Wishing for a Happy Birthday
Qtty was delighted! Her sister Theloni’s first birthday was coming up. Although Qtty looked the baby, she was in fact years older than her youngest sister. She was determined to make this the best birthday ever! She had her other sisters, Cuddlicious and Dylean, working on decorations, food, and entertainment. They already had Yes Boy Ice Cream signed up to play at the party!
The baby Poogle was bouncing between the shops in Neopia Central. She had the most important job; she was in charge of presents! Her and her sisters had pooled their allowances to get the biggest, best gift their meager Neopoints could buy.
She jangled the small bag of Neopoints – 5,642 Neopoints to be exact. Qtty had counted and recounted three times with her sisters. Quirking her brow, Qtty scanned the Bazaar jangling the bag of Neopoints mindlessly.
‘Would a gourmet chocolate be the right gift?’ Qtty asked herself. She took a whiff of the rich cocoa fumes coming from the Chocolate Factory and shook her head. Nope, her sister like most Alien Aishas, preferred the oddest combinations: mayonnaise and flies, fish and chocolate, ketchup and ice cream. Yuck! If the chocolate smelled good to Qtty, it probably was not gross enough for Theloni.
The little poogle meandered around the path of the Neopian Bazaar, shaking her head at each of the stores. What use would poor, level 0 Theloni have with a Battledome weapon? Scratch the Battle Magic shop. Mom took care of grooming supplies and clothes, so Uni’s Clothing Shop and the Grooming Parlour were out. Seeing no inspiration in the Bazaar, Qtty left for the Plaza.
The Plaza had far fewer shops than the Bazaar, but when Qtty spotted the Plushie Palace everything clicked into place. A plushie! Theloni only had their old hand-me-down worn and patchy toys to play with, nothing that was all her own.
Qtty felt her little feet, as quick as lightning, sprinting her over to the shop. The baby knew she could have easily beaten the other Poogles in Poogle Racing fueled by all her excitement over the perfect idea for a gift. Her feet pattered on the hard ground and her heart thumped in her ears. She was grinning ear to ear, when she opened the door to the Plushie Palace.
The bell above the door rang as the Poogle entered the shop. The blonde Cybunny fluffed her mane before turning towards the door with a smile.
“Welcome to the Plushie…” the Cybunny’s smile faltered as she glanced at the door in confusion.
“Down here!” Qtty squeaked as she angled her head up to the tall counter. She was used to being overlooked being so tiny, she was the same size as most petpets.
“Oh dear, goodness me,” the Cybunny giggled, “What a tiny Neopian you are! Welcome to the Plushie Palace, can I help you with anything little one?”
“I’m looking for a present for my younger sister. It’s her first birthday, she is the sweetest, happiest Alien Aisha, you see, and I want to get her a special plushie as a present. I’ve been looking everywhere!” Qtty hefted her sack of Neopoints to show the Cybunny. “I have 5,642 Neopoints to spend. Do you have anything super-duper special for her?”
The Cybunny worried her lip as she thought about it, tapping the counter until she stopped and looked delightedly down at the baby Poogle.
“Why we do! Check the second aisle on the second shelf! You’ll know it when you see it,” the Cybunny winked at Qtty.
The Poogle’s eyes widened as she scurried over to the aisle. Qtty stumbled as she stopped herself in the aisle, stirring up small dust particles, with a cough she looked around wildly until she saw it. She knew. The Cybunny was right, it was perfect.
‘Aisha Birthday Plushie – 5,000 np’
Qtty stood beneath the shelf, and then frowned. She was too short to reach the plushie. Getting up on her tiptoes, she stretched and strained. With a huff, she glanced longingly back at the Birthday Aisha.
“Hello?” Qtty shouted. “I need some assistance over here”
No reply. Qtty could hear the faint whispers of the other patrons in the store an aisle or two over. Whimpering she looked to the plushie then back to the end of the aisle where the Cybunny was manning the counter. Moving quickly, she raced to ask for help.
“Eh-em, excuse me,” Qtty pleaded up to the counter. When the Cybunny did not respond, the Poogle entreated louder, “Excuse me!”
“Oh, I’m sorry dear,” the Cybunny blinked at Qtty, “What can I help you with?”
“I can’t reach the Aisha Birthday Plushie,” Qtty worried her lip, “Could you get it down for me?”
“Of course little one,” the Cybunny left the counter and followed Qtty to the aisle. When they reached the shelf however…
“It’s gone!” Qtty cried. She could feel the tears forming behind her eyes, “Where did it go?”
Frantically she looked each way until she saw some other customers at the end of the aisle.
“Oh Mom! It’s perfect! It looks just like me!” A little yellow Aisha said squeezing the plushie. Qtty sighed, the Aisha looked so happy, but that plushie was meant for Theloni!
“I’m sorry little one,” the Cybunny said comfortingly, “But if you come back in a few minutes, we should be restocked. I just need to check out that customer.”
The baby Poogle’s shoulders slumped and she let out a deep sigh.
“Why don’t you take a walk outside?” The Cybunny comforted. “I’ll make sure to bring one out from the back.”
Qtty left the shop and stood on the stoop in the bright, warm sun. Trying to let the warmth ease her tension, the Poogle paced for a bit before walking up the lane.
There will be another Aisha plushie, Qtty reminded herself, that wasn’t the last one in all of Neopia. She came back to the bench in front of the shop and took a seat, hoping the Cybunny would call her back in the minute the shop was restocked.
“Mew,” the dodgiest looking mutant Kadoatie sat on the bench next to Qtty.
“Merrooow,” Qtty glanced around looking for the little Kadoatie’s owner. No one appeared to be around.
“Mwwrrrrrrrrraaaaaaaaaaaaaaooooooooooooooooooooooooooo,” the Kadoatie started crying in earnest. The incessant noise was giving Qtty a headache.
“Hello?” Qtty stood and looked around for someone to claim the whining Kadoatie.
The Kadoatie’s crying grew louder and more obnoxious. Qtty could not think straight. Finally a frazzled looking Vandagyre ran up to the Kadoatie.
“There you are my little Snookums!” the Vandagyre picked up the mewling mutant Kadoatie, then turned to Qtty, “I’m sorry my little angel and I were waiting for the Kadoatery to open up so I could house her on my trip to Mystery Island. Me and my friends are going to go on the full Tiki Tour! You know see the sights, there is even talk of an evening tour that searches for the Ghost Lupe! If we want they’ll even take us through Geraptiku, I hear that place is so spooky…”
Great Fyora, Qtty thought to herself, which one is more annoying: the Vandagyre or the Kadoatie? The mewing had grown louder and deafening, and the Vandagyre must be partially deaf to just ignore it and ramble on about some trip to Mystery Island! Qtty had serious business to attend to… but this hoopla of noise had made her forget… something about her sister? Her nerves were on edge and she could feel the blood pumping to her temples.
“… so you see I need 5,600 Neopoints to store my sweet little angel at the Kadoatery if I’m going to go on this trip to Mystery Island and do all the exciting things we are planning.”
“Here, just take it, please get that thing away. I’m trying to think over here,” Qtty thrust the Neopoints to the chatty Vandagyre. “Get that Kadoatie out of my sight!” The Poogle was nearly shrieking at them to leave her be.
“Well I never!” The Vandagyre huffed and turned back in the direction of the Kadoatery.
The ensuing silence helped clear Qtty’s thoughts.
“OH NO!” Qtty looked at her handful of Neopoints and swallowed. What had she done? Why had she given that Vandagyre all of her sister’s present money!? She had nothing more than… two, five, ten… forty-two Neopoints! She was supposed to be the responsible eldest sister, instead she had acted like the baby she was painted!
The Cybunny popped her head out of the Plushie Palace, “Hello dear-y, we have the Aisha Birthday Plushie back in stock. Come on in and I have it at the counter for you.”
The baby Poogle’s eyes filled with tears and she started wailing.
Leaving the door to the shop, the Cybunny knelt on the ground next to Qtty, “What happened dear?”
“*sniff* There was this Kad *hic* and… and… he would not stop meowing and was *sniff* incessant,” Qtty wiped her nose and eyes, “then the owner *hic* came and… and… was rambling on about some trip and di..di…dn’t try to stop the Kad from whining and… before I know it I’ve given them all my Neopoints!”
Qtty’s shoulders shook with the effort to calm her nerves.
The Cybunny’s brows furrowed, “Well, I’m sorry but that plushie is 5,000 Neopoints.” She glanced back at the crying Poogle and her shoulders slumped. She rose and headed back to the door, “You should come back when you have the funds.”
Reaching for the knob, the Cybunny hesitated at the door, and looked back to the crying baby who was staring dejectedly off into the distance. “You could try the well. Some have luck getting their wishes granted there.”
The Poogle turned to gape at the closing door.
Give up her last few measly Neopoints on a lark such as a wish? She had already been entirely irresponsible… but what other chance was there for the perfect gift she had been hoping for?
Her shoulders were still shaking as she walked the road to the Wishing Well. The day still had the same warm air, and rustling of fall leaves that had shown the day was filled with promise, but now everything felt fundamentally changed. Sniffing and wiping her nose she took a look at her two tiny handfuls of Neopoints. The day had gone completely wrong; she had had no luck doing her one goal of getting a good present for Theloni. Pulling herself up to sit on the edge of the Well, the baby Poogle sighed.
“All I wanted was an Aisha Birthday Plushie for Theloni,” Qtty said as she dropped one handful of coins into the Well. She listened for the echo of the coins hitting the bottom before she looked at her second handful.
“Just one Birthday Goodie! That’s all I want for her, something special that would be all hers,” the baby Poogle sniffed and felt the tears welling in her eyes as she dropped the second handful. Her tears fell from her eyes and joined the Neopoints decent into the Well.
“That’s it,” Qtty said to herself, “There’s nothing left to do but go home and finish helping set up the party.”
She wiped her empty hands and took a deep breath. Letting the warm sun dry the tears on her face, she glanced into the well, “Please make this a special birthday for my sister.”
She hopped down from the Well’s edge and made her way home. The happy Neopians roaming Neopia Central did nothing to but exaggerate her guilt over losing Dylean and Cuddlicious’s allowance money in an effort to get Theloni a gift. In a daze she finally made it home.
As she made her way up the front steps, she paused at two small boxes on the stoop. Who had left these outside? The family must have forgotten them as they set up in the backyard. Qtty pulled back the flap of the first box and stared dumbfounded at what was inside.
A perfect, new Aisha Birthday Plushie! Qtty’s mouth formed an ‘O’ as she touched it to make sure it was real. Feeling the excitement overtake the dread in her veins, she reached for the second box. Quickly pulling back the flaps, she was even more surprised but this box’s contents.
A Birthday Goodie Bag?! Where had this come from? She pulled the whole bag out and set it on the stoop, and she noticed a small note drop to her feet.
‘To Qtty, From the Wishing Well’
Qtty’s smile reached her ears! Her luck had turned around that day, and tonight, Theloni would have the best birthday ever!