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
“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
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
“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
“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
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