There are ants in my Lucky Green Boots Circulation: 191,668,192 Issue: 614 | 27th day of Gathering, Y15
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The Chronicles of Super Pea: Part One

by the_crimson_rose


In a small Neopian cottage on the edge of town lived a red Chia. He was rather plain in appearance and small in stature, and his stats were nothing to speak of. He had no notable accomplishments on his lookup, no graphics, and no petpet. Sometimes his sisters would taunt him and say, "You should enter a Beauty Contest, but I doubt you'd win," or "Why haven't you been painted like we have?"

      "Why can't you ask Mamma?" he would answer tearfully.

      "You should ask her," said Ashley, a lovely faerie Aisha.

      The poor Chia wasn't even sure what to say. He made his way to the mirror beside the entrance of their home and peered at his reflection. He was so red that his classmates often called him Cherry and his hair was tousled like a pile of straw. He slapped his hands to his cheeks and squished them together in hopes of thinning his physique. Instead, he caught sight of his sister Avery, a pretty white Kacheek, in the mirror. She stared at him, trying not to giggle until it bubbled into sharp laughter.

      "Ugh," the little Chia groaned. Surely, he would never live this down.

      "You are absurd!" she shrieked in laughter. He sighed again, unsure what the word even meant.

      His classmates were no better. Sometimes they would slap his books out of his short arms as he carried them between classes. He always seemed to have more basic books than the rest of them.

      "Cherry! Cherry!" they taunted relentlessly. "You should ride to school on a chocolate Draik!"

      "But I don't want to ride to school on a dumb Draik!" he shouted back, only to realize that the aforementioned Draik, the most popular pet in school, stood snickering behind him. Sometimes he wished he could be someone else – someone to be admired and praised, or at least not ridiculed at every turn.

      One night, as his owner tucked him into bed, he released a sigh.

      "What is it, honey?" she asked.

      "Mamma," he started carefully, "I – I want to be great."

      "But honey, you are great!" she exclaimed with a maternal stroke of his hair.

      "No, Mamma, I mean really great. I want to be someone other pets look up to, not look down upon. I want to be faster and stronger and better."

      His owner considered what he said for a minute or two. "All right," she said eventually. "Seems to me you want to reach your full potential. Is that right?"

      He nodded. "Mhm."

      "Well, here is how you can start: Offer to do some chores for our neighbors in exchange for dubloons and codestones. You have always been good at cleaning up and watering Neogardens. If you're serious about being the best you can be, you'll earn enough to start training. Will you start there?"

      "Yes, Mamma," he answered, a ray of hope in his heart.

      As soon as school let out the next afternoon, he knocked on the door of two elderly Ogrins next door.

      "Hello, Mr. and Mrs. Mason," he said. "May I clean your Neohome in exchange for one dubloon?"

      "I'm sorry?" Mrs. Mason craned her neck down low and blinked behind her round wire-rimmed glasses. "What did you say, sonny?"

      "I asked if I could clean your Neohome in exchange for one dubloon coin!" he replied loudly.

      "Oh," she straightened with pleasant surprise. "You hear that, Morty? He wants to clean our house!"

      "In exchange for a dubloon," the little Chia confirmed.

      "Well sure, sure," she ushered him in. "We can't reach high surfaces like we used to, but I think you could crawl up anything if we help lift you. Sure, the more you clean, the more we can pay you!"

      The little Chia clapped excitedly. "Yay! Thanks, Mrs. Mason!"

      The Masons showed him around their grand Neohome. He hadn't realized that they had once been very successful with the Stock Market and had added a great deal of both rooms and furniture over the span of many years. Cleaning was difficult. So many items were rare and perched upon high shelves. There were chandeliers to dust, indoor plants to water, and countless rooms to sweep. By the time he was done, it was almost time to eat dinner. He wiped the sweat from his brow with a sigh of exhaustion.

      "Did you manage to finish?" Mrs. Mason asked him loudly.

      "Yes, ma'am," he answered just as loudly, albeit more squeakily.

      "Good," she produced a single dubloon coin from her purse. "Enjoy! See you next week!"

      Next week? Boy! More dubloons, but more work. He wasn't sure if he should celebrate or groan, but he thanked her and returned home to a meal of Potato and Leek Soup with a side of Ham and Cheese Omelettes. He scarcely said a word until he crawled into bed at an early eight o'clock that night.

      "How was your first day of work?" asked his owner as she seated herself on the edge of his bed and proceeded to tuck him in.

      "Long," he puffed, "and hard. But I got a dubloon!"

      "Good!" she praised. "Put up a flier on the local message board that you're willing to work. You'll get offers before you know it. Then we can take your payments to the academy on the weekends!"

      He almost groaned. Between working after school and training on the weekend, he would have no energy left to do, well, anything else! But then, there was the idea of being strong and fast. He could be someone who would stop the bullies from picking on small Neopets like himself.

      He went to sleep with a smile on his face after he thought of this. But when his alarm beeped the next morning, he slapped a pillow across his face. Ten minutes later, he dragged himself out of bed and trudged down the hall only to see his sisters run out the door ahead of him with their backpacks on.

      "Hurry up!" they shouted. "You're going to be late!"

      He almost was, except that he got ready as fast as he could and ran out the door behind them. It wasn't until he got to school that some of the students pointed out his mismatched socks and laughed. He then woke up in math class with his cheek squished against the desk and a puddle of drool pooling beside his mouth. More snickers and giggles around him.

      "Are you all right?" asked his teacher.

      "Yes, sir," answered the little Chia. He started to secretly wonder if all this was actually worth it.

      Because he was too late to do it on the way to school, the little Chia used his lunch break to pin up fliers offering to work on the message boards. He brought an Apple with him to eat, as well as a carton of Milk in hopes they would suffice for a meal.

      By the time he got home that afternoon, his owner met him at the door.

      "How was school?" she asked.

      "All right," he answered.

      "Good. I got an answer for your flier." She smiled proudly. "The Drake family asked you to come over this afternoon. I said you would if you didn't already have a task lined up."

      The Chia sensed his entire being droop. The chocolate Draik and his family would have them in their house. Alone. Surely word of this would be all over the school by the next day.

      "I'll be there," he promised drearily.

      "Goodness," his owner remarked with a confused expression, "if you say it like that, I may as well paint you gray."

      Yes, you could, he decided.

      When he arrived at the large and lovely Draik home, perched in the mountains near Meridell, he was met with a tall wrought iron gate.

      "Hello?" he called meekly. The gates swung open, and he started up the lengthy path to the door. It opened before he reached it and was greeted by two polite Draiks. To his dismay, their son sneered at him over their shoulders.

      "Welcome," said Mr. Drake. "Come in and we'll show you around."

      If it was at all possible, the Drake home was more vast and ornate than the Mason home. More surfaces to dust, more windows to wipe, more plants to water, more floors to sweep, more picture frames to adjust, more rugs to shampoo, more stoves (yes, stoves plural) to clean, and more gardens to weed and attend to.

      And, just as he feared, he was greeted with shouts of "There's the house servant!" the next morning as he reached the school. Only the jingle of dubloons in his backpack made him feel any better.

      He started training that weekend. After taking several courses to raise his level, he started on strength, agility, and endurance. By the time Monday morning came around, he felt like he had none of the three left for school! Still, he went to school, he worked, and he trained. The Masons even let him read some of their duplicate books, and he realized he was learning things he never knew before!

      Soon, although he was constantly exhausted and teased more than ever, he started to get to school faster. He was able to maintain a grip on his books when classmates tried to slap them out of his hands. It even started to take more work for him to feel so tired! Even his sisters seemed to tease him less.

      "Well," his owner asked one night as he crawled into bed, less sleepy than usual. "Are you accomplishing what you set out to do?"

      "Yes, Mamma," he answered proudly. "It was really hard and I wanted to give up sometimes, but I earned enough to train and become strong and fast and enduring. And you know what? I even learned patience and diligence and responsibility as well! I got to read and learn more, and now I'm smart enough to come up with more ideas on how to become the best Chia I can be!"

      "You're already the best Chia." His owner smiled as she leaned down to kiss his nose. He smiled and blushed and wished her good night. Then he slept, dreaming of all he could do with his newfound abilities and character. He decided to save some of the Neopoints given to him by the McCleary couple to purchase some faeries to help him become even better!

      He carried more books than ever with him to school the next day and read them one by one with a PUFF! of colored smoke at the end of each one. He stopped by the marketplace and purchased faeries to release on the way to five different homes to clean and gardens to tend. He completed all this well before dinner, which he helped his owner to prepare: Mince Meat Pies!

      "You ate well tonight," his owner remarked as he scraped his plate clean.

      "Yes, Mamma," he answered. "I get hungrier when I work harder!"

      "Do you suppose you'll have room for dessert?" she asked.

      "I always have room for dessert!"

      She laughed. "Open the freezer and see what you find."

      He scooted off his chair and made his way to the freezer. When he opened the door, he gasped and reached inside to cradle the ultimate dessert. He was almost afraid to even touch it. What a perfect day! He picked it up and held it ahead of him for a minute. A glorious Pea Chia Pop!

      "Mamma!" he shouted as he raced back to the table, holding it up like a trophy. "Thank you, thank you, thank you! Thanks so much! Mamma, this is perfect!"

      She laughed and handed him a pair of scissors. "Well, go ahead and open it, honey."

      He snipped the edge of the wrapper and stuck it in his mouth. The taste was nasty, and it gave him a brain freeze, but he chewed and swallowed it as fast as he could. Soon, his skin started to feel tight.

      "Mamma?" he asked nervously.

      "It's okay, sweetheart. It'll be over in a moment."

      He looked down to see his hand turn from red to brown to green and smiled. His body expanded until he was a round shape, and his hair disappeared until he was all smooth!

      "Yippee!" he cried, rolling across the room and down the hall with joy. His sisters rolled their eyes, but his owner laughed and enjoyed every moment.

      That night, when she tucked him into bed, he sat up and pulled her close.

      "Hey, Mamma?" he asked into her ear.

      "Yes, sweetheart?" she answered uncertainly.

      "Could you stop by the Mall and get a cape and mask?"

      She looked around and whispered back, "Why don't you stop by on your way home from school?"

      "Because no one can know who I am," he hissed with excitement. "I am going to be Super Pea!"

To be continued...

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