The Times of Omen
Ever wondered if we were all placed in Neopia for a purpose? No matter how great or small, everyone has a purpose. However, with what happened with me, I'd rather have as my purpose to raise Slorgs for a living.
It was a sunny day in the Month of Collecting. I was walking down Aisha Avenue without a care. I then heard a sweet voice and I turned to look at the opposite side of the street in front of a neohome. A cute pink Kacheek girl was there selling Scented Hearts Flowers from a basket at her feet. She seemed so eager and cute that I smiled and wished she managed to sell her stock.
My eyes turned upward and I saw a Nimmo cleaning a windowsill occupied by a rather heavy flower pot. The Nimmo in his haste unknowingly bumped the pot with his elbow and the pot fell off and aimed directly for the Kacheek! Without a second to spare, I ran over to the little pink Neopet and dove forward. I managed to catch her and roll out of the way before the large pot struck the spot she was standing on as it shattered into pieces.
"You... you saved my life!" the little Kacheek said.
"Do not worry, Miss. I'm sure anyone would've done the same," I replied, only to sigh as I saw all the Neopets behind me continuing their daily chores. I looked up and I saw the Nimmo look very nervous as he dove back into the Neohome and shut the windows. Some folks can be so inconsiderate.
"Listen, I think you had enough of a scare for one day. You'd best get home and try again tomorrow," I finally replied.
"Thank you, Mr. Aisha, I will," the little Kacheek said as she picked up her flower basket and walked away.
I sighed with relief. That was enough action for one day. I turned around ready to head back home when I saw an elderly green Kacheek wearing her grey hair in a bun, glasses and an old fashioned grey dress stand before me. In one hand she held a cane and in the other was a rolled-up newspaper.
"Hello, dearie. I thank you for saving my dear little Florinda," she said with a warm smile.
"Um, Florinda?" I asked.
"The pink Kacheek you saved. Oh, it would have ached this old Neopet's heart to see her injured. You are truly a hero," she replied.
I then scratched the back of my head and blushed. "Oh well, yes... I was merely doing what was right, Ma'am."
"Such a hero deserves a reward. What would you like, dearie? I have a few spare Neopoints that I'm sure will benefit a youngster."
I shook my head. "No, thank you Ma'am. It's no problem. As long as you are happy, it's reward enough."
The elderly Kacheek nodded silently and looked to her hand. "Say, youngster, would you like to take this newspaper from me? I have finished reading all the articles I wanted and have no need of it."
"Um, it's ok, Ma'am. I don't like reading the Times."
"I insist. It's the least I can give you for saving Florinda," she insisted as she opened my hand and placed the rolled-up newspaper in it. With that, she gave one final nod as she turned around and slowly walked away.
I just stood there looking at her with a puzzled expression and then back to the hand holding the newspaper. Well, since I had it may as well see what's the latest gossip.
I unrolled the paper and looked at the headline:
"TWIN TECHOS THOUGHT LOST!"
I raised my eyebrow and read the article. "'Defenders of Neopia looking high and low for two missing Techos children suspected to have vanished during the night. The little ones are thoroughly missed by their parents and offer only their eternal gratitude to whoever finds them'...sigh. So depressing."
I saw a wastebasket close by and was about to throw the newspaper in when something caught my eye. I zoomed in on the date of the newspaper. It was TOMORROW'S edition!
I had to do a triple take and opened my squinty eyes in shock. Was this some joke? Is this paper really from the future? No, it couldn't be! I then turned around where I saw the old Kacheek and she was nowhere to be seen. I frowned at the paper in my hands as I looked at everything else. The rest of the articles were too believable to be forgeries. This was a genuine version of what could BE tomorrow's Neopian Times. There was no way someone gave me a glimpse of the future and of a calamity coming to pass... could it?
I had to get a second opinion. I ran straight home and met my father, a much older red Aisha, there. My mother was out buying some fresh rolls from the Breadmaster and wouldn't be home until much later.
"Father! I need your help!" I called out to him with anxiety.
"Very well, my son, what do you want?" he asked as he placed the book he was reading on his chair.
"Father, you won't believe me, but someone gave me an edition of the Neopian Times slated for tomorrow and it shows a horrible event to take place!"
My father frowned as he puffed his pipe. "Preposterous! You are pulling my leg, boy!"
I shook my head. "No, I'm not lying. Look!" I then handed him the newspaper.
He opened it up and began to read. At first I saw his brow wrinkled until he chortled, "My word. The Chocolate Factory shut down on account of a malfunction with the chocolate mixers! The factory is always open, so I know for certain this is a forgery!"
"Bu-but Father! The headlines. The lost twin Techos! What about them?" I pleaded.
My father placed his hand on my shoulder and said, "Son, this is just some well-fabricated Faerie forgery. But if you're so worried about this, why not warn the Defenders of Neopia? That would be the best course of action..."
I slapped my forehead. The Defenders! Of course! They would believe me! Without a thought, I ran out the door and headed straight for Defenders HQ.
Once there, I immediately met up with the current members on duty: Judge Hog, Lightning Lenny, Mammoth and Dr. Flexo.
"Greetings, citizen. What can the Defenders do for you?" the Judge said to me.
I quickly explained the situation and showed them the newspaper.
"A newspaper with a premonition of the future, you say? Very intriguing," Dr. Flexo said as he stretched his head as he looked at the newspaper currently held open by Judge Hog.
"Hmm. These articles are interesting. Hey! A special on scones at the Crumpetmonger's! I like those!" Lightning Lenny said as he smacked his beak with his tongue in relish.
"Yeah, yeah! But the headline. Some Techos will end up getting lost! You must save them before that happens!" I pleaded with them.
Judge Hog rubbed his chin in deep thought. "While we would obviously like to believe you, young Red Aisha, we cannot leave our posts unless real emergencies take place. If we left our posts for any premeditated fortune, villains such as Malkus Vile and Hubrid Nox would seize our absence to wreak havoc on Neopia. But rest assured for when disaster strikes, we will be ready!"
I grumbled in disgust. So much for heroes! If my family and the Defenders wouldn't believe me, then I had to take matters into my own hands!
I read the newspaper once more to find the address and it was on the opposite side of Neopia Central. I reached the front door of the house and was about to knock when a thought crossed my mind. If I told whoever lived here that their kids would run away, they'd consider me a lunatic and maybe I'd end up in trouble. I weighed my options and decided to wait for the event to come to pass and then intervene before it is too late. So I hid around some bushes near the house and lay in wait.
Hours passed and nothing. I began to grow sleepy and yawned. What if my father was right? That this was all a forgery? No! That old Kacheek was far too believable. I had to endure!
Soon, Kreludor rose over the night sky and I slouched down even more against the bushes as sleep began to overtake me. Suddenly, I heard a window open as my secondary ears perked up.
"Heave ho! We're off for adventure!" said a small green Techo boy as he jumped out of the window. Close behind, an identical green Techo boy that was different by a red vest he wore while his brother wore a blue one, jumped out as well.
"Yeah! We're two brave adventurers! Let's go look for adventure!" the second one replied as they both scampered away, giggling happily.
That was my cue! I quickly got up only to find myself stuck as some of the bush's roots got caught in my tail.
Grumbling angrily, I managed to free myself only to see the Techos gone! Blast it! Where could they have gone? I quickly ran off in the last direction they headed.
Picking up my ears, I tried to hear anything but to no avail. No sound of the Techos whatsoever! The event that I wanted to prevent was just coming to pass! Eventually I reached a stream, normally running smoothly but with some last-minute rainstorms the past few days it had become a raging river. The current was quite strong and any wayward Neopet would've ended up being caught and dragged out to a watery doom.
That's when my secondary ears perked up. I heard some faint screams for help coming from the river! I ran as fast I could alongside the side of the stream to an area where the water was running even faster and more powerful. That's when I saw the two Techo siblings, holding on with all their stamina to an exposed root poking out from a tree by the side of the water. The blue-vest was the one holding on to the root, whereas his red-vest brother was holding on to his tail.
"Help us! Somebody! Anybody!" the red-vest yelled but was drowned out literally by the sounds of water gushing out everywhere. No wonder nobody would find be able to find them! This was a struggle for survival and I was there to tip the scales in favor of a happy outcome.
I reached down by the edge of the tree and extended my hand out to the blue-vest Techo. "Grab hold! I'll pull you both up!" I yelled down.
The small Techo nodded and strained to grab my hand as he held on to the root with his other. To my horror, the root snapped off and the two Techos were being dragged down by the rapids-like water! I could hear their panicked screams ringing in my ears as my whole body shook. There was only one way left to save them now. My resolve was shaking but steeled. Without any thought, I dove into the water and allowed it to drag me along. I used my arms and tail to give me leverage and I saw the two Techos ahead of me. I had to hurry!
Using more stamina, I managed to reach them. "Quickly! Grab my tail! Hurry!"
The red-vest immediately grabbed it and his brother grabbed hold of his sibling's tail. The added weight immediately made it harder for me to swim and it appeared I would end up being dragged off to a watery end along with them! However, due to a stroke of luck, I saw a large rock sticking out from the middle of the stream. I immediately grabbed hold of it with both hands and I was safe. My tail was tugged with force as the Techos also stopped in their tracks when I held on to the rock. One by one, I placed them on top of the huge rock, followed by me climbing up on top as well.
I sighed and panted in relief as I looked at the two nervous Techos besides me.
"Thank you, mister," the blue-vest said.
"But how will we get out of here? I'm scared..." the red-vest answered back with tears in his eyes.
"Me too..." his brother replied as they both sniffled and cried.
I held them close to me and patted their shoulders. "Relax, kids. You're safe here from the water. I'm sure the Defenders will come find us when morning breaks out. Just be strong, OK?"
Sure enough, it came to pass. It was perhaps maybe an hour or so after the sun came up when my ears perked up and heard Lightning Lenny yell out, "Hey! Over here! I found them! They're over here!"
Just like that, Mammoth and Dr. Flexo also appeared followed shortly by a Brown and Purple Techo couple respectively, obviously the parents of the twins.
"My babies! Oh, you're safe! Thank Fyora!" the Purple Techo mother said from the raging river edge.
"One side, Ma'am. Leave it to us!" Mammoth said as he grabbed a nearby tree by its trunk and yanked it out, roots and all, and swung it over to the rock we were perched on top of. Dr. Flexo shimmied up to the tree and then stretched down to where we were.
"Grab hold!" he said as he helped each individual twin up the tree followed by me shortly. The Chia Defender gave a signal to Mammoth as he moved the tree out of the water and we were back on dry land as we all jumped off. Mammoth then quickly placed the tree back on its place as if nothing happened. The Techo twins ran over to their parents and they all hugged each other as tears flowed. I stood there, tired but otherwise happy.
"You seem to be in high spirits, Aisha lad," Flexo said to me. "We really should have listened to you. The two parents arrived to our headquarters at sunrise and told us what happened. Judge Hog sent Lenny, Mammoth and me to look for them and we thank Fyora we found you."
Mammoth nodded back. "Yeah. Sorry the Judge couldn't be here. He, Brexis and Aisheena got called off to the Chocolate Factory after some vandals tried robbing the place and ended up destroying some mixers, putting everything in sticky choco-goo and closing it down for today. I'm sure he would like to thank you as well."
"Right. Well, all's ok, so if you excuse me I got to make a run for Neovia. Scones special today at the Crumpetmonger's!" Lightning Lenny said as he dashed off.
"Hey, bring us some as well! Tomato Basil one for me!" Flexo called out.
I decided to leave the scene as I was getting very tired and needed to go lie down. Before I did, the Techo family approached me.
"Young Aisha," the Brown Techo father said with pride, "I thank you for saving my two boys. These little scamps may be troublesome but we love them so. We are forever indebted to you."
"Yes, I agree. You made us both very happy. Thank you, my dear," the purple Techo mother said as he kissed my cheek.
"You're a real Defender, Mister!" the red-vest said next.
"If you weren't there to grab us after that root snapped, I didn't even want to think what would happen to us. We're sorry. And thank you!" finished the blue-vest.
With those final words, I felt really good for myself and decided to head home. When I did, my parents were there waiting for me. My dad held up his copy of the paper, which obviously had the same articles as the "magic" newspaper I brought him yesterday, and he apologized for not believing in me. I was not the type to hold a grudge so I accepted the apology. I then went to bed and slept the entire day.
Next morning, I picked up a copy of the Times lying near the table while we had breakfast and the headlines showed my brave rescue of the Techo twins. Many friends and passers-by showed up at our door to congratulate me. However, I knew there was someone more important I wanted to thank, so I headed back to Aisha Avenue in hopes of finding her.
I couldn't find the Kacheek grandmother, but I spotted the pink Kacheek girl Florinda there. Figure she would know where she lives.
I walked up to her and she turned to face me with a huge smile. "Oh, Mr. Hero! It's you!" she said gleefully.
"Hello, Florinda. I hope you are better today," I answered with a smile.
Florinda gave me a nod. "You saved two more lives! You are truly a wonderful wonderful Aisha!"
I chuckled nervously. "Actually, I must thank your grandmother for that."
Suddenly, Florinda's smile vanished and she looked at me with confusion. "My... Grammy Beulara?"
I chuckled again. "Yeah, if it wasn't for her, I would have never saved those two Techos. She is a special Kacheek and I really want to thank her."
Florinda still looked confused. "You want to thank Grammy?"
"But of course! Tell me, where can I find her?"
"But, Mister. That can't be..." Florinda said, shaking her head sadly.
I looked down at her with confusion and the next thing she said chilled my bones.
"Grammy Beulara passed away five years ago..."
I think that would not be something I would ever share with my father or the Defenders. It was hard enough to believe I had a gift that allowed me to see the future for one day. After I was told that by Florinda, I headed straight home and went to my bed placing the covers over my head. Getting help from the "Other Side" was too much for me.
Like I said, we all are here for a purpose, and now...
Now... Slorg raising looks more and more lucrative to me...