A Jelly Nightmare
She was on a ship. It wasn’t the ship she usually boarded to go home to Neopia Central, as she had to break up her routine due to fatigue. The small pirate Xweetok was leaning against a kindly pirate Eyrie who she had met many times on Krawk Island. He looked down at her as her eyes struggled to stay open.
“Aye, Sue. . .” He nudged her slightly, “Are you ok?”
Sue looked up at him, her eyes nearly glazed over. He lifted his paw to his beak in shock. Sue had always been a chipper and feisty Xweetok with all the energy in the world. Seeing her in this state was just upsetting. He reached over and petted her on the head, whispering, “Sue, I can look after you and make sure no one steals your things, ok?”
Sue closed her eyes and fell into the Eyrie’s overgrown fur. The Eyrie sighed as he heard her snoring.
The moment Sue opened her eyes, she realized something was wrong. The ship was empty except for the water faerie who floated before her. Of course, Sue could never forget Mariana, the water faerie who arranged all of her passages leaving Krawk Island. There were many things that Sue couldn’t understand about the situation. The first aspect that confounded her was simply that Mariana never left Krawk Island, as her job was too demanding to vacation. The second, and most pressing, was that Mariana’s perpetual smile was replaced with a menacing glare.
“Mariana . . .” Sue stared in shock, her paw quickly raising to her muzzle, “Why . . .”
Before Sue could continue, Mariana grabbed Sue by the scruff of her neck and raced off of the ship. The moment they were on the docks, Mariana tossed Sue onto the dry land. Sue was too shocked to react to what had happened, so she simply stood up and dusted herself off.
Something was off, but she couldn’t put her paw on it. She looked around as she held on tighter to the rucksack she kept all of her valuables in. Something felt fake, which was saying a lot considering how full of cheer and rainbows Neopia Central generally was. She made her way to her home. The road underneath her felt as if it were moving in the opposite direction as her petite paws as if the entire world were hurrying her to get home. She glanced around at all of the Neopians along the path. They seemed frozen in time with giant grins plastered on their faces. Before she knew it, the generally long walk from the docks to her house was over. However, she was completely shocked when she saw the house in front of her. It was completely made out of jelly. She glanced at the mailbox to confirm that it was, indeed, her house. Her sisters had free reign to redecorate, so she could see how it was possible the house had transformed into a jelly palace.
As she reached for the door, a horrible feeling cropped up in her stomach. She took a deep breath and reached out for the door knob. The jelly squished in her hand as she tried to turn the knob. As it was simply jelly, the knob broke off in her hand. She considered taking a bite before simply throwing it to the ground and pushing her way through the door. She yelled out, “Due, Mar! I’m home!”
There was silence.
Sue glanced around the eerily empty room before making her way to the kitchen. In the kitchen, she saw her sister Due sitting hunched over the table.
“There haven’t been many red codestones lately . . .” Due muttered under her breath.
Sue stared at her sister. The jelly Usul was sitting at a table made of jelly that was the same exact off-yellow color as her. As the walls were the same color as both Due and the table, it was hard for Sue to tell where one began and the other ended in the muted sunlight filtering through the jelly walls.
Sue took a deep breath before responding, “I’m sorry, Due. I really am. I know we had a deal, but . . .”
Due shot up out of her chair and stared at Sue. The jelly beneath her eyes was a deep, discolored orange and the edges of her skin were at end as if it were fur. Due made her way to Sue, whispering, “We had a deal. You go all over Neopia and have fun doing whatever you do.”
“Due!” Sue backed up slightly, “I’m sorry! I spend so much time training; I have no energy to fight!”
Due laughed loudly before continuing to whisper, “Oh, Sue, that’s such a great excuse. You’re too tired. I’m tired. I’m so tired of spending all day in Neopia Central. Buy the stocks, Due! Run the shop, Due! When is it my turn to explore? When is it my turn to see the corners of Neopia? When is it my turn to see what’s on the other side of the map?”
“I’m sorry!” Sue began to cry, “I’m sorry!”
“Oh, Sue,” Due’s voice began to rise in volume, “It was ok when you met your end of the deal. But, no, Sue. Instead of giving me and your sisters our fair share, you spend millions on your stupid weapons that you apparently don’t even use. You let us rot away in Neopia Central while you spend your days in Mystery Island and diving into the waters of Maraqua.”
Sue looked up at Due. She gasped and clamored back into the wall when she realized that Due was quickly growing in size.
“Well, Sue, let me give you a chance to use your stupid weapons!” Due hissed as she continued to grow. Sue tried to press her back against the wall, but realized that the wall was disappearing. Due was absorbing the jelly of the house to grow in size.
Sue jumped to her hind legs and pulled her Ghostkerbomb out of her rucksack. She felt awful for even thinking about using it on her sister, but some tiny part of her knew that she had to.
“Due, I love you!” Sue screamed through her tears as she launched the Ghostkerbomb at her sister. Sue looked up just in time to see the Ghostkerbomb transform into jelly. The jelly bomb embedded itself into Due’s stomach before exploding. However, Due did not explode. Instead, the explosion caused her size to quadruple to the point that she was larger than their house had ever been. Due let out a guttural howl that shook the ground as she raised one foot above Sue’s head.
And then Sue felt her body softly shake. Her eyes opened to see Grarrl standing in front of her with his hand on her shoulder. She slowly blinked as she looked up at him.
The Grarrl sighed, “Sue, it’s time to wake up.”
Sue recognized the Grarrl as one of the captains who came by the training school in Krawk Island to have trainees work on his ship. She had built up quite the repertoire with him when he came by the academy. “Captain Groor!” Sue gasped, “You mean I wasn’t squished?!”
The Grarrl sighed, “Sue, I let you sleep for as long as I could . . . But I need to get ready to set sail now.”
Sue’s eyes widened as she realized that she had been dreaming. Without a word, she raced out of the ship and onto the docks. Leaping with every step, she made her way down the winding roads of Neopia Central to her home. She smiled brightly when the house was made of bricks and not jelly. She threw the door open and bound into the kitchen. Due looked up from the wooden table she was sitting at and gave Sue a small, tired smile.
Sue ran up to Due and gathered her in her arms. Due squeaked slightly as Sue squeezed her.
“Oh! Due! I am so sorry! I’m so sorry!” Sue began to sob, “I don’t treat you or our sisters right!”
Due wrapped her arms around Sue and sighed, “Sue . . . there’s no reason to be sorry.”
Sue shook her head, “No! I explore all of Neopia and leave you at home, trapped in Neopia Central. I use all of the neopoints I make on myself! I don’t treat you right!”
Due let out a soft laugh and pulled away from Sue’s embrace. She smiled as she told Sue, “Sue, Mar is on vacation right now, using the neopoints you earned for us.”
Sue stared at Due before asking, “Why aren’t you?”
“Because, Sue, I love being here,” Due put her paw on Sue’s head and let out a small laugh, “I love running the shop, and I love talking to Nigel every day.”
“But, I spend all of our neopoints on codestones!” Sue began to cry, “I leave nothing!”
“No, no, Sue . . .” Due grabbed Sue by the shoulders and stared into her eyes, “Someday, there will be a war. When there is a war, the strongest pets will need to fight. You have a purpose in life, Sue. Your purpose is to train and fight. My purpose is to enjoy life at a leisurely pace. And, Sue . . .”
Sue dried her eyes on the back of her paw before whimpering.
“Sue, I make neopoints on my own,” Due smiled brightly, “I live off of the neopoints I make on the stock market. I almost never have to tap into our bank account . . . which is rather large thanks to your work!”
Sue tilted her head to the side in confusion.
Due explained, “For you to train, you need millions of neopoints. You look at our bank account and think that it’s not nearly enough. You think we need a hundred times more. But I don’t train. I live a normal life . . . and Sue, I could spend the next ten years on one million neopoints. I don’t need much. And you’ve given us all we need through your hard work. I love you, and I never want you to feel like you’re not providing for us.”
Sue began to sob tears of joy as she pulled her sister into a tight hug, “I love you too!”
The sisters pulled away from the embrace and smiled brightly at each other.
“Now, Sue, you’re finally back home!” Due turned around to the pantry to find food for Sue to eat. After she pulled out some cereal, she turned back to Sue and realized that her sister was slumped over on the floor, snoring. Due smiled softly as she made her way to Sue and picked the small Xweetok up. “Goodnight, then.”
Due took Sue to her bedroom and laid her down on the bed. Due closed the curtains to block out the early morning light and made her way back to the kitchen.