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Neopia's Fill in the Blank News Source | 25th day of Awakening, Yr 22
The Neopian Times Week 116 > Articles > Lifestyles of the Affluent and Illustrious: The Cliffhanger

Lifestyles of the Affluent and Illustrious: The Cliffhanger

by tanela

TERROR MOUNTAIN - "Welcome, fellow Neopians, to another edition of Lifestyles of the Neopian and Famous. Today we have been invited into the home of the famous host of the Cliffhanger game, a daring Tuskaninny who puts himself in peril several times a day in order to entertain and challenge you, his Neopian patrons," the redheaded reporter says determinedly into the microphone, in a strangely masculine accent that doesn't really suit her, despite the strong winds threatening to blow her off the snowy cliff on which she stands. A Tuskaninny clings to each of her legs -- a striped girl on her left bundled in a pink parka and a robot on her right with a rainbow scarf around his neck -- desperately crushing their jaunty press-corps hats to their heads with their free paws, the little numbered tags that had been in the hats having blown away long ago.

The reporter clutches her green ski jacket more closely around her and steps towards the camera. The checkered Kau holding it hefts the heavy equipment to get a better angle. "We are here on top of Terror Mountain today to meet the heroic host," the reporter continues. The Tuskaninnies clinging to her seem glad she's moving away from the edge of the cliff. "At the bottom of this cliff, we will find the igloo that the Cliffhanger calls his home."

The reporter drops the microphone in the snow. "Oh, cut!" she calls. The camera turns off.

Less than a second later, the camera focusses on the redheaded reporter-girl and her two Tuskaninnies in press-corps hats trudging through the snow towards a small igloo tucked in very close against a cliff towering high above them, presumably the same cliff of which they had so recently been on top. The wind is not nearly so bad now as it had been up there. A pack of Christmas Doglefoxes frolics just in front of the igloo's entrance.

The redheaded reporter-girl pauses in her trudging and turns to face the camera. There's a patch of white snow on the black muff of her microphone, a result of having dropped it earlier. "Here we can see the humble outer appearance of the Cliffhanger's abode," she says, in a low and mysterious voice, still talking with a funny accent. "But perhaps the well-fed Doglefoxes outside allude to his true fame and fortune?" she asks rhetorically and dramatically. "Let's find out."

She turns back towards the igloo just in time to see the pack of Doglefoxes take off, barking and yapping, after the two Tuskaninnies who had gone on ahead of her and are now running for their lives. "What the--?!" the reporter-girl shouts, accent gone, as she takes off after the Doglefoxes.

The cameraKau follows the action for a moment, but pans back to the door of the igloo as a Green Tuskaninny in a fur-lined brown jacket emerges, adding his own yells to the clamoring noises of the chase going on just outside his home. "Oh, give it a rest, you mangy mutts!" he screams at the top of his lungs. The Doglefoxes stop in their tracks and crawl back with their tails between their legs towards the igloo and the Tuskaninny standing there. "That's right. You should be ashamed," he scolds them. "Now go lie down." The Doglefoxes obediently move to the side of the igloo and lie down on top of each other in a big green pile.

"Sorry about them," the Green Tuskaninny apologizes to the reporter-girl and the Striped Tuskaninny who have approached him, both somewhat out of breath. The Robot Tuskaninny is off in the distance retrieving his press-corps hat as some well-placed camerawork shows. "I don't get visitors very often and they're excitable little twerps," he explains, "but they pull a mean Doglefox sled so I keep them around." He motions to a metal and wood contraption leaning up against one wall of the igloo.

"Ah," the reporter-girl says, turning to the cameraKau. "It appears the petpets are a means of transportation." She nods as if somehow 'in the know'.

The Green Tuskaninny regards the camera with one eyebrow raised in suspicion. "Yes, yes they are," he says to the lens.

"So you're the famous Cliffhanger? My name's Tanela. I'm from The Neopian Times Appreciation Guild. I'm here for the interview," the reporter-girl explains.

"That's me, and of course you are. Everything's ready. Please follow me," the Cliffhanger directs the crew.

Getting down on all fours, Tanela crawls into the igloo after the Cliffhanger, in turn followed by her own two Tuskaninnies and the Kau with the camera. They find themselves in a small, snow-walled, curved-ceilinged room with round, red-framed pictures of Tuskaninnies on the walls, wooden benches, a tall black coat rack, and a round green door in the snow-wall opposite the entrance. The Green Tuskaninny takes off his coat, hangs it up on the coat rack, and motions for the others to do the same.

Tanela takes off her boots and tucks them away under one of the benches. "Well, isn't this co--" she begins, but she's silenced mid-word as the Cliffhanger opens the green door to reveal a palatial expanse of modern chrome plating, ivory pillars, black and white marble floors, and a marble fountain decorated with a winged Tuskaninny spitting water up over its head in the middle of the room.

"Welcome to my humble home," the Cliffhanger says with something of a smirk.

"--zeeee!" the reporter finishes her sentence as her jaw proceeds to drop rather rudely. "Golly! You built your home into the cliff!" she exclaims in awe at the sudden abundance of unexpected space. The camera follows her gaze upward to the ceiling dozens of feet high and its magnificent crystal chandelier, then returns to show the slack-jawed gawking of the reporter and her Tuskaninnies.

The Cliffhanger chuckles. "Yes, I did. A rather efficient use of otherwise wasted space, don't you think? Please, come this way and I'll give you the grand tour." He takes the reporter girl's hand and leads her into a magnificent dining room off the huge front hall. An incredibly long table seems to extend forever down towards the giant throne of a chair at its head. "This," the Tuskaninny begins as he hops backwards through the room, waving one hand to encompass the room in a single gesture, "is the big dining room. I pretty much use it only during the Month of Celebrating and on special occasions. When I come home from a hard day's work, I prefer to eat in the bath," he explains before heading out through a door at the far end of the room.

"In the bath?" Tanela asks incredulously.

The Cliffhanger nods as he leads the small crew out into a hallway with plush red carpeting and golden shimmery lighting fixtures. At the end of the hallway he pushes open a pair of mahogany double doors to reveal an amazing washing and bathing facility the likes of which few have ever seen, complete with purple-curtained fancy toilet and sink. The walls are made of water-filled glass cases full of happily swimming Leebles and Pepitos of many different colours. The left side of the large room is entirely taken up by what appears to be a small lake, complete with a rocky waterfall. "I like to eat where I feel completely relaxed," the green Tuskaninny says, "and that's here."

"Golly!" Tanela says. "What kind of things do you like to eat?"

The Cliffhanger laughs heartily. "Come with me and I'll show you." He leads them out of the glorious lavatory and back into the hallway. He opens the next door down just past the dining room and reveals a sparkling white and chrome kitchen of enormous size with every kind of cooking implement and device one could think of, yet strangely bare of food. "When I have parties, I hire a group of top ice cream designers from Adee's factory and bring in a group of top of the line chefs from The Golden Dubloon to come make use of my state of the art facilities. As for me, the food is the main reason I came to live on Terror Mountain." He hops over to a large refrigerator and opens the door. The crew leans over his shoulder as the camera pans around the well-stocked shelves of Chia pops, gourmet crystal foods, snow sandwiches, snow puffs, ice lollies, Brucicles and other icy foods.

The door nearly shuts on them as the Cliffhanger hurriedly closes it and shuffles backwards. "Mustn't let it get warm. I must admit, Snow Food is my one major weakness. Since I first tasted it as a young Tuskaninny pup, I haven't been able to get enough. That's how I ended up here, living just down the cliff from the Snow Food Shop."

Tanela smiles. "Really? How interesting." She scribbles something in her notebook.

"Well, shall we continue?" the Cliffhanger asks, not waiting for an answer before heading back out into the hallway. The crew follows excitedly after him, still awed by the luxury of his home.

He pushes open another door farther down. "This is my bedroom. As you can see, I've had it decorated as a night sky scene, complete with cloud-themed furniture."

"Is that... a Weewoo?" Tanela asks curiously, pointing at a small white lump on the white lumpy cloud shaped bed.

"Yes," the Cliffhanger says. "I find her sad song helps me fall asleep."

"I didn't know they came in white," Tanela points out.

"They don't," the Cliffhanger says, tapping the side of his nose twice and grinning slyly.

The reporter-girl shrugs and they continue down the hall to the last door. The Cliffhanger opens it and leads the crew inside.

"This is my entertainment room," the Cliffhanger announces. "It's a combination movie theater and bowling alley. I only use one side at a time, of course."

"You like bowling?" Tanela asks.

"Of course, doesn't everyone?" he replies with a smile. "And finally," the Cliffhanger says, leading the crew past the two dozen cushy seats in front of the huge blank wall-screen to a door behind a curtain, "my sitting room. Please, take a seat and I'll answer any questions you may have."

The final room is brick-walled with a large fire place, two comfy loveseat-style couches and a few black beanbag chairs. The walls are decorated with art depicting winter mountain scenery.

Tanela takes a seat on the couch next to the Cliffhanger. The Kau sets up the camera on a tripod to film the interview and is heard sitting down in the beanbag chairs with the other two Tuskaninnies.

"First of all, let me thank you for inviting The Neopian Times and its readers into your lovely home," the reporter-girl begins.

The Cliffhanger: "You're welcome. This is the first time press have been invited in here. Most events that I host are invitation-only with no media presence."

Tanela: "So I gather, seeing as we've never heard of this place before. I've noticed something odd about your home. There aren't any windows."

The Cliffhanger: "Ah yes. That's one of the drawbacks to living in a cliffside, but the location is incredible for both shopping and the daily commute."

Tanela: "How did you pay for the renovation of the cliff and all the luxurious accoutrements if you don't mind my asking?"

The Cliffhanger raises an eyebrow. "Well, besides my snow food habit, I don't spend my NP on much else, so I've learned to live comfortably."

Tanela: "What's it like hosting the Cliffhanger game?"

The Cliffhanger: "Most of the time it's a good job. Neopets who come to visit me often learn from their experiences and become more intelligent, while their owners usually leave with a little more NP in their pockets for their trouble. However, I can't say I enjoy being hurled off the cliff every time someone fails to solve their puzzle."

Tanela: "So why do you keep going back?"

The Cliffhanger: "It's a living, but not only that. It's a living right next to the Snow Food Shop. What more could I ask for?"

Tanela: "Oh right. This place is pretty big, yet you seem to be a fairly private person. How do you take care of the upkeep all by yourself?"

The Cliffhanger: "For big jobs I'll hire someone to come in and take care of it, but for the little every day tasks I have a robo Aisha who helps me out."

Tanela: "Ah. You seem to live a fairly secluded life, despite the luxury, and the outer appearance of your home is deceptively modest. Is there any particular reason for that?"

The Cliffhanger: "The fame, of course. I like to live well and having groupies and moochers running around isn't exactly my style, so I keep a low profile."

Tanela: "While living the high life at home. Interesting. Most Neopians think you have a bad attitude. I have quotes of you saying things like, 'You don't actually expect to win again, do you???', 'You better quit while you are ahead!' and 'Ohh... Well it is easy to win when you only play the easy levels!', yet you've been nothing but eloquent and accommodating for this interview."

The Cliffhanger: "Of course. The way I am on the job and the way I am at home are quite different. I also act that way on the job in an attempt to discourage the kinds of players who are more likely to fail the puzzles and send me over the edge. It seems to work to some degree."

Tanela: "Okay. Just one more question. The Neopedia article on Terror Mountain refers to a Tuskaninny resident named Colin. Is that referring to you?"

The Cliffhanger: "I do live on Terror Mountain, yes."

Tanela: "I know that, but are you Colin the Tuskaninny?"

The Cliffhanger: "I am a Tuskaninny who lives on Terror Mountain." He smirks at the camera.

Tanela blinks at him for a moment. "Okay then. Thank you again for the interview."

"You're welcome," the Cliffhanger says, standing up.

The Kau retrieves her camera and follows the others out another door that leads back to the main hall with the Tuskaninny fountain.

The Cliffhanger walks the crew to the door. "I hope that'll do for your report," he says as he waves to the reporter-girl, her Tuskaninnies and the camera-Kau.

"I'm sure it will thanks," Tanela replies. "We certainly learned a lot."

"That's good. Be careful of avalanches on the way back," he says as he ducks back into the igloo entrance way.

Tanela and the pets look at each other worriedly. "Avalanches?"

And that concludes this week's episode of Lifestyles of the Affluent and Illustrious, sponsored by The Neopian Times Appreciation Guild.


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