Preparing Neopia for the Meepits Circulation: 184,867,938 Issue: 488 | 1st day of Eating, Y13
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Mission For Knowledge: Part One


by halloweens_lady

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Rain’s feathers shook with anticipation as she signed her name at the bottom of the application. She neatly folded the letter and placed it in an envelope. She left the house where she lived with her foster owner and siblings and walked to the post office.

      The bell tinkled overhead as she entered into the quaint little brown building where Neopia Central’s mail was sent and received. The elderly yellow Chia behind the counter smiled at her as she thrust the letter in his face.

      “Your college application, eh?” the post Chia asked as he took it and placed it in the appropriate box for sending off later that day.

      “Yes, sir, Mr. Post!” She smiled her beaky smile. “I’ve finally applied to the school of my dreams, Brightvale University.”

      Brightvale University was the most prestigious school in all of Neopia. King Hagan himself lectured there sometimes. The green Lenny had spent her whole life trying to get the grades needed to get in. In her high school, Neopia Central High, she was a prefect and there was a rumor she would be valedictorian.

      “Well, good luck with that, dear. I am sure you will make it.” The Chia encouraged her as he waved Rain out of the post office.

     Rain was sprawled across the fire sofa when her foster owner, Guy, and his orange Tonu, Giggles, walked in the door carrying groceries. Giggles plunked the bags on the floor and shouted “Bye!” as she charged back out the door. Guy shook his head with a smile.

     “Well, since my helper has deserted me, would you mind helping me put the groceries away, Rain?”

     Rain looked up at her owner’s face and nodded. She picked up the brown paper bags and followed him into the kitchen.

     “So, did you send in your application?” Guy asked as he put the milk in the fridge.

     A wide smile crossed Rain’s face as she nodded fervently. Guy looked at her with a small frown. He placed the bread on a shelf, and then turned to face her again.

     “You know, Rain, just because you sent in an application doesn’t mean you’ll get accepted.”

     Rain’s smile dimmed a little at this fact.

     “Well, I’ve been working really hard.” She began as panic started to rise in her throat. “I made sure and participated in everything NCH has to offer and even did things outside of school.”

     This was true. Rain certainly had done everything her school had to offer. All of the sports programs, student government, school newspaper, prefect, student tutor... The list when on and on. Then there were the things she’d done outside of school. Community service with the Petpet Protection League, Neopian Pound, even the Soup Kitchen. She wanted to be as well-rounded as possible to get into BU.

     “Yes, you have done everything you possibly can, Rain. I’ll be the first to admit it. But what about the ridiculous tuition fee?”

     Tuition or school fees, for Brightvale University was two million neopoints a year.

     Rain waved her feathered wing. “Don’t worry about that, Guy. I’m almost guaranteed to get a scholarship!”

     Rain had applied to every scholarship she could get her wings on. Two of the scholarships had even said they would pay the full price for her whole education. Rain was planning on becoming educated in everything there was to know about the planet she called home, Neopia. She aspired to be like the famous starry Zafara, Sarah. That Zafara knew everything in the whole of Neopia.

     Guy patted Rain on the head. “I just don’t want you to be disappointed if things don’t work out.”

     “I don’t see why not. When the representative from BU came to visit us, she told me personally that I was just what they were looking for!”

     That had been the proudest moment in Rain’s life when the well-dressed camouflage Mynci had requested that all of the honor students of Neopia Central High walk to the front of the assembly. Rain had followed close behind Walter, a red Tuskaninny, as they lined up in front of the whole school. There were three other pets in the honor program, but Rain was too busy listening to their guest speaker to acknowledge them. After the assembly, the Mynci, Ms. Mollak approached her.

     “Why, Rain! I was just looking over your grades and other achievements. I strongly recommend you apply for BU. You never know, you might just be accepted!”

     “Rain? Rain.” Rain could hear someone calling her name in the distance. “Rain!”

     “Oh! Sorry, Guy.” Rain wasn’t happy to see she was still standing in the kitchen, full grocery bags everywhere.

     A worried look crossed Guy’s face, but then he smiled. “I’m sure you’ll make it, Rain.” Rain was pretty sure too.

***

     Rain walked to school with her foster siblings the next day. Tyk, the feisty yellow JubJub, led the way. The other neopets under Guy’s care included a red Chomby named Curio, a blue Peophin named Reggie, an Island Jetsam named Takula, and a green Koi named Emerald.

      As they entered the school yard, Rain left them to attend to her prefect duties. The rest of the day went as uneventfully as it always did. Rain was prefect to a class of young pets and kept them in check until their notoriously late teacher arrived. She then went to her home room where she packed her bag to almost bursting with books and other school supplies. After that she went to her first class of an extremely hard science followed by a ridiculously complex math class. All of her classes were difficult to all but the smartest pets. After super advanced English class, the bell rang signaling lunch.

      Lunch brought on another round of prefect duties. She had to make sure everyone was on their best behavior and all litter was put in the bin. She walked around the cafeteria munching on an organic peach. After lunch, she moved on to Geography, then History, then Literature, then creative writing, regular writing, art, P.E., music, social studies, economics... And every other subject that the meanest and most trivial teacher had ever devised.

     Finally the bell rang signaling the end of class, but not the end of prefect-ness. She had to walk the class of twenty screaming, rude, and obnoxious younger pets to each of their houses. That job took an hour at the least, and finally she marched on back to school to participate in her extra curricular activities.

     She walked home as the shadows lengthened on the ground. Rain was exhausted, but happy. It would all be worth it in the end. Imagine, getting to study at Brightvale University? She walked through the door of her shared house and collapsed on the floor, where it was time to do home work.

     It was completely dark outside before she was finished, and another family dinner had come and gone without her attendance. She walked slowly into the kitchen where Guy was putting the last of the clean dishes away. His other permanent pet, Ace the fire Pteri, was sweeping the floor.

     “How was school today?” Guy asked, slightly concerned as Rain yawned.

     “Oh, you know. The usual.” Guy frowned as Rain pulled a spherical watermelon out of the fruit bowl and began to try to eat through the tough rind.

     “Here, let me help you with that.” He gently took the fruit and cut it into edible pieces. Rain munched with a dreamy look on her face. Guy and Ace exchanged worried glances.

     All of a sudden Rain snapped out of her reverie. “Oh no! I was supposed to sweep tonight!” She glanced anxiously at Ace holding the broom.

     “It's okay, Rain, you deserve a night off,” Guy comforted, giving his foster pet a hug and instructing her to go to bed. Rain nodded sleepily as she dragged her tired feet out of the room and into her bed.

     The week past with no news from Brightvale University, not that Rain was expecting their answer already. It was Saturday morning and time for play. She had completed all of her home work the night before. She hadn’t finished until midnight, but that was okay with her. Now she had the whole weekend to unwind. She shoved her pretty pink flower hat onto her head and walked out the door. She was going to meet her friends at her favorite eatery, Happy’s Hamburgers.

     Happy’s was a human owned business in the casual section of the Market Place. Other than the burger joint, there was Nina’s clothing store, Bacon’s Furniture, the Petpet Jungle, and Candy! the candy shop. She was meeting Walter, and two more of her friends, Shelly the Faerie Usul and Jane the checkered Quiggle.

     As Rain made her way towards the food shack, she could see Walter already sitting at one of the outside tables. He was sipping a tropical fruit smoothie and flicking through a chemistry book. Rain walked up to him and smiled.

     “Did you order already?”

     “Um, yeah. I got a bag of chips,” he answered absent-mindedly as he turned the page.

     “Oh, ok.” Rain made her way inside Happy’s and saw the owner’s neopet tending the till. Happy was a yellow Quiggle whose name suited him perfectly.

     “Hey Rain! What’ll ya have today?”

     “Hey! I’ll have a cheeseburger and a decaf neocola. Thanks!”

      As she headed back outside, she saw Shelly and Jane talking to Walter. Or trying to at least. Walter gave a disgruntled snort as Shelly kept trying to talk to him about things that he seemed to think were of no importance.

     “So, who’re you taking to prom?” Shelly asked innocently as a slight flush crept into Walter’s cheeks. Deciding it was best to answer her question and get it over with, he said, “Noemi.” As the girls continued to badger Walter about his choice, a beautiful striped Tuskaninny, Flounder, Happy’s blue Flotsam assistant, came over to bring their orders.

     Rain lay down in her bed that night, going over the day’s events in her mind. After lunch at Happy’s, the foursome had gone into Nina’s to pick out some new accessories. Rain had decided on a pink and green sun hat, which now hung on her hat stand. They then went to the park and hung around for the rest of the afternoon, talking about the upcoming prom. Life was certainly good right now. The cherry on top of the cake would be an acceptance letter from BU.

     The next morning, Rain jumped out of bed and ran to the mail box at the end of their walkway. It had been a full week since she’d sent the letter; it should be here by now. She could see the little red flag standing up, and sure enough, there were quite a few letters inside.

     She decided to check all of the scholarship applications first. One after the other told her that someone else more suitable had been picked to receive the scholarships. Dread started to creep over her as she reached for the last letter, an official yellow and green envelope that bore BU’s school crest. It read:

     Dear Ms. Rain,

     Thank you for your interest in Brightvale University. As you know, our school is highly esteemed for its academics and producing proactive citizens for Neopian society.

     However, we regret to inform you that you did not make the cut. Your grades were not high enough, and the fact that you cannot pay really put a dent in your chances.

     We are sorry, and hope you have a great day!

     Sincerely,

     Ms. Yolanda

     Admissions Secretary

     Rain’s face was frozen in horror. She felt numb. She read and re-read the letter over and over. As if on cue, a dark cloud she hadn’t noticed earlier started pouring rain. She stood in the down pour and let the reality of her situation sink in.

     All of her hard work, dedication, and even an approval from an associate of the school of her dreams, were not enough to make them come true.

     “What are you doing out there?” Guy’s voice came from somewhere faraway. She looked up and through the pounding rain could see a human figure standing at the door to the house. She didn’t remember telling her legs to move, but she blinked and she was inside. Dripping wet and holding a soggy rejection letter, her tears blended in with the rain that trickled down her face.

To be continued...

 
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