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The Misadventures of a Neopian Times Reporter

by kristykimmy


Looking back over the years since I decided to be a journalist, I’ve realized I really should have become an insurance saleswoman instead. Sure, I’ve had a lot of laughs and lots of fun, but really, I am what Elise loves to refer to me as, a walking disaster. I had wanted to be a journalist ever since I first read the Neopian Times as a newbie in Neopia. For years I just thought about it occasionally.

     Out of the blue, four years later, I spontaneously decided I was going to do it! I was going to become a freelance journalist! This happened while I was trimming my bangs in the bathroom and doing a miserable job of it. Yes, that is how I make all my decisions and that was generally when it would happen too. Elise was glad when I finally gave up the bangs, hoping it would end the spontaneous decision-making. Instead, it started to happen at three a.m., much to the faerie Cybunny’s consternation.

     I raced down the stairs and into the playroom where my, then, five pets were assembled. Elise, Princess, a desert Uni, Bluejay, a starry Pteri, and Yanli, a green Zafara, were sitting on the floor playing Cheat. Chloe, a labbie and at that time a Cloud Grundo, was lying half off the couch, upside down, watching the game. They looked up when I burst into the room.

     I struck a pose and announced, “I’ve decided I’m going to be a freelance journalist!”

     They all stared at me in silence for about a minute, and I foolishly thought that they were in awed silence. Then they devolved into uncontrolled hysterical laughter. Cards went everywhere as the players collapsed on top of one another. Chloe fell off the couch, onto her head, and slid to the ground still laughing. I stood there and watched them with my jaw hanging somewhere around my knees. When they calmed down a little, I asked, “What?”

     The laughter started again. I sighed and leaned against the wall and waited for them to get a hold of themselves. Elise regained control of herself and said, “No.”

     “No, what?” I asked.

     “‘No’ to you being a journalist. You are a walking disaster, Kristy. You’ll get killed, or turned into a slorg, or end up a minion, or something bad,” Elise said.

     “Nope, my mind is made up. I’m going to be a journalist,” I said firmly.

     “Whatever, I claim the right of ‘I told you so’ when I come to visit you in the hospital next week,” Elise replied, picking up her cards.

     “I’m going to Meridell to find a good story. I’ll be back by Tuesday; there should be enough food in the fridge to last you until then. Don’t trash the house while I’m gone, make your beds, and make sure to clean the bathroom,” I said.

     “I’ll come with you. Someone needs to keep an eye on you. I’ll go pack my ‘make your own body cast’ kit!” Chloe cried, getting up and rushing off.

     So that was my glorious start into the world of freelance journalism. With Chloe by my side, I boarded a ship and headed to Meridell. Once there, I realized that Meridell was a bad place to come. Nothing interesting happens in Meridell since peace was made with the Darigan Citadel. So I decided to go visit Lisha. I left Chloe in the training yards made my way to the castle library and found her with her nose in a book as usual.

     “Hey, Lisha! Got any new books lately?” I called.

     The yellow Aisha looked up and said, “Hi there, Kristy. I didn’t expect to see you back here so soon. What’s up?”

     “I’ve decided to become a journalist. However, I realized only a little too late that Meridell is a little slow these days,” I explained.

     “That is a good thing,” Lisha replied, with an ironic smile.

     “I know, and I wouldn’t have it any other way. I love Meridell and I want it to be peaceful and prosperous here. Maybe I’ll do an article on knights or something. I could interview your brother,” I mused.

     “Jeran is away on business,” Lisha said.

     “Oh, seriously? What am I going to do? I can’t go home without a story. Elise will be too ‘I told you so’ to bear!” I whined.

     Lisha grinned; she knew how it was.

     “Well, I heard that there is a fortune teller in Greenville that is always right,” Lisha said conversationally.

     “You know I don’t believe in that junk,” I said glumly, sulking across the table.

     “You don’t have to believe in it to do an article on it for the capitol’s paper,” Lisha suggested.

     I sprang up, grabbed my purse, and ran off yelling, “You’re awesome, Lisha! I’ll see you in a day or three!”

     “Good luck, Kristy!” Lisha called after me.

     I grabbed Chloe and we made our way to Greenville, which was a town about forty miles west of the capitol. Once in Greenville, I booked two rooms at the local inn and Chloe and I got directions to the fortuneteller. Armed with my pencil, notepad, and camera, we headed out of town and into the woods. About ten minutes later, I came to the unpretentious tent that served as the mystic’s home and business place. I was just about to announce my presence when a voice called out.

     “Welcome, Kristykimmy. Please enter, but I must ask you to leave your camera with your companion.”

     Chloe and I exchanged glances, then I handed her my camera and entered the tent. The inside of the tent was dark and lit only by one little candle on the table that sat in front of the fortuneteller. It smelled overwhelmingly of incense. The fortuneteller was an old white Gelert with a long gray beard.

     “Sit down, Kristykimmy.” he said.

     I did and I pulled out my notepad.

     “Hi there, I see you already know my name. Do you know why I’m here?” I asked.

     He looked into his crystal ball and I couldn’t help rolling my eyes. How unoriginal.

     “Yes, you came from over the ocean. From a place much different from here. You have come to ask me questions, but not about your future, but about me and my skill. I also see that you do not believe in my skill.”

     “Yeah, well, it doesn’t take a genius to come up with that. I’m not dressed like a Meridellian, so of course I’m not from around here. Also, I know I rolled my eyes and you saw that. But, well, it doesn’t matter if don’t believe in your ‘skill’ as you term it. I’m a journalist and according to the townsfolk you’re really good at guessing what is going to happen. I want to know about you.”

     “Well, ask then. I would be happy to oblige you,” he replied, unfazed by my strong skepticism.

     “Let’s start with your name and where you were born,” I said.

     “I am simply the Seer; I was born on a small farm in Brightvale,” Seer told me.

     “Okay, how long ago was that?”

     “Oh, it was a long time ago, eighty years at least.”

     I was a little skeptical about him being eighty years old, but I did not question it. He could be well preserved.

     “So, tell me your story,” I prompted.

     “Well, I was the middle child of eleven; I lived and helped on the farm until I was eight years old. Then a traveling circus came to the village my farm was outside of. I was fascinated by the acrobats and I ran away with them. I spent the next thirty years performing with the circus as an acrobat. Then the troupe’s fortuneteller quit suddenly. I agreed to take over it part-time until we could replace him. He was a fake, of course, as many troupes’ seers are. It was then that I discovered I had a gift. I was getting old to be an acrobat so I settled into the role permanently. For the next twenty years I continued with the troupe, in that time becoming the leader of it. Then, I decided that I would rather share my gift with people freely. So I left the troupe and began traveling alone across the lands. I ask for nothing for my predictions. I saved enough during my years in the circus to live on. So that is what I do now.”

     “How does a man your age travel like that? Wouldn’t it be too stressful on you?” I asked.

     “When I find that it is time to move on, I rely on the generosity of the local people. I ride with the farmers in their carts when they travel, until I wind up where I know I’m meant to be,” Seer explained.

     “So, you hitchhike? Okay and how long do you normally stay in one place?” I asked.

     “It varies; I have been here for a month, but I believe I will be moving on within the week,” Seer replied.

     “Okay, thanks, that’s all I need. I’m much obliged for your time. Have a good day,” I said, starting to rise.

     “Wait,” he said. “I must look into your future. Your report would be lacking if I did not.”

     “I don’t need that; I don’t believe,” I started, but he was gazing into his ball and muttering.

     “Yes, I see it. Ill fortune is in your future. In the marketplace, you will lose something very dear to you,” he foretold.

     “Okay, we’ll see about that. Have a good day,” I replied getting up and leaving.

     I was happy to be outside in the sunshine. The incense was about to drive me mad. Chloe was sitting under a tree not far away. She got up and handed me my camera and we walked back to the town.

     “So?” Chloe asked.

     “A regular old charlatan. Still, it’s a good first start; nothing dangerous and Elise won’t end up right,” I answered. “Come on, I’ve got to go interview the townspeople about him and the accuracy of his predictions for a complete story. We’ll be on our way back to the capitol by tomorrow.”

     I walked around the town and talked to people until Chloe got bored and went back to the hotel to read a book she bought. After I gathered enough stories, I looked at my watch and realized it was still three quarters of an hour until my normal dinner hour. I decided to browse the shops until then. I stopped at an outdoor jewelry stand to look at earrings. I found a pair I really liked and decided to try them on. I took out my earrings and set them on the table and put in the new earrings. I liked them a lot and quickly bought them. I reached over for my old earrings and found that they were not there. I saw a purple Mynci disappearing down an alley.

     “Hey! Give those back!” I shouted, running after him.

      I reached the alley, but he was already gone. The stand’s owner called to me.

     “Don’t bother, miss, you’re not gonna catch him. That thief has been causing trouble around here for the past month. We have tried everything to catch him. Sorry about your earrings.”

     I sighed and kicked a stone down the alley. Elise had given them to me for our second Christmas together. I loved them dearly. Suddenly I remembered the Seer and his prediction. He had said that I would lose something dear to me in the marketplace.

     “Borovan! He got lucky,” I muttered under my breath, refusing to believe.

     I went back to the inn and ate dinner with Chloe, who noticed I was in a bad mood, but decided not to pester me about it. Then we went to our rooms. I pulled out my notes and started writing my article. I was still stinging from losing my earrings and I was taking out my anger on the mystic who foretold it when I suddenly noticed something. The Seer had been here exactly as long as the thief. I quickly looked over my notes from the townspeople. The Seer never predicted the normal stuff. It was always a loss or a theft or something would be found that was lost or they didn’t know was missing.

     I may not be the savviest person out there, but I am by no means the dumbest blond you’ve ever met either. My mind quickly saw the scheme play out. The Seer came to town with the thief. The thief spied on the people and told the Seer all about them. Seer told him what to steal and when and then gave predications that came true. The thief couldn’t be found and caught because he was hiding at the last place anyone would think to look, the nice old fortuneteller’s tent.

     “That eel! I’ll teach him to mess with me!” I cried.

     I jumped up and pulled out my dark jeans and black hoodie and got changed quickly. I grabbed my camera and ran out. In my excitement and fury I forgot something important, my bodyguard. I left Chloe sleeping at the inn.

     It was about ten-thirty when I arrived at the Seer’s tent. It was closed and quiet. I crept around to the back. I had noticed that the back of the tent had been blocked from view by a curtain, and that had not bothered me then because I just assumed that he slept back there. I now believed that he also kept the stolen goods back there.

     I listened and there was silence. Carefully I lifted the fabric and looked in. There was no one there, but on a folding table there was a pile of jewelry. I got my camera and started taking pictures. My earrings were on top and I crept in and grabbed them. Suddenly a conversation started on the other side of the sheets.

     “We should move on, Boss. We’ve stayed longer than is safe,” a rather high-pitched voice said.

     “Hold your tongue, I alone know when it is time to move,” the Seer’s voice answered him.

     “Oh, honestly, boss. Sometimes I think you really believe your act.” The thief sighed.

     “Silence!” Seer roared.

     “But, really, boss, I think I should take the spoils and hightail it out of here tomorrow. I mean, what about that city-slicker reporter chick? It’s bad to have her snooping around. She’s clearly from Neopia Central; they make them less gullible there. What if she catches on?”

     “We’ll be fine. She is just a silly child playing at being a journalist. She’s too green; she’ll never see through us.”

     “That’s what you think. Too bad you’re not really a seer or maybe you would have seen me coming.” I mentally sniggered.

     I slipped out of the tent and was hurrying around to go back to town when I tripped on a tree root and tumbled into the tent and landed at the feet of two very stunned cons. I noticed that the Gelert was no longer wearing his beard, eighty indeed. I jumped up and tried to run, but the Mynci thief grabbed me and held me fast.

     “See, what did I say, boss? I told you this chick would be trouble!” he cried.

     “Don’t worry, we’ve got her. Gag her and bind her and toss her in the back. Tomorrow we’ll drop her in the forest on our way out of here,” Seer said quickly.

     I was not about to let that happen. I screamed at the top of my lungs and the Mynci quickly put his hand over my mouth, exactly what I wanted. I worked my mouth over his hand and bit him hard. He pulled his hand away and I stomped his foot with all my might and then kicked Seer in the knee. The thief let me go and Seer couldn’t grab me because he was toppling over. I pushed the thief into the fortuneteller and ran out of there as fast as I could.

     “Get her!” I heard Seer scream.

     I could hear the Mynci chasing me. I had to get back to the town before he caught up. I really wished Chloe was with me at that moment. Suddenly I was falling. Something had tripped me in the darkness.

     The Mynci caught up with me and laughed, “Ha, you may be a smarter chick than the boss gave you credit for, but you’re a clumsy one.”

     I looked and could see a trip line in the darkness. It hadn’t been there when I had come down the track earlier. I heard movement in the bushes and prayed that it wasn’t something worse.

     “Halt! Surrender, Gulliver, we have you surrounded,” a familiar voice called out.

     Lights broke out in the darkness and a group of knights stepped out of the bushes. The thief threw up his hands and the knights quickly shackled him. I looked up and there was Jeran grinning down at me.

     “Well, well, what have we here? It’s Kristykimmy. What are you doing here?” Jeran laughed.

     “Falling on my face and being an idiot, apparently, Sir Jeran. Lisha said you were away. What are you doing here?” I replied as he pulled me to my feet.

     “We were called upon by the mayor of Greenville. The thief Gulliver has been on a thieving spree for the past two years and no town has ever managed to catch him. I should thank you; he has been rather hard to track. There was a rumor that he was hiding out somewhere along this road. I hoped that he might come through here soon and you led him right to us,” Jeran explained.

     I handed him my camera and said, “The fortuneteller is in on it too; he’s the brains of the operation. The stolen goods are in his tent. You should go get him before he flees; he’s waiting for the Mynci to drag me back there. I figured them out and the proof is on that camera.”

     He took it and nodded and called to his knights and off they went. I went back to the inn and to write my report, a report, which was suddenly something interesting and worthwhile. Lisha is a genius.

     Three days after I had left, I opened the door to my Neohome and walked in. I was immediately knocked down by Yanli, who dive-bombed me in her exuberant joy at having me home again. The other two girls and Bluejay were sitting in the living room. Blue and Princess jumped up to hug me while Elise grinned over the back of the couch.

     “So,” Elise started, drawing that word out unbearably long. “How’d it go?”

     “Not bad. Read that.”

     I threw down yesterday’s paper and walked off to put away my things grinning to myself. That is until I saw the bathroom.

The End

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