Phelix Gets the Scoop
Phelix wondered as she sat yet again in the principal's
office why everyone had such a great mistrust for the press. Okay, so there
was occasional reporter who went around writing slanderous and biased articles,
but she certainly wasn't that kind. Phelix prided herself on being the best
possible journalist she could be. She always followed her leads and never divulged
her sources, which was, for one reason or another, why she was sitting where
"I've told you, Phelix," said Principal Skedman,
a round looking blue Skeith with an odd mustache, "just because you have that
special pass doesn't mean you can just go barging into the teachers' lounge
whenever you feel like it." He seemed quite tired of saying this.
Phelix pushed in her chair and said, "I apologize
sir, won't happen again," and walked out of the office. She had indeed said
this many times. Phelix touched her shining badge bearing "The Piraket Press",
the name of the school's newspaper and feathered mascot. True, it acted as a
pass that allowed her to conduct interviews, but how dare the principal accuse
her of abusing it?
She grunted in annoyance as she walked down the
hall towards her class. How did they think she was supposed to get any good
information if they kept punishing her every time she followed a lead? Phelix
often wished she had graduated and was working at the Neopian Times. They certainly
didn't have any boundaries.
She opened the door labeled Neopian History and
walked in. A bunch of round eyes looked up at her, a gangly yellow Pteri with
short spiky hair that fell over her round framed glasses. There was a pencil
behind her ear, like always, and a Shimmery Notebook hooked around her belt
The teacher, Mrs. Allden, sneered at her with
round Yurble eyes and looked even redder than usual. She was wearing one of
her assorted hand stitched vests, complete with cheesy "T is for Teacher" patches
and lots of shiny red apples. Mrs. Allden despised being disrupted, and from
what Phelix could tell, she was in the middle of drawing the entire Meridell
Royal Family tree on the chalk board.
"Thank you for joining us, Phelix," she said
with a smirk. The class snickered and Phelix gave them a look that said "shove
it" and sat down.
Tuning out the annoying drone that was Mrs. Allden's
voice, Phelix opened her small notepad and flipped through the pages. The only
leads she had were hardly unusual or exciting. She read over them with a heaving
sigh: "School Band goes to Conference", "New Math teacher shows Multiplication
Tables", and "Musical Theatre paints set for upcoming production of Robin Lupe".
The last bell of the day rang, followed by the
sound of shuffling of books. "And that was why King Skarl ordered so many melons!"
shouted Mrs. Allden over the noise, as if anyone was really listening anyways.
"And remember, Percival the Piraket is coming back for the school's game of
The students definitely heard this, and they
chatted excitedly about it down the hall. For some reason Phelix could never
quite understand, everybody was crazy about that stupid bird. The girls all
cooed over its pretty feathers and the boys hooted over its spiral flying maneuvers.
So basically she knew what her story would be
for this week's deadline before she even walked into the Newspaper room after
"Sup Dan," she said to the scruffy looking brown
Lupe who was shuffling papers in a corner. He turned around and grinned. "Phelix,
I heard you had another run-in with Skedman." He ran a paw through what remained
of his once long hair. "Watch out kid; every time you do something bad in the
name of this Newspaper, I get in trouble too."
He continued thumbing through papers as other
pets slowly filed in.
There were several girls whom Phelix was certain
had only joined Newspaper to admire their advisor, Dan Gruno. This assumption
was mostly based on the stories they handed in to the editor with titles such
as "Sparkly Erasers" and "The Do's and Don'ts of Lip stick".
Mr. Gruno or Dan as he insisted his Newspaper
students call him ("I'm Mr. Gruno when I'm teaching English class, in Newspaper
I'm only offering advice as a fellow staff member") was good looking in a grungy
type of way. Despite his khakis and collared shirts that he wore upon the insistence
of the principal, he still looking like he'd much rather be at a Stop-Buttering-the-Breadfish-type
The title of editor-in-chief of the Piraket Press
was held by Leigh, an often scary shadow Eyrie. Judging by her narrowed eyes
and balled fists, Phelix could tell she was in what the Newspaper staff had
deemed "Volcano Mode".
"For the tenth time guys, all articles are to
be in my hand by Thursday. Hear that, Richie?" A small green Wocky shrank in
his seat under her penetrating stare. "That's Thursday, NOT first thing on Friday.
Melinda," she shot at a pink Kau who had her hoof raised, "I really don't care
that you have to watch your brother Wednesday night." Melinda lowered her hand
embarrassedly. "If deadlines were flexible, they wouldn't have the word DEAD
And with that she huffed off, reminding Phelix
yet again why she did not want the job of editor.
Dan motioned towards her from his corner of the
room while the rest of the staff was brainstorming on story ideas for the upcoming
"I suppose you know what story I'm going to assign
you?" he asked.
"Percival the Piraket," she replied exasperatedly.
Dan put a paw on her shoulder. "C'mon, it's a
big deal. Front page and everything."
Phelix nodded and rolled her eyes. Front page
was nice, but it was a boring story. There was no controversy whatsoever.
"Mrs. Allden's in charge this year. If you hurry
up I'll bet you can still catch her."
Phelix nodded and headed off. So now she got
to interview Mrs. Allden. Things just kept getting better.
She knocked on the door and entered at the same
time. She had never been one for formalities.
Mrs. Allden eyed her skeptically from behind
"Hello, Phelix. To what do I owe the pleasure?"
"Er- I just have to ask you some questions for
the school paper."
Phelix was tempted to snap back with "Why on
earth you feel the need to need to be a pompous windbag!" but she refrained.
"The arrival of Percival the Piraket."
Mrs. Allden stood up with a very fake looking
smile. "Ah yes, of course. Ask away."
Phelix proceeded to ask her all of the usual
questions of how old Percival was, what his favorite food was, where he was
born, etc. Then suddenly, a truly glorious question came to her.
"Where does Percival stay when he's not at the
The red Yurble paused for a moment, her eyebrows
"I don't think I'm at the liberty to discuss."
Phelix grinned. Now they were getting somewhere.
"I just need a name, Ma'am. The students are
all so curious about where Percival spends his time."
Mrs. Allden scratched her chin.
At last she said, "Well, I suppose he stays at
a place called -er- Pippy's Petpet Emporium, yeah, that's it. It's a lovely
place really. He's free to fly around as he pleases."
Phelix scribbled in her notebook, thanked Mrs.
Allden and was off. Dashing back to the Newspaper room, she asked if anyone
had heard of the place. A yellow Kau with lots of freckles told her that Pippy's
Petpet Emporum was located on 27311 Neopia Central, only a few streets away.
She was sweaty and panting as she entered the
shop, having run all the way there from school.
"Hello," said Phelix to a pimply red Lenny checking
prices. "I was wondering if you could tell me about your Piraket housing facility?"
"Piraket housing?" He looked at her as if she
were crazy. "The closest thing we've got to that is a Blue Feather Toy."
Phelix was stunned. "So you don't actually carry
"No, I don't reckon one's ever been inside the
She thanked him and left the store. At last she
had her controversy. But why would Mrs. Allden lie?
Now a normal student would've just given up,
quoted her teacher, and ignored that the facts didn't match up. But Phelix was
a journalist, and in her mind there were no boundaries that should go uncrossed,
even if it involved calling Mrs. Allden a liar.
"Mrs. Allden! Excuse me!" she shouted, waving
her arms, as she caught up with the red Yurble just as she was walking out the
neoschool doors. Phelix was beginning to think that after all this running she'd
make a good candidate for the track team.
Mrs. Allden started walking faster.
Phelix sprinted up to her so that she was matching
her teacher's unusually swift stride.
"Oh. Phelix, hello." she said, sounding very
unhappy to see her, "I…uh…didn't even see you there. Is there something else
you need to ask me?"
"Actually there is," said Phelix, fixing a distrustful
gaze on her teacher, "Pippy's Petpet Emporium didn't quite check out. What're
"I beg your pardon, young lady!" huffed Mrs.
"I'm just curious why you would go to the trouble
"You're asking for privileged information! I
don't have to stand here and have my morals questioned by a teenage reporter!"
She started to walk away heatedly when Phelix
spoke in a sad, defeated tone.
"Okay then, I guess we can just print that the
school couldn't care less about where Percival stays. The students probably
wont be too happy, but oh well. Thanks anyways, Mrs. Allden." She turned and
walked away slowly with a smirk spread across her face.
Phelix turned back.
"It's a shop called the Dingaling Brothers'
Circus." Mrs. Allden spoke in a low whisper, her eyes darting around warily.
"Behind the marketplace. That's strictly off the record."
Phelix nodded and scribbled the stupidly named
circus in her notebook before running all the way to the Marketplace.
She arrived at shop decorated with a large wind
tattered tent with gaping holes in its white and red striped fabric. The grass
around it was trampled and brown. On the whole, the area felt empty, as if it
were devoid of any life at all.
This was where the great Percival the Piraket
She lifted the tent flap and ducked behind a
stack of crates.
The shopkeepers, two scruffy looking blue Techos,
were laughing hoarsely and poking at a bright mass of colors. A pained "Squawk!"
sounded and feathers flew.
It was Percival!
The Techos roared with laughter. "Look at him
fly!" one shouted.
Phelix watched with repulsion. Yet she knew
this was a once in a lifetime story, the kind reporters dream about stumbling
on. She quickly pulled out her pad of paper and recorded everything she saw.
Principal Skedman looked shocked to see her waiting
in his office first thing the next morning. "What-?"
But before he could finish Phelix thrust her
notebook on the desk.
"I know about Percival," she said somberly.
"But how did-?"
"That's not important," she interjected, "but
I hoped you could give me some kind of an explanation before this story went
Skedman flipped through the details of the school's
mascot being abused at a second rate shop. His lower lip looked tight beneath
his moustache and he ran two large claws over his face.
"I suppose it's only a matter of time before
the public finds out about this anyways?"
Phelix looked at him warily.
He sighed and then spoke very slowly and quietly.
"Well, as I'm sure you know, the neoschool has had to make several large budget
cuts this year."
"What's that have to do with Percival?"
"Well, you see, the school couldn't…we couldn't
afford to keep a Piraket. We had to borrow one."
Phelix nodded. "The Dingaling circus loaned
"Yes. For a little bit of money we could have
Percival for sporting events and such." He buried his head in his claws. "The
school's reputation is going to be ruined. Can you imagine what our students'
owners will think? No one will want to send their pet somewhere that can't even
afford a mascot and all the pets will be disgusted at how we let their beloved
Percival go on being treated like this."
Phelix looked thoughtful for a moment and then
said, "Principal Skedman, as ruinous as the press can be, there are times when
it can be your greatest ally."
The story that printed on the front page of
the Piraket Press that week was read by nearly every student in the school.
A picture depicting the petpets abuse stared up at thre readers. The caption
School Mascot Percival the Piraket faces
abuse like this every day from his owners at the aptly named 'Dingaling Circus'.
Principal Skedman hopes to raise enough money so that the school can give Percival
the home he deserves.
The story went on to talk about the Piraket's
troubled life, and just how students could help.
Phelix walked into the Newspaper room that afternoon
to thunderous applause. An unusually authentic smile graced Leigh's face. Dan
clapped her hard on the back.
"I heard someone just sent in 50 thousand neopoints
"They should have enough in no time!" she exclaimed,
her face bright and glowing.
He smiled back. "I'm really proud of you, Phelix."
"Aw shucks, Dan, I think I'm blushing."
"Seriously! You really took the high road. You
could've easily printed whatever was the most controversial without caring about
who it affected. But instead you decided to help out someone else."
The Pteri shrugged, grinning casually. "I'm
just trying to be a good journalist."