To Work or Not to Work
It was nine o'clock at night, half an hour past eight-year-old
Emily's bedtime. Her six-year-old sister Nelly, a baby Kau, was already sleeping,
so when Emily crawled out of bed, she had to be extra careful so as to not thump
the hardwood floor. Slowly she tiptoed out of the room she and Nelly shared and
down the newly carpeted stairs.
She found her owner sitting at her work desk,
huddled over a stack of papers. Emily walked quietly to her owner and discreetly
tapped her on the shoulder.
"Ohmigosh-!" her owner, Shawn, exclaimed, nearly
jumping out of her chair. She turned around to the young faerie Kacheek's confused
expression. "Sorry, Em... you just startled me a bit. What are you doing up?
You were supposed to be asleep half an hour ago."
Emily didn't hesitate to tell Shawn why she was
up. "I wanna work."
Shawn chuckled. "Work? Sweetie, it's awfully
late for jokes-"
"I'm serious! I really wanna work! You know I'm
a really good worker - I manage the shop since Nelly isn't old enough! Please...
I need some Neopoints! I can do it!" she begged.
"I don't know... work is awfully hard, sweetie.
I'm not sure if you're ready yet."
Emily put on her most professional look - well,
the most professional look an eight-year-old could have - and said assertively,
"I can DO it."
Shawn sighed. "I'll think about it, okay honey?
Now, it's past your bedtime. Go back upstairs and go to sleep. Be careful not
to wake up your sister."
Emily nodded, knowing that "I'll think about
it" pretty much meant "yes." She gave her owner a quick hug and carefully crept
back upstairs and into bed.
* * *
Nelly woke up the next morning next to an empty
bed. When she went downstairs for breakfast, she found an already-empty bowl
in the sink and a half-empty box of cereal. "What time did Emmy wake up?" she
"Oh, Nelly, are you up?" came a familiar voice.
"Good morning. Emily left earlier this morning with your owner to look for a
job. I'll be here with you till later on tonight."
"ANGEEEEE!" Nelly recognised the voice belonging
to her babysitter. "Let's play sumfing!"
Angie, a beautiful faerie Uni - and a rather
non-conceited Uni - grinned. "Maybe in a few hours. Right now I'm sort of busy
working on homework. But I promise I'll play with you later on, okay?"
"Okay!" Nelly grinned, and bounced off to another
Meanwhile, Emily and her owner were not having
much success. Nobody was willing to hire an eight-year-old, and with each "no"
came an excuse: "She's too young." "She doesn't know anything about the work
world." "We don't have any available spots." Emily was ready to cry.
"Emily, listen to me. If you're willing to give
up this quickly because you don't get what you're going for, then you're not
going to do well in a job. You have to keep going - persevere!" Shawn encouraged.
"Persistence always pays off. We have to keep trying!"
Emily nodded. "I - I guess you're right." She
sniffed then raised her head, a determined look in her eyes. "I'm gonna find
a job by the end of the day."
* * *
As the day passed, things only got worse. Emily
and her owner were getting not only excuses, but shuns. "You really think I
would hire your eight-year-old daughter? Well, you can find business elsewhere.
You are wasting my time! Out, out!" yelled a Mr. McClanahan, owner of a local
It got to be seven o'clock, and Emily still didn't
have a job - only ridicule. "Oh, please don't try to make me feel better. These
Neopians just don't understand that age doesn't matter, as long as you can do
the job. And I can - but I just need to prove it to everyone."
"How are you going to do that?" Shawn questioned.
"I dunno... but I'll figure it out somehow. But
right now... it's late. Let's go back home. We'll try again some other time."
"Okay. That sounds wonderful. How about we go
home and eat some pizza?"
"Just as long as it has pepperoni!"
* * *
The next day, Emily was allowed to go to the
Hidden Tower alone. She didn't tell her owner why, though; her ostensible reason
was that she was going to look around. She snuck into the shop and retrieved
all the Neopoints she'd saved up over time, then headed out.
Once in the Tower, Emily looked around for Fyora.
"Miss Fyora?" she called. "Hello? Are you in here?"
Emily wandered around the Tower looking for the
Faerie Queen, but she just couldn't find her. Dejectedly, she turned to walk
- er, fly - back outside, but on the way out, she accidentally bumped a display
stand. One of Jhudora's Crystal Balls fell to the floor and shattered into hundreds
"Oh, no!" Emily cried. "Oh, what am I going to
do?" She sat for a moment, then took off her coat and scooped the pieces into
it. As she was finishing up, a shadow fell over her. She turned around and looked
into the eyes of none other than Fyora the Faerie Queen.
"Miss Fyora-! I didn't know you were here-I didn't
mean to break it-I'm so sorry-if there's anything I can do-" Emily set her coat
on the floor beside her and began to cry. She reached into her pocket and pulled
out a bag of Neopoints.
"I'm very sorry, Miss Fyora. Here's fifty-thousand
Neopoints, it's all I have. I've been working in our shop for six months to
save this. If there's anything else I can do-"
"You don't need to pay for it, it's quite alright.
But what are you doing here? You seem awfully young-"
"No, I'm not too young!!" Emily shouted, then
suddenly realised what she just did. Embarrassed, she turned her head and distantly
explained that she'd been looking around Neopia for a job and that nobody would
hire her because she was "too young." "I've been working in our shop, and I
really felt ready," she said. "But nobody thinks I can do it."
A smile crossed Fyora's face. "Well, you know
what I think? I think that someone like you who can come all the way to the
Hidden Tower alone, take responsibility for your mistake, and offer your savings
from half a year's hard work, then you're old enough for a job. How would you
like to work for me?"
Emily gaped in amazement. "Me? Work for... you?
The-the Faerie Queen? Really?" When she saw that Fyora meant it, she didn't
hesitate to answer. "Of course! I would love to! Wh-when can I start?"
"You can start today, if you want. But you should
go home and tell your family first. Then come back and I'll give you a task,
"Absolutely!!" Emily exclaimed.
* * *
On the way back home, Emily just couldn't help
"Hello, Mr. McClanahan? Remember me? I came yesterday
looking for a job. But you don't need to worry about me. Because you know what?
I'm working for the Faerie Queen now."
Mr. McClanahan stood there, gawking in disbelief.
"You probably don't believe me, but you can ask Miss Fyora herself. Have a nice
day, sir," Emily added.
She was never so happy in her life.