The Search For A Cybunny
It all started out innocently enough, although I can’t say that if I knew then what I know now – I would probably have just stayed in bed the whole week. I was just getting up when my sister Qwert bounced through the door – all excitement and joy.
“Jith, get out of bed! We have to get to the shops before anyone else so that we can get the best stuff!”
“Get the best WHAT stuff, and for what are we getting it? Slow down, Qwert, you’re making no sense. Tell me what’s going on.” My sister, Qwertyqwertqwertqwer (we call her Qwert) is a beautiful purple Kacheek. She thinks she knows everything about everything – and sometimes I just have to set her straight. She tends to be a little flighty, but her heart's always in the right place.
“For the CYBUNNY CARNIVAL!” Her voice kept rising higher and higher with each word. I was sure she’d pierce my eardrums before long.
“Take a deep breath and try again.”
“We are going shopping to get just the right things to catch us a Cybunny. We only have a few days until the Carnival and then they will be all over Neopia! I’ve always wanted to adopt a Cybunny. They are just so cute with their little noses and long ears! I am sure that if we get the right enticements we could even find ourselves a Plushie Cybunny to move in.”
“Cybunnies! Wild Cybunnies that don’t have homes! Those don’t exist. I’m not spending my vacation time shopping for wild Cybunnies. We might as well go to Kiko Lake and look for Grunion – or Snipe Hunting in the Haunted Woods! Neither of those things exist either.” I left the room muttering about my sister and her odd ideas. I mean, really – if Cybunnies were just roaming the countryside here on Roo Island – wouldn’t we see them more often than just one day a year? I just wanted to be left alone to create new recipes and experiment in the kitchen. Cooking was my life.
As I was making breakfast, Qwert kept on me about going shopping for the Cybunnies. Finally, after a look in our almost bare cupboards, I gave in.
“We can go shopping today,” I said. “But only because I need to get groceries. We’ll need to go to all over Neopia in order to get everything we need for the week. If you want to schlep around with me, that’s fine. But, you’ll have to wear wings. I don’t want to walk everywhere.”
One of the drawbacks of having a sister who was wingless was that it took us almost triple the time to get anywhere. Thank goodness I was finally able to convince her to pick up a pair of wings at the NC Mall!
“Jithelbree,” she whined, “I HATE wearing wings! They itch!”
“Wear the wings or I am going to leave you behind. I have too much to do today to want to spend all my time traveling.”
She finally consented to wear the wings and we were off. Our first stop was to Meridell – Merifoods has some of the freshest staples available. While I was picking out everything we’d need for the house, Qwert was looking for something that would be just the right enticement for a wild Plushie Cybunny.
“Not this. No, not this either. Vegetables! I can’t get them to come to me with just plain vegetables! Everyone is going to have vegetables. I need something else.” I could hear her muttering all the way across the store. While I was arranging the shipment of our order to our house, she kept shaking her head at everything in the store.
“Jith, there’s nothing here that I can use. We’re going to have to go somewhere else.”
“I’m just about done here. We can go over to Tyrannia next.”
We headed out over the sea and went to Tyrannian Foods. As you can imagine, nothing there satisfied Qwert’s mad quest either. You’d think she was working for a Faerie the way she was sorting through goods. Even the Carrot and Pea Omelette from the Plateau wasn’t to her liking.
After leaving Tyrannia, Qwert found the same disappointment at the Slushie Shop and the Underwater Fishing Hole. She was so sad that I took her to Kelp for lunch trying to cheer her up.
“Come on, Qwert,” I said. “It’s not like there’s even wild Plushie Cybunnies anyway. You knew we’d never be able to find one.”
“Jith! Don’t say that. I know that if I can find the right enticements, at least ONE Cybunny will want to come home with us from the Carnival.”
“OK. Look, I know I’ve been a downer for you, but I hate to see you get your hopes up and then when we go to the Carnival you’ll be all sad. Instead of enjoying the day with our Cybunny friends – you’ll be too busy searching for the mythical ‘wild Cybunnies.’”
Qwert gave me her stubborn glare, surely that look was patented to her by now, and we headed off to the next shop.
Up high in the clouds of Faerieland, Qwert grumbled and moaned over piles of mushrooms, faerie bubbles and nova pops. “None of this will do!”
At that point I didn’t have the heart to tell her I was done shopping. I didn’t want her to have to go home feeling like a failure. It was while she was crying into the Earth Faerie’s arms that I decided that no matter what I believed, I was going to get behind Qwert and help her find just what she was looking for.
“Alright. So it’s not here. You want to go try the Food Stall in Sakhmet or Qasalan Delights?”
“Thanks Jith. I think that’s a good idea. I really appreciate you helping me out.”
So, off to the Lost Desert we went. I thought that the Qando Fruit looked good, but Qwert didn’t feel it was the best idea. She was afraid that it would be too sweet. And there was nothing appetizing about the Desert Foods over at Sakhmet at all!
Around Neopia we went, with me suggesting shops and foods and Qwert rejecting them. We were getting more and more tired. I was more than ready to go home, and poor Qwert was just so sad and depressed about the whole situation. After leaving the Bakery at the Bazaar we still hadn’t found anything.
“Qwert, that was the food store in Neopia. We’ve been around to all of them. Are you sure there wasn’t anything that you liked, anywhere?”
“No.” She didn’t even look up at me. She just kept kicking at the dirt path. Head down, eyes gazing at something only she could see. I’d never seen Qwert so upset about anything.
“Why did you want to get them food anyway? I mean, if there really are wild Cybunnies, they have to be eating something already. What if we got them some other type of item instead?”
“No, it has to be food. We have to make them want to leave their current home to come to ours. Who would do that if there wasn’t at least a decent meal in the new home?”
“I’m sorry, Qwert. We tried. Let’s go home and rest. It’s practically midnight and I’m exhausted. You’ll feel better after a good night’s rest and maybe in the morning you’ll be able to think of something else.”
She gave a big sigh and turned to go down the path. “You go ahead, Jith. I’m just going to walk home. I’ll be okay, don’t worry about me.” She tried to give me a fake little smile and a half-hearted wave.
I was about to argue with her - it certainly wasn’t safe for her to be walking around by herself so late at night, when a happy green Blumaroo came out of nowhere pulling a cart and bounced right into Qwert. They both fell down and looked surprised about the collision.
“Oh, I am so sorry,” he said. “I was just rushing to get back to my shop. I’ve got some items that I want to restock into it and I was just in such a rush to get the items on the shelves before the next wave of customers came in to buy them.” He was talking so fast it was hard to understand him. Qwert and I live over on Roo Island, so we’re used to the way the Blumaroos are always bouncing around and rushing everything they say at light speed, but this Blumaroo seemed even faster than all the others we knew!
“It’s ok,” said Qwert. She got up and dusted herself off. We walked over to the Blumaroo and started to help him pick up his supplies.
As we were loading the cart back up with his things Qwert said, “Which shop is yours?”
“I run the Garden Centre. I’ve quite a bit of a green thumb,” he said. Then he started to laugh. “I guess you could say that my thumb is so green it’s turned my entire body!”
Finally we were on the last few items. Qwert picked up a small packet with a carrot on the front.
“What’s this?” she asked.
“That is a Carrot Garden. It is guaranteed to keep your Cybunny happy. I don’t get many of those in stock. That’s my last one before the Cybunny Carnival.”
“A Carrot Garden! That’s a great idea! We could plant it this week and have it growing in time for the Carnival. What Cybunny wouldn’t want to live in a house that had its very own Carrot Garden?” Qwert was so excited and happy that she started hugging the shop proprietor and me. “You must tell me how much this garden is. I must buy it from you! We’ve been all over Neopia looking for just the right thing, and here it is. I am so happy!” Now she was dancing in the path.
“Well, I could let you have it for 78,000 neopoints,” he said.
“What if I offered you 64,432 neopoints?” Qwert countered. There’s nobody better in all of Neopia at haggling than my sister.
“I accept your offer,” said the Blumaroo. Qwert was now the proud owner of her very own Carrot Garden. We went home and got to bed. It had been a very long day.
The next morning I woke up and made breakfast. Qwert was not up yet, which was odd for her, but I figured it had been a late night for both of us and she was probably still sleeping. I ate quietly in the kitchen, reading some books. To my surprise, when Qwert came in the kitchen, it was from the yard, not her room.
“What are you doing outside so early?” I asked.
“I am planting the garden, silly. I want to have it ready for the Carnival and there isn’t much time. Even with this special fertilizer from the Earth Faeries it’s going to be touch and go if the garden will be good enough to convince a Cybunny to stay here.”
And then, she convinced me to help her. Me! A proud Draik! Out in the yard, gardening! Blech! I would much rather fly over a garden than dig in one.
We got done late in the afternoon. I went off to my room to take a nap and Qwert went into the living room to dream about the Cybunnies. I really hoped that she wouldn’t be crushed at the Carnival.
Every morning for the rest of the week Qwert would wake up early and putter around the garden. Carrots were beginning to sprout and she seemed very satisfied with the way things were going. I really hoped that she wouldn’t have too much disappointment when the Carnival came around.
The day of the Cybunny Carnival was clear and sunny. Not too warm, not too cold. It was one of those rare perfect days in Neopia. Qwert and I packed a picnic lunch and headed off to Neopia Central for the festivities. There were rides, game booths (not rigged ones like in the Haunted Woods), and stall after stall of Cybunny themed food and knick-knacks. I was having a great time with all the activities, but I noticed that Qwert wasn’t paying much attention to the fun.
“Qwert, you have to face the fact that wild Cybunnies don’t just come to the Carnival for kicks! Let’s go to the face-painting booth and get those fake ears. It’ll be fun.”
“You go ahead, Jithelbree. I’m just going to go sit by the Money Tree for a while and watch. I’m a little tired from working in the garden.”
I left her to go and sit down. I really wished that there were something I could do for her.
On my way to the face-painting booth I saw a flash of movement from the corner of my eye. I turned my head to look, but it was gone so fast I didn’t see where it went. Shrugging my shoulders and thinking about Qwert, I changed my mind about the face painting. I thought I’d scope out the knick-knack booths and see if I could find a cool Cybunny gnome for her to take home and put in the garden. It wouldn’t be as cool for her as a real Cybunny, but at least it would be something.
Again I thought I saw something flash past me. I turned my head and saw a bit of cloth as it went around the corner of one booth. I followed the cloth, wondering what it was.
Behind the booth I saw the back of a red Cybunny. He was peeking around the corner to see if I was coming. I cleared my throat.
“Um, excuse me, have you been following me?”
The Cybunny turned around. His big pink eyes blinked a few times. He looked around. I was wondering what he was thinking – or even if he spoke standard Neopian, when he finally said something.
“Come again? I didn’t catch that,” I said. He spoke so fast that it was impossible to tell what he was saying.
“Areyoutheonewhohasthecoolgardeninyourhouse?” Great. I think he said it even faster that time. His little nose was twitching a mile a minute and he started to shake.
“Hey there,” I said gently. “Calm down. I can’t understand what you’re saying. No one's going to hurt you. I just wanted to know why you were following me. I’m not upset, I promise!” One of the drawbacks in being a Draik is that other Neopets always think you’re going to let loose with the fire breathing.
He took a deep breath.
“Are you the one who has planted the really cool garden in back of your house? Over on Roo Island?”
“Garden? You mean the Carrot Garden?”
“Yeah, my sister planted that garden this week. She was hoping to convince a Cybunny to come move in with us.”
“REALLY? Do you think that my family could move into your garden?”
“Why would you want to move into the garden?”
We talked for a bit, and he finally relaxed all the way. It seems that Cybunnies prefer to live outdoors in the fresh air. There was also a shortage of really good carrot gardens – or even wild carrots – in Neopia. Qwert had managed to find the one thing that ALL Cybunnies dreamed of. I smiled at my new friend Harris. I knew Qwert was going to be over the moon when she found out the new plan.
Harris and I walked over to the Money Tree. Qwert was still there, and still depressed. She looked up as we walked over and then she gasped when she saw Harris.
“Jith, who’s that with you?”
“Qwert, I’d like you to meet Harris. He and his family are going to be moving into your Carrot Garden if that’s okay with you. They promise to take care of the garden, in exchange for just a few of the carrots a week.”
”Oh that would be perfect! It’s so nice to meet you, Harris. I can’t wait to meet the rest of your family.” Qwert gushed over Harris some more.
He and his family moved in over the course of the next week. When Qwert saw the Baby Cybunnies, her heart just melted all over again. Everything worked out wonderfully – for her, for Harris and his family, and for me. I now had a whole new family to cook for. Life in Neopia was so good.