Of Skis, Snow Acaras, and Coconuts
Special thanks to Tammy and Pnk, for all their help and support!
"Hello and Welcome to the Haunted Woods Fairground Coconut Shy!"
Leeroy smiled his best smile, causing the Pink Chia in front of him to take a step back.
"Oh, do I have some Asparagus stuck in my teeth? Beggin' your pardon, Miss, but don't be shy, step up to the Coconut Shy and see if you can knock one of these lovely coconuts off! If you do, you get ten thousand Neopoints and a special prize!"
He held out a ball for the Pink Chia, but she didn't take it. This was one strange Chia, thought Leeroy. She was dressed in a suit and holding a briefcase, hardly the clothing you'd expect someone in the Haunted Woods to wear.
"Leeroy, is it?" asked the Chia.
"Why yes, it is!" exclaimed Leeroy, slightly too enthusiastically.
"Well, Mr. Leeroy, my name is Lolly C. Lee, and you seem a bit overworked, if I do say so myself. I happen to be Executive Vice President of the TMSASR, the Terror Mountain Ski and Snowboard Resorts, and I can offer you a package deal of a lifetime," replied Lolly, opening her briefcase and fishing out several travel brochures.
Leeroy nodded. "Continue..."
"For just fifty-thousand neopoints, you can get yourself a whole Terror Mountain Ski and Snowboard vacation, transportation and hotel room included," continued Lolly, shoving the brochures in Leeroy's hands. Leeroy started flipping through the pages of the brochures, which were filled with pictures of various Neopets on the slopes, skiing and snowboarding or sitting in front of a fireplace sipping hot chocolate.
"You know what, Lolly? I'll take it."
Leeroy reached for a candy tin he kept in the back of his stand and carefully counted out fifty-thousand Neopoints, which he shoved into a bag and handed to Lolly.
"Thank you, Mr. Leeroy, here's your vacation plans," replied Lolly, opening the briefcase and giving Leeroy several sheets of paper, on which were his hotel room number, ski rental number, and emergency information.
Leeroy started to say, "But how did you know I would say-"
"And have a great trip! You'll be taking a boat from Kiko Lake, but how you get to Kiko Lake is none of my responsibility!" said Lolly brightly. "Have a nice trip!"
"Wait, wait!" Leeroy yelled, but Lolly was already gone.
Leeroy sighed. Now that he was going to take a vacation, he'd have to find someone to look after his Coconut Shy for the week.
"Hey, Sidney!" he yelled.
Sidney, the Nimmo working at the scratchcards place, immediately showed up next to him.
"Hello, Leeroy, how can Sssidney be of ssservice for you?" asked Sidney.
"I'll be taking a vacation for the next week, so if you could find someone to take over for me, I'll be very grateful," said Leeroy.
"If you want Sssidney to watch your little ssstand for you while you are away, you will have to pay a price," replied Sidney.
"Fine, Sid, what do you want?"
Sidney walked away from Leeroy's stand that day with several Evil Coconuts and a Terror Mountain Ski and Snowboard brochure, agreeing to watch over the Coconut Shy for the week.
"Well, now that I've gotten that taken care of, I can go to Kiko Lake to catch my boat," he said to himself. Leeroy wasn't too worried about how he would get to Kiko Lake, though.
"Edna!" Leeroy yelled from the bottom of Edna's Tower.
"What do you want, Leeroy?" she asked, showing up at the door.
"I need you to transport me to Kiko Lake," said Leeroy. "Don't forget, you owe me, after you destroyed my Coconut Shy last year."
Edna wasn't exactly too willing to help Leeroy, but it just felt weird to be in debt to him.
Leeroy found himself at Kiko Lake Harbor half an hour later, waiting for his boat.
"Hello, sir, is this where the boat to Terror Mountain is docking?" asked a little Green Kiko.
"Er... I think so," said Leeroy. He hoped he hadn't gotten to the wrong dock. Otherwise, he would miss his boat and would have to take the next ship, which wasn't until tomorrow.
His worries were uncalled for, as a large steamboat pulled up to harbor. The crowd poured into the ship and they soon set off. Leeroy was set for a terrible ship ride, though, as the second the boat pulled out of harbor, he turned queasy and spent the rest of the ride locked in the bathroom.
The ride to Terror Mountain wasn't too long, though. Just a few hours later, they arrived at the land of snow and ice, and Leeroy stumbled down the gangplank, his legs feeling like jelly and almost falling into the sea several times.
"Mr. Leeroy?" asked a Snow Acara approaching him at the dock.
"Yes, that's me," said Leeroy.
"I'm Winter, and I'll be taking you to your hotel today," said the Snow Acara.
"Winter?" asked Leeroy.
"I could easily leave you here at Terror Mountain Harbor to wander around lost, and to waste fifty thousand neopoints!" snapped Winter.
Leeroy quickly said, "Sorry, Winter, didn't mean to offend you."
"Whatever. You'll be taking the mountain stairs, so I sure hope you can walk."
Leeroy, however, wasn't exactly an "in-shape" Quiggle.
"Er, are you sure there aren't any, say, ski lifts?" asked Leeroy, wringing his hands.
"There is, but only if you're willing to pay extra," said Winter.
"Oh... Never mind then. I'll walk."
Leeroy soon regretted his words. The walk up to the top of the mountain was tiring, and Leeroy was soon out of breath.
"How... much... further?" he panted.
Winter observed him amusedly.
"You're only halfway up. Better start getting into shape, huh?"
They continued climbing the stairs, Winter stopping every five seconds for Leeroy to catch up, and Leeroy glancing longingly at the ski lift every minute.
"Hurry it up, Leeroy. If you can't even climb these stairs, there's no way you'll be able to ski and snowboard," ordered Winter.
It took us more than an hour to climb a set of stairs that usually only took ten minutes, thought Winter grumpily, and all because of that out-of-shape coconut Quiggle.
They stopped in front of a large building with pine trees surrounding the entrance. "Terror Mountain Ski and Snowboard Resort" was spelled out in large brass letters and displayed above the door.
"Get inside, Leeroy, your bags weigh a ton," said Winter.
"Stop complaining, Winter," said Leeroy, who, up to then, had kept quiet and let the crabby little Snow Acara complain.
"Fine, if that's how you want it, you can carry your bags. Good luck getting it to your room!"
She tossed Leeroy's suitcase, which was admittedly heavy, at him. Leeroy made an attempt at lifting it, but failed and therefore had to pull it behind him.
His room was nice enough, consisting of a little bed, a desk, and a closet. There was one bathroom and a shower, but that was it.
"Fifty thousand for this... What a rip-off..." Leeroy muttered to himself.
"I heard that," said Winter, who had observed Leeroy's suitcase disaster with amusement. "If you're going skiing, get to the lobby by four. We'll get you a ski instructor."
Leeroy arrived at the lobby at exactly four, dressed in a puffy parka and snow boots. He even had on a fluffy woolen cap and a scarf.
As it turned out, he was the only one in the lobby who wanted to go skiing.
"Hello, students, er, student!" said the ski instructor, a Green Cybunny. "I'm Gen, and I'll be your ski instructor today!"
They headed out to the snow, carrying their skis and ski boots under their arms.
"Now, put on your ski boots and fasten the clasp, like so." Gen snapped on her boots easily, but Leeroy was having a much harder time.
"Um, is this supposed to happen?" His feet were half in the boots, the clasp was half on, and his arms were tangled in the skis.
Gen laughed and helped him put it on properly.
"Now, we're going to ski down the Blue Hill first, as it is the easiest. Don't ask why it's Blue Hill, and not Green Hill or Purple Hill. Now, I'm assuming you've never skiied before...?" said Gen.
Leeroy nodded. Skis were actually pretty easy to use, he found.
At the top of the hill, Gen told him, "Before we go down the hill, I've gotta teach you how to stop."
Leeroy didn't know it, but Winter was actually observing his little ski lesson from the hotel lobby window. She watched as Gen tried to teach him to stop, as he went down the Blue Hill, and as he fell on his face after his first attempt.
This is even better than watching Yooyuball, thought Winter. Only without that annoying Jelly Chia that somehow I always get stuck next to.
"You're doing well, Leeroy. Are you ready for a bigger hill?" asked Gen.
"Sure, why not?" said Leeroy. "Do I get to ride the ski lift?"
Gen laughed again. "Okay, fine, if you really want to."
The two boarded the ski lift and went to the top of a larger hill, which Gen said was named the Snowbunny Hill.
"Remember what I said: always stop slowly. You don't want a sudden stop, or you could fall on your face again."
Although Winter didn't like to admit it, Leeroy was a natural at skiing. The hotel lobby had a panoramic view of the skiers, and she could clearly see the Quiggle skiing with Gen. Then again, it could always be Gen's doing. It was no secret that she was the best instructor in Terror Mountain.
Leeroy and Gen got back to the lobby in a few hours, both covered in snow.
"Hi, Winter! We had a great time skiing!" exclaimed Gen.
"Yeah, I bet I could beat you at skiing now," said Leeroy. His mistake.
"Oh, you think so, do you...?" asked Winter. "Fine, why don't we test it and see? First one down the hill to the Slushie Shop wins."
Leeroy by then had realized what he had just said. "No, no, no, never mind, Winter."
"Oh, no, I insist," said Winter, who was very sure she could beat Leeroy blindfolded with her hands tied behind her back.
"Ready, set, go!"
Winter and Leeroy both skiied as fast as they could, but clearly Leeroy was no match for the Snow Acara. Winter had grown up in Terror Mountain, and skiing was in her blood. She was already at the bottom when Leeroy was still getting past Mika and Carassa's igloo, and when Leeroy finally got to the Slushie Shop, Winter had already gotten a Lime Slushie and was sitting on the benches in front of the shop, waiting for him.
"Geez, that was great, let's race again!" said Winter, enjoying herself greatly.
"Whatever. We're going back to the hotel," muttered Leeroy.
They took the ski lift that time, Leeroy sacrificing some of his treasured neopoints in order to not take the dreaded mountain stairs again.
"How much did she beat you by?" asked Gen, once they were back in the lobby.
Leeroy muttered something unintelligible.
"What'd you say?" asked Gen.
"I was only at Mika and Carassa's igloo," said Leeroy.
Gen nodded knowingly. "Don't worry, maybe you can beat her before you go back to the Haunted Woods."
Leeroy spent the next few days learning to ski. Gen spent day and night, morning and afternoon, teaching Leeroy how to ski. Leeroy was a good skiier, but him beating the Snow Acara was very improbable.
The night before he was supposed to go back to the Haunted Woods, Leeroy walked up to Winter at the front desk.
"I am challenging you to a ski race!"
"Again?" asked Winter, sorting various papers and tossing a crumpled note into the wastebasket.
They stood on top of Terror Mountain again that night, preparing to start their ski race.
"On your mark, get set, GO!"
Leeroy did slightly better that time, but not only was Winter an experienced skiier, she was also a smart one. Instead of skiing down the hill, she stayed at the top and watched as Leeroy sped down the hill.
"Ahaha... works every time..."
At Happy Valley, Leeroy reached the slushie shop first.
"Ha! I won, Winter, I WON!"
Passersby looked curiously at the Quiggle on skis in front of the shop, all ignoring him. Leeroy searched for Winter, but needless to say, couldn't find her.
It wasn't until a Christmas Draik spotted him yelling for Winter did the story come out.
"Looking for Winter, eh? I'm not surprised. Tell me, is this the second time you've challenged her to a ski race?"
Leeroy nodded. The Draik burst into laughter.
"She does that to every vacationer who claims they can beat her at skiing. First time, she beats you silly, the second, she doesn't even start and you end up wandering around Happy Valley yelling for her," laughed the Draik.
Back in the hotel, Winter was enjoying a cup of hot chocolate when Leeroy burst into the lobby, his face tomato red (more from cold than from anger, though) and furious.
"Wasn't that a great race, Leeroy?" asked Winter.
"For you, maybe. Not for me!"
"That'll hopefully teach you not to challenge people unless you know you can win," giggled Winter.
Gen arrived, coming out of the elevator.
"Hey, Leeroy. I see you've gotten back from your race..."
Leeroy merely scowled and tried to take off his ski boots. "If you play this little trick on every vacationer who skis here, I don't see how you're not hated."
"I only play this little trick on pets who think they can out-ski me and gloat about it, namely, you." Winter smiled angelically and unwrapped her scarf from around her neck.
"Hey, that's not-" Leeroy started to say, but Gen cut in.
"You're leaving tomorrow, Leeroy, so you'd better start packing. You don't want to miss your ship," said Winter. "Would you want to go to Happy Valley by yourself, or should I take you?"
"I'll go by myself, thank you very much."
The next morning, Leeroy checked out of the Terror Mountain Ski and Snowboard Resort, his suitcase in one hand and a Terror Mountain Snowglobe in the other. After checking out, he took the ski lift down to Happy Valley. Leeroy somehow managed to lug his suitcase to the harbor, where he found his boat waiting and then boarded.
"I'm home!" Leeroy yelled when he arrived at the Deserted Fairgrounds. Terror Mountain was great and all, but there's no place like home, he thought.
"Welcome back, Leeroy!" yelled Sidney, poking his head out the door of the scratchcards building.
"Hi Sid! How'd it go, looking after my Coconut Shy?"
"Oh, was that my job? Oops..."
Leeroy was in for a big surprise, for when he turned to look at his Shy, he found a pile of wood and a coconut rolling on the ground.