Sophie versus Goldrun
Please note: This short story is part of a series of stories that I started on my original, but now frozen, account, a_greenparrot. To learn more you can read the first in the series, Sophie versus the Neopian Times.
Sophie was stressed. Today had been a bad day for her; she had spilt her potion all over her floor, she had tripped on one of her spell books, and she had got her long, messy hair stuck in a door. Anybody who knew Sophie in the slightest could guess that she was ready to explode; all she needed was something to push her over. That something would be arriving in a few minutes between the claws of a small, feathered petpet. The green Ixi pulled on her floppy hat and stepped outside. Once she arrived on her porch, she found mud splatter over her filthy cloak.
"Watch where you're going!" she snapped as the Neopian Times Weewoo fluttered out of the swamp.
Sophie marched off of her deck and into the muck to retrieve her weekly newspaper. Several stories and comics had been splatter with mud; Sophie's attempt to brush it off only smeared it more.
"The Neopian Times is supposed to help one relax and enjoy their free time," stated Sophie to no one in particular. "Instead for the past few months you've turned me into a villain, claimed that Jelly World was real, and said that I was responsible for the disappointing Altador Cup prizes!"
"Meow," came the sceptical sound of her Meowclops, Blink.
"Oh alright, it never actually said that," confessed Sophie, "You've been pretty annoying lately, paper, and I think it's time you smartened up."
"Meow," Blink continued to point out the obvious.
"What do you mean, 'It can't hear me'?" demanded Sophie, then ten times louder, "Am I speaking loud enough for you, paper?!"
The Swamp Witch sat down in her favourite rocking chair and began to read aloud from one of the stories.
"'Sheriff Ellie was having just another normal day'," she started. "'But all was not well in Goldrun...' Goldrun?! I'm sick of hearing about this imaginary town. Sure, it was fun when it was April Fools, but this is several months later."
Sophie got up from her seat and began to pace angrily.
"It's in the storytelling contest, the poetry contest, and it still won't leave the Neopian Times," she ranted, "and the worst part is, people are making it sound like it's real."
The Ixi grabbed her wooden, curved staff and declared, "I know who I can blame for this, Mr. Peterson. How is that illogical, Blink?"
Blink began to protest, "Me-"
But Sophie cut him off, "That was a rhetorical question."
Sophie then stepped back into her swamp and made her way toward Neopia Central once more. As she stomped through the swamp, mud splashed up her heels. Soon the trees became more scarce and the sun was much brighter.
Just as Sophie remembered, Neopia was still an overly happy place. People smiled at one another as they went about their daily errands, and each shop was shaped into something ridiculous and brightly coloured. The Swamp Witch was glad to get out of the joyful city and into the shaded catacombs. She passed the storytelling campfire and coffee shop as she targeted the bland, boxlike headquarters of the Neopian Times. She barged into the door and saw the familiar Lutari sitting at his desk.
Mr. Peterson was a writer for the Neopian Times who had a history of lying, bending the truth, fabricating tales, and being dishonest. Until he had make the mistake of writing about Sophie, he had remained at large. The Swamp Witch had revealed to the world that he had lied about her being dangerous and about Jelly World being real. Currently the short red Lutari was dusting off his blue business suit as he read through some papers. On the side of his desk was an enchanted quill vigorously writing something on a book.
Peterson looked up and greeted, "Hello, Sophie. What a pleasant surprise. In case you've got yet another one of your complaints, might I remind you that after the Altador Cup incident, I'm allowed to continue my writing."
"This has nothing to do with that," declared Sophie firmly. "I want to know why you think you can tell gullible people that there is a Kauboy city between the Lost Desert and Altador."
"I hope you realize that I had nothing to do with the creation of that farce," stated Mr. Peterson calmly, "It was entirely the fault of the Notorious Tree Warping Feepits."
"Ha, how am I supposed to take my anger out on the NTWF?" demanded Sophie, annoyed. "I bet that's it's you who's been promoting this prank beyond an April Fool's joke, though."
"Who told you?" asked Mr. Peterson.
"You just did," exclaimed Sophie smugly.
The Lutari looked confused as he tried to make logic out of Sophie's accusation.
"I, uh, what?" he muttered puzzled, then more confidently he said, "Look Sophie, if you can find something illegal that this whole Goldrun thing has done, then I'll take full responsibility for it. However, it is the people's own fault for believing it and I've done nothing wrong, so you had better get used to it."
"Fine, I'll turn you into a Slorg," threatened Sophie, "How will you endorse Goldrun then, huh?"
"Simple," answered Mr. Peterson suavely, "I don't actually do any writing, you see, I can get my magical Quill and Book to do that. All I do is think up the idea."
Sophie glared at the Lutari hatefully.
"I'll be back, Peterson," hissed Sophie as she stormed out of he office, while knocking over a potted plant.
She knew that Mr. Peterson was right; there was nothing illegal about saying that a town existed. Maybe if one person tried to convince people it was real that would be a crime, but this was all of the Neopian Times authors and they knew that it was a prank. There were no laws against harmless pranks.
However, Sophie still wanted revenge on Mr. Peterson. An average spell wouldn't do the trick, but something bigger might work. The Ixi grinned as she thought up the perfect potion; all she needed were a few ingredients. To get those, she would have to go to the Trading Post.
She inspected her staff and pondered, "It's not a broomstick, but I hope it'll still work."
She sat down on the staff and cried out, "To Mystery Island!"
At first nothing happened and she was beginning to feel like an idiot, but then the back of it started to sputter. Sophie felt the magical branch come to life as she rumbled beneath her. In a quick jolt she was pulled off the ground and into the air. The sudden speed caught her off guard, so she tumbled off of her staff and had to grab on to it.
"Slow down!" she ordered as she exited the catacombs out to the open space of Neopia Central.
Her makeshift broomstick immediately reduced in speed, allowing her to pull herself up. After she was certain that she was in control again, Sophie ordered it to take her to Mystery Island. Once again the staff jetted through the sky; Sophie could see the ocean splashing below her. However, she was not enjoying this voyage as her staff was quite painful between her legs, and she was feeling very nauseous. As the wind whipped through her long hair, she spotted her destination. The small speck in the water soon became a large island, Sophie dived down to land on it. Her landing was less than graceful as she tumbled into the sandy beach.
"Okay, I'll have to work on that," she muttered as she shook the sand out of her ears. "Now, to find that Trading Post."
The Trading Post was easy enough for the Ixi to find, and in no time she was searching though the offers for the ingredients she needed.
"Let's see, I'll need a Bag of Peanuts and a Snow Kabob," she thought aloud. "Oh, there's a good deal on an Attack Pea!"
As Sophie made her way to the trader, she was pulled aside by someone else. This someone was an Acara.
"Hi there, miss, I bet you're looking for this secret message," said the Acara with a grin.
"No, I'm not," snapped Sophie. "Now get out of my way."
"Have you ever heard of Quizara's Curse?" inquired the Acara, still not letting Sophie pass.
"No, I haven't and I don't want to," denied Sophie, "Now move before I get angry!"
"'Cause I've got just the thing you need, Elkie's Secret Message," declared the Acara, oblivious to Sophie's threat.
"How many times to... Did you say, 'Elkie's Secret Message'?" Sophie asked, noticing a connection.
"I sure did; it's written by yours truly, Elkie," answered the Acara.
"Say Elkie, have you read the Neopian Times recently?" asked Sophie with a sly grin.
"Of course not; I've been too busy selling Secret Messages," responded Elkie.
"And do you know of a Kauboy town known as Goldrun?" Sophie continued.
"Nope," declared Elkie. "What's with all the questions? Are you a detective?"
"Eh, something like that," Sophie said quickly. "So, you don't know that Neopian Times authors are using a something called Ellie's Secret Message in their stories? It's for a prank, and the writer is a Sheriff Kau named Ellie."
Elkie's smiled disappeared immediately and now she looked quite ticked off as she protested, "They can't do that! That's plagiarism, they're taking my name and my message and turning into their own stories. Do they expect people to believe this? And who is to blame for it?"
Sophie smiled triumphantly as she answered, "Some people actually believe it, and I happen to have permission from a certain Lutari to blame him for this."
"Well, then I demand that you take me to him," huffed Elkie furiously, "I'll give him a piece of my mind."
"Alright," agreed Sophie. "Although, the means of transport are a little... unorthodox."
Five minutes later Elkie was screaming on the back of Sophie's staff.
"Do you want me to stop?" shouted Sophie over the Acara's shrieks and the wind blowing.
"Are you kidding? This is awesome," declared Elkie with an excited grin.
"Then could you stop screaming," grumbled Sophie, even though Elkie couldn't hear her.
Mr. Peterson paced his office as his enchanted quill wrote into his magic book.
"Okay, so the headline will read, 'Young Girl Kidnaps Usuki'," declared the Lutari as his quill scribbled it down.
"No, no, that's not interesting enough," he stated as he rethought his idea, "How about, 'Young Girl kidnaps Angelpuss'?"
The quill crossed out its first statement and began writing the new one.
"Not so fast, Mr. Peterson," called Sophie as she marched into his office. "I've got someone who wants to talk with you. Allow me to introduce you to... Elkie."
The Acara stomped into the room with a murderous look on her face.
"Mr. Peterson, you have stolen my image and my iconic item and turned it into a running gag for Neopian Times writers," she declared angrily. "That is a crime that the Defenders of Neopia will not approve of."
Mr. Peterson was about to say something, probably in his defence; however, Elkie continued, "Speaking of the Defenders of Neopia, Judge Hog is waiting outside."
"What?" gasped the Lutari as his jaw dropped to his desk. "Let me talk to him."
He got up from his seat and stepped outside. Sophie and Elkie followed. Just as Elkie had said, Judge Hog was waiting next to the building.
"Listen here, you muscle-head Moehog, I have done absolutely nothing wrong," stated Mr. Peterson. "I had nothing to do with this prank."
"Actually, according to Miss the Swamp Witch, you took full responsibility for Goldrun," pointed out the towering hero.
Mr. Peterson spluttered, "Well, uh... but that was just-"
"Also, I don't much like being called 'muscle-head'," interrupted Judge Hog. "Mr. Peterson, you are banned from writing forever."
Once the Moehog had flown back to the Defenders' HQ, Mr. Peterson looked at Sophie mischievously and congratulated her. "Well done, Sophie, you've outsmarted me three times now. However, in case you've forgotten, I've always risen back to power, and I will do it again."
"Ha, I would have thought that you'd have gotten tired of being foiled by me," shot back Sophie.
"And I'd have thought that by now you would have stop interfering with me by now," countered Mr. Peterson, "but we'll just have to see who has the stronger will the next time we meet. Until then, goodbye."
With that he departed from the catacombs and left behind Sophie and Elkie.
"Well, thanks a lot for alerting me of this," said Elkie with a smile. "Where I come we don't take this kind of behaviour lightly."
"And where exactly do you come from?" asked Sophie curiously.
"Oh, just a little place between Altador and Shenkuu called Silverton. You can't see it on the map, but there is a secret way to get there if you follow specific steps. It involves a close eye and some keen thinking, and there's a little Battledoming involved."
Sophie looked at the Acara blankly, then laughed. "Okay, if you don't want to tell me, fine. I'm going back to my shack."
With those final words she left Neopia Central for the Haunted Woods. She knew that soon enough she would be up against Mr. Peterson again, but until then she could take a much needed rest.