“Wow,” I exclaimed as I stepped once more into Neopia Central, “How long has it been since I have been to Neopia? One year, two years? I can’t believe how much of Neopia Central is the same...” I looked up at the familiar bank and Money Tree and smiled. I decided to walk into the bank before I made the trek back to my house. Entering the bank I saw the Skeith who talked to all of the bank's customers.
“Good afternoon sir,” he began in a professional tone. “What can I do for you today?”
“Umm...” I began hesitantly. Was the bank account still there I thought with worry before stating, “I would like to see my bank balance; uh my name is Brad5086.”
“Very good, sir, I will pull out your file now.” He then reached into a side drawer that was near his counter and pulled out a dusty manila folder. After blowing off the dust, he opened it and told me my balance. He asked if I wanted to get my interest and I said yes. Then I smiled and left feeling more secure about my existence here in Neopia then I had before.
Then I walked down the road as a cool wind blew across my face. Halloween was almost here and I was wishing I had brought more than a short sleeve shirt and some blue jeans. Then as I turned into my street, I saw it. One full base floor with four rooms on the second floor, made of an array of materials (some of which I wondered how they survived, such as the one jelly room), the house stood like a beacon of the past reminding me that this was my home as well. This place was a home, and not just my home, but also the home of my friends and my Neopets. I then walked up to the door and entered the password I needed to enter (I had the best security for the house), and I entered. When I did, the door beeped three times to let the house know I had entered. Then not five seconds later I saw four familiar faces: Ember5599, Hunter5086, Stevey075, and Stinger5086. However, their faces were not of joy but of anger. At first I thought they were mad at me for not being able to, for various reasons, return to them for so long, but then I saw their faces change.
“You're not a thief. Wait, are you...” Ember, a bright red Scorchio said, recognizing me for the first time in a long while, “Brad?! Brad! It’s you! It’s you! Welcome back.” Then all four of them rushed to me and hugged, tackled, knocked down, and covered me. They were happy to see me and I was ecstatic to see them looking so well.
“Where have you been?” Stinger, the blue Ruki, asked with disbelief at me being there, “It's been so long we thought you had died or forgotten about us...”
Again I felt the ping of regret for not returning for so long. The last time I was here was in eighth or ninth grade, and now I was in the eleventh grade. I thought that a lot must have changed for them here on Neopia just like a lot has changed for me. Then in a sad voice I simply replied, “I have been... busy with stuff.”
The four Neopets then got off of me and for a moment, but for me it seemed an eternity; there was a sad and awkward silence. Then after the silence Stevey, the desert Chia, said, “We want to show you the new places that have been discovered. Since you have been... away.” At this I gave a smile and before I knew it we were off. I then pulled out the tool humans were given and used the explore feature. This popped up the World of Neopia on the pad and by selecting different places a human, and up to four Neopets, could go there instantly. This was made to make places like Maraqua, Virtupets space station and others more accessible to those who didn’t want a several hour voyage.
Then Ember showed me to move the globe. “Wow,” I thought to myself, “A globe now; it used to be a flat map. Truly, this is ingenious.” Then they showed me a place on the map labeled: Shenkuu. I looked at the symbol with utter amazement. A new place. Excitement once again filled me as I eagerly pressed the travel now button. Then a mystical blue portal appeared in front of us which we filed into. Then we were at a beautiful place that took my breath away. Large ornate buildings perched atop picturesque mountaintops with long elegant waterfalls flowing off the sides of them.
Hunter, the blue Lupe, turned to me with a sharp fanged smile and asked, “Well? How dose it look?”
I said nothing but they all saw the expression of wonder on my face. They smiled, a true and genuinely happy expression, as they looked with me onto the new realm for me to explore, they had after all gone there, albeit the long way. Then Ember, the oldest now that I remember, smiled and said, “Want to surf?”
I gave him an expression that essentially amounted to “Are you crazy?” Then my hand pointed toward the waterfalls that now, after he mentioned surfing, looked much less peaceful and elegant then they had before. To this I was only met by both Hunter and Ember looking at me in the expression that I remembered, none too pleasantly, that I would be doing this with them even though for a human it would probably borderline a near fatal experience.
“I’ll be in the bookstore then,” Stinger said after seeing the situation. Even though he was quite agile he preferred to read and study, unlike his twin brother Hunter, born on the same day, who loved to fight and contests of strength, even though he was a fair opponent for nobody tougher than the Chia Clown.
“I guess I will go get the healing potions again from the healing springs,” Stevey said looking at the unfolding situation. “I just hope whatever she gives me works on humans. I’ve forgotten which ones don’t work well with you, Brad.” Then Stevey pulled out a blue bike from who knows where and proceeded to cycle down a slope to a... floating ship?! Then I saw them. The ships that transversed this new place were none other than flying ships. However, in marveling this, I made a grave mistake. I turned my back on Hunter when he had that gleam in his eye. The next thing I knew was that we were over a bridge holding a surfboard.
“This isn’t a good idea,” I said aloud to unhearing ears. Both of them were too much into the excitement, that I also to a degree felt, to worry about such trivial matters as what a human is able and not able to do physically.
“Well, okay if you do tricks, you get a bonus, so wow us this time,” the director of the game said to us.
“Wait,” I exclaimed my mood changing to one of pure excitement, “this is for neopoints?”
“Y-“ he began in disbelief, but the moment I heard the word yes forming on his lips, I was off. Then once again I felt the exhilaration, and fright, of doing something that you probably shouldn’t be doing, especially if you have never picked up a surfboard before in your life. I was at least staying on the board but only just that. Behind me Hunter and Ember handled their boards like pros. They jumped over logs, somersaulted over rocks and did tricks that for some reason or another should have defied the laws of gravity and physics. However I, bound to those laws, had a very difficult time maneuvering my board. Then ahead of me I saw something that reminded me that I was not in any way able to do what was possible of a Neopet; I saw a waterfall. Then before I had time to stop or turn around, as if I could in the current, I fell off the waterfall and my board flew away from me. Then I plunged into the icy cold water before hitting myself on a rock. Pain shot through me and before I lost consciousness I saw a bright red hand reaching toward me.
I coughed. My eyes opened. I was lying on a bed in our house. Around me were my four friends, all with worried expressions on their face, and a half empty healing potion. My head felt as if it had been struck with a hammer and my body was numb. Then Stevey wordlessly handed me the rest of the Healing potion which I readily drank. Then I felt as good as new as the pain vanished. Then I asked, “What happened?”
“Well, you wiped out on the first fall,” Hunter stated. “Wasn’t even that big,” he muttered under his breath. Then he continued by saying, “Then Ember over here rescued you and brought you to safety. Quite hard for him really.” Then he muttered, “Despite our strength, even a super light person like you is hard to carry.”
Ember blushed before he said, “I didn’t do that much. What really helped was that Stevey came with the potion muttering something about ‘the usual time’ when I showed that you were hurt.”
Then all of them started to talk at once about how worried they were. I couldn’t understand a word of what they said but it sounded like they were really worried about me. Then the clock struck ten. Everybody but Ember then said a hasty good night and went to bed. Apparently they had organized a fixed bed time so that, as I was later told, they could get up early to get first dibs on the Omelette. Then I walked outside with Ember and together the two of us went to a hill I used to go to a lot when I was younger. We lay down and looked at the stars.
A while went by before Ember said, “Did you have fun?”
I thought of what happened and after a moment I said, “Sure beats sitting around all day.”
Then Ember said hesitantly with a bit of sorrow, “Do you like it here?”
I looked at him and said calmly, “Yes... why?”
“Do you want to stay this time...” Ember said with sorrow in his voice, “Or do you want to...”
“I think,” I began looking up at the stars. I saw a shooting star blaze a new trail across the starry sky before saying, “that leaving was one of the few things I will ever regret in my life. There’s no way I would ever want to leave you guys again. You're like my,” to myself I thought, ‘dysfunctional,’ before finishing aloud, “family.”
Ember smiled and then said in a soft voice, “I’m glad.”