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Neopia's Fill in the Blank News Source | 11th day of Hiding, Yr 22
The Neopian Times Week 149 > Short Stories > Real Thieves

Real Thieves

by neo_star_queen

The icy ocean waves lapped upon the sandy shore, and Happiness, a young rainbow Cybunny, jumped back and forth in front of them, giggling playfully whenever they splashed against her soft paws.

     The Cybunny ran back up the beach to a green Kougra, her older brother Neofaerie, who was chasing a flock of Mallards and kicking up sand as he hurdled across the shore. Happiness hopped onto his back and asked, "Neofaerie, where are we going today?"

     The Kougra pounced at one last Mallard, which flew away as he crashed into the sand before answering, "We need to go to the Tombola, and NSQ wanted us to go buy some fresh fruit from the Mystery Island marketplace."

     "I love Mystery Island," Happiness said cheerfully.

     "So do I," replied Neofaerie with a smile. He looked out upon the warm, sunlit beaches and green jungles, his place of birth, and let out a contented sigh. "Well, we'd better get going," he reminded himself, stepping over a few jagged rocks, "NSQ doesn't want us to stay too long."

     Happiness held onto the fur on his neck as he took a few steps back and leaped onto the ledge above them. They walked along the grassy ridge for a while, stopping for a quick visit to the Haiku Kougra, and soon Neofaerie was stepping up to the rickety old Tombola stand, as the Tombola man waved. Happiness hopped on top of Neofaerie's head and drew out a number.

     "Oh dear, that's not a winning ticket," said the Tombola man.

     "And you don't even get a booby prize," chanted Neofaerie dully, who knew these words by heart. "Alright, let's go to the market then, Happiness."

     The Kougra squinted, trying to make out the market, which was not too far away. "It looks bigger than usual," he commented.

     "Oh yes, come and see," said the Tombola man, sounding more enthusiastic than usual, "we've expanded the market! We thought it needed to be a bit bigger, see, and there was so much empty space beside it… well, follow me and see for yourself!"

     Neofaerie shrugged and followed the Tombola man through the thick green bushes that lined the dirt, while Happiness hummed Yes Boy Ice-Cream's latest song. Neofaerie brushed aside the long leaves of drooping tree and blinked in surprise. Quite a few extra huts had been added, crowded around on the west side, and spilling into the jungle.

     "We'll have to cut a few of those trees down later," beamed the Tombola man, "since they're getting in the way. But it should be great, eh?"

     "Yeah, pretty cool," said Neofaerie, but Happiness frowned (which was rather rare for her) and asked, "Does anyone live in that jungle?" She pointed over to the cluster of trees that the huts had entered.

     "Nope," said the Tombola man, "it's been checked, and we haven't found any signs of anyone or anything living there. A few scattered petpets, of course, but we can give them to the Petpet Shop in Neopia Central, and that'll be fine."

     "They'll be alright," Neofaerie told Happiness convincingly. "Petpets need owner anyway."

     "It's also an excellent source of supplies," said the Tombola man, looking happier than Neofaerie had ever seen him, even at the Gadgadsbogen festival. "We've found some rare plants, and that sort of thing… but you know, we've found something very extraordinary indeed! Come, I'll show you."

     He led them over to a makeshift blue tent, disappeared inside it for a second, and then came out with a large plate of some sort of odd food. He held the plate out to them and said excitedly, "Doughnutfruit! It looks like a doughnut, but it's really a fruit! It's delicious, here, try some."

     Both pets reached out to take a piece of the new fruit, and they agreed that it was very tasty. "Well, NSQ wanted us to bring some fruit home," said Neofaerie, licking Doughnutfruit off his paws, "and she didn't specify what kind. Here, we'll take 10. Choose some different flavours out, Happiness."

     The Cybunny hopped onto the ground and did as she was told, picking out many different colours (including rainbow and Fishberry). The Tombola man dumped the fruit into a brown paper bag and handed it to Neofaerie, saying, "Enjoy!"

     "Thanks," said the Kougra, dropping a few neopoints into the Tombola mans hand. He reached out to take the bag, but before he touched it a purple blur whizzed in front of him and grabbed it, shooting away.

     "What in Neopia…?" started Neofaerie, turning around to see who had stolen his fruit. The culprit, a small purple Hasee, stuck its tongue out and sped off with surprising, uncharacteristically fast speed towards the jungle, where Neofaerie saw that 5 more Hasees were peeking out from behind the sheltering trees.

     The Tombola man shouted as 2 more Hasees dashed out of the tent on stubby legs, carrying a large silver plate piled high with Doughnutfruit over their heads. Neofaerie raised a paw to strike them, but Happiness squealed, "Don't hurt them, Faer!" and the Kougra watched helplessly as the Hasees ran back towards the trees, stopping only to stick their tongues out at the group.

     "Thieves!" roared the Tombola man. "What an outrage! Those Hasees can't just steal from me like that! Argh! So many neopoints wasted!"

     Neofaerie groaned and rubbed one of his green ears with a large paw. "Agh, and I spent all the neopoints we brought on those too…"

     Happiness stared quietly at the spot where the Hasees had vanished, her ears high in the air and twitching every few seconds. Another rare thing for her, to be quiet. Finally she jumped back onto her brothers back and said, "Well, not much we can do, Neofaerie. Let's go home. Nesqu won't mind if we don't bring fruit back."

     "Tell me if you need help catching those thieves," said Neofaerie, and he trotted off, headed for the Harbour.

***

"What do you mean, you didn't bring back the fruit?" asked NSQ, their owner, in a panicked voice. "I have important guests coming over, and they specifically asked for fruit! What am I going to do, feed them Bitten Apples? Ahhh!"

     "Well, we had a bit of a problem," sighed Neofaerie, "see, the fruit we bought was stolen."

     "Stolen?" asked NSQ blankly. "Who would steal fruit? Why didn't you get them, Neofaerie?"

     "Well, I was going to!" said Neofaerie irritably. "But they were just these tiny Hasees, and Happiness said not to hurt them…"

     "Hmm," said NSQ, tapping her chin, "why would Hasees want to steal fruit?"

     "Dunno," replied Neofaerie, shrugging. "Don't ask me. They probably think they can get away with it since they're so small and innocent. How annoying…"

     "I've got some time left," said NSQ feverishly, glancing at a Mad Clock sitting on the Dried Bamboo Shelf, "I can probably go to Mystery Island and pick something up myself. And if anything tries to steal it from me I'll… whack them with a stick." She quickly pulled on her shoes and ran out the door without so much as a, "don't let strangers in!"

     Neofaerie sank onto a Blue Bean Bag Chair and began to read The Grarrl Who Crushed Tyrannia over again glumly. He was halfway through the second paragraph when the sound of gentle footsteps caused him to look up.

     "You look rather upset, Neofaerie," observed a Christmas Zafara who was wearing a tattered brown traveler's cloak. "Why is that?"

     "Aww, it's these annoying Hasee thieves, Neoangel," answered Neofaerie, "they're stealing the Doughnutfruit that the Tombola man found. I wish I could do something about it."

     The Zafara watched him thoughtfully for a second before saying, "I understand. That's a terrible thing to do."

     "I know!" raged Neofaerie. "What do you suggest I do?"

     "Me? I suggest you apologize to them."

     "Huh?" said Neofaerie, at a complete loss. "What are you talking about?"

     "Let me see," said Neoangel, somewhat matter-of-factly (yet another rare thing). "You invaded their home, and you're planning to wreck it. You also plan to sell them off to a shop. You took all of their food supply, which, not only did they find first, you did not ask if you could have. Now…" her deep, navy blue eyes met Neofaerie's chocolate-brown ones. "Who are the real thieves?"

     "Well… when you put it that way," said Neofaerie guiltily. He groaned and threw down his book. "Happiness was right all along."

     "She usually is," said Neoangel, smiling. "She's wiser than we give her credit for."

     "Right, I have to go to Mystery Island now," said Neofaerie. "Thanks, Neoangel!" he called, as he ran off through the door.

     "Where did Neofaerie go?" asked Happiness curiously, as she bounced into the room.

     "You were right all along," repeated Neoangel, smiling down at her younger sister.

     Happiness tilted her head obliviously. "That doesn't answer my question, I don't think. You know, sometimes you don't make lots of sense, Neoangel." She grinned and buried herself in the Blue Bean Bag Chair. "Oh well." She picked up the book that Neofaerie had left lying on the floor. "Read me this?"

     "Well, just let me check something first." Neoangel closed her eyes, her brow slightly furrowed. The fingers on one slender, paw-like hand tapped the air. In her mind, she saw a blurry picture of Neofaerie, far away on Mystery Island, bowing his head down to a small purple Hasee. The Hasee paused before stepping forward warmly and holding up a silver Doughnutfruit. Neoangel smiled and opened her eyes. She picked up the book, and began to read.

The End

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