Karina, the Math Wiz: Part One
“Very, very impressive,” said a slender white Gelert wearing a pair of glasses. Her name was Mrs. Yimps, and she was one of the teachers who taught math at the nearby Neoschool. She was well-known as being one of the more friendly teachers, one of the few who didn’t terrify the students.
As friendly as she was, Mrs. Yimps was also known for being incredibly harsh. Only few students had ever impressed the Gelert. That is why that upon hearing her praising a specific student, half the class looked up in surprise.
Seeing eyes turn towards her, Mrs. Yimps explained what was so impressive. “Our little math wiz, Karina, has achieved a perfect score on last week’s exam.” Hearing this, a little red Mynci squealed with excitement.
“I... I... I got a perfect score?” she mumbled, excited. But Karina already knew the answer. Karina was known to be the best mathematician in the whole Neoschool, even better than students twice her age.
“Yes, you heard Mrs. Yimps,” whispered a chubby yellow Poogle.
“I just can’t believe it!” It was obvious Karina was still stunned by the good news.
“Come on, what’s there not to believe?” Graphie, the Poogle, told her sister. “You’re a genius when it comes to math. Wait, scratch that. You’re just a genius.” Pleased with herself, Karina shut her mouth and didn’t argue any more.
When Mrs. Yimps handed Karina back her exam, she was delighted. Her teacher winked at her as she continued passing back exams. As happy as she was, Karina soon returned to the work the class had been assigned, all the questions on page 63 of their textbooks.
Eagerly, Karina answered and solved question after question, not having any difficulties at all. Within five minutes, the Mynci had finished her classwork and happily closed her textbook. Her sister, Graphie, shot her a jealous look, but continued with her own work.
Sooner than most of the students could believe possible, the bell rang, hurrying them all to their next class. Mrs. Yimps, who seemed startled, shouted after her students, “What's not finished in class today is to be done for homework!”, though many of them were already out the door and hadn’t heard.
Karina, who had been ready when the bell rang, waited for her sister to finish packing up. When Graphie was done, the siblings prepared to split up to their next classes (Graphie was off to Science, while Karina was forced to survive yet another boring History lesson). Before they could reach the door, however, Mrs. Yimps stopped them.
“Oh, Karina, would you come here for a moment?” Graphie understood that Mrs. Yimps wanted to speak with her sister privately and waved as she left for Science. Her sister waved back, but Mrs. Yimps impatiently continued. “Anyway... Karina, I was very impressed by your exam results. It’s proven to me more and more every day, that you are indeed a genius!”
Karina blushed. “Well, thank you, Mrs. Yimps. I guess I do study very hard, but it really all comes naturally.” That was what Karina always said when Mrs. Yimps praised her. “I really should be getting to History, though. I’ll be in trouble if I’m late...”
“Never mind that, I can write you a pass. But what I was really wanted to ask you was if you would be interested in competing in a Math Competition next Friday. It will be after school, and you’d do marvelously. There’s even a big prize for the winner, 50,000 Neopoints!” Mrs. Yimps concluded excitedly.
The thought of winning herself 50,000 Neopoints definitely interested Karina. Her eyes glowed as she thought of all the things she could do with that much money. She would save some, of course, her owner would never let her spend it all at once, but she could spend a little. She would buy something nice... something just for her...
Her thought were disturbed when the loud bell rang once again. “You better be going. You don’t have to decide just yet, the contest is more than a week away! I just need you to tell me soon. Here, look at this. It’s some more information. Oh, and let me get you a pass.” The Gelert handed Karina a piece of paper with the words “Math-tath-alon” written on it. Giggling, she tucked the paper away and waited for Mrs. Yimps to write her a pass.
It was lunch time, and Karina had found her two siblings waiting for her at a table.
“You gonna do it?” a blue Cybunny asked. Karina took a seat next to her other two siblings, the Cybunny and her companion, a snow Bruce. She plopped her brown lunch bag down and shrugged.
“Who knows?” she replied, reaching into her lunch bag to see what she had. Happily, she pulled out a hotdog and took a great big bite of it. Cutie, the snow Bruce, looked through the lunch room for Graphie.
“Where is she?” she asked. “She’s never been late before.” Suddenly, Cutie beamed as she saw the Poogle walking towards the table.
“I bought lunch today, remember?” Cutie, who had forgotten, nodded. Nervously, she examined her sister’s lunch. “Don’t worry. I’m sure it’s perfectly safe─”
She had stopped because her slice of pizza, if it was indeed a slice of pizza, had started sizzling. Startled by her food's sudden action, she pushed her tray to the side. “So much for lunch,” she mumbled. Generously, Snow Angel, the Cybunny, offered her hungry sister her cookie. Graphie eagerly accepted.
For a few minutes, the siblings just ate in silence. Finally, Snow Angel was too excited to hold it in. “Are you going to do it or not?” she spat at Karina. Surprised at her usually quiet sister’s outburst, she just shrugged.
“I told you, I don’t know...” Karina insisted. All three of her siblings eyed her uneasily, wondering what there was for her to decide. “I just don’t know if I’m good enough.”
Cutie snorted. “Yeah... sure. Karina, if anyone in the entire school has a chance at winning, you do! Think, your name will be known throughout the entire school. As the math wiz, the girl who won the Math-tath-alon.”
“And you’d have won 50,000 Neopoints,” Graphie pointed out.
“Exactly.” Karina smiled again, thinking back to what she could to with so many Neopoints. “But, Christine probably would tell me to save them,” she said, pessimistically. Her sisters groaned at how stubborn she was being.
“Sure, Christine is responsible and won’t let you spend all of your winnings, but she’ll let you spend some. I bet you anything she’ll let you spend around 20k! Imagine that. You could buy new clothes, you could buy books, games, toys... you could buy just about anything!”
Although this really did appeal to Karina, she just shrugged. She just didn’t want to get her hopes up.
As the siblings found each other through the sea of other excited students, they began walking home. Delighted that school was over for the day, Graphie even clumsily skipped for a while. Giggling at her sister, Karina stopped for a moment and opened her backpack. Before closing it, she pulled out the piece of paper about the Math-tath-alon.
She smiled as she reread every bit of information on the piece of paper. “Math-o-rific fun all night... Grand Prize of 50,000 Neopoints... a true challenge for any Math Wiz!” the Mynci excitedly read to herself.
“Still looking at it?” Cutie asked as she walked up their driveway, pass the mailbox. “And to think, you were having second thoughts.”
“I still am,” Karina told her sister. “Sorta.”
Snow Angel let out a chuckle. “Admit it, Karina. Admit that you’re absolutely obsessed with math and can’t wait to win this competition.”
Just as Christine, their owner, opened the door, Karina replied, “I’m absolutely obsessed with math... and can’t wait to win this competition.” Hearing her pets talking, the brown haired owner closed the door.
“What competition?” she asked.
“She’s going to get 50,000 Neopoints!”
“She’s going to be the hero of the school!”
“She’s going to win! She’s going to win!”
“EVERYONE, BE QUIET!” hollered Christine. Relaxing a moment, she took a deep breath. “Now, I want Karina to tell me about this competition. Hear that, you three? I want Karina to tell me.” Cutie, Snow Angel, and Graphie silently obeyed.
“Well, for starters,” Karina said, sitting down on the couch in the living room, “I got 100% on my math exam, and Mrs. Yimps was very impressed.”
Not at all surprised to hear that, Christine grinned. “That sure does sound like my little Karina, always getting 100%, always at the top of the class. But what’s this I hear about a competition?”
“Mrs. Yimps invited her to a Math-tath-alon next Friday!” squealed Cutie before she could stop herself. Christine just glared at her and asked if her name was Karina. “No... it’s not. Sorry, Christine,” Cutie mumbled sheepishly. Ignoring the interruption, the girl urged her pet on.
“It’s just what Cutie said. She was so impressed she invited me to the Math-tath-alon next Friday. Take a look at this,” Karina said, handing her owner the paper with information.
The brown haired girl took the paper and skimmed it. When she was done, she looked up at Karina. “Is this something you want to do?” she asked.
Slowly, the Mynci nodded. “If it’s something that I’m allowed to do, of course,” she added. Christine giggled and patted Karina on the head.
“If this is something you really want to do, and I mean really and truly want to do. I only want you to be doing this if it is something Karina, yes, Karina364 the red Mynci, wants to do for herself. If you want to do this just for the prize money, or because your sisters are pushing you towards it, you aren’t doing this. But if you think you can do this and it will be fun, and you’ll fit it in around your schoolwork, then I’m all for it. What do you say?” Christine asked.
Karina thought for a moment and looked at her owner and siblings. Christine was smiling, and Karina knew she wouldn’t care how she answered. Then she looked over at her three sisters, eagerly waiting and hoping for a “yes”.
Finally, Karina said, “I’ll let Mrs. Yimps know I’m interested first thing tomorrow.” Eagerly, her siblings yelled with excitement.
“Yippee! Karina’s going to win! Karina’s going to win!” Graphie said, dancing around her sister in a circle.
Nervously, Karina smiled, hoping that Graphie was right.
To be continued...