Not too long ago, in a galaxy relatively nearby, a small
private spaceship slowly revolved around an uncharted planet. Inside, two alien
Aishas heaved identical deep sighs. "Tsaaaa-riiiit," whined Zorat, "I'm boooored.
Let's do something fuuuuun, pleeeeaaaase?"
Tsarit looked crossly over at his sister.
"Well, what do you suggest? We've seen all the galaxies in this sector. The
Inter-Nova Fair doesn't open for a week, and we're on leave from Commander Xelqued's
squadron. I can't think of a single thing to do."
Zorat concentrated for a while, then finally
seemed to hit on an idea. "We haven't visited Neopia in a while," she said carefully,
knowing what the reaction would probably be.
"WHY on Star ZM9-855 would we want to
do THAT?" Tsarit bellowed, jumping off the chrome couch onto the handmade chrome
rug. "Don't you remember what happened last time?"
Zorat winced, remembering the knots in
her long ears and the Radioactive Jelly coating her feet. She would definitely
never call the Esophagor a purple Slorg again!
"Well, we know what to expect now," said
Zorat hastily. "And besides, I wasn't talking about the Haunted Woods," she
added with a shudder. "There are lots of other places in Neopia we could go."
"What do you suggest?" said Tsarit resignedly.
Zorat grinned. "I hear Krawk Island is
lovely this time of year."
The rickety rowboat scraped along the beach as Tsarit helped the little Krawk
ground the boat. Zorat hopped nimbly out and tossed the Krawk the promised 10
Dubloons. In a flash, he had pushed his boat back into deep water and was sculling
away from shore in the general direction of three large ships anchored farther
out into the harbor.
"Where do you think he's off to so quickly?"
mused Zorat, shading her eyes with an ear.
"I noticed when we passed that, for some
reason or another, those ships are leaking Dubloons out the wazoo. I suppose
he's going to go try to collect a few of them."
"What are those black things skulking
around in the water then?"
"They look like homing torpedoes to me,"
replied Tsarit. "I wonder how many of those boats he goes through in a week,"
he mused as a loud explosion was heard and the Krawk was propelled several dozen
feet high atop a monstrous waterspout. "Even with all the money he salvages
from the ships, he can't make much of a profit if he has to come up with a new
boat every fifteen minutes."
Zorat shrugged her shoulders. "You think
too much. C'mon, let's go walk to town."
Zorat had reserved a room at the Golden
Dubloon, but since neither Alien had ever been to the island before, they were
obliged to ask for directions. They stopped the first passer-by they saw, a
pirate Kyrii with a barely-intelligible accent.
"Aye, yer shud go ter th'end of that thar
bullyvard an' take a sharp left," growled the Kyrii fiercely, squinting at the
pair through his good eye. His pet Drackonack growled and strained on its leash.
"Thankee, matey… I mean, thank-you, sir!" stammered a greatly intimidated Tsarit.
The Drackonack lunged for the Aisha's tail, and Tsarit stumbled backward in
terror. The pirate chuckled.
"You're indeed welcome, sir and madam,
and I certainly hope that all you expectations are gratified during your stay
here on our exquisite isle," returned the Kyrii, sans accent. He swept off his
weather-stained bandana and bowed low, then continued on his way, singing a
bawdy sea shanty.
The two Aishas looked at each other and
shrugged, then followed the pirate's directions. The Golden Dubloon was indeed
right around the corner. The aliens were greeted by the Fontaine sisters, who
finished each other's sentences in a most distracting manner.
"Welcome to our."
"Humble establishment. Your room is.
"On the second floor, just."
"As you specified. Right."
"This way please," finished Loretta, carefully
balancing a large platter in one hand and three mugs in the other. She expertly
served the food to a family of Koi, then led the way up a narrow staircase beside
the kitchen. At the top was a hallway with four doors on either side.
"Fourth door on the left, just yell if
you need anything," said Loretta briskly, tossing the key to Zorat. She bustled
back down the stairs to the busy common room. Zorat unlocked the door.
The room was comfortably furnished by
normal Neopian standards, but the alien Aishas were horrified at the lack of
"The mattress… it's… it's… SQUISHY!" exclaimed
Tsarit. "How can they expect us to SLEEP on this thing?"
Zorat looked around the room wildly. "There
must be some chrome in here somewhere… there!" She made a beeline for the half-sized
refrigerator humming in the corner. Sighing contentedly, she curled up on top
of it. "Maybe this is where we're supposed to sleep."
"Yeah, look - it's bunk beds!" said Tsarit
gleefully, throwing open the refrigerator door. He was dismayed to find every
inch of space taken up by bottled water, sodas, and sub sandwiches wrapped and
sealed with "Courtesy of Hubert's Hot Dogs."
Leaning down from her perch, Zorat grabbed
a Neocola and a sandwich. "Great, I'm starving," she mumbled through a mouthful.
All of a sudden, a look of horror came
over the face of Tsarit, who had been reading the price list taped to the door.
"Zorat - NOOOOOO!" he howled, weakly pointing at the piece of paper. She choked
on a large bite of ham and cheese. "Twenty Dubloons for eight ounces of water?
This could only be the work of…"
"Duh-duh-duuuuuumm…" supplied Tsarit helpfully.
"…The TAX BEAST!" the pair gasped in unison
"Dangerous animals roaming the streets…
rooms almost entirely devoid of metal appliances… bottled water at unbuyable
prices… Zorat, are you thinking what I'm thinking?"
"Are you thinking that the Krawk from
Dubloon Disaster probably pays less for his medical bills than I owe for that
"I'm thinking that we've got to get out
of here!" said Tsarit.
The aliens heaved identical deep sighs. "I never thought Neopians could get
so angry," mused Tsarit from the depths of his favorite chrome armchair.
"Well, it probably wasn't the smartest
thing to summon our spaceship right on top of the Golden Dubloon."
Tsarit ignored her statement. "I still
think one of those Fontaines is Sloth in disguise. Who else would think of such
a cruel and unusual punishment?" he laughed bitterly. "Forty Dubloons for a
ham and cheese sandwich? They're only thirty Neopoints at Hubert's."
"Yeah, and they didn't even taste very
good," offered Zorat in a consoling voice.
After a brisk pinching and biting battle,
the Aishas collapsed on the rug to catch their breaths. "You know," wheezed
Zorat, "there's still five days till the Inter-Nova Fair, and it's still skiing
season in Terror Mountain…"
Planets light-years away trembled at a
high-pitched howl split the heavens: "NOOOOO!"