An Apple A Day Keeps Nothing Away
The sun had barely risen over the distant horizon, the dew had barely settled onto the lush green grass, and neohomes hadn't yet begun to stir with early-morning life. And yet, in a farmer's field on the edge of the Neopian Market Place, life was busily stirring.
Crates of freshly picked apples, oranges, pears, and other assorted fruits passed from one set of paws to another, and were eventually placed in a pile of multiple crates. Different orders were shouted occasionally, but otherwise it was quiet, overlooking the steady beat of fruit being dropped into a crate, or the loud thud of someone walking nearby.
Eventually, the sun had made it high enough in the sky for the entire field to be cast in the bright early-morning glow, illuminating every worker's face. Soon the trees were bare of ripened fruits, the crates filled, and the sun ever so slightly higher in the sky.
“Alright! Let's haul 'em into town!” A booming voice rang out through the field, sending the nearby leaves quivering. The large Lupe who had made the call nodded once, stepping down from his perch on a tree stump, and proceeded to grab several of the crates. “We ain't got much time 'fore the Market opens!”
The workers were quickly behind him, carrying multiple crates. Some rode bicycles with wagons hitched to the back, some pushed carts in front of them. Their steps were synchronized, making each step sound like thunder on the silent morning. This continued down a dusty path, the rooftops of the market shops coming into view.
Abruptly, everything stopped. The Lupe, who had been leading the line, had reached the corner of the market where his shop, and small Neohome, resided. “Alright, men, stack 'em up!”
Within minutes, the crates of fruit were stacked neatly in rows in front of the shop, extras placed less orderly out back. Each different crate was priced according to its contents, and each different row was labeled. The Lupe nodded with satisfaction, and with a wave of his paw, dismissed the workers for the day as he disappeared inside the shop.
Not one worker seemed to notice that within one of the crates in the last row, bottom left corner, one of the apples was moving, and grumbling about the lack of attention spans some Neopians have when placing apples into crates.
* * *
A young girl with dark brown hair and black-rimmed glasses held one of the crates in her arms. She clutched it to her chest as though it would likely fall to pieces if she put it down. “Taff! Glaver!” No sooner than the names had left her mouth, two Neopets had showed up at her side. The girl motioned for them to follow and quickly entered the shop, purchasing the crate of apples with what Neopoints she had leftover.
Outside, the larger of the two pets, a shadow Kougra, smiled. “An apple a day keeps the doctor away!” She nudged her companion lightly, making him nearly topple over out of surprise. “Not like you'd need to see a doctor anyway, Glaver. You're already dead.”
Glaver, a Ghost Lupe, laughed in a sarcastic way, rolling his eyes. His see-through pelt shivered as he did so, but he kept plowing forward, following their owner close behind.
When the three some reached the end of the road they'd been traveling on, they were face-to-face with a small neohome. The girl brought a set of keys forward out of the pocket in her jeans, unlocking the door. “We're home,” she said cheerily, not like the two pets behind her needed to be informed. They entered the house in a straight line, nearly getting stuck in the doorway. Inside, they all managed to make it to the kitchen in a matter of seconds, suddenly looking starved.
“Amy, the most edible thing we've got without cooking it would be...” Taff shifted through the various sacks they had received during their shopping, occasionally stopping to look at the girl, Amy, with a look of I-am-not-going-to-cook-anything. “Apples. Apples for dinner, everyone!”
Amy and Glaver reached into the crate, each pulling out a shiny, elaborately-colored apple. “Well, since I'm no cook, we might as well -”
“Put me down!” In a matter of seconds, Glaver's apple had bitten him, shouted at him, and jumped out of his paw. “Don't you dare eat me, you foolish, mangy, dead beast!”
Taff fell onto the floor in hysterics, her laughter filling up the room as the Apple Chia continued to shout insults at Glaver for trying to eat him. Amy was also laughing, but more-so choking on the bite of apple she'd taken. Glaver was staring at his meal, bewildered.
After several moments, Taff had pulled herself back up to a standing position, gasping for air. “Well, that was dinner and a show,” she huffed, grinning wildly. She looked at Amy, who had finally stopped coughing. “So what're we going to do about this apple?”
The Chia rounded on Taff angrily, shaking his tiny green fist near her nose as he trooped toward her across the kitchen table. “I do have a name, thank you very much! What is it, you ask? Well, maybe if you and your blasted family would take a moment to watch what you eat, you could discover a few things! Like for example, my name is Stem! And yes, I am an apple! You, however, are a very disgraceful being that no doubt lies around eating potato chips and does absolutely nothing, correct? Well, I've got news for you!”
The insults went on. Stem continued to shout in his squeaky voice at Taff, quickly moving to say something to Glaver, then back again. Amy finally put him to a stop by apologizing for her pets 'insulting, disgraceful, and overall bamboozling' behavior. Once Stem had gotten through his thick, green head that Taff and Glaver were sorry, he was an entirely different apple. Come to find out, he enjoyed traveling the Neopian World, and had met many famous fruits along the way. He was a well-known storyteller, a designated FROOT (friend of Randly Owens of Tombola, who was, in an fruit's eye, a very respected hero and savior of endangered fruits.)
Amy and the three pets were sitting on the back deck, watching the sunset over the fields. “This has been an exciting day,” she mumbled, taking a sip of her hot chocolate. A cool spring breeze ruffled the tree leaves scattered around the back lawn. “Pardon my asking, Stem, but how did you end up with non-living apples?”
Stem looked at her, his face brightening in that way it had when there was potential for a story. He opened his mouth, but hesitated, looking thoughtful. “Well, I was searching for an apple I'd heard of in a story book. His name was Alonzo, and he'd apparently met Johnny Apple Seed, the Mynci who planted all of the apple trees in Neopia. Now, I had to meet this apple, and had to find if this was true, of course. But when I'd reached the apple trees where Alonzo was said to live, I got picked up off the ground and tossed in a crate.” He shook his head, looking disgruntled. “All I've got to say is how rude.”
In the end, it was decided that Stem could live with Amy, Taff and Glaver for as long as he wished, to monitor that no further apples were brought into the household at any one time to prevent the risk of ABC, otherwise known as Apples Being Consumed. Stem had also made it very clear that an apple a day keeps nothing away, and more than likely increases your chances of going to a doctor. “For example,” he pointed out, “if you mistook a Chia for an apple, which happens occasionally,” he glanced at Glaver at this point, “and you by chance ate the Chia, then you would have horrid stomach aches. Chias just are not very tasty.”
There are two lessons to be learned here. First, always watch what you eat. And second, no matter what anyone may say, an apple a day keeps nothing away.
This is my second NT story! (: Please neomail me with comments/suggestions. I hope you enjoyed it! -Tiger