“Like the Battledome, but a Bit Friendlier”: An Investigation of Secret Competitions
I was in the Coffee Cave the other week, enjoying my usual House Blend with Cream. It was a rather idyllic day, given the cold temperature typical to the catacombs. But hey, I needed the inspiration to write something, anything really. But before I could get up to leave the coffee shop to find inspiration for another poem to submit to the Poetry Contest, I witnessed a strange and even unusual occurrence. I was unprepared for what happened as an Elderlygirl Xweetok ordering at the counter, met the gaze of a small Krawk who was entering the premises. Both Neopets gave each other icy cold stares, as I heard the Xweetok say, “Get ready to be crushed in two days, by noon.”
I shook my head in disbelief. Did my ears deceive me, or did a Xweetok painted Elderly just threaten an innocent-looking Baby ‘Pet? In the shop artists and writers considered to be their sanctuary?
After a quick second, I realize that I had not heard what the Krawk had said in return, but it must have been an interesting comeback, considering they had left the Xweetok looking rather furious. There was a frown visible on her face, even behind her eyeglasses. Several other ‘Pets did not seem to be as affected by the scene as I was, so I decided to leave the Coffee Cave and ask someone who might know more than I.
This did not take long, as I overheard two Meercas on my way out. “There goes that Luna again, trying to scare Stan out of the competition before the game’s even started”, the red male Meerca exclaimed. “Well, you know how the Elderly Team’s been losing recently. They will have to do whatever it takes to catch up to the Babies”, the green female Meerca responded, as she petted her pet Warf.
I had to know the story, and so I quickly but politely interrupted the conversation. “Excuse me, I’m sorry but what exactly are you talking about?” I asked them while holding my ear up to hear better. (The catacombs can be noisy sometimes, with artistic ‘Pets audibly collaborating from time to time.
The female Meerca was the first to speak. “We’re talking about tomorrow’s EVB match tomorrow by the Magma Pool. ” Her friend probably noticed my puzzled my expression, so he helped me out. “EVB stands for ‘Elderly Versus Baby.’ You’ve never heard of it?” I shook my head no, and the Meercas offered to answer every question I had about. I quickly took out a notepad and my pen. Poem writing can wait another time, I thought, this event seems much more exciting! As I strolled out of the Catacombs and along Neopia Central with my newfound Meerca friends. By the time I got back to my humble Neohome, I l had earned general information about this elusive competition.
1. The origins of the tournament remain relatively unknown.
Contrary to what you may think, no, Dr. Sloth (or any Neopian villain) did not decide to pit Elderly-painted ‘Pets against each other as a form of sick entertainment. In fact, outside of EVB, both groups of painted neopets tend to get along as well as Faerie and Darigan Neopets do. One can only guess when and where and why the competition started, but we cannot make rash assumptions about it. Ultimately, we cannot uncover the whole truth because EVB players and spectators consider its mystery part of its charm and appeal. “The less others know, the better off the Neopets involved are”, as Kolby the male Meerca stated.
2. There is a good reason games are typically held in Moltara.
Every game is not the same. Competitions vary in difficulty, location, and length of time. Most of them though, are located in the Moltaran area so that they are not as easily accessible through the Neopian map. “Elderly Vs. Baby” fans are small in number, but have as much passion as the Techo Fanatic during the Altador Cup season. To add on to the last point, those involved in ‘Elderly Vs. Baby’ selected the ideal site for Neopets – traveling to the deepest land is no simple feat.
3. EVB competitors are not purely Elderly and Baby Neopets
Nobody knows the identities of the EVB Council, but they certainly are fair members! Given the scarcity of species painted Elderly (currently, 13 species can be painted Elderlyboy/Elderlygirl), there are additional and honorary Elderly Team members to match the Baby Team’s five players. Luna, the Elderly Xweetok from the Coffee Cave, is one of three ‘Pets who are actually Elderly. The other “True Eldies”- an Elderlyboy Ogrin named Satoshi and an Elderlygirl Ixi who goes by the moniker “Deadly Dahlia” – are joined by a Magma Elephante and a Koi zapped 8-Bit by the Lab Ray. Both of them remain unnamed.
4. Serious Measures are Taken to Ensure Fair Play.
When I said the council behind the ‘Elderly Vs. Baby’ Games is a reasonable and fair one, I meant it. Members of the committee recognize that since certain Baby and Elderly species come with their own accessories, all players involved must remove such items before games commence, unless necessary. For example, players on the Elderly team are prohibited from wearing glasses unless they are visually impaired. In terms of Satoshi’s need to use a walking cane (he has one bad knee), he is exempted from competitions involving land races. Luna is, in actuality, the fastest runner of the Eldies.
Similarly, adjustments are made amongst competitors on the Baby Team to even out the playing field. Everly, the second best player on the team and a Baby Kiko, is generally required to take out her pacifier before participating in Magma Pool races after a reported accusation that she had used it to breathe underwater (or under magma, rather) towards the beginning of the tournament. Diapered members of the Baby Team also tend to stay away from these contests, for quite obvious reasons.
5. There is no need to worry!
To directly quote Alicyn the Green Meerca, “The best thing for us to do is to respect the obscurity of the games”. Thankfully, no player from either team has ever been seriously injured in EVB because medical professionals are always present to guarantee the safety of all competitions, in addition to ‘Elderly Vs. Baby’ council members acting as contest judges.
Alicyn’s statement stuck with me, and so despite the temptation to catch the Magma Pool match between the Elderly and Baby ‘Pets who fascinated me at the coffee shop, I ultimately decided to stay out of the EVB match altogether and respect the mystery of the game. As Kolby added on to Alicyn’s comment, “In the end, the rivalry between the Elderly and Baby Teams is nothing to fret over. It’s like the Battledome, but a bit friendlier”.
Maybe I will stop by the Deep Catacombs later. Kolby and Alicyn will surely keep me updated on the Magma Pool victor.