"Muuuumy," little Lena the Bori cried plaintively, "my purple
Scorchio plushie's gone burst at the seams."
A harassed-looking Bori poked her head out of
the tiny wooden house. She had prematurely grey fur, with wrinkles around her
"Oh, Lena," she said patting her daughter on
the shoulder with her heavy paws, "You know I can't afford to buy you another
plushie. They're so expensive these days. You'll just have to wait until the
"But that isn't for another six months, almost!"
sniffed Lena, "And a little plushie won't cost that much, oh go on, Mum…"
"I'm sorry, but even 50 NP is a strain on my
purse. You just focus on getting a better education than I did, and then you
can get out of this place." She ushered the young Bori inside and slammed the
Lena's big brother, Donny, watched his sister
and his mother go back inside the pokey old house and sighed. Krawk Island was
a rough place to grow up in, especially if you were a Bori. Boris were wise
and gentle creatures, but they were fond of creature comforts, and creature
comforts were hard to come by if you barely had enough money for food and water.
"You comin' to play Deckball or are ya gonna
stare around like a landlubber all day, Don?" yelled one of Donny's friends.
"I'll give this one a miss, lads," said Donny,
waving goodbye to his friends. He watched his friends depart, and when they
were out of sight, he went inside his house.
"How come you aren't outside playi4ng with your
friends, Donny?" asked his mother, opening a can of baked beans for that night's
"They were playing Deckball and I didn't feel
like going along," lied Donny, "Where's Lena?"
"In her room, sulking. Why do you ask?"
"Just wondered. Thanks, mum," he said and went
up the rickety stairs to his younger sister's room.
Lena wasn't sulking. She was curled up, sound
asleep on one of the ragged mattresses, her paws clenched and her tail swishing
to and fro. Donny hoped she was having good dreams, at least.
Her purple Scorchio plushie was lying at her
feet. It had a large rip through the middle. A lot of the stuffing was poking
out. It looked impossible to fix, but Donny's motto had always been "Necessity
is the mother of invention", and the present necessity was making little Lena
He picked up a sharp, silver needle, and threaded
a piece of string through it. It was surprising how deft his claws were, considering
that they were thick and mole-like. In and out, in and out the needle went,
occasionally pausing for Donny to push parts of the stuffing back into place.
Donny marveled at how easy this stuff was. Soon, the Scorchio plushie was looking
good as new. He left it next to Lena's mattress, and went outside to see if
any of his friends were still around for a game of Deckball.
"Donny, that's a remarkable thing you did for
Lena," said Donny's mother when Donny came back inside. Lena was standing next
to her, holding on to her plushie as if it would run away or turn to smoke if
she let go of it.
"Thank you, Donny," said Lena, and hugged him.
"Now class," said Miss Spiaggi, who taught the
senior class at the Pirate Academy, "Today we will be discussing career options.
I know some of you will most definitely follow in the footsteps of your ancestors
and become buccaneers, but you should think about expanding your horizons. I'd
like to hear what some of your ambitions are. Sylvie?"
"I'd like to become an architect," said the prim
looking young Acara, "and design fancy places. Like glamorous, upscale restaurants,
and modern buildings."
"Very good, Sylvie. That job requires creativity,
dedication, and a logical mind - it seems to fit just the bill for you. Horatio?"
"I'd like to be a smuggler," said the rugged-looking
Skeith, "They're honestly not as bad as they're pegged to be!"
"Really, Horatio," sighed Miss Spiaggi, "you
should put your considerable talents to greater aims. Hmm. What about… Donny?"
Donny stared at the wooden bench, stained with
ink and time. His sister's happy face flashed in front of him for a second.
He lifted his head and looked Miss Spiaggi squarely in the eyes.
"I'd like to repair toys."
"Repair toys," said Donny's mother slowly.
"Donny, just because you fixed that Scorchio
up a treat doesn't mean you can throw your education to the winds and go around
mending toys. How much money do you expect to make anyway?"
"It's not just about money, ma. It's about making
other people happy. It's about chasing your dreams, you know?"
"And this has been your dream since, oh, about
five hours ago. Who am I to stand in the way of such goals," said the older
"Ma, I'm serious. I've never been of a scholarly
bent - that's Lena; and I'm not brilliant at anything else, except maybe a game
of Deckball with the lads. When I was fixing that toy, I felt like this could
be my future… do you understand?"
"I do," she said heavily, "I remember when I
was young, I had dreams of becoming a gourmet chef. But then…"
Her voice trailed off, and Donny knew he should
stop right there. However, she continued;
"It wasn't anyone's fault… but I got sidetracked,
and before I knew it, I was caring for you two fulltime, and my great expectations
were dashed. If you want to go for it, son, we'll always be behind you."
Donny looked around his room. He knew he probably
wouldn't see it again, at least not for a very long time. Graduation had been
a week ago; now he was all set to go seek his fortune. Slinging the last few
of his possessions into his heavy rucksack, he set off, waving his family goodbye.
He arrived on the pier of Krawk Island and waited
for a boat to come. Any boat. Finally, as the sun was setting and Donny had
almost dozed off, he heard a voice.
"Need a ride?"
It was a blue Krawk called Dorak. Donny recognized
him faintly from seeing his name in the Neopian Times as a dubloon entrepreneur.
In his spare time, apparently, he gave boat rides.
"Yes. How much will it cost me to get to Neopia
Donny stared down unhappily at the ten dubloon
coin in his pocket, which was most of his life's savings.
"Kidding. I usually charge ten dubloons, but
as it's the beginning of the summer holidays, oh, let's just say I'm feelin'
a bit generous. Get yer tail in here."
"Thanks," said Donny gratefully, and hopped into
Neopia Central was a marvel. As he bade Dorak
goodbye, he wandered mesmerized into the spotless streets. Paved with gold,
the streets of Neopia Central, his mother would have said. Well, he could definitely
find work here. The toy shop was massive, and they would certainly need someone
to repair toys for the little tykes who came in here…wouldn't they?
"Hello," he said to a proud looking red Lupe
with shiny fur slicked back, "I'm Donny."
"Hello, Donny," said the Lupe, "Welcome to the
toy shop. What is it you might need? A toy for a younger relative, perhaps?"
"Actually, I was looking for a job…" His voice
trailed off as the Lupe stared at him incredulously.
"A job? Well, we don't have any openings, young
man. What did you have in mind, anyway?"
"I could repair toys. It could be an extra service
offered to the customers of the toyshop… you know, when your toy breaks, bring
it to Donny and he'll fix it. What do you say?"
The Lupe rolled her eyes. "Are you trying to
ruin me? If that happened, nobody would ever buy anything else from this shop
again! They wouldn't need to! I do hope you never need to run a business. Good
Feeling humiliated and dejected, Donny bowed
out of the shop.
The next three years spelled hard times for the
young Bori. He had to do a series of odd jobs - a hot dog seller, a jester in
the court of King Skarl, a waiter in the restaurant that his friend Sylvie had
designed. Finally, he saved enough to visit one last land - Terror Mountain.
He had saved this journey for last for a number
of reasons. For one, Terror Mountain technically counted as three lands, which
meant more opportunity. It was also a prosperous place, but this meant he needed
a tidy sum of money to get anywhere there.
It was also the land where all Boris had emerged
from, according to his mother.
As the chill wind swept over his face, the Bori
who had grown up so much in a short period of time felt as if he had finally
He savoured his visit. He visited the petpet
shop, which was full of adorable, fluffy little creatures, he played Snow Wars
and got pelted with snowballs, he bought a scratch card and won about 1000 np
and made several friends along the way. Finally, deciding that he'd done enough
horsing around, he went up to the very peak of the mountain.
It was bitterly cold up there, but there was
a little house, with snow all over its slanting roof. He knocked, wondering
if he could stay a while, if the residents were friendly. When nobody opened,
he peered through the frosted windows. The house seemed empty. He gingerly tried
opening the door. It creaked open.
"Hello? Hello? Anyone in here?"
Silence. Donny decided this was as good a place
as any to stay until he found a place to go. It wasn't much but it was a roof
over his head.
Three weeks passed, and Donny was getting worried.
His money supply was dwindling, he couldn't live here forever, not when he wasn't
even sure who the place belonged to, and he still hadn't found a job… maybe
his mother was right. Maybe this toy repair thing was all wishful thinking.
He was jolted out of his thoughts by a wail.
He wondered if maybe the altitude was playing
tricks on him. Maybe it was just the wind.
Then he heard it again, along with someone speaking.
"Oh come on, Mika. It's not that bad, really."
And a different, unhappy sounding voice.
"That's the third thing I've broken this week,
Carassa! At this rate, we'll never get out of stupid Terror Mountain."
"Of course we will," said the pet called Carassa,
"don't you worry."
"We'd probably already be in Mystery Island,
if it weren't for me and my clumsiness," said Mika unhappily. "Think of how
much money we'd have made from all those Lupe plushies I accidentally ripped!"
Donny could hardly believe his ears. He put his
tatty old coat on and rushed out.
"Excuse me ladies," he said to the two plump
Chias arguing in the snow, "but I couldn't help but overhear. Do you need someone
to repair your broken items?"
Mika and Carassa turned to look at him. Their
eyes shone with hope.
"Can you… really?"
"Yes," said Donny, "I've been looking for somewhere
to practice my skills for ages! But I don't know where to stay… I've been camping
out at that old house for almost a month now, until its owners come home."
"You can stay there! The owners left the place
without a word almost two years ago!" exclaimed Mika.
"Yippee!" said Donny, punching the air.
Many years passed since young Donny the Bori
arrived on Terror Mountain. He's grown old in that shop, but never less energetic
and enthusiastic, because now, not only does he mend toys for his friends, he's
made quite a pile of gold from mending toys from strangers all over Neopia.
And one day, he got a couple of unexpected visitors…
"Excuse me, sir, is this the toy repair shop?"
"Yes, madam," said Donny graciously, fumbling
for his glasses, "but we've expanded. I can fix practically anythin' these days."
"You remind me so much of my brother," said the
client reminiscently. "He was such a nice boy, but he left home when I was still
Donny nearly dropped his pliers in surprise.
The client's eyes widened. As Donny put on his
glasses, he could see his baby sister, all grown up.
They hugged fiercely, years of separation melting
away like a snowflake in the Lost Desert. Then, a tiny Bori peeked out from
behind Lena's skirt.
"Could you mend my plushie?"