In Search of Juppies
"Finally! It’s finished!” After donning fluffy oven mitts to protect his sensitive paws, Chelton the Green Ogrin reached into the oven and removed his latest and most delicious creation. “No one has ever created a thirteen-layered chocolate upside down cake.” He set the towering dessert on his counter to cool and plopped into a chair for a short rest.
“Mmm, what smells so delicious?” Chelton smiled as his friend Vesa, a Cloud Eyrie, stuck her beak in through the kitchen window and sniffed the air appreciatively.
“Come in, Vesa, and see for yourself.”
Vesa smiled as she entered the small house before her eyes locked on the massive stack of cake lying only inches from where she stood. “Is this the cake you were telling me about, Chel?”
“It sure is. I’ve spent weeks perfecting this recipe and now my hard work will finally pay off.” Chelton gazed down happily at Baking Chocolate Korbats, the first book his owner had ever bought for him. Vesa noticed and couldn’t help smiling.
“That thing is so worn out, I’m surprised it isn’t falling apart in your paws. Why don’t you just buy a new one?”
“Never!” Chelton hugged the book to his chest protectively. Though the pages were dog-eared, and the cover was only attached thanks to the grace of Fyora and a few pieces of sticky tape, there was no item the Ogrin treasured more than the tome which had inspired him to become a baker.
Vesa chuckled. “I’m kidding, Chel. So,” she said as her eyes traveled back toward the cake, “when do you think we’ll be able to have a taste? I’m going to be the first one trying a slice of this!”
“Sorry, Vesa,” Chelton said as he stood once again, “but I can’t give you a sample because this cake is for the Bakery. The Breadmaster said if I can make a big enough sale, he’ll buy all my breads and pies and cakes and cookies.”
“I’m hungry for you--happy for you,” Vesa quickly corrected, unable to get the delicious images out of her mind.
“Thanks,” Chelton said as he walked over to the fridge and opened the door. “All that’s left to do is make my special cocoa cream icing and--” He trailed off after realizing his refrigerator wasn’t quite as full as it had been that morning; in fact, it wasn’t full at all. “Vesa,” he asked slowly without turning around, “did you happen to come over earlier today and make a snack?” Vesa frowned and wracked her brain.
“Nope, I just got here for the first time a few minutes ago. Why?”
“Because there’s no food in here!” Chelton slammed the door shut and started pacing wildly around the room. “What could have happened to a whole gallon of milk, a tub of butter, a bag of cocoa juppies-”
“Uh, Chel, I think I know.” Vesa pointed toward a bright pink Jawshell that was currently lying on a rug in Chelton’s living room and sighing happily. Littered around the petpet were a number of wrappers, containers, and other bits that had once housed edible substances.
“Kagome, how could you?” Chelton scolded. Kagome let out a belch in response.
“Doesn’t that mean she really liked what she ate?” Vesa asked.
Chelton sighed. “What am I going to do? I promised the Breadmaster I’d have the most delicious cake in his shop before closing time. There’s no way I’ll make it in time now.”
“Can’t you just ask him to wait until tomorrow to get your cake?” Vesa wondered.
“I could,” Chelton admitted. “But I feel like this is the first time I’m being treated like a professional, and it isn’t very professional to back out of a commitment. I’ll never be taken seriously again.”
“Well, you can’t help how you feel,” Vesa said as she rose to her feet and stretched out her large wings. “I’ve never known you to give up when the going gets rough and I’m not about to let you start now. Come on, let’s go shopping.”
“Thanks, Vesa.” The Ogrin held onto Vesa’s talons as she flew through the bright blue skies of Neopia before landing gracefully in front of the Food Shop. It wasn’t long before Chelton was laden with bags of necessary ingredients, save one important item--cocoa juppies.
“I can’t believe there are so many people who don’t stock this,” Vesa said as they wandered from shop to shop in search of the elusive fruit.
“Look--the Chocolate Shop; maybe they're being sold in here.” Chelton dashed through the door of the tower-like building and skidded to a halt in front of the owner. “I need as many cocoa juppies as you have.”
The owner, a top-hat wearing Kiko waved his cane around the shelves of his store. “Sorry, my boy, we are sold out of everything. We get restocked every eight minutes or so, so please come back soon.”
“I don’t have time to check back here every eight minutes,” Chelton snapped, feeling tenser than ever.
“Chel, it’s okay.” Vesa slipped a paw upon his shoulder and led him from the shop. “Let’s try looking in the Marketplace. One of those shops is bound to have what you need.”
“There’s no way we’ll be able to check them all in time,” Chelton said softly. “Thanks for everything, Vesa, but I’m going to quit now. Even if I found the cocoa juppies, there isn’t enough time to make the icing. I’ll just have to tell the Breadmaster to give me another day.” He set off for the gingerbread-shaped building, Vesa at his side, ready to face the music, when a small calamity met his ears. Chelton looked up and gaped at the Bakery, where dozens of Neopets were anxiously waiting in a line that stretched all the way to the Health Food Shop.
“What’s going on?” Vesa asked a hungry-looking Skeith.
“Didn’t you hear? Popovers are all the rage and the Bakery is the only place to buy them. The Breadmaster said he’s staying open late to satisfy the Neopian demand.”
Vesa grinned. “He is? Then that means--”
“We’ve got time!” Chelton looked happier than he’d been all day. “Come on, Vesa, maybe we should try the Marketplace.” He hurried off toward the collection of shops before the Eyrie could respond, but soon enough she was flying beside him.
“Do you really think we can find enough fruit in time, Chel?”
Chelton stopped, just in front of the Soup Kitchen, and tried to catch his breath. “We have... to try... Vesa,” he panted. “It’s not like a bag of cocoa juppies is going to fall out of the sky.”
“Ew, this soup is disgusting,” the normally kind voice of the Soup Faerie rang out. “We’re never mixing dinner and dessert again.” Her statement was punctuated by a bulky burlap sack sailing out one window of the establishment. Silently, Vesa picked up the bag and pulled it open, revealing several small brown fruits. She and Chelton stared at each other for a moment.
“And it’s not like a million neopoints is going to fall out of the sky!” Vesa suddenly yelled out before eagerly looking above her.
“Nice try,” Chelton said as he hoisted the sack onto his back.
“Maybe one day,” Vesa said with a sigh before grasping her friend within her talons once more.
“You’d have to stop buying all those mellow biscuits.” It seemed like the pair were back at Chelton’s house in no time, which was useful since he had almost no time to whip up his frosting. Fortunately, Vesa was as good at mixing as she was at flying and together the two iced Chelton’s thirteen-layered chocolate upside down cake.
“I wish there was time for a taste but the sun’s already setting,” Vesa sighed as Chelton placed the treat in an enormous plastic case. The Ogrin smiled before handing a small slice to his friend.
“You deserve this after everything you’ve done for me. I don’t know what I’d do without you, Vesa.”
Vesa stared at Chelton, her eyes glowing in the encroaching twilight, before setting the plate on the counter. “I’ll eat it when there’s more time. Let’s go.”
“I thought you were going to be first,” Chelton teased as he latched onto the Eyrie’s talons. She glanced down at him before taking off.
“I think I already am.”