Annual Chocolate Ball Better Than Ever
A buzz of excitement is in the air. Hordes of Neopians are walking toward the one, the only, Annual Chocolate Ball. Most are turned away at the door, for they have no invitation (granted only to the best of Neopia) in their paws, hands, or hooves. This reporter has managed to grab an invite from an innocent passerby (it was all in the name of journalism!), and is now standing inside the Chocolate factory, slightly awestruck.
The very first thing that catches the eye is the huge fountain made of chocolate in the center of the room. Streams of chocolate milk fall down from it. A baby Neopet jumps inside and splashes around, and is then pulled out by his owner.
Streamers made of dark chocolate drape the room elegantly. Gift bags of chocolate are carried around the room by edible balloons, each including a pass to let the owner get into the Secret Laboratory, no matter what, and paint their pet any color of their choosing.
Gentle drops of chocolate milk fall down from the ceiling of the factory. Guests stick out their tongues every time they wish for as cool, refreshing drink. Each guest feasts on the grand display of chocolate, some of which are not offered to the public.
The Chocolate Factory is decorated as a fairground (like such found in Haunted Woods, though not nearly as creepy or deserted). Games such as Pin the Chocolate on the Chia’s Hand are available to play, with chocolate prizes. I see some other stuff mixed in with the chocolate prizes, as one lucky Neopet is handed a Harris instead. This reporter will begin her questioning with this Desert Zafara, as I am curious to know why they did not get the standard chocolate prize.
I hurry over, pen ready. “Excuse me. I’m a journalist for the Neopian Times. I was wondering if I ask you a few things.”
“Sure thing. The name’s Misdol.” She straightens up, excited.
“What do you think of the Chocolate Ball this year? Is it better or worse than other times?”
Misdol scratches her chin. “Well, I’ve never been invited before, this is my first year ever, so I can’t tell you if it’s improved or anything. But I’m very honored to be invited, of course. It’s just amazing to be here. I love the theme. The prizes are very cool. And the fountain- oh, wow, the fountain. It just sort of grabs your attention, doesn’t it?” Her gazes drifts of to the center of the room.
I nod. “Yes, it does. Speaking of prizes, I saw you get your Harris. I was just wondering why you got that instead of the regular chocolate prize.”
“I’m not all that sure. I know that I did really good, better than most -but I’m not trying to brag,” Misdol says quickly. “They just told me they had a special prize for me and winked, like there was something I was supposed to understand.”
Hmmm. While I think this is strange, I have more coverage to do. So I wish Misdol goodbye and go off to talk to more Neopets.
A Royal Aisha by the name of Princess_Jily sniffs when I ask her if she comes every year. “Of course I do. We are one of the best families in Neopia. We were on the guest list for the very first ever Chocolate Ball.”
I spot the ruler of Faerieland and hurry over. Finally by her side after fighting past the group of Neopians clustered around her, I ask her if she would mind answering a few questions.
Queen Fyora smiles sweetly. “No, not at all.”
I uncap my pen once again and say, “How long have you been coming to the Chocolate Ball?”
“The first year I got an invitation was during my first year as queen,” she answers. “I was simply thrilled when I got it, of course. I knew of the elite guest list and couldn’t believe I was on it. When I came, they told me at the door they were sure I would be the best queen Faerieland had ever had.”
“Do you ever get tired of coming year after year?”
“No, not really. Every year there is a different setting, each better than the last. And not may people know this, but chocolate is one of my favorite foods. It just melts on the tongue so easily, and is so creamy.”
This journalist can’t believe that she is talking to Queen Fyora in person. I clear my throat and ask, “How are things going in Faerieland lately? Any major problems pestering you? I hear you have plans to expand Faerieland onto a neighboring cloud to make it bigger. Is this a rumor or not?”
Queen Fyora shrugs a little. “It is a rumor, though I have sometimes dreamed of doing just that. However, I’m really far too busy already. I’m planning the Faerie Festival, which will be simply wonderful this year- you can bet on it.”
“Thank you for your time,” I say politely. Then I head off for the food, since my tummy is growling. The very chocolate at this festival tastes better, as if just going here makes chocolate yummier. I sit and relax a little, watching the excitement and pondering who to interview next. Suddenly a Halloween Lupe (strange, how all the pets at this festival are painted) comes up and gestures for me to follow him.
Curious, I get up and go with him to a back room, hidden away from all the Neopets. He glances around, then says in a low voice, “You’re that Neopian Times reporter, right? Can I trust you?”
“Yes, I’m a reporter. You can trust me,” I reply, quickly uncapping my pen. This journalist senses a secret is about to be revealed, which would make a great article.
“Well... you know how they give out special prizes for some people?” I nod. “I know why that is.”
I’m scribbling franticly. “Yes, why?”
“Well, it’s because... it’s because...” He leans in and whispers, “The first-time attendees that have the most status get them. Then the Chocolate Factory can brag they predicted the future fame and status of these people.”
I don’t know about you Neopian Times readers, but this reporter is deeply disappointed. It’s not exactly the story I had in mind. I wish the Lupe good day and go back to the ball.
After playing a few games, I can say this ball is simply terrific. And now it is coming to a close. The Chocolate Factory’s owner, the Kiko is wishing everyone good night. I hurry to the the front of the room.
“Excuse me, but could I ask you a few things?” I say. I have a few questions that can only be answered by him, and I am sure the public wants to know.
“Why did you decide to have an annual Chocolate Ball, with only the best of the best attending?”
“Well,” the Kiko says, “I love chocolate, of course. I knew that Neopia did too. I wanted a time where you could celebrate chocolate, eat it, have it know as one of the best times of the year, the best festival. So I came up with the Chocolate Ball.
“I believed that to have it be one of the best festivals, it needed to have a elite guest list. That way, every year Neopia would eagerly wait to see if they had an invitation, because everyone wants to be one of the best. I knew the decorations would have to be perfect, and get better every year. I work hard on this. I spend most of each year planning it. Every year, it pays off when I see the faces of everyone as they enter the Chocolate Ball.”
I nod in agreement, because this makes sense. Then the Kiko frowns at me. “You know, I don’t recall having a Neopian Times reporter on the guest list.”
I laugh nervously. “Oh, but you did. I got my invite ages ago. Well, I need to go finish my article- so bye!” Then I run off before he can kick me out.
The air is filled with whispers again, but this time not of excitement, but of sadness. Some pets are shrieking with glee over their Lab Ray passes. Some are still eating chocolate, not seeming to care about the stomachache they will probably get. There are once again hordes of Neopians, this time moving out the door of the Chocolate Factory. A team of workers are bringing down the decorations, a few of them nibbling on the remains.
The Annual Chocolate Ball is over. I still can’t believe I got in. But this reporter is being pushed out the door, and will probably never get into the ball again (that Kiko’s suspicious). Most of the crowd of Neopets heads toward the Lab Ray.
This year’s Chocolate Ball was wonderful and exciting. Next year’s will only be better.