A Job Well Done
I stood in front of the giant steps, nervously folding and unfolding the pink piece of paper in my hand. The building in front of me was a giant behemoth of arches and marble and gold. The Faerieland Employment Agency. I was finally here, and there was no turning back now.
For a moment, I paused and reflected on the moment that had brought me here.
My owner Anna burst through the door, brandishing a piece of pink paper. Her face had the expression of somebody who had just won the lottery.
"Chili, look what I found! It's a job coupon! You have to go do a job right away, you'll get so many Neopoints!" Her face was pink with excitement.
"Great... What's a job coupon? And what's a job?" I asked, confused.
Anna's face fell in disbelief. "You don't know?" she asked. I shook my head.
It was then that she proceeded to tell me all about the Faerieland Employment Agency. You could go to the giant building in Faerieland and bring special coupons of all colors – red, blue, green, silver, purple and more. Each coupon offered better jobs with better rewards based on what color it was. There was a time limit. And, according to Anna, a huge profit to be made.
And so now here I was, alone on the steps, ready to try and complete my first job. Anna was hanging back, waving at me encouragingly as I looked behind at her with a fearful expression on my face.
"You've got this, sweetie!" she yelled to me. I saw her turn away and disappear into the crowd.
With a gulp, I steeled myself and marched up the steps. When I reached the top, I opened the giant doors and entered the lobby.
It was complete chaos inside. Neopets were running about everywhere carrying large stacks of items. One Neopet took an unfortunate fall and dropped some potions everywhere, and nobody gave him a second glance. A haggard-looking Mynci was begging to a faerie behind a counter, wailing "Please give me more time!"
I stood dead still amidst the confusion, not sure what to do next. After a moment, I noticed a pretty faerie sitting behind a desk, looking remarkably calm compared to the chaos around her.
I approached her cautiously. "Um, hello," I began softly. "I have this pink job coupon. Can you tell me what to do?"
The pretty faerie took my paper, inspected it for a moment, and then smiled at me. Her eyes were a pretty shade of green, like the leaves on the Money Tree.
"Well, lucky for you," she began, "you have a pink job coupon! These are very rare, one of the hardest to find." She had a twinkle in her eye. "I can give you a very good job. Just give me a moment, dear."
I waited patiently, my unease fading. The fear I had experienced previously started to melt away. Instead, I felt excited. I let my mind wander and imagined what type of jobs I'd be able to do.
"Ok, I've got something for you!" The pretty faerie's voice brought me back to reality. "I need you to find four Clawmatoes. Bring them back to me in 45 minutes and I will reward you with 13,000 Neopoints! Here's a copy of your assignment," she added, giving me a small piece of paper.
I took the paper in a daze. What in the world was a clawmatoe? And where did I find one?
My face must have shown some confusion, because the faerie leaned in and quietly whispered to me, "Try the Haunted Foods store in the Haunted Woods. They should have some there." She then gave me a wink and yelled, "Next!"
I met up with Anna after rushing straight to the petpet store, where I knew she would be. She was cuddling a fluffy-looking cloud in her arms when she saw me.
"Oh hi! So what did she say? What's your assignment?" she asked eagerly, putting the petpet down.
"I have 45 minutes to get four of these things," I said, handing her the list.
Anna scanned the list, and her eyes lit up with excitement. "Oh, these are so easy to find, and so cheap! This will be so profitable. Let's go to the Haunted Woods right away!"
She grabbed my hand and tugged me towards the pathway to the Haunted Woods. The pathway was dark and rugged and spooky, with a low fog hovered around our ankles. I instinctively walked closer to Anna, scared.
We were at the shop in no time. It was little more than an old, rickety shack. It looked like somebody had tried to spruce it up with yellow and orange paint, which had started to peel. The last thing I wanted to do was go inside that shack, but Anna eagerly pushed me inside.
The inside was even creepier. The strangest foods I've ever seen were all lined up on shelves. There were tongues, popsicles dripping in slime, gummy-looking rats of different colors, eyeballs, and more. None of it looked edible to me.
"There we are! Clawmatoes," Anna suddenly exclaimed. I looked over and recoiled. I saw her holding two strange-looking fruits in each hand. They were green and streaked with bright red.
She jumped over to the shopkeeper. He was a friendly looking Halloween Bruce with mischievous eyes, and wore a beautiful black cloak. He gave us a smile. Despite his friendly demeanor, I didn't trust him. I didn't trust any Neopet in this spooky land.
"Hi, we will take four of these please!" Anna said, handing over 2,500 Neopoints.
The Bruce scooped the Neopoints up and smirked. "Having a party?" he asked, handing them fruits back to her.
"No, but we will be once we turn these in!" Anna responded jubilantly, putting them in her purse. "Come on, Chili. Let's go! We have fifteen minutes left!"
We were starting back down along the path, running this time instead of walking at a leisurely pace. Before long, the eeriness of the Haunted Woods faded away, and the welcoming glow of Faerieland was in our midst.
We raced up to the Employment Agency and ran back to the nice faerie with the pretty green eyes.
"Hi, we have the items!" I gasped, out of breath. I handed her my receipt along with the strange fruit.
The faerie took the items and smiled widely. "Congratulations on completing your first job!" she exclaimed warmly, shaking my hand. "Here are your rewards!"
She handed over the Neopoints, along with a small bonus for it being my first job. I gave Anna a huge hug and we jumped around in glee. A few jealous Neopets that hadn't finished in time looked at us, their faces narrowed in envy.
Anna and I walked out of the building hand in hand with big smiles on our faces, already talking about what we would use our winnings for.
Then, the strangest thing happened. Right outside the steps, we saw another coupon on the ground. This one was purple. We picked it up and looked around, but nobody was trying to retrieve it.
I looked at Anna. She looked at me. Our faces broke into huge grins.
"You thinking what I'm thinking?" I asked mischievously.
"You know it!" Anna countered.
We rushed back into the agency to start the process all over again. Only this time, I was more excited than a Lupe with a Lupe treat.