My Childhood Neohome:Part Six
My Childhood Neohome, Part Six: Closure
Rupies led the pair of Kacheeks inside the Neohome and pointed out the bedrooms as they passed them on the way back to the front door. So far they had seen most of the house and the backyard – if her instinct was correct, Rupies was pretty sure that she had made the sale. How she felt about it, about leaving her childhood home, was another matter that she wasn’t ready to think about.
The first bedroom, Gosun’s, sported a few burn marks on the walls. Rupies winced as the two buyers inspected the damage and spoke quietly. Unfortunately her brother had gone through a ‘magician’ phase a few years back, complete with real fire. Luckily, it was only paint-deep.
The second was painted with an assortment of vegetables and sported brand new closet doors. This made the Kacheeks much happier as they ooo’d and ahh’d over the shiny hinges – anything ‘new’ in this neighbourhood was something to get excited over. Little did they know, the doors had to be replaced after a wild Petpet was found to be living in the closet – when locked in, it scratched at the doors until there were piles of sawdust everywhere. Rupies smiled at the memory; for weeks, Piihp had complained of a monster in the closet, but she had been sure it was just the little Neopet’s imagination. Oh, how wrong she was – and Piihp still hadn’t let her forget it.
The third bedroom they passed had significantly less ‘wear and tear’ – the family hadn’t really used it as a bedroom, and instead had stored their toys and other rarely-used items. It had worked well until Gosun started pawing through the pile one day, looking for valuables to sell; by accident, he had come across a Magical Poogle Plushie and instantly been transformed. After a few tense days, during which every way-ward giggle was met with an instant ice-cold look, the trio had catalogued and sold enough of their ‘junk’ to afford a potion to change him back.
The last room was, of course, her own. Painted a soft lilac – she had never embraced the ‘dark’ nature of her Darigan coloring – it was, of course, immaculate. Rupies hadn’t had many adventures of her own, but she had fond memories of watching the adventures of others through the small window on the left side, overlooking the front sidewalk. At one time, she had even helped the Defenders of Neopia solve a mystery by spotting a robber sneaking behind some bushes across the street.
Rupies sighed – it was clear that the house still held a lot of memories, even without the furniture. As they reached the front door, the two Kacheeks giggled together happily, speaking animatedly to themselves before finally turning to Rupies with large smiles.
"We’d like…" the first began, being interrupted by the second almost immediately, "TO BUY!"
"I’m very glad to hear that," Rupies replied, though she looked around sadly at the home. If only she could keep it – but no family was allowed more than one.
After a quick celebration, one of the Kacheeks approached shyly, noticing the melancholy look on the Lupe's face.
"So," she asked, "where are you moving to?"
Rupies pinned her ears back and looked at the ground, suddenly embarrassed. "…Faerieland, actually."
"FAERIELAND?" the less sensitive of the two jumped into the conversation, "Wow! You must have hit the jackpot!"
"Actually…" Rupies paused, staring at the mail slot in the front door. Recent memories flooded her, as she described herself sitting with her two siblings and waiting for a very important Neomail.
"It’s time! It’s time! Quick, Rupies, get over here!" Gosun bounced excitedly to the door, his sister’s tail grasped firmly in his sharp little teeth.
"OUCH! Gosun!" Rupies followed him quickly to avoid the painful tugging, her temper cooling at the sight of her little brother Piihp beaming up at her from a homemade nest of blankets and pillows from the living room.
"Rupies! They’re announcing the winners right now! It could come at any minute!" his voice peeped excitedly, while Gosun positioned himself carefully to avoid crushing him.
On a whim, the trio had decided to ‘invest’ some of their meager savings into a few lottery tickets. Piihp was thrilled at the idea of winning even a few Neopoints back – Gosun just thought it would be fun. Rupies hadn’t been totally on board, but the sight of two pairs of eyes silently begging her was just too much to resist. So they had bought three – one for each of them – and agreed to split the winnings.
The odds were tiny – non-existent even. That being said, even Rupies felt a twinge of excitement for the possibilities. They could finally upgrade their couch, or get Gosun a new set of weapons for the Battledome; a Scroll of Supernova and a Leaf Shield could only get him so far.
As for herself, though she would never admit it, Rupies had always longed for a Petpet of her very own. She wasn’t even picky about what kind of Petpet (although she’d always been partial to Gruslens), but she often daydreamed about having a constant companion, someone to cuddle up to on cold nights and go for walks with during the day. She loved her brothers, but sibling love was different, wasn’t it?
It was best not to get her hopes up, anyway. Rupies took a deep breath and tried to slow her heart rate, preparing herself for inevitable disappointment. If a neomail didn’t come in the next half hour or so, they would know. They had been known to be late on occasion, but never later than that.
*Shunk!* A thick piece of paper fell through the mail slot. Gosun stared at it in astonishment, while Piihp immediately began to cheer – as young as he was, he had never had any doubt. Rupies, speechless, reached for the envelope and slowly opened it. At Piihp’s urging, she began to read aloud:
"Congratulations!!!!!! Yes… you are the lucky winner of the Neopian Lottery! 11706 tickets were bought today, resulting in a total prize pool of 1175600 NeoPoints. In total there were 2 winner(s), which means your share is 587800 NeoPoints!"
"587 thousand?!" Gosun yelled excited, unable to contain himself.
"That’s… what it says," Rupies replied, still in a state of shock as she stared at the black and white print.
"You know what this means, don’t you?" Gosun’s eyes glittered, his mouth splitting into a wide grin. "We’re rich! We can buy anything we want! We could even get a better house, if we wanted to!"
Rupies looked around – it was a small Neohome for the three of them, and there were definite signs of wear and tear. It was nicer than a lot of the homes in this neighbourhood, and they had been lucky to have the chance to live there… but maybe it was time for an upgrade. Why not?
"Piihp thought living on actual clouds would be like the comfiest pillow ever, and Gosun always wanted to learn how to fly, so we ended up choosing Faerieland," Rupies finished, flickering her tail in discomfort. She really didn’t like being the center of attention.
"Woooow," both Kacheeks answered in unison.
"Anyway… as you saw, we already moved everything to the new place. So if you’re interested, you can pretty much move in every time." At this point, Rupies was eager to leave. Gosun had convinced her that she would be a better salesperson, but she had never been the social type.
As she prepared herself for the long trip to her new home, the Lupe mused over all the memories she had dug up today. She spent a few moments gazing at her old Neohome, remembering the kindness of an old Cybunny and everything that had happened to one little family because of it. She wondered again where that Cybunny was, and if she knew what she had done for them.
After a moment, the older of the two Kacheeks approached her again. "We didn’t discuss the subject of price," he began nervously. "My sister and I would like to buy it, like we said, but we may need a payment plan… I don’t know if you’d be willing…"
Rupies looked both Neopets up and down. Their clothes had holes, they were quite skinny, and it was obvious their fur hadn’t been washed or brushed in quite some time. They reminded her of herself, years before.
"How about I sell it to you for… I don’t know… whatever is in your pockets?"
The Kacheek’s eyes widened, and a smile began to creep across his face. "But… miss, you know this house is worth much more than that."
Rupies smiled. "Well, it must be your lucky day."
Watching the Kacheek run excitedly to his sister with the news, and waiting patiently for them to dig every coin out of their pockets, Rupies knew she had made the right decision. It was what the old Cybunny would have wanted.