One Hot Afternoon
"You know what I'd like?" The yellow Acara addressed her
two companions. Neither, however, seemed interested in her wantings, as all three
were sprawled on the steps of the Sakhmet Palace, basking in the shade. Completely
ignoring this small impediment, Penny the Acara continued dreamily, staring off
in the distance. "A delicious, creamy, cold as snow ice cream... Double-chocolate,
with plenty of syrup, and I'd just lick it off the spoon as it melts..."
The other two Neopets groaned, obviously displeased.
One of them, a yellow Kyrii, bobbed her head back, as if looking up at Fyora
and asking her why she was subjected to such torture. The other, a blue Bruce,
sank his head deeper in the book he had been reading, trying to distract himself
from the knowledge that, somewhere, temperatures beneath 50 degrees Celsius
The three Neopets, accustomed to the temperate
climate of Neopia Central, did not enjoy having to wait through the scorching
afternoon. The Bruce, Degam, even less so. He preferred a colder climate, something
more along the lines of Terror Mountain. He was also sensitive to sunburns,
so he had no idea what had possessed him to visit the Lost Desert. Sure, the
weather that year had been pleasantly cool, but it hardly made a difference
in this place, where it was ridiculously hot all year round.
"Man, whose idea was it to shop in the Lost Desert,
anyway?" the yellow Kyrii asked suddenly.
"It was yours, Keena," Penny huffed in response,
while leaning her head on her hands and her elbows on her knees. This position,
while in itself not strange, informed her friends that she was sulking.
"Oh..." Keena blinked and stood silent for a
second. Then, "You know, I bet you put the idea in my head, anyway..."
Penny twisted around in a stupendous show of
shock and indignation. In fact, it was such a skillful motion, conveying her
deepest feelings being hurt, that both Keena and Degam knew immediately it was
"Me?" she asked, dramatically putting a hand
to her chest. "What could I have possibly said that would have made us come
all the way here?"
The blue Bruce, silent up to that moment, mumbled
over his book.
"I believe your exact words were, 'hey, don't
they have those mad discounts in the Lost Desert?'"
Penny pursed her lips. "Well, that doesn't
mean I forced you to come here!"
"Are you kidding?" Keena spat. "You knew I like
a good bargain! You know I can't resist discounts. You were practically already
packed by the time we came to suggest the idea!"
Penny gave the Bruce a smothering glare and muttered
just loud enough for him to hear, "Thanks a lot, Deg."
Degam, however, was unimpressed and continued
reading his book as if nothing had happened. The poor Bruce was quite used by
now with his female companions' bickering.
"Oh, and you know what, Keena?" Penny turned
to the Kyrii again, obviously displeased. "This wouldn't have happened had you
not insisted on buying everything in triple exemplary."
Keena stared, her mouth agape.
"Whaaaaa-aaat?" She frantically turned to Degam
for support, but the Bruce only nodded.
"True, we did warn you about purchasing three
identical T-shirts that don't even fit you..."
"But, hey, this is Penny's fault, too!" Keena
whined. "I came here psychologically prepared for a certain amount of shopping.
I really thought there were discounts. So I expected to buy a lot. Of course,
due to Penny's... accurate... piece of information," she looked pointedly at
said person, "I spent more than I would have..."
"Well, why didn't you just buy less?" Degam questioned.
"There IS this thing called stopping," Penny
chimed in. The Acara was, obviously, quite intent on distracting attention from
her role in creating the problem. For the most part, she was failing.
Keena feigned sadness.
"Alas, 'tis a curse. If I don't buy as much as
I'm prepared to buy, I'm condemned to suffer a perpetual feeling of unaccomplishment..."
Her two friends blinked at this particular snippet
of Keena's psyche. While it did explain much, they weren't ready to acknowledge
that the Kyrii's sole purpose in life was shopping. Degam returned to his book
and Penny resumed staring into the distance, each staying wisely silent.
Quite some time passed, and the shadows were
looming farther and farther. Their overview of the Bazaar showed the three Neopets
that vendors were already leaving, packing up and moving out. The mosquitos
were also starting to annoy the threesome and Degam had even grown as annoyed
as to flail his book at them. Also, as scorching hot as it might have been at
day, it was getting mercilessly cold at night. From their place, they could
see Qasala, which they'd visited just hours ago. There wasn't much to see, since
it was barely being rebuilt, but Penny had insisted on taking pictures so that,
one day, when Qasala would be a thriving city, they could show said pictures
to younger Neopets and brag about their participation in the war (actually,
the only one of them who managed to solve the riddle was Degam, so Penny was
slightly envious. Keena simply didn't care about anything, unless it involved
obscene amounts of glitter).
"Okay, could you try again?" Penny asked Keena
Keena rolled her eyes over her head. Her owner
had given her a brand new NeoMailer 3000 (Keena's owner was a bit of a worry
wart and seemed to think that angry fiery demons sprouted up every day in Sakhmet
and started trashing the place. The Staff assured everyone this was Not True
and it was safe to visit, despite it having happened twice in a relatively short
period of time.) Of course, once the three found themselves stranded, they tried
sending Neomails, but lo and behold, the system was down. While Degam and Keena
had reconciled with this annoying fact, Penny seemed to be holding out for a
Indeed, Penny's face was alight with hope and
excitement as Keena took out the small orange device and tried, yet again, to
send a message to her owner.
"No luck," Keena informed, much to Penny's disappointment
and Degam's expectation. The system had been down for maintenance all day.
The Acara turned back towards the view of the
bazaar and seemed ready to resume her sulking position when she snapped back
around and smiled brightly.
"Hey!" she squealed, suddenly excited. "Look
She was pointing to a boat, similar to the one
the three had taken to reach the Lost Desert in the first place. It sat quaintly
in port, ready to go down the river. The others, however, were not as excited.
"We have no money, remember?" Keena muttered.
To which Penny replied with a devilish smile.
Keena slumped into her seat, paws crossed. She
was fairly confident that, at some point, someone had to take notice of her
discontent. Across her, Penny commented gleefully.
"Who would've thought they'd accept payment in
tacky T-shirts?" the Acara laughed.
"I must admit," Degam replied amusedly, "it
was quite a surprise to see that T-shirt fit the Tuskaninny. I suppose I expected
it to rip, or something..."
Keena hmphed and flicked her mane graciously,
choosing to do the decent thing and ignore her friends for the rest of the ride
home, while bemoaning the loss of her T-shirts.