Roo Island's Biggest Scheme... I Mean, Game
I was tired of all the same old games in Neopia. I’d played Cliffhanger so many times it wasn’t fun anymore to get the Tuskaninny right at the very edge of the cliff before winning. Even Sutek’s Tomb just looked like floor tiles after a while, and that lovely “thwack” from Whack-a-Kass just wasn’t as amusing as it used to be. The Haunted Woods didn’t have many games other than the ones that eat my neopoints or turn my restocks into sludge. And even if there were, Moongfire, my Uni, didn’t want to visit there (“Do you have any idea how long it takes me to get that sludge off my hooves?”). So, we decided to take a trip to Roo Island and see what we could do there. There was, of course, a ferry to the island, but I can always avoid ferry fees. I hopped on Moongfire’s back and away we went! In no time at all we had left Neopia Central and were skimming over the sparkling waves. Riding on Uniback is probably one of the most enjoyable ways to travel. Unless, that is, your particular Uni threatens to fly upside down and dump you off. I told her if she did, I’d probably get eaten by a Jetsam, and then who would buy her all her fancy clothes and furniture? So out of the goodness of her heart, she decided not to give me a dunking. Soon we saw the Flotsams playing tag in the water, then the island appeared ahead, and the white sands of the beach swept under us. Moongfire did a looping spiral above the merry-go-round.
“Wheee!!” she called happily. I was getting dizzy from her corkscrew and from seeing the merry-go-round turning below.
“Okay, okay, fly straight for a while, will you? Please?”
I liked flying, but not when she did her “invisible roller coaster.” Of course she knew that. She laughed and calmed down, so that we flew in a (sort of) straight line over the rest of the island. I couldn’t help but enjoy all the pretty village houses. Until that is, some pirate Pteris dive-bombed us as we flew over Von Roo’s summer home.
“Head for cover!” I yelled, as she was already plunging down. We missed hitting the side of the Roo Souvenir shop by inches. Moongfire swooped in the door instead, muttering something about my lack of faith in her. We wandered around for a while waiting for the Pteris to lose interest, admiring all the pretty pom-pom decorated stuff. Well, I did. My neopet kept staring at the shopkeeper’s hat.
“Cut it out!” I hissed.
“But it’s so tacky!” she protested.
I should have never morphed her back into a Uni after that magical Poogle toy incident. I probably shouldn’t have painted her either. Now she’s pretty, (prettier than me anyway, which might not be saying much), but she always compares everyone to her perfect self. The shopkeeper was glaring at me by this time, so I bought a bunch of lamps and other things to make him happy and arranged to have them delivered. I peeked outside and saw it it was safe to leave; the Pteris were gone. We enjoyed a stack of swirled pancakes at Grandma Roo's Café and then strolled over to the big tournament hall where Dice-a-Roo games were in full swing. It was noisy inside as the rattle of dice echoed off the high ceiling.
“Can we please play?” begged Moongfire, doing that cute little wing flutter I always couldn’t resist. If for some reason I did say no, her flutters would get too excited and she’d "accidentally" give me a Uni Slap. So of course I said yes.
“We won two neopoints!” she squealed, and rolled again. “One neopoint! Ooh, look, we won three neopoints!”
“Wait,” I said, “now the pot’s up to six neopoints. So if we stop now we gain one neopoint and can play again.”
“Don’t we want the jackpot?”
“The odds of getting the jackpot aren't good. It’s better to take the money when we’re winning.”
At that moment, I saw a spotted Blumaroo staring at me and whispering to a green Blumaroo, who nodded and bounced off. Strange, but maybe they hadn’t seen a brown Uni in there for a while. I turned back the game.
Just then a passing green Blumaroo said, “Please stop the Monocerous from eating all my friends.”
“What? How can I? I thought he only appeared in random events...”
Just then the clattering of dice reached my ears. Moongfire had rolled again.
“Aww,” she said, “Now the pot is down to one neopoint.”
A striped Blumaroo bounced by. “Take the money! Take the money!” he said excitedly.
“But that’s pointless now!” I said, as Moongfire rolled again.
That set the pattern for the game. If the pot was low, a Blumaroo would hop by and tell me to take the money. If I was contemplating collecting the pot and starting a new game, they would tell me “I’m hungry.” While I looked around for their owners, Moongfire blissfully rolled again. The tactic was clear. They had identified me as the cautious one and were determined to distract me as my risk-loving Uni rolled again and again. I even thought I saw a spotted Blumaroo in the corner directing the Blumaroo traffic around me, but he ducked around a corner as soon as I saw him. That was enough!
I turned to Moongfire to pull her away from the game.
Just then a purple Blumaroo sidled up to me and said “A Blumaroo is a fun, clean pet, so adopt one today!”
“But I already have three pets! I don’t need another one!”
*Clickety-clack*... Moongfire rolled again.
“Aw, we lost...” she said. “Let’s play again!”
I was about to say no when a yellow Blumaroo hopped past and said, “So, have YOU adopted a Blumaroo yet?”
“No, I don't want...”
I grabbed the dice away from her just as a camouflage Blumaroo bounced past. I didn't even see it till it sang “Tra la la” and bumped against me, knocking the dice on the floor.
“Neat!” Moongfire said. “We won a Meaty Pot Pie!”
She rolled again. “Aww, we lost. Oh well!” *Clickety-clack* *Clickety-clack*
“Oooh, some neocrunch!”
A spotted Blumaroo wandered past. I think he was the same as the one who was staring at me earlier.
“Wait," I said to him, "did you see what that red Blumaroo just did?”
“Boing!” he answered, with a glint in his eye.
What kind of an answer was that? I wondered. It was no answer at all. There was a definite conspiracy going on here. I was even surer when Moongfire got tired of playing, (finally), and was thinking of quitting. Just then a green Blumaroo bounced past.
“I think you can win faeries from this game,” he said.
“Really?” Moongfire said.
“Humph, just more neocrunch. Will you bless me with a faerie when I get it, Serissa?” she begged me.
When, she says, not if. Here I am buried up to my knees in Neocrunch, and she expects a bottled faerie. From the look of things, it was a one in a million chance. I tried to explain it to Moongfire, but she just wasn’t listening. What confirmed my suspicions about Dice-a-Roo was when an orange Blumaroo bounced past and exclaimed, “This job is so much better than being a bingo ball!”
Anything would be better than being a bingo ball, I thought, but here was the clue. These random Blumaroos did indeed have jobs. They were paid to distract innocent Neopians while their gleeful pets rolled and rolled again, spending all their owners’ money. No wonder King Roo was so wealthy! I grabbed a scrap of paper that was on the floor, begged a pencil off the next random Blumaroo that bounced by, and quickly scribbled down a story for the Neopian Times. I tucked it under Moongfire’s jeweled collar for safekeeping. Someone had to tell Neopia about this!
“Hey!” *Brief scuffle* *Dragging sound*
“Oh look,” squealed Moongfire, “I won a bottled faerie!”
She turned to a passing spotted Blumaroo. “Isn’t that great? ...Um, where’s Serissa?”
“Boing,” said the Blumaroo.
Moongfire says: "This is serissa98's second article in the Neopian Times. If you have any questions or comments, send them to me and I'll reply as best I can. The Defenders are still trying to find Serissa. Neomail won't work, because our neohome is being besieged--erm, I mean picketed--by angry Blumaroos. The mailman tried once to deliver, and is still in the hospital with a nervous breakdown. So, just write any questions or comments on a piece of paper, fold it into an paper airplane, and fly it through the third window on the left, second story. I'll keep it open for you."