Invisible Paint Brushes rock Circulation: 171,601,943 Issue: 397 | 19th day of Relaxing, Y11
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When the Wheel Went Wayward


by omigodericaa

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Any Gnorbu is delighted to spin the Wheel of Excitement--especially Mira, who spun the wheel every day without fail. Sometimes twice a day. Mira's luck wasn't always so great, but taking a lightning bolt or two or even catching the Sneezles couldn't break her spirit to spin that wheel every time. And in the third week of Hunting, Mira woke up extra early to make her trip to Faerieland.

     "Because today is definitely my lucky day," she said.

     As she approached the cloud, she noticed that something was amiss. She had her Neopoints at the ready, she came prepared with a Magic Cookie just in case she walked away with the Sneezles. "So if it's not me...."

     The Wheel. The Wheel of Excitement had been unhinged and hauled away! Mira had never seen a Faerie cry before--and now she saw at least a dozen, gathered at the Healing Springs weeping. Jhudora sat watching, arms crossed.

     "Ya know," Jhudora sneered. "It's really not my fault this time. I hate being blamed for this kind of thing--sisters, I only want magical artifacts of ULTIMATE POWER--hey! You, red Gnorbu--want to go on a quest for me?"

     Mira winced. "Uh, not particularly. I came to spin the Wheel. What happened here?"

     Jhudora gently walked up to Mira. "Last night, while we slept--well, I don't sleep, of course--the Wheel of Excitement was stolen and there hasn't been a single clue we can follow. Who steals a giant wheel?"

     Mira knew that if no one helped the Faeries find the Wheel, it would really be lost forever. That meant unemployed Faeries--Faeries themselves taking jobs and the Faerieland Employment Agency. And where would they get a Job Coupon?!

     Seeing the sadness, even in Jhudora's eyes for her sisters, Mira took to her second favorite pastime: a round of Gormball. It was more like three or four rounds, and Mira was drenched. Strangely, everyone on the Recreation Deck seemed to have some kind of virus--all the visitors were getting sick, walking funny or sprawled out on the floor.

     Drying off at Grundos Cafe with a helping of Sloth Surprise, Mira heard the talk of the missing Wheel at the table behind her. It seems the news had reached everyone.

     "I go every day," one Grundo said, sighing. "Plus those Faeries--they love visitors. It's really a shame."

     Another Grundo added, "I have this one friend who actually spins it every two hours! I don't know what he's been doing lately, probably just sitting beside the Wheel of Mediocrity. And that's not exciting... at all."

     It really sank in that her beloved Wheel was gone, and not only hers--so many Neopets loved to take a spin. Mira couldn't bear to visit the Wheel of Mediocrity every day like the Grundo's friend. And the Wheel of Monotony, well, that was just time-consuming. The Wheel of Misfortune did nothing but spook Mira. There was only one solution: Get that Wheel back.

     A dizzy Grundo entered the cafe, barely able to hold his spoon steady against his Metal Ice Cream Sundae. Mira laughed at his struggle. Frustrated, the Grundo looked up: "Oh yeah? It may look funny but the new ride Sloth's just built scrambles your BRAIN! It's called the Scary-Go-Round and after you're on it just once, you'll be avoiding all wheels at all costs! I can't wait to go again!"

     Mira asked the Grundo, "Tell me, since when has Sloth opened this ride? I've never heard of a Scary-Go-Round."

     The Grundo scratched his head (missing on the first try). "I'd say about noon. Today. The first ones in line got a free Vegetable Deluxe... but no one's exactly stayed down during the ride. What did you say your name was?"

     "I'm Mira," she said, eager at the new information.

     "Travis, it's a pleasure," returned the wobbling Grundo.

     "Travis, did you hear about the Wheel of Excitement mysteriously disappearing?" Mira inched closer.

     "Yeah, I mean--really tragic and all, but they say it was Jhudora getting jealous. Or something like that. She probably hid it under her cloak or something," he chuckled.

     "No, no... I think Jhudora's clean, Travis. I suspect foul play. Someone jealous of all of the Faerie's attention, maybe Doctor Sloth?"

     Travis spit out his sundae and replied, "Sloth's here! Yeah! He got permission from the VSSREDC to be here promoting his ride."

     "VSSREDC? That's a mouthful," Mira said.

     "Virtupets Space Station Real Estate Developers Committee. They thought it would bring in some new visitors, good tourism. That's the only reason why he's here--and the Fuzzles that are working the new ride, too."

     Suspicious of the new Scary-Go-Round and, Sloth's magic permit and the new attraction's magical (perhaps "exciting") appearance at the Recreation Deck, Mira decided to forgo finishing her meal and inspect the twisted ride. It just about snuck up on her: A vertical, painted black wheel spun by an army of Fuzzles. Riders were strapped in, instructed to tightly grip the pegs above their little heads and hold on for dear life as the Fuzzles vigorously spun the wheel.

      "Oh, this is totally a scam," Mira whispered. And a cold hand crawled up her shoulder. And a foul odor filled her nose.

     "Well, my dear, I suggest that you save yourself the three hundred Neopoints it costs to ride my genius new attraction and wander back to the Bazaar, where you came from," snickered Sloth. But Mira stared straight ahead and accepted the challenge. She would only have one chance--to simultaneously ride the Scary-Go-Round and uncover its real identity. At the front of the line, she handed her Neopoints to an unfriendly-looking Fuzzle and was strapped into the ride. The black paint was not paint at all--in fact, it was a rather uncomfortable tarp. Mira wriggled a hoof into the tarp, exposing the wheel beneath--she recognized an old friend, the yellow lightning bolt. And screamed with a combination of victory and terror--the ride had started. She looked over--Travis was strapped in next to her, with a thumbs up.

     "Mira!!! I totally hopped the line!"

     "Travis, I need you to rip the tarp!" she cried. Confused, he agreed. Perhaps if Travis wasn't so disoriented, be might not have agreed. Travis tore the tarp with his left foot and just enough so it ripped the entire side off of the wheel. The Fuzzles brought the wheel to a halt immediately. There, the Wheel of Excitement had peeked from its disguise and Sloth stood blushing.

     "Well... it looks like you've won 200 Neopoints!" he blurted out, and of course ran away. Mira hugged Travis. With the help of some Space Deck experts, they returned the Wheel of Excitement to Faerieland, where very grateful Faeries awaited the Wheel's return.

     "Free spins for life! For the both of you!" offered one Faerie.

     "Any dark magic you want!" shouted Jhudora.

     "Free Faerie Pizza for you and your friends!" squealed another. And the Faeries embraced their beloved wheel.

     "You know, when the Wheel went wayward... we didn't have many visitors. It was lonely," Jhudora confessed quietly to Mira. Mira took her hand and said, "You better believe, Jhudora--I was lonely without the Wheel."

     Mira and Travis looked at each other and smiled. "We'll be back tomorrow," Mira said. "Just a regular spin, 150 Neopoints a go--that's all I wanted in the first place."

The End

 
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