The Chia That Couldn't Wear a Hat Anymore
One fine Neopian day, a long, long time ago, Trenkil the Cloud Chia was looking for something exciting to do. He wasn’t an unhappy Chia, but his life just seemed a little bit plain. Every day he would wake up at dawn, eat toast with chocolate sprinkles for breakfast, annoy his brothers and sisters for about an hour, look in every mirror in the house, and then he would head for Neopia Central. He loved Neopia Central. He could spend hours and hours there, just wandering around in the shops. The one thing he liked best was clothing. Of course he was very proud of his cloudy fur, but a true gentleman needs a little extra, Trenkil would always say. Due to his clothing addiction, his Neohome was filled with wardrobes. He had one for his pants, one for his shirts and jumpers, one for his shoes and belts, one for his accessories and an extra big wardrobe for his hats.
According to Trenkil, hats are something really special. They are the cherry on top of your ice cream, the chocolate sprinkles on your toast, the last piece of your 2500 piece puzzle. A good hat makes everything fall into place. Trenkil had enough hats to wear a different one every day of the year. He had hats that were perfect for a boat ride, hats he could wear when he was shopping for hats, hats for playing games, hats for official visits to important Neopians, hats for everything. He even had a hat just for eating his toast with chocolate sprinkles. But still Trenkil wasn’t satisfied. He wanted a completely different look. Something special to make his hats look even more special.
So on this one fine Neopian day, Trenkil decided to do things differently. He woke up at dawn, put on his breakfast hat, ate his toast with chocolate sprinkles, teased his brothers and sisters, looked in every mirror in the house, and left his Neohome. He hadn’t decided where to go yet, so he just started walking. ‘Now where can I find something new and exciting to change my look?’ he thought to himself. ‘Maybe I should just get a new haircut, or get my mom to buy me a nice Paint Brush.’ All kinds of ideas were running through his head, but nothing seemed appropriate. He was so focused on finding a solution for his problem that he totally forgot where he was going. Suddenly he noticed that he had wandered off into the forest. He had just decided to turn around and find his way back to Neopia Central, when he heard something in the bushes.
Trenkil tried to see who was making this noise. Carefully he took a few steps toward the bushes. ‘Who’s there?’
For a few moments there was nothing but silence, then Trenkil heard the sound again. ‘Pssst!’ He pushed away some branches and noticed something white and fluffy. It made a cackling noise. ‘Hihihihahahahuuuuhuhu’. Even for a cackling noise it sounded pretty scary.
‘Uhm, excuse me, but who are you and what are you doing here?’ Trenkil asked and backed off a little bit.
The white and fluffy thing rose up from the bushes. Underneath it, a yellow Scorchio with a white coat and crazy orange eyes appeared. ‘Well, well, hello hello,’ he whispered, with a creepy smile on his face. ‘My name is... hihihihahahuhuhu, I’m not going to tell you, because... it’s a secret! You can call me Mister Scientist.’ The eyes of the Scorchio turned into an even brighter orange color and he cackled some more.
The Scorchio didn’t look very dangerous to Trenkil. He seemed pretty old, and he was at least two hats shorter than him. The scientist was going through his white and fluffy hair with his hands, and pulled out a notebook and a pencil. ‘Very well, very well,’ he mumbled. ‘Oh right, right... What am I doing in this bushes.. uhm..’ He was looking a little confused now. ‘Ah, now I remember. I was waiting for you, yes, I was waiting for you.’
Trenkil considered this. How could this strange creature know that he was coming? Meanwhile, the scientist was making some drawings in his notebook. He was making some kind of funny shape with a hat on. Trenkil took a closer look at it. ‘Wait a minute! I don’t look anything like that!’ he shouted with all the vanity he had in him. ‘I’m very handsome, you know!’
The scientist put his pencil and notebook back in his hair and looked at our dear Chia. ‘Oh really? Hihihi, it must be because I don’t have my glasses on.’ Some more cackles came out of his mouth.
‘But you know what, little Chia, I am here to help you. Yes, to help you.’ An evil grin appeared on his face. ‘You see, I am a very talented stylist. Yes, a stylist.’
Trenkil gave him a suspicious look. ‘A stylist, you say?’ To him, that crazy creature didn’t look anything like the stylists he knew, but then again, those stylists couldn’t help him get that one special look.
‘Indeed, indeed. I am a professional stylist, specializing in Chias. Yes, I am very good with Chias. I can turn you into something... really special. All you have to do is come to my secret... styling laboratory... Yes, my styling laboratory.’
Trenkil thought about this for a while. The scientist was obviously insane, but most creative Neopians are. He also looked kind of smart, and his white coat was definitely stylish. Trenkil had one just like it. ‘Well, Mister Scientist, I did promise myself to do things completely different today. If I do come with you to your styling laboratory, could you really turn me into something special?’
The yellow Scorchio rubbed his hands together and grinned again. ‘Of course, young Neopet, of course I will turn you into something... really special.’
Trenkil decided to stop hesitating. His vanity was bigger than his fear of the unknown. It was something he was famous for. ‘Alright, let’s go then.’
The scientist started to go through his hair once again. This time he pulled out some kind of map. He looked at it, turned it around a couple of times and started walking. ‘Hurry up now, young Chia, hurry up.’
Trenkil made sure his hat was firmly attached to his head and followed the Scorchio into a big cave. At the end of the cave there was a small tunnel, that appeared to be going down. ‘Now this is starting to look like an adventure!’ Trenkil thought to himself. After a long walk, the tunnel was going up again. They arrived at two large metal doors. Yet again the scientist was rumbling around in his enormous haircut. He grabbed a remote control and started to push some buttons. The doors opened.
They entered another cave, filled with some of the strangest machines Trenkil had ever seen. ‘What a weird place for a styling laboratory,’ he said, mostly to himself, because the yellow Scorchio was already pulling levers and pushing buttons on one of the machines. In the middle of the cave there was a large cabin. Trenkil walked up to it to check it out. ‘This is the dressing room, right, Mister Scientist?’
‘The dressing room? Oh, the dressing room. Yes, of course it’s the dressing room. Why don’t you get in there, and I will prepare your... metamorphose. But no peeking!’
Trenkil opened the cabin and stepped inside. The door fell shut behind him. Suddenly the whole cabin started to shake, a bright light filled the entire space and then faded. Trenkil knocked on the door. ‘Helloooo?’ Nobody answered. He slowly opened the door of the cabin and peeked outside. The scientist was nowhere to be seen. A strange feeling was creeping up on Trenkil. ‘Oh drat, I guess I’ve been the victim of a great practical joke again.’ He knew something wasn’t right from the start. The scientist obviously knew quite some things about him. If he even was a real scientist. Trenkil started to walk back through the tunnel. ‘I bet it was my oldest brother. Just this morning he was telling me that my vanity would come back to haunt me some day,’ Trenkil mumbled to himself.
When he nearly got back to Neopia Central, he was still trying to come up with a way to get back at his brother. ‘That evil boy should get a lesson he will never forget! Pff! Making fun of my love for fancy clothes and hats like that.’ Trenkil stopped walking abruptly. ‘Talking about hats, where IS my hat?’ he yelled. ‘I must have left it at that fake laboratory. Oh no, it was one of my favorite hats!’ This was all his brother's fault, he thought. Angry as he was, he didn’t even stop at his favorite stores in Neopia Central and walked straight back home. He also didn’t notice that everyone was grinning as he walked by.
‘Trenkil? Is that you?’ his little sister asked when she opened the door. ‘What have you been up to!?’
‘Why are you asking? I’ve only been away for a few hours,’ Trenkil answered. He saw his brother's head appear in the door opening of the kitchen.
‘Hahahaha! Don’t you look... spicy... today, Trenkil! I hardly didn’t recognize you without your hat on. Hahahaha!’
Trenkil started to feel slightly uncomfortable.
‘No, seriously, Trenkil, have you taken a good look in the mirror lately?’ His sister was looking really upset.
‘Uhm... no... I haven’t. Why?’
His sister sighed. ‘Then I suggest you go to the bathroom right now and see for yourself.’
The shock! The horror! Trenkil could hardly believe it. His beautiful cloudy fur was all gone, he'd lost at least fifty pounds, his beautiful hair had turned into something green and sturdy, and worst of all, he was completely red! Trenkil sat down on the bathroom floor and thought things over. Then reality dawned upon him. He was a pepper. A PEPPER! Oh gosh, how on Neopia did this happen. His vanity did come back to haunt him. He went to his room full of closets to find something to cover up his new look. He tried on every piece of clothing he had, but none of them fit him anymore. This wasn’t the worst thing yet. His hats, his beautiful hats. The sturdy green thing on his head prevented his hats from getting on properly. Trenkil cried for hours, lying on a pile of hats. The next day he was gone and no one ever found him again.
But some Neopians say that late at night, they see a thin red figure strolling through the Neopian forests, mumbling something about a cave and a tunnel. And he’s never wearing a hat.