Deck the Halls and See What Happens
Up on the topmost peak of Terror Mountain, in a small house with two other Neopets in it, a Kougra named Neigeua sat and waited for something bad to happen.
He sighed, and picked up his worn-out copy of Slugawoo Adventures, preparing to read it to his little sister again—when suddenly, he heard a screeching, grating noise.
It could only mean one thing.
“SYMILON!” he cried, rushing out of the house and looking immediately up to the roof, where the forest-colored Eyrie sat, dangling a very irate Stego off the gutter. “PUT HIM DOWN!”
His younger adopted brother gave him a lazy, arrogant grin, which within three days of knowing him had become the bane of his existence, and chuckled to himself. Without relinquishing his hold on the Tyrannian Petpet, he called down, “Relax, he can fly!”
With that, he dropped the Stego, who landed with a loud THUMP into a snowdrift. Neigeua raised an eyebrow and sighed. “Oh yeah, great job. Anything else you want to toss off the roof—wait, don’t answer that,” he finished as the Eyrie jumped down primly from the roof and stretched his wings.
“Well, what do you want, Niv-Niv?”
Neigeua winced. “I TOLD you, as I’ve told the other two members of this family, to NEVER CALL ME THAT, EVER.”
Symilon laughed uproariously and shook his feathered head. “Man, Mom must hate you or something! What a stupid nickname!”
Neigeua snarled quietly to himself. It wasn’t HIS fault his mother forgot his name after skipping past him in the Pound. It wasn’t HIS fault that she had stated, quite clearly in fact, to Rose, “I want the green Kougra... yes, Niv-Niv or something...”
The name had stuck.
He was about to leap at Symilon, when he remembered something.
“Okay, Lon-Lon, well, that’s alright then, isn’t it?” he jeered, watching the Eyrie’s face turn to flint.
“Oh, you’re SO dead.” The feathered Neopet leapt at the Kougra, who snarled in turn, and the two began playfighting on the grass, each calling each other nasty names and taking the odd swipe at each other.
The young Bori sighed, and adjusted her scarf, calling to her brother’s Petpet. “Come on, Fritz,” she said softly, as the young Altachuck climbed up her scarf to sit on her head, chattering away in a mewling tone.
She went outside, and stood over the howling, shrieking cacophony of fur and feathers, before calling out, “Mommy said we had to decorate the house for Christmas.”
Instantly, the two stopped. “Grezande... are you serious?” Symilon asked. The Christmas Bori nodded her head slowly, nails clicking together nervously.
“Uh-huh. She said we need to get the tree and the lights all ready.”
Neigeua preened himself happily. Finally! His time was here—as the oldest, he would take charge and shine! “Alright then,” he called out jovially, “Zan-Zan, you can go and get the ornaments out of the attic. Symilon, you can—“
The Eyrie stopped. “NO WAY!” he said, standing his ground.
Neigeua rolled his eyes. “You don’t even know what I’ve asked yet—“
“I’M TWO MONTHS OLD, YOU CAN’T TELL ME WHAT TO DO, YOU DON’T OWN ME!”
Neigeua wanted to scream. “No,” he said through clenched teeth, “but Ari does, and she left me in charge, so by all rights of in loco parentis, I AM IN CHARGE.”
Symilon stared blankly at him. “What was that last part? You’re a locomotive?”
Neigeua put his head in his paws. “...Just go get a tree. NOW, Symilon.”
The Eyrie shrugged, and with a muttered, “Whatever...” lofted off into the sky to find a tree worthy of the household.
Neigeua padded inside to check his sister’s progress, and as he’d expected, she was cowering in the corner, hiding from the Spyder perched on the door to the attic. He rolled his eyes.
Baby or not, Grezande was terrified of her own shadow. He didn’t know where she got it from; the rest of the family plunged fearlessly into disaster—which should be evident, considering the teenager who raised them was certifiably insane.
“Zan-Zan, come on. We’ll get the lights together,” he said soothingly, before wishing dearly his mother would get that Tasu for her. She needed someone to bring her out of her shell.
“...Okay...” She watched as he took the Spyder and brushed it outside, before taking Fritz and following him up the steps.
The mixed combination of soft paws and clawed feet resounding on the floor made a comfortable rhythm on the floor as the two reached the attic. With a bit of shuffling and delicate handling, the two grabbed the box of Christmas decorations, labeled in a half-legible hand, and started down the stairs with the large box.
All was peaceful, and Neigeua sighed. Perfect. Fantastic. All he needed was for Symilon to return with the tree, and then—
A shrieking CRASH was heard downstairs. With a childish shriek, Grezande let go of her end of the box, and with the amount of heavy objects in the box, Neigeua went tumbling down the steps backwards before crashing at the foot of the stairs. The box had upturned on him, and as he moved, Grezande screamed, “IT’S THE BOX MONSTER! SYMILON, HELP ME!”
The Eyrie, hearing his baby sister’s cries, leapt eagerly into action, taking his large, clawed paw and slamming it down on the box.
The Bori clattered down the steps and nuzzled her brother, shivering and shaking. “It came out of nowhere—and... and... IT ATE NIV-NIV!”
The Eyrie, who had known exactly who that box monster was, said nothing, but his wings shook in the attempt not to laugh. “I know it did, Zan-Zan. Let’s try to get Niv-Niv out of the box.”
The Kougra curled up in the box shook his head. “I am going to kill him,” he thought, before Symilon lifted the book off of him. And he would’ve, if Grezande hadn’t hugged him tightly, and shrieked, “Oh, I’m so glad you’re okay, Niv-Niv!”
As it was, he decided instead to fantasize about putting the Eyrie into a pie as he untangled himself from the mass of lights.
“Okay. Grezande, you’ll work on the tree. I’ll work on the wreaths and miscellaneous stuff, and Symilon, you’ll do the outside lights. Okay?” The other two nodded, and set off on their tasks, as Neigeua sighed.
Finally. Peace and quiet.
Fritz followed his master around the house, making brr-up noises of encouragement as he hung the wreaths and placed the small baubles and trinkets on the coffee tables scattered about the house.
He stood back, and admired his work. He had finished, and finished beautifully. “What do you think, Fritz? Should we check on Symilon, too?”
“Brr-up,” the Altachuck said, before nodding. Neigeua picked him up and padded down the stairs, passing Grezande and observing her progress first.
“...The tinsel, in hindsight, should’ve gone on after the lights, right?” he asked the Bori, who shook her thick white fur.
“Maybe. You think Mommy will notice?”
He stared at the tree, with its entangled strands of lights and garland knotting together garishly on the tree’s boughs, and decided to lie.
“Oh, of course not,” he said, as Grezande brightened up and picked up a box of ornaments.
He shook his head, and opened the door, looking up at Symilon.
“...Symilon... I don’t think Mom will be thrilled about the whole ‘use-the-lights-to-signal-aliens’ motif you’ve got going on,” he muttered. The Eyrie shook his head.
“Are you crazy?! She’ll love it! Who wouldn’t like ‘KRELUDORIAN SPACESHIPS LAND HERE’ across their lawn?”
Neigeua searched his face and saw he was completely serious.
He merely sighed, and shook his head before heading back it. Not his problem, not his problem, not his—
“NIV-NIV, THE SPYDER CAME BACK AND IT WANTS TO EAT ME!”
Okay, that was his problem.
After finally assuring Grezande that the Spyder did not, in fact, want to eat her, Neigeua looked at the large, overstuffed couch in the corner of the living room.
He could take a nap... after all... Symilon... would... handle... things...
The Kougra collapsed on the couch and began to snore heartily.
He awoke to his Altachuck staring him in the face, brr-uping in a frenzied tone. He blinked roughly, and mumbled, “What’s up, Fritz?”
The Altachuck pointed to the living room. Neigeua immediately shot up and sprinted out, already knowing whatever it was, it wasn’t good.
Indeed, it wasn’t.
“But... but... Lon-Lon, you can fly. Why do I have to put the star on the tree?”
The Eyrie gave his sister his trademark lazily arrogant grin. “Oh, no reason. I just think that you, being the youngest, should be the one to put the star on the tree.” The Bori, who adored both her brothers and couldn’t even consider the fact that Symilon would want to do something like scare her, nodded happily.
“Alright,” the Eyrie said, “get up on my back, and I’ll lift you up.” The young Neopet clambered up onto his back, and as the two rose up to grab the tree, Neigeua burst into the room.
“NOOOOO!” he roared, startling Grezande. The Bori shrieked, and knocked Symilon off balance, and as the Eyrie grabbed the tree for support, the two came tumbling down, taking the tree with them.
As Neigeua stared in horror, adding insult to injury, the star fell down on top of the tree, landing perfectly on the point.
The teenager sighed, pulling her jacket closer to her as she walked up the mountain trail flecked with snowy trees leading to her house. She noticed a glow, and tromped towards it, expecting to see the house perfectly decorated as she’d asked.
She paused, and read the lights. “...Kreludorian Spaceships Land Here,” she said out loud, breath turning to smoke in the air.
Did she really want to go inside?
She shrugged, and opened the door.
“You IDIOT!” Neigeua fumed at his brother. “YOU KNOCKED THE TREE OVER! WHAT DO YOU HAVE TO SAY FOR YOURSELF?!”
The Eyrie shrugged. “...It... was a good tree. It will be missed,” Symilon said solemnly.
Neigeua’s eye twitched. “When Mom gets home, you are going to be in so much trouble—“ he started, before the door opened.
Said ‘mother’ stood on the threshold. She looked at the fallen tree, and then at her Neopets, before looking back at the tree.
“...It was the box monster,” Grezande blurted out.
Ari raised an eyebrow.
“Well... considering I have to do my homework, you are going to be the ones cleaning this up... and starting all over again, of course. As cool as those lights are, we need something more festive.”
Neigeua stared at her for a second.
A moment later, a hysterical scream rocked the house, as the Kougra collapsed on the floor and began giggling maniacally, rocking back and forth and sobbing as he laughed.
“...Do... do we poke him with a stick?” Symilon asked. Ari shrugged.
“Eh, let him be.”
The other two pets sighed, and started work on the tree again, as their owner filed her nails and stared down at her Kougra.
“...Merry Christmas,” she muttered.
(Somewhere up on the moon of Kreludor...)
“Hey, look!” the robot said, pointing down at Neopia. “The house clearly states ‘LAND HERE!’ “
“We’re not stopping!” the other robot snapped.
“Not even to blow it up?”
Another disaster averted... in exchange for the much more daunting task of decorating the tree again, of course.
But that is another story, for another time.