Smile of an Acara
A Royal Acara pranced gracefully down the sidewalks of Neopia
Central. Her velvet, violet dress blew softly in the small breeze, as did her
long, plum-coloured hair. Her clear azure blue eyes sparkled in the sun as she
elegantly strode about Neopia.
As she passed the Money Tree, the Acara chuckled
quietly to herself at the thought of actually having to grab sackfuls of Neopoints
there to make a living. She glanced down at a pouchful of Neopoints in her paw,
thought for a second, and grinned haughtily, continuing on her way as she browsed
through the shops. You'd never, in a million years find her there, taking or
Leslie looked up at the sky, and did a small
gasp when she saw the sky was slowly turning gray mixed with a dark shade of
blue. The clouds looked heavy, full of rain that could pour down at any moment,
so Leslie stopped to make a decision; should she get what she came all this
way to purchase, or go home to her luxurious, large Neohome and sit by the fire
as the rain poured down outside?
She'd come all this way, she might as well get
that new dress she'd wanted. Then she'd quickly get home before the rain fell,
and all would be well as she tried on her new dress at home in front of her
full-length pink mirror. A grin spread across her face and she walked on.
Quickening her pace, Leslie finally made it to
Uni's Clothing, one of her favourite shopping stores. Pushing the door open,
the Acara smiled at all the latest clothes and wondered what she should buy
first. With all these Neopoints, the sky was the limit and she was ready to
Gazing at the wonderful new outfits, Leslie grabbed
a dress and held it up to herself. "Hello, may I help you?" came a gentle, chipper
The shopkeeper, a blue Uni with a pretty scarf
wrapped around her neck and star-shaped sunglasses was standing behind her.
"Get me this in a size medium, would you?" demanded Leslie simply, thrusting
the dress at the Uni.
She shook her head, looking down at the power-blue
dress. "I'm sorry, Miss, but we are completely sold out. Might you try some
The Acara narrowed her eyes at the Uni and said,
"You must have one SOMEWHERE." Crossing her arms, Leslie glared at her, tapping
her foot impatiently.
The Uni put the dress back where it had come
from and said to Leslie, "I'm truly sorry, but I'm afraid we have none left
in that size."
Leslie was now angry. She stomped her foot on
the ground and exclaimed, "Then maybe I'll try another store! One where they
actually have GOOD service and treat their customers kindly!"
With that, the Royal Acara stormed out of Uni's
Clothing, leaving the shopkeeper with a puzzled expression on her face at the
Acara's outburst. Leslie didn't turn back, just ran out of the store with a
frustrated look on her face.
"There is absolutely NO descent service these
days!" she exclaimed to no one in particular as she pushed passed busy shoppers
and made her way through the crowd. "Ugh!"
The massive crowd was dissipating as the air
got colder and the sky darker. Suddenly, it happened; the rain poured down with
no warning at all, creating large mud puddles in the ground instantly. Small
ripples were made at the Rainbow Pool from drips of water as the rain fell.
A wind blew in all directions, making the Money Tree swing dangerously through
Leslie cried, "Oh no!" She put her hands over
her head, as if that would stop her expensive, velvet dress and perfectly done-up
hair from becoming wet. But it didn't; her hair drooped, her dress sagged, and
her eyes filled with tears as he lowered her hands. She began running in an
instant, trying to reach home quickly so her owner could clean her up, and make
her some nice hot soup in front of the fire. She almost taste the soup, and
feel the flames of the fire drying her off.
The Acara could barely see where she was going
as the rain fell down faster and harder, and suddenly, she tripped over something
and fell down with a loud thud and an "ouch!". SPLAT, right into a mud puddle.
Mud splattered everywhere, all over her hair and dress and making her no longer
look like a Royal Acara. Her tears mixed with the rain as she lay spread-eagle
on the ground, not wanting to move. She tried to raise herself off from the
ground, and she did, now sitting on all fours. But her paw slipped, and she
fell back into the mud.
Leslie lay there, motionless and miserable, her
dress soaked, her hair brown from the mud. All of her expensive makeup had washed
off, and she could see watery pink and red blotches of her blush on the ground.
She soon closed her eyes, pained from her fall and the fact that her expensive
jewelry, hair, dress and makeup was wet and ruined, and fell asleep.
* * *
The bright sun was beating down on her back.
Leslie's eyes popped open and she sat up, rubbing her eyes. The ground was muddy
and wet, but the rain had stopped and the sun was peeking out from behind a
puffy cloud. The air was warm, and Leslie slowly got to her feet.
"Aah!" she cried out when she looked down upon
herself. Her dress was ripped and tattered with blotches of mud covering it,
and she had a scrape on her knee. Her face was tearstained, and she did not
look at all rich or royal like she was. You would never have guessed she lived
in a mansion with a rich girl and had a Rainbow Faellie as a Petpet, or had
tons of expensive outfits in her pink room with makeup of all kinds in almost
She grabbed the pouch of Neopoints she'd dropped
earlier, and strut in the direction of her home. She was given a few stares
from passers-by, but she just shot them all dirty looks in return as they did.
Finally, her large Neohome came into view. She
kicked open the gate angrily, and charged up to the front door on the cobblestone
path. She tried to open the door, but the brass knob wouldn't turn.
"Cassie!" she cried, knocking on the door, exasperated.
"Cassie, open up!" She called her owner's name over and over, and by now she
was pounding on the door with her fists and all of her energy. "CASSIE, OPEN
UP! IT'S ME! IT'S ME, LESLIE! GET OUT HERE, I NEED YOU TO HELP --"
All of a sudden, the door slowly opened and a
tall girl with straight, brown hair and freckles dotting her face stood in the
doorway. Her hair was pulled back in a tight Unitail, and her expression was
what Leslie had not expected.
She'd expected her owner to see her, and start
gushing over her, telling her it would be okay. "Ooh, Leslie, let me get you
some ice cream," she would coo.
But her face was surprised at first, taken aback
even. And when she saw Leslie's muddy state, a disgusted look was planted on
her face. "Yes?" she said coldly, and Leslie could sense annoyance in her owner's
"C-Cassie, it's me!" she squeaked. "Can I come
in? This is MY house, after all."
She took a few steps toward the door but Cassie
blocked her way. "Um, hello?" Leslie said impatiently, tapping her foot on the
stone porch. "Cassie, I had a terrible day! I fell in the mud and wrecked my
"This isn't your house!" spat Cassie. "You're
not my pet! I only have one pet, Shyle."
"Shyle?" cried Leslie, rooted to the spot. "Who's
A young, Pink Uni appeared at Cassie's side.
Her glossy, pink fur was perfect, her mane braided beautifully. Her hooves shined
in the sunlight and her eyes sparkled slightly, as did her smile. But there
was something wrong with her; her smile sparkled, giving her beauty, but it
also showed an I'm-better-than-you grin, making her look nasty and spoiled and
snobby at the same time.
"Yeah, you're not my sister," said the Uni briskly,
spinning around to leave. Cassie went with her, slamming the door behind her,
leaving Leslie alone on the porch.
"But...." Leslie said meekly. "Cassie.... You're--"
She stood in silence for a few minutes, then sighed sadly.
The sound of laughter came, the sound of happiness.
Leslie ran to a window nearby, and lifted herself up onto the window sill to
see a familiar dining room. The large dinner table spread across the room, and
at the end of it sat Leslie's ex-owner and Shyle. Her eyes widened, eyes brimming
with tears as she watched the two chat and giggle happily together, as Leslie
had once done with Cassie. A plate of cookies sat in front of them, and Leslie
could smell the sweet scent of just-baked chocolate chip cookies.
Her stomach rumbled, and she dropped back to
the grassy, wet ground, her shoulders sagging, her head hung. Leslie walked
slowly down the cobblestone path, and out onto the sidewalk.
"How could she have forgotten me? ME?" Leslie
muttered under her breath. "I was only gone for a few hours! Then she goes out
and adopts that snobby pink Uni! Who did she think she was, anyway? Princess
She made her way back onto the busy streets,
trying to figure out what to do. She was starving, and with all these Neopoints,
she could probably buy food, some new clothes, and a new hair ribbon.
Glancing down at the Neopoints in her hand, Leslie
let out a cry of despair and fell to her knees. There was a hole in her bag,
and Neopoints were falling out one by one. She figured they'd been falling as
she walked, and Neopians picked them up hastily enough so she didn't see them!
She picked up any Neopoints she spotted on the ground around her, which wasn't
She quickly counted them, and gasped. She only
had five hundred Neopoints left, and with that, she couldn't really buy a Gourmet
But, at least she could buy something. Running
to the Neopian Bazaar, Leslie spotted the Bakery and decided that she could
grab a doughnut and maybe a few appetizers. For now, it would have to do.
She pushed the door open, and the sweet smells
of cookies, bread, and doughnuts came over her. A bell chimed above as Leslie
entered, and the shopkeeper, a blue Kacheek with an apron and a chef's hat,
welcomed her. "Welcome, Miss. How can I help you?"
"Gimme a purple doughnut, and a few of those
tiny strawberry-frosted cookies," she said. "Oh, and one of those cupcakes with
"As you wish," the shopkeeper said. He rushed
to the front desk, and told her to wait for one moment as he quickly disappeared
into the back room. Leslie couldn't wait to get some food so she could think
straight, and figure out what to do.
"Here you are," he said, handing her three paper
bags with her baked goods inside. "That will be one thousand, five hundred and
sixty eight Neopoints please."
Leslie's spirit fell. She held out her pouch
of five hundred Neopoints. "All I have is this," she said quietly.
He took the goods back with a saddened expression
on his face. "Sorry, Miss," he said to her.
"B-but, wait!" she cried as the Kacheek turned
to leave her at the counter. She was quite desperate for food. "What can I buy
with this?" She slammed the Neopoints down on the counter and he grinned.
* * *
"Ugh," grumbled Leslie. She sat on a wooden bench
with a paper bag next to her, containing a loaf of bread in which she had bought
from him. "I can't believe this, it's... unbelievable!" she said louder.
She hated the bread, she hated the rain, she
hated Neopia Central. She wanted to blame this all on anyone, anyone! She was
angry with the Uni shopkeeper that REFUSED to serve her, the Kacheek shopkeeper
who gave her nothing but a puny loaf of bread, and all of Neopia for no reason.
She stamped her foot angrily on the ground. Leslie's
stomach still rumbled, but this bread would never be enough to satisfy her.
Suddenly, she perked up. The Soup Kitchen...
yes, the Soup Kitchen could help her! The lovely, kind-hearted Faerie that served
soup to all poor Neopians -- of course!
Leslie thought this over, and remembered that
she would never accept help from that Soup Faerie. She didn't NEED it -- she
was rich! She had all the Neopoints she'd ever need! Or at least... she used
to. She sighed heavily.
Now more desperate than ever, Leslie grabbed
the bag, took the bread out and devoured it. She thought it tasted quite good,
but she would never admit it -- not even to herself.
She scrunched up the bag, threw it over her shoulder,
and sat there, arms crossed, scowling. How had her life changed so dramatically
in a few short hours? From a little rain? HOW?
Glancing at the Money Tree, Leslie knew it was
her last hope. She could grab some Neopoints, and start a new life -- she didn't
need Cassie and that new pet, Shyle. She didn't need the Soup Faerie; she could
do this all by herself. Nobody needed to help her, no one needed to show her
what to do.
The Acara flew down the street, and slowed down
when she got to the Money Tree. It was packed; owners and pets were snatching
up bags faster than lightning, right as they were being set down. There were
items and Neopoints everywhere; and Leslie knew this was her new life.
Out of the corner of her eye, Leslie spotted
a bag with one thousand Neopoints in it. She shuffled over to it, reached out
her hand, and right as she was about to grab it, a Zafara flew passed and snatched
it up in his paws.
"Hey!" she shrieked. "That was mine!" But the
Zafara didn't turn back and apologize; he just sped around the Money Tree to
She realized she'd have to be quicker than that;
and so she got to work, running towards whatever she could find and grabbing
it before anyone else.
In the next half hour, Leslie had gotten nine
thousand Neopoints. A triumphant smile on her face, Leslie departed and made
her way for Uni's clothing, where she could buy new clothes and then, with her
leftover Neopoints, she'd -- well, she didn't know what she would do. But she'd
figure that part out later.
Leslie set off, and as the pretty little shop
came into view, the Acara began to run a bit faster, with the Neopoints clutched
in her arms.
Suddenly, Leslie was stopped by someone who got
right in front of her. She hadn't even seen them; she just hit them and fell
back on the ground. "Hey!" she screamed at them. "Watch where you're--" But
she stopped when she saw who she'd bumped into.
A pale, white Ghost hovered a few feet off the
ground, eyes fixed on Leslie, who trembled from head to foot. You'd think you'd
run right through a ghost, but he was just as solid as any human being.
She knew what he wanted; her Neopoints, but he
wouldn't get them. She held them closer to her as the Ghost slowly moved closer.
"B-back off!" she said, her voice shaking. "I... I...."
Then, before she knew what was happening, Leslie's
scream of terror filled the street as the Ghost made one of the scariest faces
she'd ever seen, dropping her hard-earned Neopoints to the ground. Seeing this,
the wandering Ghost grabbed them and took off, heading straight for the Money
Tree before she could grab him. "No!" she yelled helplessly. "Stop him! Come
back here! Come... back...."
As the Ghost disappeared from sight in the mob
of Neopians crowded around the Money Tree, Leslie sat there, helpless. She'd
now lost everything; her Neopoints she had spent all afternoon getting, her
owner, her precious mansion. All in a couple of hours.
She hugged her knees, rocking back and forth.
She just sat there, tears streaming down her face, in the middle of the street
right in front of Uni's Clothing, trying her best to hold back the tears that
Now sobbing, Leslie lost all hope. She hid her
face in her paws, crying. She missed Cassie, she missed her Neohome, she missed
being rich. Suddenly, the world was spinning. The crowd disappeared into thin
air, as did her surroundings. Everything around her was pitch black, dark and
creepy. Leslie let out a long, shrill shriek as she began falling, falling,
"Leslie!" called a voice in the distance. The
voice sounded concerned, but so far away.
The Acara closed her eyes, but kept on screaming.
She wanted the voice to hear her, she wanted everyone to hear her pleas and
cries for help.
"Leslie!" The Acara could almost recognize the
voice, as if she knew who it was, but not quite yet.
She tried to grab something, but there was nothing
to grab. All was silent, except for the voice and her screams echoing. She was
forever falling, falling, falling....
The Royal Acara's eyes popped open. She was sweating,
and above she could see the dark, gray sky. Tiny droplets of rain were gently
falling, making a pitter patter noise as they hit the ground.
"Leslie, are you okay!?" came the voice, now
much closer and easily recognizable. The Acara shot up to see Cassie sitting
beside her on the ground. A few strands of her soft, brown hair blew in the
breeze. Looking down at herself, Leslie saw her mud-covered dress and dirty
fur. She sighed heavily, trying to calm down.
A few shoppers around her in Neopia Central turned
to look at her, but then quickly walked away when their eyes met. "Wh-where's
Shyle?" she asked quickly.
Cassie looked puzzled. "Shyle?"
"Yes, that Uni!" Leslie exclaimed. "The one you
adopted. And the Ghost! Where is he? And my Neopoints, and... and..."
"It's alright, sweetie, it was all a dream!"
Cassie reassured her. "I found you here, I was wondering what was taking so
long. You must have not gotten the dress you wanted, because your Neopoints
are still here."
Leslie looked at a leather pouch full of Neopoints
by her side. It wasn't the Neopoints she'd saved up at the Money Tree, but the
Neopoints Cassie had given her before she left her mansion to go shopping.
Her blue eyes widened. "You mean... it was a
dream?" she questioned. "We're rich?"
Cassie smiled. "Of course, honey!"
A smile was put on Leslie's face. She got to
her feet and brushed herself off. "Let's go clean you up," said Cassie, "and
then we can go shopping and get some new makeup at the Grooming Parlour."
Leslie grinned and walked by her owner's side,
satisfied that they were finally doing what they were supposed to; shop, and
live in their enormous mansion with all their expensive possessions as they'd
The rain was still dropping, but not as bad.
Leslie was back to her old self, and she knew they would never become poor,
like she had in her dream.
As the two passed the Money Tree, Leslie stopped
and glanced down at her Neopoints. "What is it, Leslie?" asked her owner, stopping
as well and looking at her pet curiously.
"One minute, okay?" said Leslie, as she began
to walk in the direction of the Money Tree. She set the Neopoints down, and,
almost instantly, a small, yellow Kougra grabbed them.
He looked poor and hungry, his paws and fur muddy.
His sunken eyes widened and he managed a small grin. "Thank you," he said softly
to Leslie. With that he scurried away to grab other items.
She smiled, and, for the first time, it was a
genuine, meaningful smile. Her eyes shined, and suddenly, the rain stopped completely.
A beautiful sunshine came out from behind the
clouds, making the Rainbow Pool water glisten and sparkle as though there were
diamonds inside. A long, large, colourful rainbow appeared in the sky, and even
though Leslie was covered from head to toe in mud, she felt it didn't matter.
The crystal-clear sky matched her eyes as she beamed at the rainbow.
Shoppers stopped to admire its beauty. Leslie
no longer cared that she was Royal; she could be covered in mud all the time
for all she cared! Okay, well, maybe not, but the point was, the Acara now knew
the meaning of kindness.
In her dream, the pink Uni's smile had been snobby
and nasty, because she was rich and self-absorbed. Leslie's was nothing of the
sort; her genuine, picture-perfect smile was of a friendly, kind-hearted, loving
Acara who changed after realizing that wealth isn't everything.