"The clock struck six, and the Lupe dashed for the exit, but time ran out. All that was left of the Lupe was another frozen figure in Edna's stone garden." Gyllan stood up and bowed to the applause coming from the young Neopets around the bonfire.
"Oh please! That isn't even believable!" a young female Elephante said as she stood up from the shadows. "Everyone knows Edna doesn't have a stone garden." Questioning murmurs emitted from around the campfire, creating a wind-like whisper that echoed around them.
"Really? How do you know?" Gyllan retorted in a huff. "You've never been outside Neopia Central. You wouldn't know!" The murmurs started again, this time agreeing with Gyllan.
"Fine, believe what you want, but I know a true ghost story! Not those lame ghosts you guys imagine..."
The murmurs turned into pleas. "Please, tell us..."
"We want to hear your story..."
"Is it a real ghost?" The Elephante turned and looked smugly at Gyllan, who held her ground, but an eagerness shone in her eyes. "Fine," the Elephante said from the shadows. “But this story isn’t like most ghost stories. It isn’t about an evil ghost. Just... a desperate one.”
"It happened right here in Neopia Central. A ghost Elephante, who traveled alone and without a home, was coming from the Haunted Woods, traveling up to Terror Mountain. All we know is that he was a salesman, and sales had been going down since the Shop Wizard came along. He had no hope for marketing, but it was his job to try."
The Elephante's voice switched from a smooth and quiet tone, which created a spooky atmosphere, to a harsh voice that sounded like sandpaper against the other Neopets' ears.
"He grew weary of his traveling. He had never had a family, and he despised Neopians for not purchasing his wares. Vengeance was the only thing on his mind, and he would seek it here, in the home of the Shop Wizard."
"From the Haunted Woods, he'd brought along something called a Pant Devil Attractor. The ghastly Neopet cackled mischievously as he looked at the device in his hands, the one he would use to make Neopia Central lose everything it had."
"That night, the Elephante tracked his way to the outskirts of town, where he knocked on every house in sight. 'Hello, ma'am,' he would say, or 'Good evening, sir. Would you like to buy a Pant Devil Attractor?' When the Neopians asked what it did, all he would say is, 'When the Pant Devil comes to you, it steals this first, instead of your most prized possessions.' "
"Night came, and indeed, the Pant Devil was in town. The ghost Elephante sat in a chair, staring up at the moon, thinking of how he had altered the Attractors to attract the Pant Devil, but then make the rascal steal other items instead. His plan would leave every Neopet in Neopia Central itemless. As swiftly as he arrived, the Elemarketer (for that is what they had started to call him) decided to leave.
The Elephante's voice switched back to her normal sound, and she continued her story.
"Indeed, his plan worked, even more swiftly than he thought. The penniless Neopians swarmed the Money Tree, and more and more donations had to be made to keep it alive. First the Soup Kitchen fell. Then the Money Tree itself. Finally, all of Neopia Central collapsed into ruin, and soon thereafter Neopia went with it."
The young Elephante exhaled sharply and then smiled. Her story was coming to an end, yet everyone around the campfire was hooked on her every word.
"The great faeries rushed down to help, but they were swarmed by the crazed Neopets, and held until they gave everyone millions of Neopoints, which the faeries didn't have. Only Jhudora remained in Faerieland, and with the other dark faeries as her minions, she ruled the fallen Neopia."
"That is, until the ghostly Elephante found his way to her door, too. This time he came for a good reason, for, ever since Jhudora had taken control, the Neopets had been too poor to buy anything. The Elemarketer, desperate for sales, went to his archnemesis, the Shop Wizard, and they teamed up.”
“When her minions came flying to the throne rooms with claims of the Shop Wizard and an Elephante being at her door, Jhudora was too curious to resist. She answered the door herself, expecting gifts, or rare items. Instead, she was greeted by armfuls of Pant Devil Attractors.
"'What is this?' she screamed. 'Guards, take them away.' Two dark faeries came and led them away, locking them and the Attractors in a dark, musty room."
“The Elemarketer picked at the mold on the wall, while the Shop Wizard brushed off his robe. ‘Do you really think this will work?’ he said. ‘Of course,’ the Elemarketer replied. And, as with all of the Elemarketer’s plans, it did.”
Late that night, when Kreludor gleamed in the sky, the Pant Devil arrived, looking excited to finally be stealing something. But when he saw the room, the glimmer of hope faded. ‘Why do you poor people even have these things?’ the Pant Devil growled. ‘You have nothing to protect.’ ‘I know, but hear us out. We need you to give all of the items back to Neopia.’ ”
“The Pant Devil laughed. ‘And why would I do that? I now have all the items from Neopia!’”
“ ‘Well, hasn’t it been boring since you got them?’ the Shop Wizard questioned. This had been his part of the plan, and he dearly wanted it to work. ‘Well, yeah... now that you mention it, no items means nothing to steal. But I’m not going to give them back!’ he quickly added.”
“ ‘We have a proposition for you,’ the Shop Wizard said quickly, before the Pant Devil could leave. ‘Return the items, and you can wreak havoc on Faerieland. It’s only Jhudora and her minions here, so the good faeries won’t be angry at you for it. Plus, we already got you into the castle!’ The Shop Wizard motioned at the door, and the Pant Devil glanced at it, tempted. ‘All right, fine,’ the Pant Devil said, quickly shaking the Elemarketer’s hand on the deal and disappearing through the door.”
“ ‘So now what are you going to do?’ the Shop Wizard asked the Elemarketer. ‘Don’t worry, I won’t destroy Neopia again. I just want to start a new life.’ ”
“The Shop Wizard’s face lit up. ‘Here,’ he said, and pulled nine pieces of paper out of his robe. ‘The last remaining Lab Map. Take it.’ He shoved it toward the Elemarketer, who reached out and picked it up. ‘Actually,’ he said, ‘this is exactly what I need.’ ”
“ ‘That’s my job, isn’t it?’ A smile covered the Shop Wizard’s face.”
“Eventually, Neopia was restored to its normal self. The Elemarketer zapped himself until the only thing left unchanged was his species, and was never seen again.”
All the young Neopets were stunned at the fact that the ending wasn’t like a normal ghost story, and silence suffocated everything around the fire. Not a sound could be heard, and the young Elephante stepped back into the shadows -- her form disappearing, like a ghost.