A Key Quest Story
Ryan looked inside the box he was holding and sighed. The Key Quest arcade had been undergoing renovations for what seemed like forever. The Green Kacheek bought this token for his younger brother just days before he found out about the closing. He had been holding on to it ever since. It was supposed to be a birthday present, but with the game closed, it wouldn't seem like a very useful one. Even though Ryan was a year older than Collin, they shared a birthday. A birthday which, Ryan noticed, was coming up soon. He knew he shouldn’t dwell on these things, but he couldn't help it. He put the box and token back in his backpack, and set out for the Toy Store. At the very least, he always knew what to get his brother from there.~~~
Collin was sitting on his porch, yawning impatiently. “Ryan was supposed to be back a long time ago.” At least, it seemed that way to him. Collin never was very good at keeping track of time. His friends all headed home for the day. “Wait a minute… Am I forgetting something?” Collin bolted to his room. “Man, I almost forgot to wrap the book I bought for Ryan!” The Yellow Kacheek tripped as he made his way into his room. His brother told him he shouldn’t let his room get so messy. Collin looked at what he tripped over. It was a box, beaten up from being tripped over so many times, but never opened. It was labeled “To Ryan.” “Wow, It’s been so long I forgot what was even in here. Just a quick peek.” Collin saw the familiar shape of a Key Quest token’s base. All the knocking around eventually caused it to flip over within its box. “Oh, that's why I never gave it to him.” Collin put the box on his dresser out of the way as he began to wrap the book for his brother.~~~
At the toy shop, Ryan checked his pockets. “The perfect amount. I just hope she’s got something in stock that he’ll like.”
The Lupe just finished putting new stock in the shelves as he walked in. Her glance turned to Ryan. “Hey, there, kiddo. What are you looking for today?”
Ryan jumped back. “Oh, um… You see, my brother’s birthday is coming up and I was thinking about getting him..” Ryan trailed off. He never was very good at talking to others, especially when he had stuff on his mind.
“Um… Maybe just something the two of us could play with together? I know he’s into sports, but I was never able to keep up with him, so maybe… Something else? Like, not-sports?”
The shopkeeper chuckled. “I think I know what you should get. I’ve got a few board games on sale today. Why don’t you get several? I’m sure one of them will be something you both like.”
“Oh, um… Thank you!” Ryan gave her the payment and headed out the door.~~~
Collin had just finished wrapping the book for his brother. “Mom! When are we going to have dinner?”
His mother yelled back, “Isn't it a bit early for dinner? We aren't going to eat until your brother gets back. Maybe you can find something to do until then.”
“Aww, okay.” Collin kicked at the ground and knocked over a deck of Kiko Match cards. “I didn't know we had those.” He looked back at the box on his dresser . “Huh. I remember Key Quest had a matching minigame like this, didn't it? Oh, and there was also that one where you had to get dirt off the Meowclops! I bet if I use these Basic Dryers and some cardboard cutouts I could replicate that. And these Koi Fishing Games are just like that Petpet Pond game.” Collin set off to work. When he got like this, there was nothing anyone could do to stop him.~~~
Ryan looked at the board games he got, and inspiration struck him. He needed to head to the school supplies store, but he already knew what he was going to get there.
“Oh, hello there.” The Blue Techo nodded at Ryan. “I don't usually see many customers during this time of year. What can I get for you?”
Ryan shuffled in place. “Oh, uh, crayons… Scissors, glue, paper… I’d prefer the plain kind.”
“Right, I think I’ve got some right here.” The shopkeeper ducked behind the counter and came back with a bag containing all the requested items. “That'll be 2,000 Neopoints.”
Ryan emptied his pockets. When he went to the toy store, he wasn't planning on doing any other shopping before heading home. With just about 1,500 Neopoints, he just started turning toward the door.
“Wait,” the Techo called out, “I think I can accept this.” He hated to see young Neopets saddened at their academic or creative efforts coming to a sudden stop. He rang up the purchase and sent Ryan on his way.
“Oh, um… Thank you.” Ryan turned away, blushing. He wasn't accustomed to accepting this sort of kindness from others. The shopkeeper smiled and waved at him as he headed out. Ryan started on his journey back home, everything he purchased today hidden safely in his backpack, along with that token he bought a few years back.~~~
Collin had just finished setting up another station in his room. Kiko Match, with tiles facing upward, would be a great way to set up a fast paced competition. The cardboard Meowclops he made, along with the dirt tokens, which were basically paper coins, were perfect as a recreation of Petpet Pamper. He had to take some creative liberties, too, but the minigames he made up would work just as well as the ones originally featured at the old Key Quest arcade.
“Collin, your brother’s home. Come join us for dinner!”
Collin quickly glanced at the clock in his room. Was it already that late? “I’ll be there in a minute, mom.” He had to hide the minigames he created so that his brother wouldn't see them before it was time. They weren't quite ready yet, and could use some tidying up around the edges. He hurriedly cleared a spot in his closet, then set the games inside. As he ran to the dining room, he nearly knocked down the box on his dresser, but stopped himself just in time to catch it. “Woah, if something happened to that, it would be such a waste!” He continued back toward dinner.~~~
After setting down his backpack and washing his hands, Ryan sat down at the table. Their mom had made the noodles Collin loved with Ryan’s favorite alfredo sauce. With the four of them, including Dad, at the table, Mom said, “With your birthdays coming up, I was wondering if there was anything special you wanted. If we’re going to go someplace like Kelp, we’ll have to make a reservation ahead of time.”
Ryan just shrugged. He wasn't picky. Collin, however, practically leapt out of his seat. “I want to go to Pizzaroo! It’s been so long since we’ve been there. And they've got such good dessert pizzas, too!”
The Red Kacheek who was their mother smiled and nodded. “I think we can do that.”
After dinner, Ryan brought his backpack to his room and began unpacking. Unlike his brother, his room was very tidy, so he had plenty of space to begin his crafting. “This board definitely reminds me of the Faerieland Key Quest board, but I think I need to change the path to be more like a loop.” He began cutting it and glueing the tracks together in a new shape. “Oh! Maybe I can make this one into a Neopia Central themed board. Um… That looks good, but I think it needs some decorating.” As he was drawing on the paper he bought, he recreated some of his town’s most famous landmarks. The food shop, the Rainbow Pool, Kauvara’s Magic Shop, they were all there. “And now… Um, the tiles!” After he cut out the props for his Neopia Central, Ryan began drawing tiles for the boards. “A few minigame tiles… I guess those won’t do anything for now. Some element tiles, some plain tiles. Oh, and I can’t forget the key tiles!”~~~
Collin was looking at the minigames he made. “Now, how do we decide upon which minigame to play?” He turned around, and his tail knocked over a deck of playing cards. “Oh, this is perfect!” He opened one of his drawers. Inside he had some glue sticks, scissors, and coloring pencils. “Aw, I’m all out of paper.” He’d have to get some from his brother. Ryan probably had some. He was good at making sure he had the supplies he might need at any time, even when he may not use them for a while.
Collin ran to his brother’s room, tripping as he left his own, but getting back up just as quickly.~~~
Ryan heard the rumbling of the floor as his brother charged toward his room. He had to hid his work somehow. Hesitantly, he threw his bedsheets over the unfinished boards.
The doorknob shook. “You have to pull it.” Ryan sighed. “How many times do you just come barging in here? It’s always been pull.”
“Uh, I knew that.” Collin’s eyes darted to the sheets covering the boards Ryan was working on. “Whatcha’ got there?”
Ryan sheepishly looked away from his brother. “Oh, it’s… It’s nothing important. Just a little project I’m working on… It’s just a personal thing.”
“Oh, okay.” Collin didn't really believe his brother, but he also didn't care enough to press any further. “Hey, since I’m here-”
“You say that like this isn't going to be the reason you came in here in the first place.”
“Right. As I was saying, do you have any paper I could have?”
This caught Ryan’s attention. “That's an… odd request coming from you. What do you want it for?”
“Oh, you know. Just stuff.” Collin’s elusiveness did nothing to curb Ryan’s interest.
“Um, okay. I think I’ve got some right here.” Ryan dug up some of the paper he bought earlier from under the sheets. “Here it is.”
“Thanks!” Collin took the paper from his brother, then dashed out of the room. His foot caught on the sheets Ryan was using to hide the modified board games. Before Collin could turn around to see what he had stumbled upon, Ryan scrambled to cover the games back up.~~~
Back at his room, Collin was looking at the minigames. “I think this icon would look perfect to represent that game.” As he drew up the icons and glued the ones he had cut out to the cards, he grew quite pleased with himself. “Just wait until Ryan sees this!” He still had some more work to do, but he was sure the minigames he made would be super fun to play.~~~
The week went by fast. Ryan had packaged each board in it’s own unique box, redecorated from the originals as he did with the boards that came in them. He had repurposed some of the extra game pieces to serve as the keys, and redrew the cards that came with the games to take the place of power-ups, blessings, and curses. All the while, Collin kept busy making new minigames and refining them.
It was finally their birthday, and they were enjoying dinner at Pizzaroo. The family was splitting a Smiley Pizza, perfect for a celebration.
Collin could not curb his excitement. “I’ve got the best thing set up for us in my room! Just wait until we get back!”
Ryan gave a small smile. Actually, he was actively restraining his expression, but Collin was too excited to care. “I think you’ll like what I got for you too.”
“Oh, cool. You can bring it to my room. I want you to see mine first.”
Ryan nodded. “Oh, okay. It should be small enough.”
The waiter, who was also the chef, stopped by the table. “How was your meal? Is there anything else I can get you? I have a great selection of dessert pizzas for you to choose from.”
“I think so, but we’ll have to make it to-go.” Dad looked at his watch. “I’ve got some stocks to sell while their market value is high.”
“That is fine. What did you have in mind?”
Mom looked over at the dessert menu. “We’ll get a strawberry cream pizza, please.”
The chef smiled. “Certainly. I’ll get that right out for you.”
When the chef returned, the family paid for the pizza and packed it up to take it home.~~~
Back at his room, Ryan loaded up all his boxes, including the one containing the token, in his backpack to carry him to his brother's room. When he got there he was very surprised at what he saw: his brother had actually cleaned his room! Oh, and he also laid out games he made with paper and cardboard. The room was set up like an arcade.
“Do you like it?” Collin jumped out from behind his bed. “I spent all week getting it set up!”
“It sure looks like fun.” Something about some of these games also seemed familiar, somehow. Oh, that's right! They were modified versions of the Key Quest minigames.
Collin’s eyes turned to his brother's visibly overstuffed backpack. “What’cha got in there?”
“Oh, um,” Ryan began unloading, starting with the smallest box, the one he placed on top. “A-ha. I got this for you a while back.”
“Hey, that looks like- Oh, right!” Collin dashed to his closet. When he came back, he was holding a very similar box. “This was supposed to be for you. I must've forgot about it somewhere down the line.”
They swapped their boxes, and as Collin was about to open his box, Ryan stopped him. “Wait, I think you should see these first.” Reaching into his backpack, he pulled out the board games, each decorated like one of the Key Quest boards they used to play on. He started unboxing them and setting up the games. “Okay, now open your box.”
Collin opened his, and pulled out a game piece, the Yellow Kacheek Key Quest token. Ryan took out a Green Kacheek Key Quest token.
“Oh boy!” Collin was ecstatic. “This is perfect. We can use these to play right now!” He placed the deck of minigame cards next to the boards.
Ryan gave a sly smile.“For once, we’ve got the same idea. Alright, place your token on one of the home spaces.” Collin picked his home, and his brother proceeded to do the same. They rolled the dice, and began the best game they had played in a long while.