The Lucky Kau
Nina the blue Kau walked down the street feeling rather depressed. Her friends, a blue Lupe named Rocky and a green Blumaroo named Joy, had just been painted. The Lab Ray had turned Rocky into a pirate Lupe, and Joy had just become a faerie by a faerie Paint Brush. Nina couldn’t afford the Lab Ray, or a paintbrush. She would just have to remain a blue Kau forever, unless the Rainbow Fountain faerie would pay her a visit, but that was a rare event in itself, and Nina probably wouldn’t even be able to afford the item for the quest. “I want to be a baby Kau,” she murmured to herself, barely audible above the buzz of the marketplace.
Nina looked up and spotted a small wooden stand near the Petpet Supplies Shop. Strange, she thought to herself. She had never seen a shop there before. Intrigued, she went over to it, the shadows of two big elms casting their forms over her menacingly. Behind the counter sat a shrewd-looking baby Skeith. “Hello,” Nina said quietly, eyes sweeping the cardboard stand. Staring back at her was the rough-looking Neopian wood. There were no items there, not even a sign suggesting what he might be selling. “What are you selling?”
The Skeith snorted and Nina looked up at him abruptly. “I’m selling paint brushes,” he said gruffly. “Real cheap.”
“Oh, well, I couldn’t afford that. I don’t have much NP,” Nina said sadly, starting to turn away.
“How much you got?” asked the Skeith, studying the Kau closely.
“Only about 45,000 Neopoints,” Nina said sorrowfully. “44, 345 to be exact.” She had been to the Hidden Tower before and she knew that Baby Paint Brushes cost 600,000 NP. Nina knew she could never be able to afford that, no matter how much she tried.
“What paint brush do you want?” the Skeith asked indifferently.
“I don’t have enough money...” Nina began, confused.
“I’m having a special sale today.” The Skeith began smirking. “And you’re my first customer so I’ll give you a special discount.”
“But, that’s still not even close to how much it's really worth,” Nina said slowly. “I’d still need at least another 500,000 Neopoints and...”
“Don’t worry,” the Skeith said, waving his hand aside to stop her. His voice had taken on a kind tone. “I just won the lottery; I don’t need any more NP than I already have. I went out and bought a lot of Paint Brushes, but I just don’t have any use for them anymore. So if you want one, it’s yours.”
“Oh thank you!” Nina began, excited, all suspicion forgotten. “I’d like a Baby Paint Brush.” Then with an air of politeness, she added, “Please.”
“Here you go,” said the Skeith, reaching underneath the counter. He pulled out a Baby Paint Brush that glinted in the sunlight. It was the most beautiful thing Nina had ever seen. He hastily slipped it inside an empty Eyrie Goodie Bag. Nina regarded this curiously. “So it doesn’t get damaged on your way home,” he explained shortly, and Nina nodded enthusiastically. He handed her the bag and she handed over the 45,000 Neopoints.
“Thank you very much,” Nina exclaimed as she ran home, clutching her treasure to her chest.
“You’re very welcome.” The Skeith smirked. “You’re very welcome indeed.”
“I’m home,” Nina called to her sister, Rix. Rix was a beautiful faerie Uni, adopted from the pound. Her first owner had created a green Grarrl but then began zapping her. She turned from a boy to a girl, to a Quiggle, to a Scorchio, and then her owner finally stopped and abandoned her as a faerie Uni. Nina didn’t know why the owner zapped her so much, and she didn’t ask. “Guess what I got?” she exclaimed, holding the bag out in front of her.
Rix looked up from the couch with unfeigned interest. “What did you get?”
Nina pulled a Baby Paint Brush out of the bag and held it out in front of her, expecting astonished cries of glee.
“Nina- how can you afford that?” Rix asked quietly, getting up from the couch.
“A kind Skeith gave it to me on sale,” Nina said, walking over to a mirror, ignoring Rix’s skeptical look. She took the Baby Paint Brush and brushed it against her fur. It felt surprisingly plush. She closed her eyes and waited for the Paint Brush to take effect. She opened her eyes and squeezed the Baby Paint Brush. “Are they supposed to feel this way?” Nina asked Rix, squeezing the plush handle.
Rix walked over and examined the Paint Brush closely. She ran it softly against her paw. “Nina...” she began, barely audible above her disappointment. “This isn’t a real Baby Paint Brush- it’s a Baby Paint Brush Plushie. How much did you pay for this?”
Nina’s bottom lip wavered as the horrible truth sunk in. “I gave him 45,000,” she moaned, astonished at her own gullibility.
“That’s all we have,” Rix said softly. “The cheapest price on the Shop Wiz is 35,000 NP,” Rix said, thinking hard. She walked over to the Goodie Bag that lay forgotten on the floor. “We may also be able to get some NP off of this too.” She hadn’t noticed Nina heading towards the door behind her. “Hey- where are you going?” she called after Nina’s retreating form.
“To get my NP back!” Nina called as she slammed the door shut behind her and began to hastily walk down the street. She could barely contain her anger. “Just wait until I get that Skeith-“ she mumbled under her breath.
“I can’t believe he’s gone,” Nina whispered, looking around the Shop Area. The stand was gone, and so was the Skeith. She sighed and closed her eyes. The Neopian Times had always encouraged Neopians to be careful about what they were buying- but Nina had always dismissed it, believing that it could never happen to her. It was hard to believe that she had fallen for this scam, but she had. Suddenly, out of the corner of her eye, she spotted a baby Bruce.
“Hey,” she called out to him, curiously. “Did your Baby Paint Brush work?”
The baby Bruce turned around scowling. “I don’t know what you’re talking about,” he hollered, then continued the way he was going.
“Wait-“ Nina called after him. “What’s your name?”
The Bruce spun around again irritably. “Leave me alone.” He turned to go, but then turned back and studied the Kau closely. This was when Nina noticed he had something clenched in his right fist. He pointed the Ray Gun at her and pulled the trigger. Nina felt as if a thousand bolts of electricity were shooting through her veins. Then, the Bruce let go of the trigger and turned away, leaving the surprised Kau to lay on the grass behind him. “The name’s Boochi,” he called, “and don’t you forget it.”
To the Neopian: Always make sure you know exactly what you are getting when you purchase an item, and check the Shop Wizard and Trading Post to check the current status of prices. All item/neopoint transactions should occur in the Trading Post or in a shop.