Lucky Ducky's Stamps
There once was a yellow Lenny named Mali. But due to the noise she made she was often called Ducky since childhood. Instead of a musical-like sound like the other Lennies made when they laughed or sang, she made a sound that was close to a quack.
Therefore she was Ducky.
Ducky was a typical Neopet. She lived closed to Neopia Central and tried to earn her money like normal pets. She also tried to restock. Something that a few of her friends were great at.
But every single time she tried that wonderful Rainbow Negg or fantastically rare copy of A Chias Choice was snatched away from her by a greedy Neopet.
Ducky found herself walking down the Neopia Central road one day, her money jingling in her backpack. She wanted to buy something nice for dinner and a present for her mother.
A friend, a green Poogle called Jin, had joined her.
“Come on, Ducky,” he said, pointing to the post office. “Let's see what stamps we can get!”
Ducky sighed. “Jin,” she said, “I don't care much for stamps. I know they're your hobby and you've made decent money from them, but stamps -- “ She trailed off. Jin had raced ahead of her.
She hurried to catch up with him.
The shop was barren, save for the old Chia that ran the shop. He chuckled as he saw Jin. “We're getting a restock soon, so hang around.”
Jin's eyes lit up. He decided that he would stick around.
“Try your luck, Ducky,” he said to the Lenny as they waited for the Chia to sort through the albums to decide which would go up for sale. As he began to line the shelves, other Neopets began pouring in.
Ducky felt nervous, especially as a large Skeith shoved her aside.
“Watch it!” she cried. The Skeith merely laughed her off.
It was as though she were at a race and someone shouted “GO!” The Neopets looking for their collections or looking to add a few Neopets jostled and shoved everyone else aside as they tried to snatch up rare stamps. On a whim, Ducky reached next to her and picked up a tiny case that held the self-adhesive stamp and hurried to the owner, ready to get out of the shop.
“Ah, Scarblade Stamp,” the Chia began, “so rare and wonderful.”
“SCARBLADE STAMP!” The crowd began to shove Ducky, hoping to knock it from her hands.
“I am selling it to this young Lenny!” The crowd glared daggers towards Ducky and the owner but hurried over to the other shelves, ready to grab the other stamps.
Ducky bought the Scarblade Stamp and hurried from the shop, ready to finally breathe deeply. She disliked crowds. They made her throat feel like it was closing.
“Scarblade, wow!” Jin had appeared at her side. “All I got was another Attack of the Slorgs Stamp.” He sighed, glancing longingly at the stamp as she tucked it back in her backpack.
“I think... I think I will keep it.”
Jin momentarily brightened. “So we can have a hobby together?”
Ducky nodded. He let out a whoop of joy. He even offered Ducky one of his newer albums he hadn't broken in yet. She thanked him and asked him to bring it by.
Alone at her house a little while later, Ducky stared at her stamp. It glittered and Scarblade's smirking face seemed to taught her.
“It's so silly,” she said, “that so many Neopets are willing to pay millions for this.” Her eyes glittered as she thought of what she could buy with those millions...
Then she shook her head to clear it. She promised Jin she would join him in stamp collecting. And what better way to start off a collection than with this wonderful rare stamp?
Jin brought her the album and even a few of his extra stamps. He helped her find their place and even offered to take her restocking again. She nodded, happy.
But she was not happy for long. Soon, she seemed mad. Within a couple of weeks of restocking the Scarblade Stamp, she had bought all the cheap stamps that showed up in the shop often.
And whenever the Chia would not restock new or rare stamps, she would get mad.
“You call this a restock?” she asked one afternoon, shoving the stamps off the shelves. Some protective cases smashed. “This isn't a restock! Where's the rare?”
“Ducky,” Jin began softly, grabbing her wing, “maybe we should go...”
“You go!” she shouted. “Take your miserable collection and go!”
His eyes brimming with tears, Jin left the shop. He did not see Ducky round on the shop owner again.
Outside the shop, he sat down, his chin resting on his paws. Ducky was not one to be obsessive about something. She had even found stamp collecting to be silly! So what had happened to her?
He glanced up in time to see two rough Grarrl guards shove Ducky from the shop.
“If you can't be calm, then stay out!” one shouted.
Ducky huffed. “All the business I give him. All the stamps I buy. And all he can do for me is shove me out?” Scoffing, she turned and huffed off, not even seeing Jin.
Ducky stayed away from the stamp shop for a while. Then, one rainy day, she returned. Jin had stopped in for a chat with the owner and he was shocked at her appearance.
Her feathers were sticking at odd angles, and her eyes were wide. She looked as though she had not slept in a long while. She crossed over to the owner, who took a few steps back.
“I'll call the guards,” he threatened.
“When are you restocking?” Ducky asked, her voice raspy.
“In four minutes.”
She waited calmly while he put the stamps on the shelves. But as soon as it was done, she started to shove Neopets aside. The last stamp that eluded her, the Altador Travel Stamp, was sitting high on a shelf.
She shoved a Baby Kacheek aside in her haste and grabbed it. Hurrying over to the counter, she pulled a bag out Neopoints from her backpack and threw them to the owner. Then she raced from the shop, laughing madly.
Jin bent and scooped up the wailing Baby Kacheek. “There, there,” he whispered. His eyes showing anger, he stepped out of the shop to see Ducky celebrating her win. Or what she thought was her win.
She stopped, her wings still in midair as she twirled. “What do you want?”
Jin pointed to the baby Kacheek he was cradling. “See what you've done?” he asked. “In your madness you have hurt a baby Neopet.”
Ducky stopped and stared. The realization of the way she had been acting hit her. And hard.
“Jin...” she began softly, “I am so, so sorry. I guess Scarblade got to me.”
She stared at the stamp clutched in her wing. Then she spoke again.
“You can have it. You can come by and pick up my entire album if you want. It made me go mad. It's best you take it and keep stamp collecting to yourself.”
She offered her wing to the baby Kacheek. Jin motioned that he go to Ducky. The baby Kacheek smiled and leaped from Jin to Ducky, pulling feathers as he went.
Though Ducky did not seem to mind.
“Let's go to the Chocolate Factory,” she told the Kacheek, who nodded.
Later that evening, Jin dropped by Ducky's house. It was a horrible sight. The walls were bare of any paintings and the furniture had been removed. It was lit by a single candle. Ducky sat on the lone chair in the room.
She smiled sadly towards Jin. “I went crazy,” she began. “I sold everything on the trading post for the retired stamps. They're all in the album, so you can have them now.”
Jin took the album from the floor next to her. He smiled sadly. “I'll help you get everything back.”
Ducky smiled again. “Just promise you won't involve me in any more hobbies.”