A Celebration of Neggs
First off, a fact about myself: I hate neggs. Well, you may ask, who am I?
My name is Al, and I am a teenage Cybunny who loves chili, enjoys fighting in the Battledome, and hates neggs.
For a Cybunny, I had been expected to like the icky things since I was born, with negg shaped toys dangled in front of me by my loving owner when I was a toddler, and neggs gifted to me by various relatives and friends throughout my life, but the truth is, I hate neggs of all shapes, sizes and colors.
Maybe it was because they were so annoying shaped, not quite a perfect oval, but close. Maybe it was because I had always liked bitter things, and negg candy was sweetness incarnate. Or maybe it was just because I was tired of all the neggs and negg-like things that I had been surrounded with all my life.
I mean, there had to be a limit to the amount of negg related items in Neopia, but with negg festivals (my sister Cyn liked to call them neggstivals), negg faeries (yes, Cyn also calls them neggaeries), vast amounts of edible neggs, toy neggs, books on neggs and even training neggs, I had never had a day where there wasn't a single negg in sight.
Sometimes I wish I hadn't been born a Cybunny.
Other times, I just avoid neggs as best as I can, but today, of all days, it was unavoidable that I would have the face the one thing I truly hated in Neopia (other than Boochi and the Fountain Faerie - don't ask why).
Today was the beginning of the Negg Hunt, a part of the Festival of Neggs that I'm certain Kari had designed to torture poor neopets like me, who hated anything related to neggs. Yes, I'm very sure I'm not the only one who hates them. I mean, there is a anti-negg club over at my school, even if they have a grand total of two members.
I had planned to hide under my bed while the rest of the family went out searching for neggs, and so far, my little plan was working very well. It was dusk, and so far I hadn't seen a single negg other than the ones adorning the cover of the Neopian Times, which proudly proclaimed the beginning of the Festival of Neggs.
It was getting dark when I finally heard the sounds of my family coming back from the Negg Hunt, and I crawled out from under the bed to greet them, hoping that they had exchanged the neggs they had found for prizes already.
Zhay, my youngest brother, had wanted the limited edition baby-sized bicycle, which could only be redeemed with 23 neggs, some of which were extremely rare.
He was the most spoiled member of our family, but we all felt that Zhay deserved such a prize for being so well behaved in the past weeks, so Angel, our owner, had signed us up for the Negg Hunt in our neighborhood.
I was glad I had not been asked to join the hunt, which was being held in the woods near our house, since my family knew how much I hated neggs, but I truly hoped that they would be able to find all the neggs to get the bicycle for Zhay.
I walked down the stairs leading to the living room, expecting good news and an overjoyed Zhay, who had always loved bicycles.
The scene that greeted me, however, was one of unhappiness.
"What happened?" I asked anxiously, searching the faces of my family. Cyn and Val, the twins, looked like they were about to start crying, while Royal had an inscrutable look on his face. Zhay, the youngest member of our family...
"Where's Zhay?" I asked quietly, and Angel's eyes flickered up to look at me.
"I don't know, Al. He said he had found the last negg and ran off, but when we tried searching for him, we couldn't find him! We've asked around, but no one's seen him," Angel said, her face pale and strained with worry.
"We came back to check, but he's not here either," Royal added in.
My mind whirled. A young, baby neopet lost in the woods – who knew what kind of dangers there were? Outside, night had already fallen, and poor Zhay was always so afraid of the dark.
Steeling myself, I made my way out the door. "I'll go look for him."
Angel had tears in her eyes, but she nodded at me, gesturing to the rest of my siblings to stay put, when Royal tried to follow me. At night, none of them stood a chance of finding Zhay, only me, because I was a halloween Cybunny.
I could see well in the dark by virtue of my color, which made me the best candidate to continue looking for Zhay in the woods while the rest of my siblings could contact the neighborhood Defenders of Neopia headquarters. Not only that, but Cybunnies in general had an excellent sense of smell, and they were especially sensitive to the scent of neggs, a fact that had irritated me to no end.
Now, however, I was hanging onto the hope that my nose would be able to sniff out any remaining neggs in the designated area, one of which might have been the one that Zhay had found. If I knew my younger brother, he would have been too scared to move once he had realized that he was lost, and stayed in the same spot without wandering off even further.
It was a slim chance, given how many neggs had been in the Negg Hunt, but one I would have to take.
"A thousand neggs, Al, and I'm going to find them all!" Zhay grinned, his tiny paws batting the air in excitement.
I ran as fast as my paws would let me, heart twisting as I thought of Zhay lost and alone in the woods.
Sniffing out negg after negg, I made my way deeper into the forest, silently cursing Kari and anyone who had ever thought that having a Negg Hunt would be a good idea.
It was on my thirty-fourth negg when I heard the sound of crying. A whimper, some sobs and a pitiful whine later, I was crouched underneath a gigantic tree root, staring at the tear-streaked face of my youngest brother.
Zhay's mouth opened into an almost comical 'O' shape, and his eyes lit up as they spotted me.
"Al! I knew you would come find me!" he squealed happily, tears forgotten as he launched himself into my arms.
"Of course, Zhay," I said as I smoothed the dirt from Zhay's face. I was so relieved that Zhay was safe and sound that I didn't even mind the giant red negg on the ground beside us.
"I love you much more than I hate neggs," I told him, smiling as I lifted Zhay onto my shoulders, the way he liked to be carried, and prepared to take him back home.
"Wait, Al!" Zhay shouted, pointing at the giant red negg still sitting evilly under the tree root. "It's the last negg we need! We have to take it back so we can get the prize." I narrowed my eyes at him, about to reprimand him for caring more about a bicycle than his own safety, but Zhay's pleading eyes could not be denied.
Grunting unhappily, I picked up the negg in my mouth, got onto all fours and bounded back towards home.
"Al is the best brother ever!" I heard Zhay yell as we streaked through the forest.
I may have been Zhay's 'best brother ever', but I still hated neggs, and most probably, always would.