Secret of the Advent Calendar: Part One
A green Lupe sat relaxed on her fresh bamboo bed reading a book from the Advent Calendar of last year. The book was A Ruki Christmas; though she had already read it, she was reading it again and again, because she really could not see a point in the story.
“Jibjuff!” Kikoo, a red Xweetok, called from upstairs. “I’m not tall enough to put these boxes up on the shelves.”
“Ask Tillia to do it. I’m busy!” Jibjuff said sourly. Her brothers Chichichi and Tillia would probably tell their little sister to come back to her. Kikoo was a lot younger than the rest of them and therefore smaller, and she was always complaining about how their owner Amanda had taken away her feepit and put it in a gallery. Suddenly all three of her siblings appeared in the door way. Chichichi was home from training school, which was a big surprise; the red kougra was only a level 5 but was determined to get above 100. Tillia had come in too; the blue Eyrie looked very annoyed.
“Kikoo says you won’t help her put away boxes,” he said.
“You can fly, why don’t you do it?” Jibjuff complained.
“You’re just obsessed with reading that stupid book you’ve got,” Tillia shot back.
“Yes, I am!” Jibjuff barked and slammed the door. Sighing, she flopped down on the mat and continued reading. In the end, the little mummy got bandages for Christmas and that was that. Not that she had expected there to be a difference; books didn’t just change when they felt like it, or at least most books didn’t. But for some reason it seemed like they could have made the story a bit more interesting. Oh well, maybe she could convince Amanda to put the book in her shop. Jibjuff put the book on the bamboo shelves and climbed in bed.
Around midnight Jibjuff heard a thump, thump, thump coming from some place, but she was unsure where. She climbed out of bed and switched on the light. The room looked normal, but it sounded like Kikoo thought it was Christmas again and was running up and down the stairs at full speed. Jibjuff walked outside. The moon glowed brightly and shed pale reflected light over the dew covered grass, tinting everything blue. Jibjuff took a deep breath of cold air and shivered. The thumping definitely was not coming from out here. Jibjuff walked slowly inside, and as soon as the door opened, the thump, thump, thump could be heard loud as a drum. Jibjuff searched the kitchen and found nothing that could possibly be making that horrible noise. She searched every room in the house before slinking, disheartened, back to her room. She lay on the bed for hours with her ear muffs on, trying to block out the noise. Finding the technique to be useless, Jibjuff turned on the light for a fraction of a second before turning it off again. She was sure that A Ruki Christmas had been thumping back and forth on the shelf, making a horrible racket. The book had looked as though it was trying to climb off the book shelf. Jibjuff pulled the covers over her head.
“This is not happening, it’s just my imagination, this is not happening it’s just my imagination,” she chanted to herself. The thumping stopped abruptly. Jibjuff turned on the light again and peeked through a gap in the blankets. The book had stopped moving; maybe it had just been her imagination! She curled up in a ball to try to fall asleep, but she left the light on just in case.
Thump, thump, thump, thump, thump, thump. Jibjuff jerked awake. The book was thumping again. It was coming alive!
“Noooo! It’s going to eat me!” she cried and grabbed the lamp to try to fight it off.
“What are you doing?” a voice asked. Jibjuff turned around; Kikoo was standing in the door way with a puzzled expression on her face.
“Uhh... nothing.” Jibjuff slowly put down the lamp. The thumping had stopped; it had just been Kikoo running down the stairs for breakfast.
They all sat at the table. Amanda was putting servings of green wobbly stuff on their plates.
“Jelly again!” Chichichi complained.
“We had this yesterday and the day before!” Tillia complained.
“Hey, you’re the ones that all want paint brushes that cost a million bucks or more!” Amanda, their owner, said defensively.
“Can we go to the toy shop again today?” Kikoo asked. “All those stupid keyrings are getting boring!”
“Yeah!” Chichichi joined in. “They’ve always got these cute neopets that are always smiling!”
“Yeah!” Jibjuff said. Maybe even window shopping would take her mind off of that nightmare.
“Fine, fine, fine, but don’t you all start complaining when you don’t get your paint brushes by Christmas,” Amanda said.
“Do you mean next Christmas!?” Tillia asked, shocked.
“That’s twelve months away!” Kikoo whined.
“Since you all wanted petpets, we’ve only got 25,000 or so,” Amanda explained.
“Only? That must be enough to buy a thousand paint brushes!” Chichichi complained.
“Stop complaining! All of you,” Amanda yelled.
“Can we just go and look at toys?” Kikoo said sweetly. Falling prey to the Xweetok’s fatal cute stare, Amanda gave in.
“I’ll even buy you new plushies,” she said. Kikoo jumped up and squealed with glee,
“I guess I can weight till next Christmas to get my Faerie paintbrush,” Chichichi grumbled.
As they walked down the narrow stone streets of the marketplace, they spotted a familiar face.
“Look mommy, it’s the Soup Faerie!” Kikoo shouted out.
“Hello, little one, I’ve got a little leek soup today, do you want to try a little?” The Soup Faerie knelt so that she was eye level with the little neopet.
“Yes!” Kikoo shouted.
“Yes, please,” Amanda corrected. As Kikoo and the other pets ran off to the pot, Amanda noticed a grim look on the Soup Faerie’s face.
“What’s the matter?” she asked.
“Well, someone bought a whole bunch of gobblers from people, cheap, because they were given out in the Advent Calendar.”
Jibjuff caught these words and paused to listen; perhaps the mysterious behavior of the book had something to do with the Advent Calendar.
“So when we went to pick up donations to pay for the rent, about 20 gobblers were running rampant around the Money Tree. They made a huge mess, ripping bags of neopoints and scattering all manner of rotten shoes and kelp all over the place. Took near three hours to get the mess cleaned up, and half the neopoints got picked up by a group of passing meepits,” the Soup Faerie said sadly.
“Maybe there’s something wrong with the Advent Calendar,” Jibjuff suggested, then wished she hadn’t. The kind Faerie would listen to just about any crazy story and not call the Neopian police to take you away because you were a lunatic. She might even pretend to believe it, but since the faeries were all knowing, they knew everything and could not be fooled. Even if she would listen, Jibjuff was probably just wasting the Soup Faerie’s time.
“What did you say, little Lupe?” The Soup Faerie seemed genuinely intrigued, but Jibjuff figured she must just be pretending.
“Never mind,” she whispered. “It’s not important; I don’t remember.” Jibjuff looked down at her feet.
“That’s OK, you can come and tell me later if you do remember.” The Soup Faerie smiled sweetly. Jibjuff was sure that if she was not covered with green fur, that she would have been beet red. The Soup Faerie walked back to her pot and Tillia, Chichichi and Kikoo came running back with lentil soup mustaches. As they walked on they saw a very upset Poogle holding a repaired meepit plushie from the Advent Calendar.
“What’s wrong, sir?” Tillia asked.
“What’s wrong? I’ll tell you what’s wrong!” the Poogle fumed. “Here I am, minding my shop, when this plushie falls off the shelves. Naturally I put it back up and it falls off again and again, no matter how many times I put it back up, then while I was fussing over this one little toy, some sneaky meepits stole 12,000 neopoints from my shop till!” The Poogle threw the meepit plushie into the ground in frustration and stormed off. Jibjuff could not help noticing that the money stolen from the shop till and from the Money Tree was stolen by meepits, and that these items that caused the trouble, the plushie, the gobblers, and the bizarre book, had all come from last year’s Advent Calendar. Other things given out might be bewitched in some way too. On that day, Jibjuff vowed to discover the terrible secret of the Advent Calendar. For if the meepits tried to take over the world again, by giving up their furry, cute, petpet pretence, perhaps Jibjuff could join the Defenders of Neopia and become a war hero! Okay, okay, that was a bit ambitious and unrealistic, but maybe she could tell the Defenders of Neopia her suspicions. Maybe her vow was unrealistic too; maybe the Defenders should just take over, if they would believe her.
To be continued...