The Tale of the Tax Beast
When I say "the Tax Beast", what first comes to mind? A cruel and hideous monster that preys on the innocent? A nasty, mean old Neopian who would sell his own mama to the highest bidder? A greedy and gluttonous imp that only cares about the Neopoints in your pocket? Well... you'd be half right. But not many people know the other side of the story; the little old Tax Beast is actually quite misunderstood. Let me explain...
It all started when the Tax Beast was much, much younger... He was abandoned as a baby and raised in an orphanage school specifically for the criminally insane. Alongside young Morguss, Hubrid Nox, Vira and Dr. Sloth's half cousin (twice removed), he would learn to be evil. Daily activities included stealing candy from baby Bori, making Petpets cry, capturing Faeries and field trips to the Haunted Woods. In the beginning, the Tax Beast would often question the headmaster's methods and as to why they were doing certain things – only to be scolded and told that those who did not wish to learn the ways of being evil would be sent far, far away. The Tax Beast was scared of being alone, so we went along with the rest of the children. While everyone else seemed to enjoy causing misery and sadness to the citizens of Neopia, the Tax Beast always felt bad and never wanted to get fully involved. He began to invent ways to avoid joining in the evil activities; faking bad tummy aches, "misplacing" his school standard "Dr. Sloth's Kit of Evil Doings" and even making up such excuses like saying the Warf ate his homework or a Pteri stole his papers to make a nest – but sometimes he simply had to join in or risk suspicion from the teachers.
The Tax Beast would send weekly letters to the Faeries, asking for them to adopt him or move him away from the evil school, but no Faerie was interested in having anything to do such an "evil little creature" and simply saw his letters as a scheme to lure unsuspecting people to the evil academy.
In an effort to avoid committing further evil doings, the Tax Beast would often sneak out by himself during some of the classes. Stealing a loaf of Pyramibread from the kitchens, he would take it to a secluded area of Kiko Lake and feed the flocks of wild Mallards. He enjoyed getting away from the dull, gloomy halls of the orphanage and he found happiness in spending time alone with the peaceful atmosphere of Kiko Lake and the soft quacks of the Mallards. During his time away from the orphanage, the Tax Beast would visit neighboring worlds like Roo Island, Tyrannian and the Lost Desert. One day, while cutting through the edge of the Haunted Woods, the Tax Beast came across a young baby Lupe who seemed as out of place as he did. The Lupe told a story of being mistreated by Dark faeries who had teased him when he became lost in the woods. The Lupe and the Tax Beast become good friends that day and would often visit each other when ever they could.
As the years went by and as each student begun to grow older, each one was given the opportunity to choose their evil specialty. The Pant Devil found that he had a precise specialty for thievery; able to steal even the rarest item from any Neopian without being noticed until it was too late. Malkus Vile, the evil Skeith, discovered he had the talent for being exceptionally and incredibly persuasive, convincing any Neopian do to his bidding without question. Then there was the most evil student of all... Count Von Roo. The Count didn't really need a specialty... as he was, after all, a vampire – but he also had an amazingly rare specialty that no other student had ever shown as much promise in – sewing! (Hey, villains need fancy clothes too!)
Eventually it came time for the Tax Beast to find his evil specialty. The Tax Beast wasn't quick or agile, he wasn't able to seal items without someone noticing and shooing him away. He wasn't very convincing or persuasive, he was never been able to convince anyone to do something for him – and he certainly wasn't a vampire... Discouraged by not being able to find his specialty, he skulked out to the local park and sat on a bench. While he sat by himself, he could hear a small muffled squeaking noise that was growing louder. He looked around and couldn't see anyone – where was that noise coming from...? The noise was becoming more and more annoying when he suddenly stood up and shouted, "Whoever is making that squeaking noise, would you kindly be quiet!?"
Just then, a small Kacheek popped out from underneath the bench. He leaned down to ask the small Neopet if he was OK, when the Kacheek cowered and screamed, "Don't eat me, don't eat me! Please!"
"Eat you...? I'm not going to eat you!" he said, looking confused with a concerned tone.
The Kacheek, frightened by the Tax Beast's huge and menacing appearance, squealed and ran away as fast as he could.
In one of his saddest moments, he had yet again been rejected by the citizens of Neopia. Feeling alone and upset, the Tax Beast began to roam Neopia. Everywhere he looked, people were shocked by his seemingly horrid appearance... baby Neopets would cry and cling to their mothers, petpets would cower and run away from him and all the shops would close their windows and doors as he walked passed. Was this what his specialty was...? Fear? His whole life, he had always tried to be nice, tried to be a good person... but how could he be good when no one would accept him?
As the Tax Beast grew older, he began to grow bitter and spiteful. Why did his parents abandon him? Why was he forced to be evil? Why would he never fit in? These growing concerns and bitterness turned the Tax Beast into something much more sinister and evil then he ever wanted to become. He began to prey on unsuspecting Neopets that wandered too far from home. He didn't even have to try to very hard to frighten them, as just his scary appearance alone was enough to make them cower in his shadow and hand over what ever he wanted. But over the years, the Tax Beast took a fancy to most shiniest of objects: Neopoints. With the ease of fear and the power of money, the Tax Beast could have anything he wanted. A warm home, plenty of delicious food, even a nice Neopoint-hauling sack to carry around – things he was never able to have before.
He was never selfish with his money, however. Donating many of his Neopoints to the Money Tree and Wishing Well, he also used his money to donate extra supplies to the Food Store, Pharmacy and the Bakery, whose owner had promised to supply any leftover bread to the tourists of Kiko Lake to feed to the Mallards, free of charge. The Tax Beast also used his wealth to help his old Lupe friend out.
Many Neopians cower in fear when they see the Tax Beast arrive and will quickly hand over whatever he asks for, while some of the braver and tougher Neopians will often take to the battledome to defend themselves – but few know of the story telling what happened to the Tax Beast to make him the way he is.
So the next time you see the Tax Beast, don't fear him, don't fight him... show him some kindness. Then maybe, just maybe, you will restore a small glimmer of faith back into the Tax Beast's withered heart... That is not to say he still won't take your shiny Neopoints, though!