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When Invisible Soup Was Visible


by foedus

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Ah, that globular-shaped building in the crowded Neopian Marketplace, the boon of all newbies and poor Neopians, the Soup Kitchen. Led by the kind hearted Soup Faerie, the Soup Kitchen has helped poor Neopians and their starving Neopets since before anyone can remember. From every land, people flock to the large cauldron to receive a steaming bowl from the endless supply of soup.

Neopets sip all kinds of soup from their bowls, and here at the Soup Kitchen each Neopet dines like royalty. Neopets receive a variety of soups at random, given by the kind Soup Faerie. There's Mushroom and Chokato, handmade with fresh mushrooms from the Meri Acres Farm and Chokatos supplied by the bushel by Illusen herself. There's Lamb Broth, a perennial favorite among the more carnivorous Neopets. There's Negg Soup, provided by the generosity of the Negg Faerie, which gives poorer Neopets the opportunity to enjoy a Neopian delicacy. There are also less popular soups, like the dung-filled vegetable soup, or asparagus and chutney, which, as everyone knows, isn't that nice.

But there's one soup that struck my eye as I was feeding my pets, those many moons ago when I too was a poor Neopian, dependent on the charity of the Soup Faerie. While receiving a hot steaming bowl of soup, Thadior, my Lupe, exclaimed, "But there is no soup in this bowl... ohhhh, it's invisible soup!"

Invisible Soup? The notion bewildered me. I'd heard of invisible pets, but invisible soup? How does that come about? Curious to know the answer, I approached the Soup Faerie.

"Excuse me, but may I ask the secret behind invisible soup?"

To my surprise, the Soup Faerie merely smiled secretively at me, and did not answer. Confused, as the faerie was normally so helpful, I asked again, louder this time.

"Um, excuse me, but can you tell me what's in the invisible soup?"

Still, no answer. Instead, her face seemed to fall and her eyes seemed to be far away. I decided to drop the subject. I thanked her for providing free soup for my pets and left.

What was she hiding? I was too curious to let the matter drop. I decided to do my own research. My search began in Faerie City, the birthplace of all the faeries. From the kind-hearted earth faeries to the quick-tempered fire faeries, I can't tell you how many faeries I interviewed about the origin of the Soup Faerie's famous Invisible Soup. None of them seemed to know anything of value except for one water faerie. She looked me up and down as I asked about the invisible soup, as if gauging my worthiness. Finally, she spoke.

"To find the answer to your question, you must ask someone older than us. We do not know the details of the past as much as others."

I thanked her for her help and went on my way. So, I needed to find someone old, older than the elemental faeries, older than... mouldy cheese. Since Faerieland is only a rock mote's throw away from the Haunted Woods, I decided to try Edna the Witch.

Well, it took some time to convince Edna that I was not there for a quest, but to ask some questions. Even then, I had to find her a Kiko Gnome-in-the-box and some Rose Scented Soap just to get her to hear my question. When she heard my question, Edna raised her eyebrows in surprise. Apparently she hasn't heard much more than obedient "yes, Edna" for quite some time now. She was surprisingly gracious, in her own creepy way. Perhaps it was my wit and flattery that won her over. Or just my charming good looks. Either way, she was much more helpful than those flighty air fairies. She admitted her knowledge of the Invisible Soup was rather limited, but she provided a few gems on information that I could add to my frugal research. I sat on an upturned cauldron, notebook in hand, as I listened to Edna's tale.

"Once upon a time, before even Brucey B lost that lucky coin of his and discovered the Lost Desert, Invisible Soup used to be known as the Soup Faerie Special, and without a doubt, it was the best-tasting soup that the Soup Faerie offered. Neopets from all across Neopia would wait in line just for a spoonful of this delicious soup. My child, that soup was the Buzzer's knees, the Meowclops' pajamas...." A dreamy look crossed Edna's face and a line of drool leaked out of her mouth.

I cleared my throat to regain her attention, and after glaring at me for a moment and wiping her face, she stood up. "That's all I know," she snapped. "Something happened, but now the soup is called Invisible Soup instead of the Soup Faerie Special."

"Wait!" I cried. "Is there someone else who knows?"

Edna was now pushing me out the door. "I hear Terror Mountain's nice this time of year!" she shrieked. I had no intention of falling out of Edna's Tower, so I let myself out the door and down the stairs.

Terror Mountain? What was up there besides bitter cold and a garage sale? Did she mean to give me a clue, or was she just trying to get me as far away from her as possible?

Then I realized: the Snow Faerie. She'd been on the top of the mountain since as long as anyone could remember. So I laced up my snowshoes and headed for that icy peak. The journey was difficult, but I soon reached Taelia's front doors. I knocked on the door, but when I told her I wasn't interested in a quest, she seemed rather miffed and turned to shut the door in my face.

"Hold on!" I said. "I need to know about the Soup Faerie Special!"

That stopped her. Taelia looked curiously at me. "How do you know about that?" she asked slowly, opening the door slightly wider.

"I've been doing some research," I told her. Taelia considered me a moment, then let me inside. We sat on some rather uncomfortable ice chairs and I drew out my notebook.

"So, as you know, the popularity for the Soup Faerie Special spread by word of mouth, and soon every Neopet in Neopia wanted some. Terrible things began to happen. Many Neopets, including that scheming Skeith, Malkus Vile, and even that old adversary, Hubrid Nox, attempted to steal the recipe for the soup. They believed they could make a fortune off of it, you see." She pursed her lips disapprovingly. "Anyway, the attempted theft of the recipe went against everything the Soup Faerie stood for. Her soup is the one thing that poorer Neopets can have that richer Neopets can't. The Soup Faerie was devastated that Neopets were turning against each other to acquire the soup. The fact that her generosity was wasted was destroying her. So she did the unthinkable. She burned the recipe for the soup, so now only she knows it. She cast a spell to make the soup invisible, so it's impossible for Neopets to know what they're eating. And finally, she invented a spell of her own that makes the soup vanish when it leaves the magical boundary that surrounds the Soup Kitchen."

"Really?" I asked, amazed.

"Yes," Taelia said quietly. "The name of the Soup Faerie Special was lost to time. Now it is known only as invisible soup. It is still a favorite among poor Neopets, as you know. Though no further attempts have been made to steal the soup, the memory of it still saddens the Soup Faerie."

I nodded in agreement, remembering the Soup Faerie's haunted face when I asked about the soup. I stood up from the icy chair with slight difficult. "Thank you for your time and information, Taelia," I said. I excused myself and returned home.

So there you have it. The story of invisible soup. Next time you go to the Soup Kitchen, make sure you remember to thank the Soup Faerie for her continuing kindness and ability to make delicious soups. Then, ask for invisible soup, because, as everyone knows, asparagus and chutney soup isn't that nice.

 
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