Voice of the Neopian Pound Circulation: 93,823,843 Issue: 183 | 26th day of Running, Y7
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The Great Easter Treasure Hunt

by shadowcristal


The bright sunlight streamed into my room. I blinked twice, and then I got up. I brushed my teeth and washed my face. After that, I returned to my room and looked at the clock. It was 7 A.M. I sighed, relieved, knowing that I would have enough time to make breakfast and send my pets to Neoschool. And then I took a look at the calendar that was on the other side of the room.

     It was Saturday.

     Drat! I shook my head, reprimanding myself for my stupidity. How could I have not remembered?

     The big, vivid red letters on the calendar screamed at me, screamed for my attention. I sighed and looked at the word. "Easter."

     It was Easter today, the 27th. The day when Cybunnies hopped around and Neggs were given. But more importantly, it was my birthday today.

     I turned around and started making my bed, which was something I almost never did during normal circumstances. Well, even the laziest person alive would have to do special things on her birthday, right?

     I walked down the stairs, trying not to create expectations or hype myself up considering that it was my birthday today. The reason for this was because I had this special little rule that I wouldn't walk around and brag about my birthday. I knew what I wanted.

     You see, I usually tell people that my birthday is on the 27th, but on my birthday I don't yell all out. The simple reason for this is... Well, I just want to be remembered. My wish is that people would remember my birthday, even if I only tell them once.

     But perhaps that was too much to expect. I stopped my train of thoughts and started another one, reminding myself that it was actually Easter today. Easter meant Neggs...

     I entered the kitchen, wondering if my pets had gotten up. Of course they wouldn't, since it was Saturday and there was no Neoschool.

     But one of them was in the kitchen. Aurora sat on the yellow swivel chair, faced towards the window. She seemed to mumble to no one, so I ignored her and turned around. I opened the top kitchen cupboard, and froze.

     To my horror, the Neggs that I had planned on giving my pets were gone. GONE! Poof! Vamoose! They had disappeared.

     I considered running out of the house and calling a certain Lupe named Kojak to solve the Case of the Disappeared Neggs, but decided against it. One, I didn't know where Kojak lived. Two, even if I hated to admit it, a bunch of Neggs was not that important compared to some of the cases that the detective had solved in the past.

     Well, I guess I had to buy some Neggs. I cringed at this thought, knowing that my bank account did not have a lot of NP in it. I hoped that my pets would be satisfied with the basic Neggs.

     I made a quick breakfast for myself, and threw a glance at Aurora, my speckled Jetsam. My pet seemed absorbed in her conversation with her non-existent friend. But where was Cristal?

     Who is Cristal, you may ask. You see, Cristal's real name is exactly like mine, but to avoid confusion, I'm called Shadow and my blue Cybunny is called Cristal. Got that? Good. (As you may already have figured out, we're both shadowcristals.)

     I asked Aurora if she wanted breakfast, and she told me that she already had some cornflakes. I raised an eyebrow, knowing that Aurora was as lazy as I was. This was definitely turning out to be an unusual day. Then I questioned my pet about the whereabouts of Cristal, and she claimed that she didn't know.

     "Oh well," I said, trying not to sound disappointed. To be honest, I was a little bit worried since Cristal would linger about home as much as she could. I had adopted her from the Pound, and I think that staying home makes her feel better. Of course, I'd never, ever abandon Cristal.

     "I'm going shopping," I declared. Aurora turned around in her chair and stared at me with those eyes I suppose I must've had when I found out that my Neggs were gone.

     "You?" she said, apparently shocked. "You, the shop-a-hater, is going shopping?"

     "Yes," I said dryly. Everyone knew that I abhorred shopping, and frowned at the Grooming Parlor. Restocking was a completely different matter, but simple shopping... I don't like that kind of stuff. "Well, bye."

     I grabbed my coat and went outside. The chilling winds seeped through my bones, making me freeze after just taking three steps. This was one of the down days of Terror Mountain. When the sun shone and the snow was soft, it was fun. But today... No. Something wet and cold hit my face just when I had finished thinking.

     I shuddered, and took the annoying item out of my face so I could actually see. I saw that it was a slip of paper with soft, messy handwriting on it. I knew that I couldn't read this outside, so I quickly returned home and slammed the door behind me.

     "Home so soon?" Aurora asked sarcastically.

     "Whatever," I said, trying to regain some dignity. Then I unfolded the piece of paper, and figured that it was probably a map. The messy handwriting that I had spied hadn't written much, just a title on the back of the map.

     But the title...

     "The Great Easter Treasure Hunt," I read out loud. I smiled; having half of an idea of what this was all about. I recalled a book that I had read to my pets, which was a funny story about how a kid got a map and searched his house for an Easter Treasure. This was probably something in line with that.

     "Great," Aurora said, entering my field of sight. I had been so excited and only now I had heard her coming. Even though she looked like her old, lazy, sarcastic self with those fins across the chest, a certain tail tattled that she was upset about something.

     "This looks like fun," I said, happy that something good had finally happened on this boring but unusual day. Even though my pets hadn't seemed to remember my birthday, a Treasure Hunt would definitely cheer me up. Excited, I retrieved a dryer and dried the map.

     The map was drawn with a pencil and shaded in several places. I supposed that this had to be a map of the neighborhood, but the figures looked a little bit weird for that.

     "So?" Aurora asked. "Lemme guess, you're going on that Hunt."

     "Yeah!" I said, about to do a pirate imitation when I remembered that I was neutral in the Pirates vs. Ninja issue.

     "I know, I know," my pet muttered sarcastically, "Yarr, matey! Let's go un treasure huntin'!"

     I smiled, turning the map upside-and-down, trying to figure out what this map featured. Aurora seemed to sense my excitement and patience, because she put her hand on the map when I turned it around for the fifth time.

     "It's a map of Neopia," she declared in that you-are-such-a-hopeless-case voice. "Look, those dots are the Ruins of Maraqua and that round thing in the corner is Kreludor. How hard is that to figure out?"

     I turned it the right side up, and looked at the map again. It didn't look somewhat near the map I was used to. The worlds were all distorted and the whole thing didn't have a decent scale. Then I put my finger on the X that was on the map, and I still couldn't figure out what it was.

     "It's Faerieland," my pet said in that voice again. She sighed and rolled her eyes.

     Faerieland! I grinned. This would be fun. But doing a Treasure Hunt alone wasn't so fun... And then I got a good idea. Grinning evilly, I grabbed Aurora with me and called on the Eyrie Taxi.

     While we were in the air, Aurora started whine and complain. At least this was something that I had expected, since she had used her annoying voices.

     "You can't just grab me and do whatever you want," she complained.

     "Well, what else am I supposed to do? You're the one capable of reading this map, not me. Would you like me to get lost and live two years on the other side of Neopia?" I glared at her.

     My pet fell silent. I felt a little bit guilty and hugged her near the end of the trip.

     "Well, it's kind of like the old days, isn't it?" I asked, "Only us two..."

     "Whatever," Aurora said, breaking free of my hug. My irritated pet got off the taxi before they had properly landed on the clouds of Faerieland. Obviously she was still a Blue Eyrie at heart, landing with such balance and grace despite the fact that her body was shaped completely different now.

     I got off the taxi the good old way and paid for our trip. Then I followed Aurora towards Faerie City. Even up here the winds were cold and powerful. I was thankful that I had brought my coat. Aurora didn't seem to mind the cold. Then again, she was an aquatic pet and probably used to it.

     Another cold, wet thing slapped my face as I tried to grasp it. It moved like a fluttering butterfly, flying everywhere the wind went. Annoyed, I took a big jump and managed to grab the piece of paper before I fell.

     I looked down and realized what I had done. There were no clouds below me, and that meant... With a cry and fear haunting my heart, I fell. The winds rushed, and everything blurred. I closed my eyes, praying that someone would help me.

     "Close one," a familiar voice said when I opened my eyes again. I wasn't falling anymore, and it seemed that I was gaining altitude instead. I looked up and saw a Halloween Shoyru.

     "Thank you, Melody," I said, trying to calm my heart.

     "No prob," she said, I could see that she was struggling. A little Shoyru carrying a heavy person like me... It was obvious that she wasn't going to last much longer. Then I looked up again, and noticed how close we were to Faerieland.

     I closed my eyes again, and wished that we would get up. Another few jerky movements, and then I felt cloud under my feet.

     "Thank you," I repeated, hugging the little pet. Then I stepped back and looked at the exhausted Shoyru. "By the way, why are you here? And where is Trizzt?"

     "Oh... Trizzt is playing Kacheek Seek with Lola. I was on my way to check something in the Library in Faerieland when I saw you falling." The Halloween Shoyru nodded. "Well, I've got to go."

     "Thanks again," I said and waved as Melody flew off to the library. Then I turned around and saw Aurora running towards me.

     As I had expected, my pet started lecturing me about the dangers of clouds in Faerieland and stuff like that. I rolled my eyes, imitating Aurora when she and Cristal were lectured by me.

     "And don't ever do that again!" she finished, looking at me.

     "Of course not," I said calmly as I unfolded the piece of paper, which I had been holding the whole time.

     Aurora's eyes grew wide when she looked at it.

     "The usual Treasure Hunt text and a X?" I muttered, trying to figure out what to do. Then I realized that perhaps... I told Aurora my idea, and she nodded approvingly.

     It worked! When I put the second paper on top of the first one, the X was right on top of Haunted Woods! Excited, I dragged my pet off to the Woods.

     This time, she didn't protest. In fact, she was quiet during the whole trip to Haunted Woods. I wondered if I had outwitted her this time.

     The annoying winds seemed to be everywhere in Neopia today. We entered the woods, and the first thing I saw was Edna's tower. I walked towards it, and but slipped on something fell flat on my face.

     "Ouch," I said, and turned around. I noticed that Aurora wasn't her usual, bubbly, argumentative self. She seemed to be worried, looking around like that.

     I sighed and helped myself up. That's when I decided that this stupid Easter Treasure Hunt wasn't worth the trouble.

     "I'm going home," I told Aurora, but she didn't seem to hear it. I repeated myself, and this time my pet actually paid attention. She turned around and glared at me fiercely, as if daring me to give up.

     "I give up," I said with the best laid-back voice I could manage. True, I was quite disappointed, but this stupid Hunt seemed to be a little bit too risky. I didn't want to break my leg just over some mysterious map, and I remembered that I still had to buy two Neggs for my pets.

     "Fine," Aurora said after several minutes. She seemed to be looking around for something, and I followed her view. And then I saw it. A little spot of something white was moving around.

     I was too tired to handle mysterious white spots and freaky maps that slapped my face. I had given up, and now I would go home. Grabbing Aurora, I called on the Eyrie Taxi again.

     We got home without any mishaps. I rubbed my poor knee, wondering if I should go to the doctor. Well, it didn't seem that bad, and I was sure that the doctor would appreciate a quiet Easter just like everyone else.

     I saw something lying on the table. It was drawn in that messy style, but this map was a lot better than the one that had hit my face earlier in the day. There were many X's, but a big, red X stood out. With a few calculations, I figured out that the red X was probably somewhere around my neighborhood.

     I didn't stop to wonder how and why this map had gotten onto the table. Instead, I quietly tip-toed to the hallway and saw Aurora taking a nap on the sofa. I decided not to wake her up and just try a final hunt by myself.

     I sighed, telling myself that I was really stupid. I guess that I wasn't about to give up, after all. It wasn't like me to give up just after a few bad occurrences. But... This was the last straw. If this red X didn't work, I would give up for real.

     I walked outside, expecting the chill winds. They came, but it was better now that the sun had started its daily trip across the sky. I reminded myself that I still haven't gotten around to buying Neggs and walked down the road.

     Hmm... It seemed to be somewhere around the Icy Caves. I walked towards the home of the Snowager and the Scratchcard Kiosk, wondering if this would result in a success. When I stood in front of the opening to the Icy Caves I realized something.

     I had been a fool. Fooling myself to think that someone would actually remember my birthday. No... Even the cave had been decorated in the colors of Easter, and flowers were stuck on the ground. I smiled as I walked inside, but I didn't even get to take ten steps before I fell.

     The stupid ice made me slip on my weak knee, and with a loud scream I slid down to Happy Valley. On the way, I saw a white, fluffy ball, exactly in the same color as the spot I had spotted before in Haunted Woods.

     "Get out of the way!" I managed to shout before fear overwhelmed me. But the poor little thing didn't even get a chance to get out of the way. I crashed right into it, and together we rolled down the mountain.

     I closed my eyes, squeezing the map hard and hoping that I wouldn't hit my head. Slowly I stopped, and sunk into the soft snow. Then I heard a snapping noise, the same made by a Lupe biting into a crunchy treat.

     I shuddered and tried to get up, but couldn't. I was right. I had probably broken my leg or injured my knee, since it hurt to move my left leg, which was the one I had fallen before.

     I grumbled, mad about these stupid incidents happening to me, and on my birthday! The white, fluffy thing turned out to be a Cybunny when I looked at it close-up.

     I sighed. Everything had gone wrong. The Great Easter Treasure Hunt hadn't been so great at all, and these stupid injuries... I knew that I should've listened to that little voice inside me that had told me not to make a last attempt. My brave, moronic self had taken the chance, and look at the result.

     And then I spied a basket. It was a white, beautiful basket filled to the brim with Neggs. This was just like in the story that I had read, and I reached out an arm to grab it.

     Feeling hopeful, I realized that perhaps this was the treasure that I had been hunting all day. Drawing the basket of Neggs closer to me, I felt some satisfaction in all of that mess.

     The Cybunny moved, and pain shot through my left leg. It was too much. And right then, right there, I let it all out.

     With tears dripping down my face from the pain, I took a sharp breath and started on the first word weakly.

     "Happy birthday to me," I sung.

      Happy birthday to me,

     Happy birthday to me,

     Happy birthday to Shadow,

     Happy birthday to me.

     Then I repeated the song, and this time I noticed that I was not the only one singing. I turned around and saw Aurora trying to get the Cybunny off me as she sang. And then I noticed that the Cybunny was my own pet, Cristal.

     My two pets looked at me with their adorable eyes, and all that anger I had bottled up the whole day immediately melted like butter in the Lost Desert. Aurora and Cristal each picked up a Negg from the basket, and handed the Neggs to me. The two Neggs that had disappeared from my kitchen cupboard!

     "Congratulations," they said in unison, "You have completed the Great Easter Treasure Hunt."

     "But more importantly," Aurora said. "It's your birthday... so..."

     "Happy birthday!" the words that I had yearned to hear so long echoed in the cold mountains as my pets helped me up. They had remembered! They hadn't forgotten like everyone else...

     Or was it everyone else? When we turned around the corner, I saw my friends. They moved aside, and a white table filled with presents and cake stood behind them.

     I smiled. The wish that I had held my heart had been granted. Tears rolled down my face, but this time it was not because of the pain in my leg.

     "Happy Easte-" they said, but stopped and grinned at me. "Just kidding! Happy birthday, Shadow." The Neggs had been a bonus; this was the true treasure.

The End

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