“All right, class.” Mrs. Malon turned to face her class. Very few of them were paying attention. “Today we are going to learn about word problems! Can anyone give me an example of a word problem?”
A Christmas Bori named Apoc raised his paw.
“If you have four wrinkles, and they triple due to your old age, how many wrinkles do you have?”
Mrs. Malon groaned. Apoc was the sort of student she wished wouldn’t pay attention.
“Math class is over now. We are now going to bring in a motivational speaker!” The red Kacheek clapped her hands and the Soup Faerie entered. “Nobody comment on her wrinkles!”
“Thank you,” said the Soup Faerie. “Does anyone have any questions?”
“I do!” yelled Apoc, not bothering to raise his hand. “How can you tell exactly how many neopoints we have when people like my owner try to get meals for free? Are you a spy?”
“No!” cried the Soup Faerie angrily. “I serve soup for all the needy pets of Neopia! Thousands of pets rely on me!” The Soup Faerie then turned to answer an Usul’s question on the properties of soup. Had she paid attention to Apoc, she would have noticed an evil smirk beginning to form.
Mrs. Malon, however, had noticed. She knew this smirk. Apoc had a strange little habit of trying to take over the world. He tried to do so several times a day. She was about to question him, when he jumped up out of his chair.
“Chokato salad!” cried Apoc, and ran out of the room.
“Oh my!” remarked the Soup Faerie. “Should we go after him?”
“I’ve learned that it’s best not to!” replied Mrs. Malon.
Meanwhile Apoc’s older sibling, Jay, was on his way home from neoschool as well. He was looking forward to playing with his Bearog, and spending a quiet evening reading.
As he opened the door to his neohome he saw instantly that this was not going to happen.
“Hi, Jay!” His owner MI waved to the orange Korbat. “I’m helping!”
MI was helping. More specifically, he was helping load enormous barrels of Chokato into the dining room. As Jay looked around, he noticed several pets helping as well. His brothers Min and ApocClone, his aunt Shadow, and his cousins Cirrus, Stratus, Altos and Cumulus were in the backyard planting chokato seeds. Jay had a bad feeling about this. His feeling got worse when Apoc emerged, wearing a bow tie and a blazer.
“Why in the world are you dressed like that!?” cried Jay.
“This is my new business!” Apoc cried. “Chokato salad! It’s a healthy alternative to the Soup Kitchen. Best of all, you don’t need to have very little money to eat here. It’s open to everybody! As a bonus, look at how many saps-” His family stared at him. “I mean treasured employees I have!”
“I don’t know what you’re doing,” Jay pointed his claw at Apoc, “but I know it has something to do with you taking over the world!”
“I don’t know what you’re talking about!” Apoc grinned. “If however I did know, and was in fact trying to take over the world, then I would be very annoyed. If I was annoyed, I might try to convince you to leave. I might do so by telling MinMinMin, Min’s Gruslen who’s hiding behind you, to jump out and start gnawing on your foot!” Apoc stared at Jay. “I guess it’s a good thing I don’t know what you’re talking about, huh?”
Suddenly Jay felt a sharp pain in his foot.
A short while later Jay limped away, shaking the Gruslen off first. He had to find a way to get Apoc to confess. However, this would be difficult. He would need to get inside Apoc’s mind.
Suddenly he had the answer.
“MI?” Jay tapped his owner on the shoulder. “Will you play Guess the Card with me?”
“Sure, Jay!” MI set down a large box. “Apoc’s business is booming, by the way. It’s so nice how helpful he is!” Jay’s lip curled. “Anyway, let’s play!”
“Okay,” Jay took a deep breath. “Is the card a circle?”
MI said nothing.
“That’s the round one!” snarled Jay.
“Oh! Nope. Try again!”
“Is it a square?”
“What about a triangle?”
“Let me see that card. Hey! It was a circle!”
“A circle? Is that the one with three sides?”
Jay sighed. It was clear that playing Guess the Card with his owner was not going to increase his psychic powers in any way. Definitely not to the extent that he could read Apoc’s mind. Jay grinned. Maybe it was time to see what exactly went into Chokato salad.
“Well, Jay,” Shadow said. “It’s pretty straightforward. You just fill each bowl with some lettuce, organic tomatoes, and a few slices of Chokato. By the way, I think it’s great how you want to help Apoc!”
Jay gritted his teeth.
“Yes, he sure is a special Bori!” Shadow continued on, not getting the hint. “I suppose that visit by the Soup Faerie really inspired him to help others!”
“What did you say?” Jay asked, suddenly perking up.
“Apoc’s class had the Soup Faerie pay them a visit. She taught them about giving, sharing, and the chemical compound of soup!”
“Giving!? Sharing!? Chemical compounds!? I have to stop Apoc!!!”
Jay’s plan was perfect. He would fly in through Apoc’s bedroom window, stop Apoc in time, and save Neopia from the horrible menace that was his little brother.
The only problem with his plan was that midway to his neohome, he stopped at the lab ray. He was now a blue Kyrii, and this made flying somewhat more difficult. Therefore, he supposed he could try entering through the door.
“Hi, Jay!” MI waved to his Kyrii as he ran through the kitchen. Passing his bedroom, Jay grabbed his Tyrannian Bearog, Licorice, just in case he needed some backup. Right outside Apoc’s room, he came to a halt.
Min was guarding the door. Jay thought carefully. He would need to appeal to the skunk Tonu’s sense of reason if he wanted to get to Apoc in time.
“Min, I need your help!” Jay cried. “You need to let me in!” Licorice barked in agreement.
“Sorry, Jay,” Min yawned. “I’ve been told not to let anyone in here!”
“But Apoc is doing something extremely dangerous!”
“We could all be in danger!”
“He’s trying to take over the world!”
“I fully understand this, and am an eager supporter of it!”
Jay thought for a moment. Reasoning with Min wasn’t working. Perhaps a different tactic was in order.
Jay pulled out his Exceptionally Tiny Laser Cannon and fired it at Min. Walking past the stunned Tonu, he entered the room.
“Hold it right there, Apoc!” Jay cried.
Jay surveyed the scene. Apoc was smirking at the Soup Faerie, who looked quite frightened. Several types of faeries were surrounding the pair. They were all glaring at Apoc, who was delivering a particularly boring rant, directed at the Soup Faerie.
“I can’t believe you agreed to my demands!” he laughed. “You actually got your faerie friends together, and agreed to give me all the magical abilities they can cast! What really takes the cake is that you did it just because I was putting your precious Soup Kitchen out of business!” At this point Apoc noticed Jay behind him.
“I knew it!” cried Jay. “I knew you were planning this!”
“Who are you?” cried Apoc, Jay’s new Kyrii form unfamiliar to him.
“Oh, right. It’s me, Jay. I was at the lab ray. Stop distracting me!” Jay pointed his Exceptionally Tiny Laser Cannon at the Bori. “Now don’t move!”
“Can’t you see this?”
Jay aimed his device, and fired above Apoc’s head. Apoc instantly got the message.
“Firstly, in your next standoff I would suggest bringing a more intimidating weapon. Secondly...” Apoc snapped his claws and the faeries began moving towards Jay. “I don’t think these faeries would like it if you hurt the pet that is going to shut down his business, and save the Soup Kitchen from going bankrupt! Get him!”
To Apoc’s surprise, Jay was smiling.
“What are you so happy about?” Apoc sneered.
“This!” Jay opened the door to reveal a very fat Licorice. “While I was keeping you distracted, I sent Licorice to eat all your supplies for Chokato Salad!”
“What!?” Apoc screeched in fury. “How could one little Bearog eat all that!?!”
“Having three heads helps! Now your business is finished. You haven’t got any bargaining power over these faeries anymore!”
Apoc swallowed and saw that Jay was right. The faeries were now advancing on Apoc. He had never realized exactly how frightening they could be.
“My work here is done.” Jay patted Licorice’s heads and walked out the door.
The next morning, MI was having a stern discussion with Jay and Apoc. Apoc was trying to explain exactly what happened.
“Then Lord Darigan stole the remainder of the Chokato supplies, and flew off into the stars, never to be seen again!” he finished.
“Well, Apoc, that’s a very interesting story. I especially liked the part where you single handedly fended off the invasion of Gnorbus. Normally I would give you more funding for Chokato Salad, but since it appears to have brought you so much trouble, I’m going to have to ask you to stop producing it!”
Jay perked up. He had succeeded, even if not in the way he had intended to.
“I just have one question!” MI turned to Jay. “Jay, is what Apoc said true?”
“Yes,” he said angrily.
“Even the part where he rescued you from the Swamp Ghoul?”
“Even the part where you bawled hysterically after dropping your ice cream on the sidewalk?”
“YES!!! It’s all true!”
“Okay, then. I’m very proud of you, Apoc. By the way, another motivational speaker is coming to your class in a few days. Her name’s Kauvara!”