The Shop Wizard's Vacation
“No! That’s cheating!” Yet another Fire Faerie mysteriously appeared in front of the Shop Wizard as a timid Neopian approached him. The Shop Wizard leapt back to avoid being singed by her wings. The Acara’s eyes widened, and then she scampered away, down a path labeled “Neoboards”. The Shop Wizard sighed. Even when there weren’t annoying faeries, the Neopian population was incredibly demanding.
“All right, all right,” he sighed as five or six Neopets clamored around him, shouting their item names all at once. “One at a time, one at a time... FORM A LINE!” he yelled, holding up his hands in a gesture of surrender.
The small crowd stepped back. The first one, a blue Shoyru, moved up. “Find me a Carrot and Pea Omelette,” he said bossily, folding his arms.
The wizard sighed. “Minimum and maximum price?”
“Minimum is one Neopoint, obviously, and maximum... thirty.”
The wizard thrust his wand toward the Marketplace. A stream of what looked like water erupted from it, but the droplets landed on top of one another and solidified, forming a long list.
The Shoyru stared at it, then stepped forward, pressed a link, and disappeared. The same bossy attitude showed in the other Neopet’s actions and voices.
After they were gone, the wizard groaned. He stepped away from his table, leaving a sign that read, “On vacation. Fend for yourselves.”
About fifteen minutes later, the wizard strode into a palace. “Is Fyora here?” he asked the receptionist. She jumped when she realized who he was.
“Um... um...” she stammered. “I’ll just... I’ll just take you in to see her.”
She led him through a two corridors, then opened a large double door. Inside, creamy white marble pillars framed Fyora’s large purple throne. The walls, painted a pale lavender, rose and curved into a dome-like shape. The floor was painted a pale mauve, with a golden diamond pattern across it. The Faerie Queen herself was sitting regally in the throne.
“Yes, Amailia, what is...” She broke off. “You’re supposed to be at your post!” she reminded the Shop Wizard.
“I’m taking a vacation. Thought I’d let you know.” The Shop Wizard may well have been one of the only figures who could speak to Fyora without calling her “Your Majesty.”
Fyora’s jaw dropped. “You can’t take a vacation! The Neopian population needs you!”
“You sure don’t act like it!” the wizard said hotly. “All day, I sit in the sun and listen to whiny Neopets! And when do I ever get a word of gratitude? NEVER! Never, ever, do you ever say thank you! All you faeries care to do is to insult me by calling me a cheating method on their quests!” The wizard paused for breath.
“How long will your vacation last?” Fyora stammered, trying to regain her queenly composure. Sometimes the way the Shop Wizard treated her drove her crazy, but when he was in this kind of temper, it wasn’t a good idea to inform him of that. And she could tell already that there was no changing his mind.
“I don’t know. Perhaps forever. You Neopians could do trying to function without me! Then maybe you’ll have some gratitude!” And with that, the wizard swept out of the throne room, leaving both Fyora and the faerie called Amailia dumbstruck behind him.
Fyora instantly called a meeting with a representative from each of the elements.
“We need to find a replacement while he’s gone,” the Earth Faerie representative said.
“We need to get him back!” corrected the Air Faerie.
“We can just watch the pandemonium,” suggested the Dark Faerie.
“We are not just going to sit here and do nothing!” Fyora cried indignantly.
“Why not? It’s not like it affects us. I mean, we wouldn’t let any of the Neopets use him for our quests anyway,” the Fire Faerie said carelessly, rallying with the Dark Faerie for the first time in her life.
Fyora ignored the Fire and Dark faeries. Instead, she turned to the rest of her council. “Who do you think would make a good replacement?”
“I think... uh...”
“Maybe we should have Neopians send in job applications.”
“Yes!” said Fyora, clapping her hands. “We’ll have job applications. Bear in mind that this will only be a temporary job, until the Shop Wizard comes back.”
“If he comes back,” the Dark Faerie reminded Fyora.
“I want Anuriaha to go convince him to come back,” said Fyora, nodding toward the Light Faerie, who had not spoken yet.
Anuriaha looked surprised at being chosen for such an important job. “Your Majesty, what am I supposed to say?” she asked.
“Explain how much we need him. And please, please hurry.”
Meanwhile, a crowd of about two hundred Neopets had crowded around the empty table and sign.
“It’s got to be a joke.”
“But it isn’t! He’s gone!”
“He’ll be back soon... right?”
Slowly, very, very slowly, the crowd dispersed, going door to door through the marketplace and holding their breath, hoping that the item they needed was in stock. Eventually, the marketplace streets, usually so quiet, became so crowded that people went into shops just to be able to breathe.
And the chaos had just begun.
“Please, Illusen, please extend my time limit!” a Kacheek begged. “Please! It’s taking so much longer than usual, the shop wizard isn’t around, and we have to find the item on our own now...”
Illusen sighed. “All right. I’ll give you twenty extra minutes.”
She stood up to address the crowd clamoring around her, all asking the same question. “I will extend your time limit by twenty minutes!” she called. They muttered sighs of relief and dispersed.
Jhudora, on the other hand, was not relenting. “I gave you that time limit, you cope with it! You’re lucky I let you use the Shop Wizard when he was still around! Go to the Trading Post, if you must,” she said nastily.
Everybody sighed. Why couldn’t the wizard’s vacation be over??
Fyora read through the twenty-seventh application for the position.
Experience: Giving Quest Help
Hours Available: A half hour per day
Previous Experience: None
The application ended there. Fyora crumpled it up and threw it into the trash, then hid her face in her hands in despair. She would never find a replacement.
Oh, please, Anuriaha, hurry!
Anuriaha found the wizard sunning himself on Mystery Island. He was already surrounded by a few Neopets, begging for his return. He sat up and waved his wand threateningly.
“D’you want me to turn you all into Piles of Soot? Now get away!”
“Mister Shop Wizard, sir?” Anuriaha asked shyly, sidling up.
“Why did you go on vacation in the first place?”
“Ingratitude. You never say please, and you never say thank you. I’m always just... there.”
The truthfulness of this statement hit the Light Faerie full-force.
“I think that... I think that if you come back now, the Neopian population will appreciate you a lot more.”
“Why should I? I’m perfectly fine here!”
“Because you’re essential to us! We need you to function! Otherwise pets will starve, and get bored, and the Soup Faerie will run out of ingredients, and collectors won’t be able to collect their stuff, and...”
The Shop Wizard held up a stick-like hand to stop her. “Let me think about it for a moment.”
Anuriaha held her breath.
“I will come back.”
“But,” he added, “you’d better appreciate me more, or else I’ll be gone again. And this time, I won’t be so easy to persuade to come back.”
“We will. I can promise you that.” The faerie could have danced.
Fyora breathed a long sigh of relief when Anuriaha told her the news. “Great! Now things can FINALLY get back to normal.”
“Like it should be,” the Light Faerie agreed.
Well, if I get in, this'll be my first time in the Times (though my hopes aren't high). Feedback is very appreciated.