Hey, I wrote in a Neomail to my best online friend AddictGame, ever
wonder what it’d be like to actually live in Neopia? Have a real pet to
play with, instead of just an image - and be able to actually walk in
to somebody's shop, dig through your pockets for some NP, and actually
buy, say, a Flotsam Sweater?
I clicked Send, then went to check on my shop. To my delight, I saw
that my very cheap red apple had just sold. I'd lost 5 NP in the deal,
but if I overpriced it, it'd never sell.
I grabbed the 15 NP out of my till, then went to play Gormball, playing
Drats! I lost. But by that time, my Neofriend had replied.
Yes, I've wondered, too. It would be so fun!
Quickly I replied - "I wish I could!" - and went back to Gormball.
I played for quite a while, winning some food, a Red Bandana, and 123
NP, until I looked at my computer's clock and saw that it was 9:00.
"Argh - why do we have to have school tomorrow?" I asked myself. "I'm
on a winning streak." Every school night at 9 o'clock, I had to get off
the Internet. I could do whatever I liked, except the computer, until
ten, and then I had to go to sleep. I'd never been exactly sure why Mom
figured that anything else - including TV - was better than the Internet
after nine, but hey, she definitely insisted on it.
Sadly, I logged off, hoping I had stocked my shop enough so that all
its items would last the night, and watched Star Trek Voyager until ten.
Then, I lay in bed, unable to sleep. My mind mulled over different things
- the math test tomorrow, if in Art I'd be able to finish the slab pot
I had been trying to get done, and NeoPets. Usually, when I was bored
at night, I made up stories about my Kougra, Klaue, exploring. I'd considered
sending these stories to the Times, but then they'd be plagiarized, I
But tonight, no new stories came. What could I do, anyhow? He'd already
fought off Dr. Sloth, encountered Werewolves and Donnas, and done just
about everything adventurous a Kougra could do.
My thoughts wandered in my head for a while until I remembered my Neomail
to AddictGame. What would it be like to go to Neopia?
I imagined in my head what Klaue's fur would feel like, how heavy Neopoints
were, what exactly Neopia looked like and what we used for transportation
(which had been bugging me for a while; did everybody walk, or maybe ride
bikes? Or did they just ride their pets?)
Finally, I fell asleep, and dreamt of a strange dragon/tiger creature
chasing a math test around in an ocean. It was an odd dream, clearly a
jumble of all my thoughts, and I awoke feeling slightly puzzled, as if
I'd been trying to figure it out in my head before I got up.
It was very dark in my room, but I always left the light at its dimmest
so I could see a little. Maybe Molly or Sneakers, my cats, had knocked
into it, and it had gone out.
I reached behind to tap the light so it would turn on, but my hand hit
only empty air. I sat up and tried to feel with both hands while trying
to adjust to the pitch-black darkness.
Still nothing. I was getting frustrated, when suddenly a big ball of
fur jumped me from the side. I fell on the bed with a startled "Oof!"
and tried to push the big thing off of me.
"Maggie!" I said, thinking it was my dog. "Who left you in?!"
"Huh?" said a graveled voice I didn't recognize at all.
"Hey! Who are you? Get outta my bed! What are you doing here, you creep?"
The furry thing - I still couldn't see anything, so I was going by feel
here, but it felt like an oversized Furby - jumped out of bed and snorted
indignantly. "Is that any way to treat your incredibly talented Kougra?!"
"My inc-what are you talking about?! AND WHERE IS THE LIGHT?!"
I heard a soft padding of either stocking feet or paws, the opening
of blinds - but I didn't have blinds in my room! - and suddenly my room
was flooded with a bright light.
Well, it sure looked like my room. Only, it wasn't. It was my bed, and
the bookcases were there, but my TV, my figurines, and my computer wasn't.
The books that used to be in my bookcase weren't there anymore, replaced
with books like Jump to the Future, Faerie Tales, Don't Call Me Cute,
Kougra Classics, Learn Social Skills, Quiggle Facts, Watch Out!, and Tear
But by far the most startling thing was that there was a big yellow Kougra
sitting on my floor!
He was pretty big - about 100 pounds, in fact. In the bright light of
the sun, he looked almost greenish, and he had a startling hue about him,
as if he was magical.
He seemed to be grinning at me, as if he knew how surprised I was. "Well?"
he asked, and I suddenly realized that I wasn't actually hearing him.
I was hearing him inside my head!
"Well, what?" I responded out loud.
"I think you've finally managed to Cross," he said, eyeing me quizzically.
"You don't look all that different. Just more human, I guess. Before,
when we could only talk and play though a modem, you were all jerky-like.
As if you were a really bad computer graphic.” His grin widened. “But
now you’re actually here! We can go and play and you can experience Neopia
like it was meant to be experienced.”
“Whoa, whoa, whoa. This...is my room. It looks like my room, at least.
I have to be still in my normal everyday life. NeoPets is a Web site It’s
not real. You’re - you’re an image on a computer screen. I must be hallucinating
He shrugged. “Pinch yourself.”
I did, and it hurt. “I can’t be in Neopia!”
“Yeah, you can. See, the Team has experienced the real-life Neopia before,
but only a few people can and have, so they brought it to everybody through
the Web. That way a lot of people can experience Neopia, even if it’s
a very diluted and safe version of it. Only a few people like you have
ever actually wanted to come here so bad that you actually do. Now that
you have for the first time you can come back anytime you want.”
“Woah. Woah! So Neopia really is real? The Team was just copying it?
How can that be?”
“Don’t ask me. Hey, I’m real. I’m no image. If you put me in the Pound,
I feel bad. If you leave me for dying I feel bad. If you pet me and love
me I feel good. I’m real. I can talk. I think. I reason.”
“So you’re not actually like Earth animals at all? You’re a completely
“Yeah. Come on! Let’s explore! You know, there’s only so much you can
do over the ’Net right now, and there’s so much you haven’t seen yet.
Some stuff you just can’t replicate, you know? Come on!”
I was still in shock. “What? Go where? I still say this is a dream.
It can’t be happening. It’s just too freaked out.”
“Hey, even if it is a dream, even if I don’t exist, you still get to
explore Neopia like you’ve been wanting. Come on!”
“Well - I’m in my pajamas.” I looked down at my baggy, striped blue
pajamas and decided that I was not leaving dressed like this. No way,
“You’ve got a closet right where it usually is. Just different clothes,”
he said with a grin.
I shook my head at just how human-like his face was (at least in expressions,
not in looks!) and walked over to the closet. I pulled open the door and
saw that he was right. I had almost all the clothes items offered in Neopia.
I was surprised to see that some of what I’d assumed to be for pets was
actually for humans, or vice versa. Some clothes items were for both pets
and humans, which I supposed might look cute - but sort of obnoxious.
I pulled out a pair of Denim Coveralls, a Red Bandana, and a Sun Hat.
Hey, there wasn’t much else I could wear except some sweaters, and it
looked too hot for that.
Then, under Klaue’s guidance, I found the bathroom, brushed my teeth,
washed my hands and ran a brush quickly through my hair. It was so amazing
to be using actual Neopian items!
Klaue waited impatiently as I ran around, grabbing this and that and
pausing to just touch stuff.
“Come on! We don’t have all day...oh wait. We do! Well, I have a ton
of stuff to show you. Come on!”
I grinned, grabbed all the stuff, and we walked out the door.
Wow! Neopia was so different and yet so the same. There were so many
trees, and lots of people were out with their pets. I noticed immediately
that no pets were on leashes, yet none of them were acting badly.
Most of the people moved jerkily, and from what Klaue had said earlier,
I figured they weren’t actually in Neopia; this was furthered by how,
whenever I tried to say something, they never responded.
“Come on. This place is so boring. I wanna show you everything. It’s
so cool!” He bounded ahead, pausing to growl at a Chia - was my Kougra
a Lupe in disguise? - and we were out of the town in no time.
“Where are all the theme parks?” I asked.
“Oh, they’re everywhere. Just about everyone has one. See? That’s one,
over there.” He pointed to a sign that said:
JOE’S THEME PARK
ONLY 50 NP
“Huh? That’s a theme park?”
“The entrance to one, yeah. To get to it, you open that door there.”
There was a painted door on the sign, with a very real doorknob. Klaue
told me, “You just open that door if you want to go in. It transports
you to another world. Or something. I’m not sure how it works, exactly.”
“Wow. It’s really not like I imagined!”
We were on a rough dirt road, lined with the occasional tree and sometimes
a theme park sign. There were no other people or pets in sight, except
for an occasional glimpse of an owner playing catch with his or her pet
through the trees.
“Where are we going, anyway?” I asked.
“Well, someone once showed me how Neopia looks if you go to the site.
It’s interesting but very different. I want to show you each place as
it really looks.”
“Oh - but where first?”
“The Marketplace, of course! I think the Marketplace is where everyone
spends the most time. It’s always busy and always real fun. You gotta
We continued walking down the path, but it seemed to be getting darker
and darker. The trees pressed closer together and loomed ominously over
the path. I saw white things flutter through the trees and a Skeith growl
“Wh-wh-where are we?” I asked nervously, noticing that Klaue had quickened
“This is one of the scariest places of all Neopia besides the Haunted
Woods. This is where a lot of the ghosts hang out when they aren’t trying
to get NP from you. But watch out, some of them prey on people who let
down their guard on their money and steal it right then. Luckily this
place is pretty small...ah! I just saw a werewolf!”
“Ah!” I echoed his scream as I saw it too. It was staring at us with
bright red eyes and licked its chops, undoubtedly thinking we were dinner.
“Quick, Muas! Jump on my back and I’ll use one of my abilities to get
us outta here!”
I jumped on his back, worried for a moment that he wouldn’t be able
to hold me up. But he did, easily, and summoned his power of Haste to
move at what seemed the speed of light to get us out of there.
“Wow,” I said when we were finally out of the dark place and in the bright,
sunny world of Neopia where all was well. “That was scary.”
“Yeah, it is, isn’t it?”
I climbed off his back and we started walking again. Now I could see
a bright, cheery, bustling town ahead of us.
“See, this is how it’s organised. All the regular shops are in front.
Then you go north and you see the shops that the regular users own. The
smallest ones are split in half or even third, for the Size 1 shops. The
biggest ones usually get their own space and crowd out the smaller ones.”
We stood on the edge of town, right in front of the huge statue of the
Battle Faerie’s horse. Klaue explained to me that if you went in the door,
you’d end up in the Battle Magic shop.
To the left was the Defense Shop, with its huge colourful shields on top;
to the right, the Card Shop, which appeared to be a giant stack of cards.
“It’s a lot better in real life, isn’t it?” he asked. “Want to visit
“Sure!” I said, excitedly. I really wanted to visit the shopkeepers
and maybe get an item or two.
I pointed at a big shop with a giant scroll on top. “That one - the magic
We walked over the beautiful, springy grass and folded open the cloth
door to step inside the dark, gloomy, yet somehow magical Magic Shop.
A blue Wocky with sparkles and a wizard’s hat greeted us. “Welcome!”
he said. “I’m sorry you missed the big rush, but we still have a Tent
for the very cheap price of 29 NP.”
“Sorry, we have a Tent already,” said Klaue. “But thanks for the offer.
This is Muas. She’s just managed to Cross!”
“Oh, that’s great. I hope you have a great time during your stay in Neopia,
We ducked back outside, and I noticed that just to my left was the Pet
Pet’s shop. “Hey!” I said to Klaue. “What do Pet’s Pets look like normally?”
“Well, they’re pretty small. And some of them look scary although they’re
usually nice. Want to take a look?”
We walked inside and saw a Usul with a bunch of Pet’s Pets crowded around
her. They were so cute, and so hyper! They jumped around and all over
the other visitors as if they were playground equipment.
There was a sedate-looking Cobrall who twisted playfully around a yellow,
wide-eyed Fungree; a Huggy that was going around with his arms around
both a blue and white Mongmong and a beelike Buzzer; a Mallard that eyed
a Uniocto in a water tank quizzically; a froglike Greeble on a Snorkle’s
back; and a cute blue and purple Puppyblew who sat on the shopkeeper’s
shoulders and nuzzled her cheek affectionately.
“They’re all so cute!” I said.
“I’ll have to get you one when we get enough NP, Klaue.”
“Thanks a lot!” he said.
“I’d really like one!”
We walked back outside, and I saw that across the lane was the Garden
Center, with its huge flowers blowing in the wind, the Video Store, the
Grooming Shop with the bone that made Klaue’s mouth water, and the Bakery
with a huge donut. Behind the Pet’s Pet shop was the Auction House, where
I could hear auctioneers yelling wildly as people placed offers on a table
for everything from art supplies to Coconut God Souvenirs.
And just beside the Auction House was the Cartoon Network Theatre. That
housed the games that everyone could play that got you lots of NP. I kept
meaning to play those, but always forgot.
“What do you want to look at next?” asked Klaue.
“How about the Money Tree?” I asked.
The huge tree stood in the middle of the Marketplace, sheltering bags
of NP and lots of items, donated by kind Neopians. I always tried to donate
at least 5 NP whenever I could spare it.
We walked over, but didn’t touch any of the stuff. We weren’t feeling
that greedy today.
I leaned against the shade of the Tree, grateful for the coolness its
branches offered. I watched some people come and leave big bags of NP,
others small; one person left a blue ball and it was immediately snatched
up by a Gelert.
We people-watched for about fifteen minutes, until I began to get bored.
“Come on, Klaue. Let’s go look at the Poetry Corner.”
A statue of a Shakespearean Chia marked the entrance to the Corner, where
aspiring poets could share their work with thousands of others. I walked
inside and saw many great poems lining the walls. A Kacheek with a beret
said to me, “Hello, Madame; have you come to enter the contest?”
“Uh - no. I just wanted to check it out.”
“See, she just Crossed,” said Klaue helpfully. “She’s just checking
“Oh, I see! Good luck on all your journeys, and may you win lotsa NP
at Gormball.” He smiled and moved onto the next person, who clutched a
piece of paper nervously.
We walked back outside. I was having trouble deciding where to go next.
The huge safe-like Bank? The Toy Store, promising hours of fun for pets
of all ages? Neopia Fresh Foods? The Rainbow Pool? The Pharmacy? Wait...the
“Let’s go to the Bookstore. Come on, Klaue!”
“But we have nearly every book in Neopia,” he complained.
“Well, then, let’s find the ones we don’t,” I countered.
He groaned, but accompanied me to the Book Store. There, we found that
the only book the Nimmo had in stock that we didn’t have was Maps of Neopia.
We haggled with him and managed to get it for 20 NP, then walked back
“Why don’t we head for the North Shops?” Klaue suggested.
We headed down the path and soon got into the other Marketplace - the
Marketplace which housed the User Shops.
In some ways, the other Marketplace was even more amazing than the front
one. Sure, the User Shops all looked plain, from the outside - sort of
like squashed mushrooms.
But to my right was the huge Hotel, which loomed over everything; a lot
of Neopians were going in and out of there with their pets.
To my left was the Alien Aisha Vending Machine, the cool place which
gave out gross food which the Alien Aishas appeared to love.
Further down was the Neopian Soap Box, where Neopians could give their
opinions on just about anything. A man was standing outside talking about
high food prices just now.
Then, in a corner, was the Soup Kitchen. Dozens and dozens of poor, unhealthy
pets and owners crowded around to receive unending bowls of soup from
the kind Soup Faerie. It made me sick to see all of them, and I wished
I could help.
In the middle of the North Shops stood the Shop Wizard’s tent/wizard
hat. The Shop Wizard was the guy you could ask to find the cheapest priced
items in Neopia.
“Wanna go check him out?” asked Klaue.
“Sure. Why not?”
We walked down the path and got in the very long line to ask him. Luckily
the line went very quickly and we were there in almost no time.
Inside sat a yellow Jubjub in Wizard’s garb. He stared at us with wide,
black eyes and asked me in a tiny, squeaky voice: “What would you like
to know the cheapest price of? I know all.”
“How about - how about a book, Maps of Neopia?” I figured I could see
how to price it.
He closed his eyes and chanted, “Cheapest price is 50 NP. Would you like
to go to the person’s shop?”
“Uh - no, thanks. Thanks for all your help,” I said, and dragged Klaue
Just behind me was the entrance for T.A.P., or The Aisha Guild. I’d visited
it before, and it was pretty interesting. Those folks really liked Aishas!
And then there was the Light Faerie’s tower. She was pretty cranky.
Then the Wishing Well. You could ask the Well to give you something and
donate a certain amount of NP and if the Well was awake when you asked,
you got the item. I’d asked before, but never got anything.
The Neo Hospital, a huge white building that was the epitome of every
hospital I’d ever been to, was the last building on the way to the Main
Shops again. We decided not to visit the Hospital, as that would only
slow the time legitimate pets needed to get help, and sat down to think
of where to go next.
“How about we go put your Maps of Neopia in your safety-deposit box
before some Pant Devil steals it?” suggested Klaue, laying down with his
head in my lap.
“Good idea!” I said. “Where are the Safety-Deposit Boxes?”
“You hafta go to your own shop first and then if you are the owner you
can go behind the counter and open the box and put it in.”
“Okay. How do I find my shop?”
“Our shop is in that group, in that building, over there.”
We got up and walked over to the nearest group of mushroom-shaped shops
with colorful caps. Klaue had pointed to a larger mushbuilding (that was
how I was thinking of them) with a green cap. We walked up to its door
and walked inside quickly.
We found ourselves in a small hallway branching off into three sections.
One said The Darkness Shop, one The Tropicana Club Shop, and the last
“Ours is the Tropicana,” said Klaue. We walked down the short, middle
hallway. I found my shop to be fairly dark and dank except for one dim
“Why’s it so dark?” I asked, concerned.
“Oh, everybody’s is, who hasn’t Crossed. You can’t get lighted shops
unless you’ve Crossed, but it doesn’t really matter since the majority
of folks haven’t crossed and it makes no difference if your Shop is Lighted
or Not to them.”
“Oh. That’s good.”
My shop was pretty much empty because I hadn’t really been using it.
I’d been putting most of my Gormball winnings, unless it was food or something
else Klaue needed, in there, but I’d never had the need to expand it.
Now, seeing how lonely the three items looked on the shelf, I made a mental
note to start adding stuff.
“Okay,” I said. “So my safety deposit box is behind this counter here?”
I rapped the old wooden counter with a hand, noticing there didn’t appear
to be any sort of way to get to it. “How do I get behind it?”
“Oh, you need the key.”
“Yeah. Look in your overalls pocket.”
I fished around in my pocket and came up with a shiny, rectangular, metallic-like
plastic object with a streak of red text: “SHOP OWNERS’ KEY”.
“Oh. Well, this is interesting. What do I do with it?”
Klaue pointed a paw with a very long claw at a blinking red light. “When
it’s red you can’t enter. Wave the key at the light and when it turns
green a door will appear.”
I did as he instructed, and it worked. A door - actually a hinged half
door - shimmered into being and stood there as if it had already been
“Wow,” was all I could say. “We need this technology back on Earth.
Imagine the stop in thievery!”
“Yeah,” Klaue agreed.
I stepped through the door and looked around. It looked like any other
counter on Earth, except everything seemed happy. I grabbed the book and
looked around. Quickly, I found a red and yellow box labeled, clearly,
MUAS SAFETY DEPOSIT BOX.
“Okay - simple enough.”
“Yeah - just put it in there.”
“It looks way too small!”
“Don’t worry. You know that movie The Santa Clause? It has its own version
here - The Gift Faerie Clause. You know the scene where Santa, or the
Gift Faerie, goes and pulls all the gifts out of a bottomless bag? That’s
what the Safety Deposit Box is like.”
“Oh,” I said quizzically. “If you say so.”
I laid the book down on the velvety cushion that lined the inside of
the box, and it, indeed, stretched to fit it all. “Wow!”
“See? Now come on.”
“There’s a lot more to see and do here.”
“Oh. Well, what next?” Klaue looked at the clock on the wall. His face
- I’d never get over how human-like it was - showed a profound sadness
he was feeling. “It’s three o’clock,” he said. “You have to be going home
“Home? You mean to Earth? Normal life?”
“If you’d call it that.” His face showed a grin that fleetingly appeared
and disappeared into his sadness. “But yeah. You’ve been here for five
hours, Neopian time, that is. That’s the limit. I don’t know why; I didn’t
make the rules. You can come back anytime, starting tomorrow.”
“Oh - I hate to go. Really, I do!”
“Yeah. Too bad...but hey, you’ll come back tomorrow, right?” he smiled.
“You know the song ‘Tomorrow’s Just a Dream Away’? It’s true here.”
I left the counter, and the door automatically closed behind me. We
went down the short, dark hallway again and emerged out of the mushroom.
The crowds had gotten larger now, and everywhere you looked you saw a
sea of faces; if you looked down, you saw NeoPets of all shapes and sizes.
Kougras, Chias, Jubjubs, Skeiths, Lennys, Poogles - all in a dazzling
array of colors. They sat patiently or even joined in as their owners
bartered, haggled, bought and sold; auctioned, stole, or fought. We pushed
our way through the crowd and stood on the outskirts of the Marketplace,
breathing deeply. I’d never been a big fan of crowds; apparently, neither
“Where do I have to be to go back? And how? And how do I get back?”
“You’ve got to be exactly, or nearly, where you were when you came here.
The other stuff I’ll explain; it’s sort of confusing.”
We started the trek back to our home sadly. We didn’t talk as much as
we’d been. I was very sad to see this adventure end, and couldn’t wait
for another to begin. If five hours Neopian time equaled five minutes
Earth time, who knew how much I could do? Every day I could take a literal
We passed all the shops, sometimes pushing our way through the crowds
of people around the more popular ones; finally we got to the edge and
worked our way out.
As we walked, I thought of just how amazing Neopia really was. It was
such a complex world, and so different from Earth, yet a lot the same.
"WHOA!" Klaue shouted suddenly, and I was jerked from my reverie.
I looked up to see that he was staring at two monsters I'd been hoping
I wouldn't see in my stay. The Ugly Chia and Werewolf stood in the middle
of the path - unusual for such usually shy, yet vicious, creatures. The
Ugly Chia just stood there, staring through us, but the werewolf growled.
Then, I heard his thoughts slice through my mind as if he wielded a dagger.
"This is our turf, human and stupid Kougra. Get out of our way before
we make you pay the toll."
"This is a public road!" replied Klaue angrily.
"Not any more. We claim it for the Lord of Evil in Neopia, Dr. Sloth."
"You can't do that! And you won't - not without a fight!"
"Klaue, do you really want to get in a fight with these guys?" I asked
"We've got a right to pass, Muas!" he shot back. I could see his fur
bristling up as he stood on the path, facing the two evil monsters.
"Take another road, stupid Kougra. And take your inferior human with
you - or cease to exist."
"No!" he replied. "You can't insult Muas!"
"And you can't insult Klaue, either," I said. I knew I didn't want to
get mixed up in this, but he couldn't insult my pet! "But Klaue, you're
not experienced enough. You only have a few abilities, and most of them
are defence or retreat ones. Only two attack abilities, and they aren't
that good. But," I said with an eye to the monsters, "your defence is
very, very good."
He glared at the Chia and Werewolf, not acknowledging me. I thought
he hadn't heard me until I saw him relax. "You're right," he replied.
"I shouldn't attack when I know I'll lose."
"Right. Come back here when you're stronger and we'll show these creeps
"Okay. I think there's another road around here somewhere."
We ended up taking a path through the woods to the street which had my
house. I thought it was much better than just taking the road - I got
to see so much more, and really saw Neopia as I thought it should be seen.
The bright light - slightly brighter than the sun I was used to - filtered
through the trees. The whole world smelled like honeydew, and I felt like
just lolling around, gazing up at the sky, and trying to figure out what
shapes the clouds made in the sky.
I really, really didn’t want to go back to the Real World, Earth, and
have to face another school day. I’d rather live my life here in Neopia,
surrounded by mostly good, except for a few bad folks, monsters and pets.
Hey, it was better than the real world.
Then I figured, Hey, that’s probably why NeoPets is so popular. You can
escape the real world for a while, and it’s always there. As long as you
play right, you’re accepted, and everyone is equal.
And once I got back to Earth, I could log on NeoPets anytime when I
couldn’t actually come here. It would always be there and I could escape
the pressures of everyday life.
So when the time came to say good-bye, temporarily, to Klaue, I wasn’t
as sad as I was before. It was just a matter of time before I’d be seeing
him, and the rest of my Neopian friends, again.