Brody's Bedtime Stories - The Magic Dice
An old brown Yurble with graying fur entered the largest bedroom of his Neohome. The bedroom’s blue carpet was strewn with toys and clothes haphazardly about the room. Amidst the mess, three little Neopets were bouncing around atop the beds in their pajamas, shrieking with delight and scattering the sheets everywhere.
The Yurble looked at this scene with disapproval. His grandchildren were very energetic, but they usually remembered to clean their room before their most favorite time of the day.
The Yurble cleared his throat. The little Neopets gasped in midair as they looked towards the door. Immediately, they stopped jumping and began running in different directions around the room, throwing toys into bins and clothes into hampers.
“Sorry, Grandpa Brody,” squeaked a little yellow Acara as she ran past, her arms filled with Usukis. “We didn’t know it was time for our bedtime story yet!”
“But we did brush our teeth and put on our pajamas!” a stocky red Kyrii said. He was the oldest and was busy fixing the beds.
“It’s fine,” Brody said, amused as he watched his grandchildren diligently cleaning the room, a sight that would never be seen in the day.
“Grandpa!” a positively minuscule Island Yurble squeaked from under the bushel of clothing he was holding above his head.
“What is it, Alfie?” asked Brody.
“Help!” he puffed as his arms quivered under the burden. Brody immediately grabbed his load and placed it into a hamper nearby.
“Why do you always like to chew off more than you can bite, Alfie?” the small Acara scolded.
“He just likes a challenge, Chisa,” Brody said, who absentmindedly began to help cleaning the floor. “And the saying goes, ‘bite off more than you can chew.’ Liam, take that toy Spyder out of your brother’s bed sheets!”
The red Kyrii scowled as he took out a plastic Spyder from his little brother’s bed.
“You got caught!” cheered Alfie gleefully.
“Don’t gloat, Alfie,” Brody said.
“Okay,” he said, happily throwing socks into the hamper.
After another five minutes of cleaning and three more practical joke attempts by Liam, the four Neopets finished. Then, the bedtime ritual began.
First, Brody turned off all the lights except Liam’s lamp on his bedside table. From there he pulled an overstuffed rocking chair next to Liam’s bed. Alfie and Liam clambered onto the said bed and laid down, waiting eagerly while Chisa got a glass of water for Brody. Then she got onto Liam’s bed and the children became completely silent. Brody slowly sat down, his back cracking in the effort.
“So,” Brody started, “tonight I’m going to tell you an entirely new story. It was one my mother read to me when I was your age.”
“Is it scary?” asked Alfie immediately.
“Is it funny?” asked Liam.
“What’s it about?” asked Chisa.
“Anxious, aren’t we?” chuckled Brody. “Well, this story is called The Magic Dice. Now, now, don’t interrupt. The story has begun.”
“‘Long ago, an old Nimmo magician created a pair of magic dice. For every number rolled, something special would happen. However, the magician was not kind and he did not like the outcomes of the dice. This caused him to curse the dice. He would trick Neopians into rolling these cursed dice and something terrible would happen to the roller. But because he hurt so many, everyone around him began to figure out his trickery. The Neopets banded together and ran the magician out of Neopia Central into lands beyond.’”
“Serves him right!” Alfie interrupted triumphantly.
“Indeed,” Brody said. “He got back what he deserved. Now back to where we were...
“‘So the old magician was driven out of Neopia Central and the Neopets were able to live peacefully once again.
“‘However, none had guessed the magic dice had survived.’”
The three little Neopets gasped.
“‘One afternoon,” Brody continued, “‘a green Ruki named Zeke and a blue Grarrl named Donnor were wandering through the Haunted Woods. They were lost as both of them had read the map wrong. As they argued about which way to go, a mysterious hooded figure blocked their path.
“‘Lost, aren’t you?’ the figure said.
“‘ The Ruki, Zeke, though startled by the newcomer’s sudden appearance, knew this stranger might be their only chance of getting out of the Woods.
“‘Can you tell us how to get through the Woods?’ he asked politely.
“‘Oh, I can,’ the figure said, ‘if you beat me with these dice.’ The figure pulled out the magic dice, which had survived the years of persecution the magician had faced. The other two Neopets could not help but admire the beautiful scarlet pair of dice, whose smooth surfaces looked as if were made of crystal and were shimmering in the weak afternoon light of the Haunted Woods.
“‘Zeke became very wary. Why couldn’t the stranger just give them directions? He thought. However, his friend had a different idea.
“‘Why not?’ Donnor the Grarrl said. ‘What’s the game?’
“‘The stranger smiled insanely but since he was hooded, neither Zeke nor Donnor noticed.’”
“Oh no,” whispered Alfie.
“Be quiet, Alfie,” snapped Liam. “We’re trying to listen to the story.”
“Now, now, Liam,” said Brody. “Be more respectful towards your brother.”
“Whatever,” Liam muttered.
“Sorry, Alfie,” Liam said reluctantly.
“What happened next?” Chisa asked, her arms hugging her knees tightly.
Brody took the jug of water on the bedside table and poured himself a full glass. As he drank the entire thing down, his grandchildren stared at him in anticipation. Then he put the glass and jug aside and spoke.
“‘So the stranger smiled and said, ‘The rules of the game are simple – just roll a higher number than me with two dice and I’ll tell you how to get out of the woods. Lose and I won’t tell you.’
“‘That’s easy!’ the Grarrl said jubilantly. ‘Do you have another pair of dice?’
“‘Zeke whispered to his friend insistently that they should go but Donnor was stubborn; he was angry at his friend because he thought Zeke had made them lost in the Woods in the first place.
“‘The hooded stranger gave the magic dice to the Donnor. Then he took out a pair of normal but identical dice and rolled it. He got a three on one dice and a five on the other for a grand total of eight.
“‘Donnor was cocky. He thought he could beat eight easily. His friend was begging him to stop but Donnor believe that they were going to win... why shouldn’t they play?’”
Both Chisa and Alfie were shaking now. Liam stared at his grandfather, unease in his face.
“‘Donnor rolled the dice. One dice landed on a one, the other a two. It was only a total of three.
“‘At first, the Grarrl was angry. The dice must have been rigged! He could not have lost. But then it happened.
“‘The Grarrl seemed to be shrinking.... black fur sprouted from all over his body.... He began shrinking more rapidly.... Eyes were popping out on his head... he began to grow legs.
“‘And where Donnor stood a Spyder took its place.’”
Both Alfie and Chisa shrieked, both holding each other. Even Liam looked paler than usual.
“Now, now, it isn’t over yet,” consoled Brody. “Listen to what happens next...”
“‘The Ruki watched horrorstruck as his friend skittered up the nearest tree in fear while the stranger was cackling in a strange guttural voice.
“‘You needed to beat me!’ the stranger cried. ‘Now you, Ruki, must beat me or your friend will never go back to normal....and you’ll be lost in these woods forever!’
“‘The Ruki was dismayed. He knew this stranger had done something to his friend... but he had no idea how he had done it nor had any idea how to turn his friend back to normal. And he had no other options.
“‘Fine, I’ll take you on,’ Zeke said in a shaky voice.
“‘I’ll roll again,’ the stranger said gleefully, ‘but you will still not win against me.’
“‘The hooded figure rolled and got two threes – 6. While he stomped, pretending to be disgruntled since he knew he would win anyway, Zeke acted on an impulse. Zeke thought the dice he had were rigged somehow so the Ruki switched the normal dice the stranger had with the magic dice he had. The stranger noticed nothing as he picked up the dice.
“‘Zeke rolled, his heart pounding. It was a two and four, a total of six and a tie with the stranger. After a few tense seconds, he sighed in relief when nothing bad had happened to him.
“‘The stranger was extremely confused. Why hadn’t misfortune befallen the Ruki? Was it some kind of trickery? Magic perhaps? The stranger decided that because the dice were so old, they just didn’t work as well as they used to.
“‘Lucky roll,’ the stranger sneered. ‘But your next roll will be the last.’
“‘Funnily enough, it was the last roll, but not for Zeke – for the stranger. The stranger rolled the magic dice and got snake eyes.
“‘NOOO!’ the stranger screamed, realizing his mistake. His cloak flew off revealing a spectral outline of a Nimmo – the original magician who created the dice, turned into a ghost after years of hiding. The dice, however, did not work properly on their creator, for he imbued his own magic to create them the many years before. The dice began to suck in their creator in a whirlwind of smoke until he all but vanished inside. Then the dice shattered into a million pieces, their magic gone and evil vanquished.’”
The three little ones cheered.
“Great practical joke!” said Liam.
“He was so brave,” breathed Chisa, awestruck.
“Awesome!” Alfie said punching the air.
“I’m still not done yet,” Brody said, exasperated. “Listen up!”
“‘The Ruki was shaking, still staring at the place where the magician had disappeared. Suddenly his Donnor was a blue Grarrl again and fell out of the tree he was in. He was sobbing uncontrollably, saying that he would never, ever, ignore what his friend said ever again.
“‘However, though the magic dice and their creator were defeated, it did not change the fact these two Neopians were still lost. Luckily, they found, in the cloak the magician had left behind, a very detailed map of the Haunted Woods. Thus, they left the Woods behind, an ancient evil vanquished forever and good victorious. The end.’”
The three Neopets cheered, applauding.
“I liked that one,” Liam said. “Best turn of events ever!”
“So brave,” Chisa said again.
“I don’t know,” Alfie said. “It sure was creepy.”
The Yurble stared closely at his grandchildren. “So, what do you think today’s moral of the story was?”
“Don’t talk to strangers?” Chisa guessed. “You’re always telling us that.”
“That’s a good one to follow,” Brody said, laughing. “If they had just not talked to the stranger, they wouldn’t have gotten into trouble. Then again,” he said, his face becoming serious, “you should never be wandering in the Haunted Woods without a map, or talking to suspicious Neopets in cloaks, do you understand me?”
They all nodded solemnly at him.
“So,” he said, becoming more chipper, “any more morals?”
“Listen to your friends?” piped up Alfie. “If the Grarrl listened to his friend, they could’ve gotten away right?”
“Very true,” Brody said happily. “Always listen to friends – and family, for that matter. Sometime you’re not always right.”
“I am!” said Liam.
“No you’re not!” said Alfie. “You wouldn’t get in trouble so much if you were!”
“Quiet, Alfie,” snapped Liam.
“Liam,” said Brody again in warning. “Now Liam, what did you think of the story?”
“I liked it!” he said. “The magician ended up paying for his actions with his own weapon. That was so cool! That’s a moral, right?”
“Ironic,” Brody agreed. “Indeed, it shows the world truly gives you back what you give it so always give Neopia something good. But now, it’s really time for bed. Chisa, Alfie, get into your beds now.”
“Aw,” they both said, reluctantly moving toward their beds.
“Now, now,” the aged Yurble said soothingly. “There’s always tomorrow.”
“Tomorrow isn’t fast enough,” Liam grumbled, slinking into his sheets.
“Trust me, you won’t think that in the future,” Brody said, mussing the Kyrii’s hair.
He slowly rose from his chair and put it back into the corner. Then he grabbed the half empty jug of water.
“Good night, everyone.”
“Good night, Grandpa Brody,” they chimed.
He extinguished the lamp in the room, leaving them to dreams and to waiting for the next exciting adventure.