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The Know-It-All Hero


by silent_snow

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It was a typical day at the Help Center.

     "Please, please, please, you MUST help me!"

     Sarah the Zafara repressed a tremendous urge to sigh. Day after day, she always got the exact same question. Did they really think she would ever change her answer? "I'm quite sorry, madam, but there is no such thing as 'Jelly World.'"

     "Don't be ridiculous! Of course there is! Just tell me how to get there."

     Sarah tapped her fingers on her desk, eyeing the girl in front of her. "Young lady, I can assure you that I know absolutely everything about Neopia, and that I have never heard of a world made of jelly. It's just an insubstantial rumor." Ignoring the shocked and rather offended look on the girl's face, Sarah closed her eyes for a moment, and then opened them again. "There is, however, a Jelly World Stamp. I'll have one gotten out of the storage room to be shown to you."

     "But I don't care about stamps! I just want to get free jelly!"

     Ignoring the girl's loud protestations, Sarah swiveled around in her Rolling Chair and scooted away from her desk. A few meters away from her desk there was an open door, a door which led to one of the most crowded places in Neopia: her inventory. Sarah grabbed the door's handle to stop her chair's motion and stuck her head inside the room. "Alfred?"

     She was looking into a gigantic, spacious vault, a huge room that took up most of the Help Center's ground. All around the room were heaps upon heaps of items, masses of different objects. Sarah smiled as she looked over the room, a certain degree of pride on her face. There was a towering bookshelf that held just about every different type of book on Neopia on it; there was the cupboard full of hundreds of foods; there was the huge pen, full of Petpets of all different species and colors; there was her gigantic mound of plushies. And speaking of plushies… Sarah watched impatiently as a few plushies were pushed away from the base of the pile, and a Blue Grundo pushed his head out.

     The Grundo squinted over in her direction, and then grinned. "Hey, Sarah," he called, trying to struggle out of the pile without causing everything to fall over, "I found that Baby Paint Brush Plushie you needed!"

     Sarah watched as several Kiko toys ominously rolled down from the top of the pile. She winced and looked away, not sure that she wanted to see any more. "That's alright, Alf. The guy who wanted to see it left a while ago."

     "Oh… well, why didn't you tell me, then?"

     Sarah shrugged. "I was busy. Anyway, can you get out the Jelly World Stamp?"

     Alfred quizzically looked over at her, and then shook his head. "Another one? Where do all these rumors start from?" He had managed to get his arms out by that point, and was carefully pushing the plushies surrounding him out of the pile. "It's not like there is a jelly world, 'cause that would just be silly. But I'll get you your stamp, once I'm out of here."

     Sarah looked up and down the quivering pile with a calculating eye and shook her head. "That might take a while," she murmured to herself.

     "Oi! I heard that!"

     Sarah rolled back to her desk, her eyes snapping around the room in search of the girl from before. But a short Gelert was standing at the front of the line instead, glancing about nervously. The girl had left in a huff, like hundreds of other owners before her. Sarah shrugged her shoulders. "Next, please!"

     The short Gelert shuffled forward after a pause, and then put his two blue front paws up on the desk and stretched his neck so that he could see over the top of the desk. Sarah's mouth twitched into a grin. The little Neopet had to stand on his toes just to get his muzzle at the height of her coffee mug. He looked at her for a moment, his ears flopping down over his eyes.

     Why, he couldn't be more than a few weeks old. Sarah gently smiled down at him. "Hello there. How may I help you?"

     "Hi." The Gelert's voice was barely more than a whisper, and he glanced around uneasily as he spoke. "I'd- I'd like to run a search for the word 'Cheat', please."

     Sarah's smile disappeared from her face as if rain had washed it off. Now she looked down at the Neopet severely, pushing her glasses up the rim of her nose with one finger. "Are you sure you want to do that?" Hopefully the little Gelert would change his mind, and run away from her stern glare. Hopefully.

     "Yeah, I'm sure." He sounded more confident in himself now. Sarah looked him over, and knew that she wouldn't be able to change his mind.

     "If you insist." She was pleased to note that her voice sounded properly cold as she sat back in her chair. But instead of doing her usual memory trick, Sarah reached under her desk and pressed a certain big red button that had been installed in her desk by the Defenders of Neopia. A second passed. Then another one.

     *****

     A few houses down in Neopia Central, a red light flashed on Judge Hog's desk. The chief glanced down at it and sighed.

     "Another one? Oh well…" He pushed his back pair of hooves against the ground so that his Rolling Chair rolled out of his office and into the hallway, and then cupped his front pair of hooves around his mouth. "HEY! Attack Chombies! Code 547189!"

     One of the Attack Chombies stuck his head out of the Official Attack Chomby Office. No, seriously. He actually stretched out his neck so that his head could look down the hall while the rest of him stayed comfortably in his chair (non-rolling, unfortunately). "What'd ya say, chief?"

     The Moehog glared at the unfortunate Chomby. Robot Neopets, always trying to show off their special functions. "Code 547- aww, never mind that. A cheater at Sarah's place!"

     Judge Hog watched as the Chomby's head zoomed back into the room. Seconds later, the whole troop of Attack Chombies was rolling out into the hallway and out the door. Judge Hog watched them all disappear and then rolled back into his office.

     "Now, where was I… oh yes! The crossword!" He rubbed his chin thoughtfully as he looked at the paper. "'Knows a lot of Bedtime stories about Faeries'… hmm…"

     *****

     Exactly ten seconds had passed since Sarah had pressed the button, and the Gelert in front of her was starting to look annoyed. But precisely at that moment, the front door of the Help Center was knocked down. Literally. A whole troop of Robot Chombies was rolling over the flattened door, all blaring out the same sentence from their microphones.

     "CHEATS ARE NOT ALLOWED ON NEOPETS."

     "What?" The little Gelert looked around in confusion, taking his paws off of Sarah's desk. "What- what's going on?"

     "CHEATS ARE NOT ALLOWED ON NEOPETS."

     "I did warn you," Sarah pointed out calmly.

     The Gelert turned around wildly and then nearly pounced on her desk. 'Nearly' because he actually missed, and ended up only knocking over a stack of papers and falling backwards onto the floor. "I wasn't looking for cheats! I just wanted to play the game Cheat! What did you think that capital letter was for?"

     "CHEATS ARE NOT ALLOWED ON NEOPETS." The Chombies were now herding all of the Neopets and humans out of the building. "WE MUST LOCATE THE ROGUE NEOPET."

     Alfred poked his head out of the back room. "Hey, Sarah! I finally got out of there, so here's… the… oh no, not again!"

     Sarah nodded in agreement, watching in slight interest as one of the Chombies threw a net over the Gelert.

     "That's the third time this week," Alfred pointed out, his voice glum. "And today only Wednesday. Was he actually trying to… you know… do something bad?"

     Sarah shook her head. "Actually, this looks a lot like a scene out of Attack Of The Meercabots."

     "CHEATS ARE NOT ALLOWED ON NEOPETS."

     "Which one?" Alfred winced as the Chombies started dragging the Gelert out of the building. The Neopet was putting up a good fight, all said and done, by attempting to gnaw through the net.

     "You know, the scene where Jihra is being chased by the group of evil Robot Chombies that are affiliated with the evil Meercabots."

     "Oh. Right."

     "CHEATS ARE NOT ALLOWED ON NEOPETS." The only Chomby who hadn't left the building yet looked around, and then clicked, all business again. "ILLEGAL ACTIONS HAVE BEEN HALTED. NEXT ORDER: RETURN TO BASE."

     The Chomby rolled outside, following the rest of his comrades down the street. Sarah paused for a moment and then got up and wandered over to the door that had been knocked off its hinges, surveying the damage done. Alfred ended up following her, occasionally glancing out the doorway.

     "Well," Sarah stated after an ominous pause, "I guess we know what this means."

     "Fifteen minute break?"

     Sarah grinned despite herself. "Yep. We won't be getting any more people for that long, at least."

     "Awesome." Alfred grinned widely as he headed back for the inventory, only stopping to poke at something under Sarah's desk. "Wake up, Sluggo, you can't sleep the whole morning away."

     As Alfred disappeared back into the inventory (giving the Rolling Chair a spin before he left) a tiny Slorg crawled out from under Sarah's desk and yawned widely. Sarah turned from her view of the fallen door and glanced at the Slorg as it blinked rapidly at her. Sluggo, her Petpet.

     "You've missed a lot," she informed the tiny Slorg dryly.

     Sluggo blinked again.

     The doorway said, "Uh, excuse me, but I-"

     Sarah whirled around, wondering when her doorway had learned to talk. But it wasn't the doorway talking after all. A young woman was standing right outside of the building, looking inside the room with interest. As soon as she noticed that Sarah was watching her, the woman smiled nervously.

     "Sorry, but the door was open, so I thought-"

     "I can see that," Sarah remarked, glancing down at the unhinged door. "May I help you in any way?"

     "Uh, yes." The woman stepped inside, taking in the sights of the little room with apparent awe. "You see, one of my pets wanted to start adventuring, so I thought I should learn more about it, and-"

     "Oh, I see." Sarah smiled up at the woman benevolently. "You want to find the names of books about adventures?"

     "Not quite." The woman twirled a lock of her short brown hair around a finger before giving a decisive nod. "I just wanted to hear any advice you had about adventures. After all, you know everything, or so they tell me."

     Sarah looked down, not meeting the woman's eyes. For some strange reason, she thought that those eyes were blaming her. And, oddly enough, she felt guilty. It wasn't her fault, of course. She wasn't an action-type Zafara, she was into research. But all the same-

     "I wouldn't know," Sarah murmured, cutting off her thoughts. "I've never been on an adventure."

     "Really?" The woman's voice sounded startled, even a bit confused. "But don't you think that's awfully dull? I mean, I was going to start adventuring too, my pets told me that it's really good for your health, and-"

     "If you want advice on adventuring, you might want to go and see Judge Hog." Sarah finally looked up and forced herself to smile. "He knows more about adventures then I do, and he's just a few doors down. He'll have you perfectly informed in no time."

     "Okay. Thanks!" The woman smiled again and headed out the door, leaving Sarah to stand in the middle of the empty room by herself.

     "Maybe she's right," Sarah whispered to herself, not really seeing the fallen door that her eyes were fixed on. "Life has been getting dull lately. I always get the same questions, same topics, same items… maybe I should take a break. An adventure would be nice, after all. Even a typical one."

     "Wow. You sound really depressed."

     Sarah glanced up, trying her best not to groan at the sight of yet another visitor. A tall person had wandered inside and was currently leaning on the doorway. She couldn't identify him, unfortunately, since whoever it was was wearing a hooded black cloak that covered up his whole figure.

     "You know, that is really cliché." Sarah rolled her eyes. "Honestly. The whole cloaked deep-voiced mysterious person act, I've seen it a million times. You're probably some wannabe villain, aren't you? Like Sloth."

     "Oh, be quiet." If the cloaked figure's face hadn't been hidden, he probably would have been glaring at Sarah by now. "It gets the point across, doesn't it?"

     "In an extremely unnecessary way."

     "I am here to make you a proposition." The cloaked figure now stood up straight, a mysterious tint in his voice. "You want to go on your own adventure, but find that you cannot, due to your work."

     "Actually, I was only contemplating the idea."

     "Whatever. The point is, I am willing to run the Help Center in your place, so that you can have your clichéd adventure thing. Do we have a deal?"

     Sarah folded her arms over her chest and glared up at the figure. "Come on. Do you really think I'm that dumb?"

     "Well, you're the one who said you wanted a typical adventure. That includes a villain doing evil things back near your home, doesn't it?"

     Sarah nodded slowly, and pushed her glasses up the bridge of her nose. "Hmm. I guess you have a point. Besides, you're just a wannabe villain. You couldn't come up with anything too evil."

     "I'll have you know that that is insulting."

     "Fine. We've got a deal." Sarah smiled, pleased for once with her decision. She was going to have an adventure, clichéd or not, and it was the most exciting thought she'd had all day. "Just let me get ready."

     "Alright." The mysterious figure watched as Sarah ran off to her inventory. Then he turned away, muttering darkly to himself. "That's not true… I'm not a wannabe…"

          Twenty minutes later, the party was ready to leave. Sarah had eventually managed to convince Alfred to be her sidekick, and once he had stopped ranting about how belittling that title was the Grundo had managed to find them both some non-rusted armor to wear out on their adventure. Sarah had even managed to find herself a trusty steed- Kayla had loaned her some Petpet Growth Syrup a few months back, and Sluggo was close at hand. If the Aisha Slorgrider could do it, then so could she.

     The mysterious figure watched as Sluggo made his way down the street, Sarah and Alfred perched on his back, shining in their armor. All down the street heads were turning, stunned by that very unusual sight. Some even realized that it was Sarah up there, and started rumors of why she was going.

     The villain rubbed his green hands together gleefully. Everything was going according to plan. Yes, even his new evil machine had been installed in the Help Center while Sarah wasn't looking. How she had not noticed it… he didn't care to figure that one out. It didn't matter, anyway, as it did nothing but leave a gaping plot hole in Sarah's new adventure. He was ready to start.

     The mysterious figure watched as an angry Alien Aisha stomped her way through the doorway (the door still lay on the ground) and started to address him heatedly. "Now, listen Sarah, no more of this nonsense, I want to know about Jelly World right- wait, you're not Sarah!"

     "She's sick," the mysterious figure commented, "but you're in luck! I just installed a portal to Jelly World, right here!"

     The Aisha looked over the tall, dark green portal with distrust. "Then why does it say 'To Mind Control Laboratory' on the top?"

     "Erm, that's just a typo. Pay no attention to it."

     "Whatever." The Aisha walked into the portal and disappeared in a flash of red light. The mysterious figure, noting that the red light didn't go well with the portal's green frame, decided to talk to his scientists later about their designing skills. He couldn't let his evil machines clash, after all.

     The mysterious figure laughed evilly as he sat down in Sarah's Rolling Chair, waiting for his next victim. "Yes, yes… all according to my extremely clichéd plan…"

The End

 
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