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The Spending Spree

by nut862


"Carl, this is the money we're going to buy food with," said the red Jetsam as he handed some coins to his brother. "Don't spend it!"

     The blue Kiko looked down at the shiny pieces: 2,000 Neopoints in all. He nodded, smiling.

     "I'm serious," Allen said. 'I spent all day getting those. I don't want them spent on some useless trinket!"

     Carl sighed. He had a reputation for nor being able to hold onto money for long. The brothers were broke, and their undersea cave that they called home was crammed with unused items that Carl had bought on impulse.

     "I'll go straight to the Food Shop!" Carl promised, turning and swimming rapidly to the surface.

     Allen shook his head as he watched his brother go. I hope this time he keeps his promise.

     Carl did keep his promise by going directly to the Food Shop, but it was sold out. Wondering what to do while he waited for the restock, the blue Kiko bounced into the Bazaar to do some window-shopping.

     A red Nimmo Plushie in the Toy Shop window caught his eye. When he saw that there was only one in stock, he bought it immediately. He still had enough NP to buy food.

     But then he saw a Snowglobe go on sale, and he had to buy that, too. Before Carl knew what was happening, he had an armful of toys and no Neopoints. And no food.

     Carl groaned. What was he going to tell Allen? He hurried to the Tyrannian Plateau to grab some free omelette instead.

     But the omelette was all gone. Carl attempted to win some Desert Food at the Fruit Machine, but it was not a winning spin.

     "Well, it's the Soup Kitchen again for us tonight," Carl said aloud, "unless we tap into our savings."

     Carl hurried to the Bank, recalling that Allen had deposited 4,000 NP in it two days ago.

     "I'm sorry," the bank manager said. "Your account has 0 NP in it."

     Carl suddenly remembered that he'd withdrawn the 4,000 NP to buy a Bottled Dark Faerie two days ago. The faerie had promptly flown away on being released, as Carl's Level was only 1.

     The blue Kiko sighed as he trudged home, carefully balancing the mound of toys in his small fins.

     "Wouldn't it be great to have all the Neopoints we could ever need?" Carl said to no one in particular. "If we had a million NP, we'd be all set. We could eat real food instead of soup every day." Not to be ungrateful to the Soup Faerie, but Carl was getting tired of finding lumps of dung in his soup. "If we had a million NP, I could get painted Rainbow, and get an Oscillabot, and-"

     Suddenly, Carl tripped over something hard, spilling his toys all over the street. Carl hastily gathered them up, and then looked back at the object he'd tripped over.

     It was a large sack, bulging suspiciously with what looked like coins. Carl set his toys down and looked inside. It was full of coins-10, 000-Neopoint coins! Carl sat down to count them right there in the street. There were three hundred coins in the bag!

     Carl couldn't believe it. He'd never heard of a random event with a sum as high as this. At first he thought it was a trick, and half expected the bag to disappear before his eyes.

     But it was real. He had three million NP in his grasp-triple what he'd been wishing for!

     "That's a million for me, a million for Allen, and a million extra," Carl said, dizzy with the reality of the amount. Quickly tying the mouth of the bag closed, he raced off at top speed with the sack under his fin. His toys lay forgotten on the street.

     Carl reached the sea in no time, and dove underwater. He swam rapidly on in search of his older brother. Carl clutched the heavy bag of coins lest it fall and become buried treasure in the sea floor.

     Carl found the red Jetsam poking around the sandy ocean floor, looking for lost valuables. Breathless and struggling to move forward with the waterlogged bag of coins weighing him down, Carl screeched, "Allen! We're rich!"

     Allen looked up. "We're what?"

     "Rich!" Carl gasped, setting the bag down on a rock. Panting, he told Allen how he'd found the sack and what it contained.

     "I'm going to paint myself Rainbow," Carl said excitedly. "What color do you want to be? Just name it-we can afford it now!"

     "I want to spend this money wisely," Allen said. "First, we need to buy food."

     "Gourmet chocolate, coming up!" Carl sang.

     "No! Not gourmet chocolate!" Allen said. "Careful, Carl. Three million NP isn't as much as it looks like. You'll spend it all in no time if you don't watch out!"

     "Oh, come on," Carl said. "We can indulge a little. We're rich!"

     "Well, at least leave two million in the bank, and just spend the one million on things we really want," Allen said.

     The next morning, Carl returned to the surface, intending to carry out this plan. But he never got a chance to get to the Bank. When he saw the Trading Post, with 3,000,000 NP in his pocket, he couldn't resist.

     He bid on a Rainbow Paint Brush. He bid on an Oscillabot. He bid on a set of Secret Lab Maps. He bid on a collection of Codestones, even though neither he nor Allen battled. He even bid on an Earth Faerie Mushroom, just for the pure fun of it. Within ten minutes, he had bid away all three million Neopoints.

     Nobody had accepted Carl's bids yet, so he turned to leave, thinking of the luxuries he and Allen would enjoy when the items were delivered-when, again, he tripped over something. Not a bag of Neopoints this time, though, for he had tripped over an Acara's outstretched paw.

     "Ow!" she said softly. The Acara was scrunched up against the back of an empty stall in the Trading Post.

     "I'm sorry," Carl apologized quickly, He was going to add that he might not have tripped over her if she hadn't had her leg stretched out in his path, when she turned towards him and he saw that her face was wet with tears.

     "Hey," Carl said awkwardly. "I-I didn't hurt you, did I? Is-is your leg okay?"

     The Acara looked embarrassed to be seen crying. She brushed her tears away and mumbled, "You didn't hurt me. I'm crying because I'm so careless."

     "That's not much to cry about," Carl said.

     "Yes, it is!" the Acara wailed. "It's all my fault that my sister won't be able to be painted Maraquan now-all because I dropped my bag of Neopoints on my way to the Trading Post yesterday!" The Acara's eyes filled with tears. "We worked so hard for three years to save up enough to buy a Maraquan Paint Brush for her. My little sister always wanted to be able to swim, but she's a Korbat. We finally saved up three million Neopoints-and I lost them all! I searched and searched, but they're gone. Now we'll have to start all over. My little sister will be so disappointed. We worked so hard-all for nothing!"

     The Acara burst into fresh tears. She was sobbing so hard that she didn't notice how pale Carl had suddenly become. By the time she looked up again, he was gone.

     Carl bounced over to a nearby stall and sat there, his thoughts whirling. H could buy everything he'd always wanted with this money-in fact, he had already bid it all away. But he hadn't earned those three million Neopoints. He'd just taken them because he could. He didn't really have any practical use for the money. But weren't finders keepers? He'd found it, so it was his money now, wasn't it? The Acara would certainly never know that it was he who's taken it.

     Then Carl thought of the deep blue sea, full of wonders and treasures beyond what was on the surface world. He thought of swimming in the cool water, and exploring among the coral and seaweed. What would he do if he couldn't swim?

     Carl knew what he had to do. The blue Kiko rushed around the Trading Post even faster than he'd rushed when he first found the bag of Neopoints. Canceling his bids-Cancel! Cancel! Cancel!

     In five minutes flat, all three million NPs were back in the sack. Carl hurried back to the place where he'd left the Acara. She was still there, crying even more.

     Carl set the bag of Neopoints down in front of her. "Here. They're yours."

     The Acara blinked, trying to see through her tears. She gasped and tore open the bag. Seeing the coins inside, her expression changed to pure joy.

     "You brought them back! Oh, thank you, thank you, thank you!" she cried, clutching the sack. "Now my sister can be Maraquan after all!"

     Carl grinned. He felt terrific as he watched the Acara run off to the nearest Maraquan Paint Brush seller. Seeing her happiness was better than anything he could've bought for himself.

     Carl returned home, and he and Allen returned to their old routine-only now Carl rushes to the Bank every day with their earnings instead of the shops. They could save up their own fortune in time, but for now, Carl was content to look off through the water on a clear day and see the dim outline of a Maraquan Korbat and an Acara swimming together in the distance.

The End

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