Voice of the Neopian Pound Circulation: 124,395,024 Issue: 250 | 28th day of Swimming, Y8
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The 250s


by kemppotatoe

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Author's Note: The name of the blue Tuskaninny in this story is pronounced "oh-shun-AY-uh," just so you know!

Yeffie the green Kougra spent hours everyday in her personal library. Books of all subjects lined the walls--- mysteries, adventures, guides, histories, encyclopedias, dictionaries, and even a few books made completely of maps.

      As much as these books meant so much to Yeffie, her favorite thing in her library was her own media rack. There were issues of every Neopian Times ever printed there, and Yeffie found pleasure in reading every story, article, and series there was to read.

      But Yeffie's sister was not a bookworm.

      Oceaneia was a blue Tuskaninny who had been found by Yeffie's owner on the shores of Mystery Island. She had a knack for exploring the deep and also had a strange interest in bottles of rainbow sand.

      Yeffie and Oceaneia didn't always get along as their owner would have liked, but they managed to unintentionally teach things to each other... with a little help from the Neopian Times.

***

      The sun had just finished appearing over Mystery Island. The air was salty and fresh; the breeze blew the palm trees. A Kacheek on a bike rode down Island Crescent, slowing down occasionally to thrust something in each yard. As he passed a little yellow dwelling, he saw a green Kougra's face poking out the window.

      "It's here!"

      Yeffie ran in elation through the font door and down the path leading to the mailbox. On the ground, rolled up tightly and tied with a string, was Yeffie's treasure of the day.

     And today, it wasn't just any treasure.

***

      Oceaneia sat in the kitchen, munching on some Florg-O's. She glanced out the back window at the ocean, grinning in glee. The morning was going to be sunny, warm, and breezy... not that it really mattered once you were underwater. But in any case, it was going to be a grand morning for exploring.

      "I shall find many new shells," Oceaneia said to herself, "and I'll count every fish I see."

***

      Yeffie poked her head in the kitchen and saw Oceaneia at the table. "Good morning," she said, "I'll be in the library if you need me."

      With that, she pulled her head back in the hallway and scampered away. Oceaneia stared where her sister's head had been a moment before and shrugged. She had always found Yeffie to be very weird.

      After finishing her cereal, the Tuskaninny grabbed her waterproof Water Faerie Backpack and made her way to the beach.

      Once in the freshness of the sea, Oceaneia closed her eyes in contentment. This was the life. How could anyone enjoy sitting in a library all day, when they could be living in purity down deep?

      Oceaneia took a deep breath of icy water and plunged further.

***

      Meanwhile, Yeffie sat in a rainbow armchair in her little, circular library. She was on her back, letting her feet dangle over one armrest and leaning her head on the other. Through a petite, hexagonal window above a set of shelves, Yeffie had a brilliant view of the ocean.

      Had she bothered to look, she would have seen her sister dive in.

      In Yeffie's hands was the newest addition to her media collection. It was a series of thin paper and typed black words. To some, it could seem dull and uninteresting, while to pets like Yeffie, it was full of everything you could ever want: words.

      Yeffie loved words! She fancied writing them, reading them, and even unscrambling them. In Yeffie's own mind, if you didn't adore words... what was there to be interested in?

      "Not much," she muttered to herself.

***

      Oceaneia wove through forests of flowing seaweed and kelp, counting fish and collecting shells along the way. She had a magnificent shell collection. Thousands of shells were piled in boxes in her room, and every single one of them she had found and brought home herself. On good days, Oceaneia could bring back hundreds of shells, which meant she needed to get a few more boxes. On bad days, she could at least get twenty or so.

      Oceaneia didn't just pick up appealing shells... she picked them all up! What was a collection without a few weird looking ones or ones coated with dried mud? She thought of Yeffie, knowing that she would only pick up ones that she had read about.

     Oceaneia rolled her eyes thinking about it.

***

      It was late morning when Oceaneia was back home to drop off her stash shells and passed by Yeffie's Library. The door was cracked and the inside was completely silent. She decided to poke her head in and see if Yeffie was asleep.

      But she wasn't. Oceaneia recalled how Yeffie was absolutely silent when she read or wrote. When she popped her head through the crack, she saw Yeffie lounging on her armchair, completely absorbed in the paper in front of her.

      Oceaneia raised an eyebrow. What could be so interesting about the paper?

      "Need something?"

     Yeffie had sensed Oceaneia's presence without removing her eyes from the words. It was common for her sister to forget that people could actually see her without staring her in the eye. Didn't she know what peripheral vision was? Yeffie giggled inside herself.

     When Yeffie spoke, Oceaneia jumped in alarm. She didn't realize that Yeffie could see her. "Oh! No. Just... y'know... seeing what was up."

     Yeffie glanced up at Oceaneia. "Due north is Virtupets Space Station."

     Oceaneia mumbled to herself, "Should've expected an answer like that from you."

     "Come again?" Yeffie was still looking at her.

     "What's that you're reading?" Oceaneia invented wildly. She gestured to the paper in her sister's paws.

     "The Neopian Times," Yeffie answered, turning her head back to it, "it's the 250th edition."

     Oceaneia narrowed her eyes in thought for a moment. "Did you say 250th?"

     "Yes, I did. Got water in your ear?"

     "Maybe, I don't know. But that's funny."

     "What's funny?" Yeffie wasn't understanding her sister very well. Not that she did regularly anyway, of course.

     "That it's the 250th edition. It's just weird because I counted exactly 250 fish in the sea today. Exactly." Oceaneia wasn't used to this kind of conversation with Yeffie, but she was hoping it wouldn't last took much longer. It was awfully uncomfortable.

     Yeffie tore her eyes away from the paper yet again. "Really?"

     Oceaneia bit her lip and nodded. "You know what else? It was a good day for shell collecting. I got precisely 250 of those, as well. No more, no less! I couldn't find a single other shell."

     "You're sure you counted correctly?' Yeffie wouldn't put it past Oceaneia to miscount something as simple as shells.

     "Of course I did. Well... I think so, anyway." Oceaneia frowned. Now Yeffie was just trying to make her look dumb! She always counted right, she made sure of it.

     "Hmm... " Yeffie set the paper on her lap and thought a moment. "Oceaneia, what time did you leave?"

     "About 7:20... right after you got the paper. Why?"

     Yeffie glanced at the clock on her wall and smiled. "It's 11:30 right now. You see?"

     Oceaneia was confused. "I don't get it... what does that have to do with all the 250s?"

     "You were gone exactly 250 minutes," Yeffie said with the air of commenting on the weather. She looked back at the paper.

     Oceaneia was dumbstruck. It took her a few minutes, but she managed to figure it out, and Yeffie was very right. "Wow... freaky coincidence."

     Yeffie shrugged, eyes on the paper. "It's The Neopian Times. Strange things happen when it comes out... accidental or not. Especially on such an occasion as the 250th edition."

     Oceaneia pondered for a moment. After several silent seconds, she asked timidly, "Could I read the Neopian Times later?"

     Yeffie's eyes were still on the paper but she had stopped reading. Did she hear what she thought she just heard? "Sure, Oceaneia. I'm almost finished with this last series."

     Oceaneia smiled. "I'm going to go look at my shells! Call me when you're done!" She was almost out of the room when Yeffie spoke.

     "Hey... do you want to bring them in here? While you read this... I can take a look at them. Y'know, just to see." She smiled widely.

     Oceaneia returned it with a grin and sprinted to the kitchen where she had laid the 250 shells she had collected earlier in the morning. She counted once more, to be sure.

     250 exactly.

***

     Within the next few days, Yeffie began to examine her sister's shell collection. She was surprised at how many shells Oceaneia had collected, and she even recognized a few from books she had read. Yeffie promised to organize the collection and make a label for each shell.

     Oceaneia had become fascinated with the Neopian Times. She sat in Yeffie's chair and read it until there was no more of the 250th to read. She began to read them all, starting with the very first ever edition.

     Oceaneia took Yeffie exploring one day (Yeffie wearing a leak-proof divers' helmet, of course), and Yeffie was surprised at how much she enjoyed it. She also enjoyed walking past her library and seeing her own sister reading. It was like a miracle... a very strange miracle.

     Like Yeffie said, strange things happen when The Neopian Times comes out. Whether it be on purpose or accidental, The Neopian Times brings people and pets together.

      And you can bet when the 300th edition comes out... there will be precisely 300 new shells in Oceaneia's collection.

The End

Author's Note #2: Thank you, NT, for bringing people together! Here's to 250 more! Scratch that. Here's to 500 bazillion more! Don't forget to count fish when issue 300 comes out...

 
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