How I Got a Shopkeeper
The dark faerie looked up from her book, narrowing her purple eyes. “Yes, Perditia?”
The second dark faerie crossed her arms. “Leader wants to see you.”
This is a classic tale. You know the 'once upon a time' kind. We meet our hero, but not just your usual knight riding a white Uni, but one usually associated with villains. Because the hero is in a story, she can't have a normal day that most people have, she has to have some sort of problem...
Narona winced. Of all the people who wanted to see you, Leader was the worst. It was never for anything good. “Now?”
“Yes, and she said to bring your bag with you.”
Narona sighed and slid off of her cot. She put her few belongings into a small bag. Leader was head of Dark Society, a band of dark faeries that were sent out for special missions. Narona had joined up soon after her adventure with Racon's luck (see The Unlucky One) but the Leader didn't like her very much. Narona was obstinate even for a dark faerie and the Leader and she often butted heads over issues. Narona would miss living here. It was a nice place, it had good food, and all dark faeries. She sighed and tossed her short hair.
“Bunch of losers,” she muttered as she walked down the dark hallways towards the Leader's room. She shoved open the door and put her hands on her hips. “Let's not beat around the bush, shall we?”
Leader looked up. She was tall for a dark faerie and powerful. Her eyes narrowed. “Then I'll make it quick and simple; get out or die. I've had enough of your stubbornness.”
Narona spun around and marched out. “Gladly.” She flicked a small shadow ball off of her hand in the direction of a banner, catching it on fire. “Don't burn down the place.” She slammed the door behind her.
“Now what?” Narona bounced a shadow ball up and down in her hand.
The problem for the hero to overcome is established; she has no place to run to, or does she?...
She wasn't wanted in Faerieland; Fyora herself had kicked her out. She wasn't wanted on the dark side of the land; Leader would have her killed for burning the banner. Dark faeries weren't wanted down on Neopia either. She sighed and hovered just off the edge of Faerieland, her bag slung over her shoulder. She dug into it and pulled out a shiny obsidian chunk, her favorite possession. It reminded her of Racon and their adventure to Moltara. “I wonder what that family is doing.” She rubbed the stone. It was better than hovering here. She spread her wings and took flight to Shenkuu.
“Ash's first day of school is tomorrow,” Sirenia, a Tyrannian Peophin, reminded Dayna, her owner.
“If Ash is going to go to Neoschool, we'll need someone to run the shop,” Kanuah, a shadow Lupe, added.
Dayna rubbed her head. “Sirenia spends her time on Mystery Island training, Racon spends his time volunteering at the Soup Kitchen, and Kanuah, you hate working the shop.”
Kanuah laid his ears back at the thought. “Too many whiny customers.”
Ashalyia bounded into the room followed closely by her hovering Griefer, Thief. “What about hiring a shopkeeper?”
Dayna picked up her blue Aisha. “We could do that, but the shop barely makes enough to be profitable.”
Kanuah put his head on his paws. “So where do we find free or cheap labor?”
Sirenia rolled her eyes. “You say that like you expect someone to walk in the door offering free help. That only happens in storybooks.”
Racon, Dayna's Moltaran Aisha, came running in. “Hey, guess who I found outside!”
He waved in Narona.
The group around the table stared at Narona, all thinking the same thing.
“I guess I stand corrected,” Sirenia muttered.
“Narona!” Ashalyia leaped down and hugged the faerie, who was slightly smaller than she was.
Narona patted her head. “Nice to see you too.”
Dayna poured a small cup of tea. “What brings you to Shenkuu?”
Narona sat down on the table; compared to Dayna, she was only palm sized. “Let's just say that I ran out of friendly territory and I remember something about you saying I was always welcome.”
Dayna smiled. “Of course.” She tapped the table wondering how to bring the subject up. “So, umm, how long are you planning to stay?”
Narona narrowed her eyes and flared her wings as she did when she was irritated. “Trying to get rid of me?”
“No, no,” Dayna corrected quickly. “But if you need somewhere to stay for a while, we also have a need.”
Narona laughed. “Me? A shopkeeper?” She stopped laughing as the whole group stared at her. “You're serious?”
They all nodded.
“Are you kidding? A dark faerie, working as a shopkeeper? We're considered bad luck; no one would buy.”
Racon smiled. “But we already went through the whole luck thing, remember?”
“I'm horrible at customer service; it's a preference of mine to stay away from people.”
“All you have to do is make sure that no one steals from the shop.”
“Narona.” Dayna gave her a level look. “Stop making excuses. What's the real reason you don't want to be a shopkeeper.”
Narona flung her hand out with dramatic air. “Shopkeepers are boring, dusty, and dull, not my style.”
Kanuah laughed. “You haven't met Bane from 'Raided from the Lair' then.”
“Please, Narona,” Dayna pleaded. “You need a place to stay; we can give you a place to stay. We need a shopkeeper; you can be a shopkeeper. Give it a try?”
Narona rolled her eyes. “Fine. I'll give it a try, emphasis on the 'a'.”
Now that a solution to the problem is presented, there must be a challenge to get to the solution. In this case, her anger management...
“Welcome to the 'Warrior's fund'.” Dayna threw open the doors of the shop.
Narona looked around. It was painted a light green, had neat wooden shelves that lined the wall of the small shop. There was a small counter that had a box with a slot.
Dayna unlocked the box and opened it. “This is the cash box. If someone buys something, they'll put their money in here.”
Narona sat on the stool behind the counter. It was big enough to be her bed. “Not the fanciest store, is it?”
Dayna shrugged. “It has mostly cheap stuff. It has some stuff for PackRat hunters; those are the 1 NP items. I get some high end stuff in sometimes. Oh! Here's your first customer.”
A gray Kyrii walked in, picked up a Fire Potion, dropped 500 NP in the box, and left.
“That wasn't too hard, was it?” Dayna asked.
“Well, I have to go drop off Ash. I'll see you this evening. Remember to take a break at lunch.”
Narona settled herself down. “Here goes nothing.”
“This isn't so bad.” Narona tossed a shadow ball up and down. Five customers had come in. They had all gotten what they wanted and gone out, no problem.
But of course, something had to go wrong.
“I'll give you 100 for this.” A grumpy looking Usul shoved a scratch card in front of Narona. Narona gave him a cold look. “If you could read, you would know the tag says 1000.”
“It's too much, there's no guarantee you'll win.”
Narona's wings flared. “There's no guarantee you'll make it out unharmed if you annoy me.”
The Usul's ears flattened. “Some shopkeeper you make.”
He make a turnaround and flicked his tail. “I'll take my business elsewhere.”
Narona flicked her shadow ball at him, hurrying his departure. “You better hope they're idiots to take your offer!” she yelled after him.
“Some shopkeeper,” she muttered and crossed her arms.
Kanuah walked in at the moment. “Was that Usul's tail on fire?”
Narona shrugged. “His offer was less than hot.”
Kanuah laughed. “That's the reason I hate being a shopkeeper, the hagglers.”
He put a package on the counter. “Here's some lunch for you and some new items that Sirenia found. The prices are on the piece of paper in there.”
He walked out. “Good luck.”
Narona opened the package and took out two dubloons. She carried them over to empty places on the shelves and scribbled their prices below them. No sooner had she put down the pen when ten neopets stormed in and ran towards her. She flew up quickly to avoid the collision. A Lupe grabbed one Doubloon, threw 200 NP on the counter and ran out. The rest of the group groaned.
“Hey! That's 2000 NP!” Narona yelled after him.
She looked over at the empty space and groaned. The price tag said 200; she had forgotten a zero. A Kau picked up the other dubloon and handed Narona 2000 NP. “I'll take this one.”
Narona stuck the coins in the cash box. “Thanks.”
She watched the rest of the file out except a Wocky who was browsing. Narona watched her carefully. The Wocky finally came up the counter and put down a hundred NP for a Lupe plushie. She was about to walk out when a shadow ball hit near her feet. “That'll be 1,500 for the Volcanic Blow Gun.”
The Wocky froze, threw the item she had tried to sneak out on the floor and ran out.
Narona picked the weapon up and put it on the shelf again. “Honestly, if anyone can spot a thief, it's a dark faerie.”
“There she is!” The Wocky pointed an accusing paw at Narona.
It was an hour later and Narona had begun to feel like everything was going ok, until that Wocky returned.
A story is nothing without a climax, the point of intensity, here is where the action can go two ways: good or bad...
“She attacked me after I bought a plushie!”
Narona's wings flared. “I attacked you after you tried to steal that weapon!” She pointed to the blow gun.
The Wocky clung to her owner's arm with a pleading look. “Who are you going to believe, your own pet or (she shot a dark look at Narona) a dark faerie?”
The girl patted the Wocky's head. “You of course, my precious.” She rounded on Narona. “You villain! How dare you attack my precious! I'll have you tried for this! I'll call the Defenders! I'll have you thrown in jail! I'll...”
Narona flared out her wings to their fullest extent and flew up, darkness gathered around her. “You, are the most pathetic person I have ever seen, and that pet,” she spat out, “is a spoiled brat who needs to be taught a lesson! And weren't you listening to the narrator? I am not a villain but a hero in this story!” She gathered the darkness into a large ball above her head and was about to throw it onto the pale owner when the door banged open again.
“What in Neopia are you doing!?” Dayna asked.
Narona dispelled the shadow ball, but her wings fluttered in anger. “This, this, this person accused me of attacking her pet without reason! She was stealing and I didn't even graze her with the shadow ball!”
“Liar!” the Wocky shouted.
Dayna bent down and took something from behind the Wocky's back. “And I suppose you were going to pay for this slushie you were hiding behind your back?”
The Wocky blushed. “Of course!”
The owner picked up the Wocky and hurried out. “I won't stand to hear these nasty things about my precious!”
Narona flew towards the door. “That's it. I gave it a try and I don't think I'll care to give it another.”
Dayna blocked her way. “But you did so well! There's 4000 NP in the till!”
Narona ticked off her points on her fingers. “I made a mistake on a price and lost 1,800 NP, threw three shadow balls at annoying customers, got accused of attacking a stupid Wocky, and had five people tell me that I made a lousy shopkeeper.”
Dayna ticked off her points on her fingers. “It's your first day, everyone makes mistakes. A few people deserve to have shadow balls thrown at them, that Wocky as been in here before and tried to steal, she's notorious here, and since when have you cared what other people think of you?”
“And!” She held up a hand to stop Narona's argument. “You didn't mention that you didn't like it.”
Narona sat on the counter. “I... did kinda like it.”
“There you go then! Please stay!”
Narona tapped her fingers on the counter top. “Ok, on one condition.”
“I like it.” Kanuah looked at the sign that Ash had painted. He nailed it to the front of the shop and laughed. “This is going to be interesting.”
Dayna crossed her arms as she observed the sign and smiled. “Warning: Annoying customers are in a shadow ball throwing range, be nice.”
Narona hovered over Kanuah. “It'll do.”
And so our tale comes to a close and as most heroes, they lived happily ever after, for the most part. They did not, however, go riding into the sunset...