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Eralta and Opessenc's Big Ixi Day

by ratling_guardian


I opened my eyes slowly as a shaft of light penetrated the living room. Somebody had left the door open. Goody. I groaned and turned over, facing the back of the couch, until something stirred in the back of my head - it was Ixi Day. Darn it. And I hadn't done anything to prepare. For a responsible fourteen year old, I was making a total mess-up of everything.

      So, here's me. ratling_guardian. Owner of four, aspiring Neopian Times Writer, future strong Battledomer thing, all that stuff. My four pets were the best I could hope for - a wonderful Christmas Ixi called Eralta, a timid little Blue Ixi called Opessenc, an inquisitive but un-vain Blue Uni by the name of BUREUNIKONE and an adventurous young Ice Bori who I had named Alkarasydes. Unfortunately, with two Ixis to take care of and a forgetful memory, that makes this Ixi Day tricky. I had to find a way of keeping Eralta and Opessenc busy while I cobbled together some form of celebration. And I had to think of one now. Of course, they wouldn't wake up for another couple of hours, so I could-

      NO. That's what made me make a mess-up of Ixi Day as it is. So, with a groan, I pulled myself off the couch. Okay. Think. Think, think, think. There *has* to be something I can do for it. Too soon, however, I heard clopping from above that could only mean one thing - Eralta and Opessenc were already awake! Oh, what a fool I am… I quickly formulated a get-them-out-of-the-way plan, and turned to face the doorway as to which they'd emerge from. Sure enough, they trotted in, a look of excitement on their faces.

      "Okay, Daddy!" Eralta said. "What are we doing for Ixi Day?"

      "Ah, I've got something prepared for you that requires a bit of effort from you two," I told them.

      "Okay, what is it?" asked Opessenc, his tail wagging furiously.

      "Well, it's a sort of quest, you could say," I told them. "You just need to go out and collect a list of items, and when you return, there'll be a little something for you…"

      "Okay, what do you need?" Eralta asked, her voice quivering with excitement.

      "I have it upstairs, I'll go grab it," I told them, and smiled at their look of ecstasy. As I exited the room, it turned into a grimace of guilt and worry as I struggled upstairs (we hadn't bought a stairway yet) and into BUREUNIKONE's room. I quickly shook him awake.

      "Huh? Whuzzappening?" he grunted sleepily.

      "BUREUNIKONE, I need your help," I hissed. "I need your help. I've messed up big time and need yours and Alkarasydes' help to get something ready for Ixi Day."

      "Oh, geeze, what is it with you and not being responsible," he groaned, heaving himself out of bed. His back legs slid to the floor and flopped out at odd angles.

      "You need to start sleeping better," I told him, rubbing them to get the blood circulation going again.

      "I've been trying," he said, "but it isn't working. Anyway…" He kicked his back legs to make sure the circulation was sufficient. It was, as I was flung across the room. "What do you need us to do?"

      "For the time being, I need you to help me with a quest item list that'll keep Eralta and Opessenc out of the house for the rest of the day," I told him, extracting myself from the Jelly wall.

      "Okay," he said. His horn suddenly glowed white, and he conjured a pen out of nowhere. I stared at him.

      "How'd you do that?!" I cried.

      "Oh, this?" he said casually, and conjured a bottle of white-out, "I dunno, it seems to be automatic."

      "Oh well, forget that, let's try and make a list," I said, noticing I was getting sidetracked.

      "Okay," BUREUNIKONE said. He conjured a piece of paper, and we set to work. Working as quickly as possible, we cobbled together a quick list:

     Rusty Old Can

     Two Colours of Giant Kelp

     A Bottled Faerie (any Element)

     A Battledome Weapon Worth More Than 3k

     An Item of Your Choice

     "That'll have to do," I said. "Thanks for your help, but I'll need more during the day."

      "Okay, you know where to find me," he replied. I hurried downstairs, pulling out a sack of Neopoints out of my pocket.

      "Ah, did you find it?" asked Opessenc happily.

      "Yup," I said, forcing a smile onto my face, "here you go, and here's the money that you and Eralta will need to find or buy them," I added, handing them the sack of Neopoints.

      "Okay Daddy, we'll be home before dark!" Eralta said brightly.

      "Get going, then," I said, smiling. They grinned excitedly and trotted out, Eralta holding the list and Opessenc carrying the sack. As soon as they were out the door, I pulled at my hair impatiently. Now it was a race against time. I struggled upstairs again and woke Alkarasydes up.

      "What the heck are you doing?!" she squeaked, swatting at my hand with one of her frozen paws.

      "I need yours and BUREUNIKONE's help, I totally messed up for Ixi Day!" I told her.

      "Well, that's your problem, isn't it?" she cried, "Let me sleep!"

      I sighed and dragged her out of bed.

      "Oh, very well," she snapped, and slid onto the floor. "What do you need?"

      "Well, you're a sneaky thief-type, aren't you?" I asked.

      "Yes," she replied suspiciously. "Why?"

      "Okay, I'm aware that Eralta and Opessenc want something or another, and that they wrote it down somewhere, but I'm not sure where, and I need you to find them for me," I told her, "and quickly please."

      "Okay, I'm on it," she said, and scurried out of the room. I scarcely had time to wonder how long she'd be when she returned, carrying to bits of paper in her mouth.

      "That was quick," I said appraisingly, "two seconds has to be a universal record."

      "You're welcome," she said, spitting them into my hand and trotting out. I glanced at the bits of paper. The first was written in a neat cursive scrawl, so I expected it to be Opessenc's.

     Opessenc's Current Wishlist:

     To be braver

     I raised an eyebrow at it, and shrugged, looking at Eralta's, an untidy scribble.

     Eralta's Current Wishlist:

     An upgrade in Battledome items (eg Sinsi's Sword, Florbix Blaster, Honey Potion etc.)

     I did a slight double take at Eralta's list; compared to Opessenc's, it was quite a shocker.

      "BUREUNIKONE, Alkarasydes," I called out, "come here - we need to do some serious thinking…"

     ~ * ~

     Eralta and Opessenc trotted down the Main Street in Neopia Central, looking for anything on their list.

      "So, any idea where we're gonna get these?" Opessenc asked.

      "Well, the Can and the Kelp can both be fished for," Eralta replied, glancing down the list, "but of course, we can only fish once a day. The Faerie is undoubtedly why Daddy gave us the cash, same with the item of our choice… furthermore, we'll have to buy at least one Kelp, because of the day limit."

      "Okay, well, let's get the fishing out of the way first," Opessenc said. Next second, they were at the Fishing Spot.

      "Um… That was, er, quick," Eralta said, raising an eyebrow.

      "Sometimes, I don't understand Neopia," Opessenc said, picking up an unused rod, and casting the line. Eralta followed suit.

      "Yes, it can be a very strange place-" Eralta started, before her line gave a huge jerk and pulled her into the lake.

      "ERALTA!" Opessenc screamed, leaping to his hooves. Everybody turned around, apparently unaware that an entire Ixi had just been pulled underwater, or of the bubbles on the surface of the lake. "Oh my God, what do I do, what do I do…"

      Opessenc paced around and around, scratching his head. He looked at the water, the bubbles still on the surface. Next second, Eralta surfaced, gasping for air.

      "Opessenc!" she shrieked. "Help me!"

      "Don't worry, I'm coming Eralta!" Opessenc yelled, running towards the edge of the jetty. At the end, he stopped.

      "What are you waiting for?!" she screamed. "HELP ME!"

      "I- I can't!" he stammered. "I'm not ready for this sort of thing!"

      But Eralta was pulled under a second time. Gritting his teeth and ready for whatever the lake threw at him, Opessenc took a huge breath, picked up the fishing pole (he guessed it might come in handy) and leapt head-first into the water.

      The first thing he saw was a gigantic fish with several tentacles, locked in battle with Eralta, who was thrashing around, trying to fend it off with her own pole. Opessenc kicked and sped towards the fish, before realizing what it was - the Chasm Beast!

      "Eralta!" he shouted, but all that came out was a bubble. She seemed to understand, however, "Don't fight it! Try to get to the surface!"

      She nodded and worked on trying to swim away. Opessenc grabbed its attention by jabbing it with his pole. It gave a roar that was audible from above the lake, too. The Beast turned its attention to Opessenc, wrapping one of its several tentacles around him. He couldn't stop it, however, due to the powerful grip, and with Eralta above water, he was completely helpless. The Beast pulled him towards its gaping mouth, and he knew it was ready to swallow him whole. He realized his only chance was an old movie cliché - to put his fishing pole in its mouth, preventing it from closing! He tightened his grip around the pole, and as the tentacle removed itself from around him so that the Beast wouldn't eat itself in the process, he seized his chance - he placed the pole securely inside the jaws of the monstrous fish and it roared with fury. Waving its tentacles, it attempted to remove the pole from its mouth. Opessenc used this opportunity, and swam like all heck to the surface and back onto the jetty, which was now deserted except for Eralta.

      "Where is everyone?" he gasped, slumping on the jetty floor.

      "They ran off when the heard the Chasm Beast roar," Eralta said, "and look at what they left!"

      She proudly held up two Giant kelps and a Rusty Old Can.

     ~ * ~

     I glanced down at my shopping list. After playing games for God knows how long, along with 'borrowing' money from unwary Neopians, I finally had what I hoped was enough for Eralta's Wishlist, and we were in the Island Trading Post.

      "Okay, we have what we need, at least I hope," I said to Alkarasydes and BUREUNIKONE. The both grunted in tones of relief, and I couldn't blame them - all three of us had been playing our backsides off, trying to earn enough for a single Wishlist. I looked at how exhausted my poor pets looked, and my grimace of guilt intensified, and I felt disgusted at myself - this was my problem, not theirs, and I dragged them into it, without even giving them a choice. Still, it couldn't be helped, at least at the moment.

      "Look," I said, crouching down next to them. "Tomorrow I promise I'll make it up to both of you. You've been ridiculously helpful, and I just can't tell you how grateful I am… But I shouldn't have dragged you into this…"

      Unable to say any more, and rather to stave off from the guilt intensifying again, I threw my arms around my Uni and Bori.

      "Dad, stop it!" cried Alkarasydes, struggling to throw me off.

      "Right, sorry…" I said, releasing them. They flopped to the ground, and I straightened up. "Okay, let's get these items."

      We strode through stall after stall, browsing item after item, until BUREUNIKONE had enough sense to use the search. Miraculously, our pile of Neopoints was enough to cover all three items, only just barely. Carrying our spoils very carefully, we made our way back to the Neohome.

     ~ * ~

     Eralta and Opessenc walked past every shop in the Marketplace, looking for anywhere that sold bottled Faeries. They had plenty of luck - it was just a matter of finding the cheapest one. Neither was smart enough to think of using the Shop Wizard, and they merely kept looking in shop after shop until they gave up and just bought the one they thought was cheapest.

      "Well, that's everything, except…"

      Opessenc looked at the list.

      "An item of choice," he read aloud. They both considered for a moment, then nodded, and went to the Wiz.

     ~ * ~

     "I hope they don't get back too soon…" I said, feverishly hanging up banners and balloons saying things like "HAPPY IXI DAY, ERALTA AND OPESSENC" or "HOORAY FOR IXIS". After returning from the Trading Post, I sent Alkarasydes and BUREUNIKONE upstairs for naps. They wanted to help me more, but I wouldn't let them - they needed sleep, that was readily apparent. I myself dashed out and bought party food and whatnot, and then Neomailed my friends (Trav, Dave, Sage, Mya, Kittens and Jimmy) to come over. They all replied that they'd be there ASAP. I hurried to and fro, checking on the cake which was cooking itself without any means of heat - when it started doing this, I was shocked, but I didn't have time for that - I continued sorting out food, keeping track of where things were and getting ready for our guests. Sure enough, Trav and Dave suddenly entered.

      "IPPY MCWHIPPY!" David bellowed, sprinting into the kitchen and playfully cuffing me over the head.

      "Well, well, well, you've certainly done a nice job here," Trav said approvingly, popping a cracker into his mouth.

      "Yes, it's been very tedious," I said, removing the cake from its tin (it had somehow finished cooking of its own accord, and was apparently done).

      "When'll your Ixis be back?" Dave asked, picking up some banners and sticking them from wall to wall.

      "Soon, I half hope, and half don't hope," I said. "Thanks," I added, as he and Trav hung some more balloons up.

      "I'm afraid we don't understand properly," Trav said.

      "It means I hope they'll be home soon, it's almost dark, and I don't hope they'll be home because I'm not done here - mind, with you guys helping, we'll be done in no time."

      "Where are your other pets?" Kittens asked, entering the house.

      "Ah, good, you're here too," I said, as she automatically started attaching balloons to the correct areas.

      "Yes, well, I said I'd come - here I am," she said casually.

      "Good thing too, we'll be ready in time for them, no worries," I said, the stress easing from my strained voice. As we came closer and closer to finishing getting the party ready, Sage, Mya and Jimmy turned up. Once we were done, we settled on the couch or chairs in the loungeroom, and talked until BUREUNIKONE and Alkarasydes came downstairs as well. We were just starting to wonder where my two Ixis were when they came through the front door.

      "Done!" they shouted triumphantly, "Everything on the list!"

      "Congratulations!" we all yelled, and brought out the food and whatnot. The party went straight from the afternoon and well into the night, and when we started to quiet down and just talk quietly, I gathered everyone's attention.

      "I'd like to thank you all for coming," I said, "to our Ixi Day party. And now, I have a little something for both Eralta and Opessenc."

      I nodded to Alkarasydes and BUREUNIKONE.

      "This is from all three of us, Eralta," I told her, handing her the Honey Potion - BUREUNIKONE handed her the Blaster and Alkarasydes, the Sword. A look of ecstasy spread over her face.

      "Are you *serious*?" she whispered, turning over the weapons in amazement. "Are these real?"

      "Real as anything," I said, grinning at her happiness. I turned to Opessenc. "Now, I have to confess Opessenc - I had Alkarasydes find your Wishlist so I'd know what to get you…"

      Opessenc looked appalled for only a second, but figured he may as well not hide it.

      "Actually, earlier today, I already managed to get a bit braver-" he started, but I cut him off.

      "But after getting it, I saw what you needed, and I got you an enrolment to the Mystery Island Training School."

      I handed him a Certificate of Acceptation. He took it with shaking hooves.

      "Dad, I can't," he said in a small voice, "I'm not strong enough for this…"

      "Which is why I got it for you," I said. "It'll help your spirit a bit, make you stronger on the inside as well by making you feel more confident about yourself."

      He stared at the Certificate for a second, then tore it in two.

      "No thanks," he said in a businesslike tone, "I'm perfectly confident as it is - I feel kinda braver, too. Eralta and I have had one heck of a big Ixi Day, and we decided to make it even more worthwhile. The list said an item of choice - we changed it to items of choice…"

      He pulled out a Beauty Care Kit for BUREUNIKONE and an ice cube tray for Alkarasydes, then he and Eralta burst out laughing.

The End

Hi everybody! If you're reading this, it obviously got into the NT. This is my first shot at a Short Story (I've unsuccessfully tried several Series') and thank goodness it's gotten in! Anyway, I'm already working on a new series, it'll be called Midnight over Meridell, so keep an eye out for it! - Ratling

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