A Little Lutari's Birthday
The sun peeps through the paned window on the left side of the room, a ray slithers over and illuminates the little tufts of red hair peeping out of the iconic black and white Zen Bed that the family happily picked up at the Money Tree.
Those tufts of hair belong to Zoltan, the little Lutari. Today is his birthday. Zoltan rolls over and pulls his blanket over his face, blocking out all of the sun’s rays, but it is too late, he is already awake.
Downstairs, Mother is prepping breakfast. His favorite: Tigerbuggle Fruit Pancakes. She traveled all the way to Mystery Island last week to get the ingredients. Mother sighs, she can’t believe little Zoltan is three, these years have flown by so fast.
Zoltan jumps out of bed remembering it is his birthday! He’s finally three, there is so much to be done. He shakes his talisman for good luck and runs to get changed. He grabs his shoes and banters down the stairs.
Mother passes him his birthday present with a smile, “This is the first part of your gift, I hope you like it”. Zoltan looks at the gleaming yellow paper with a red ribbon perfectly tied around it, “What could it be” he thinks, he asked for a Gold Scooter, but certainly it could not fit into this box…
He tears open the side of the paper, trying to be gentle, and then without patience tears it apart to reveal the box inside. He flips it over and pops it open. Zoltan closes his eyes and puts his hand into the box, he feels the softest fabric, with a patch of embroidery on the front. He knows what it is, he cannot believe it! Now he is excited. He pulls out the fabric to reveal a Shenkuu Altador Cup Jersey!
He immediately throws it over top his shirt, Mother looks pleased. Shenkuu has been his favorite team for as long as he can remember. He had always wished Lutari island would participate in the games, but now he could not think of ever not supporting Shenkuu. It is all because of Xana DiLanche, she is the coolest Lutari around. He saw her practicing Yooyuball one day when he was younger, he had never seen someone so fierce yet smooth in their movements. Then watching the games, he noticed Ms. DiLanche was team Shenkuu. Of course, he had to support them, a Pink Lutari playing the greatest game ever, he was going to cheer her on forever. One day he wanted to be just like her, and be the greatest Yooyuball goalie Neopia had ever seen. He of course, still had a lot of practicing to do, and a number of birthdays to celebrate before he could reach those goals.
“Thank you, thank you, thank you! This is the greatest gift of all time!” Mother smiles a secret smile, knowing the day will only get better.
There is a knock at the door. “That must be Ryder and Ion, go get the door”, Mother says. Ryder and Ion are Zoltan’s best friends, He opens the door and they scream “Happy Birthday!” Zoltan hugs them both, they brought Balloons and a whole can of Fish Flavour Ice Cream. Ryder is wearing his glasses, which always slip off his face, and Ion is has her special blue hair bow in her green fur, which she always wears to celebrate.
“It is time to swim Zoltan, let’s climb the cliffs and jump into the water all day!”, this was their tradition, this is what they always did for fun, there would probably be some of their other school mates on the cliffs as well.
“Just be home for diner, PROMPTLY at 6.” Mother says sternly. “I have a special surprise.” Zoltan, Ryder and Ion all promise to be back then shuffle out the door to the cliffs.
“Just a little bit further” Ryder shouts down to Ion. She has never been the best climber and always slowed them down a bit, her little green head looked up towards them and then she continued climbing. Zoltan looks down from the top of the cliffs. He loves climbing, there is a steep rock that sticks out in the middle of the path that he always swings on with one paw, it’s one of his favorite tricks to show-off. He hopes Ion can keep up today, he wants to jump and climb many more times. He peers out over the river, and can see some of his other school friends splashing in the glistening waters below, everyone comes to the river this time of year, it is the best place to play all the coolest Lutari games. In the gleam of the sunlight he sees a flash of pink fur. Zoltan rubs his eyes and looks again but sees nothing.
“There aren’t many Pink Lutaris around the island, it must be another red like me” he thinks.
Finally, Ion reaches the top. “Took you long enough” Ryder teases.
“I may not climb as fast as you, but I can certainly swim better AND I have the best dive on this side of the island” Ion boasts with a smirk. “Let’s drop off our stuff and dive in!”
They hurry over to a thick layer of brown rocks that have been formed in a staircase fashion. This is where they always leave their items for safe keeping. They throw their bags on top of the pile of others and walk to the edge of the cliffs.
“Ready? On three. One.. Two…” Ion counts evenly even though she knows the boys will jump before it is time. “Thr—“
“TIMBER!” “COWABUNGA!” the boys shout in their signature fashion, jumping without Ion’s final cue. Ryder has the least graceful jump, it is more like a belly flop he falls straight from the cliff like a board, making the biggest impact into the cerulean waters below. That is how he likes it, a nice whopping splash to let everyone know he has arrived. Zoltan’s dive is simple and smooth, no splashing, just refreshing.
Ion sighs and prepares to dismount. It is her time to shine anyways, she might as well enjoy the moment before she has to climb again. As she dives she does three twists and one flip extending her legs at the end, showing off for the Lutaris below as she gracefully enters the water.
Their other school chums wish Zoltan the happiest of birthdays and challenge him to a swimming contest, which he readily accepts. This gaggle of Lutaris happily spends the afternoon splashing, swimming, climbing and diving, until the orange hue of the sun indicates it is time to return home.
At six o’clock sharp the three little Lutaris push open the front door to Zoltan’s Neohome. They can smell mole sauce of the wonderful meal Mother has created – Borovan Chicken YUM! They drop their bags on the floor, and make moves towards the dining room.
Then they see her…could it be? Sitting at the Simple Blue Table is Xana DiLanche! Zoltan stops in his tracks causing Ion and Ryder bump into his back. They all gasp in unison.
“Ms.. Ms.. Di-Di-Di-Dilanche?!!” Zoltan finally stutters.
“You can call me Xana” she replies “I hear it is a very special day! Happy Birthday Zoltan!”
Zoltan runs over and hugs Mother, he has no words for how amazing this is.
Mother laughs “Xana and I used to be friends, she’s younger than me but we used to play in the river together sometimes. I asked her to come for dinner, I certainly hope that is okay with you Zoltan”.
“Yes! Yes! Of course! Xana, I am your biggest fan. I hope to be just like you when I’m older! I want to be a goalie too!!” Zoltan cries. Ryder and Ion continue to stare in amazement.
Xana laughs “That’s wonderful to hear! Maybe we can play 2 x 2 Yooyuball after dinner. Mother can keep score!”
As they Lutaris eat their dinner, there is a steady chatter. Mother tells them about the good times her and Xana shared in the river. Xana tells them all about the games, and about Shenkuu. Ion confesses that she wants to be a professional diver, and Ryder mostly just stares in awe. After dinner, they eat some of the ice cream that Ion and Ryder brought over, and Xana signs Zoltan’s new Shenkuu jersey. Leaving a special note “To my future teammate, practice hard and all your dreams will come true, Your friend, Xana”.
They set up a game in the yard, Xana and Zoltan both playing goalie on opposite teams. They decided it should be girls vs. boys, so Ion got to play on Xana’s team. Xana shouted encouragements and tips to Zoltan all through their game. The Lutaris threw the yoouyuball and giggled until the sun slithered away and the stars started to beam. Finally, Ion and Rider said their goodbyes, thanked Mother for the meal and skipped away to their Neohomes. Xana left with a sigh, stating she had to be off as well but promised to come back for dinner again soon. She wished Zoltan a happy birthday again and whispered that she would send tickets for them to see the Altador Games when the season began.
Zoltan yawned, having had a day full of activity. He hugged Mother tightly and thanked her for making his birthday so special. Mother smiled as she tucked him into bed, kissing him goodnight before turning off the lights.
As the last ray of the moon shimmied through the window Zoltan rolled over sleepily “This was the best day ever”, then he drifted off to sleep dreaming of Yooyuballs and slushie sliders all the way until morning.