A Great Gadgadsbogen Day!
The air was teeming with jumpy music and rich with ripe, rosy fruits. Friends Eva, Blaze, Mary Kate and Fanta, were at the Gadgadsbogen Festival – their favorite time of the year. These particular friends were used to being spectators at the festivities, but promised each other this year to actively participate in this energetic, exciting festival dedicated to the unveiling of the new fruits to be grown on Mystery Island.
Little did they know what a big impact they would have upon the festival this month of Running. Eva decided to volunteer by telling the story of Gadgadsbogen Day to baby Neopets. Blaze would buy some fruits from last year's harvest. Mary Kate would boogie down in the limbo contest, and Fanta would play with Mystery Island's greatest bands and entertainment.
The sun glistened in the sky as the palm trees danced in the breeze along side laughing and singing Neopets. Rhythmic beats and melodies thrummed the air as a red Blumaroo sang on a stage near the harbour. Near the stage, on the edge of a small forest, was a large dais where the guests of honor reclined.
A sun-yellow Kougra lounged on the center of the dais, the Grand Bogen. He wore flower bracelets and a dazzling blue hula skirt. He looked contentedly upon the festival he had put together. His mischievous, green cat-like eyes rested on the group of Eva, Blaze, Mary Kate and Fanta and he smiled, looking at the sun in the distance. He knew these Neopets would have an unforgettable time at this Gadgadsbogen festival, and he would enjoy telling their stories for years to come, starting with the bright and giving Aisha, Eva.
Eva said goodbye to her friends and jogged over to the yellow tent sitting opposite the stage. She slid through the crowd watching a limbo contest and smelled the delicious fruit coming from a tropical fruit stand. "Story time!" shouted a gaggle of excited baby Neopets as they saw her come through the satin curtain.
"Hello, everyone! I'm Eva, and I'll be telling you the story of Gadgadsbogen Day! Does anyone know already anything about Gadgadsbogen Day?"
"Fruit!" shouted a red baby Kacheek who was sucking on her thumb.
"And—and there's music!"
"A limbo contest!"
"Yes, great! You all seem to know what it's like to celebrate Gadgadsbogen Day! But do any of you know the history?" Eva asked quietly.
The baby Neopets looked at each other silently until a baby Cybunny piped up, "They haven't been doing this always?"
"Oh no, as a matter of fact, new fruit didn't grow every year until a Mynci named Llugh was having a picnic with his friend Mizkuko. Mizkuko challenged Llugh to beat the sun in a race from one side of Mystery Island to the other. So, the next morning, Llugh ran, right at sunrise, his backpack brimming with fruits to keep his energy up. And Llugh ran, faster than he ever had, until he found himself near the Island Arena, with a gaping hole in his back pack."
"That's not fair!" the same baby Kacheek shouted.
"It wasn't fair, and Llugh was discouraged for a while. But he kept on running, managing to save three juppies, one for now, one for supper time, and the last one for energy when he was close to finishing. Soon, he found himself near the edge of the Mystery Island, the harbour illuminated by the fiery red, setting sun. He triumphantly took out his last juppie and prepared to eat it when a small voice in the shadows of the underbrush stopped him. "Could you spare your juppie, sir?" Llugh was shocked to come all this way and have this happen, but the figure was small and obviously weak. He reluctantly gave the figure his last red juppie."
"Why did he do that?" a baby Xweetok asked, obviously perplexed.
"Because Llugh realized that the poor pet needed it more than he did! And then, the small figure transformed into an earth faerie."
The baby Neopets gasped in awe. "To reward him for his kindness, she gave him the strength he needed to keep running until the little Mynci did the impossible--he beat the sun!"
The baby Neopets were entranced by this unassuming Aisha's ability to tell a story. Above her voice, the sounds of the festival were still abundant as music and laughter filled the air.
"But wait, miss Eva. That's nice and all, but where does the fruit come from?" questioned a big-eyes Quiggle.
"After Llugh ran onto the pier and saw the last rays of sun disappear, the earth faerie came to him and handed him the juppie he gave her. She had enriched it with seeds, and instructed Llugh to spread the seeds all over the island. Those seeds from Llugh's juppie are what grow today--" Eva stopped for she thought she heard the familiar voices of friends—"And it's why we get a new batch of fruits every year." Eva hastily ended her magnificent story, still focused on the voices. She snapped back to storytelling mode "Now, my friends, what was your favorite part of the story?"
"When Llugh was running!"
"The ending!" a purple Hissi squeaked.
"When the hungry pet turned out to be a faerie!" a baby Uni neighed.
"When you just crashed into me there, idiot!" a harsh voice said from outside the tent. Eva immediately realized it belonged to Mary Kate, who was yelling at Blaze.
"I'm so glad everyone enjoyed the stories! Now I hope you enjoy the festival even more now that you know its wonderful history! Goodbye!" Eva said, all in one breath as she hurried the baby Neopets out of the tent. She grabbed her bickering friends and pulled them inside of the tent.
"I guess it won't just be baby Neopets I'm teaching about the spirit of Gadgadsbogen Day," Eva thought as she rolled her eyes.
Ever since she was a baby Neopet, Mary Kate was always fascinated by the confident, agile pets competing in the limbo contest. So with an open mind and an anxious heart, she walked confidently over to the limbo station where a surprisingly flexible Grundo was exciting the crowd by being able to limbo up to a bar that was three fruits high! Already intimidated by the swift, confident Grundo, she was further shaken when a skinny Aisha bumped her and she fell into a wet, mushy puddle.
"Oh no, my skirt!" moaned Mary Kate. She picked herself up and waited by the judges table to hear her name called. She watched each contestant scuttle under the limbo bar, having fun and dancing to the rhythmic music that spread throughout the festival.
"Mary Kate, the Aisha!" a name called and she immediately stood next to the limbo bar stands, waving happily at the loud crowd cheering her on. An orange Zafara grinning from ear to ear set the limbo bar at an easy seven fruits high. She scurried under the bar, knowing that each time it would be lowed by half a fruit. Finally, she reached her point where she was nervous, about—five fruits. She calmed herself and attempted to limbo under the bar, her thighs aching with the strain.
"And she makes it! Looks like this Aisha lim-GO!" the announcer joked, receiving much groaning from the crowd. Mary Kate was jumped up and down with happiness, and was so inspired that she kept up her streak made it down to three fruits high. As she prepared herself, she saw the Grundo who went before her roll his eyes. She leaned back, preparing to go under the limbo bar when suddenly—a shifty Meerca raced through the limbo crowd and crashed into the judges table, followed by an angry red Shoyru!
Mary Kate gasped and stood up, knocking her head on the limbo bar. "Blaze! What are you doing here?"
The Shoyru looked up, surprised to see both her friend Mary Kate and that the Meerca she was chasing had just run away. "Mary Kate, what's... going on?"
The judges looked up angrily, and Blaze, unbelievably embarrassed, flew away.
"Mary Kate! I'm very sorry for that interruption; you were at three fruits, correct?" asked the announcer.
"Yeah... three fruits," said Mary Kate as she rubbed the throbbing bump on the top of her head from the limbo bar.
"What? But she should be disqualified! Her head touched the limbo bar!" shouted the angry Grundo.
"But—but," Mary Kate stammered as the judges looked at each other in bewilderment.
"I'm sorry," a judge finally said. "Limbo contest rules, as you know. I-I hope we can see you again next year. Leo the Chomby, get ready to limbo!"
Mary Kate walked away, defeated and disappointed. Not even the festival's happy music cheered her up. She looked through the joyful crowd until she found Blaze, who seemed to be hiding. She quietly ran over to Blaze and grabbed her by the wrist and pulled her next to a small tent to talk to her.
"Blaze, I can't believe you did that! Your playtime has always disrupted whatever I wanted to do! It's not fair!"
"Mary Kate, I can explain! I was only trying to help--" pleaded Blaze.
"I'm tried of your excuses, Blaze! You've never been a good friend to me!"
"I don't see why you're so mad, just let me explain--"
"When you just crashed into me there, idiot! That's why I'm so mad!" Mary Kate said harshly. "And let me tell you one more thing, Bla--"
Mary Kate never got to finish, as she found herself stepping over baby Neopets, being pulled inside a tent by a very angry Aisha.
Blaze walked along the crowds, drinking a green smoothie that went nice with her blue skirt. She heard her bags of Neopoints jangling in her pocket as she walked along. She had seen the idea in action before, she had just never though of actually doing it. Other pets would buy up the last of this year's fruits from the tropical food shop only to sell them for a higher price when they didn't grow any more. Blaze was happy, not only at the profit she was bound to make, but for her friends. Eva was a great storyteller, Fanta a fabulous musician and Mary Kate was awesome at limbo. She was sure Mary Kate would blow everyone away. Right as Blaze stepped on to the emerald green grass, the music changed to a rhythmic groove that Blaze couldn't help but bop her head to. She walked with a spring in her step, already hearing competing bidders shouting over the juicy fruits.
"Hello, Islander!" said the store owner, a busy blue Techo holding multiple conversations with impatient buyers. Blaze started to browse around at her leisure, scrambling over pets to see the extensive merchandise slowly dwindle before her eyes. Finally, she found a ripe purple fruit she wanted, and grabbed it at the same time as a menacing Scorchio.
"Get you hands off, shrimp," growled the Scorchio, who Blaze could tell was painted pink, but was now red with anger.
"I won't!" Blaze shouted, surprised at her own confidence. "Let's take it to the shopkeeper."
"1,740 neopoints!" shouted the Scorchio.
"1,800!" Blaze rebutted.
"Sold! To the eager, young Shoyru," shouted the Techo as he attempted to listen to other bids as he happily collected his Neopoints.
"Two thousand Neopoints for that piece of junk's a bad deal," snarled the Scorchio. "I can tell you're a newbie, so I'll give you a few hints..."
But Blaze didn't hear the rest of his story; she was focused on a sneaky little Meerca entering the Tombola shop. She ran over and peeked in the window, just in time to see the Meerca empty the shelves of toys and prizes into a bag and tiptoe out. Blaze gasped, and ran after the thief.
"Help! This Meerca just stole from the Tombola shop!" she shouted, but was drowned out by the noise of the festivities.
The thief jumped into a pile of bushes and scurried through the bottom. Blaze was not so lucky, as she was slowed by the thorns on the bush and her leg was getting cut. She lifted herself into the air and hurriedly closed in on the thief. Stooping to avoid the hanging decorations, she followed the thief right into a crowd watching the limbo contest, and in an effort to retract her wings, she bumped into someone and was thrown onto the limbo contestant.
"Blaze! What are you doing here?"
All Blaze could see were stars as she sat up and opened her eyes. From what she could surmise, the thief had crashed into the judges table and ran away into the distance. And Mary Kate was in the middle of her turn at the limbo bar.
"Mary Kate, what's... going on?" Blaze asked, her cheeks reddening. Everyone was looking at her, the embarrassment was too much to bear. She gulped down tears and quickly flew away. She hated the joyful music that was playing behind her and she ran around, trying to find Eva or Fanta--anyone to cheer her up. Instead, Mary Kate found her and dragged her away from the crowd of pets.
"Blaze, I can't believe you did that! Your playtime has always disrupted whatever I wanted to do! It's not fair!" Mary Kate angrily spat at her.
Blaze tried to explain to her friend what had happened. She was sure that if she knew what happened at the Tombola shop that she would understand. But Mary Kate kept on yelling, and soon, Mary Kate and Blaze found themselves trampling over baby Neopets, being pulled inside a tent by a very angry Aisha.
Fanta had what the Island Mystic liked to call 'Sikihenne' or 'the music inside her'. While other pets were easily amused by a plush toy, Fanta needed a music instrument in her hands to be happy. She often found herself looking in the window of the music shop, the red Kyrii that owned the shop knew Fanta, and let her play the new instruments before they were sold. Fanta often helped out around the shop and found herself spending afternoons hanging out at the music shop.
Despite her love of music, she had never played in front of a crowd and Gadgadsbogen Day would be her debut. The music shop owner was able to pull some strings and got her a five-minute set in between Jazzmosis and Hikalakas. She had practiced ever since she got the gig, deciding to play saxophone and guitar, while her Petpet, Snickers the Snicklebeast, thumped his feet on the ground to provide the rhythm.
As soon as Fanta stepped on the island, she heard the ambient sounds of Jazzmosis, one of her favorite bands. She ran away from her friends, forgetting to wish them good luck, more excited than she's ever been before. She ran back stage to meet Clyde, a fast-talking Draik known for putting on unforgettable shows.
"Hey, kid! Fanta, I presume? Great, let's get your guitar plugged in, and your rhythm section.... there you are! Do you have everything you need? Great! Good luck, kid!"
Fanta barely said anything as the Draik stared expectantly at her and then blabbered away on his headset about the lighting and stage sets.
"Well, I guess this is it," Fanta said as Snickers rubbed up against her leg. "We've been practicing forever, and we know what to do. All we have to do is wait," said Fanta worriedly.
"Hey, Fanta," said a small voice. She looked up to see the owner of the music shop walking up to her. "You're a really talented kid, and it's about time someone else knew it."
"Thank you!" Fanta said, "You've been a great teacher to me, I appreciate all you've helped my through."
"Just promise me one thing—okay? That you'll get this whole festival to jump up and dance!"
"Sounds like a bet," Fanta joked.
"Oh, you bet it is. And I know you'll do it. You're a great musician!"
Fanta hugged her teacher right as Jazzmosis hit their final note and exited the stage.
"And now, a fabulous young treat to get you out of your set and dancing! Fanta the Kyrii!"
She jumped up, grabbed her guitar and walked onto the stage. The lights were blinding, making the crowd a jumble of colorful dots.
"Hello Gadgadsbogen Day Festival!" Fanta said happily. "Snickers, are you ready? One. Two. One, two, three, four!"
Immediately, Snickers launched into a syncopated rhythm and Fanta started clapping. Soon, the whole crowd was clapping when Fanta started playing her guitar. She played the melody, launched into a solo that got her tremendous applause and went back to the melody. Everything went better than Fanta had hoped, as she hammered on her guitar and wailed on her saxophone. She had gone through another song by the time she stopped to realize that most of festival was dancing. She only saw a few scattered Neopians sitting and talking.
"Thank you, Mystery Island! Now, for my last song, this is a personal favorite of mine..." but Fanta was interrupted by an old Kougra wearing a long black shirt and a mask. He was hunched over and relied on a cane to keep upright.
"Excuse me, but I've been going to Gadgadsbogen Day festival for over eighty years now, and no one's sung the traditional Gadgadsbogen Day song. It's a tradition, and I knew none of the other fancy bands would play them, would you mind playing with me?"
Fanta was about to play her favorite song, one that would definitely get the whole festival dancing. But this old pet seemed so sad to see his tradition get left behind. She had to think fast; she was on stage, after all!
"Attention, everyone! It has come to my attention that a friend of Mystery Island has a song to sing. If you could please listen, it would mean a lot to me," Fanta shouted to the crowd. The old Kougra whispered a few chords into Fanta's ears and began to sing:
The fruit is ripe, the days are long
Who knows what adventures may come along
At Gadgadsbogen Day, come hear our song
Mystery Island is home to fun
Fruits a'plenty and glistening sun
We tear up the fruits by their strong, strong root
Gadgadsbogen Day, Festival of fruit
Fanta was a little curious about her guest. For an old man, his fur shone as bright as the sun, and he had bracelets that looked suspiciously familiar. But as he sang the third verse, he took off his long, black shirt and put on a crown of flowers. He was the Grand Bogen! The whole festival was mesmerized by his transformation and stood perfectly still as he continued to sing:
Friends let us gather, come around near
Music and love, these days we hold dear
Friends and sunshine, forget your disputes
Gadgadsbogen Day, Festival of fruit
The fruit is ripe, the days are long
Who knows what adventures may come along
At Gadgadsbogen Day, come hear our song
Fanta looked out at the massive crowd, and smiled. She couldn't see a single Neopet who wasn't dancing, crying or jumping up and down and clapping. Unfortunately, she was wrong, for Eva was trying to calm her bickering friends who were too preoccupied to join in.
"Blaze! Mary Kate! Stop fighting! I was just telling the story of Gadgadsbogen Day to the little pets, and I think you could benefit from hearing it!"
"Eva, we've already heard it a thousand times," groaned Blaze.
"And a million on the way here, probably," snickered Mary Kate.
Eva ignored her siblings' remarks. "Llugh was exhausted and the sun was beating him, but be still gave his last fruit to the cloaked figure who was starving. Because of his kindness, he got the inspiration to finish his challenge and spread joy and fruit to an entire island. I've got to think that whatever you're arguing about isn't as important as friendship and a day at Gadgadsbogen."
Although neither of them wanted to admit it, it wasn't that important. They hugged and made up, and Mary Kate promised to always listen to Blaze before jumping to conclusions. Hand in hand, the three of them walked out of the tent, to their surprise, to see their friend Fanta playing guitar with the Grand Bogen, who was singing to the entire festival. They pushed their way through the entire crowd until they reached the stage, where Fanta was enjoying the admiration and appreciation of the Gadgadsbogen Day Festival. She looked down and saw her friends smiling and waving up at her, their love the best feeling of all.
"If I may interrupt," a scratchy voice said. "I am Cinto Pango and I have some very important news for everyone!"
Fanta gasped, not only was she sharing the stage with the Grand Bogen, but also with Cinto Pango! Cinto Pango was an elder of the Pango tribe who emerged during the last days of the festival to tell the crowd what this year's harvest would be. He held up a large round fruit, red as the sun and declared, "This is the Pagtika! The fruit of determination!"
He held up a yellow root with green and white pods on the end. "This is the Katha-Kahta fruit! To remind you that just because something is a myth does not mean it's untrue!"
Next was a deep purple fruit with spikes, and a blue, mushy fruit with a long, green stem. "The Tarungan! Because justice is important, but so is forgiveness. And finally, we can't forget our most important fruit, the Kaibigan! It represents friendship, and its importance at the best of days or the worst." The Kaibigan had red, yellow, purple and blue berries growing off a dark green stem, the berries shining in the sun. Cinto Pango smiled sweetly at the crowd and said, "I'm sorry to have disturbed your wonderful music. And now, let us dance!"
The four friends looked at each other and smiled, ripe with the fruit of Kaibigan, and started to play.