Kappie's First Chomby Carnival
Kappernicious opened one eye lazily, fully aware that he was neither entirely asleep nor entirely awake. He could tell from the soft light that warmed his skin that it was still early– not even the Pteris were awake and singing their morning tunes at this hour. Kappie wrapped his baby Chomby tail a little closer to his body, trying to snuggle as deeply as he could into his bed. He had closed his eyes for just a few moments when he heard a familiar voice.
“KAAAAAAAA-PPPPIEEEEEE” his owner hollered for him from the opposite end of their neohome. Kappie tried to pretend that he was still in a deep sleep; he closed his eyes and snuggled back into bed, but to no avail. His owner, Elaine, moved through the room like a whirlwind.
“Good morning Kappie!” she chirped, already disappearing into the kitchen before the end of the sentence. Kappie heard his owner move about the kitchen in her typical patterns. First, she put on the kettle to make her morning coffee. While waiting for it to boil, she would chop up some fruit for herself and some vegetables for him. Slowly, Kappie rose from his bed in front of the window and dragged himself into the kitchen.
“Good m-auuuuuring” he said, unable to stifle a yawn. Elaine just smiled, cutting up a banan into small coins.
“How did you sleep?”
“Like a rock,” Kappie replied. He should know, after all. He was more comfortable when he slept on his rock bed.
“Good! Because we have a long day ahead of us,” the kettle whistled, cutting Elaine off before she could finish the rest of her sentence. With one hand, she turned off the stove, and with the other, she tipped the fruit on the cutting board into her breakfast bowl. Kappie noticed that she had already artfully plated a colorful variety of leaves, berries, and vegetables onto his own plate.
“Why’s that?” he asked, before taking a cactus leaf into his mouth and thoughtfully chewing it.
“Because I have a surprise for you!” Elaine’s smile was enormous. Kappie mentally scrambled to remember what today was. Had he forgotten his adoption date? No, that couldn’t be it. And it certainly wasn’t anyone’s birthday. What had he forgotten?
After a long pause to sip her coffee, Elaine couldn’t take it anymore. “We’re going to your first ever Chomby Carnival!” she clapped her hands, unable to contain her excitement. Kappie’s eyes grew nearly twice their size.
“Really?” he asked incredulously. Kappie had never been to the Chomby Carnival before! He had spent his first Chomby Carnival sitting in the pound – but he preferred not to think about that time in his life. He spent his second Chomby Carnival being sick. Kappie didn’t remember much of it, but Elaine remembered every detail. She remembered how scared she was when Kappie ran the highest fever and had the worst nightmares that the doctors at the Neopian Hospital had ever seen. She had felt so guilty that he missed the Chomby Carnival last year, that she vowed to make it up to him this year.
Kappie tried to finish his breakfast as quickly as possible. “Can I be excused to go get ready?” he asked Elaine, slowly inching towards the kitchen door that led into the hallway. She giggled and excused Kappie, who immediately turned and galloped down the hall to his closet. “NO RUNNING!” Elaine called after him, crossing her fingers that nothing in the shaking house had fallen over and broken.
“Alright Kappie, remember what we talked about on the walk over?” Elaine fussed over Kappie, trying to make sure that nothing was missing before walking onto the carnival grounds.
“Yes, mom!” Kappie was becoming more impatient, especially since the loud noises and bright lights were pulling his attention away from his owner.
“Okay! Where do we meet if we get separated?”
“We meet at the bank mom, just like you said. Can we go in now?!” Kappie was almost stamping his feet from impatience. He had waited three long years to celebrate the Chomby Carnival. Now that he was here, he couldn’t possibly wait for one more second.
“Alright, alright. Where do you want to go first?”
“Let’s go over there!” Kappie pointed with his tail to a group of neopets all sitting attentively in front of a short stage. On the stage was a large, middle-aged Chomby with a deep, hypnotizing voice. As Kappie and Elaine moved closer, they were able to make out what the Chomby was saying. He pulled out a book and showed the cover to his audience.
“To celebrate this year’s Chomby Carnival, I’d like to start with a reading of one chapter from Chomby Carnival, a book I wrote many years ago after our first Chomby Carnival.” As the Chomby on the stage painted his story with words, Kappie found himself sucked in and unable to pull away. He drank every word up – he had never heard anything so interesting in his entire life! At the end of the chapter, Kappie turned to his owner.
“Mom! Mom! I want to read the whole book, can we get the book?” He was trying hard not to jump up and down from excitement – he didn’t want to scare the smaller pets and their (absolutely minuscule) petpets.
Elaine smiled, thrilled that her Kappie was enjoying himself. “Of course we can, sweetheart. The bookstore is right across the way.” Kappie sped off ahead, unwilling to risk that the bookstore might be sold out of his new favorite book. By the time his owner walked through the entryway of the bookstore, Kappie had already found Chomby Carnival on the bookshelf and was waiting patiently, book in mouth, in line. After she purchased the book, Elaine slipped it into her backpack to make sure it got home safe.
“Thank you, mom.” Kappie said, making sure not to neglect his manners despite all the excitement.
“I want to go see what’s over there!” Kappie pointed with his tail to a stage in front of Uni’s Clothing. This year, it seems that the owner of Uni’s Clothes had gone all-out and set up a fashion runway in front of the store. Loud music blared from the speakers as beauty contest winners from all around Neopia stepped out onto the stage and showed off their new clothes.
A stylish Chomby sauntered down the runway, wearing the most fashionable digs. “This ensemble arrived just this morning at our store!” boomed a voice over the loudspeaker. Kappie was immediately drawn to the crisp white button down and palm frond-patterned tie.
“Mom! Mom!” Kappie cried, “I want that tie! Can we get the tie?” His tail whipped back and forth from excitement – but he was careful not to accidentally catch the feet of any nearby neopets.
Elaine stroked her baby Chomby’s head. “Of course we can, Kappie. Why don’t you go pick it out and I’ll meet you in front of the cash register?” Once again, Kappie galloped off in the direction of Uni’s Clothing, hoping with all his might that the tie hadn’t already sold out. By the time Elaine had navigated her way through the crowd (and the numerous clothing racks that hung around outside Uni’s Clothing), Kappie was patiently waiting at the front of the line. After she purchased the tie, Elaine slipped it into her backpack right next to the book.
“Thank you, mom.” Kappie said, nudging her softly with his head.
After leaving Uni’s Clothing, Kappie and Elaine walked around the carnival for a little while, taking in all the exciting activities and brightly colored clothing Neopians wore, everyone clearly already set on springtime. Kappie admired other chombies’ paint colours, like chocolate and robot. They had even stopped by the toy store, where Kappie had become absolutely enthralled with a pink Chomby bouncy ball. Suddenly, Kappie felt a rumbling in his stomach.
“Mom, I’m hungry! Can we get lunch somewhere?” Kappie asked, looking around at the variety of vendors before them.
“Good call, Kappie. I’m feeling pretty hungry too. I think I see a tropical fruit stand up ahead – let’s try that one!”
Kappie and Elaine’s noses were continuously bombarded with the smells of a typical carnival: meat grilling, breads frying, and sugary goods baking in enormous ovens. The fruit stand stood out among all the vendors, featuring the most colorful and perfectly ripe fruits that Mystery Island had to offer.
The vendor greeted Elaine and Kappie with a jovial attitude as he continued to restock his beautiful selection of fruits. He knew the exact grove where each of the bright-coloured fruits came from, and he explained his process of growing his produce to “maximize the effect” it had on each one of the senses. He even offered samples of his more exotic and hard-to-grow fruits, including the tigerfruit and the starberry. By the time Elaine and Kappie walked away from the food stand, their bellies were full, Elaine’s backpack was practically bursting, and she had purchased another bag of fruits to carry home. Kappie’s little stomach was so full, he looked like he was waddling. Elaine was busy looking at a map of the carnival when Kappie tugged on her shirt sleeve, trying to catch her attention.
“What is it, Kappie?” Elaine asked, still a bit distracted with the map.
“Thank you, mom.”
Elaine smiled and kissed the top of Kappie’s little head. “No problem, sweetheart.”
The sun was sitting low in the sky, but the hustle and bustle of the carnival only seemed to grow. Suddenly, a low rumbling could be heard above the noise of vendors selling their foods and goods, neopets chasing each other around the carnival, or the spinning of the Wheel of Monotony.
“Do you hear that, Kappie?” The baby Chomby nodded furiously, his eyes wide with excitement.
“That sound means that the show is about to start! Let’s go!” This time, Kappie followed Elaine – making sure to stay very close despite the large crowds – to the Concert Hall. They had arrived just in time to hear the opening.
The mood from the crowd was infectious. From the moment Kappie and Elaine stepped onto the concert grounds, they were filled with good vibes and endless happiness. They could hear the band tuning their instruments back stage, and with every note that sounded from the guitar and every hit of the drumstick against the canvas of the drums, the vibrations moved swiftly through the ground and excited the crowd more and more. Eventually, the curtains parted to reveal the band that everyone had been waiting for, the stars of the evening, Chomby and the Fungus Balls.
“Neopia, ARE. YOU. READAAAAAAAY!” the lead singer yelled into the microphone. The crowd went wild, and Elaine and Kappie were unable to keep themselves from cheering.
“Then let’s GET this show STARTED!” the lead singer yelled again into the microphone, but this time, the music started on cue and every erupted into cheers and screams, feet pounding and tails thumping against the floor.
As the band began playing on stage, the crowd began to get its groove on. Soon, everyone was singing along to Chomby and dancing with other concertgoers. Kappie suddenly looked around – he had accidentally danced his way to the front of the crowd! “But where did Mom go..?” His thought was interrupted by a sudden silence. Kappie’s attention snapped back to the band on stage.
“We are so honored to be playing for you tonight, Neopia.” Chomby’s smooth voice simultaneously hypnotized and excited the crowd. A few rowdy Neopians whooped and hollered, but Chomby waited for the crowd to reach complete silence before continuing on.
“We are so honored to be playing for you tonight, and you all have been such a great crowd. I’d like to invite one lucky Neopian to join me and my band on stage for this next song. Who wants to come on stage?!” Immediately, a sea of paws, necks, and tails rose in the crowd. Kappie knew that he was shorter than most of his peers, but he still strained his neck and stood as tall as he could on his toes.
“Pick me, pick me” Kappie murmured to himself, desperately willing for Chomby to pick him. Chomby walked across the stage, trying to pick the right neopet from the crowd, when his eyes fell to Kappie. For a moment, Kappie was certain that Chomby would pick him. This day had gone perfectly, it couldn’t be any other way!
But then Chomby’s eyes moved past him in the crowd. Kappie hung his head, feeling just a little bit disappointed. He knew that every Neopian in the crowd was equally deserving of being on the stage alongside Chomby. He also knew that statistically, it would have been next to impossible for him to be selected. But no matter how logical the explanation, it didn’t stop Kappie from feeling disappointed.
“Hey, you!” he heard Chomby call into his microphone. Kappie raised his head to look around and see who the lucky winner was.
“No, you!” Kappie looked around, still curious as to the winner.
“Can we get the baby Chomby right there up on the stage?” Suddenly, Kappie realized everyone was looking at him. He looked up at Chomby.
“Me?!” he yelled, still in disbelief.
“Yea, you!” Chomby pointed right at Kappie. “Come on up to the stage!”
The crowd parted to allow Kappie to reach the steps of the stage without any issue. He bolted up the steps with ease, suddenly very nervous to be in the presence of one of the most famous chombies in the world. He felt so awkward standing next to Chomby, who emanated cool from every pore.
“What’s your name, kid?” Chomby spoke into the microphone for the whole crowd to hear, but Kappie hardly noticed.
“Kappie.” He tried to avert his eyes away from the brightly coloured lights. As much as his owner loved to spoil him, Kappie wasn’t used to being the center of attention like this.
“Kappie, that’s a good name,” commented Chomby. “Is this your first Chomby Carnival, Kappie?”
“Yes,” responded Kappie. “This is my first.”
“His first! You hear that, everyone?” The crowd cheered in response, all while Kappie stood awkwardly on stage. He had no idea where to go, where to look, or what to say. He had heard about all the typical fun things that happened at the Chomby Carnival, but he never imagined this!
“Neopia, what do you say we make this Kappie’s most memorable Chomby Carnival? Can we do that??” Chomby barely finished his question before the crowd cheered – even louder than before. The sound they made was deafening, and if it weren’t for the charisma and smoothness of Chomby himself, Kappie was sure that their cheering would continue until their voices were gone.
The music began, giving every Neopian a reason to cheer and dance with the rest of the crowd. Kappie found himself surrounded by the Fungus Balls on stage, where they taught him how to move and groove. Kappie quickly lost his awkwardness and shyness and was dancing alongside Chomby, completely ignoring the crowd. In fact, he found himself completely caught up in the music and in the moment. It was like he was in a dream.
When the song ended, Kappie left the stage in search of his owner, Elaine. He found her at the entrance of the Concert Hall, patiently waiting for her baby Kappie.
“Mom! Mom! Did you see me on stage?” Kappie couldn’t stop from dancing in his place.
“I did! It looked exciting. Did you have fun?” She asked, guiding Kappie out of the Hall and back towards the rest of the carnival.
“I did, it was the best time.” Kappie replied. He couldn’t believe how lucky he had been.
“So what would you like to do now?”
Kappie thought for a moment. Today had been such a full day: he had sat in on a reading for his new favorite book, he had picked out some new clothes to show off to his best friends, he had eaten delicious foods, and he had rocked out with Chomby and the Fungus Balls! His friends might never believe that he had such an incredible time. But most importantly, he was able to spend the whole day with his owner.
“You know mom, I’m feeling a little tired. Can we go home?”
Elaine smiled. “Of course! You had a big day.”
That night, Kappie curled up on his bed in front of the window and thought about how lucky he was. He could see his brand new, favorite book sitting on the bookshelf on the opposite side of the room. He knew his brand new tie was hanging in his closet. And the taste of the tropical fruits he had gorged himself on earlier was still on his tongue. Elaine came by his bed to check on him one last time.
“Mom, I had so much fun today. Can we do the carnival again next year?”
“I don’t see why not. You’ll still be a Chomby, won’t you?” teased Elaine as she tucked a blanket around Kappie.
“Of course I will, mom!” Kappie closed his eyes and rested his head on his pillow. He heard Elaine start to leave the room, when he remembered that he had forgotten to say one last thing.
“Mom!” Kappie called out. He saw her figure stop in the doorway.
“Thank you. You’re the best.”
Kappie watched his owner, but Elaine didn’t move from the doorway. He felt his eyelids droop, his breathing slow, and his head sink deeper into his pillow. His exhaustion was quickly drawing him to sleep. But he heard one last thing before he drifted off into his baby Chomby dreamland.
“Goodnight, Kappie. Sweet dreams.”
Author's Note: Special thanks to rock_star_09 and her lovely baby Chomby, Kappernicious, for agreeing to be the featured Neopian and Neopet in this story!