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Ray's Plushies


by mintacia

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Tucked away in a sunny corner of Brightvale, a new shop had opened its doors. Like many of the other buildings in Brightvale, its exterior was painted with vivid colors. The stones of its walls had a fresh paint of navy, while its doors and window sills were glossed with a confident color of red. Its room was recently redone, comprised of fresh straw.

     In front of this store, a young neopet stood, admiring the good weather outside. The sunlight shone off the water within his aqueous paint color. "It's a good day to open shop!" the water Kau, Raynol, proclaimed loudly to no one in particular.

     No one ever really believed him when, growing up, he insisted that he would one day open up a store. There were already plenty of established stores that sold everything under the sun. What on earth could he offer that no one else didn't? In the end, he surprised everyone not just once, but twice: the second time was when he made his first plushie by hoof.

     Raynol turned and headed back into his store, closing the door as he entered. Inside, the old wooden shelves had sanded smooth and the interiors walls were freshly painted with a lovely mint color. Scattered throughout the shelves were plushies that he'd made himself, using old clothes and scrap material. It had taken him several weeks to design and then create enough plushies for his beginning inventory. He had almost worked his hoofs down to the bone stitching and clipping and gluing his plushies together.

     Now it was time to put all his practice playing Plushie Tycoon to work. Raynol took a deep breath.

     It was seven fifteen in the morning, and it was quiet outside. The little shopping square, typically hectic with shoppers, was still quiet. Raynol began nervously straightening his plushies for the third time.

     All the signage for his first day was already up in his windows. The first twenty shoppers would receive special mini-kadoatie plushies, which he had painstakingly stitched his store's name into - "RAY'S PLUSHIES" the letters read. He was also having a first day sale, with all the plushies in the store twenty percent off what he would normally charge for them.

     Seven thirty. Raynol was reorganizing his cash register area when the sounds of laughing reached his ears. Blinking in curiosity, he leaned to the side and peered out the window.

     Sure enough, several neopets had already begun to line up outside. The water Kau grinned with nervous excitement and rubbed his hooves together. Months of planning and work were coming together today. It felt good... yet, at the same time, he had never felt so anxious. There were a lot of 'what ifs' that could happen. What if no one liked his plushies? What if his prices were too high? What if his store caught on fire?

     They were all perfectly normal concerns.

     Seven forty five. The line was more than twenty neopets long. The shopkeepers of the other stores on the block had all arrived and had begun opening procedures. Outside of their stores, there was a handful of neopets waiting – but nothing like his store.

     Now, it's not to say the crowd outside his store was the equivalent of the crowd at the Altador Cup. No no no – thirty neopets is nothing crazy... but it was more than Raynol expected.

     "I hope I have enough plushies," he muttered to himself, glancing around his small store. He had a couple of hundred, which would be more than enough to last him the day – but the week? The month? Each plushie took quite a bit of time to make by hoof. As the water Kau watched the line outside his store slowly grow, Raynol found himself wondering if he would need to hire himself some help. His niece had been looking for a part-time job.

     The Kau gave his head a shake. There was no time to worry about those things now. It was almost time to open the doors. His eyes rested upon the clock and he gulped.

     The water within his body swirled nervously.

     One minute before eight A. M., Raynol made his way over to the door. Under one of his arms, he had tucked the basket with the little kadoatie plushies. Several curious faces greeted him with smiles through the window. He didn't recognize a single one; he was pretty new to the area, and having been so intent on creating his plushies, Raynol really hadn't socialized... at all.

     Eight o'clock. Raynol sucked in his gut, called upon his courage, and pushed the store door open. "Hello, welcome to Ray's Plushies!" he shouted pleasantly to the little crowd.

     And so it started. The first twenty neopets were very pleased with their free plushie, and complimented him profusely on the workmanship – especially once they found out that he had made them by hoof. One shopper even expressed to him that he hadn't thought such craftsmanship was possible without thumbs. Raynol was making ungulate neopets look good.

     Before, when he was planning, Raynol had guesstimated which plushies would be the most popular. Since the main plushie stores in the area had an emphasis on neopet species plushies, he tried to focus more on petpet plushies. He even strived to create plushies for some of the lesser known petpets.

     One hour in, and he had already sold a third of his snowbunny plushies, a quarter of the robot petpet plushies, and all four of the spyven plushies that he had created. Raynol was constantly either explaining how he had created all the plushies himself, or ringing a customer up for the plushies. In the haze of hectic shopping, the Kau did notice that every shopper left with a big smile. Many of them fervently told him they would be back, that they would buy more.

     More! he thought. I'm going to have to make more! It was a good thing, though. Better to need to make more than for there to be demand.

     And, judging by the number of neopets exploring his shop and picking up plushies, there was demand. About two hours in, there was enough lull for Raynol to start to worry. Perhaps this rush he was dealing with was simply and only because he was a new store. Once the quality of newness had worn off, maybe his plushies would no longer be interested or desired.

     Suddenly, a tall, thin Grarrl dumped four plushies onto his register counter, surprising him out of his reverie. "You know what I like about these plushies?"

     Raynol blinked in surprise. The Grarrl was clearly a female, dressed in the most sparkly pink dress he had ever seen. Besides that, she had acquired the biggest wig ever and placed it onto her bald, scaly head.

     The water Kau began to ask what it was she liked about the plushies, but she answered him before he could get the question out. "They're unique! The big stores really only make their typically lines of plushies. It's a crazy day in the plushie stores when they make a purple line of Aishas." As she said this, she picked up a skunk Lenny plushie out of the pile and shook it at him.

     "Thank you -" Raynol managed to reply before the Grarrl cut him off again.

     "You've done real well, son! This store is going to be all the rage. You've got the lady Grarrl stamp of approval!" She practically threw her neopoints at him, and way too much neopoints at that. Raynol, confused as to what exactly the 'lady Grarrl stamp of approval' was, thanked her for her patronage and made her change for her. However, she flat out refused it and walked out with her new plushies tucked against her sparkly dress.

     Most of the other customers he served during the rest of the day weren't as... obtuse as the Grarrl was, but many were equally as positive about his store. During the end of the day, nearly twelve hours after he had opened his store for the first time, Raynol found himself chatting with some of the neopets who lived in the area.

     To say his nervousness was gone would be to lie. Raynol still felt relatively nervous about his store and how well he'd be doing several weeks down the road. However, his first day had been a great success, which helped calm some of his fears.

     At eight o'clock on the dot, Raynol closed the doors to his store and locked them. When he turned around, he surveyed his store. Dents had been made in the full shelves. Some varieties of the plushies had been completely bought out, while others only had one or two purchased.

     The Kau clapped his hooves together. "Only one thing to do now," he said pleasantly, to himself. "Make more plushies!"

     He hesitated, then looked at the clock again. "Also, I think I'll send that niece of mine a neomail." If he continued to do a quarter as well as he did his first day, Raynol would need someone to help him watch the store as he made his plushies.

     Raynol wasn't about to complain about that, though. Success isn't something you complain about.

The End

 
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