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Please Leave Money in Jar


by sunshine_nine9

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Wandering through Geraptiku one afternoon (that afternoon after you finally escaped the deserted tomb), you stumble across a small tape recorder. Curious, your neopet picks it up and presses play. There's a grainy noise, and then a monotone voice starts to whisper...

     "3:30 pm NST, seventh day at Geraptiku. Today I will explore the petpet store; tonight will be a stake out." Here there is a pause, and a distant yell is heard in the recording, "No, no, put the tent in the bag this way... Yes, yes, that's it..." Then the whispering voice continues, “We have been exploring the ins and outs of this mysterious abandoned place for a week now, hoping to discover some of its hidden secrets...

     "Leaving camp, I walk through the empty huts of extinct natives. Yesterday my team and I made a chart of all of the huts and their contents; for reference, look to tape 12. It is believed that no one is living in Geraptiku at the present time, and no one comes here except to explore. This cannot be true, though; the petpet shop cannot be deserted like the rest of this place! I have considered it, and when you look at it plainly, you see that someone must collect the neopoints used in purchasing the petpets.

     "I have made it to the store, which is a tall tower-like structure with vines creeping along the rough stone work. A thatch roof is topping it, like all of the buildings here except for the tomb. Going through a small door, which I must crouch to walk through, my being a Grarrl for the record, I find a cloth tied to sticks with one supporting it so that it stands. Or perhaps... perhaps they're bones? Either way, the stained cloth says, 'Please leave money in jar.'"

     There's another pause here, in which you and your neopet decide to sit down and listen to this expedition play out. The enticing voice again begins, "After examining the interior of the store, I find nothing more of interest except for a few bales of hay, presumably for feed, a small pile of bones, not very surprising as the place is scattered with them, and a jar next to the sign. This jar currently has about 2,000 neopoints in it. Decidedly I shall not disturb them, for whoever owns this store must eat too, correct?" A pause, a distant direction from the Grarrl to his exploration crew, "Eric, move that leaf a bit lower... there, that hides the stake out spot," and then he returns.

     “The inside of the store is lofty and cold, no floor except dirt, like the rest of the huts around Geraptiku. Listening carefully, you can hear yips and yelps of petpets from here, so I shall explore further and find them. Certainly they won’t be newly discovered, they are probably widely circulated around Neopia with this shop...

     "There is yet another door in the back of the tower, which leads to two hutches and a barred pit. From outside of the hutch I can see some indistinct shapes, small ones, so they must be petpets..." a small whistle, "Here they come! Now, would you look at them! One has a multi-colored beak with navy blue... feathers? But four talons. Interesting. Another is bright blue with yellow markings... Here is one with a skull on its face... What's under that mask of yours, little fellow?" A small scuffle can be heard, and finally a yelp of pain!

     "These petpets... are... Yow! obviously fighters... Approach with caution. Now I shall look down into the pit with the branches tied over it in a grid... Carefully... Ah! There is something like a Hissi down there, with bright blue feathers adorning its head, and a rather small petpet with a gold patch, like a gem, on its forehead! It has red and white fur... I shall lean a little farther to see --" A gasp, a yell, and then the tape apparently stops. A little uneasy, you look to your neopet with an anxious face. Will the tape continue?

     You begin to get up, disappointed and a little depressed, when again a grainy noise is heard from the tape recorder. Slamming back down onto the seat, you and your pet begin to listen intently to the rather unsteady voice that continues the story...

     "Thank you, Margie, Eric. To bring up the current time, it is 7:55 pm NST. I fell face forward into the petpet pit, so to speak, and my crew has thus rescued me from the merciless beaks, claws, and teeth of the feisty little creatures! Some were just playing, I grant you, but some... Like I said before, approach with caution. To describe the pit, there were a few piles of bones and some wooden planks put at strange angles, providing the petpets some living space and shelter.

     "The stakeout begins now. My crew have made a small covered bunker... The sun is setting low over the landscape, the trees are blowing and swaying in a brisk breeze, temperatures are plummeting, and the sky is finally starting to blacken. From here we can see the inside of the shop perfectly, and we are awaiting the sign of a shopkeeper! I will check in every so often to inform on the stake out.”

     “Checking in, 10:10 pm NST. No appearance. Quite dark now, no sun, and it is freezing!” You can hear chattering teeth. "Margie, give me that extra blanket!" A distant, "No, you already have three!"

     “Checking in, 11:25 pm NST. Eric has put on some night-vision goggles and is looking at the store. Still no sign of the shopkeeper, but there have been some very frightening sounds! No wonder nobody comes here at night...”

     “Checking in, 12:40 pm NST. Still no shopkeeper... Please, Margie? Just one more? Just ONE!"

     "Wait – What is that, Eric? – Can you see that shadow, Margie?” The shopkeeper?! You lean in close to the recorder, you and your neopet hanging on a thread, waiting to hear the next words... Still no noise... Until after what seems like ages you hear, “We’re going closer... The shadow is inside the store, near the sign! Which means near the money jar!”

     “Hello, sir. Are you the shopkeeper here?" Silence... "Er, H-E-L-AHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!” The two of you jump in surprise and fear. If there was more on the tape, you will never know. Your pet, who was holding it, tossed it in front of them in fright, and it shattered. From behind you there is a growl, and only turning your head slightly, you see the petpet store. Screaming, you book out of Geraptiku, your neopet hard on your heels.

     ---

     The next day you are ready to leave Mystery Island. You pay for the trip back to Neopia Central and board the boat with your neopet, who starts talking to another passenger. They have an old edition of the Neopian Times in their hands, and you ask if you can see it. There is a strange picture on the front...

     “Grarrl Explorer and Team Come Up Missing...” Your eyes widen, and you show it to your neopet. Looking up, you see that the passenger that gave it to you is gone. Wasn’t it a Grarrl?

The End

 
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