It was a warm, spring day, the kind any NeoPet would love, but Carli walked
to the marketplace with a heavy heart. She trudged along the back road that
bordered her owner's property, hardly looking up, staring at the dirt. She heard
the birds chirping, and knew that Unis and Scorchios were happily flying above
her, but she didn't take part in their partying.
Carli glanced up as she heard the sound of bicycle tires crunching the leaves
on the ground. It was her best friend, Eti the Aisha, surely coming to try and
cheer her up.
"Hi, Gelert!" said Eti, who had taken to calling all pets by their species,
not their name.
"Hi, Eti," she said glumly, readjusting the big sack she carried on her back.
"Hey, what's wrong?" he asked, pedaling slowly to keep up with her.
"Look!" she shouted suddenly, scaring some Pteris off a nearby tree. "Look
around you! It's a beautiful, wonderful spring day!"
"Yes, I suppose so."
"It's the kind of day where I'd love to be out playing. But noooo, instead
Saum HAD to make me go watch the shop!"
"Oh. Sorry, that's pretty bad for you. Did you ask if you could have the day
"Yes! But she said I need to learn some business sense."
"Oh...sorry. Well, I hope you have fun!"
"Yeah, whatever," she said, watching him bike off. She kept walking, staring
at the ground, imagining all the fun he was going to have today. He'd play in
the fields, or get to shop around for some great deals...while she was stuck
in a corner of the marketplace with Saum's little size-10 shop, getting no customers
and growing more bored by the hour.
For a moment, she wanted to just chuck all the items down a ditch and run for
it, catch up with Eti, and have a fun day, but she knew Saum would find out
one way or another that she'd ditched, and she'd be in trouble. This just depressed
She could see the marketplace coming up, and broke into a run. The best time
of day to sell her items was right at the beginning of the day, since her shop
was in a corner but close to the entrance. She just had to get there before
the crowd of people at the gates looked at her shop and thought it was closed!
She joined the crowd just as the Chia in charge opened the gates. Pushing and
shoving her way through, trying to keep everyone away from her big bag, she
finally ended up right in front of the little shack Saum called "the shop".
It was green, of all things, and the paint was beginning to fade. The sign
was hanging down and you could see that the sign behind it, from the previous
owner, still there. The front of the mushroom-like building (which was just
like every other shop in the marketplace; leave Saum to be creative, she thought)
opened up to show a counter, where she sat, and the items stacked behind her.
That was the way all shops, size 20 and under, worked; once you got to size
21 or bigger, people could actually walk in your shops.
She opened the front of the shop and hopped onto the counter, then opened her
bag. It contained all of the items that Saum wanted her to sell that day as
well as a little note; she put the items in their little cubbyholes first. Some
cheap items from the Tombola she'd never sell; two Battledome items; one paintbrush;
some food; and a hat were added to the items already there. Then she got behind
the counter and read the note, which was attached to a heavy envelope.
"Carli," it said, "I've realised that the shop is far too dirty to really make
any profit. I'm enclosing 5,000 NP. Keep the shop open for one hour, sell what
you can, then close it and go wild - decorate the shop nicely and make it amazing!
With any NP left over, treat yourself and then upgrade the shop to size 15,
or however high you can make it. Sell for the rest of the day, and please bring
home all profits to me."
She stared at the note, amazed. Saum, actually trying to make something look
good instead of not caring? Saum, saying "treat yourself"? Had she been replaced
by a nicer clone?!
She decided not to question her luck, but set the note and the 5,000 NP behind
the counter, next to the till. She straightened up the items a little and started
yelling - "GET YOUR CHEAP TOMBOLA PRIZES HERE!" - to customers.
After an hour, Carli had made a grand total of 100 NP in profits. Sighing and
happy it was over with, she grabbed the 5,000 NP, jumped over the counter and
closed the mushroom.
Now to find some things to decorate the shop. She needed a sign-maker, purple
paint (much nicer than green), and to find a faerie to help relocate the shop
in a better position. And some little statues to decorate the place couldn't
hurt, either. Why not hire a professional to yell and attract people to the
Her mind going wild, she set out for the first task, the sign-maker. She found
someone who would do it for 500 NP and went back with him to tear down both
old signs. Leaving him to his work, she then located two Chias who were down
on their luck and got them to repaint the shop a nice shade of purple with pink
spots for just 200 NP!
She couldn't believe her luck - the Garden Shop was having a sale of lots of
statues, intended for NeoHome decoration, that would look just fine in her own
shop. When all of the elements - the sign, the paint, the statues and a walkway
she also found at the Garden Shop - were combined, her shop looked better than
most of the size 200s on the market!
Her shop had certainly attracted a crowd. Humans and NeoPets gathered around,
staring at it and wondering when it would open and what items it would have.
She realised that the items it did have would be a disappointment and hurried
off to buy better items with the NP she had left.
When the shop was stocked, the walls painted, and the statues placed creatively
around the walkway, and everything was finished, she had 1,000 NP left. She
treated herself to an Easter Negg and a chocolate sundae before finally settling
in the newly renovated shop. When the doors were flung open at 12:00 NST, her
shop contained the trendiest items at the lowest prices, and people flocked
She was at first kept busy constantly haggling and re-pricing and greeting,
but as her items dwindled down, she had less customers and more time to talk.
She met an eager Korbat who was working on his first novel and wanted to try
the plot out on someone (she loved it); an old Kau buying a present for her
granddaughter; two giggling Gelerts; and many, many more. She had learnt many
more life stories in one afternoon than she had previously known in her whole
She almost didn't want to leave at 5 o'clock, but she knew Saum would be worried.
So she reluctantly took the thousands of NP from her till, packed up her shop,
put a "Back Tomorrow!" sign in front, and began to run home.
Now she was smiling, laughing, and skipping along, listening to the Pteris
chirping and the people taking walks with their pets. Just as before, she suddenly
heard the crackle of bike wheels on the leaves, and turned to see Eti.
He was wheeling his bicycle, instead of riding it, and was walking very gingerly.
He was normally blue, but his fur seemed almost...reddish. He kept his
eyes squeezed closed except for a little slit, and barely moved his mouth enough
to say, "Hello, Carli."
"Uh, hi, Eti," she said. "What's wrong with you?"
He paused, grimaced a bit, and said, "I went down to the beach at Mystery Island
this morning and decided to see if Aishas can tan. I fell asleep in the chair,
and when I woke up, I was sunburned!"
Carli just started laughing and laughing. "I guess what seems like play isn't
always fun," she said, "and what seems like work isn't always bad!"