The Spending Spree
"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
"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Carl suddenly remembered that he'd withdrawn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!
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.
"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
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
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
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.