The Tyrannian Way to Celebrate
”SooLe, the Baby Chomby, lived in Tyrammet, the small village nestled in Tyrannia’s jungle. It was the week before Neopia’s birthday, and everyone SooLe knew was preparing for the festivities. She awoke to the sounds of her parents cooking all the delicacies for the celebration. Metal pans clanked against their stone cooking utensils and the aroma of Pteri soup wafted down the hall into her bedroom. If her memory served her, today her parents were working on the desserts, Hutcakes and Honey Blossom Stone Doughnuts. This was only the second time SooLe could remember celebrating Neopia’s birthday, but she couldn’t forget the Hutcakes from last year with their soft, buttery bottom and sugary top - it was like no Tyrannian food she had ever tasted before. Sweet, gooey deliciousness!
The prehistoric Neopet hopped out of her furry bed and scampered to the kitchen where - since she was only a Baby - all of the furniture tripled in size. SooLe snuck up to her favourite place to spectate all of the action. If someone had happened upon their NeoHome, they would chuckle at the sight of three Chombies, very different, but all family. There was SooLe’s Dad, Moltock, a massive, spiked Tyrannian Chomby who gently stirred a pot of stew. Behind him at the kitchen island stood SooLe’s Mom, Evera, a Speckled Chomby with her paws deep into a bowl of flour - the powdery debris flying everywhere and coating her face in more dots. And then. SooLe sat curled up in a giant coffee mug like a Kadotie on the shelf near their window. Her parents had cleared a path she could easily traverse to reach her little overlook.
“Good morning, Mom! Good morning, Dad!” SooLe shouted. Her parents returned the greeting and SooLe asked if they needed any help.
“Actually, dear, there is something you can help with!” Her Dad replied. SooLe’s cheeks flushed with anticipation. Her parents didn’t trust her to help with a lot since she was so young.
“We need more firewood if we are going to finish baking all of these Hutcakes, and your grandma called requesting 2 dozen more,” Evera rolled her eyes and hip-bumped her husband at this.
“It’s only a compliment, honey! You make the best Hutcakes around.”
“Either way, we need more firewood. Go grab some Neopoints from my purse and head to the plateau to get some. The shopkeeper at Tyrannian Foods should have plenty.” Her mother rattled off instructions effortlessly as she continued mixing the sugar, Keno eggs, and butter for the icing on top. “Oh, and don’t forget the transport cart! You won’t be able to carry enough with only your four little legs.”
SooLe followed her mother’s instructions, including slipping 3,000 Neopoints into her wallet, and was quickly ready to head out on her adventure. As she opened the door to leave, she heard her Dad call, “Don’t get tempted to spin the Wheel of Monotony! Even if that Quiggle says it’s free!” SooLe laughed as the door swung shut behind her. Her parents worried about the strangest things.
SooLe hadn’t been to the plateau in about a week and so much had changed since then. The Tyrannians took Neopia’s birthday very seriously, and every shopkeeper, citizen, and Petpet celebrated the holiday somehow. Both the Wheel of Mediocrity and the Wheel of Monotony offered free spins and extra prizes the entire week before and after November 15th, but you’d have to be thick in the head to spin the never-ending bone wheel. All of the shops offered 15% off their products, and the Giant Omelette allowed each native to take two slices per day on the actual holiday. SooLe’s family would certainly head back into town for that.
The one Tyrannian celebration that SooLe had not been allowed to attend last year was the Mega-Concert held at the Concert Hall. Every November 15th, all of the famous bands from Neopia come together to play a collaborative show, one that’s different every year, but always a showstopper. It’s always the talk of the town, and no Neopet wants to miss it. Last year, Jub Zambra played with Wock Til You Drop and their mash-up was legendary!
The little Chomby pushed her cart through the dusty and bustling plateau, past a Grarrl, Kyrie, and Lupe hosting a spirited salon around a fire and far away from the growls and yelps she could hear coming from the Battleground. It took her a while with her short legs, but she finally reached the top of the hill and Tyrannian Foods. She hadn’t realized it was next door to the Ticket Booth. Maybe she’d stop by after purchasing the firewood to see if tickets were on sale yet for the Annual Birthday Show.
Once inside, SooLe was overwhelmed by how packed it was. There was a Mynci screeching at a Kougra over a Cactus Leaf, and two Scorchios wrestled a Bronto Bite between them. Some of the shelves were knocked over, and she saw a box of Gravel Cereal strewn all over the floor. SooLe knew this holiday - especially the food - was important to Tyrannians, but this was not what she had expected. The Kacheek shopkeeper looked indifferent to the chaos that ensued in his store, and he was maybe chuckling at it. A bit frightened at this point, but still determined to complete her parents’ task, SooLe approached the checkout counter.
“Excuse me, I would like to purchase some firewood.”
The ferocious-looking Kacheek grunted and pointed to the back corner of the store. There was one bundle of firewood left. SooLe was so excited that she had made it just in time, and her little legs hurried to the shelf of bundled wood. But as she approached, an Elephante stepped right in front of her, picking up the last firewood. “Oh, perfect! We need more firewood.” The Elephante exclaimed, sticking SooLe’s prized possession in her basket.
SooLe wasn’t sure what to do, but she appealed to the larger-than-life Neopet. “Excuse me, excuse me!” It took her jumping a few times to get the large-tusked Neopet’s attention.
“Hello, little one. Do you need help with something?”
“I really need that firewood! My parents sent me into town, this is my first time ever on my own, to get it. If I don’t come back with some, they will be so disappointed.” SooLe felt her eyes stinging with tears.
“Oh,” the Brown Elephante looked taken with SooLe’s story. “Well, that’s sweet honey, but I need this firewood too. I’m sure more will be stocked soon.”
The Elephante turned to leave when SooLe shouted, “I can pay you for it! Or is there anything I can do for you to trade? I can’t go home without the firewood.”
The Elephante seemed to be pondering what exactly would be worth a trade for the item, stroking her long nose. “Hmm … well there is one thing I’d accept for a trade, but I doubt you’d go for it.”
“What?” SooLe cried. “I’ll do anything”
“Well, you can spin the Wheel of Monotony for me. I’ve always wanted to try it, but never had the time.”
SooLe went rigid at this idea. Her father had specifically warned her against falling for the Quiggle’s tempting offer of Paintbrushes and Neopoints. It was all a trick to get you to waste precious hours of your day for nought. Most times Neopets only “won” a trip to the Lair of the Beast.
“Spin the Wheel of Monotony for you?” SooLe gulped. The Elephante nodded with a grin, knowing that the Baby Chomby would never go for it. She actually pulled out her wallet and started to walk towards checkout, when SooLe exclaimed, “I’ll do it!”
And that was how SooLe was now standing in front of the Wheel of Monotony, with no firewood, and a pesky Elephante whispering in her ear “Spin it well little one! Get me a good prize!” She could only reach the bottom of the wheel with her mouth, but she gripped it as hard as she could and gave it a good, solid spin. The Quiggle yawned and slumped into a chair, while the Elephante called, “See you in a few hours!” She dropped the bundle of firewood in the dust in front of SooLe.
SooLe settled in for what would likely be several hours. She realized her parents would probably start to worry soon, but she couldn’t leave the Wheel or else she’d lose her spot. The little Neopet twiddled with her toes laid back and looked around the sky, invented a game with herself, and dreamed of new items she’d eventually add to her closet. As the sun began to set, the Quiggle made a pot of coffee and offered SooLe one, but she turned it down.
“You know, the Elephante told me what you’re doing. That it’s to help out your parents.” The Quiggle said. “That’s dignified of you. I can tell you’re a good daughter.”
“They just work so hard every year to make Neopia’s birthday such a special day for me and our extended family. They cook for weeks and spend a lot of hard-earned Neopoints to make it happen. The least I could do is get some firewood.”
SooLe felt defeated, but she wasn’t really sure why. “I’ve always wanted to surprise them with tickets to the Annual Birthday Mega-Concert, but I’ve never had the chance to.”
The Quiggle smiled and patted SooLe on the back. “You will one day sweetie. Hey - I think the wheel may be slowing down.”
The stone wheel began to tick slower and slower, and SooLe couldn’t believe her eyes. It ticked past the Tyrannian Paintbrush and the Mazzew too, past the lottery ticket and the volcano, it looked like … yes! It looked like it would land on the white unrolled scroll, which meant the spinner won a random prize. And land on the white scroll it did. SooLe heard the trumpeting sound of an Elephant’s trunk behind her. “Great job, little one! The random prize. What will I have won?”
The Quiggle, irritated by how thrilled the Elephante was at taking advantage of SooLe, stooped over his prize bucket and pulled out a Fungus Ball Bean Bag. “For the winner,” the Quiggle laughed and handed the Bean Bag to the unhappy Elephante. Upset and tired, the Elephante turned and left without another word to SooLe or the Quiggle.
“Well, thanks for keeping me company all day,” SooLe said. “My parents are probably worried so I better get home.”
“Wait, don’t you want your bonus prize?” The wheel caretaker asked. “In honour of Neopia’s birthday?”
“I won a bonus prize?” SooLe gasped. There’s no way, she thought as the Quiggle, now her friend, flashed three tickets to the Annual Birthday Mega-Concert in front of her eyes.
“Go take your parents to the concert, and have a great time, little one.” The Quiggle, who had looked grumpy all day, suddenly smiled and SooLe jumped to hug his stumpy neck.
Later that week, with Hutcakes still warm in their bellies, a family of Chombies danced the night away at one of the most epic concerts Neopia has ever seen. And all SooLe could think was, “Happy birthday Neopia. You’ve got some great Neopets around, and all of them you should keep.”