Voice of the Neopian Pound Circulation: 170,058,278 Issue: 390 | 1st day of Hunting, Y11
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Rusting Window


by distruptive

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It was a gentle evening breeze, with leaves rustling and petals falling gracefully to the ground. Shenkuu had not seen such a beautiful night for twenty years. Kreludor hung high in the sky, beaming outwards in the velvet coating of the evening. Neopets everywhere were rejoicing the start of a new year.

     Every Neopet, but one.

     Hayley, a yellow Kyrii, sat in her room, holding her precious diamond locket in her hand. The diamond locket was the most important thing in her life. She looked out of her rusting iron window and sighed. Fireworks flew into the air and burst into shades of brilliant colours. Dancing in Kreludor’s light were faeries and faerie painted neopets. Maraquan neopets swam in the waters, jumping out every now and then to show off. Everyone was happy.

     “Happy New Year, Hayley,” she said to herself.

     This year was going to be different, she decided. She was going to finally achieve her dream of becoming a royal Kyrii. Her owner, Mika, wasn’t rich, and didn’t have the best Neohome in the world for Hayley. Just a plain white walled room, with the rusting window. So of course Hayley would have to earn the paint brush herself.

     “Quite a silly idea, Hayley,” said Mika at breakfast the following day. “I don’t know how you’re going to do it.” She frowned slightly. “And the money you earn should go towards the family, of course.”

     Hayley belonged to a large family of four neopets and Mika. She had two sisters, Queenie and Ingrid, plus a brother called Sam. Queenie was a royal Cybunny; Mika had spent ages saving up for her and painted her with pride. It had taken Mika a year, but Queenie was worth it. Sam was a snow Blumaroo - the snow paint brush a present from one of Mika’s friends. Ingrid was also a Kyrii, like Hayley, but speckled. She was very posh and thought of herself as royalty without the paint brush. Queenie was different; kind, warm, loving.

     “Let me do it, please,” Hayley pleaded. “I’ve wanted this for so long.”

     Mika sighed. “All right.”

     That was more than enough reason for Hayley to get started straight away. She knew she had a secret golden job coupon hidden away in her only chest of drawers, along with her diamond locket, so she retrieved it and rushed off to the employment agency, excited.

     “How can I help you?” A kind Lupe asked, smiling.

     “I’d like to apply for a job, please,” Hayley said, showing her coupon. She was immediately offered plenty of jobs, and took the first one she saw. Find four green lupe plushies.

     Luckily she found three of the four pretty easily. It was just the fourth she was having trouble with, and she only had ten minutes left - it would take her five minutes to travel back to Faerieland. She was getting desperate - this was her only job coupon. She won it on the wheel of knowledge.

     Queenie appeared by her side suddenly, grinning. She handed a green lupe plushie to Hayley. “I knew I had one lying around somewhere. Now get cracking back to the agency!”

     Hayley managed to reach her destination with three minutes to spare. The Lupe, who was called Borgarigmus, waved her in. “My, my, you were lucky!” He took the plushies from her and paid her as a reward. “Great for a first timer. Remember, you only have a silver job coupon now.”

     She hardly caught the end of the sentence as she stared at her reward. She thought, perhaps, she would get 1000 NP. Not 105,786 NP! Already she felt powerful. Hayley told her family the good news, giving Mika 5,786 NP out of her fund to be polite.

     “Hmm.” Mika was quiet. “Thanks, Hayley. 100,000 NP to your fund after one day.” What Hayley didn’t know, was that Mika was terribly jealous of her fast earning skills. Mika wanted Ingrid to be royal as well.

     Day after day Hayley slaved away, and after eleven days she had a grand total of 706,994 NP. But that was when her job coupon ran out.

     Borgarigmus shrugged at her apologetically. “I’d like to help you with more jobs, but the basic ones only pay 10,000 NP and are hard to get. Still...” He paused, rooted around his desk and handed something to Hayley. “Sell it,” he said sternly, then turned away to talk to someone about a job they were doing.

     It was a snow paint brush, worth 110,000 NP. Hayley sold it easily, and was now at 817,000 NP. (Queenie chipped in the extra 6 NP). If she could just get 900,000 more, she’d have her dream.

     She vowed to play games every day.

     ***

     It was the month of Celebrating, and the day after the Day of Giving. Despite the wonderful presents she’d been given by her family, and the kind Lupe at the job agency who she was still in touch with as she did the basic job every now and then, the diamond locket was still the most important item in her life. She held it every night as she fell asleep, and it soothed her dreams into ones of her dancing around in a blue frock with turquoise hair.

     After the months of playing games, she had 1,689,045 NP. Almost enough, but not quite. She was still working hard, determined to paint herself royal on New Year. Queenie supported her.

     “You’re almost there! Just 50,000 NP to go!” she cried, hugging Hayley close. “Your dream is about to come true.”

     Hayley beamed. “I know... it just is amazing.”

     Sam and Ingrid were pleased for her as well. Mika seemed happy, but Hayley just wasn’t sure about something. Mika, who Hayley gave some of her earnings to, always seemed to be in thought, and did actually have 168,000 NP from Hayley. She could donate to Hayley.

     “But you’ve worked so hard!” Mika exclaimed. “I can’t just give the money to you.”

     Hayley grinned. “It’s my money! I worked for it. Please?”

     Mika laughed and handed it over. “Go on, then, Hayley, go buy a royal paint brush.”

     For second Hayley stared at her neopoints. 1,857,045 NP. She instantly gave back 107,045 NP to Mika, then ran all the way to the Hidden Tower. She knew her way. She’d been there plenty of times to just stare at the royal paint brushes. Fyora greeted her as she skipped inside.

     “Come to gaze at them again, Hayley?” she asked softly. “Maybe you could ask your owner...? No, my apologies, Mika isn’t rich.”

     “Mika isn’t, but I am!” Hayley shrieked, unable to contain her excitement any longer. “I have enough, Fyora, look!”

     Fyora looked, took the neopoints, and blessed Hayley with the gift of a royal paint brush.

     Looking at it, the brush set on the delicate cushion, Hayley felt as though nothing could make her day more than this. She travelled slowly back home in a daze, clutching her paint brush protectively. The Rainbow Pool was closed now as it was the evening but tomorrow Hayley would be a new neopet, stretching out and showing off her crown. Maybe even for once wearing her diamond locket.

     She fell asleep that night, the paint brush in her chest of drawers, but she for once held her diamond locket, feeling the shiny stone rub against her cheek.

     “Tomorrow I shall be royal...” Hayley murmured, then was out for the count, mumbling math nightmare questions in her sleep.

     The next morning she overslept. She yawned, blinked a few times then remembered.

     “Oh my meepit!” Hayley shouted, then rushed to her drawer, thrusting it open in delight. “I can’t wait - what?’ Her tone rapidly changed when she saw the contents of her drawer. She felt a sinking feeling in her stomach, and her good mood disappeared.

     It was empty. The royal paint brush was gone.

     At that precise moment Ingrid danced into room, twirling, laughing. She was a royal Kyrii.

     “Thanks for changing your mind!” Ingrid giggled. “I am so happy! Mika said you told her you didn’t want to be a royal Kyrii anymore and wanted to give it to me!” She gave Hayley a hug, then stopped enough to catch her face. “What’s wrong?”

     “I didn’t,” Hayley whispered. Hayley hadn’t said that to Mika. Mika just made that up and used Hayley’s hard work for her own good. All the support she’d given was fake; Mika being in thought all that time was her figuring out how to steal Hayley’s paint brush and use it on Ingrid.

     Ingrid didn’t hear her. Sam and Queenie burst in. “Oh Hayley, you were so nice to do that for Ingrid,” Sam gushed.

     Hayley didn’t look any of them in the eye as Mika walked in.

     “Hayley, well done on earning that royal paint brush,” said Mika. “And to give it to Ingrid is so nice. You can have your pick of tonight’s meal.”

     She gasped with the unfairness of it all. The others didn’t sense her anguish and carried on talking until they went down for lunch, all happy and satisfied.

     There was nothing left for Hayley to do but clutch at her golden locket and cry onto her pillow.

     ***

     It was a gentle evening breeze, with leaves rustling and petals falling gracefully to the ground. Shenkuu had not seen such a beautiful night for twenty years. Kreludor hung high in the sky, beaming outwards in the velvet coating of the evening. Neopets everywhere were rejoicing the start of a new year.

     Every Neopet, but one.

     Hayley, a yellow Kyrii, sat in her room, holding her precious diamond locket in her hand. The diamond locket was the most important thing in her life. She looked out of her rusting iron window and sighed. Fireworks flew into the air and burst into shades of brilliant colours. Dancing in Kreludor’s light were faeries and faerie painted neopets. Maraquan neopets swam in the waters, jumping out every now and then to show off. Everyone was happy.

     “Happy New Year, Hayley,” she said to herself.

     This year was going to be different, she decided. She was going to finally achieve her dream of escaping from her owner.

     An impossible dream for a Neopet? Or was some there hope?

The End

 
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