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An Inventor's Dream


by therainbowsheep

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”Yer sure ya want me to repair this thing? It'll cost ya 373 NP!"

     Donny held up a magnifying glass to the bent roller blades and picked up a neon green wheel with a small sigh as he rattled off a quote for arguably his most frequent customer. Sure, the older Bori repaired toys for a living, but he preferred the scenario where he was fixing a toy because a child broke it playing with as opposed to experimenting with it.

     Daffodil, the robot JubJub beamed at Donny and handed over the Neopoints.

     “Yes, go ahead and repair it, please!”

     Donny took out his mallet and began straightening the bent blade. “What were you trying to do this time, kid?”

     “Why thank you for asking,” Daf said cheerfully. “I was trying to make the blades go faster. I know I can hit 15 miles per hour, I just need to tinker with the wheels a little more and…”

     “I respect your innovative spirit, Daf,” Donny interrupted gently. “But lately you’re here every day with a new broken toy! I can’t keep taking your Neopoints like this. Keep it up and you’ll singlehandedly fund my retirement, I swear.”

     At this, Daf chuckled as he hoisted himself up onto Donny’s workbench. “You’re not one to turn down Neopoints, regardless of the source, Donny! Plus…our daily lunches! I have to come here every day, otherwise who will hang out with you and try new weird slushies?”

     It was true. An aspiring inventor, Daf was constantly tinkering with various toys in an effort to enhance them. However, the road to becoming a successful inventor was a long one, and Daf was constantly breaking whatever he was experimenting with more often than making it better. As a result, visiting Donny at the top of the Terror Mountain had literally become an almost daily occurrence.

     “Ha! I told ye I could do it! Now begone, ye fur-bitin’ good-fer nothin’ prawn,” Donny grumbled half-heartedly. He bent his head low to hide his reluctant smile, ignoring Daf’s lunchtime argument. He couldn’t possibly encourage Daf.

     “Thank you, Donny!” Daf carefully packed the newly repaid roller blades in his backpack. “I’ll be back tomorrow! Lately I’ve been fiddling with this cool looking Jerdana Music Box I found in the attic the other day. The mechanism is jammed, I think she’s supposed to dance. Plus I bet I could add a new song too but I need a little help. And in terms of lunch, I’ve been meaning to try the cheeseburger slushie. I know it sounds kind of odd, but it could make for an awesome lunch! Any requests?”

     At this, Donny couldn’t help but smile. Sure, the energetic JubJub talked a mile a minute and was way too optimistic about his inventing abilities but he was a kind Neopian with a lot of promise and not bad company.

     Suddenly an idea struck him. It felt a little wild and was certainly unexpected and pretty much went against all of his instincts but…it could work.

     “Tell you what…” Donny began slowly before he could change his mind. “Yes, come back tomorrow. But you won’t just be my customer, you’ll train as my apprentice! Tomorrow is your first day of work, kid. And for lunch, I’ll try the Cheesy Pizza Slushie. I think it could work.”

     His words referenced more than just lunch.

     Daf’s backpack slipped out of his grip and clattered to the floor due to his surprise.

     “Hey, careful! I just repaired that!” Donny picked up the backpack and gently dusted it off before handing it back to Daf. “And before you ask, yes I’m serious. So see you at 9am?”

     Daf bound forward to give Donny a big hug. The Bori grunted in surprise but hugged him back with another small smile.

     “See you at 9am!” Daf confirmed. “You won’t regret this!”

     Donny resisted the urge to quip that he already did (even though he didn’t) and instead gently shooed his new apprentice out the door. Tomorrow was going to be a big day.

     ~

     As it turned out, it was quite nice to have Daf in the workshop. He was a quick and eager learner who simply needed some guidance. During the first few weeks, they focused on all of the basics: broken fuzzles, plushies, bikes, snow globes and the like. Before long, Daf had graduated to some of the trickier items like wind-up toys and puppets.

     Sure, sometimes Daf was a little more lively than Donny preferred but it was nice to share his workshop space with someone else as passionate about building and fixing things like him. Lately business had been a little slow and Daf’s company made the days feel a little more full, not that Donny would ever admit it out loud.

     Finally, the day came.

     “I think you’re ready to tackle that music box, Daf. Take the lead and remember all you’ve learned, I’m rooting for ya,” Donny said encouragingly as he sipped on today’s lunch: a black cherry slushie.

     Daf set his own slushie aside (flatfruit flavoured) and proudly took out his toolkit and got to work. Following Donny’s instructions, he un-screwed the screws at the base of the music box, removed the casing from the mechanism, and adjusted the winding key. He carefully glued the broken pieces of Jerdana’s dress and repainted what was chipped.

     It took a few hours, but eventually the mechanism was unjammed and the toy looked like new; a job complete.

     Daf turned the key and cheered as a soft melody filled the workshop and the Jerdana figurine began to spin. “We did it!!!”

     “You did it,” Donny corrected. “Excellent job! Of course you will always be welcome here but I think we are at the point where you’ve truly mastered the fundamentals. I know you have lofty inventing goals and lots of toys to experiment with. I’ve been thinking about it, and well…if you want, you are welcome to share this space with me.”

     “REALLY?” Daf squealed.

     Donny scratched the back of his neck shyly. “Whatever works for you, but I just figured - there’s lots of slushies we still haven’t tried,” he reasoned gruffly.

     “I’d love to. Thank you.”

     Daf’s response was instantaneous and firm. No one had ever taken the time to nurture his engineering interests and tutor him. Donny put on the front of a grouchy loner, but after spending hours of quality time with him, Daf knew better.c~

     And so, the two became the most unlikely and dynamic of duos.

     Donny continued fix broken toys for the children of Terror Mountain and beyond and on busy days, Daf even set his work aside to help.

     But for the most part, Daf transformed a section of Donny’s workshop into his very own: blueprints and unfinished littered his own workbench and his robot Petpet crew puttered around his work area cheering him via a sound of happy boops and grinding gears.

     Donny’s workshop was more animated than it ever was, and you know what? He truly did not mind.

     Daf of course went on to create truly innovative and groundbreaking inventions and most importantly: the two finally made their way through the entire slushie menu too.

     Daf was officially an inventor. It was a dream come true.

 
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