The blue and red paint dried and cracked under the bright morning sun, the symbol of national pride flaking to the ground. Mikey walked cheerfully from his crumbling abode, unconcerned by the immediate loss of his plastered on face paint. Today was going to be a good day. Today, he would forget about the hole in his hat (or ventilation, as he liked to call it), he wouldn't mind the stench wafting over from his neighbours field, he wouldn't even care that he still had the remnants of last night's dinner caked to his trouser leg. Oh no. Today was a day to be merry, to be full of mirth and the joys of life. Today was a day to be grateful for the little that he had. He was one proud Yurble and today was the day to show it.
Mikey strolled onto the dirt road with a sense of purpose, his arms pumping at his side. He had been waiting for this occasion for months, painting himself red at the rainbow pool so that he would match his land, stocking up on discounted AC merchandise after the cup had ended (as if he'd ever miss out on a bargain) and attempting to cut his unruly mane into the shape of an 'm', which hadn't turned out so great. He knew the effort was worth it though, as he could already hear the sounds of trumpets in the distance.
As he sauntered towards the sounds of celebration, he puffed up his chest, displaying the Meridell logo there with pride. He was fully decked out for the occasion, his resourcefulness meaning that he looked like a true, loyal and stylish citizen of Meridell. He had raced to the NC Mall the day the Altador Cup shop had closed, managing to squeeze through the rapidly closing doors at the last minute. He was severely out of breath, his heart pounding but when he saw those big red sale signs he knew his wildest dreams had come true. There was still some stock left from this seasons closing down sale, and he was the only one there to buy it. What did that mean? Gigantic discounts, personal shop assistants and stylists and a full new outfit. He was the happiest Yurble alive.
He could see his neighbour staring enviously at his attire as he walked past the Rubbish Dump, merrily leaping over discarded zeenana peels and rotten tomatoes. Charlie, the overseer of the dump, was practically drooling over Mikey's pristine Meridell Altador Cup Jersey, Team Spirit Banners and Team Mask, the only pristine things that Mikey actually owned. Said Kacheek was currently trying to smear himself with the insides of red tomatoes and some other, unidentifiable blue substance that was probably well past it's sell by date in an attempt to garner himself some Meridell spirit. All efforts were cut short when when Mikey's smug smile came in to view. Mikey knew that no one could beat him in the style stakes today.
He swiftly moved past the dump, worried that the pungent smell might cling to his clothing. He was moving closer and closer to his target when something hard and lumpy smacked him on the head. He twirled round, ready to snarl at whatever jealous person had thrown that at him in response to his amazing outfit. Instead of the bunch of crying neopets he was expecting, wallowing in self-pity and envious of his sudden stylishness, he was bombarded with hundreds of flying potatoes. He dodged and ducked, hopping over the missiles whilst also trying bend backwards to avoid others. Once that attack was, thankfully, over, Mikey found himself bruised, battered and face down in the dirt. He sat up, dusting down his clothes and staring woefully at the newly formed tear in his elbow. So much for being pristine and wonderful. He glanced towards his attacker from under his brows, rage boiling within him. Didn't this person realise that this was the most important day of the year? What kind of time was this to be throwing potatoes around?
After some tense conversation, with a lot of apologies about those "tuber-ler potatoes", and many more sickly sweet compliments about Mikey's "radical" outfit, Mikey walked away victorious, with the potato counter even giving him a plaster as a parting gift to cover over the tear in his sleeve. Mikey was never one to let such trivial things get in the way of this most momentous day, and so he carried on with his endeavour, whistling all the while.
He was nearly at the finishing line, approaching the giant marrow that signalled the road to town had nearly ended. He carefully side-stepped the little slorgs painstakingly trying to make their way to the biggest marrow on the farm that day. He passed the Pick Your Own fields, now eerily empty of juice covered children and berry-thieving adults. Mikey could now make out the chants coming from the town, could clearly hear the tune that the trumpets played. There was no cheering as of yet, so it seemed he had made it in time.
The hordes of people were now within his view, and he quickened his pace as his excitement soared. He was nearly there; he could see the townspeople in detail now. He could see Snargan trying to cheat people out of their hard earned neopoints, Kayla setting up a stall with potions with the Merifoods stall beside her, people rolling cheese down the main street, petpets struggling to get out from underneath a snoring Turmaculus and the Ixi shopkeeper trying to help them. Everything was festive, everyone was cheerful and laughter filled the air. This was going to be the best Discovery of Meridell anniversary parade ever. Suddenly, something warm and gooey dropped onto his shoulder. He peered down slowly, dreading what he would see. It seemed that some passing Crokabek or Albat had... messed on his shirt. He growled with frustration. It was as if he was fated to never reach his destination on time.
He could hear something new, above the uproar of the crowds. Drums. His eyes widened with panic, the parade was nearly here. He scurried towards the river, leaping in head first. He frantically rubbed at his clothes, attempting to wash off the smell of the Rubbish Dump, the dirt from the road, the marks from the potatoes, and the mess from the petpets. He finally emerged in time to see the crowds greet the oncoming parade. Rushing towards the lines of neopets, he finally made it to where he wanted to be and he pushed and shoved his way to the front. Many different neopets lined the road to the castle, and Mikey took this chance to survey everyone else's inferior outfits.
His heart stopped and his breath caught in his throat when he realised that nearly every single person he saw had that year's Meridell AC gear on, looking almost identical to him, except from the fact that their clothing was not smelly, they were not dripping wet, their face paint was not half washed from their faces, there were no holes in their clothes and they were completely clean. Mikey looked down gloomily at his own outfit. He was so sure he had the edge this year, so sure that King Skarl would look down at him in awe when he saw his patriotic array. Well, at least the river had washed some of his dinner out of his trousers
However, as the parade passed by him, he watched it with renewed hope and vigour, eyeing the costumes and uniforms of those taking part.
There was always next year.