The Unlikely Hero
Life is a lot like homework. Either you "got it" or you
Me, I don't "got it" in either category. I never
do my homework. What's the point? All it'll get me is a nice certificate and
maybe a chance at a job other than "Dung Cleaner" in Meri Acres Farm, but who
needs a job when you're awesome at games? And then all my classmates think I'm
just stupid. Maybe I am. Anyone can just take out their portable search engine,
key in "Nikko" and see my intelligence is dim-witted. I don't mind, because
my policy is "Never believe the yellow box." The other Neopets hang on its every
word. So that's why I don't have many friends in my life.
My life has never been much good. I was abandoned
as a Red Shoyru when I was less than an hour old and adopted by my current owner.
For the avatar, I guess, because he never acts like he loves me. When he finally
gets his hands on a Bottled Faerie to bless me it'll be back to the pound with
you, young Nikko lad.
I think we'll both be happier when I leave.
Lately he's been really strict and on my case. He's not happy with my schoolwork;
I think it embarrasses him. Of course I always lie about the grades I get, but
he finds out anyway at those owner-teacher conferences. Then when I come home
the conversation goes something like this…
Him: I see you received another failing grade.
Me: *says nothing*
Him: I expect more from you, Nikko.
Me: *says nothing, yet again*
Him: No allowance for you for a month.
Me: *thinking: So what? All I get is 50 Neopoints
a week anyway.*
Him: *sighing* Go to your room.
And I do, gladly. I love my room, with all its
posters of Jeran and the comfy Fungus Ball Bean Bag. My ceiling has a painting
of a field of grazing Kau on it and I like to lie and stare at it, I forget
all my problems and become the incredible, heroic Kau Herder, fearlessly fighting
off Dr. Sloth and his evil minions-
"Nikko! Nikko!" the teacher cried, snapping
me out of my daze.
I looked up.
"What is the Lab Ray?"
I shrugged. "Dunno."
The class snickered. My cheeks turned a bit
redder. The history teacher sighed and called on Maria.
"The Lab Ray is a machine that one can gain
access to only after collecting all nine pieces of the Secret Laboratory Map.
The Lab Ray has the power to change a pet's gender, species, color, or its stats,"
the Faerie Acara replied, her wings flapping and twinkling.
Snob, I thought angrily. Maria thought
she was the greatest thing to ever come to Neopia just because she's all rich,
and she looks down on poorer, unpainted Neopets. She and her friends enjoyed
teasing and insulting these Neopets (like me, for example. I was their favorite
Maria smirked at me from across the room.
I felt sick. I knew she'd come and get me after
school. I laid my head on the desk for the rest of the day.
Rrrring! In Neoschool, everything depended
on the bell. It controlled what everyone did, and now it was telling us "Go
home, see you tomorrow." (Like we wanted to come back!) Anyway, I burst through
the double-doors and flew straight up. I hovered over the school and suddenly
I heard "GET HIM!" Obviously it was Maria and her friends, two twin Pink Pteris
who were also very conceited. Maria's translucent wings glittered in the blinding
sun and her big blue eyes flashed as she grinned. She was pretty, in a scary
sort of way.
"Get him!" she screeched again, and no one had
to tell me now was a good time to leave. I flew low, pulling my wings right
up against my body as I wove through the horde of Neopets. Behind me, I could
hear Maria smashing into people. Now it was my turn to smirk, because I had
finally found something I was better than her at (mainly because I was always
practicing when others were doing homework.) I swerved into a dark alley after
five minutes of trying to elude her and sat against the moldy brick wall, breathing
heavily. I hugged my knees and buried my head in my arms.
Suddenly I heard a shuffling noise behind me.
I turned. Just a scruffy Yullie. They were everywhere. Then I heard another
noise, one that sounded like someone had tripped over a trash can. I stood up.
"Who's there?" My voice trembled. A dark shape emerged from the shadows.
My first thought was, Oh no, Doctor Sloth's
come to recruit me! Then I thought, No way, stop being so stupid, Nikko.
Like Doctor Sloth hangs out in alleyways! My heart still felt like it was
going to pop out of my mouth! But then I realized I recognized the figure, a
Striped Lupe from my history class. A good guy. He hadn't laughed at me when
I hadn't known the answer.
"It's just Greg," the Lupe said. When I didn't
say anything, he said, "Aren't you going to tell me your name?"
"No," I replied.
"Doesn't matter. I know it anyway. So hah. Nikko."
Greg smiled. "I was just wondering if you wanted to come to my house to study
for that big test we have the day after tomorrow."
"No," I said, backing away. "You don't want
to be friends with me."
"Yeah, I do," he said calmly. He was obviously
"YOU DON'T! GET IT? I'M TOO STUPID AND I HAVE
THE PERSONALITY OF A PILE OF DUNG!" I screamed. There. I had said it, and saying
it meant I was accepting it. I started to cry.
I took to the sky, leaving the Lupe to watch
me vanish behind the buildings.
I went straight to my room once I got home,
ignoring my owner's calls of "Walk, don't fly!" and then his sighs and mutters
of "Why me?" I slammed the door shut behind me, pulled out my book, and sat
down on my bean bag chair to study. Something I had never used the bean bag
The thing was, I had totally forgotten about
the test, and normally that would be like "No big deal, who cares?" But this
was like the big whammy, the ruler of all exams, and one more failing grade
and my owner threatened to ground me for a long time, and that meant no more
flying, and I don't think I could take that.
So I tried to study, I tried to focus, but it
wasn't my fault that my thoughts kept slipping away to Greg! I mean, why would
he want to be my friend? He was too nice, and, like I said before, I was too-
Tears filled my eyes and I couldn't bring myself to say the dreaded word- "stupid."
Diverting my thoughts from that sensitive area, I thought, If I were him,
I wouldn't give a pile of dung to be friends with me!
I shook my head to try and focus again. But
I couldn't concentrate on the section we had to read, titled Neopia's Economy,
and I couldn't take in all the numbers that dotted the page. I gave up, threw
my textbook at the wall in frustration, slipped under my covers and went to
I dreaded going to school. I dreaded seeing
Greg's face, his kind brown eyes. He'd ask me to go to his house again, and
I'd make a scene and it wouldn't help my popularity, which was already lower
than that of a pile of dung. (You might've noticed I love the words "pile of
dung," they're useful for describing a lot of things in my life.) But there
was no avoiding it.
Wouldn't you know it, Greg was waiting right
on the steps for me.
"Nikko," he said, grabbing my wing as I tried
walking right by.
I slipped my wing from his grip. I hated it
when people pulled on them. "What?" I demanded.
"You have to come study with me. No offense,
but without me, you'll fail. And your owner won't be happy," he said gently,
looking into my eyes.
I looked at him with hard eyes. He got As. I
got Fs. He was right. I had no choice. And with him helping, I had a good chance
of scoring high, although I hated to admit it.
"Fine. I'll meet you here after school," I said
flatly, not at all happy.
Greg grinned as he disappeared into the crowd.
Why is it that whenever you're looking forward
to something, the hands on the Techo Clock move achingly slow, and vice versa?
Well, time zoomed by and before I knew it, I was walking to Greg's house. I
didn't say anything, but Greg, he couldn't keep his mouth shut! I mean, it was
really annoying! Thankfully his Neohome wasn't far away.
"Here we are," Greg announced.
I gazed at the three-story Neohome in front
of me with wonder. It was much bigger than my house. The lawn was beautifully
decorated, with a Tropical Delight Pond that made me want to go and drink the
sweet smelling liquid in it.
"Come on." Greg grabbed my arm and pulled me
away from the well-kept garden.
He threw open the door. "Mom, I'm home!" he
yelled. Then he stepped in the foyer.
I'm like, Oh great Fyora! The foyer was very,
very grand. A long, marble spiral staircase extended up to the third floor.
Detailed paintings that looked very expensive hung on the walls. A life size
model of the Brain Tree grew in the center of the room, and I walked over it
to knock my hand on it. I nearly had a heart attack when one of its eyes creaked
open and it winked at me.
Greg laughed. "Oh, look, here's my owner now.
Her name is Mel." He hugged her owner, who had long, curly blonde hair and was
wearing a flowing silk dress.
"Hi, Greg. And this must be your friend, Nikko!"
She pulled me into a hug. She smelled nice. I had never been hugged before,
and it felt really good, to my surprise. "You two have fun!" She smiled a perfect
smile, all of her pearly teeth showing.
Greg grabbed my hand. "My room's on the second
floor." He started running up the staircase, but I wrenched my hand free, flapped
my wings and flew up. Greg laughed and watched me. Haha, I thought.
We went in Greg's room. As he started getting
out his books, I looked at his room. He obviously adored Neggs, and ones of
different shapes and colors adorned the shelves hanging on all four walls of
his room. That collection must have cost a fortune, I thought. This
guy must be loaded!
Greg saw my astonished look and blushed. "Let's
get started," he suggested.
So we quizzed each other and quizzed each other,
on the Stockmarket and other things about the economy. After two hours, we laid
down our books because Greg said we deserved a break.
I grinned; I was in a great mood. Greg seemed
to like me, and I thought I had done well on the quizzes. We would ace the test,
I was sure of it. Anyway, we were sitting around, talking, when we heard the
large oak doors pull open.
"My sister. Have to say hi or my owner gets
mad. You know how owners are." He rolled his eyes and ran downstairs.
I tapped my foot impatiently. After a while
I decided I couldn't take it anymore and I crept to the gold banister. I poked
my head through the rail and looked down. I could see partly into the dining
room, where Greg and his owner were sitting at a table.
"Mom, can I go now?" Greg whined. "Nikko is
"Wait until your sister is done."
With a grumble, Greg folded his arms and looked
to the other end of the table, which I couldn't see because it was behind a
wall. Another voice started speaking. It sounded very familiar.
"And then the teacher told me I was her best
and favorite student and she gave me a candy," the voice finished in a snotty
voice that sounded oddly familiar from somewhere, but I couldn't quite place
"Congratulations, honey!" the owner cried.
"Oh rapture. Now can I leave?" Greg asked.
"Sure. You two run along and play."
Greg was the first out of the dining room. I
struggled to pull my head out of the banister before he saw me. Oh Fyora. My
head was too big. Why me? Suddenly Greg's sister walked (or strutted, I should
say) from the kitchen. I gasped sharply.
It was Maria.
With great effort that originated from anger,
I wrenched my head from between the bars, ignoring the pain. I tucked my wings
low and whizzed out the door. "Wait!" I heard Greg shout. But I didn't.
Tears of anger trickled down my face and hardened
as the cold, thin air chilled them. I flew higher and higher, until I could
practically see all of Neopia. Greg had tricked me! He was probably just like
his sister. He wanted to lull me into a false sense of security so I told him
my secrets and then he could spread them around like Maria! What a fool I had
been to fall for his scam. I should have known not to trust anyone but myself.
My anger gave way to sadness as I flew through
my open window and flopped on my bed. I went to sleep, the only escape from
I woke up early the next morning, feeling refreshed,
and, well, knowledgeable. As much as I hated to admit it, Greg's studying had
helped me a lot. Greg. A sliver of pain cut my heart, but I tried to ignore
it. I plastered a fake smile on my face, grabbed my lunch bag, said goodbye
to my owner, and flew out the door.
By the time I reached school, I was a wreck.
My stomach was tossing and turning as I waited in anxiety for the gigantic test.
Right now, it mattered more to me if I passed the test than if Mystery Island
sunk. Worst of all, the exam would be taken in the first class of the day!
The bell rang. I took a deep breath and walked
inside my classroom. I sat at my desk, the one near the window, and closed my
eyes as the teacher gave the instructions. You know, the usual, "Don't open
this test until told to do so, Snotty Pens are not allowed because they will
smudge your paper…" I didn't hear any of it. I was too busy trying to avoid
a look from Greg. Right now I couldn't bear to see his face. I was too freaked.
The teacher started passing out the thick packets.
My stomach contracted.
"1… 2… 3… Begin."
I picked up my pencil and started working.
Two days later, the teacher said to us, "You
will now receive the results of the test. Most did very well, but there were
My heart sank. "There were some exceptions" was
the teacher's way of saying "Nikko, you failed."
She walked around the room, passing out our answer
sheets. I bit my pencil nervously. She laid a paper on my desk. I took a deep
breath and willed myself to pry open my eyes and take a look. The wind was knocked
out of me when I saw my grade.
"Hey, Greg," I said quietly. I was standing at
the front of the school that afternoon, in the shade of the tall Zeenana tree.
Greg looked at me. His face was expressionless,
but I could see he was expecting an apology or something by looking deep into
I pulled my hands from behind me. In them sat
a Negg. A regular one. All I could afford. "I know you have it in your collection
already but… It's the thought that counts." I took a deep breath. "Look… I'm
really sorry about… what happened at your house," I said, blushing. "Just because
Maria is your sister doesn't mean you're bad."
He was silent for a moment. "I hate her too,
you know," he finally said.
I felt like a fool. "Anyway, I passed my test,"
I continued. "I know you did, because you always get straight As-"
Greg stared at me.
"Er, thanks. My owner will be very happy," I
said. (And I was right, as I later found out. He was so proud he decided to
keep me.) "Friends?" I extended my hand.
He broke into a grin. "Sure." He shook my hand.
I smiled back. No longer would I be known as
Nikko the Stupid, for my intelligence had gone up after taking the test. I'd
be known as Nikko the Great, Hero and Defender of Neopia.
Author's Note: Lol, different writing style... :P Comments?