A Day with a Legend
Lily the Blue Aisha took another step forward on the rough grass. Another day meant another trip to Neoschool, and another trip to Neoschool meant another long and tiring walk. It was the absolute worst part of her day.
Lily came to a brick Neohome and stopped in front of it. She quickly walked up to the door and knocked. This was Sam Scott's Neohome. Sam was Lily's best friend, and it had been that way since both of them could remember. Sam and Lily had a lot in common: they both enjoyed reading, they both were unpainted, and they both were outcasts from the crowd. Lily and Sam didn't mind that they were not popular, because they didn't really care what people thought of them. After all, it wasn't like they were going to become celebrities.
Sam came out right on cue. He was a pretty good-looking Green Kougra (after all he was a Kougra), but he still wasn't as handsome as most of the boys. Normally, his humble good looks were hidden by thick and round black glasses, but not today. Today, Sam showed up in a black suit, complete with a black facemask and a fake red Mohawk messily attached to his mask.
"What are you wearing?" Lily said, completely shocked.
"What everyone else is wearing," Sam replied as he started walking with Lily.
Lily peered around at the other neopets nearby who were walking to Neoschool. Strangely enough, they all had on similar outfits like Sam's. Shiny black capes, fake plastic 6-packs, and a large red "N" painted on their yellow shirts.
"Oh," said Lily as she returned to talking with Sam, "I must have not seen it."
"Not seen it?" Sam shouted in disbelief. "How could you have not seen a bunch of kids in bright yellow shirts and capes?"
"Well, I'm sorry," Lily said sarcastically. "What is it for anyway?"
"What is it for?" Sam shouted, not believing that Lily had no idea what he was talking about, "Lily, were you paying attention when we had that discussion in class yesterday?"
"No, I was reading," Lily said.
"Lily!" Sam said in a scornful tone.
"What, it's not like you've never read in class before," Lily replied.
"Yes, but I only read during unimportant discussions," Sam began to explain. "This was a very important discussion."
"So?" Lily questioned.
"So, it was about the assembly we're having today," Sam said.
"Yes, the assembly," Sam told Lily. "We are having a one in a life time chance to meet a hero, Lily. Judge Hog is coming to our school!"
"Oh," Lily said. "You mean the Judge Hog that spends all of his time flashing smiles at the camera instead of actually contributing to Neopia?"
Sam's jaw dropped in disbelief. "Take that back," he whispered.
"Nope, I meant every word I said," Lily said with confidence.
"Lily, maybe you don't realize what a hero Judge Hog is," Sam stated. "He has defeated countless villains and brought Neopia to peace!"
Soon Sam and Lily reached the Neoschool.
"Yeah, yeah, whatever," Lily said sarcastically as she began to walk up the Neoschool steps.
"Just try not to be too sour at the assembly," Sam warned Lily.
"Okay, I'll try," Lily replied as she opened the Neoschool's front door and walked in.
The neopets eagerly crammed into the school gymnasium, pushing and shoving to get that perfect front-row seat. Hanging from the high ceilings of the gym was a yellow and red banner saying: "Welcome Judge Hog". Lily had once read that yellow and red were colors that made things look cheap. That's exactly what this assembly was - cheap.
The students settled down and took their seats on the hard floor. The principal, Mrs. Meadows, walked up to the wooden stage. "Hello, everybody," she said.
"Hello, Mrs. Meadows," the students replied.
"Well, as many of you know, we have a great honor bestowed upon us today. Today, a thrilling thing will happen. Such a brilliant thing that this Neoschool will go down in history. Today, we can say are Neoschool is great, but tomorrow, we will be able to say that a legend visited our Neoschool. Ladies and gentlemen, I present to you, the one and only, Judge Hog!"
The gymnasium erupted with applause and screams of joy as Judge Hog walked out onto the stage. He walked obnoxiously slowly and his shiny black boots made squeaky noises as he walked. He stopped for a moment, and then said: "Hello, students."
Once again the gymnasium trembled under the enormous sound of hundreds of young neopets screaming. Judge Hog held a hand up to silence the neopets, and they immediately obeyed by quieting down.
"Kids," he began, "I'm here for a deeper purpose. I'm not here to show off or spread publicity-"
"Yeah, right," Lily muttered under her breath.
"-I'm really here to talk to you," Judge Hog continued, "In fact, I'm here to inspire you. My goal is to inspire every single one of you to reach higher and go where no neopet has gone before."
At this, all of the girls in the front row gave long sighs and stared up at Judge Hog in complete awe.
"Today," he went on, "I am launching a new program called Inspire, because my goal is to inspire each and every one of you. In a few moments, I will pick someone from this Neoschool to spend the day with me."
The crowd gasped in amazement. Everyone was fantasizing that they would be the one to spend the day with Judge Hog. Lily could even see the teachers wondering if they were eligible.
"I wish I could spend more time with all of you, but a Hero such as myself has a very tight schedule," Judge Hog announced. "So I will only have the opportunity to spend time with one of you."
He motioned to the side of the gym and out of nowhere came a cart pushed forward by a Green Acara. On the cart there was a huge yellow triangle with a big red "N" painted on it.
"And the lucky winner is-" Judge Hog said as he reached onto the triangle and pulled out a small piece of paper, "Miss Lily Laydar."
Lily started to feel bad for whoever that was. Spending the whole day with a guy like that, how awful - Wait! Was that her name?
"Will Miss Lily Laydar please stand up?" Judge Hog asked, peering into the massive crowd. Lily slowly stood up.
"Ah, there you are, young lady," he said. "Will you please come up here on stage?" Lily walked up solemnly to the stage. She looked out across the crowd and saw hundreds of neopets that wished that they were up on the stage, in her place. Lily didn't want this, but other neopets did. Maybe she could just give up her role to someone else, someone else who wanted it.
"Young Lily here," Judge Hog said, placing a hand on Lily's shoulder, "has the privilege of spending a day with me. Lily, is there anything you would like to add?"
Lily stepped forward to face the young neopets. "Look, " Lily started to explain, "No offense, but I really don't want to be inspired. I'm not really cut out for this type of thing. My goal in life is to get more than 100 points in Ultimate Bullseye. That's about it. So, does anyone want my job?"
Hundreds of hands shot up, but Judge Hog stopped Lily before she could say any more.
"The program is called Inspire for a reason," Judge Hog said, "Because I am going to inspire Lily, and only Lily."
The hands fell down in disappointment.
"But don't worry kids," Judge Hog announced. "You will all have your time to shine." Judge Hog waved heroically goodbye as he ushered Lily out the gym's door.
"Okay, Lily," Judge Hog started to explain, "We are going to do some interviews for the news. Is that okay?"
"Okay, sure," Lily said, "But can I get my backpack first?"
"I already have taken care of it," Judge Hog told Lily. The same Green Acara that had pushed in the triangular box handed Lily her worn green backpack. As Lily flung it over her shoulder, she wondered how they had gotten it out of her locked locker.
"Here we go," Judge Hog said as he opened a classroom door. Suddenly orders and questions flew everywhere. Lily felt like she was in the middle of a thunderstorm.
Judge Hog and Lily sat down at a small table with the reporters facing them. Soon, the yelling stopped and the questions were more orderly.
"Miss Lily Laydar, is it?" one reporter asked. Lily shook her head.
"Lily, what is it like to be able to spend a day with such a legend?" another reporter asked.
"Um," Lily started to answer.
"She is absolutely thrilled to be able to spend time with a true hero," Judge Hog replied.
"Lily, how will your friends at school take this?" a Disco Ixi reporter asked Lily.
"Well," Lily began to reply, but Judge Hog quickly interrupted her.
"All of her classmates wish they could be her," he told the reporter.
"Is there anything else you would like to add?" another reporter questioned.
"Well," Judge Hog said, "My goal today is to inspire Lily, and I believe, with my guidance, I will be able to inspire Lily to do things no other neopet has ever done before."
All of the reporters clapped as Judge Hog saluted goodbye and guided Lily out of the room.
"You answered all of my questions," she exclaimed. "You never gave me a chance to talk!"
"Well, I do have experience at this," Judge Hog explained.
"Well, where are we going now?" Lily asked.
"To my secret lab," Judge Hog said.
Judge Hog, Lily, and the green Acara all walked out of the school and onto the street. They walked for a while until they came to a small shack in the middle of what looked to be a garbage dump. Judge Hog placed his hand on the lid of a nearby garbage can, and the shack's front door slid open.
"After you," Judge Hog said, inviting Lily into the small shack. Lily walked in to find a huge room, much bigger than what the shack looked like on the outside. The room was filled with Judge Hog posters and Judge Hog plushies carefully placed on red and yellow shelves. A huge Judge Hog rug covered the floor, and there were several Judge Hog bean bags placed around the room.
"Come sit," Judge Hog said as he motioned to a bean bag placed in front of a huge Judge Hog painting. Lily sat down in the bean bag chair and faced the painting as he came and stood beside her. Lily looked at the painting and saw Judge Hog in mid-kick, serving justice to a burglar. As Lily saw the picture of him kicking the masked villain, she couldn't believe how phony he was. He did this all for publicity, not for Neopia. Lily was done with spending a day with a legend.
"Well, if you take a look at this move here-" Judge Hog started to explain, but Lily quickly interrupted him.
"You think you can do everything, don't you?" Lily asked.
"Well, that's because I can do everything," Judge Hog said with a smile. By now, Lily was fed up with all of this here nonsense.
"Here," said Lily, pulling out a math worksheet from her backpack. "Do this math problem."
"Okay," Judge Hog said as he started to work on the problem.
Lily got up from her bean bag in hopes to get away from Judge Hog for a while. She saw the Green Acara that had been following her and Judge Hog around sitting at a small desk. Lily went over to her.
"Excuse me, but who are you?" Lily asked the Acara.
"I'm Awesome Acara," she said. Lily looked at the Acara and tried to remember if she had ever heard of Awesome Acara. Even though Lily disliked Judge Hog, she still had heard his name many times before. Wouldn't Lily be able to remember who Awesome Acara was?
"I know you probably haven't heard of me before," the Acara said. "I'm an assistant to Judge Hog."
"Don't you mean sidekick?" Lily asked.
"Well, that's what the job is supposed to be," the Acara explained, "but now that Judge Hog is doing all these publicity things, my work is more like scheduling interviews and helping him with presentations. I just wish he could save the world sometimes, you know?"
"Tell me about it," Lily responded.
"But don't get me wrong; he's a very hard worker," the Acara said.
"He is?" Lily asked.
"Take a look at him," the Acara said as Lily watched Judge Hog working on the math problem that she had given him. "He is working so hard just to get that single problem done. He never gives up, even when it is something he can't do. That's why he is a true hero. Judge Hog is the kind of neopet that everyone should look up to."
Just as the Acara finished talking to Lily, Judge Hog got up from his seat, math paper in hand. He walked over to where Lily was standing. Lily could see that Judge Hog was sad, truly sad. The proud twinkle he'd had before had left his eye. He didn't look like Judge Hog anymore; he just looked like one very disappointed neopet.
"I can't do it," he said.
Lily took a step closer to Judge Hog.
"Well then," she said, "I'll teach you."