Just One Wish
Also by devil_in_a_red_dress
Caz’s voice rang out clearly from the bustling crowds of the Neopian market. Freddy, however, paid little attention. He was searching for the Orn Codestone they had set out to buy two hours ago, and he had barely pierced the huge number of market stalls that lay higgledy-piggeldy around him.
Shopping in Neopia was a precarious task for even the most tolerant neopet. Everywhere the eye could see, there were stalls and stalls of shop keepers selling their assorted goods. Millions of voices rang out from the market, each shopkeeper trying to outshout the others to attract neopets to their own stalls.
‘GET YOUR BAKERY ITEMS HERE!’ bellowed a red Elephante, who was standing on the top of his hut with a piece of bread balanced on the tip of his trunk.
‘BREAD, PANCAKES, COOKIES, BISCUITS! ALL OF BEST QUALITY AND THE CHEAPEST AROUND!’
Freddy shook his head in disgust. He’d looked at that particular Elephante’s store before, and the prices were nowhere near the cheapest around. It was simply the Elephante’s loud nature and overbearing demeanour that got him the best profits in the bakery market.
At this moment Caz had glimpsed the orange JubJub momentarily, between the heads of two particularly large Blumaroos. Bridling at his indifference to her frantic shouting, she marched towards the Elephante’s stall, and grasped the unsuspecting JubJub’s foot (since he lacked arms, this was actually the most rational place to grab).
‘OUCH!’ complained Freddy indignantly, trying feebly to pull his foot away from his irate owner.
‘This is why I don’t take you shopping!’ raged Caz. ‘It’s all good to try and find a bargain, but after TWO hours, you have to admit defeat!’ Caz sighed at her neopet, and gently released his leg, anger forgotten.
‘Look here, I’ve bought your codestone.’
She pulled the shaking Orn Codestone out of her rucksack for him to inspect.
‘Master Techo will be pleased with this, I’m sure. Now, we’d better be home soon. Kerry will be back from Gormball Club any moment now.’
‘Okay, Mum... but one thing. How much did you pay for it?’ Freddy asked, suspiciously.
Caz blushed at this question. ‘11,000 NP. I know it’s not the BEST deal ever, but it got me out of that horrible crowd, and that charming green Uni presented his goods so well.’
Freddy was disgusted. Everyone knew you shouldn’t pay over 9k for that particular codestone. Even if you knew the item's value, thought Freddy, it was the finding of the particular cheap item in the maze of stalls that was the hard part. It was now that Freddy made his internal promise. He’d never be at peace until the owners and neopets alike weren’t ripped off by noisy pets every time they visited Neopia Central, and that the quieter shopkeepers got recognised, not for the loudness of their voices, but for the quality and prices of their goods.
Caz, unaware of her pet’s new worldly revelation, continued looking rather guilty as the two walked back to their neohome. Freddy remained deep in thought for the half an hour journey and Caz left him alone with his thoughts. She knew that the hot headed JubJub usually cooled down when left to himself for a little while.
They had arrived at the house just in time to spot Kerry gliding onto the front garden.
‘Hey guys!’ The Shoyru chirped happily, closing her velvet-blue wings and walking towards family, oblivious to their gloomy moods. ‘Gormball Club was great! I even almost beat Thyassa! I mean, it didn’t quite explode on him, but I swear a little bit of water leaked out of that gormball!’
‘That’s great, Kerry.’ Caz smiled wearily, opening the door to their quaint home. ‘Now, Freddy, it’s almost time for your training again. Before you ask, you are not training agility today! If I wanted you to be speedy yet weaker in all your other stats, I’d take you to the lab ray.’
Freddy sighed loudly at this comment. He liked training agility, as the extra speed meant he could plough through all of those market shops just a little bit faster. He wasn’t going to complain right now though, as he could tell his owner was upset. He was also too deep in thought over how to achieve the master plan he had concocted an hour before. Picking up the codestone carelessly and throwing it into the leather rucksack he wore, he set out for the training school.
Freddy’s neohome was in Neopia Central, so he had a long journey by boat to Mystery Island - where the great Ryshu resided. When the boat had finally arrived at Neopia Central, Freddy was so deep in thought that he almost missed it. How could he make the economy fair for everybody? There must be a way, even though he was only a tiny JubJub. Gloomily, he shuffled onto the huge boat. It was one of those huge wooden vessels that fit many neopets and was always a little crowded. Usually, Freddy was pretty happy with the hustle and bustle of the boat. He was a sociable pet, and enjoyed chatting with others about training and the world of Neopia in general. Today, however, he just wanted to be alone.
The best place to be alone, thought Freddy, would be the deck. The deck on the Mystery Island Express was usually packed with excited families travelling to Mystery Island for a spot of sunshine and to ogle at the scary looking locals. On an overcast and windy day like this one, however, people avoided the deck like they would a plague of neomonia. Today the sea was especially rough. The large foam topped waves complementing the raging wind and blackened sky. Sea spray shot over the deck, soaking everything it came into contact with. The atmosphere suited Freddy’s mood, though, and for a long while he just leaned on the side of the deck, watching the sea and trying to formulate a plan. It was while he was leaning here miserably that he heard a tiny, muffled voice just audible over the furious sea.
‘Help me! Please, someone!’
Freddy searched the deck for the owner of the voice, but there was no one to be seen. Shivering slightly with apprehension, he searched the skies. Perhaps for a winged neopet that had lost control in the turbulence of the wind. It was then, when he had his head raised to the heavens, that he felt a large, rather unpleasant bump to one of his large feet.
‘Ouch! What was the meaning of tha...’
Freddy trailed off, staring down at his feet. For down there was not an over energetic petpet, or a runaway can of beans as he’d expected. Instead was a pale blue bottle, which glowed beautifully in the black night. Through the glow, he could just see the figure of something moving in there, trapped and angry.
‘Let me OUT!’ the creature in the bottle raged.
Gently, Freddy picked up the bottle, and popped out the cork that sealed the thing shut.
Cloud-blue smoke began to unfurl out of the bottle slowly, spiralling this way and that until Freddy became mesmerised by its intricate and delicate movements. Enthralled, he watched as the smoke began to recollect itself, forming a figure much like the miniscule version he had spotted in the bottle. The misty figure gently began to become more and more defined, until Freddy realised what he had been staring at all this time. Majestically beautiful, and dressed in a gown as blue and weightless as the very sky itself, an Air Faerie stood. Smiling at the dumb-struck look on the JubJub’s face, she gently kneeled down to his level.
‘Hello, young JubJub. Thank you from saving me from my horrible imprisonment. Jhudora, the Dark Faerie, and I had a disagreement. Instead of talking it through like a normal faerie would, she decided to take a more radical approach.’ The faerie snorted derisively.
‘Anyway, since you have released me, I think it is only fair that I grant you a wish. Just one wish. So think carefully, little one.’
She smiled at Freddy, as he continued to stare on at her, unable to speak.
‘This is my chance,’ murmured Freddy to himself. ‘My chance to make a difference in the world!’
Freddy finally found his voice, but proceeded very hesitantly with the description of his chosen wish.
‘I... I’ve chosen what I want to wish for,’ he told the faerie, ‘but it’s complicated, and I don’t know how to go about it myself.’
‘I see. Well, tell me your wish, and perhaps I can help you with the specifics.’ The faerie grinned. She knew that the little JubJub was different from the greedy neopets that she had blessed before. They barely took anytime in demanding a rare paint brush or special ability from her.
‘What I want,’ Freddy started carefully, ‘is to make Neopia a fairer place for Neopians. You see, ever since I was a young JubJub, I’ve hated the way the loud shopkeepers rip everybody off, when the quieter shopkeepers with smaller shops and cheaper goods barely get a chance to sell their wares. I want to make everything even for people, to help people find the items they want, fairly!’
Freddy finished the recital of his dream breathlessly, and looked up at the Air Faerie anxiously, just waiting to hear that his dream was impossible. The Air Faerie was deep in thought. It was a challenging proposal, and would take a lot of magic. She knew the JubJub’s heart was true, however.
‘I think I can help you,’ she said carefully, looking the JubJub in the eye.
‘But it would mean that you would have to devote your life to the cause of your dream. Do you think you could do that?’
Freddy beamed at her words. ‘Of course!’ he replied joyfully. ‘I couldn’t think of another way that I’d rather spend my life!’
With those words, the Air Faerie began chanting under her breathe, her hands raised to the heavens. The chanting got louder and louder and Freddy could sense the underlying current of her magic. He heard the essence of Air. The slight trills of the birds, the mistiness of the clouds and the power of the wind flew resounded through her vibrant chant, and her hands began to glow a beautiful blue. Her chanting grew more and more powerful, rising to such a crescendo that Freddy could hardly bear to listen anymore. And then it stopped.
A great calmness came over the orange JubJub, and he saw the faerie looking down at him, the ball of blue light gently floating in between her hands.
‘This magic will make you a wizard, Freddy. But not any wizard, for you shall have the agility and endurance to search every shop in the whole of Neopia within a matter of seconds. Neopets and owners alike will come to you from far and wide to ask for your help. You will be able to tell everybody who asks the exact placing of the shop that holds the cheapest good is. With you as the Shop Wizard, Freddy, no one will spend too much again.’
With that, the Faerie lifted her hands away from the glowing orb. It floated elegantly in the air, pulsing gently with the ethereal magic she had put into it. Bending slightly, she began to blow lightly on the ball of light. It spread slowly out of its ball shape, and wrapped itself around the JubJub, smothering him in a cloud-blue glow.
The glow gently dissipated after a couple of moments, and Freddy simply stood in the spot he was. A great grin was spread over the JubJub’s face. He could feel the power of air rushing through him. With a gentle murmur of appreciation, he swept back his long, blue robe and floated effortlessly to Neopia Central. He was finally able to help Neopia, and he would for eternity. The shop wizard, forevermore.