Saving the Wheels
The summer afternoon was calm in the suburbs of Neopia Central until a Christmas Mynci came running home to meet his older sisters with news of great importance.
“Croy! Kitthie! I’ve got something to tell you!” Cheikz exclaimed at the Chia and Wocky who were basking in the sun.
His immediate older sister, Kitthie, immediately sat up and blurted out, “The Altador Committee realised they made a mistake with calculations and Maraqua actually won the Altador Cup!” A big grin crossed her face. She gave a high-five to her sister, who struck her left arm up to instigate the expression of triumph.
A puzzled look crossed Cheikz’s face. “No,” he slowly began, “the Wheels of Neopia are in trouble! We’ve got to save them!”
“Oh,” Kitthie replied before lying back down to continue sun bathing.
This wasn’t the reply Cheikz was hoping for; the Wheels of Neopia were great fun, for all who could access them. Cheikz and his sisters didn’t live in a land with a Wheel, but when they occasionally visited other lands, they were sure to take a spin on the local Wheel. Cheikz was the baby of the family, seen by others as a little kid. He wanted to take that tag off. By saving the Wheels of Neopia, he’d be recognised, honoured and respected by the whole of Neopia. It seemed like quite a task, but he and his sisters have done some pretty wild things in their time.
He subsequently told his sisters all this and they listened. The girls considered what their brother said about the Wheels of Neopia being hijacked. A villain must have captured the Wheels stopping them from being in service, he told.
“We’re going to need some food, weapons, and super cool outfits for the trip. This is going to be so exciting,” the previously cynical Kitthie informed as the siblings were all gearing up for their quest.
“Let’s just wear comfortable clothing, but we will need some weapons. I’ll see what we have,” Croy, the oldest and order of the siblings said.
Hence, the kids got all they needed or wanted, and headed out.
They were three kids on a mission, walking coolly through the streets. Cheikz: the boy in the middle, stern face, clenched fist, rugged walk, nothing can stop a man on a mission. Croy: the white haired girl on the right, straight face, free walk, she just wanted this done and over with. Kitthie: on the left, bright happy face, a bouncy walk, she liked the questioning eyes of the public.
“Ouch! Who put that rock there?” Kitthie muffled through the dirt. She had tripped and fallen face flat. “This is embarrassing. My khaki trousers, white shirt... all ruined. I have to go back and change.” She got up and dusted herself off.
Cheikz was angry that the fall ruined their whole mo-jo, but instead he said, “No Kitthie, we’ll be messy anyway from the fight with those horrid creatures from the dark with no feelings just sheer malice that have hijacked the Wheels.” He said that part with intent. Pulling her along, he added, “Let’s go! We’ve got to get to Brightvale before sundown.”
“I prefer Meridell,” Kitthie said, beginning to look uncertain as they walked the path to the Wheel of Knowledge. “Meridell is less mysterious; this place makes me feel uneasy with its uncertainness.”
“Is uncertainness even a word?” Croy asked.
Still in the lead, Cheikz hissed at his sisters, “Shhh, keep your voices down. We don’t want to look like rascals. What if the king is looking?”
“Oh right, the king. I’ve got to get to the castle to see the huge library there and all those books,” Croy replied.
They finally approached the Wheel of Knowledge. The Wheel keeper, a Green Draik, greeted them.
“The Wheel looks different,” Kitthie whispered to Croy who nodded.
“We have come to save the Wheel of Knowledge from turmoil,” Cheikz stated boldly with a sturdy blue sword held out.
The Green Draik looked amused. “Well, children, the Wheel of Knowledge was the first Wheel of Neopia to be saved. It looks like you are too late, though the other Wheels could still be in trouble.”
“I see.” Cheikz looked disappointed. “What Neopian villain has hijacked the Wheels?”
“Villain?” the Draik questioned. “There is no...”
He was cut off by Croy, who began pushing her siblings out. “I’ve got to go find a place to stay before night time. Thank you for your time, kind sir,” she said waving goodbye to the Draik who smiled and waved back.
“Croy! He was about to say who the villain was,” Cheikz whined. “We need to be prepared for them.”
“We’re already prepared. It’s getting late and we need to find a place to rest,” she said matter-of-factly.
Cheikz’s reply was a childish groan. He then turned his attention to their next destination. “So the next Wheel we need to head to is...”
“The closest one to Brightvale, which would be...”
“...erm, guys...” With her paw up as if to ask a question, Kitthie interrupted her siblings’ discussion. “Isn’t that...” She then gulped.
“Yes, Kitthie,” Croy replied. “It’s the Wheel of Misfortune, in the Haunted Woods.”
Three scared kids, one utterly terrified, walked through the Haunted Woods, grasping each other tight.
“I-I h-hate t-this p-p-p-lace,” Kitthie stammered through chattering teeth.
“Argh!” Croy yelled, as a ghost Meepit brushed past her. “Me too,” she cried, holding on tighter to her siblings.
“You’d think it’d be less scary during the day. It’s not.”
With a sigh, Cheikz informed his sisters, “We don’t want to attract any attention, like in Brightvale. This time, it isn’t about reputation; it’s about staying alive. Look, the Deserted Fairground is up ahead. Just lay low.” He broke away from their grasp.
Past the eerie Castle of Eliv Thade, past the hideous Brain Tree and numerous spooky petpets, they finally made their way to the open gates of the Deserted Fairground.
“Why do they call it deserted anyway; aren’t there game keepers working there?” Kitthie curiously, yet worriedly, asked.
“Who knows? The whole place is sort of deserted. Only zombies and ghosts live here,” Croy replied. The sisters gripped each other even tighter. “Just like the Wheel to be all the way at the end of the fairground. We’ll have to go past all those spooky attractions
“Well, let’s just go in and get this done and over with,” Cheikz said as he began walking in. He felt a cold presence around him. He looked back to see his sisters still clutched tight at the gates. “What are you doing? Come in,” he ordered, irritated.
“I’m trying to, but Kitthie here is frozen stiff.” Kitthie’s face was pale, eyes wide, and she wouldn’t let go of Croy. “You’ll have to go in yourself, sorry.”
“O-okay,” Cheikz replied unsurely. He then continued on his way to the Wheel of Misfortune.
The cool brush of invisible ghosts, raspy voices of game keepers asking him to come and have a go, those were some of the things that made Cheikz’s walk to the Wheel of Misfortune uncomfortable. He got to the wheel to see no Wheel keeper there. The Wheel looked even scarier than what he was told by brave visitors. Suddenly, a dark figure moved in the shadows.
“Who’s there?” he called.
There was no reply. Cheikz couldn’t put up a brave front anymore. There was something there that he couldn’t see, something that could come out and pounce on him anytime soon.
“Argh!” he screamed. He raced out of the fairground to meet his sisters. “Run!”
“I thought you said we shouldn’t make any noise,” Kitthie stated, now conscious and running front of the pack.
“We’ve got to get out of here. I don’t trust this place. Besides, the boat for Tyrannia leaves soon.” He tried not to sound hypocritical, and scared.
The kids sensed a smell of the past filling the Tyrannian air as they strolled through the prehistoric land. Cheikz spotted a blue Lupe and went to ask him for directions.
“We is lookin’, searchin’, for big wheel -” Cheikz was cut off by Croy.
“Use uggas,” she whispered to him.
“Oh right, thanks,” he replied. “We is lookin’ ugga, for ugga ugga wheel circle thing. Ugga.” He spoke with exaggerated hand gestures.
“The Wheel of Mediocrity you mean? Why, that’s right over there.” The blue Lupe pointed opposite him at the dull Wheel.
“Thank ugga you ugga ugga much,” Cheikz replied with a slow nod and smile; then the kids headed to the Wheel.
“I can feel the dullness already,” Kitthie said as they arrived at the Wheel of Mediocrity.
The Wheel looked different, but they hadn’t noticed. The keeper seemed so bored, the whole aura of the place was bland; it didn’t make some favour the place.
“We’re here to save the Wheel of Mediocrity,” Cheikz said, not bothering to bring his sword out.
“Save the Wheel of Mediocrity? Why would anyone want to do that? We were lucky enough to have the society help us,” the keeper said in a dragged voice.
“Oh, you’ve already been saved. Well, we’ll be off,” Cheikz said.
“You don’t want to take a spin? Or stick around for a while?”
“Nah, we’ve got places to go.”
The journey up to the Plateau wasn’t so bad. It was rocky and dusty, but to the kids, nothing was worse than the Haunted Woods. The Wheel of Monotony was close by, so they got there quickly. They didn’t understand what the keeper was saying but figured that this Wheel didn’t need saving either, it didn’t look like it was in trouble. It looked spiffy and all done up. The second day of their journey had started to go dark, so it was time they lay down for the night. They set up camp with the people who were waiting for concert tickets to be available.
“Now how are we meant to get all the way up there?” Kitthie asked her siblings, who were also looking up at Faerieland in the skies.
They luckily found a bottled Fire Faerie and as a thank you for releasing her from the glass prison, the Faerie transported the kids to Faerieland. On the cloud land, the kids walked uncertainly, scared they could fall straight through. This was only reason they didn’t like going to Faerieland. That and Jhudora.
“Welcome, kiddies, to the Wheel of Excitement! Neopia’s most popular Wheel! Each spin only costs 500 Neopoints,” the Light Faerie Wheel keeper said enthusiastically.
“500 Neowhat? Okay, what is going on here? All the Wheels look like different, you and the other keepers look like you’ve been painted with some sort of fancy Paint Brush; the prices to spin have all changed. Why aren’t you in trouble?” Cheikz fumed.
The Light Faerie was set aback. “Didn’t you hear about the Save the Wheels campaign?”
“Yes, we did.” He gestured to his sisters, who were shading their eyes from the Light Faerie; how her brightness didn’t affect Cheikz, they didn’t know. It probably showed how determined he was. “That’s why we came here, to save the Wheels from trouble.”
“I really don’t know what you’re talking about. The Neopian Conservation Society set up the campaign to revamp all the Wheels as they started to get stale. Things have to change,” she explained to them.
“Oh, I see.” Cheikz felt like crying. Then he shook the emotion of failure from his body. “Well, girls,” he said, turning around to his sisters, anger in his eyes, “we need to pay the Neopian Conservation Society a little visit.”
The office doors slammed open. The doodling red Lenny looked up to see three nervous faces and one furious one.
“I tried to stop them, sir, but they just rushed in,” the Lenny’s assistant said, trying to justify herself.
“It’s okay, Maria, you can go,” the Lenny replied with a smile. “And who do you happen to be?”
Cheikz walk up to the Lenny’s wooden table and slammed a fist on it. “I demand an explanation. Why did you say the Wheels needed saving. I, I mean we, went on a wild goose chase.”
“The Wheels did need saving, boy. I’m confused as to what you mean.”
“None of the Wheels of Neopia were hijacked; in fact, they all looked new and spiffy.”
“Yes, we needed Neopoint donations to fix the Wheels up. They all lacked Neopoints to keep running. If you wanted to help them, you should have just come here to donate some Neopoints,” he laughed; Croy and Kitthie innocently joined him.
Cheikz felt as if there were all mocking him. Feeling let down, Cheikz left the building and began heading home.
“Oh, I’m sorry, I didn’t mean to offend your friend,” the Lenny said, remorseful. “It was all a big misunderstanding.”
“Brother,” Croy corrected, “and it’s alright.”
“If there’s any way I can make it up to you guys, you just say so.”
“No, no, we’ll just head out.”
“Actually, I wouldn’t mind a -” Kitthie began.
Croy pulled Kitthie out of the room. She felt that no item could mend Cheikz’s disappointment, so they shouldn’t ask for anything.
They rushed to meet their brother, who was stumbling towards their house. One sister at each side to guide him, they tried to cheer him up.
“So this didn’t work out,” started Croy, “something else will turn up. I’m sure of it.”
“Yeah, Cheikz, you’re no baby in our eyes - after today anyway. You’re the bravest guy I know.” That was Kitthie’s cheer up message.
Those worked on their younger brother. “I guess so.” He smiled. Something hit him as he remembered their journey, when they were in Faerieland. “Hey, I could try and complete all of Jhudora’s Quests, I’ll get a cool trophy and everything. I’d be recognised as the youngest and first non-possessed person to do it. With you guys by my side...” He rushed inside the house to get geared up for his newfound mission. “Come on!”
His sisters gave each other a worried look, and in unison, they ambled tiredly up the path and into the house.