Earthwing gazed out at the audience seated in front of her
desk. "Now, class," she said in a prim, proper voice. "You need to pay more attention!
We're going to have a pop quiz on important villains of Neopia tomorrow, and I
want you to be ready."
"How is it a 'pop' quiz if you just told them
about it? Pop quizzes are supposed to be surprises." Earthwing's older sister
Fire, a Fire Shoyru, was standing in the doorway.
"Well…" Earthwing looked down at her hooves
and scrunched her face up in thought. "Maybe it's not a pop quiz. Yeah, that's
right. It's just a regular quiz."
Fire grinned and said, "That works, I guess.
Can I play, too?"
"Sure!" Earthwing smiled enthusiastically and
motioned for her sister to take a seat with the plushies that served as her
The green Ixi, still playing the role of teacher,
took a piece of chalk and drew something on the chalkboard that was propped
up against the wall next to her desk. The drawing looked vaguely like a chicken's
head. "Let's start with Sloth."
Fire made a face. "That doesn't look like Sloth.
It looks like that mush Mom cooked for dinner last night."
"Shh! No talking in class. I don't want to have
to send you to the principal's office." Earthwing gave her sister a warning
"We don't have anybody to be the principal,"
"Spirit would do it if I asked him to," the
Ixi said knowingly. "Now, let's get back to Sloth. Sloth is this big, green
thing that likes to try to take over Neopia, but he never wins because we've
got this faerie who fights him off. She wears clothes with stars and stuff on
them, and I think she's really pretty. She's a hero, though, and we're talking
about villains so we should get back to Sloth. Anyways, Sloth always tries to
take over Neopia because he's evil. He's got minions and everything. He even
wears this black coat thingy that looks really evil. And umm…" Earthwing looked
"You don't know anything else about him, do
you?" a deep voice from the doorway gently inquired. Another sibling had come
to watch Earthwing's game. A White Eyrie with a solid build leaned against the
wooden frame of the door.
"Well…" Earthwing stalled. "I mean, maybe it's
possible that I don't know much more about Sloth, but I already said a lot,
right?" She opened her eyes wide and looked hopefully at her older brother,
awaiting his approval.
Spirit laughed and said, "You knew more than
the average Neopian would've. Now, what's this little game you've got going
"It's not a 'little game,' Spirit," she protested.
"I'm running a school."
"With one student, I see," he said, eyeing Fire
sitting amongst the plushies.
"No, we've got Pumpkin and Robby and Ice and
Sammy and Brownie and Duchess and Patrick and Sunny and Diddle and Fire." Earthwing
listed all the names of her plushies, leaving her sister until last. "That's…"
Her brow furrowed in thought. "Ten! Ten students."
Spirit raised an eyebrow sceptically. "Whatever
"You want to play with us, Spirit?" Fire asked
"Why not? I need to brush up on my knowledge
of villains anyway," he said, sitting down on the bed next to Fire. "Teach away,
"That's Miss Earthwing to you."
The Eyrie chuckled to himself. "Then teach away,
"Now we're going to learn about the Pant Devil."
She drew a horseshoe shaped object with a jagged line across the bottom on the
chalkboard. It seemed she had inherited her owner's art skills which were, to
say the least, nonexistent.
"The Pant Devil is this thing that goes around
stealing stuff. Sometimes he steals pants, but that's not why he's called the
Pant Devil. Nobody really knows why he's called that, but I think he was originally
called the Paint Devil because he steals paintbrushes sometimes, and somebody
misspelled it, and the name just stuck. Nobody really listens to my theory."
Under her breath, Fire said to Spirit, "I wonder
why…" They both fought to contain their giggles.
Oblivious to the joke her siblings had made,
Earthwing continued. "He's blue and has red eyes and horns and really sharp
teeth. He doesn't hurt anybody though. All he does is steal stuff." She paused.
"That's basically it for him."
Earthwing's older sister Freedom, a Desert Shoyru,
and her mom, Navy, poked their heads in the room.
"We were wondering where everybody had gone,"
Navy said, tucking a strand of her long blonde hair behind her ear as she spoke.
"What are you guys doing?"
"We're playing school. Earthwing's teaching
us about villains of Neopia," replied Fire, not noticing that her sister was
wrinkling her nose at yet another interruption.
"Then I'm playing, too," announced Freedom,
rubbing the gold band around her left paw. Earthwing grimaced slightly. Free
could be so bossy sometimes, not even bothering to ask if she could play.
"Fine, take a seat over there." Earthwing turned
back to the chalkboard, erasing her previous drawing and sketching a stick figure
with wings and colouring parts of the figure with green and purple pieces of
chalk. "This," she said, whacking her hoof against the drawing sharply, "is
Jhudora. She's an evil faerie. A dark faerie. She hasn't really done anything
yet, but everybody knows it's just a matter of time before she causes something
really, really bad to happen. She's enemies with Illusen, and anybody who doesn't
like Illusen must be evil."
Freedom and Fire exchanged knowing looks, while
Spirit just rolled his eyes. Their sister, hailing from Meridell, was incredibly
loyal to her homeland, even though she had only been back there a few times
since Navy had adopted her at a young age.
"Jhudora lives in this green and purple cloud
that always looks really gross. She sends Neopets out to fetch stuff for her
and rewards them if they bring it back in a certain amount of time. But only
somebody who has no loyalty to Illusen at all would help her."
Navy, still watching her pets play together,
shook her head and smiled. Earthwing had the silliest ideas sometimes. As she
gazed at the green Ixi who continued to teach, an idea occurred to her. "That
might be just the thing," she whispered to herself. With that, she turned around
and walked downstairs, her pets too caught up in their game to notice.
"Now, Lord Darigan," Earthwing said, gesturing
to a new drawing of an unidentifiable blob, "used to be a villain, but everybody
kind of likes him now. He tried to take over Meridell…"
* * *
The rest of the afternoon was spent in Earthwing's
bedroom, learning about all the important villains of Neopia. All of Navy's
pets went to bed exhausted, while their owner stayed up late rummaging through
her Safety Deposit Box.
In the morning, Earthwing awoke to the bright
sun dancing against her eyes. She yawned and stretched before noticing a square
object wrapped in shiny silver paper with a bright green bow tied around it.
She picked it up and detached the card that was taped next to the bow.
In Navy's messy cursive it said, "Earthwing."
Naturally, the Ixi slid the side of her hoof along the seal and opened the envelope.
There was a card inside, once again written in Navy's handwriting. She quickly
read the note.
To my dearest teacher,
I found something you might like in my Safety
Deposit Box last night about a villain you forgot. Enjoy!
Earthwing immediately tore open the paper with
a complete disregard for cleanliness. She uncovered a book entitled The Shadow
Usul. She grinned and began to read.