Sequel to "Behind
the Silver Circles," climax inspired by my Neofriend Ambrou!
"Have you heard? Have you heard have you heard have
Kela rubbed her eyes. It was a lovely morning,
and the sun brightened her Neohome through the open front doorway, in which
Alianci the Faerie Aisha stood.
"What, Ali? What is it?" moaned Kela.
Ali's eyes were bright with excitement. Kela
and Ali were the best of friends, though had only known each other for a year.
Ali lived on Kela's road and had caught her notice after he was given a special
award for recovering hundreds of stolen scratchcards. He was also very rich,
but Kela never let that intimidate her because he used his money well and he
"They've made a new wheel, right here in the
Ice Caves! It's called," at this point Ali closed his eyes for effect, "the
Wheel of Wonder!"
Kela sighed. "Great, Ali, you woke me up at quarter
to seven for that?"
"You know, for a Xweetok you aren't always very
cheerful. Aren't you excited?" He looked almost disappointed.
Kela shuffled out of her bed, and padded across
the room to make some Banana Cream Coffee. "I'm ecstatic. You want some coffee?"
Ali shook his head. "I just thought it might
make you happy. Recently you've seemed quite - well, bored."
"You've just been hanging around your Neohome
doing jobs; it's been ages since we've had some fun."
Kela sighed. "I'll come with you to this wheel
then. Just don't expect me to be enthusiastic, because I'm not in the mood,
The Wheel of Wonder seemed to be popular. There
was a queue that stretched all the way from the wheel to Happy Valley. The pets
at the end of the queue were able to buy slushies at the Slushie Shop for their
wait. Not that they seemed to be bored; everyone was bursting with anticipation.
Kela and Ali joined the end of the queue and bought some Jelly Slushies.
It was midday when they got to the front. Kela
was half asleep, but Ali had yet to wipe the goofy grin from his face. A Krawk
sat behind a little desk, and a Jetsam stood by the wheel. Neither of them looked
The wheel was an array of beautiful colours,
with indecipherable symbols on each segment of the wheel. It stood about five
times as tall as the Jetsam.
The Krawk rapped his claws impatiently on his
desk. "Hidey ho, campers. You got the money or what?"
It became apparent that his friendliness had
Ali dug into his trusty satchel and pulled out
two thousand Neopoints.
Kela nearly exploded. "WHAT? What kind of freakish
rip-off is this? Besides, you can't pay for me, Ali, it's not fair."
Ali laughed. "Keep your knickers on! Anyway,
I want to pay for you; if you don't let me, it will hurt my feelings." He put
on his puppy-dog eye expression that he knew Kela couldn't resist.
"Go on then, spin the wheel. It better be a good
Ali approached the wheel but the Jetsam put out
a fin to stop him. "Sorry kiddo, I do the spinning. It's a security thing, y'know?"
Kela rolled her eyes, but Ali didn't seem to mind. The Jetsam spun the wheel,
and Kela watched the colours turn to a blur. Eventually it slowed down and stopped.
Ali pointed to the symbol that it had stopped
on. "What does that mean then?" he asked the Jetsam, who had disappeared behind
the wheel. He reappeared a few seconds later, with a Blue Ixi Plushie. Ali took
it and hugged it. "Look, Kela, isn't it cute!"
Kela looked at the Plushie. "You have got to
be kiddin' me, Mr. Jetsam. You can get those things practically for free from
the shop wizard!"
The Jetsam shrugged. "You pay, you get the prize,
you go home - that's the deal."
Ali didn't seem to mind at all. He was making
baby faces at his newly acquired Plushie. "This wheel is brilliant! Let's do
"Are you out of your MIND?" Kela despaired. The
Jetsam spun the wheel again, for Kela's turn. Kela tried to stop him, but the
Krawk growled and pointed to the No Refunds sign.
The wheel stopped, and the Jetsam produced a
plain omelette on a plate. Ali laughed with happiness, and punched Kela playfully.
"How great is that? And to think - you were just saying that you were getting
Kela looked down at the plate of mush. "I could
have got this free from the Giant Omelette, heck, I would have got a better
Ali rolled his eyes. "There's just no pleasing
you, is there?"
Kela shivered and looked around. "Can we go to
the Soup Kitchen? I don't have any food for tonight."
"Come to my place, I've got plenty!"
"I know," she sighed, "but I really feel rubbish
when I'm constantly eating your food. I've eaten at yours almost every night
this week, I'd rather get something myself."
Ali lowered himself so that Kela could get on
his back. Since Ali had Faerie wings, he had been able to fly one other normal-sized
Neopet around if they needed to get somewhere far away. Ali flapped his wings
and ran forward, and before long they were rising into the sky.
Neopia Central was deserted. Even most of the
shops were closed. Kela and Ali were baffled as they flew past the Kadoatery,
the Arcade, and the Money Tree... all of which looked abandoned. The Kadoaties
mewed in their cages, but no one was around to feed them. The Arcade was closed.
The Money Tree was all on its own.
They landed at the Soup Kitchen. The Soup Faerie
looked so pleased to see Kela. There were other pets around, but they looked
as if they were waiting for something.
"Kela, I'm so glad you heard. I need someone
like you at a time like this!" The Soup Faerie picked Kela up and hugged her.
Kela was confused. "What's happened, Soupy? I
came because I needed soup!"
"Not you too..." Soupy nodded towards the small
crowd of pets hanging around. "...I've had to turn them away. There's nothing
left! Ever since that wheel started in the Ice Caves, it seems the whole of
Neopia has hitched a ride to Terror Mountain to see what all the hype is about!
Everyone's spending so much money at the wheel that people haven't donated to
the Money Tree. I don't have the funds to make more soup!" Soupy genuinely looked
distraught. It's sweet that she cares so much for them, Kela thought.
Almost instantly, Ali offered to help. "I can
give you enough to start it again! I'll have to go and make a large withdrawal
from the bank, but -"
"No," interrupted Soupy, "we couldn't possibly
take all our funding from just one person. It would be scroogey, and that's
not good for our reputation. Donations would be great, but I don't think more
than 5% of your money is fair. We should put up a sign, a big 'Please Donate!'
Kela shook her head. "No one would come, Soupy.
They're all at Terror Mountain. We need a better idea. Or something to move
the hype from the wheel to us."
They pondered in silence. Soupy and Ali looked
at Kela, who was known among her friends for being extremely creative.
"I've got it!" she gasped. "Let's make a new
soup! An amazing new soup, that tastes so good that people come from far away
to taste it." Kela grinned, and Ali couldn't help thinking that he hadn't seen
her look pleased with herself for a long time.
Soupy also broke into smiles. "That's great,
Kela! But how will we get the money for that in the first place?"
Ali had already caught on. "My five percent will
cover that. We can give out this new soup for free, but maybe we should give
out a little less than normal. When people see the Soup Kitchen needs their
help, they'll happily donate!"
After Ali had donated, Kela and Soupy went back
to Ali's and brainstormed the perfect soup.
Kela frowned. "Can you get Tigersquash soup?"
Soupy shook her head. "No way. It would taste
Ali, from across the room, chimed in: "Besides,
I'm allergic to Tigersquash soup."
Soupy and Kela stared blankly at him.
The next morning, everything was ready. The signs
were up, the stand was ready and the soup was being made.
"Kela, are there any more Fish pops?" asked Soupy.
Kela chucked two more over. "That's all," she
said. Kela was busy chopping the hotdogs and melting all the chocolates. Ali
was watching all this happen from a distance with wonder.
"Are you sure this is going to taste good?" Ali
"As long as it looks as good as it tastes!" laughed
Kela. It was true, the soup in the cauldron so far was a rainbow of swirly colours
that looked fantastic.
An hour later, and the soup was finished. The
cauldron was full to the brim, and there was an extra cauldron in the back in
case that one ran out. They'd taste-tested the soup. They'd already gathered
the attention of a crowd of onlookers who seemed to be hungry.
"Soupy, will you do the honours?" said Kela.
Soupy shook her head. "I do this every day. It
was your idea, so you can have the honour."
Kela grinned. She took a step towards the growing
crowd, took in a deep breath, and bellowed, "SOUP'S UP!"
Their soup was a hit. Their first customer, a
friendly Nimmo, had taken his little bowl of soup and drank it dry in no more
than a few seconds.
"That's absolutely..." he struggled to find words
to match his feelings: "unbelievable!"
Kela glowed with pleasure. "You think so?"
He nodded enthusiastically. "What do you call
At this point Ali nearly lost his head. "CRIPES,
we forgot to name it! How about... the Soup of Wonder!"
The Nimmo frowned. "Sounds familiar. You need
a name that will hit people when they hear it like POW!" Ali nearly fell over.
"Something awe-inspiring, something astronomical."
"Xweetokela's Super Duper Rainbow Sunsmash."
Ali grinned. Soupy nodded in agreement.
"Wait," Kela interrupted, "you've worked on this
too - I shouldn't get all the credit! And what the jeepers is 'Sunsmash'?"
Ali shrugged. "It's a new word. The soup is bright
like the sun, and we all know it tastes smashing. Soup is not a good enough
word to describe it. So, 'Sunsmash'!"
Soupy put her hand on Kela's shoulder. "Besides,
we couldn't have done this without you. It was your idea, and you've helped
out so much when it wasn't even your responsibility. You deserve it! But I'm
afraid Xweetokela has more of a ring to it than Kela, so we'll be using your
full name!" Soupy grinned.
Kela wrinkled her nose. "If you're really sure..."
"Enough, we have customers to serve!" Ali nodded
indicated the huge crowd of pets.
It was midday, but the line of customers had
lengthened rather than shortened. Everyone loved the sunsmash; its delicious
taste sent them spiralling into mesmerism and in some cases back to the end
of the queue for second helpings. The grateful customers kept Kela, Soupy and
even Ali on their toes: pouring out sunsmash, answering questions, receiving
compliments and making more sunsmash. The bag of donations was brimming with
Neopoints. Even the sun was shining happily.
"I love happy endings," laughed Ali.
"I wouldn't get too excited," frowned Soupy,
"because usually the funds that come from the Money Tree are huge - the number
of poor Neopians that need my help is terrible. That's why I'm so grateful that
people like Ali donate to the Money Tree so much - it's what keeps the Soup
The Soup Kitchen and its helpful staff were busy
until late in the evening, serving what seemed like the whole of Neopia. By
the time the long, long queue was beginning to grow shorter, Kela, Soupy and
Ali were exhausted, and fast running out of soup.
Kela sighed. "We might just manage to feed the
pets already in the queue, but after that we'll need to buy more ingredients."
Ali nodded. "But even then, we'll have less customers
tomorrow because we've served most of Neopia already, and the Money Tree is
still empty so Soupy won't be able to carry on serving unlimitedly."
As the three of them looked up into the inky
black sky, they couldn't help but gaze at the stars and wonder if there really
was any hope for them at all.
"That's it. We have to stop this!"
Infuriated, Kela crumpled the Neopian Times and
threw it in the garbage. After reading that 'the unbelievable success of the
newly founded Wheel of Wonder estimates at least another week of hype traffic
in the Ice Caves due to customer queues', she had decided that something had
to be done about this pesky rip off. "I mean it, Ali; we have to go back to
the Wheel and sort this out!"
Ali mumbled incoherently and lowered his back
so that Kela could jump on, and the flight to Terror Mountain seemed shorter
than ever before.
The queues were about the same as they had been
the other day. Kela and Ali landed a few yards away from the Wheel and they
strutted towards the Krawk and the Jetsam, who glanced at them with shifty eyes.
Ali pushed to the front of the excited queue of customers and attempted a fake
cough to gain the Krawk's undivided attention (a cough that, in Kela's opinion,
sounded more like an Elephante sneezing).
The Krawk looked up impatiently. "In case you
didn't notice, there's a teeny weeny line you gotta queue in before playing."
Kela decided to go about things politely. "I'm
sorry, mister, but we think it is only appropriate that you lower the price
of your wheel. The poorer Neopians are struggling to find food because instead
of donating, everyone is spending their Neopoints on this wheel-"
"Good for them!" sniggered the Krawk. "If there
are Neopians too poor to buy their own food, then they are not worth worrying
about anyway. It's entirely their own fault."
Kela felt her cheeks turning a dark shade of
pink. "In most cases, it is not their fault. Some of them have had to spend
all their money on medicines to cure themselves of a disease. Some of them have
had their bank accounts robbed. And some of them," Kela swallowed as tears sprung
to her eyes, "were attacked by the Pant Devil and were robbed of their prize
possessions. It is NOT our fault," she stuttered angrily.
The Krawk broke into a toothy smile. "Did you
just say, we?"
Oh no. Kela closed her eyes in frustration and
waited for what was coming next.
"Are you saying, that for people like you," the
Krawk said loudly, "these honest customers here have to give up their fun so
that you can all eat for free?" He sniggered and the pets near the front of
the queue erupted into nervous laughter. It pained Ali to see Kela in such discomfort.
"Well, no one is about to let you close us down, so you might as well go back
into whichever hole you crawled out of." With that, the Krawk bashed down on
his desk and yelled, "NEXT!"
As the next customer stepped up to waste his
Neopoints on the wheel, Ali took Kela aside and hugged her. Even Kela's best
friend in the world couldn't console her now. She was beyond humiliation, her
positive outlook on life shattered. She couldn't hear Ali's kind words; all
that she could do was stare at the cause of all the trouble.
The wheel was spinning, spinning so fast that
the symbols disappeared and the colours mixed into a disgusting swirl. The Jetsam
became the only Neopet in the world, and the wheel the only thing. As it spun
selfishly, the poor were starving. The wheel began to slow, turning clockwise
like a windmill. The symbols appeared again, and the wheel was turning so slowly
it was barely noticed. It stopped, and for a split second it was perfectly still.
And that's when Kela spotted it.
It moved anticlockwise.
It was just the tiniest, fraction of a millimetre,
but it had started to spin the wrong way, like the passengers in a braking car
that are flung back into their seats. And she so, so nearly missed it.
It's all a scam...
"IT'S A SCAM!" yelled Kela. "They're using magnets..."
The Krawk and the Jetsam looked up at her so
suddenly they looked as though they may have wrenched their necks. The look
behind their eyes turned from superiority to fear. Kela marched up to the wheel
and gave it a push round.
"See? It always lands on the same symbol. No
wonder they make sure the symbols are indecipherable! And I wondered why we
weren't allowed to spin it ourselves. Because we might have spotted the backspin,
like I just did now."
The Krawk was opening and closing his mouth in
utter astonishment. He glanced at the Jetsam for help. The Jetsam shrugged as
if to say, "Don't look at me!"
Ali was smiling from ear to ear. "Kela, you're
a GENIUS! If anyone could've worked it out, it was you!" Kela was now speechless,
but the look on her face was one of pure relief.
"It's from the Neopets Team!" Kela opened the
Ali was almost bouncing up and down with excitement.
"What does it say? What does it say?"
Kela smiled as she read it. "The Neopets Team
have inspected the wheel and they found stolen Uni Hoof Magnets on the back
of the wheel and on the arrow. The wheel has been taken down, and the Krawk
and the Jetsam are now official 'dung cleaners' in Neopia Central as community
service. And you know the best part of it? They're donating all the money to
the Money Tree! The Soup Kitchen is running again!" Kela felt as if her heart
was in the skies.
Ali could never have been more proud of anybody.
Just that moment, there was a knock on Kela's front door.
It was Soupy. "Kela, I cannot thank you enough
for all that you've done. But I do have some great news!"
Kela didn't know how life could get much better,
but she was listening intently.
"I've been getting neomails all morning. Your
'Sunsmash' flavour seems to have made quite an impact on the public. The smoothie,
pizza and jelly industries of Neopia want to buy the new flavour! It's a HUGE
Kela looked at her two favourite people in the
world, and wondered if there was anyone that had ever been happier than she
felt right now.