Sanity is forbidden Circulation: 135,120,768 Issue: 263 | 27th day of Collecting, Y8
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OLDPD: Still Going Strong One Year Later

by renrenthehamster


At this time last year, Neopians were suffering from a disease known as Obsessive Lost Desert Plot Disorder (OLDPD). A few months later, Neopian healers made a breakthrough discovery in the desert in the form of something called "plawt pryses." Once administered to the OLDPD sufferers, most were completely cured, though a few still showed signs of the disease, the most often reported symptom being recurring dreams of walking through endless corridors.

All seemed right in Neopia and most of the emergency doctors summoned to combat the disease went home, leaving a steadfast few to tend to the remaining sufferers. But this peace was not to last. In the spring, the long-lost kingdom of Altador was rediscovered through a portal in Queen Fyora's chamber. The unearthing of the ancient kingdom caused the original OLDPD virus to mutate and countless Neopians suffered relapses of OLDPD. In addition to the original symptoms, patients reported seeing stars, even during the day, and were often seen wandering around muttering about the way windmills are supposed to work. Some Neopians told doctors that they saw Vaeoluses everywhere they went, while others reported nightmares about accidentally flooding Altador.

"And then, an angry-looking orange Yurble appeared and whacked me with a mop!" recalled one jittery wide-eyed Shoyru. "I'd always wake up in a cold sweat, screaming my head off. It was horrible, absolutely horrible."

Application of more plawt pryses from the Lost Desert failed to halt even the old symptoms. Alarmed, the Neopian doctors renamed the mutated virus Obsessive Latest Darn Plot Disorder and sent out a distress call to the healers of Neopia. The call was answered by some of Neopia's most brilliant minds and together, the new team of healers sought to find an even more powerful cure for OLDPD.

Several overworked doctors succumbed to exhaustion in those dark days before the other healers arrived. "They just kept coming and coming," panted a Lupe who was one of the few on duty from the very beginning from the first onset of OLDPD in the Lost Desert. "We ran out of beds within the first hour, there were so many victims. We ended up converting the floor of the Hall of Heroes into a makeshift field hospital to make everyone as comfortable as we could."

However, even after the arrival of the team of healers, progress was slow. It took months before Florin, one of Altador's twelve legendary Protectors, was able to cultivate enough Altadorian plawt pryses on his farm to soothe the suffering of the OLDPD victims. But unfortunately, the Altadorian strain of the disease was so strong and had been present for such a long time that even the initial application of plawt pryses failed to bring peace to the patients. The virus continued to spread and little by little, more Neopians were taken by it each day.

"HEALING DOES NOT WORK THAT WAY!" snorted a pessimistic Moehog. "My cousin was right there during the worst of the OLDPD plague. He knew that the only way to fix the plotters was to give 'em a good strong WHACK with his cudgel. That set 'em straight for a while."

That sort of home remedy was quickly outlawed by King Altador and, sensing the victims' desperation, the Neopian healers met with Altador's council of 12 Protectors to quickly devise a solution. King Altador offered to assist Florin in rationing out daily doses of plawt pryses while the doctors continued to search for a more permanent cure.

"It breaks my heart to see so many Neopians suffering on our account," said the king, his voice cracking from emotion and strain. "This is the very least that I can do for them to repay them for their heroic deeds."

King Altador's suggestion eased the patients' suffering, but only temporarily, for the worst stage was yet to come.

Early in the Month of Collecting, the OLDPD virus mutated again when the abandoned town of Neovia was uncovered near a gypsy camp in the Haunted Woods. Victims showed outward signs of achieving their heart's desires for a few days, but by the end of a week, the desire had continued growing until it became twisted and grotesque. Mirrors across Neopia were shattered in droves and many sufferers of the disease were driven mad by nightmares of ghostly Meepits dancing in circles.

"It was the most hair-raising thing I've ever seen," said one Cybunny who was in the Haunted Woods when the first victims became stricken with the new symptoms. "Patients would go to sleep fine, then wake up the next morning with their insides twisted out. It's a miracle that some of them were even able to find us to receive aid."

This unfortunate development of a new mutation further complicated the search for a cure as the symptoms of all three strains of the disease mixed together in even more complex ways.

"Since this second mutation, it's become impossible to tell one strain of the virus from another," said a young Wocky doctor, who has been examining the disease on the microscopic level. "Some Neopians are suffering from the original Lost Desert virus as well as the Haunted Woods mutation... others are experiencing the effects of the Altador and Haunted Woods strains... and still others are suffering from all three - it's madness!"

Neopian healers are working furiously round the clock and search parties are combing the Haunted Woods to find the plawt pryses that will cure OLDPD once and for all. But some who have been suffering from the disease for over a year now fear that they will never truly be cured.

"I'm still obsessed with the Lost Desert Plot," confessed one weary-looking Scorchio. "I'll always be obsessed with it and the other plots that followed." However, it's not all doom and gloom for the victims. "I feel like I have a purpose in life now," she added. "[I want] to help others who are suffering from this disease to let them know that they're not alone out there."

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