"
"But Big Sis," whined the imposter Kiko, who had lost all of his frightening charm. "I don't want to clean. And look, I brought friends to help us so we won't have to do as much!"
Chance saw his opportunity immediately. "Um, excuse me-we didn't agree to be here." He pointed at the imposter. "He tricked us into thinking he was the Chocolate Factory Kiko!"
Kitty began to cry even louder upon hearing her situation explained so clearly and bluntly. The older Kiko, exasperated, quickly unwrapped one of the fallen candies and stuffed it into the Kacheek's open mouth. Finally, the cries were silenced.
The older Kiko dusted her paws off. "Now that that's settled..."
Date: Nov 13th
"Let's put the three of you to work!" the older Kiko said to Chance, Kitty, and the Shoyru.
"W-w-w-what?" sputtered Chance. "I thought you were going to help us get out of here!"
"Ha!" barked the older Kiko, whose name was Ginny. "I was just kidding with all that stuff. It was all an act, you know, part of my master plan! I made my little brother here go find us some helpers. Do you think he came up with this brilliant plan all on his own? Please!" Ginny chuckled to herself as she surveyed the room full of candy boxes. "There's no way my little bro and I would get all this done on our own, and I've got plans tonight. I have a big birthday celebration to attend!"
Kitty spat out the peppermint she'd been sucking on and began to wail louder than ever.
"Okay then, guess we better get to work!" Chance said loudly as he turned toward a huge stack of boxes. As the two Kikos went back to moving a big stack of boxes in the far corner of the room, Chance turned to his friends.
"What are you doing? We need to get out of here!" whispered the Shoyru urgently.
"I know, I know!" Chance whispered back. "You didn't think Ginny was the only one who can come up with master plans, did you? Now here's what we're gonna do..."
Date: Nov 13th
"...we're going to eat our way out of here."
The Shoyru gave Chance an exasperated look. "The room isn't made of candy."
"Yes, but all of these boxes are full." Chance hefted a box labeled "Gummy Dice" off the top of a stack. "Full of candy -- candy that will soon be taken up to the storefront and unpacked."
Kitty stopped wailing and looked at Chance with wide eyes.
The Shoyru frowned thoughtfully. "So, you're suggesting we eat an entire case of candy and then smuggle ourselves out in the empty box?"
"Exactly. You guys said you liked jelly, right?" Chance overturned the box, sending a mountain of gelatinous cubes bouncing over the floor.
"What was that?" Ginny yelled from a few rows of shelves over.
"I just tripped over something, that's all!" Chance called back, looking pointedly at Kitty and the Shoyru. The three began to eat.
Between the three of them, eating several pounds of gummy dice was possible. Not fun, but possible. Fitting into the empty box afterward was crowded and strawberry-scented. Chance pulled the top of the box through, and for several minutes the three sat in silence.
"How do we know that they'll even move this box soon? We could be in here for months!" the Shoyru whispered through the dark.
The box suddenly moved with the force of a shove from outside...
Date: Nov 14th
..."Wow, this box weighs a ton!" they heard the brother grunt. "Ginny, come help me."
Chance heard some scraping and felt a weightless sensation as the box was picked up, swaying with the effort of the Kikos. The Shoyru's eyes widened as she patted Kitty on the head to comfort her.
They heard a door open and the sounds of chattering customers hit their ears.
"Ahh, splendid!" they heard a voice say. "My jelly display was looking a bit low."
Chance felt his backside collide with the floor and, a few seconds later, brightness washed over him and he saw three Kikos staring down at him. He then he saw something that made him sigh with relief. The Kiko nearest him was holding a cane!
The Wocky opened his mouth to explain, but the Chocolate Factory owner seemed to understand.
"Again?" he asked sternly, looking toward Ginny and her brother. "You know, I did you two a great favor by allowing my shop to be the location of your community service. I could have told them to send you to the Rock Quarry in Altador! You're lucky you get to move boxes of delicious candy instead."
Chance helped the Shoyru and Kitty from the box as the shopkeeper ushered the two Kikos back toward the stocking room. After a few minutes, the shopkeeper returned.
"Please accept my apologies," he said, bowing.
"That's quite alright," the Shoyru replied. Kitty had stopped crying and was peering at the shopkeeper from behind the Shoyru's legs.
"Don't worry about it," Chance said.
The Kiko shopkeeper grabbed a nearby basket. "Allow me to make it up to you. How about some free candy?"
"No!" the three Neopets shouted, holding their stomachs.
Date: Nov 14th