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Charlie and the Rubbish Quest


by troymizu

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Charlie the Kacheek looked around his domain, reveling in all that was his. The Rubbish Dump was his; all his! True, he was mocked by all of the other Kacheeks, but he had to show them! Never would they be able to steal his magnificent treasures.

     ***

     Long days of digging around the rubbish dump as a child Kacheek had been for him boring, a pastime he hated above all else. The smell was utterly terrible. But on one fateful day, after digging through piles of dung and squashed tomatoes, he found a prize to take his breath away.

     For on that day, he found what appeared to be the lost shipment of the fabled Hidden Tower that he had heard about from his mother. Here it was, unknown to all but him! Staring from the paintbrushes of legend to the deadly-strong faerie weapons, he was awestruck.

     But luck was bitter upon Charlie, for he had forgotten to bring a sack. After all, he had only been expecting to find rotten dung and food remnants, like a disgusting Money Tree. Panicking, he knew he could not carry any of the items, or someone might see him. Faeries did come here often to look after the farmers, and they might want their magical items back.

     Frantic, Charlie did not know what to do. He was tempted to just hide them under his shirt and go, but knew he would not make it home unnoticed. After many long minutes of consideration, he knew what he had to do. Reluctantly, he piled the dung back on top of the rich items, and vowed to come back the next day with a large sack, all the while pretending to be crazy so no one would ask about bringing home a bag from the dump.

     That night, he was terribly worried. What if someone found the items? What if he hadn’t hidden them well enough? He wanted so badly to go back, but knew that the old Acara owner would ponder his reappearance and investigate. Playing it safe, he slept a fitful sleep.

     Early the next morning, Charlie bolted up out of bed and immediately found the largest sack in his house. Telling his mother he would be back soon enough with a great surprise, he raced down to the rubbish dump with glee, startling the other neopets.

     Almost breaking through the doors of the dump, he practically jumped onto the dung heaps and started to move, trying to remember where he had hidden the Hidden Tower delivery.

     Many more hours of stinky dung later, a bored and dirty Charlie was still looking through the garbage of Meridell. With a angry feeling, he tried to remember where he had been yesterday, but with the fresh delivery of new trash from the castle, he could not find his hidden treasure. Worried and sad, Charlie left to head for home.

     The next day, he returned again, searching over and over again for his path to great riches. He was only able to survive the stench by the thought that he would be able to be painted Royal, which had been his mother’s dream for all her life. He could also sell some of the extra items – carefully and secretly – and be able to put his mother in a castle, where she could live happily for her life. So happy were his emotions while he moved around the dung heaps, that the old Acara caretaker thought him insane.

     A week after the strange blue Kacheek had started coming to his dump every day, old James the Acara offered the boy – whose name he found out to be Charlie – some water. Before he had even finished his sentence, Charlie had grabbed the glass and (after wiping his hands on the towel he carried) took a large drink. When the glass was empty, Charlie thanked James and turned back to continue his work. Confused, James turned to go back to his house, slightly disturbed by the boy. But nevertheless, the next day, he offered Charlie some water again.

     The days turned into weeks and the weeks into years. Still looking for the treasure he had found that one day, the enthusiastic Charlie came to the dump every day. Now good friends with James, he had told James what he found. To Charlie’s surprise, James wasn’t startled by the news that he had found amazing Hidden Tower items on his property.

     “I took this job so that I might be able to find those items, for I too found them one day while looking around here, but forgot to pick them up, and they were lost again. If I may, I want to help you find these items, and I’d only want to keep one item – The Baby Paint Brush. I would do anything to be young again,” said the old Acara.

     Together they worked, day in and day out. For weeks on end, Charlie would stay in the house of nice old James, and they would rise early to look for their precious treasures.

     To one that had never been to the Meridell Rubbish dump, it might seem like this was a ridiculous statement that it would take ten years to look for one item in the dump. But each day, the dump grew bigger and bigger, and would always change shape, so that each morning, Charlie and James had to start over and look in the same places.

     ***

     Charlie was now a full grown adult, and was still searching for items. He was scared, for he wanted to make sure that no one had taken the items while he had been looking for them. But no, James had said that lately, Charlie was the only one coming to the dump; people must simply have lost interest.

     A year ago, Charlie had received word from the Neopian Hospital that James had come down with a terrible case of Neomonia, and that he was not expected to recover; the medicine was too expensive, and it was too risky to take James to the Faerie Springs to ask for help.

     In his place, James told Charlie to keep the dump, and that if he ever found the items, to please help him out by buying the medicine.

     Now the owner of the rubbish dump, Charlie the Kacheek made sure to look at what the neopets were taking, and to inspect where they went. In his free time he would continue to look, but he thought that having others look for him was a good idea, too.

     The image of his mother happy in a castle with a royal son drove the blue Kacheek to never stop. One day, he had come close to calling off his quest in despair, but had found a lone Everlasting Apple in the pile (he could tell because it was glowing). Washing it, he brought it home and had it for dinner. And the next night. And the next.

     This one victory propelled Charlie to continue looking, though he had no such luck afterwards. He acted insane to scare off the people who came around, ensuring that no one would be able to come back and possibly find the treasure the next day, like he had as a young baby all those years ago.

     ***

     Charlie woke from his day dream by the sound of a young neopet’s laughter. Standing waist deep in dung, the little Bori was eagerly looking around the dump, as he supposed he had looked all those years ago. Guessing what had happened, he was surprised that he was happy that another neopet had found their way to the treasure.

     Deciding what to do, he dropped his insane disguise and walked to the little Bori, and plainly asked him if he too had found the treasure. Surprised, the young neopet only nodded. Clasping the little one’s hands, Charlie said that they would work together to find this treasure, if only Charlie could keep the royal paintbrush and whatever the Bori didn’t need. Happy that Charlie only wanted these items, the Bori agreed and they worked together to find the items all day long. And the next day, the Bori came back, and they again looked for the Hidden treasures.

     And when James heard what had happened, he smiled on his hospital bed, which startled the nurse who was standing next to him.

The End

 
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