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Five Lottery Tickets


by shadowcristal

--------

Otur looked at the sky as she sighed. It was one of those sad, gray days.

"Don't wanna do your homework?" Otur's owner, Eleana asked.

"It's a duty," the Green Gelert replied monotonously.

"Cheer up. We'll go and have a feast in the Soup Kitchen, okay?" Eleana poked at her depressed pet.

"Why are we so poor?" Otur suddenly asked. It was an impulse, but a cold feeling washed over her immediately after she had questioned. It wasn't going to be good.

"B-because we are..." Eleana said slowly and stared into the Gelert's big eyes. "But that doesn't matter! Just cheer up!"

"Couldn't help noticing," Otur shrugged. "I mean, all my friends have better stuff than I-" The Gelert stopped as she saw Eleana's red face.

Silence.

"I'm sorry," the Gelert said and hugged her owner gently.

"You're right, Otur. I guess we're poor because I'm an incompetent owner..."

"Oh no! Not at all!" the pet burst out, dragging her owner off.

"Where are we going?" Eleana asked, confused.

"To the Soup Kitchen, of course!" Otur shouted happily.

"But you said you didn't want to..." The girl followed her pet obediently. "And we forgot to buy the weekly lottery ticket!" she added, taking out a small bag of Neopoints.

-

"Here you are. One Neopian Lottery ticket," the Wocky in the stand said, handing a slip of paper to Eleana.

"Why do we always do this?" Otur asked. She had heard the story at least a hundred times, but it always made her owner happy to tell it.

"Well, first of all we do it because it's a Thursday. You were born on a Thursday, so that's why it's on those days. Second... It's random. Maybe someday we'll win!" Eleana said optimistically.

"The short version, eh?" the Gelert commented.

"Gotta fill in those numbers..." her owner mumbled as she scribbled on the ticket.

"Hurry! The Soup Faerie won't like it if we come late!" Otur poked Eleana.

"Stop poking me. Okay, now I'm all done."

"Good luck!" the Wocky said as owner and pet left the stall.

-

"One soup for your pet, right?" the Soup Faerie asked kindly. Eleana nodded as her pet quickly finished the soup.

"My, we're hungry today, aren't we?" the Faerie said with a smile as she refilled the bowl. "There's always enough, so eat your fill!"

As Otur sipped on her fifth bowl of asparagus soup, she heard some of the other pets in the Kitchen mutter.

"Look.... There she is again..." a small Korbat said.

"Yeah. What a freeloader, eating here every single day," the pet beside the Korbat muttered as they glared.

Otur shuddered. The soup suddenly lost all taste. "Why are we so poor?" she wondered, then remembered Eleana's reply. "Well, Eleana's the best! So there!" she thought proudly as she scoffed at those pets. Money didn't really matter. "But it'd be nice with a million or two... I wish we'd win the lottery sometime!"

"Done yet?" Eleana poked her daydreaming pet. "You'll have to do your homework anyway."

"I'm done," Otur replied, handing over the bowl to the Soup Faerie. "Thank you very much. It was delicious!"

"You're welcome," the Faerie replied, and lowered her voice, "I'm sorry about the gossip, though."

"It's okay," the Gelert lied.

"Otur! Let's go!" her owner nudged her. When she saw that Otur seemed to want to talk more, she whispered to her pet. "I'll go ahead. Just come home before dark, okay?"

The pet nodded, and Eleana left the Kitchen.

"Does this happen every day?" Otur asked the Faerie. The Soup Faerie said a small 'yes'.

"Why?"

No answer.

No matter how much Otur would bug her, it was obvious that the Soup Faerie wouldn't say anymore. The pet remembered to not be too much of a bother, since the Faerie might not want to give soup to a pet like that.

"Be home before dark, okay?" The words rang in her ears as Otur waved goodbye and ran outside. To her horror, the sun was setting. Great. It would be another lecture of being on time by Eleana waiting at home.

She ran her hardest on all four, trying to catch up with the sun. The Gelert saw something sticking out of the ground but ignored it. Suddenly she fell on the ground as a small piece of paper flew into the air. It was tossing around in the wind and all wet.

Otur glared angrily at the paper. It was that stupid, slippery paper's fault that she wouldn't get home in time. In her anger, the Gelert grabbed it and looked at it.

"NEOPIAN LOTTERY TICKET," it said on the piece. Otur gasped, then looked around. She knew she had to be honest and return it to whoever that had lost it.

"Hello? Anyone lost a ticket?" Otur called out. A creepy echo came back. "Good, no one," she said out loud. The Gelert battle with her conscience for a second; but clutched the ticket tightly as she ran home.

"I would've been late anyway... And why waste a perfectly good ticket?" the pet thought as she hurried home.

-

"Guess what?" Eleana asked when Otur skidded into the room.

"What?" the Gelert panted heavily.

"You're 2 seconds early," her owner pointed at the klock.

"Geez. I ran all the way home as fast as I could..." Otur grumbled, then thought, "Well, I was on time!"

"What's that?" Eleana pointed at the ticket.

"Oh, just a little something I found on the way home," the Gelert said casually.

"Neopian Lottery Ticket. Numbers..." her owner read out loud and stopped suddenly. "Otur, you found a lottery ticket?"

The pet nodded. "I slipped on it and fell on the cold, hard ground," she said dramatically, "But this wonderful ticket was worth it!"

"Very funny," Eleana muttered dryly.

"Do you think we'll win?" Otur wondered out loud.

"Well, we have two tickets this time..." the girl trailed off as she watched her pet drift off to a faraway land again. "I wonder what she thinks of..."

"We'll get up in the morning and check, right?" Otur said cheerfully.

"Oh yeah!"

-

"What are you doing this early in the morning?" Eleana yawned, looking at her pet. Otur was staring at the alarm clock.

"Lottery... must win lottery..." the tired pet muttered.

"You're hopeless," Eleana complained.

"Only one minute until they announce who wins the lottery!" Otur suddenly raised her voice, then fell back to counting down.

"Fifty seconds..."

"Do you really think we'll win?" Eleana asked sceptically.

"We've bought so many times... It's only fair!" the pet burst out, then continued her countdown, "thirty seconds..."

"It was all for fun! Please Otur, don't take it so seriously!" Eleana begged her pet.

"Can't help it. This is the excited feeling I get every Friday morning..." the Gelert said. "Ten seconds..."

"Nine..."

"Eight..."

"Seven..."

"Wait! You're waiting for the Neopian Times, aren't you?" Eleana burst out suddenly. "There's a slip announcing the winner."

"That's right. Three..."

"Two..." Otur smiled as she heard her owner joining the countdown.

"One...." Two voices in unison, waiting impatiently...

Thunk!

"It's here!" Otur shouted as she ran to get the paper. After a few grunts, a dirty little Gelert entered the room.

"What happened?" Eleana asked.

"Had to retrieve it from a gutter... Very bad luck." Otur unfolded the paper. Eleana picked up the little slip that fell on the floor.

"Here! Here are the winning numbers!" Eleana shouted excitedly as she waved the paper around.

"Let me see!" the Gelert snatched the paper and read the numbers quietly for herself.

"Well, it wasn't our numbers..." Eleana said quietly. "But there's always next time!"

"It is! We've won!" Otur shouted as she pointed towards the lottery ticket.

"You... You don't mean the one you found last night?" Eleana was shocked.

"Yes! It's that one!" the Gelert was shaking of excitement.

"We're millionaires!" her owner shouted.

They grabbed each other's hands and started to dance in the NeoHome, not caring for anything. After all, a million was a million! Otur went around the house; searching for good clothing to wear to the party they'd throw after they had gotten all that NP.

After five minutes the two of them had calmed down. Otur was grinning foolishly as Eleana looked doubtful.

"Do you really think that we won?" Eleana asked.

Just as she said that, someone knocked.

"Please come in!" Otur shouted happily.

A small Usul entered and handed over a slip of paper. Eleana took it and read out loud.

"We are sorry for the mistake of the Neopian Lottery. In our haste to get it out, the last two numbers were switched with each other. We apologize for the inconvenience. Here are the correct..." the owner stopped as she saw her pet running out of the room.

"What... what happened?" the Usul asked, quite confused.

"Well, those were the winning numbers," Eleana pointed towards the scruffy ticket that Otur had found, then ran after her pet.

"Hmm... Too bad. I'll have to make a call to the office," the Usul mumbled.

-

"Otur! Please, show yourself!" Eleana pleaded desperately as she searched for her pet. Finally she found the Gelert under a big tree, sobbing her heart out.

"Five minutes' happiness... All that gone..." Otur mumbled.

"I know you're sad, but that was just a lottery ticket. It's more probable that you'll get struck by lightning than to win the jackpot," Eleana tried to comfort her sad pet.

"Could've won..."

"Let's just go home, okay?" Eleana took Otur's paw, but the little Gelert shook herself free.

"I'll never play that stupid lottery ever again!" she yelled in frustration. Slowly, the Gelert turned to her owner and said, "You go home first."

Eleana realized it was best so, and left her pet alone.

-

"Um... Miss Eleana?" the Usul asked when the owner entered the NeoHome.

"Yes?" Eleana replied.

"I'm sorry about the mistake. Consider this a booby prize." The Usul pointed to a big, brown package and left the room.

Eleana opened the box. Inside was a check of 1000 Neopoints and five lottery tickets, plus a hand-written note. It said, "Try again!"

The End

 
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