It was probably one of Neopia Central's best kept secrets. Deep inside the Catacombs was a place where writers, artists, and poets could gather and hang out with like minded Neopians and discuss their latest projects or relax. Even with the closure of the Neovision Studios Headquarters due to it going bankrupt from a lack of viewers, it was still as lively as it was before the introduction of Neovision that most Neopians refused to discuss it at all. That all changed with King Blum Roo.
It all started several months ago when various Neopians began noticing the jolly king from Roo Island began some sort of negotiations with Alstaf Poogle, the Poetry Competition judge. At that time, the majority of Neopians thought that King Roo was asking the well-respected judge for some poetry lessons and did not think twice about it. It was a similar situation when they saw the king talking with the Art Gallery judge, a Rainbow Kacheek, as the majority had thought that he wanted art lessons. It was not until that King Roo visited the Storytelling judge, a Plushie JubJub) that the Neopians there, most of them regulars to the scene, became suspicious. Even when King Roo was talking to Cocoa, the Yellow Shoyru who ran the Coffee Shop, and Hobbes, the Blue Skeith in charge of the Coin Shop, most thought that it was suspicious as he never bought anything from the shops.
When the three esteemed judges and the two shop owners were confronted about it, none of them were willing to disclose the information, citing King Roo's confidentiality and told the talented Neopians to let it die. Once they told them that it was confidential information, they knew that he was right, but they refused to let it go away silently and began observing King Roo whenever he came down to the Catacombs to chat with them. So far, they observed that nothing special or important ever cropped up during King Roo's visits, leaving the Neopians dejected, but determined, although a few decided to stop with the observations. With each passing day, more and more Neopians stopped monitoring them as they were becoming frustrated. The remaining Neopians could not blame those who stopped at all as they understood the frustration of their fellow friends and colleagues as well.
When the Month of Running, aka March, came around, the Neopians remaining began to dread the month as they knew one thing would be coming soon: the Daily Dare, hosted by the arrogant Aristotle A. Avinroo. They knew that it would eat into their time monitoring as most wanted to wipe the smug smile off of his face. That year was no different, but many were caught off guard when unidentified Petpetpets started to appear on Roo Island and the king was declared missing by his staff. Knowing that they might be able to get some answers from the king himself, some decided to help out Lulu and determine where the king was.
However, even after the king was found, he did not give out any information about the discussions with the three judges or the Coffee Shop owner, telling them that it was a surprise and to wait for the end of the Daily Dare for a special announcement. The Neopians were disappointed with the answer, even if it was slightly better than the answer that the three judges had given them.
The day after the Daily Dare ended, the Neopians gathered in the main Neopian square, wondering what King Roo was going to announce. As soon as he stepped onto the stage, the crowd immediately went silent.
"My fellow Neopians, thanks to your efforts in this year's Daily Dare, we have vanquished the unknown Petpetpets from the island. Unfortunately, they did leave a bit of a mess for us to clean up, so I had my team of royal decorators clean up the mess and make Roo Island better than ever. With this, I am proud to announce that the new and improved Roo Island is now open to the public as well as that the island will be the new hosts for the Storytelling, Art Gallery and Poetry Competitions, as well as the new location of the Coffee Shop," he told the crowd. Upon hearing the news, the Catacombs regulars were stunned by the announcement as it was not something that they had expected at all while the rest of the crowd cheered.
Before reserving their final judgement on the new location of their home, the Catacomb regulars decided to test the waters first. After a couple of days, a few of the regulars met up at the now crowded Coffee Shop, wondering what the general reaction to the relocation was.
"We all know that change was inevitable no matter how long time passes. I mean, take a look at Faerieland. I bet that no one would have expected a sorceress to bring the city crashing to the ground near the Haunted Woods. However, I don't like the relocation that much. I just can't put my finger on it, but something about it just doesn't seem right," a Ghost Yurble by the name of Karma told the other four Neopians.
"Yeah, you stole the words right out of my mouth, Karma. It must be the vibe of the new locations that doesn't feel right. I mean, when the Storytelling Competition was at the Catacombs, I always get this cozy, home away from home feeling. Here on Roo Island, I don't get that same feeling," said Juniper, a Woodland Xweetok.
"There's also the fact that the Catacombs had this mysterious feeling whenever someone came down to work or admire what we had done. I had a few of my friends complain that they're unable to concentrate on their work properly for various reasons and they're thinking about 'leaving the scene' for good, so to speak. I can't say that I blame them," Dawn the Starry Aisha replied.
"And thanks to relocation, the Catacombs is pretty much a ghost town, no offense intended, Karma," said a Desert Ruki. The Ghost Yurble told Dune that he wasn't offended.
"Anyways," Dune continued, "with the three competitions and the Coffee Shop now gone, it really doesn't make any sense for the Neopian Times Headquarters and the Coin Shop to remain there anymore. They'll be relocating soon, but where and when, your guess is as good as mine, but they'll most likely be relocating to somewhere within Neopia Central."
"Still, you have to admit, the relocation could be considered a blessing in disguise, even if Neopians do disagree with it" piped in a White Cybunny. "I mean, how many years have we clamoured for some sort of stable funding just so that we could renovate the Catacombs? I guess one can interpret King Roo's visits as him seeing what we desperately need and giving us a solution to our main problem, even if it wasn't what we were looking for. Besides, a change in the scenery won't hurt us at all, right? Call me a devil's advocate if you want to, but honestly, I don't care if I am called that."
"You have a valid point as always, Piper and you're right about the change in the scenery. We definitely need to give this some more time, but I just wish that King Roo and the Neopians that he talked to were a little bit more open. It would have saved us a lot of grief about the relocation," said Dawn.
"No kidding. It felt like they betrayed us when they withheld that information and kept it to themselves. Anyways, I think we should celebrate the life the Catacombs gave us because it essentially shaped us to who we are today. It deserves a final send off, even if it's going to be a while before it is permanently closed and possibly razed," Karma replied as he raised his cup of Golden Juppie Delight. The others nodded and raised their cups of coffee and tea.
"To the Catacombs, our former beloved home, may you rest in peace."