Voice of the Neopian Pound Circulation: 151,901,457 Issue: 213 | 20th day of Collecting, Y7
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I Dare You


by candykitty

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"WHAT?!!" blurted out Polly. "I am NOT doing that!"

     Her Wocky friend grinned. "Once you're dared, you're dared," she said, her copper eyes glinting. "And there's no turning back now. So, I'll say it one more time: run up to Tyler and his mates, and kick them into the Lake. Oh, come on, Polly," she sighed, watching the devastated expression on her friend's face. "I'm only asking you to do it once…"

     "Cara, don't you get it? It'll be embarrassing," Polly hissed, looking in the direction of Tyler and his friends hanging out by the edge of Kiko Lake. The Kyrii had just told a joke and they were all howling with laughter.

     Polly didn't feel like laughing now. She waited for a while, and then said slowly, "Okay, Cara, how about I tell them it was a dare after I push them in the lake?"

     "Kick them," corrected Cara. She narrowed her eyes, and then said reluctantly, "All right, fine. But that kind of spoils the fun of doing it… I always run off straight after I do a dare," she lied with an inside smile. Nobody ever gave Cara a dare - after all, she was a tough tomboy, and if you said the wrong thing to her chances were high that she'd clock you one.

     "Anyway, I'm giving you ten minutes to pluck up whatever courage you've got in your Cybunny body and do it," continued Cara as her eyes started to look like precious stones. "Sounds simple enough?"

     Polly nodded slowly, and hurried off to think about this. Oh, how I wish I hadn't suggested playing Truth Dare or Command, she thought bitterly. I must have forgotten how tough Cara is at dares… Polly glanced back, where the Wocky was watching her from under the oak tree. She had a look on her face which seemed to say, 'What are you waiting for? Just do it!'

     Polly quickly turned around. Who am I kidding? She's my best friend! But, although she can be a little annoying at times… Polly had already used up two minutes of her time. Maybe I shouldn't do this - I mean…

     "Oh, what the heck? I'll just go and get it over and done with," she muttered, heading bravely towards Tyler and his friends. Back under the oak tree, Cara was smiling triumphantly.

     They didn't seem to notice as Polly nervously sneaked up behind them, slightly to one side and her heart pounding. She knew she didn't stand a chance, but she counted how many there were against her anyway. One… two… three… four... five… six… six… six…

      After recounting them several times, Polly frowned and scratched her head. She was sure there were seven of them before.

     And then her stomach dropped. Where was Tyler? She hadn't seen him leave -

     Suddenly she screamed as she was pushed roughly forwards, and toppled over into the murky water as she slipped on the wet morning grass. Polly bobbed back up to the surface, gasping for air with her white fur sopping wet, and felt her heart sink.

     Tyler had seen Polly coming and had decided to push her into the water instead. They were all roaring with laughter, even more amused than they were after that joke had been told. Polly felt pathetic as she picked a muddy leaf out of her strawberry-red mane.

     And then, to her horror, she saw Cara standing not far away from Tyler's gang - and she was laughing too. Angry, Polly fought her way over, and when Cara saw the fire in her eyes she stopped laughing and helped pull her friend out.

     "You've got to do better than that, Polly," she giggled as she wiped some mud from Polly's cheek. "Aw, come on, it was only once…"

     The Cybunny didn't reply. She was never accepting one of Cara's dares again.

     *

     Over the next couple of days, things weren't going any better for Polly. Whenever she came into view of Tyler and his friends, they tried to frighten her by pretending to push her over again and they guffawed unpleasantly. She tried to ignore them, and knew that she wasn't going to be with Cara for a few days so tried sticking up for herself, but it was no use. She was now the laughingstock of Tyler and his gang.

     Polly wondered if she should tell her owner, but then remembered that he was away often, earning Neopoints. And her younger brother wouldn't understand any of the situation. So she knew that there was only one other thing to do: solve the problem herself.

     And she knew just what she was going to do.

     *

     "Hey Cara, want to play Truth Dare or Command?" called Polly as she came across her friend, who was playing Knucklebones by herself under their usual oak tree. Tyler whispered to his friends and they chuckled, looking in Polly's direction. She ignored them as Cara looked up.

     "Um, okay," the Wocky said, secretly surprised that she had finally spoken to her ever since the dare.

     "Right. I'll go first," smiled Polly, preparing to give her a dare for the first time. "I dare you to go to the Bazaar and into the Bakery."

     Cara stared at her, a look of disbelief on her face.

     "Is that all? Seriously?"

     "Yep. You'll find out why," hinted Polly. Now it was her eyes that were twinkling.

     Cara still looked doubtful, but she said in an unimpressed manner, "Okay…" and stalked past Kiko Lake back to the Bazaar. Polly smiled, hoping that her dare would work.

     Later, the door of the Bakery opened and a yellow Wocky stepped inside, looking confused. Why on earth has Polly dared me to do this? she thought, also wondering why she had been bothered to go all the way down here. She stared at the cakes and loaves of bread sitting there, unwanted, inside the glass cases. Watching all of this was making her feel hungry, so she grabbed a buttered crumpet and put it on the counter.

     The shopkeeper smiled. "Ah, so you're the girl who ordered that basket of bread? Cara Westward?"

     Cara was about to splutter 'Yes but I didn't order that,' when the shopkeeper took something out, and she found a small basket of bread loaves in front of her nose. "And since you're buying the crumpet as well, that'll be one-thousand, six-hundred and sixty Neopoints!" he said with another smile.

     "Erm, okay then," stammered Cara, taking the bread and crumpet and paying the Neopoints. She then hurried out of the shop, wondering who had ordered the bread for her.

     The Wocky was so confused that she had gone hungry all of a sudden, so she took out a loaf of bread from the basket - and found a small note at the bottom, sticking out under the bottom of the other loaf. Surprised, she took out the note and read it with shaking paws.

     Go to the Tyrannian Concert Hall to see the Blue Kacheek Group. Don't worry, your ticket has already been ordered for you.

     Cara dropped the letter in amazement. Surely Polly wasn't doing this? It wasn't her nature to set up complicated plans… And how did she (or whoever else) know that she was planning to see the Blue Kacheek Group today?

     This had better be a dream. A weird one.

     She wondered if she should go back to Polly and ask about the dare, but then remembered from reading the Times that now the performance started in ten minutes. Cara then decided flatly that she should go and see her favourite band first, and then go back to Polly.

     Seven minutes later, Cara stepped out of a wooden boat and onto the hard, cracked ground of Tyrannia. Around her Tyrannian Korbats, Lupes and other inhabitants glared at her, as if wanting to kick her out. At the far end of the Tyrannian Plateau, flashing spotlights waving about in the air indicated that the Tyrannian Concert Hall was open and waiting for all the Neopets to pour in, like a giant head tipping a packet of lollies into its mouth.

     Hoping this boring dare would end here, Cara sighed and headed off towards the Concert Hall, also hoping that this would cheer her up.

     But disaster struck: the Blue Kacheek Group was half an hour late, and in the meantime everyone fidgeted in their seats with nothing to do, except listen to the high-pitched wails of a hot and bothered baby Techo. Even worse for particularly huge fans, one of the band members had had a nasty incident with the Esophagor (fortunately not injured, but left behind) and it was too much of a hassle to pick him up all the way from the Haunted Woods, plus the fans couldn't wait any longer. The concert was then cancelled.

     Hot, bothered and extremely annoyed, Cara bolted out of her seat to storm off back to Neopia Central - and as she turned around, she spotted another small note, lying in the leather where she had just sat. Cara groaned and read the letter, knowing that she was in for another instruction.

     This is your last task. Go to Faerieland and grab an easy job at the Employment Agency, and once you have completed the job go straight back to Kiko Lake. Now look at your reflection. What do you see?

     "Maybe it was worth doing this dare if this is some kind of cool magic trick," Cara said to herself. "And if it's not, then I'm going to kill Polly."

     *

     A grumpy and tired Wocky waited restlessly amongst the crowds outside the Employment Agency, wanting, like everyone else, to get a job. Some rich Neopians were coming and entering another door, clutching Job Coupons with looks of dignity on their faces. The more Neopians with Job Coupons passed, the more Cara wished she had one too.

     Suddenly, a pretty Faerie came from the other side of the glass door carrying a small golden key. She looked ready for pandemonium as she fitted the key into the lock, while the Neopets outside eagerly shuffled forward. The Faerie turned the lock… took it off… and before she could open the door, there was a flurry of Neopets of all colours and sizes bursting into the Basic Jobs room. Cara tried to fight off all the Neopians, but she felt pretty annoyed as she ended up being the last one inside.

     "Three Midnight Eyeshadows? I'll take it!"

     "Two Organic Green Grapes for only seven minutes? You're kidding me!"

     "Six Jubjub Rolls, now that's expensive…"

     The noise was too much for Cara as she pushed her way to a counter and fought to read a sign that ordered her to find '3 Organic Bananas'. "I'll take it!" she yelled above the noise, while the other Neopets behind her groaned and muttered, running off to find another easy job.

     The Faerie behind the counter tried to smile above the harassed expression on her face as she detached the sign from the clipboard, revealing another job, and handed it to Cara. "Good luck," she cried above the din.

     Cara managed to escape through the fighting crowds and onto the soft, fluffy clouds of Faerieland. Gasping for breath, she knew that three Organic Bananas would be easy to find, but Neopia Central and Faerieland were so apart from each other that she would no doubt be all worn out by the end of the day.

     She almost nodded off as she trudged all the way back to Neopia Central. Best to get this over and done with, she thought sleepily as she approached the Health Food Shop (which was disturbingly shaped like a disgusting stalk of broccoli).

     "Good afternoon!" said a green Quiggle cheerfully from behind the counter. "How are you today?"

     Cara ignored his question and grunted, "Hi, have any Organic Bananas?"

     "Of course," beamed the Quiggle, pointing to a small crate near the cash register. "Only 133 Neopoints per bunch of two!"

     The Wocky snatched three bunches, stuffed them all into a plastic bag and dumped them on the counter. The Quiggle paused, and then declared, "Three-hundred and ninety-nine Neopoints." Cara spilled the last of her Neopoints onto the counter, which the Quiggle took and replaced with two Neopoints, and she took the bag and left.

     For the thousandth time Cara wondered why Polly had given her such a stupid, tiring, boring dare, as she headed back towards Faerieland with blisters on her feet.

     Back at the Employment Agency, more crowds of job-hungry Neopets were filling the main room, chiefly around the door on the left that marked 'BASIC JOBS'. Glad that she wasn't there in the suspense any longer, Cara approached the front desk, where another Faerie wearing a red sparkly dress was sitting.

     She smiled as Cara came up to her. "What can I do for you?" she asked.

     "I've come to return these Organic Bananas and complete my job," said the Neopet breathlessly, and showed her the sign.

     The Faerie nodded and browsed one of the many papers from the pile on her desk. "Let's see… Cara Westward… Basic Job… three Organic Bananas… yes, yes, that's you. Congratulations, and here's your pay!"

     "Thanks," said Cara, managing a smile as she piled eight hundred and thirty-four Neopoints into her purse.

     And with that she left for Kiko Lake.

     *

     When Cara calculated that it had been nearly two hours since Polly had given her the dare, her eyes nearly popped out of her head. Two hours?! Surely it couldn't have been that long!

     At last she approached (what she hoped was) her final destination, Kiko Lake. Sure enough, she found Tyler and his friends by their favourite place, sitting by the edge of the Lake, and Polly was reading a book under the cool, shady oak tree. Cara started walking quickly towards her, and then broke into a run, eager to find out why she had been given this dare.

     "How's it going?" called out her friend, looking up from The Gelert Diaries.

     "Listen, what the heck is up with this dare? It's taken forever," complained Cara. "It's just… not normal."

     Polly smiled. "Exactly," she said. "I assume you've almost finished."

     "Yes," muttered Cara, and ran off to look in the Lake.

     As she advanced towards the edge of the Lake, Tyler's gang saw her and started whispering and nodding to each other. They didn't seem to be sniggering this time. Puffing out her pink mane to show she wasn't a bit tired, Cara knelt down not far away from them and stared into the water.

     It wasn't murky today. It was as clear as a crystal and shimmered in the afternoon sun, creating a silvery patterned carpet that stretched out for miles. The vision made Cara feel more tired than ever for a few seconds, then she realized that her fur was sticking up in all directions and that there were bits of sleep in her eyes. She hastily tidied up her fur and rubbed the sleep away. Had Polly told her to do all this just to see a messy version of herself in the reflection of the water? Surely not…

     Cara froze. The reflection showed a shadowy figure coming up from behind her, and -

     "AAAAAH!"

     She was suddenly pummeled in the back, and there was a huge splash as Cara fell into the water, destroying the beautiful carpet pattern that had lay within before. As she rose up to the surface, spitting out mucky water, she suddenly felt just like Polly had when she'd been kicked in as well…

     Even spookier, it had been Tyler who had pummeled her. "Whoever said Cara was tough?" he crowed, and the rest of the gang fell about laughing. She felt her face go as red as a tomato.

     Suddenly a delicate white paw grabbed hold of Cara's arm, and hauled her up and out of the Lake. She blinked to find Polly standing there, looking somewhat slightly happy.

     "Dares are so embarrassing, aren't they? Still, never mind," said Polly, trying not to smile as she tidied up her rather damp friend.

     It was then that Cara realized. A few days ago, she herself had forced Polly to do an embarrassing dare, and after she had fallen into the lake she had laughed at her. And now Polly had dared her back; making her go to the bakery, do nothing at the Tyrannian Concert Hall, trail off to the Employment Agency to grab a job, waste her Neopoints at the Healthy Food Shop, trek back to the Employment Agency again, and journey back to Kiko Lake only to get pushed in.

     It was as simple as that: Polly had taken revenge. And now she knew how it felt to be dared.

The End

 
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