The Unexpected NC Mall Journey: Part Two
Once on the hot air balloon once again, Maggie sighed contently and considered what her day had been like. She had been to parts of Neopia she had never even thought of visiting, and she had really shown persistence towards her goal! She couldn't even enjoy the view from up here like she did just a few hours ago- she was so overwhelmed by her excitement of buying her very own wig in just a few minutes. She would stroll right up to that golden Collectible window and order her very own Court Dancer Collector's Wig! She might get a few strange looks, being without her owner, but once she placed that bag of neocash on the table all doubts would go out the window and she would be rewarded for her long, hard day at work.
The Hot Air Balloon touched down softly next to the Rainbow Pool, and Maggie was one of the last pets out of the basket. She was in no rush- the NC Mall was right up the road past the Money Tree, and it was open right now! She puffed out her chest, and made her way past the Rainbow Pool and through a crowd of neopets, who were all hanging out in groups by the Money Tree, laughing and having a great time.
"...And next, I'm hoping to grab myself some really cute shoes to go with this wig I got last week!" exclaimed a Pink JubJub to her friends. Maggie turned to look at her, and she was wearing a Tower Princess Wig. Maggie really liked the flowers on that wig, and the gorgeous, long braid that trailed to the floor.
"I love that wig!" Maggie joined the conversation seamlessly. "I have one in my closet at home. I really like to wear it with one of my blue dresses."
"I just got mine last week- did you grab yours from the money tree too?" the JubJub smiled at Maggie.
"My owner got one out of a cap a while back," she replied. "What do you mean, grab it from the Money Tree?" As far as she knew, the Money Tree was full of donated neopoint items from owners who had a lot to give.
The JubJub put her arm around Maggie, and together they moved closer to the Money Tree. "A bunch of months ago, The Neopets Team released an item in the mall called an Upcycle Cookie!" Maggie's mind flashed back to a green fortune cookie she had seen today while working for Noda. There were a couple of cookies she hadn't recognized, and this had been one of them. Now she knew the name of it! "The Upcycle Cookies are used to donate NC Mall items to the Money Tree! If you're quick, you can grab most of the clothing items that are sold in the mall. People donate these items all the time, because in exchange they get tokens to play NC Mall games and other things- even actual neocash!"
Maggie's eyes widened at this news. NC Mall items at the Money Tree! She couldn't believe she hadn't heard about this new idea. It was fabulous! Anyone could get an item from the tree, if they were persistent enough. Neopets who had never had neocash could benefit from this, and the owners who were donating also got something in return. It was quite the arrangement. Maggie was extremely impressed with this concept.
"So why isn't every neopet in Neopia here right now trying to grab something!?" Maggie exclaimed.
"Well, I guess they realize that if they have a lot of neocash items already, they should leave some of it for the pets whose owners don't have access to the mall for whatever reason," the JubJub replied.
"Your owner doesn't have access to the mall?"
"Nope, my owner lives in a country that doesn't have access for whatever reason," she replied. "Since the Money Tree, though, I've gotten a few really nice items from generous shoppers. I really like the feel of neocash items, they just feel different than the neopoint wearables my owner gets me." And with that, the JubJub tried to grab a pair of Tower Princess Shoes that had just shown up at the Money Tree. Unfortunately, she wasn't fast enough and a Wraith Korbat was celebrating by putting her new shoes on. "So close! Congrats hun!" she shouted to the Korbat, still smiling. "I'll get the next pair hopefully!"
Maggie bid her goodbyes to the Pink JubJub and her friends, and walked slowly away towards the NC Mall. She hadn't ever thought of the neopets whose owners couldn't get them items from the NC Mall. But here they were, hanging out, having fun, and not being greedy at all. And Maggie had run away from home for the whole day, leaving her owner and her siblings without as much as a note, for the sole purpose of getting a rare and expensive item. How selfish she felt, and how ashamed she was at that moment. And, as she passed through the doors to the NC Mall, she knew exactly what she was going to do with her hard earned neocash.
She ran past the workers of the NC Mall, who were all advertising their own stores in the mall- a Cloud Jetsam advertising the Furnishings Shop, a Red Xweetok advertising the Popular Shop, and a Fire Grarrl who didn't seem to be advertising a specific shop in general, but was sure trying to get people to buy something. She stopped in front of the Brown Usul who seemed to be in charge of the "Neopet" shop in the mall and plopped down her bag of neocash. Startled, he looked up at her.
"Hi! I'd like to buy as many wearables as I can with this neocash to donate to the Money Tree," she said, quite out of breath. And with that, she picked out a nice selection of wearables. She focused on things she and her siblings really liked to wear, like really nice dresses, trousers, and wigs. She made her way out of the store with all of her purchases in a bag.
As she stopped by the donation center that her upcycle cookie gave her access to, she made sure to hold onto the one pair of Tower Princess Shoes before turning the rest over to be added to the Money Tree. The staff there was very thankful for her donations, and set to work at putting them out at the Money Tree for collection. Maggie ran over to watch as many of the neopets hanging out at the tree were given the opportunity to grab items they had been hoping would come along. Shouts of excitement, happiness, and gratefulness were heard, as Maggie tapped her Pink JubJub friend on the shoulder and handed her the shoes she had picked out for her, to match her new wig.
"Oh my gosh, thank you so much Maggie!" she exclaimed, throwing her little arms around Maggie's waist. The group that she was with, Maggie could see, had also gotten items from her donation and thanked her as well. "You didn't have to do that!"
"Yes I did," Maggie answered. "I spent today doing something I thought was very important to me, but I realize now that I was being silly. This makes my long day so much more worth it, trust me!" She smiled at the group one last time, before making her way back to the ferryboat and onto the next boatride home. And, the entire time she was on the boat, Maggie couldn't help stop herself from smiling.
When she walked up the steps and through the front door of her home, she saw the table was full. Hayley, and all of her siblings, were sitting at the kitchen table just as she had left them, except they weren't eating- they were waiting. Maggie was in for it now, she was going to be in so much trouble for running away! She gulped and took a seat in her normal chair, and waited to hear the disappointment in Hayley's voice.
"Where were you today, Maggie?" Hayley asked simply. She did not yell, but her voice was not full of worry for not having seen her neopet all day.
She took a deep breath and began her story. "I'm sorry for running away, honestly! You see, it all started last night. I was angry that no one would trust me with nice items, and so I decided to prove that I could be trusted with them! I hopped on the ferryboat and thought of a way to buy my own Court Dancer Wig." And Maggie told her whole story to her family, beginning with the Yellow Faerie in Faerieland, her suggestion to finding Noda, and getting through her hard work all day at the Fortune Cookie Factory before Hayley stopped her.
"So, you earned enough neocash to buy yourself a Court Dancer Wig. Let's see it, then. You must be excited to prove us wrong," Hayley said.
Maggie shook her head. "I don't have a Court Dancer Wig to show you," she said. "I earned the money! And I did make it to the NC Mall, honest! But when I got there, I met some neopets..." Her gaze dropped to the floor. "Their owners don't have access to neocash, and they can only get mall items from the Money Tree. I went and bought as many buyables as I could, and donated them to those neopets." Maggie looked up to see Hayley smiling at her.
"I know you did, Maggie."
"What do you mean?" Maggie asked, totally confused. "You know what?"
"I know that you went to Faerieland to try and get a job that paid in neocash," Hayley said. "I know you took the Shenkuu Shuttle to the Factory and that Noda paid you in Neocash, because you worked so hard. And, I know that although you wanted a Court Dancer Wig so badly, you saw that you could make a lot of neopets happy by giving them the chance to wear items they've been waiting for, the same way you've been waiting for your chance to wear the Court Dancer Collectors Wig."
Maggie didn't understand, but Hayley continued. "You did a lot of traveling today, and saw a lot of unfamiliar faces, didn't you?" She nodded. "If you had looked a little closer, you would have noticed Glierto on the boat with you to Faerieland this morning." Maggie thought back to the old, greying Gelert with a hood over his face on the boat. "Rye was with you in the Shenkuu Shuttle." She did remember an Aisha with way too much facepaint and a really bright wig. "Janet checked on you at the Fortune Cookie Factory, and Makzene was at the mall waiting to make sure you were safe." Maggie thought back to the Fire Draik who bought some cookies this afternoon, and the Fire Grarrl advertiser at the mall. She couldn't believe her siblings knew where she was the whole time! "I asked them to follow you- you're not very sneaky, nor are you very quiet," Hayley chuckled. "But you have a lot of motivation. I was proud that you were willing to work hard to get what you wanted, but I was even more proud that you put the needs of others before your own."
And with that, Hayley reached down beside her and placed a gift bag on the table. She slid it towards Maggie. She slowly opened it and pulled out...
"A Court Dancer Collectors Wig!" Maggie exclaimed, and her siblings were smiling along with her. "I finally get to wear it?!"
"Despite what I said last night, Maggie, you proved me wrong today. You have every right to enjoy the wig." Maggie jumped up from her chair, and threw her arms over Hayley's shoulders. In doing so, the Court Dancer Wig got hair in Hayley's face. They all laughed.
"Thank you so much, Hayley!" Maggie was bouncing up and down. "I promise I'll take extra good care of it, and I'll be a good sharer, of course!"
"I know you will, Maggie. Now go try it on! Give us a fashion show!"
And with that, Maggie ran up the stairs to her closet to plan her next outfit, which would of course feature the Court Dancer Collectors Wig.