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To Work or Not to Work


by caloriemuncher

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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 wondered.

     "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 room.

     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 shop.

     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!"

     Shawn smiled.

     * * *

     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 of pieces.

     "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, okay?"

     "Absolutely!!" Emily exclaimed.

     * * *

     On the way back home, Emily just couldn't help it...

     "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.

The End

 
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