They say every NeoPet has a story that will really make
you think. I don't know who "they" are, and I don't know if every NeoPet
really has such a story, but I do. I'd like to tell you about it, if you
have some time.
It all began one fateful day that started out just like
every other. Nkari, my little sister, snagged me from my sleep that morning.
Being a Nimmo, Nkari can jump really high. Using her amazing jumping skills,
she bounced onto my bed and shook me awake.
"Mal, Mal, Mal," she screeched, "wake up! Mom's taking
us to the Marketplace today, and she says we're going to leave without
you if you're not ready by 10:30!"
I looked over at the alarm clock on my nightstand. 10:00!
Oh my gosh! I'd really have to hurry if I wanted to go with them. And
I really did. If you live in Neopia, you know how much fun the market
place is. The wonderful smells, all the amazing things to see. And if
Mom was taking us that meant that we'd probably get to pick out a toy
or, my favourite, a book.
I jumped out of bed, tumbling Nkari to the floor. She
shrieked with laughter and skipped out of my room. I took a quick bath,
threw on some clothes, fed Bubbles, my pet Alfy, and galloped downstairs.
Mom smiled at me.
"Finally got out of bed, huh sleepyhead? You have just
enough time for breakfast," she said, setting a plate of Faerie
Pancakes before me. "When you finish, do the dishes, okay?"
"Mrph-rmmm," I agreed, with my mouth full of food.
Mom kissed me on the cheek and went to go finish getting
Okei and Keatl, my two little brothers, ready to go. Nkari bounced into
the kitchen just as I was finishing my pancakes, and together we washed
the dishes and dried them.
Mom came downstairs with Okei and Keatl and the 5 of
us piled into the car. When we got to the marketplace, Mom said she was
going to take my brothers to the Neolodge while she shopped, but that
Nkari and I could spend the day shopping by ourselves, as long as we stuck
together. She gave each of us 100 Neopoints with a "Don't spend it all
in one place" and told us to meet her by the Money
Tree at 5:00.
Nkari and I looked at each other. A whole day without
supervision, and 100 Neopoints to splurge? It was too good to be true!
We raced towards the Bazaar,
where most young NeoPets who don't have to worry about parents looking
over their shoulders hang out. Nkari really wanted to look at toys, so
I took her to the Toy Shop. We oohed and ahhed over all the neat toys,
and Nkari bought a Red Elephante Plushie. Then we went to the Book Shop
and I bought a book about Earth Faeries. Then we went to the Battle Magic
Shop and gazed at all the Battledome weapons. Both of us think fighting
in the Battledome is really cool, but neither of us are experienced enough
to actually do it, so we daydream instead.
After awhile, we got kind of hungry, so we went to Hubert's
Hot Dog stand. I got a Chili Dog and Nkari got her favourite, a Lemon Guacamole
Dog. I don't understand why she likes them so much (I think they're about
as tasty as stinky feet) but she does. We sat in the shade of a tree,
eating our lunches, when I saw her. She was a Lupe, like me, but she was
the coolest looking Lupe I had ever seen. She was midnight black, except
for orange flames that licked her feet and chest. I stared at her in awe.
She looked over at Nkari and me and smiled. I realised that she was walking
toward us, and I felt like all my muscles had found a way to escape from
my body and all I could do was sit there like a blob. Nkari saw how amazed
I was and giggled. The Fire Lupe came up to us.
"Hello," she said. "I felt your stare boring into the
back of my head, and I thought I'd come over and see if you were all right."
"Uh, um, I'm f-f-fine, th-th-thanks," I stammered. "It's
just your coat! It's awesome!"
"Thank you," she smiled. "My owner painted me with a
Fire, Fire, Your pants on Fire Paintbrush two weeks ago. I like it a lot.
Well, I have to go. It was nice talking to you!"
With that, she was gone, but her words rang in my ears.
A Fire Paintbrush! I had always loved my shiny red fur, but I knew that
if I could have a fiery coat, I'd never ask for anything ever again! Nkari
noticed that it was almost time for us to go meet Mom, but I barely felt
the ground under my feet as I walked with her to the Money Tree. As soon
as we got there, I started begging mom for a Fire Paintbrush.
"Malinchak, you know I'd love to be able to give you
a Fire Paintbrush," she replied sadly, "but they're very expensive, and
it's a luxury we can't afford."
I was disappointed, but determined. I wanted an amazing
coat like the Fire Lupe I'd seen, and nothing was going to stop me. I
decided that I'd earn the money myself.
The next day I applied for a job at the Faerieland Employment
Agency. I got a job stocking shelves at the Bakery and running errands
for the Breadmaster. I worked and worked and worked for almost 3 months.
Finally I had enough. Mom agreed to take me to the Shop Wizard.
"Welcome," the Shop Wizard said kindly. "What can I do
for you today?"
"I'd like the cheapest Fire, Fire, Your Pants on Fire
Paintbrush you can find!" I said eagerly.
The Shop Wizard leafed through his ledger. "Ah, here
we go. romangemini has a Fire Paintbrush for 32,000 NP. Getting a new
coat today?" he asked.
"You bet!" I replied enthusiastically.
As Mom and I walked to the shop, she told me how proud
she was of me for working hard to get what I wanted. I was so happy. Not
only was I going to get a splendid new coat, but also I had made Mom really
happy. And it felt good to be getting something that I had earned. I felt
like I was going to burst with joy.
That feeling of joy faded when we passed the Adoption
Agency. I had heard about the awful place, but I'd never seen it. I stopped
in my tracks, looking in the window. I saw pictures of unwanted NeoPets
pasted to the walls. They all looked so sad. Mom noticed that I wasn't
walking beside her anymore.
"Malinchak, what is it?" she asked. "What's wrong?"
"Can we stop in here for a minute?" I asked her. "I want
to see what's inside."
"Oh Mal, you don't want to go in there. That place is
filled with sorrow and fear."
"Yes, Mom," I said firmly. "I do."
A bell tinkled as we walked inside. It was the only thing
cheery about the place. A mean-looking
Techo sat at the front desk.
"Help you?" he grunted grumpily.
Mom already had four NeoPets, so she couldn't adopt any
more, but I wanted to see the abandoned pets, and I told him so. He grunted
again and pointed to a door. I walked through it and found myself standing
in a long hallway. Lined along the walls of the hallway were cages filled
with NeoPets. They looked up at me, listlessly. Most looked sick, and
some looked like they were half-dead. I tried to imagine myself in one
of those cramped little cages, wondering if anyone would ever love me,
and I shuddered. Tears filled my eyes, and I felt Mom's hand on my shoulder.
"I wish there was something we could do, Mal," she said,
"But I can't get anymore NeoPets. If I could, I'd adopt every one of them."
I looked up at her and saw she was crying, too. Then
I looked down at the bag I was carrying. It held all the Neopoints I'd
earned and saved for my Paintbrush. Suddenly, a fire coat didn't seem
so important anymore. I looked at all the sad, sick NeoPets. "Mom, I know
what I have to do. We can't take these pets home, but we can make life
better for them here, right? I want to use the Neopoints I earned to buy
medicine and toys for all these pets. Maybe it will help them a little
until they can find homes."
Mom looked at me with pride and love in her eyes. "Okay
Mal, we'll do that."
We went first to the Pharmacy and bought Magic Goop for
achy heads, Jelly Pills for Neoflu, Neomonia Soap, Neopox Pizza, in fact,
just about every medicine for every illness known to Neopia. Then we went
to the Toy Shop and bought Plushies and Bicycles, Boom Boxes and Scooters.
Then we went to the Grooming Parlour and bought brushes and mirrors, and
eye shadows and lipsticks and blushes, so that the poor abandoned pets
could look good for prospective adopters. We took it all back to the Adoption
"We want to donate this stuff to these abandoned pets,
Dr_Death," I said bravely.
The Techo could only stare at the huge collection of
items. Eventually he agreed to give everything to the needy pets, and
Mom and I went home.
When we got home, Nkari, Okei, and Keatl were shocked
to see my red coat hadn't changed.
"I found something more important to spend it on." I
"What in the world? You were so excited about your new
coat!" Nkari exclaimed. "What did you do with all those Neopoints?"
I explained the day's events to her while Mom got dinner
ready. While we ate, Okei chattered excitedly about his day at the Training School, and Keatl went on and on about the piece of treasure map he'd
found. I sat, thinking to myself, only half-listening to them. I was still
sad that there were so many hurt and unwanted NeoPets out there, but I
felt good that I'd done my best to help them. At bedtime, Mom came to
my room to tuck me in and say goodnight. She sat on my bed.
"Mal, I want to tell you how proud I am of you. You worked
hard to buy yourself something you wanted, but you ended up giving it
to those less fortunate than you. I'm so lucky to have such a caring,
responsible NeoPet And you've also made an impact on Nkari. She's so impressed
with your act of kindness that she wants to do the same thing. You've
made me so proud!"
Mom leaned over and kissed me goodnight, and then walked
out of the room. As I lay in bed, waiting for sleep, I thought about all
that had happened. I didn't regret it one bit. I'd helped out others,
and I'd learned a lot. And besides, being red isn't so bad.