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The Day of Giving Fiasco


by gold_fang

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“Give me your money or your life.” Evinti leveled his Virtupets blaster at the Halloween Hissi. The sleek weapon looked out of place in the dingy Krawk Island alleyway.

      The Hissi smiled a little, looking at Evinti’s gun. “That blaster has been modified to be nonlethal. The worst you could do is knock me out.” Evinti was surprised. How was someone who walked into a dark alleyway on Krawk Island, well dressed, no less, smart enough to tell that his blaster was modified?

      “Are you sure?” Evinti asked pleasantly. He smiled a little, an unnerving facial expression on him. It wasn’t his mouth that had trouble, it was his eyes. While the rest of his face arranged itself in a semblance of happiness, his eyes remained dark and cold. Evinti was quite proud of that smile; it helped the otherwise unremarkable Wocky intimidate people, a useful skill for a thief.

      “Yes, actually. I’ve heard of you. I know you never kill people,” the Hissi replied with a small smile of his own, seemingly unaware of Evinti’s attempts to unnerve him.

      “How, pray tell, do you know that?” Evinti said, feeling a little put out.

      “You’ve gained a bit of a reputation here. It really doesn’t help that you look so weird. I mean, come on, you aren’t even a pirate pet and this is Krawk Island. You’re a Skunk Wocky who goes around wearing a red suit and threatening people with a stun gun. Your accent places you in Neopia Central’s lower class if I’m not mistaken, though you try to speak like someone well educated. Oddly enough, you stand out a little amongst the pirates.”

      The sarcasm deflated Evinti a little further. “Okay, I’ll give you that. I’ll also revise my threat: give me your money or I’ll knock you out and take it.”

      “Okay, Okay, I’ll—” The Hissi suddenly broke off, spinning and using his tail to smack Evinti’s blaster from his hands. To complete the move, he snatched the blaster from the air and pointed it at the surprised Wocky.

      “I-I, uh...” Evinti tried to think of some way to remedy the situation and came up with nothing.

      “Don’t let yourself get distracted,” the Hissi chided, “Also, since I can’t have you following me around...” He fired the blaster at Evinti’s leg, looking satisfied as the Wocky fell. “Huh,” he remarked, glancing at the blaster, “I expected it to have some recoil.”

      “Why would it? It doesn’t fire any mass,” Evinti, sitting on the ground, clutching his now numb and motionless leg, said. If he was going to be beaten so badly, he might as well get in a snide comment or two.

      “Good point, I suppose.” He paused. “At any rate, happy Day of Giving.” With that last quip, he turned and flew off.

     The Hissi’s last comment gave Evinti a bit of a start. He hadn’t realized that it was the Day of Giving yet. Great. Somehow, the date made his situation worse. While other people enjoyed festivities with their families, he would get to sit in the freezing alley while the feeling returned to his leg. Evinti was pretty sure he wouldn’t be able to crawl the two miles to his apartment, and he definitely didn’t want to risk running into any enemies while he was incapacitated and unarmed. Curling up to conserve heat, Evinti braced himself to spend the next several hours waiting for the feeling to return to his leg.

     -X-

     Skasco landed after flying for a few miles, out of breath. Flying was such a hard form of transportation; he should really get in shape.

     That had been a close encounter. If that Wocky hadn’t been so easy to distract, all of his work would have been for nothing, and the map would be in the grubby clutches of a criminal who knew nothing about it. Apparently, a small event like the Day of Giving wasn’t enough to make it safe in the alleys of Krawk Island. He needed to be much more careful from now on.

     Well, no harm no foul; besides, he had gotten this cool blaster out of it. Given the situation, it couldn’t have gone better.

     Skasco slithered into a small inn, savoring the warmth and low buzz of conversation. He spotted his companion, a young Desert Lutari sitting alone at a table, looking slightly relieved.

     “What took you so long?” the Lutari asked in his usual bored tone as Skasco came into earshot. “I was starting to think you had gotten mugged or something.”

     “Well, to make a long story short, I did get mugged, Usulzel.”

     “Really? What happened?” the Lutari asked, raising a curious eyebrow.

     “Do you remember that Wocky thief the innkeeper was talking about?”

     “The one with the spectacularly bad luck and the nerves to leave the Thieves Guild?”

     “Yeah, and the modified blaster. Well, he tried to mug me. I stepped into an alley, trying to hurry and not really paying attention and bam, he’s got this blaster in my face, asking for my stuff. Not to worry, though, I distracted him and escaped. Also, I got this.” Skasco pulled the blaster out of his coat. “I’m a little surprised that he got his hands on this. Virtupets technology is so hard to buy here Neopia, and that guy seemed pretty incompetent.”

     “Hmm, perhaps he has good connections in the black market.” The Lutari shrugged, turning his attention back to the blaster. “So, this thing stuns people?” Skasco nodded. “You know, you still haven’t given me anything for the Day of Giving...” Usulzel trailed off, smiling a little to show he was kidding.

     “I’m afraid I’ll be keeping this. I did get you something, though, Lici was right about that map.” Skasco pulled a second item out of his pocket, an old scroll written on papyrus.

     “The map to the Mirage City?” Usulzel asked, looking excited.

     “Yep.”

     “Thanks so much. This will be helpful for my archeological studies. It was great of you to come out here to help with my pursuits.” Skasco was happy to see the normally cool and sarcastic Lutari genuinely grateful.

     “You’re very welcome. And happy Day of Giving.”

     -X-

      Evinti shivered. The day hadn’t seemed this cold when he had been moving around. He had known he’d regret not buying a winter jacket and now look at him. That book that he had bought instead wasn’t doing him nearly as much good as a coat would have. He should have just tried stealing the book. Or perhaps not; stealing from a shopkeeper on Krawk Island was a mistake few got to make twice.

      His main hope was that the Hissi had contacted the Defenders of Neopia. Sure, he’d never been arrested before and the thought was rather intimidating, but at least a cell would be warm. He tried to huddle into a tighter bundle than before, withdrawing his hands into his sleeves and wrapping his tail around him.

      After what felt like several eternities, but was probably only about forty-five minutes, Evinti concluded that the Defenders weren’t coming. What a way to spend the Day of Giving! An ice cube would probably complain if its hands got as cold as Evinti’s were right now. He decided that he didn’t care anymore if it was dangerous. Poking his numbed leg, he concluded that a little feeling might be returning. This small, perhaps imaginary, feeling was enough for him. It was time to go home.

      The first time he tried to stand, Evinti barely managed a stumble before his leg gave out. He had been sitting in the cold for too long and even his good leg was too cramped to walk on. Of course, as his luck would have it, he fell right into a muddy puddle. It was a nice deep pothole with a thin layer of ice covering the surface. Great, now his arm was wet and muddy and his suit was probably ruined.

      Evinti allowed himself a few choice curses before sticking his leg out in front of him and massaging it for a few minutes with his numb fingers. After wiggling it around a little, he concluded that he could try to stand again. Bracing himself against the wall, he finally managed to struggle to his feet. Now all he had to do was get home.

      Naturally, the day’s troubles didn’t end once Evinti got home. While at least he was finally out of the cold, he had a nasty surprise waiting for him. The door to his apartment was wide open and most of his stuff was gone. It seemed that some pirates had broken into his home and taken anything of value.

      “Gah! Seriously?! Could this day get any worse?” Evinti yelled. Apparently the world took that rhetorical comment as an invitation; as he moved farther into the room, Evinti tripped on the rug and fell over.

      He stayed where he was on the floor, lacking the energy to stand back up. Now what was he going to do? He had no money, no weapon, his suit was probably ruined, his possessions were either stolen or worthless and apparently he was well-known enough that no one took him seriously.

     He knew he should lose the quirks in his personality and style of dress, but they were a part of who he was. Blending in to every other thief was a great idea, but some part of him recoiled at the thought of just being average. It was better to be strange and below average than part of the faceless masses. The desire to stick out was probably a bad trait in a thief. Perhaps he should have been an artist or something. And yet, he was a stand-outish thief who constantly teetered at the brink of financial disaster; it was who he was. He couldn’t just change that and he didn’t really want to (other than the part where he was a dirt poor failure).

      Evinti suddenly became aware of a strange slurping sound emanating from the kitchen. What in Neopia could that be? He cautiously crept to the kitchen to find a rather anticlimactic petpet sitting on the counter. Evinti recognized it a Nedler. It was dirty and obviously stray; he guessed that it had come in to escape the cold.

      “Hey there, little guy.” Evinti spoke softly, slowly approaching the Nedler. He liked petpets, they didn’t care that he was a criminal, and an unsuccessful one at that. Petpets would give their unconditional love if you treated them right. “Don’t have a home?” He paused, thinking a little. “Well, you do now,” Evinti decided. He needed something to cheer him up and a petpet was just the distraction he needed, even if he would have to feed it. He held his paw out to it. The Nedler sniffed cautiously at it, then ran its tentacles over his paw, nibbling at it affectionately at him. “Come on, let’s get you cleaned up.”

      Evinti filled the sink with warm, soapy water, then rolled up his sleeves and lowered the petpet into it. The Nedler seemed to like the warm water and it sat still while Evinti scrubbed the dirt out of its orange and purple fur.

      After the Nedler was rinsed, brushed and dried, Evinti sat down on the counter and stroked its now soft fur. “Well, you need a name. Hmm...” He thought for a few moments before an idea struck him. “Well, I found you on the Day of Giving, the initials of which are D-O-G; what do you think of the name ‘Dog’?” The Nedler didn’t appear to be opposed to the name and ‘Dog’ suited the Nedler; a strange name for a strange petpet.

      Evinti had been right about the petpet making his feel better, suddenly things weren’t looking so bad. He had a friend to share the Day of Giving with. “Well, Dog, I guess this day wasn’t too bad. My leg feels better, I’ve warmed up and I think that my suit might be savable after all. I think that it’s time we left Krawk Island and started anew somewhere else.” He considered this for a moment. “I can’t really go back to Neopia Central. I think it’s probably best to give the Thieves Guild a little more time to forget about me.” He thought a little more, and came to a decision. “We can move to Brightvale. I’ve never been there, but there’s probably an excellent library and plenty of stupid, rich people. It’s perfect. I’m sure there are still a few things around this apartment we can sell to get a ride to Brightvale. I don’t need those bookshelves or my bed anymore. Happy Day of Giving.”

The End

All of the Neopets in this story are real and belong to me. I plan to write more stories later.

 
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