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Neopia's Fill in the Blank News Source | 19th day of Gathering, Yr 21
The Neopian Times Week 103 > Short Stories > A Cup of Tea

A Cup of Tea

by yadoking

Down a winding path in Terror Mountain, there was a NeoHome. In that NeoHome were four very excited pets. Why were they excited? It was Thursday afternoon… and that meant it was “Yado brings home a new kind of hot drink time!”

     “I wonder what it’ll be today,” said Hymn impatiently, looking at the clock on the wall slowly tick by, opening and closing his silver Shoyru wings. Hymn was the reason why they lived in Terror Mountain; he was born in arctic climates, and always wanted to be in arctic climates. He loved snow foods, but his favourite dishes all used Snowberries.

     “Perhaps the Gracklebug Brew, I really can’t wait to try it!” said Varuna, his four white Aisha ears perking up. Varuna was the gourmet of the family, he would try anything.

     “Eeew! Gross! Why must you always hope for the weird things? Some orange and mango coffee would really hit the spot right now,” said Genga, buzzing around Varuna’s head. Genga, a starry Buzz, was an energetic flyer, and loved fitness foods especially.

     _jake_, who had been at the window, buzzed back to the other three and said “he’s coming!” Jake was a spotted Buzz, who was the oldest of the four and acted like it too. He liked things as sour as possible.

     Yadoking opened the door, brushed some snow off, and said “into the kitchen!” Promptly, this direction was followed.

***

“So, what is it?” _Jake_ inquired about the newly opened cup of tea on the kitchen table.

     “Well, I got it from the Esophagor on a quest…”

     “Really? Well, that’s what it looks like,” Hymn commented. Indeed, it was of an unusual appearance; the cup was blue and wrinkly, and the tea itself was pitch black.

     “Well, who’s going to try it first?” Everyone looked reluctant, except Varuna, who’s always the first to try the weirdest food items. He put his face to the cup and took a sip.

     “Not bad,” he said. “Are you sure none of you want any?”

Everyone shook their heads no, so he gulped the rest of it down.

     “Quite good, quite good…” Varuna said happily. But then his stomach growled, and it sounded like a pack of fierce Lupes. The next words he said didn’t sound like something he’d say at all.

     “Bbbut I’mmm sssssooooo hhunggrry…”

***

The next few days were odd, to say the least. Varuna’s appetite grew. And grew. And grew!

     It seemed that nothing could relieve his enormous hunger! Doctor L. E. Fante was bewildered. The Water Faerie shook her head. Even finishing a quest for the Earth Faerie didn’t seem to help.

     Varuna just kept eating.

     What he ate slowly started to change as well! First he stopped eating health food. Then junk food. Then even his favourites, gross food and neggs. All he wanted to eat, and his demands continuously rang through the house, were spooky foods. His family still cared for him and wanted the best for him, so these demands were always met. Peanut butter spiders, ghost marshmallows and candy corn accumulated in piles around him, then disappeared just as quickly. All this eating took its toll on Varuna’s appearance as well… he no longer had the slim, white, Aisha body that he once had. He was now gargantuan, not just in Aisha terms, and he had an odd, bluish tinge.

     The other members of his family had a meeting in secret.

     “This is odd,” said Yadoking.

     “Extremely odd,” said Hymn.

     “We have to do something. My budget’s not that big, and I can’t keep giving all this spooky food to Varuna. Do any of you have any ideas?”

     “We’ve tried everything,” said Genga, buzzing loudly, “but he resists our every effort. It almost seems that he WANTS to be this way!”

     “PPPPPUMMMMMPKINNNNN SSSSSSLICE! GGGGGET MMME A PPPPPUMMMMMPKINNNNN SSSSSSSLICE!” Varuna hollered from his room.

     “I have to go,” said Yadoking, “but please, what should we do?”

     “I have an idea…” said _Jake_. Everyone turned to look at him.

     He raised his skunk Buzz head as high as he could, and said in a loud and important-sounding voice: “I’ll go see… A SPECIALIST!”

***

_Jake_ flew through the skies over Neopia central until he got to the magic shop.

     “Hi, Kauvara!” he greeted cheerily.

     “Hi _Jake_! Long time no see! How are you!” she replied, equally cheery.

     “I’m fine, but Varuna is why I’m here…”

     “What’s wrong?”

     “You have to see it to believe it!”

     “Very well. I’m on my lunch break, so I have spare time. And I’m in a good mood.”

     Kauvara took out an ice cube, blew on it, and they were instantly transported to _Jake_’s house.

     “Cool,” he said.

     “COLD!” corrected Kauvara.

     “Why on Neopia do you live here again? Anyway, onto Varuna…”

     They entered the house. Varuna was in the main hall, bigger and bluer and eating more than ever. Kauvara raised an eyebrow.

     “Strange. Very strange indeed… it looks like… a curse!” she announced. The room became dead silent, except for munching sounds coming from Varuna.

     "What... what kind of curse? Who would do such a thing?" asked Hymn, his voice full of concern.

     "Isn't it obvious? The odd bluish tinge? The spooky food eating? Where have you seen those before?"

     Everyone simultaneously realized that the answer had been right in front of their noses. Rather, right in front of Varuna's nose a few days earlier.

     "The Esophagor's cup of tea was CURSED!"

***

"That's IT!" shouted Genga, buzzing back and forth in the room.

     "I'm going to go to this Esophagor and give him a piece of my mind!"

     "I don't think that's a good idea! Remember what happened to poor Albert the Kacheek? Does reading the Neopedia teach you anything?"

     "I don't care! He needs to take responsibility for his curses! Besides, if I go to him under the false pretence of asking for a quest, he won't harm me!"

     “Perhaps…” said Kauvara with a bit of apprehension.  “But perhaps not. In the case that something happens, and something most probably will, remember to keep on your Air Shield at ALL TIMES. Kaupish?”

     “Kaupish!” And with that, Genga flew off into the clouds, heading Southwest to… the Haunted woods.

***

The surrounding clouds grew darker, and the air increasingly chilly, like thousands of tiny ghost hands reached out to touch Genga at every buzz of his wings. He was tempted to shiver the feeling, but he resisted the urge, as he didn’t want to break his concentration or to look crazy to the Pterii that were passing by.

     Soon, some trademark moaning erupted from the bubbling ground, and Genga knew that the Esophagor was close by.

     “Mr. Esophagor… I’ve come to complete one of your quests,” Genga said cautiously.

     “Thhhaaaaannksssss….. gggeeettt meeeee ssssoooommmmeee ttttoffffeeee cccccllllaasssssiccc!” the Esophagor cried, in a voice that sounded like the bubbling over of a thousand pots of sludge.

     Genga flew off. Now for the next part of the plan. He returned to his home, took the blue and wrinkly cup in his hands, and within a short time, made it back to the Esophagor’s lair.

     “Bbbbaaaaccckkk alllrrreeeeadddyyy?” he asked, his voice dripping with greed.

     “Wwwwwaaaaaiiittt. Thattttt’s not tttofffeee. Thatttt’s mmy teacccupp. Thankssss for returrrninggg itt. Hhhooow nnnicce of you.”

     Genga narrowed his eyes and threw the cup hard against a scraggly tree. It smashed into tiny pieces.

     “WWWWHHHAATTT DDDIDD YYYOU DDOOOO? IIIINNSOLENNNT NNEEOPETT! YOOOU MMUSTT BBBBE PUNNNISHEDDD!”

     The Esophagor raised a giant blue claw from the bubbling pitch, and swatted at Genga as easily as he would at a flea. Luckily, Genga’s air shield, which he kept on under Kauvara’s prudent advice, stopped him from taking any real harm.

     “WHAT DID YOU DO TO MY BROTHER WITH YOUR CURSED TEA? TELL ME HOW TO CURE HIM NOW!!!” Genga shouted with rage.

     The anger in the Esophagor’s eyes died down, and he smiled smugly.

     “Well well welllll. It’s mmmmy own ssssspecial bbbrewwww. Annnd I knewwww thatttt Aaaaisha wouldddd ttttry anythingggg. Evvvvven tttrry sssssomethinggg thatttt wouldddd makkkke himmm mmmmy ssssslave FORRRREVERRR!!!” The Esophagor laughed a sickly laugh.

     “You NO GOOD NINCOMPOOP!” Genga shouted. “TELL ME HOW TO CURE HIM!!”

     “I’mmm nott goinggg to willllinglly givvve a sssslave awaaay likkke thattt… fffirst, yoooou mmmust prrroooove yourrrr worrrth and defffeeeat mmmeee in the batttttledommme!!!!!!”

     Seeing that this would be the only way, Genga flew off, his head lowered.

***

“Defeat the Esophagor in the Battledome…” _Jake_ repeated with disbelief after he heard the news.

     “Impossible… we don’t even LIKE fighting in the battledome, so we never bothered to train all that much. Even Genga, with his affinity of the Lab Ray, isn’t good enough… and weapons! We need much better weapons!” Hymn said dejectedly.

     “Nothing is impossible,” said Yadoking comfortingly. “We’ll do this… I’ll just need to borrow a weapon… a really, really, good weapon.”

     “Any weapon wouldn’t be good enough. We need something from…” Hymn trailed off, and his eyes lit up. “The HIDDEN TOWER! I’ll be right back!”

***

Hymn took his turn at flying. Up, and up, and up, always towards the pink clouds; for Faerieland was where he was headed. Once he was there, he flew to the Hidden Tower (he was the only one of his family who knew where it was). Inside, he quickly scaled up the many steps, and waited to talk to the queen in a lavishly decorated room. Engrossed in a picture of the great Coltzan, he didn’t hear the Faerie Queen who appeared behind him. She tapped him on his shoulder, and Hymn jumped around.

     “I’m sorry, your Majesty. You startled me!” he said.

     “I apologize. Do you wish to buy something, young one?” she asked in her sweet, melodious voice.

     “Not exactly… but I must ask you something. I’ll start with a story.”

     “Lovely. I adore stories!” said the Queen, and Hymn told her everything that had happened since Varuna drank the cursed cup of tea, right until “so I flew here to ask for your help… will you please lend me something that will help us defeat the Esophagor?’

     By the time Hymn asked this, the story had brought the Queen to tears. Dabbing her eyes with a regal handkerchief, she nodded.

     “Yes, you brave Neopet. I have just the thing. The saying goes that one should fight fire with fire; well, we will fight tea with tea!” In her hands appeared a weapon, and she handed it to Hymn. The Mystical Teapot of Doom. “Remember, return it as soon as you are finished with it!”

     Hymn thanked her profusely, and ecstatically flew back to his home.

***

Genga, followed by _Jake_ and Hymn, flew to the Haunted Woods Arena of the Battledome, teapot in hand. (Their owner, of course, could not fly, but he got there the way that owners do.)

     It was predetermined that they would meet the Esophagor there, and there he was. Genga raised himself to his full 18 inch height, and stood up to the Esophagor.

     “Hhhhaaaa hhaaaa haaaa… dddoooo yooou rrreaaallly tttthink yooou cccaaaaan deffffeeeeat mmmeeee, yyyyounggg ppetttt?” the Esophagor sneered. But then, at the sight of the Teapot, his mouth dropped wide open. Genga opened the pot, and quite soon, the Esophagor disappeared, defeated, leaving only some remnants of bubbling pitch behind. All cheered, because when they left the arena, they saw Varuna come towards them, perfectly normal once more.

***

It was Thursday again! But, things were a little different this time. Varuna was now, understandably, pretty reluctant to try weird food. And the hot drinks consumed were kept very normal.

     Yadoking opened the door, brushed and brushed the snow off his shoulders. He held out a cup of hot chocolate.

     “Can’t go wrong with hot chocolate!” Hymn said happily, as he started to drink.

     “So where did you get this? The food shop, right?” asked Genga.

     “Actually… no. I landed on the Dark Faerie in the Wheel of excitement. She gave it to me… I thought that was nice of her!” said Yadoking.

     Hymn cackled. As they all turned to look at him, they saw that his wings were becoming spiky and purple.

The End


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