From Above the Dull Clouds
It was a mildly overcast day in Neopia Central – the first in months – and not many Neopets were out and about, taking the weather as an omen. A few Ghost Neopets, with nothing to lose at this point, were wandering the streets in search of goodies stashed away at the bottom of the Money Tree, who was asleep, and the shopkeepers took note of the potential customers, opening their doors to the ghastly faces and eerie pallor of the innocent – and possibly hungry – souls.
Not surprisingly, there were very few ghosts – being the intangible, blue-gray souls they were – actually entering the many shops, but some – for the sake of older times – bothered to spoil themselves, giving up their hard-earned Neopoints for a burger or milkshake.
Inside the food shop, there was one particular table sporting a bountiful feast of burgers, shakes, and chocolate milk glasses shaped like the Money Tree. Sitting at that table were four girls, one of which was a ghost Hissi by the name of Talaarna who was busily munching away at a burger and ignoring her three friends’ odd glares. “Dig in,” she said. “There’s plenty to go around!”
Her friends looked slightly sickened. They liked her – after all, they were basically sisters – but they couldn’t help but wonder about her eating habits. Still chewing a mouthful of food, Talaarna paused and shrugged at her friends. “What?”
The one on the left, a yellow Ogrin named Tessie, smiled and started slurping at a nearby cup of Chomby Juice, ignoring the fact that her digestive system probably couldn’t handle such a beverage without more than a few problems. She randomly blurted out “Potato cakes” before eating a nearby cheeseburger.
The other two, sitting across from Tessie and Talaarna, shrugged. The red Xweetok, who preferred to be called “X”, simply examined the strange screen on her wristwatch, while the Christmas Bori named Tanzie started drinking from a mug of chocolate milk. She smiled, enjoying the drink, and continued to eat, as did the other pets. The pets rapidly downed the feast before being handed the bill, which was passed down among them until it reached Talaarna, who casually examined it before shifting her princess hat a bit and giving the waiter roughly 10,500 Neopoints. The friends, an odd-looking bunch though they may have been, walked out of the store and looked around.
An odd wind began to stir the many leaves of the Money Tree, who awoke with a start. “X” hastily examined her wristwatch before screaming in terror at the sight of a strange spaceship coming down from the clouds.
* * * * *
Ten days earlier, the four friends were wandering around another neighborhood entirely. The Virtupets Space Station wasn’t exactly ‘home’ according to any of them, but they enjoyed it anyway. Of particular interest was X, who quickly began asking around for rumors. She returned only minutes later and joined up with the group. Tanzie turned to look at X. “Found any crazy conspiracy theories this time?”
X looked offended. Her nose rapidly changed to a sneer. “They’re not conspiracy theories, and they’re not crazy. At the most, they’re proof of evidence of aliens outside of our own Neopian system.”
Tanzie rolled her eyes before marching off to look at the Grundo holding chambers – a place she visited if she had any spare time during a typical trip. X and Tessie wandered towards a shady-looking Aisha in search of rumors...
* * * * *
The spaceship didn’t look very large, but it was ominous, to say the least; electricity crackled underneath it and next to it as the clouds in the sky gave way to strange materials that shone despite a lack of sun. The ship slowly floated down to the Money Tree, where it landed. Oddly enough, it was of a light enough material to not harm the Money Tree, or even bend one of its branches. A few ghost Neopets simply stared at the ship with awestruck faces.
Then, suddenly, a hatch opened. It wasn’t simply the stereotypical opening of an alien spaceship hatch, either – there was no smoke. Instead, there was a ring of light that signaled the location of the hatch. The light slowly crept up the sides of the nonexistent door, curling around before meeting each other mid-way through the process. The hatch simply opened at this point, without any further visual effects, and a strange being crept out of it and stared.
* * * * *
Tanzie was busy giving the Grundos in the cages any food she could find, and they were busily gobbling it up, much preferring the taste of Glowing Jelly to the gruel they were fed thrice every day, when she heard a scream of terror. She left most of the food in front of each cage, though a few Grundos went hungry, and desperately vaulted over everything in search of the source, which she only knew was X.
She came to a stop in front of X, who started screaming about an alien invasion starting in ten days. Tanzie just rolled her eyes; what were the odds of that?
* * * * *
The figure turned; her head was a watermelon compared to the rest of her body. Her ear-stalks were unusually short for an Aisha, and given the proportions of her head to her body, the four friends could only assume she was a baby Aisha who probably wasn’t even quite sure of where she had landed. The baby Aisha hopped off of the top of the Money Tree after activating a ladder back to her ship, and she walked right up to a ghost Hissi wearing a pink dress and princess hat. “Hi!”
The Aisha smiled slightly as she said the word, considering it a ‘friendly word’, and then turned to the other three and repeated the word several times over to each of them. Since she had their attention, she then asked them all one simple question. “My name Blualun; you befriend me?”
She gave the four an adorably innocent stare, but none of them were quite sure what to make of it. It could’ve been a peace offering from a young ambassador, or it could’ve been a trap. Tessie was the first to respond. “Do you like cheesecake?”
The baby Aisha named Blualun frowned a little. “What’s cheesecake?”
Tessie smiled and picked up a bag that she had been carrying around for no clear reason. She offered it to the baby Aisha, who began sniffing at it, then leapt inside and ate a cheesecake that Tessie had packed for the sake of trying to reason with the alien invaders. Minutes later, when the cheesecake had been eaten up, the baby Aisha hopped out of the bag – which was rather large – and smiled. She opened her mouth to answer Tessie’s question. “Yes!”
Tessie smiled back. “Then my answer’s yes, too.”
Blualun nearly did a backwards somersault when she heard the answer. She pulled out a radio which she kept in a satchel on her back and started talking in an alien language. A voice replied on the other end, and three more spaceships slowly sank through the dull gray sky.
X looked slightly depressed. “Not exactly an invasion, so much as a visit... Ah well; a few new friends couldn’t hurt.”