My owner, Shyna, did the classic newbie thing. She adopted four pets right
off the bat with only 500 NP in the bank. "Oh, they're just so cute," she said
to her Neofriends when they tried to warn her about costs. "I couldn't pick
just one of them!" So she didn't; she picked all of us: an Aisha, a Lupe, a
Gelert (me) and a Krawk.
That's how we ended up broke and on the street. See, Shyna is a sucker for
hard-luck cases. She takes in everything that's lost, needs a home, or just
needs some time to get back on its feet. It's a good thing she already had four
pets or the house would be overcrowded! As it was, we had all manner of pet
pets, owners, gnomes and faeries flitting about our house, mooching off us.
Sometimes they'd leave when they got opportunities, but mostly they just stayed
with us, taking our stuff.
Sure, she managed to pick up some NP here and there, but it all went to them.
So it was really no surprise when one day she came home, told us we were broke
and shuttled us all out the door. It broke her heart, I could tell, but she
made all the freeloaders go off to find some other nice family, and kept just
us four: Mikey, Flyt, Nawe and Obi (me).
I must say things looked pretty bleak then. We had no money at all, no place
to sleep, no toys to play with and nobody who cared about us. I guess Shyna
kind of lost it then because she wouldn't do anything. We'd ask her if she had
food or something for us and she'd say "Go away, do I look like I have food?!"
So, it was really no surprise that we decided to go make money on our own.
Mikey and Flyt are the oldest, so they tried first. For three weeks they stayed
at the employment agency but found nothing! Flyt finally got a job as a shopkeeper
in some low-end shop but that didn't keep for very long. Nawe didn't have any
luck either; she did find work pricing items for another Neopian's shop, but
she quit because it was tough, demanding work that didn't pay that much.
So, it was up to me. I had been staying "home" (that is, wherever we found
that we could stay at for a while) taking care of Shyna, but I left that to
Mikey and headed off to Faerieland. I figured there must be lots of rich people
in Faerieland willing to give somebody a job, or an errand, or something. I
felt pretty confident.
I went from place to place, shop to shop, looking for somebody. But I could
tell they got this sort of thing all the time, from the curt grunts and one-word
answers. I found myself wandering the clouds, looking at all the happy Neopets
and wondering why I couldn't have a life like they did, free from worries; why
did I have to take care of my owner? Why, for that matter, did I have an owner
who cared so much about others that she destroyed the lives of her pets?
I was standing in line at the Healing Springs, hoping to get a vial or a bottle
I could sell, when I heard a voice. "Obi... Obi..." I glanced around, thinking
it was one of my siblings, but saw nothing except the dark purple cloud hanging
to my right.
I heard my name being called again and saw that it was the dark cloud, or
rather, somebody in it. "Yeah?" I replied cautiously.
I figured I had nothing to lose, so I found a quick cloud-route over to the
thundercloud. I peered through the mist, trying to discern a shape, but could
see nothing until the fog parted and there she was--
--a dark, leering, snake-eyed Dark Faerie! Jhudora herself! Staring, no, leering
at me from her dragon's-foot throne, one hand outstretched, beckoning to me...
I jumped back involuntarily and barely kept myself from falling off her cloud.
"Y-you," I cried. I'd never actually seen Jhudora before, but I'd heard legends
about her, and I had heard rumours that she had set up a cloud here.
"Obi, Obi," she said, pouting, "why did you flinch? It's just me, after all,
just little old Jhudora..."
"Little?" I spat. "Little? I've heard of what you can do, Jhudora. I've heard
what you've done to pets, I know your escapades and I know you're not the sort
I'd like to hang around with."
"Oh, Obi," she said. I didn't ask how she knew my name; I figured she'd got
it off somebody or used some of her magic. "You've been listening to my sisters'
propaganda, is all. I don't do that sort of thing... well, anymore, anyway.
I know about your troubles, Obi, and I know that I can help. In exchange for
a few things, mere trifles really, I can get you precious artifacts, which will
make your family rich, richer than you ever dreamed."
I gulped. This was tempting. And after all, why should I believe those other
faeries? Maybe they were just out to make Jhudora look bad. Sure, all this dark
cloudy stuff and her makeup and her eyes made her look really creepy, but maybe
she wasn't really evil. And if she could get my family rich for just "mere trifles"...what
did I have to lose?
I gulped. "Well, what do you want?"
She smiled and sat back on that evil-looking throne. "The quests will be easy
at first," she said, "and the rewards mild; but as the quests become harder
your rewards will be ever greater."
"O-oh... well... I accept," I said. "What's the first quest?"
She tapped her fingers, apparently thinking hard. "My pets grow hungry," she
said. "Fetch me a carrot in sixteen minutes."
I tried not to look as surprised as I felt. A carrot? Why did she want something
so common? I had expected a Negg, a truffle, something out of the ordinary.
"Yes, I will," I said, backing off the cloud and heading for the nearest marketplace.
I didn't have the money for a carrot, but the marketplace was so crowded and
the shopkeepers so harried that I knew I could snatch one. I sidled up to a
fresh vegetable stand, waited until the shopkeeper became distracted by two
other squabbling patrons, reached up, and nicked two carrots: one for Jhudora
and one for myself on the walk back.
I ate the smaller one, munching happily as I climbed from cloud to cloud.
This had been one easy quest, certainly, and I was sure to make at least some
NP off it, which I could use to feed my family. If I could do this all the time,
we'd be back on our feet in no time.
Jhudora was waiting for me when I got back. "Took you long enough," she snarled,
"Sorry," I said. "It was crowded..."
"I don't care! Next time be faster. Here's your prize." She tossed me a ratty
old comb with the words 'JHUDORA'S COMB' on the side. "It's worth a pretty penny."
"Thank you, Jhudora... can I do another quest?"
"No. Come back tomorrow, and I may have something for you to do."
I shrugged, muttered a thanks and left. My first stop on the way home was
to check out the value of the comb she had tossed me. I couldn't believe my
eyes when I saw the Shop Wizard--1,000 NP! That may not seem like a lot to some
of you richer Neopians, but it was an astronomical amount to me. I gulped and
decided to sell it immediately.
The only problem was, we didn't have a shop.
I sighed. I'd have to find a shopkeeper willing to buy it directly from me.
That was tricky because so many shopkeepers preferred to buy from the trading
post, auction, or another shop. Still, I was sure I could find somebody.
The first few 'keepers I asked turned away or yelled at me not to mess with
dark forces. This puzzled me--how could a comb be "fraught with dark forces"
like one of them said? But eventually I did find one shopkeeper willing to buy
The shop didn't look like a wealthy one, and I was about to pass it by because
I needed somebody who would pay me the comb's full worth, but something drew
me to it. Inside, I found a very scary shop, which seemed to specialise in magical
items. The shelves, stacked high with all manner of strange items, crowded in
close on one another and left little room to navigate. Strange scary PetPet
cages lined the walls and they hooted and hollered at me. From the ceiling,
liquid dripped; I didn't want to know what the liquid was.
To be continued...