My Dream Vacation
Mystery Island had always been my dream vacation.
My owner, Madelyn, had always been making excuses about why we shouldn't go. "I know you want to go, Lisa, but we can't afford the trip. Neopia Central isn't exactly right next to Mystery Island. Besides, I still have to finish that article for the Neopian Times. We don't have that sort of time to go on vacation," she told me sensibly as she crouched over a notebook, furiously scribbling down notes she was taking out of a Neopedia article on the Negg Faerie to use for her article on the Neggery.
"I know," I sighed, "but I really, really, really want to go."
"I know you do," Madelyn said, barely looking up from her notebook, "but we can't."
"I want to hear Rorru generate a haiku for us. I want to see the sights. I want to go to the Mystery Island training school, Madelyn!" I continued, pressing on.
"Well, we can't," Madelyn answered flatly. "Lisa, please go to your room. I really need to concentrate."
I left Madelyn's room disappointed as I threw myself onto my Fyora print bed, gazing blankly at the ceiling. It seemed unlikely that we'd ever make the trip to Mystery Island.
"So, how'd it go?"
My younger sister, Angelina, had also been hoping for a trip to Mystery Island. She was a Rainbow Cybunny with a bright personality who could never fail to make someone smile.
"Madelyn said no," I answered. She frowned.
"She said we couldn't afford it, and she also had this article for the Neopian Times she needed to finish." I sighed.
"Oh." Angelina looked disappointed. "You couldn't convince her that a short boat trip wouldn't cost that much, and she could work on her article at Mystery Island anyway?"
I shook my head. "Nope. She also wouldn't listen when I told her how much fun Tiki Tours were or how interesting the Island Mystic's cryptic messages could be."
"She wouldn't?" Angelina could spend hours staring longingly at photos of other Neopets having the times of their lives on the Tiki Tours and reading some of the Island Mystic's many sayings, and couldn't understand why Madelyn couldn't appreciate them the way she could.
"Spoiled brats," I heard a voice say, and looked up to see my older brother, Jeffrey, staring at us, half amused, half stern.
"What's wrong?" asked Angelina.
"Madelyn's done enough for you already," Jeffrey said with a shrug. "You two should learn how to be grateful for all she's done. Be glad she puts good food on your plate every night. Some pets only get omelettes and jelly for their meals, and others don't get any at all! Be glad that she bought you plushies when you were young. Be glad she's painted you." He motioned at Angelina. "Look at you! A Rainbow Cybunny! How cool is that?" He gestured towards me. "And you're a Starry Kougra. I think that's pretty nice." Jeffrey paused for a moment.
All of a sudden I felt guilty. Jeffrey, a Blue Lupe, was the only unpainted one in the family. We all knew that it was his dream to get painted Island, but Madelyn couldn't afford the paint brush, so Jeffrey had never told her about his dream for fear he would sound selfish for wanting such an expensive item. Jeffrey never seemed to mind the fact that he wasn't painted, but Angelina and I knew that he always felt that people were staring at him because he was unpainted; that people never seemed to notice him because of his plain color. He had every reason to be jealous of us, yet he was the one teaching us how to be grateful for what we already had.
"He's right," I whispered to Angelina before she could blurt something else out, "Madelyn has been really nice to us. We shouldn't try and persuade her if she doesn't want to do it."
Apparently, I hadn't spoken quietly enough, because Jeffrey raised his eyebrows and said, "I never said that," he said, as if it were the most obvious thing in the world. "Why give up your dreams? Nah. I just meant not to bother Madelyn about it. Try showing her that you deserve a vacation to Mystery Island."
"How?" I asked.
"Do your chores. Plan the trip yourself. Go with Madelyn when she plays games and help her earn Neopoints for the trip. Help her with the Neopian Times entries so she'll have more time. Be helpful. That kind of thing," Jeffrey replied. "You know, Madelyn loves you, and I think she deserves a trip to Mystery Island herself as well, but she'll need our help with it."
That we did. Jeffrey even helped us. We decided to start proving to Madelyn that we really could handle it the very next morning.
Madelyn yawned as she walked into the dining room.
"Morning, Madelyn," Angelina, Jeffrey, and I chorused as she walked in. Jeffrey and I were spreading butter on some toast to make it seem like Faerie Toast with Butter, and Angelina was setting the table.
Madelyn jolted upright. "Oh--oh, good morning... I was just surprised to see you up so early in the morning... whoa! You three are actually making breakfast?"
Angelina nodded proudly. "Sure are, Madelyn."
"Oh, how sweet of you!" Madelyn crouched down and wrapped her arms around Angelina, hugging her tightly, and then coming over to hug me and then Jeffrey as well.
I set a plate with toast and eggs benedict with a glass of Kau Kau farm milk down in front of Madelyn's seat.
"Thank you, Lisa, but I'd like to open up the shop early this morning, so--" Madelyn reached down to pick up her plate and her milk to carry down to the shop.
"Oh, no, Madelyn. You sit right here and eat. I'll go open up the shop today," Jeffrey said quickly.
Madelyn raised her eyebrows suspiciously, and she had a right to. I mean, we're usually pretty good kids, and making her breakfast, she could take, but offering to open up the store? Even we weren't that nice! Shelving items, dealing with unsatisfied customers - it can get pretty tiresome. "Angelina--Lisa--Jeffrey--have you done anything wrong that you're trying to cover up?"
"Not at all," I responded hastily. "We just thought we'd give you a little break. You've been working so hard, you know!"
Apparently, Madelyn didn't buy that story. Her eyebrows narrowed suspiciously. "You're trying to convince me that we should go to Mystery Island, aren't you?"
She had us there.
"Um--no--yes--uh--not really--but sort of--maybe," Jeffrey, Angelina, and I stammered at the same time.
Madelyn sighed, but she was smiling. "Oh, whatever will I do with you three?" she asked, drawing all three of us close in a big hug, "I really do think we all deserve a trip to Mystery Island, you know... and I guess I have been trying to put it off. I'm almost done with my article on the Neggery anyway, and why not let us have a break?"
Angelina, Jeffrey, and I all exchanged grins. The plan would work! Madelyn was going to give in after all!
"Oh, Madelyn, thank you, thank you, thank you!" cried Angelina, hugging Madelyn's waist tightly, "Thank you so, so much!"
"Yeah, thanks, Madelyn," grinned Jeffrey.
"No," I spoke up suddenly.
Everyone stared at me. "No? What do you mean, 'no?'" asked Angelina, frowning and looking confused.
"No, as in, no, I don't want to go to Mystery Island," I said quietly.
"Why not?" asked Madelyn. "You've always wanted to go!"
"Not anymore," I answered, and pointed at Jeffrey. "Madelyn, look at Jeffrey. He's a Blue Lupe. He's tried to hide this from you because he didn't want to sound selfish, but he's always wanted to be painted Island. Always."
Angelina was staring at me in horror and Madelyn in shock, but Jeffrey was almost smiling.
"So I don't want to spend hundreds of thousands of Neopoints to go to Mystery Island, Madelyn--at least, not yet. I want Jeffrey to be painted Island first," I finished.
"I second the motion," added Angelina, who had recovered from her horror, "Look at me, Madelyn. I'm a Rainbow Cybunny. Look at Lisa. She's a Starry Kougra. We're both painted. Now look at Jeffrey. He's unpainted, and he's always wanted to be painted Mystery Island. Plus Jeffrey's the only one who isn't selfish out of us three. He has his own dreams, yet he helped us achieve ours. So now I think it's time that we help him achieve his."
Madelyn started clapping, and Jeffrey, Angelina, and I joined in.
"Oh, Jeffrey, I never knew--" she gasped, dabbing at her eyes. "We'll get you painted, Jeffrey!"
For the next week, Angelina and I took turns accompanying Madelyn while she went off to the gamesroom to play games and sometimes off to the Magic Shop to restock. We worked furiously during that week, and by the end of it, we were all tired enough to collapse, but the day that Madelyn came home with a Mystery Island paint brush clutched in her hand made it worthwhile.
For the next twenty minutes, while we waited for Jeffrey to come home, Madelyn, Angelina, and I took turns admiring the paint brush. We gushed at the beautiful flowers and the decorative styles of Island pets.
Finally Jeffrey came home from school. He opened the door to our Neohome and--
"SURPRISE!" we all shouted together, laughing. Angelina held up the paint brush for Jeffrey to see. He gasped.
"Whoa! Where did you get it?" he asked, surprised.
"Angelina and Lisa have been helping me restock and play games for a week to get it," Madelyn answered proudly.
Jeffrey looked thoughtful. "So you mean that all those times you were off to a Neopian Times Writers' Meeting with either Angelina or Lisa, you were really off to earn Neopoints for my paint brush?"
"Yup!" Angelina and I answered in unison, giggling.
"Wow! Thank you so much! This is the best thing you've ever done for me," Jeffrey said, beaming, hugging Madelyn and Angelina. Then he hugged me. "Thanks for telling Madelyn that I wanted to be Island," he whispered, grinning from ear to ear.
"You deserve it, Jeffrey," I answered, grinning back. Angelina handed him the paint brush.
"Let's go get this paint job done!" exclaimed Madelyn, and we all ran towards the Rainbow Pool at top-speed, much too excited to slow down.
When Jeffrey had climbed out of the swirling waters, he was no longer a Blue Lupe. Instead, a handsome Island Lupe with a fresh new Island coat stood in front of us, smiling confidently and proudly.
The week after that went by smoothly. Jeffrey was now a lot happier and more confident. "I didn't really mind being unpainted," he told us, "but I'd always wanted to be Island. And now, thanks to you all, I am."
Madelyn's article about the Neggery had been accepted into the Neopian Times, and a kind girl named Katharine who enjoyed the article so much that she'd Neomailed Madelyn had become one of Madelyn's closest friends. After learning about how Angelina and I sacrificed our trip to Mystery Island to get Jeffrey painted Island, Katharine had thought it was so touching that she said she'd pay for a trip to Mystery Island if we still wanted to go--her pets had wanted to go as well. So within a week since Jeffrey's paint job, we were already on a boat to Mystery Island with Katharine and her two pets.
Not everything has a happy ending, but some things do.
I'm glad this is one of them.