The Mystery Behind Neoschool: Part Three
Blusia and I were heading toward the Clothing Shop when she asked, confused about what we were doing, "Why are we going to the Clothing Shop? For clothes?"
I got so carried away by the prospect of a good plan that I forgot to take a moment to explain it to her, who so desperately needed to understand. "Like I said before, there's no way those builders are going to ever let us know about Neoschool. What we have to do is blend in. Well, actually, you have to, because that Techo might have sent word about my pesky interference," I explained as we proceeded on forth to the store.
"And if he finds out that this paper is missing," she waved the picture around, "then we are doomed."
"Doomed? Let's try to stay optimistic here for the sake of our sanity, okay?" At that I paused, because there was a huge mob of Neopians and their neopets crowding around the store, trying to get in.
"Are you sure we're at the right place?" Blusia asked, confused as to why it was getting so much attention.
"Yes, yes, I'm sure. Wow, that Uni has her hooves filled, doesn't she? So many customers!"
"We're never going to make it in time," Blusia cried, noticing the time as the sky seemed to darken into late afternoon.
"Oh yes, we will! If I have anything to say about it." I grabbed the Poogle into my arms and pushed past the crowd, only growing in size and numbers. Managing to work my way inside, I put the Poogle on the floor, observing the empty room. I wasn't the only one as plenty of Neopians pushed and shoved, staring about it, looking at its tables, ready for the next stock to appear.
The Uni, decked out in shiny star glasses, a pale orange scarf, and a pink tail bow, was cowering in the corner, fear written all across her terrified blue face. I approached her slowly and she shouted anxiously, "Away, away! I'm the shopkeeper and I'll stock eventually, I promise you! I can't be stocking all the time! Neopian regulations!"
I told her to calm down for I had no intention of pleasing this impatient crowd any more than she did or could, but stated, "Do not be afraid! I know you are not stocked right now, but my Poogle has gotten a job and she's already late enough for it as it is." She observed me curiously, wondering what her shop had to do with the matter I was talking about. "The problem is that she needs proper clothing for it. She's going to be an apprentice builder," I mused, pretending how proud I was of her.
"Let me guess. You want me to furnish her with the clothing." The Uni was starting to appear a tad bit angry, but I saw it was not in her heart to refuse a desperate, working neopet.
"Please, I beg of you to comply! I will pay for all the clothing, in fact, overpay if necessary. Besides, this mob of Neopians is not going to go away soon. Don't you want to go to your stock room over there," I asked, pointing to the door, similar in appearance to the previous one I encountered that day, "and fetch us some construction appropriate attire? Please?"
My pathetic plea with her worked, but she stated, "I will go in five minutes time. For then, I am due to restock my shop. Only then."
I thanked her, telling, "She's late enough as it is. Five more minutes won't affect us much. Thank you for understanding!" If only other shopkeepers were as nice as she is, I thought.
Blusia and I waited for the allotted time. The Uni, entering the room, stayed there for some more minutes, perhaps to relieve her nervousness of attending such a busy shop, but emerged with two piles in her hooves, one for us and one for them. They were shocked at this gesture, thinking that she was playing favorites, but she screamed into the demanding crowd, "This poor neopet needs to buy some working clothes! Maybe all of you should get a job instead of lurking around in my store!" She presented to us a sturdy helmet, denim coveralls, and a belt filled with an assortment of tools necessary apparently for the job. Blusia put all of them on and waved nervously at the angered crowd and with all of her known agility, she exited the shop, me running behind her.
"We were lucky she was so considerate of our lie," I stated, out of breath from dashing after my fast Poogle and away from the not so pleased crowd of shoppers.
"You can say that again! Now that I'm properly dressed, who am I working for?"
"There's so many builders around Neohomes, I'm sure they won't bother questioning you, but if they do, say you're working for Kacheek and Sons Landscaping." I was happy to say that at least my knowledge of Stock Market companies came in handy for one thing.
"Kacheek and Sons Landscaping? Isn't that gardening, not building?" Blusia seemed stupefied.
"Yes, it's gardening, but after all, someone needs to build a garden and measure all sorts of... stuff." I hesitated for the lack of Neopian gardening terminology.
"Right, stuff.. That'll go well with those builders," Blusia sarcastically replied, unsure of the task.
"Listen, chances are they won't continue to ask. Just get in there and ask for the location of identification number 87632019655," I read aloud the numbers from the piece of paper we still had with us.
"Just like that?" Blusia stared incredulously at me.
"If they start asking, make up a story. You're a builder after all. I don't know," I attempted an answer wearily.
"Fine. Not like we aren't in enough trouble already," Blusia assessed our current position.
Silence befell us as we walked from where we were to the Neohomes in Neopia Central. There were many located across Neopia for residents, but it was here that Neopians could actually apply for available land to inhabit later. As an erect building began to appear on the horizon, both of us couldn't help but feel more anxious, sweat dripping down our hands. "Everything is going to be okay," I said to her, trying to talk myself out of hyperventilating which I had the tendency to do in such conditions as these. When we reached the building, gloriously white in color, blue windows placed at various places here and there, we stopped. It was quite a handsome structure indeed except for the obvious "Neohomes" written across it which looked a bit silly.
"Okay, you go in there and do your thing," I nudged her to walk in as fear froze her limbs from moving. She didn't say one word to me as she slowly went on in. I called after her, "Good luck," unaware of other builders entering nearby as well. They took a moment to look at me and I reasoned, "Her first time at work." At that, they smiled, seeming to understand my concern which was much greater than what I gave reason for.
Time went by slowly as seconds drifted on into minutes. I realized that standing outside the building was not the smartest thing to do. Great, I'll bring attention to myself, I figured and decided to hide behind a nearby tree to spy on the building and Blusia's return.
She reemerged from the building, as jubilant to get out of there as if she was stuck inside Darigan's Citadel. I approached her and before I had the chance to speak, she started with her story. "So, I went in there and you were right. They did not take heed of me. I befriended this one Brown Mynci builder with measuring ruler in hand, figuring I wouldn't have too much trouble figuring out how things were done there. I asked him where I could find out about preexisting Neohome projects. He stared at me for a while, but eventually pointed to a very huge book. He said it was the Neohome Book of Projects, which told everything about the current status of Neohomes, at least in this here parts of Neopia Central. I thanked him and luckily for me, he went to take a break so I was extremely lucky he didn't spot me looking in it. He not only went to lunch, but most builders went as well so the place was clear of witnesses. I went over to the enormous tome and began searching for the entry about you know what. Strangely, it wasn't where it was supposed to be."
"What do you mean? You didn't find it?!" I was shocked at hearing about Neoschool's omission in that book.
"Whoa, whoa, wait. I'm not done yet. It was missing, certainly. But... I did manage to find a scrap piece of paper!" She showed the tiny piece of paper, which resembled the one we found in both color, texture, and age. It had an address scribbled down on it. We both grinned, aware of how huge this discovery was and what to do next...
To be continued...