We Won't Know Unless We Try
“I’m bored,” exclaimed Dusty for what seemed like the hundredth time. “Bored, bored, bored, bored!” He let out a sigh to emphasise his point.
His brother looked at him with empathy. “Well, what do you want to do about it?” he asked.
“I don’t know, but there must be something we can do to change things,” responded Dusty. “There’s just nothing to do here, and things aren’t likely to change, are they?”
Buster had heard that rhetorical question on so many occasions that he knew better than to respond. His brother was right, though; they were on an account that was badly neglected. Thinking about it, he decided that was probably an understatement. It wasn’t that their owner didn’t bother to come online; it was just that when she did, her time was taken up chatting to people. If she wasn’t sending and receiving Neomails, then she was chatting to people in the Guild. If she wasn’t chatting to people in the Guild, then she was talking to people on the Neoboards. She never spared any time for her two pets.
“Well, Dusty, what would you do if you could make some changes around here?” Buster led the conversation in a positive direction in the hope of drawing his brother out of his gloom. Whilst he knew there was nothing that the two Neopets could do to improve their lot, it couldn’t hurt to dream a bit.
“For starters I would get some decent food,” Dusty immediately responded. “Soup is all very well, but I want something I can get my teeth into. Biscuits, bread, nothing too fancy, just a change of texture would be nice to start with.
“Don’t get me wrong,” continued Dusty. “The Soup Faerie does a wonderful job for all the Neopets whose owners cannot afford to feed them, but it should only be a short-term solution, not something that Neopets are expected to live off on a permanent basis.”
“So how do you propose we buy this food?” queried Buster. “It’s not as if we have any spare neopoints lying around that we can use.”
“I’ve thought about that,” declared Dusty. “We could earn some neopoints ourselves. There are some games we could play which shouldn’t be too hard for a couple of Kacheeks. We have hands, albeit that they are a little clumsy. It shouldn’t be too difficult with a bit of practice, should it?”
It slowly dawned on Buster that what he had started as a casual conversation to lighten the mood, Dusty was taking seriously. He thought for a moment before responding.
“What about the Neopets rules? Are we allowed to earn neopoints?” he asked, hoping to deter his brother from his ideas before he got too carried away.
“I can’t see that our earning some neopoints will be a problem,” responded Dusty, who had obviously looked into the situation. “We are on the main account, actually our Owner’s only account, and I could find nothing in the rules that excludes Neopets from earning their own neopoints.”
“But do you really think we could earn some neopoints by playing a few games?” asked Buster dubiously.
“Well, we won’t know unless we try,” came Dusty’s immediate response.
“So if we have some decent food, will you then be happy?" asked Buster, certain of the reply before the question had left his lips.
“Well, it would still be boring around here, so maybe we could buy some toys to play with?” said Dusty. “Perhaps we could brighten up our lookup a bit too. There’s just nothing here apart from a Lutari Talisman, and everyone has one of those.”
Buster looked over at his green sibling and waited for him to continue. It was obvious that Dusty had been thinking about this for some time, the results of those hours of deliberation only now being spoken out loud. It wasn’t long before his patience was rewarded.
“Did you know you can earn trophies from games?” said Dusty excitedly, happy at last to be given the opportunity to share his ideas. “Some trophies on this lookup would brighten things up a bit.”
“Well, we can certainly earn lots of those!” said Buster wryly.
It had never occurred to Dusty before now that his brother would be anything but enthusiastic about these ideas. He was therefore somewhat surprised that Buster was so negative. He even thought he detected an edge of sarcasm in his latest response.
He looked at Buster calmly, trying to judge how best to continue the conversation and win the other Kacheek over to his way of thinking. It was just dawning on him that it was not just their colours that were different. He hadn’t really thought about it before but he now realised that they were very different in character too.
Dusty had been created as a bit of a dreamer. He always tried to make friends and enjoyed hunting for treasure in the mountains. He reflected on Buster’s characteristics and realised that he had been born a fighter. He wanted to attack those weaker than himself and enjoyed bullying others. Dusty had a feeling that the city life that Buster craved added to these aggressive tendencies. He was just glad that his brother didn’t try and bully him. That would have been too much to endure. Having thought about it, probably for the first time, Dusty was relieved that he and his brother got on so well together.
Thinking about these differences Dusty realised that he had found just the incentive he needed to win Buster over. “What about Battledome trophies,” he suggested to the red Kacheek. “Do you think you could win some of those to brighten up the place?”
Buster thought for a moment, a smile curling up the edges of his mouth. “Well, I could try some of the Defenders of Neopia missions, I guess, although I don’t think I will get very far without training and weapons.”
“Well, you won’t know unless you try!” responded Dusty.
“OK,” continued Buster who by now was starting to get into the swing of things, “what about some secret avatars. I think you can get some of those in the Battledome too.”
Dusty grinned broadly, pleased that his brother at last appeared to be taking the conversation seriously. “There are lots of secret avatars we could collect, some of which just involve visiting different places, particular neopets, and things like that. I think some can be obtained from owning petpets too. We only have the one secret avatar from the Soup Faerie at the moment, I am sure we can improve on that without too much difficulty.”
“Well, we won’t know unless we try.” Buster laughed.
“So are you seriously happy for us to empower ourselves and make some changes to our lives?” Dusty asked his sibling. “If we wait for our owner to stop chatting long enough to do anything, we will be old and grey.”
“Hmmm,” pondered Buster, a thoughtful look crossing his rounded features. “That gives me an idea. Not grey, but if things go really well and we earn lots of neopoints we could buy a couple of paint brushes and change our appearance.”
Dusty laughed at his brother’s leap in thinking. He himself had only been thinking small, but why not look to the larger picture. If they were successful in exercising their influence on their owner’s account, then why stop at a few trophies and a bit of food.
“Alright,” he said seriously, “once we have made some basic changes we’ll see if we can do something more for ourselves. I have never liked being green anyway.”
Doubts suddenly crept in as Buster heard the confidence in Dusty’s voice. “Err, you don’t seriously think that we could earn that many neopoints, do you?” he asked.
“Well, we won’t know unless we try.” Dusty smiled.
Buster went quiet for a moment, reflecting on the plans the pair were making. He felt sure that they would be able to make some positive changes to their environment, but a small fear crept into his mind. “What are we going to do when our owner finds out what we have done?” he asked his brother. “Do you think she will mind if we make a few changes around here?”
Dusty had already thought about this, so he was confident in his reply. “Do you seriously think she will even notice anything we do?” he asked. “She never looks in on us and I have never seen her check our lookup.”
“But can you be sure that we will get away with this takeover bid?” Buster persisted.
“Well, we won’t know unless we try!” Dusty responded, laughing out loud. “So where do we start, presuming you really are serious about doing this?” Dusty queried.
“We could begin by trying to get a trophy,” answered Buster, an idea already hatching in his mind.
“Go on,” prompted Dusty, amused that his brother had now taken over the lead in what was originally his idea.
“What about trying to get a nice shiny Neopian Times Champion’s Trophy?” asked Buster, cheekily. “Would that be a good enough start for you?”
“But what on earth would we write about?” asked Dusty.
“We already have a story,” responded Buster. “We could tell the story of how we decided to take over our owner’s account and give ourselves a better life.”
“Would the Neopian Times publish that sort of story?” asked Dusty.
“Well, we won’t know unless we try!” answered Buster.
So they did, and you can tell by the fact that you have just read their story that they were successful in their attempt.
When Buster and Dusty decided to submit their story to the Neopian Times they were concerned that someone might recognise them and inform their owner of their actions. They have therefore changed their names, and the username under which this article has been published. They would like to point out that any similarity to the names of pets or users in Neopia is purely coincidental.
Be confident, however, that somewhere in Neopia there is a user’s lookup which now has a shiny Neopian Times Champion’s Trophy. If you ever found this lookup you would also notice the two happy Kacheeks who have just taken the first step towards making their life happier and more fulfilling. Buster and Dusty are aware that their actions have been noticed by other Neopets and are going to watch with interest to see whether others copy their example. They feel that there are other neglected Neopets with empty banks, safety deposit boxes and lookups who may also take it upon themselves to improve their circumstances.
You have been warned!