I remember when the gypsy caravan arrived on our street. It was warm and sunny, just a typical summer day. Like the rest of the residents living on Rainbow Lane, I wondered why a caravan had chosen to come here, of all places. I went out of my Neohome, curious to see what would happen next.
A few seconds later, three girls, a Pink Aisha, a Red Wocky, and a Blue Usul, came out from the back of the caravan and began setting up their shop. All three of them wore the same patched up clothing, leading me to believe that they were gypsies. No one dared to move. I think they were afraid of them.
When I was younger, I had heard terrible stories about gypsies from my parents and friends, so I was a little bit apprehensive about approaching them. However, judging by their appearance, they did not seem to be evil in any way. I knew not to judge Neopians just by their appearance, but there was something about them that gave them a friendly feel. Slowly, I overcame my apprehension and cautiously approached them. The Pink Aisha noticed me.
“Ah, it looks like we have our first visitor,” she said to the other gypsies before she came up to me. “Hello there, young one. Tell me, what is your name?”
“It’s... Diamond, but... I prefer being called Dia,” I replied nervously.
“Ah, that’s a beautiful name, Dia, for a Green Aisha. So, Dia, do you want to have your fortune told or buy a lovely trinket from us?”
“I think... I think I’ll go for having my fortune told. I want to know what my future holds.” The Pink Aisha motioned the Blue Usul to come over. After placing a red crystal ball on the table, she muttered a few words.
“Hmm, I see,” she said in a deep, mysterious voice. “I see you and your loved ones survive a terrible event with the help of a piece of jewellery. From that tragic experience, I see you open up a shop with items that would greatly help the scores of Neopians in battle.” It sounded like my future looked promising, but I wasn’t too sure. After all, her words confused me.
The following morning, I went out to visit a friend of mine, Ignition, a Fire JubJub. On my way there, I noticed someone’s Crokabek pecking at something. Knowing that they loved shiny things, I quickly ran over to it and shooed it away from the object. Wondering what it was, I picked it up and saw that it was a charm necklace in the shape of a diamond. I thought that someone might have dropped it, so I decided to keep it. Little did I know that it would be a lifesaver.
When I came home from visiting Ignition, I tried to keep the charm necklace hidden from my family. I was wearing it, even though I did not want them to know about it. I forgot about it as I was helping them with several errands, but they did not notice it at all. Before I knew it, it was ten-o-clock in the evening, so it was time for me to head to bed.
In the middle of the night, I woke up to a burning sensation in my throat. I figured that a glass of water would help cool it down, so I decided to head downstairs to the kitchen. Once I was there, I filled a glass with tap water and slowly drank it, not knowing that my father, a Blue Chia, was having an accident that caused a fire to start at the same time. Later, he told me that he stepped on a toy car and dropped the candle he was holding.
Of course, I thought I smelled smoke, but I did not know where it came from until I went up the stairs. As soon as I reached the top, a wall of fire blocked my way. I started to panic knowing that my family was somewhere on the other side.
“Mom, Dad, Basil, where are you?” I yelled over the roar.
“We’re over here, Dia,” my dad yelled back, with a hint of panic in his voice. “I’ve tried to put it out, but it’s too much for me to handle.”
“All right then,” I said, determined to save them. “I’m coming to get you.”
“Dia, no!” my mom, a Yellow Lenny, shouted. “Go outside. Wait for the fire brigade-they’ll save us. Dia, go, now!”
However, I could not listen to her anymore, so I ran into the raging inferno.
When I showed up in front of my family, they were surprised that I was still alive. As I was examining myself, I found no burn marks on me. I wondered why until I felt this icy presence coming from my neck. I must have forgotten to take the charm necklace off before I went to bed and it somehow protected me from the fire.
“Come on, let’s get out of here,” I said as I held out my hands to them. They simply obeyed me and grabbed them. Then I led them out of the house. As I suspected, the charm necklace protected all of us from the fire because we came out unharmed. However, by the time the fire brigade arrived, it was too late for them to contain the fire, so they, along with us, watched in silence as our Neohome burned to the ground. We were fortunate to have escaped it.
A couple of years passed before we were able to recover from the loss of our first Neohome. We were able to recover quickly in those years because my parents were excellent restockers. We also had plenty of items in our Safety Deposit Box to sell in our store, so I guess it helps being a pack rat.
One day, my younger brother, Basil, a Red Kyrii, got a Battledome challenge from one of his friends, a Striped Quiggle. We were reluctant to go at first, but we decided to take a break because, after three years of hard labour, we definitely deserved it.
We were hoping that Basil would win the battle because he had been training a lot at the Mystery Island Training School. Unfortunately, it ended in a draw due to the fact that Basil and his friend were equally matched.
As soon as we were home, I tried to think of ideas that hopefully would help my brother, but I was stuck. Out on a whim, I decided to look through my mini Safety Deposit Box to see if I could come up with an idea. I noticed the diamond-shaped charm necklace and took it out.
“Let’s see, what was that Blue Usul’s prediction about my future? Oh yeah, she said something about surviving a tragic event and me opening up a store that would help Neopians,” I muttered before I suddenly realized something.
“Wait, this charm necklace protected me and my family from the inferno. It was as if it was repelling the flames. Oh, Sloth’s foot, that gypsy’s prophecy actually came true.” This realization gave me an idea, so I went back to my desk and began planning and sketching the first defence equipment, a Basic Wooden Shield.
When I was finished, I showed it to my parents. They were aware of my sketching abilities, but they were mildly surprised at what I drew. In order to make that sketch become a reality, they decided to help me out. Within a couple of days, we were able to finish it.
After I gave it to my brother, he immediately issued a Battledome challenge to his friend, the Striped Quiggle. He ended up winning it, thanks to my invention. This gave me the idea of selling the defence equipment at the family store.
Of course, as more items were created, our Neohome become a lot more crowded with them. My dad must have noticed it because he came to me to talk about it.
“Dia, I know what you’re doing is good, but I think it’s starting to become too much. Our store can’t handle the volume of defence equipment that you’re making. Not only that, but our regular customers are confused at what we sell because we normally sell books and stamps, not defence equipment. Our store is not big enough for you to continue selling your work,” he said.
“I understand your concern, Dad. Starting tomorrow, I will start searching for another location to sell my items,” I replied.
I did not expect to find an empty store quickly when I went to the Marketplace, but I did. After asking the Bookstore shopkeeper if there were any empty stores nearby, he told me that there was a store in the Bazaar, just beside Usuki Land, that was going out of business. I thanked him for his time and headed straight to the Bazaar.
The Bookstore shopkeeper was right when he said that there was one beside Usuki Land. As expected, it was old and crumbly, so it was in need of a major renovation and overhaul in order to make it beautiful, but it was large enough for me to sell the defence equipment. I ended up buying it for a few thousand neopoints.
Over the next few weeks, my family, the Neohome Builders Association, and I began sprucing up the building. When it was completed, it was exactly how I envisioned it, in the shape of a helmet. Even my friends helped out, designing me a robe and headpiece to make me appear mysterious or magical.
Ever since the Defence Magic store opened, I’ve had a lot of success with it. I am surprised that it is still going strong today, even with all the competition. I may not know the gypsies’ names, but I’ll never forget them.
Thanks for reading. As always, your comments and questions are appreciated.