Why Battle Ducks' Eyes Bulge
It is here we find a wizened old Lupe, sitting in an oak rocking chair. He was wearing round little glasses, and had a kind, but old face. He was rocking back and forth, and back and forth, his eyes closed and his hands folded in his lap. He was blue, and was wearing a worn leather vest. He was smiling contentedly, as though in a happy place. Then suddenly, some young Lupes came running into the room. They all sat down around him. They all were the older Lupe’s grandkids, 5 of them. (There were 2 girls and 3 boys.) The Lupe sat up with a start as they crashed into the room, looking around at his new company. “Why hello there, my little ones! What can I do for you?” he added, noticing the way they gathered around him expectantly. “Grandpa, will you tell us a story?” one said, tugging softly on his long, white and grey beard. “Mommy said that you’d tell us one if we left her alone.”
“Did she now? I had no idea,” he said in mock surprise, though smiling still.
“Yeah, Grandpa, please? Please?” the others exclaimed. They were all looking up at him with expectant eyes. This Lupe couldn’t resist the excited looks on their faces, for they all were staring up at him, as though expecting him to hand out candy. He let out a little chuckle.
“Oh, all right. Did I tell you the one about the battle ducks?”
“Oooh, no! How does it go? What’s it about?”
The grandfather looked down at his grandkids. “Did you ever wonder why battle ducks’ eyes bug out at that strange angle?” he asked them with a twinkle in his eye.
“Yeah, I always wondered what happened. I always just reckoned they were just kinda weird that way,” one younger one said, causing all the others to giggle. The oldest rolled her eyes.
“No, they weren’t always like that. It started with a little girl,” the old Lupe said wisely.
At this, they all started whispering animatedly. “I bet it’s a tragic war story about a soldier of Maraqua who rescued this girl!” whispered a boy to his sister. “No,” she hissed back. “It’s going to be a love story about a prince that was turned into a battle duck and was rescued by a faerie pet. Then the prince fell madly in love with the faerie pet, and they got married!” The boy stared back at her. “No, stupid, Grandpa said it was about a girl, not a prince!” The two began to bicker, and the others were arguing right behind them.
“No, it’s a comedy! There’s a famous Aisha known for juggling fire battle ducks!”
“No, it is about a Grarrl who fooled Doctor Sloth with an army of battle ducks!”
“No, no. You’re all wrong. It’s a story about how the battle ducks took over Neopia! They were plotting behind our backs, and no one noticed they were plotting because their cuteness distracted the citizens! THEY’RE EVIL, I TELL YOU!!”
The grandfather let out another chuckle. “No, battle ducks are not evil. They’re harmless. When out of the Battledome.” He gave a little shudder, as though frightened.
“What happened in the Battledome, grandpa?” one of the kids asked him.
“That’s a different story. I’ll tell you some other time, maybe when you’re older,” he said as an afterthought.
“So what’s this story about, Grandpa? It’s not scary, is it?” The young Lupe looked frightened at the thought, and hugged his blue Ixi plushie closer to his chest. His bottom lip began to tremble.
“No, don’t worry; it’s not scary at all,” he said soothingly, scooping the little one into his lap.
“Well, go on, Grandpa! Tell us! What happened?” they all told him eagerly.
He rocked back and forth in his chair, the youngest Lupe sitting in his lap. He was looking up at his grandfather with wide eyes.
“Ok. Here goes.”
And with that, the grandfather launched into the story of the battle ducks.
“There once was a little girl who traveled Neopia for many years. She went by the name of Duckkles. Now Duckkles loved Neopets. She played every chance she got, whenever, wherever she could. She built up her neohome and shop and earned items, just like everyone else. But she wasn’t like everyone else. She always had one obsession, which consumed almost all of her time while traveling. Yes, Duckkles loved ducks.
“So soon Duckkles saved up her neopoints and bought as many battle ducks as she could lay her hands on. When she ran out of neopoints, she went and played games until she earned enough to buy all the battle ducks in Neopia. She restocked for her shop for hours, trying to earn more of her beloved ducks.”
One of the kids pumped his fist and yelled triumphantly, “I knew it! She used her army of evil battle ducks to take over the whole of Neopia! SHE’S EVIL, I TELL YOU! EVIL!”
“Oh, shut up Harold, and let Grandpa finish his story!” the others yelled at him, their voices ringing through the room as they yelled at him to be quiet. Harold sat down, muttering about angrily conspiracies involving the “evil” ducks, and things like ‘don’t say I didn’t warn you...’
“No, Duckkles did not want control over Neopia. But she loved her ducks. She named each one of them and obsessed over them. She could be seen pouring over her safety deposit box, counting all of them under her breath every day to check they were all there, drawing little pictures of them. And every time the Neopets Team would release new battle ducks, she would make deals with the owners of the new ducks that no user on Neopets could resist, because Duckkles couldn’t resist those duckies. She offered them paint brushes and codestones, bottled faeries, petpets, and many other items through trades. And what else would you do? Those items were too good to be true, beyond many of their wildest hopes and dreams. They accepted the stellar trades; obviously they were more than happy to.
“Duckkles hugged and squeezed them. She hugged them, and squeezed and hugged and squeezed and hugged until eventually their eyes bulged from so much squeezing and hugging.
“Now eventually, Duckkles realized what she was doing was wrong, taking the cute little duckies away from the world, when she should be spreading the happiness the duckies gave her. So before the battle ducks were squeezed into oblivion, she handed them out to the rest of the users, all of them with their little eyes bugging out from the love she gave them. It hurt her, but she knew she had to give back the joy of the ducks. She put them all back into Neopia, except for one. And she can be seen to this day, carrying her only duck around with her. The end,” Grandpa finished. He looked down at their faces, and he smiled, seeing some of their mouths were hanging wide open with awe. The littlest boy was fast asleep in his grandfather's lap, his blue Ixi plushie held close to his chest.
“Wow, that was a great story, Grandpa! Will you tell us another one?”
“Well... All right. Did you hear the one about...?”