A Tale of Two Acaras: Part Three
Lucky the Acara could not believe it. He desperately wanted his old identity back. “This is unfair!” he yelled in frustration. “I am Lucky, I deserve to be treated like Golden Scarabs! When my mother and father learn about you, old Skeith, you will be our servant!”
The king snorted to hear such words. “All right, you can be my new jester boy,” he growled. They headed back to the citadel, and Lucky was thrown down the stairs to the cellar, where he was instructed to mop the floor.
I have to get my old life back! thought Lucky as he picked up the rancid mop. I need to live to my namesake. Lucky. I am Lucky. I shall be lucky Lucky.
- - -
Jo was getting tired of Faerie City. He liked the food stands and floating petpets, but he missed Meridell, the home of his birth. He also did not like Jhudora very much, as she gave him jitters. He missed the kind Illusen back at home.
“I enjoyed today very much, but I miss Meridell,” Jo said timidly.
“Nonsense,” snapped the Dark Faerie. “You need to revisit the Hidden Tower. And don’t pick out a dumb old book this time! I can’t believe you. Out of all the things you pick for free, you choose a book?”
“Illusen encourages storytelling,” said Jo. “Even peasant boys like me get bored once in a while!”
“You are no longer a peasant, fool! You can live this life forever! You are—are lucky!”
“That reminds me, why did that Acara claim he was me?” asked Jo in wonder.
“Jealousy makes Neopets do strange things,” cackled Jhudora.
- - -
A few lands away, Lucky was sitting gloomily in the waiting room of King Skarl’s castle. Beside him were several Blumaroo jesters; they whispered amongst themselves, occasionally giving Lucky tips on making the king laugh. Lucky was fatigued at this point, for earlier he had been given a gruesome lunch of stale bread and a cup of water, right after mopping the cellar for an hour straight.
“His favorite joke is about Peophins,” advised a purple Blumaroo. “Never be bland! Be witty!”
“I don’t need wit, I have luck,” retorted Lucky. He couldn’t believe he was now a lowly jester! Back in his own home, he owned court jesters!
“I do not belong here,” he told the Blumaroos in mild disgust. “I am Lucky, the renowned Acara of Faerieland. Do you know, I can buy all of you if I want to? I have enough neopoints to buy part of this citadel!”
The Blumaroos eyed each other and chuckled, which made Lucky even madder.
“I am telling you, this is a big mistake!” he said heatedly. “Soon my parents will realize there is a fraud running down Faerieland, and I’ll be restored to my natural habitat! Just you wait! I don’t want your silly advice, court jesters!”
“Kid,” said the eldest Blumaroo. “Let me tell you something. One is not judged by his or her wealth, luck, or even appearance. One is judged by his or her actions.”
Lucky silently pondered these words for a long moment. The eldest Blumaroo spoke again. “If you want to leave, you can. Nobody is stopping you. But you get free food and lodging here, so why not?”
“I need to return to Faerieland,” said Lucky resolutely. He thought of the gourmet foods he had for dinner each night, the chocolate desserts, the endless piles of keyrings, the books on his shelf, the good treatment his neighbors gave him... but did he truly deserve it all? What had he done except be born into a privileged life?
“I once worked for the Lenny Conundrum Wizard,” said the eldest Blumaroo. “He taught me valuable lessons. No, not the square root of a Grundo. Lessons that pertained to the days of Dr. Sloth.”
“Dr. Sloth believed he deserved everything. That was his ultimate downfall. The others disagreed with him, so he fell and is now plotting his revenge. But heed my words, he will never succeed. And you, Acara, you say you were born privileged? When the time comes, enemies will not rest. You need to establish your name and reputation in something other than family ties.” The eldest Blumaroo nodded wisely and added, “Names are only as good as the Neopet.”
After a moment of silence, the other Blumaroos began to whisper about King Skarl again.
“Nobody has made the king laugh in a few years,” sighed one of the Blumaroos. “His one wish is to laugh. But nothing works, not even the pie-in-the-face routine!”
“Kudos to the Neopet who makes him laugh,” agreed another jester. “Then the whole kingdom will be happier once again!”
Lucky considered this. Then he smiled, a plan hatching in his mind.
A royal guard came into the waiting room. “The king seeks the newest court jester,” he announced.
Lucky stepped into the chamber where King Skeith sat on the throne, looking bored. “Give me your best joke,” he muttered.
“First, a deal. If I make you laugh, you give me a quick trip back to Faerieland, whatever the cost,” said Lucky.
What is this? thought King Skarl in amusement. He actually thinks he can make me laugh? “Deal, give me your best,” he ordered.
Remembering the old joke he read on one of his many TCGs, the Acara recited, “What do you do when fierce Peophins have eaten too much tin of olives? You giving them a tin of what what what!”
King Skarl roared in laughter. Tears slid down his grubby cheeks. The other jesters peeked inside in surprise. Lucky shook his head in amazement; he hadn’t lost his luck yet.
“Guards!” called the chuckling Skeith. “Take this Acara back to see some Earth Faeries to take him back to Faerieland! Ho-ho, what a funny one! What what what! What what what!”
Now to clean up the mess in Faerieland!
- - -
The sun was setting. Jhudora knew she only had a matter of time left. Of course, she could break her promise to Illusen—who kept promises anyway?—but Jo the Acara was getting on her nerves. He was such a goody two shoes, waving hello to the other Faeries and politely declining free gifts throughout Faerieland. He was a much more tolerable Acara than that Lucky, though, that was for sure. Still, the Dark Faerie wanted a rare weapon from the Hidden Tower.
“Now, listen to me, I want you to visit Queen Fyora once more and take one of her weapons on display this time,” instructed the Dark Faerie as they stood a few feet away from the Hidden Tower. “Make sure you pick something good! Ghostkerbomb, sure, or Kelpbeard’s Trident... Sword of Ari... anything!”
“I do not feel right getting these freebies at no cost,” said Jo slowly. “In Meridell, every Neopet worked hard for rewards. Here, everything is handed to me on a platter! I feel like I did not earn the item at all!”
“You are no longer in Meridell! This is Faerieland, home of faeries and freebies!” argued Jhudora.
“It’s not the way of the farmer,” Jo argued back. “Everyone gets lazy if nobody works for stuff!”
A procession of Earth Faeries appeared a short distance away. In the middle was Lucky. The Earth Faeries were giggling at something Lucky had said, no doubt a joke. As they disappeared, Lucky headed towards them.
“Drat!” cursed Jhudora vehemently. “He is back! Hurry, go into the Hidden Tower!”
Before Jo could, Lucky raced over, still in his rags and yellow fur. Jo was afraid he would attack him, but to his surprise, the Acara extended a paw and shook Jo’s paw vigorously.
“Thank you for showing me life beyond the Faerieland gates!” the Acara said gleefully. “I used to be a spoiled Acara. Now I see how life really is!” At that moment, Queen Fyora appeared, and the Acara turned to her and said, “Your Royal Fyora, I no longer want free items from your Hidden Tower! In fact, no more freebies from any of Faerieland’s inhabitants!”
“And I am overwhelmed by the spoiled creatures who live here,” agreed Jo. “Neopets should reap what they sow. I wish to return to Meridell at once! Thank you, Dark Faerie, but my time is up. Illusen and I both thank you plenty. Good day now.”
Queen Fyora understood what had happened in a jiffy, being a smart queen. “All right, Jhudora, change poor Lucky back to his rightful form.” She leaned down to shake Jo’s paw. “You are a smart one, my friend whose name I do not know. Guard that Grimoire with your life! Reading is a great treasure!” She faced Jhudora. “And I have a few words with you.”
Today, Lucky is the best comedian in all of Faerieland. He cheered up the lives of many dreary Neopets. Jo grew to become the best potato farmer and shared his reaping with every one of his friends. Both remembered the big switcheroo, and how actions out shadowed appearances.
And so a valuable lesson was learned. Riches and privileges can only take one so far.