Run on The Neopoint: Part Four
"Professor, I'd like to ask a question," the Pirate Krawk said.
That sort of threw Chad off for a minute. He had visions of being shown a dagger or cutlass in his head.
"Well, sure," he said.
"You mentioned that the dubloon had fallen. You know about Krawk Island's economic problems, correct?" she asked.
"Oh yes. The falling dubloon has caused a whole lot of problems for Krawk Island residents. Anything that has imported has almost quadrupled in price, and that's made other things rise as well. Not to mention that pirates are none too happy that they are suddenly worth a lot less. But why do you ask?" Chad said.
"Well, to be perfectly honest, I'm actually a diplomat from Krawk Island. I was sent here to talk to you about ways to fix this problem," she said.
"Ah," Chad said. She suddenly seemed much more friendlier and Chad's initial worries left him. "In that case, why not have this talk in my office?"
"No," she said far too quickly, though Chad wasn't attentive enough to tell that something was off about how she had said that. "I wouldn't want to raise too many questions, and this seems to be the best place for us to talk."
There was something wrong about that, but Chad wasn't particularly good at noticing these things.
"Well," Chad said. "At first, I'd like to say that the whole problem really started with this new Anchor Management daily. You see, a lot of dubloons have sunk over the centuries to the bottom of the sea, and the Krawken goes and retrieves them, and now all of them are being released into the market at once. Not to mention there are a curiously large amount on the Forgotten Shore, and I don't believe that we can stop that."
There was a pause.
"I would suggest," Chad said, "that perhaps Krawk Island could in a way take advantage of this."
"How?" she asked.
"Well, this means that things sold on Krawk Island have become a whole lot cheaper. This would naturally encourage exports as well as tourism, so work could be done on the Islands much cheaper. This would of course involve making the Island a bit safer for tourists and increasing law and order..." Chad trailed off.
"And so is something that we cannot do," she said. "Not to mention that that involves giving up on the dubloon and turning our Island into a second-class economy, not something that we want to do."
"You could remove the dubloon entirely and go for the neopoint," Chad said, but the Pirate Krawk shook her head. Chad had known that she would not have agreed to that proposal, but he had tried anyway.
"In that case," Chad said, "what should be done is to stop giving out so many dubloons, perhaps by first stopping Anchor Management from continuing or making it a rule that dubloons have to be turned in as prizes, and then give out something else, preferably dumping those dubloons back into the ocean where no one will find them again. After that, I would suggest adding some new features that are more marketable that would demand dubloons. For example, one could have the Swashbuckling Academy add more courses to compete with the Mystery Island training school. You could also start selling new things, for example wearables only in dubloons. Not only that, but you could make some new avatars that would involve destroying dubloons, like the Wishing Well avatar requires throwing away neopoints. That would eventually raise the price of the dubloon."
"But I already know all of those things," she replied. "They're all things that you wrote about in a research paper about Krawk Island's new economic problems."
"Well, yes, but that's because those really are the best suggestions," Chad said.
"The problem, though, is that those are a bit too defensive. Those only shore up the dubloon, and we would like a way that would allow it dominate," she replied.
"What do you mean?" Chad asked.
"Quite simply, we were all simply wondering as to why we had to have the neopoint at all. There are quite some benefits in having your currency as Neopia's own currency, after all."
"But I believe that you said that you would not switch to the neopoint?" Chad asked.
"I don't mean switching to the neopoint. I mean ruining the neopoint and replacing it with the dubloon," she said.
Chad was speechless for five seconds. "But that's preposterous! You just can't do that!"
"Why not? You, after all, wrote a book detailing it. Not to mention that nothing can last forever, not even the reign of the neopoint," she said.
"That book was simply fiction. And how would you even plan to accomplish such a thing?" he asked.
The Pirate Krawk smiled, and it wasn't one of those warm smiles that could light a heart up; it was a cold and ruthless smile.
"I'm afraid that I must confess to you the truth about all of this, Professor," she said. "This was all merely a diversion so some friends of mine could go and raid your office."
Chad was taken aback. "Why?"
She laughed. "I'm not some sort of B-rated movie villain that I would go ahead and divulge my plan right now. Suffice it to say though that we're going to crown the dubloon as Neopia's only currency, and pardon the cliché, but you can't do anything to stop us."
"What are you going to do to me?" Chad asked, knowing full well what usually happened when the victim was aware of the villain's plan.
"Oh, we're not here to harm you at all, after all, spilling blood right now would cause too much of a stir and might ruin our plans. But, on the other hand, there's another group of pirates running around who we've leaked a few rumors to that the decline in the dubloon was thanks to you shorting it and your friend Mr. Keiths merely confirmed it, and so they would be more than happy to finish the deal. Goodbye," she said and walked out.
Chad realized that he had only a few minutes to think. If he ran, he would probably run into one of those pirates, and there were no windows large enough for him to fly out of.
If this was a badly written movie, Chad thought, I would go and hide somewhere where no one knew about.
And then it occurred to him that there was such a place in the lecture hall, a small compartment that he had built where he was going to keep a Virtupets 5789-ZX twenty dimensional plotter when it arrived next week. He hid in it, and it was cramped, but he folded his wings, and refrained from commenting on how this was like a badly written movie.
He heard voices above and several footsteps for minutes on end. After half an hour, they stopped, but he wasn't going to go out that soon.
And so, he waited for over five hours, breathless and ears open for the slightest sound. There was none, so he tentatively opened the door. Still nothing. He got out, and immediately his entire body protested from having been cramped for so long. He crept out of the lecture hall, and turned round towards a hallway only for staff members. From there, he found an exit not many people knew about and immediately ran, going for streets that were still crowded to the Defenders of Neopia Headquarters.
He had had a lot of time thinking about whoever it was that Pirate Krawk was and her group were planning to do. In his book, which he doubted they were really imitating, the neopoint dropped thanks to an unexpected economic calamity, which he was sure that they needed to repeat in real life. But what sort of calamity could possibly cause people to give up the neopoint?
The inside of the Defenders of Neopia Headquarters were almost empty, thankfully the last few weeks had been pretty quiet crime-wise. He headed towards the reception and said that he needed to talk to Judge Hog. He had a feeling that the receptionist would have said no, but she seemed to have recognized him, perhaps from one of the news articles or interviews on Neovision that were occasionally done about him.
He then turned his gaze to a small set that was set up at the reception. Something was flashing on the screen, and it took him a moment to realize what it said.
Balthazars Faerie Bottling Inc. had gone bankrupt. Apparently the company had faced huge losses with the amount of bottle faeries being given out by the Battledome, and its shares were now gone. This was definitely big news, such a thing had only happened thirteen times in Neopia, and it had been several years before the last one. This was definitely big news, but was it the calamity that they were going to exploit?
A stock market crash did seem enough to get some panic going, but in a way, Chad didn't buy it. BOTT had never been a popular stock to invest in, but if the market went to zero, now that would be a big thing. But BOTT going bankrupt hardly was enough to cause a stock market run, so there was probably nothing to be worried about.
Or was there?
To be continued...