Invisible Paint Brushes rock Circulation: 142,874,434 Issue: 200 | 22nd day of Swimming, Y7
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Two Hundred


by charmedhorses

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While most Neopets were out of Neoschool already, the class of Miss Hickle remained in Neoschool for two torturous days. Needless to say, the students were bored to tears and stared in a stupor through the large glass panes of a classroom window at the beautiful summer weather outside.

    A studious baby Uni sat at her desk, only half listening to the words of her teacher. Generally, the Uni took note of every word that left the mouth of Miss Hickle, but today was not like most days. Today was warm and sunny. Little puffs of clouds decorated the blue sky. Everything looked summery and the only thing in the baby Uni’s way of participating in the joys of such beautiful weather was Neoschool.

     “Indipsi? Are you paying attention?” Miss Hickle asked, interrupting the traveling thoughts of her student. “I was just getting ready to tell you guys about your final project."

    As may be expected, a deep groan encompassed the small classroom. A project was the last thing these Neopets wanted.

     “I know I say this every time,” Miss Hickle went on, “but this is a fun project. It’s also personal, so you won't have to do much research. What I want you guys to do is think about ‘two hundred’. What does it mean to you? Is it simply a number or a word? If so, how would you define it to someone who doesn’t understand numbers and can’t count? If there’s something else that ‘two hundred’ means to you, by all means, figure out a way to explain it.

     “That’s enough for you guys to think about. Your presentations are due tomorrow and they can be either oral or visual. Take your time and do a good job. There will be no more homework after you’ve completed these projects. All right, that’s all for today. You’re dismissed.”

    One last assignment. The thought made Indipsi grin from ear to ear. What an odd topic, though. The young Uni contemplated what two hundred meant to her as she left the classroom and walked along the dirt path that would take her to the Neohome she shared with her owner, Charmedhorses. It was a gorgeous day and as was occurring more and more frequently, Indipsi found her mind traveling. Two hundred is an awfully big number, Indi thought. Then, catching sight of a flock of Pawkeets in the sky above her, I wonder if there are two hundred Pawkeets flying up there. Maybe they’re returning home for the summer. They’re awfully late, though. I wonder what it would be like to live one place during the winter and another during the summer…

    Indi was so caught up with her thoughts that she barely noticed when the trail she was following crossed another and a blue Kadoatie raced across her path.

     “Oof,” Indipsi grunted, stumbling over her hooves and falling to her knees. “I guess I had that one coming. Maybe I should pay more attention to where I’m going.”

    In an attempt to both start brain storming and avoid an accident, Indi decided to count each step she took. Perhaps she could apply two hundred to a distance. Two hundred steps might be a mile or something like that. Indipsi began to count. One, two, three…

    However, by the time the baby Uni took her final step up the hill on which her Neohome sat, she knew she’d have to come up with some other plan. From the Neoschool to Indipsi’s Neohome was only a mile and Indipsi had counted 420 steps. Time for plan B.

     “Charmed! I’m home!”

     “Hi, Indi! I’m in the study!” Charmedhorses hollered.

    Indipsi trotted down to see her owner. Charmed had recently decided to build a farm on the measurable amount of land she and Indi owned and had been busy making plans ever since.

     “I’m so glad you’re home,” Charmed gushed. “What do you think- are ten stalls enough?”

    Indipsi furrowed her brow. “What if it rains? We can’t leave anybody out in the fields. They’d get soaked and catch a cold.” An idea suddenly struck her. “How about two hundred? That’s a good round number.”

    Charmed looked at Indipsi in shock. “Round, but huge. Why in Neopia would we need two hundred stalls?”

     “Oh, never mind. It would just help me with a school project.” Indipsi went on to explain her assignment and the difficulty she was having coming up with an idea.

     “Well, I’d love to help you out, but I’m afraid two hundred stalls is just not feasible for our little farm. What do you say we settle on twenty?”

    Indipsi nodded. “I’ll be out in the kitchen if you need me.”

    In the kitchen, Indipsi eyed a bowl of apples. “Apples are important to me,” she said aloud. “I could bring in two hundred apples and explain that there’s nothing I would rather eat than two hundred apples.” Indipsi wrinkled her nose. “Who am I kidding? That’s not a very good idea. Besides, it would make me look like a Snorkle.”

    Indi picked up an apple, spraying tart juice as she bit off a chunk with her teeth. “Let’s go through the assignment once more,” she said to herself. “Two hundred. What does it mean?” Indipsi thought about it for a moment and then exclaimed in frustration, “I don’t know what it means! It’s twice as big as one hundred, how about that?!”

    Discouraged, Indipsi tossed the apple core in a trash can and stomped off to her room. Once there, Indipsi threw herself upon the carpeted floor and began to look around her room for inspiration. She laid eyes on a set of alphabet blocks. “Maybe I could make a list of two hundred different words,” Indipsi suggested aloud. She turned the B block in her hoof. “Maybe two hundred words that start with B.” Indipsi continued to think about her idea. “But what would I say? Anyone can sit down and write two hundred different words. No, that won’t do. What else can I come up with?”

    Indipsi, being quite the bookworm, read The Neopian Times every week and saved each copy in a series of piles next to her bed. Now, during this time of crisis, Indipsi’s eyes strayed over their enormity. Indi read every piece in every issue and considered each to be a masterpiece as well as something to be remembered. Therefore, Indipsi refused to recycle or get rid of even one. As a result, Indipsi’s bed was barred from the rest of the room by a barrier of stacked newspapers. It was dangerous for the baby Uni to even attempt to get up during the night for fear of tripping over them.

     “I really should do something about those,” Indipsi muttered, moving toward the intimidating barricades of well loved issues.

    Happy to find something to take her mind off of the dilemma of her Neoschool project, Indipsi began to sort through the thin paper sheafs. “I remember this!” Indipsi laughed at an old comic. Within forty-five minutes, Indi had separated The Neopian Times into piles of ten, chronologically ordered.

     “Is that you, Indi?” Charmedhorses asked. Footsteps echoed down the hall as the teenager searched for her Uni. “Well, you’ve been busy,” Charmed observed. “Have you done your homework yet?”

     “Not quite…” Indipsi admitted. “But, look! You can actually get to my bed, now! I put these old issues in a bunch of piles.”

     “That’s great,” Charmed praised her. “And look what came in the Neomail today- Issue 200.” Charmed held the extra thick edition in her hand.

     “Issue…200?” Indipsi’s jaw dropped as she looked at the celebratory images that graced the front page of the newspaper. “This is perfect! Absolutely perfect! May I see it, please?” Indipsi practically grabbed The Neopian Times from her owner. “Thanks!”

     “Dinner’s in an hour,” Charmed warned, but Indipsi was so busy that she barely noticed her owner leave.

    **********

     The next morning Indipsi trotted out of her bedroom pulling a little red wagon filled with all her issues of The Neopian Times and a huge grin plastered on her face.

     “I’m ready for school!” Indi called to her owner, heading for the door without even the thought of grabbing a bite to eat before she did so.

     “Wait!” Charmed called, bolting out of the kitchen before her baby Uni left. “What’s your hurry?” Then, catching sight of the wagon behind Indipsi, “Oh, my. I suppose this is for school, huh?”

    “Yup,” Indipsi replied. “And if I’m going to make it to Neoschool on time I’d better get going. See ya later!”

    “All right. Good luck.” Charmed watched as Indi began the long trudge downhill and to Neoschool.

    Although Indipsi had been extremely confident in her project and what two-hundred meant to her, when she arrived at Neoschool, Indi eyed the other Neopets around her and felt butterflies grow in her stomach.

    Class soon commenced and Indipsi watched nervously as one of her peers began presenting. Though the student was not normally one of the highest markers, the blue Kacheek had obviously put a lot of thought into his project. With a large Neofamily tree displaying all the different members of his Neofamily from the past two hundred years, the Kacheek explained that two hundred meant Neofamily to him and that each member was important to him in a different way.

    One by one the Neopets of Miss Hickle’s class walked to the front of the room and presented. Each was unique, ranging from a pile of two hundred paper clips to a two hundred year old Miamouse. Suddenly Indipsi felt that her idea hadn’t been so original after all and the baby Uni found herself slinking lower and lower in her seat as the class wore on.

     “Indipsi?” Miss Hickle asked. “I believe you’re next.”

    Indipsi smiled timidly. “Mmhmm.” Then, with quaky legs and slippery hooves, she dragged her little red wagon to the front of the room.

     “At first I wasn’t sure what to do,” Indipsi began. “But then I started cleaning my room and I found all my old issues of The Neopian Times. You’ve all read The Neopian Times, haven’t you?” The class nodded and Indipsi went on. “Right, well, I started cleaning and I had separated them all into chronological stacks of ten,” Indi gestured at the stacks in her wagon, “when my owner came in with the latest issue. Has anyone read it yet?” The room was very quiet and Indipsi saw her classmates shake their heads. “Well, Charmed-that’s my owner-brought in the latest issue and it just happened to be Issue 200.” Indipsi paused, waiting for the irony to sink in. “I was shocked. Two hundred issues? It didn’t seem possible. I had read every one, of course, but never in my wildest dreams would I have guessed that there had been so many. After all, each issue is so different from the last and each has so many surprises!”

    Indipsi stopped for a moment and stooped over her wagon to pick up some of the older issues. She then proceeded to hand them out, saying, “I think it’s important that we honor this special time. I want us to look through the past articles and stories and recall some of our favorites. Who would like to begin?”

    A green Zafara raised her hand and shared her favorite Really Confused comic. The class chuckled and pretty soon everyone had a paw, hoof, or fin raised in the air to share their favorite piece from The Neopian Times.

    When everyone had had a turn, Indipsi smiled broadly, her nerves forgotten. “Two hundred is a big number,” she concluded. “And there’s a lot that it represents. For me it represents a lot of good times. It means two hundred issues of a newspaper that Neopia would be heartbroken without. Each week I look forward to reading the newest story by my favorite author and the latest comic by my favorite artist. The great thing about The Neopian Times is that it has something for everyone. Two hundred should be a reminder of just what an important staple The Neopian Times is in our lives.”

    The class broke out in a rowdy round of applause and Indipsi felt a great sense of accomplishment as she sat back down in her seat. The end of the Neoschool year had come and she was proud of her final project. This summer she was bound to have fun sailing the waves of Krawk Island and bearing the heat of the Lost Desert amongst the newest pages of The Neopian Times.

The End

 
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