LawyerBot Gets Sentimental
Why, hello. You may remember me either fondly, as the usuki loving collector of high esteem, or perhaps with a bit of wariness due to my role in hammering out the legal language and minute details of such parts of Neopia as the stock market. If you haven't been made fully and un-questioningly aware by now, I'm LawyerBot. You can find me around Neopia on any given day, protecting well-meaning citizens from, well, themselves. You see, Neopia is a wonderful place full of fascinating and tricky legal details such as copyright disclaimers, and... pardon me, I am getting away from myself. While I could spend the next few hours giving you a detailed explanation of the very-legally binding mortgage agreement for the Virtupets Space Station (tm), my story for you today is far more... well, it's just different. Suffice to say that while this kind of thing is quite out of character for me, I feel that this story is an important one. You see, it's been a few generations since it all started, and being a robot, well. Let's just say that I've been around for a while.
You're probably all familiar with Neopia's littlest reject, The Discarded Magical Blue Grundo Plushie of Prosperity (henceforth either TDMBGPOP, or simply the plushie). He spends his days hanging pitifully from a tree amid the spoils and beauty of the ancient and regal Faerieland, speaking, only once per day, with the kind Neopians that take a few minutes between games of Desructo-Match (tm) to give him some company. He's a quiet, mysterious plushie that has puzzled and awed Neopians of late, but his history goes back much further than that, though few Neopians have been around long enough to remember.
The other day, I was having tea with Queen Fyora over advice for the continued legal proceedings following the fall and rebuilding of Faerieland.
"LawyerBot, you're such an excellent advisor."
"Why, thank you, your highness."
"You remind me of someone, someone from a film... a robot, gleaming gold in colour..."
"My dear Fyora, I sense a copyright infringement is about to occur. I will accept your compliment in secret if you agree to speak no further on the subject."
Slightly surprised by my keen intuition, Fyora gave a little laugh, offered me more tea, and changed the subject.
"I'd like to ask your advice on a matter."
"That is what I am here for."
She made a very faerie like sound, a non-mechanical sound like air blowing through a duct, and took on a face that was once described to me as meaning "sadness." I was unsure about how to categorize these combined responses, but remained ready to give the best, most accurate legal advice that my statistically-inclined mind could produce, as is my duty.
"I think it is in the interest of the future of Faerieland to serve an eviction notice to someone that has been a... peripheral, but important part of our history."
My gears whirred at this, and I smelt a bit of dust, if I recall perfectly (and I always do). I hadn't dealt with an eviction for quite some time. "Thirty days notice is required, your highness. It is a simple procedure."
"Yes, well. I fear what the public will think in this case."
"Are you planning on stepping outside of your own legal jurisdiction? You do remember the appropriate procedure for evicting citizens of parts of Neopia other than Faerieland, don't you? The process is much less simple, in this case, I must admit."
"It isn't that. LawyerBot, do you remember TDMBGPOP?"
"He has been hanging in that tree for, for years. He hasn't spoken to anyone in as much time, and... well. With all of the recent rebuilding, I thought we might take back the prime real estate that he occupies. It would certainly be profitable land to develop."
My gears whirred and whirred, figures with profits (huge profits!) spun around in my server. Logically, everything she said was already true. However, I could not bring myself to say this.
"He doesn't pay any rents. This complicates the situation." I stalled, trying to find a real, legal reason to keep her from evicting the plushie.
"Only a minor complication."
"Yes, but. But..." By this time my gears groaned under the weight of the information spinning about in my perfectly organized brain.
"LawyerBot, are you alright?"
"It's been fifteen minutes, and you're still searching for data. This is very unlike you."
"I've found all of the data I can find, my queen. If you are only worried about numbers, it makes perfect sense to evict the plushie." It takes every nut and bolt that I've got to muster the oil to say this next one. "However, I must advise against this decision."
She pauses. "I don't understand."
I stand and walk out onto Fyora's balcony, beckoning her to follow. When we are both amid the ideal warm breeze, situated in front of a stunning view of all of Faerieland, I continue.
"My queen, do you remember your mother's days?"
Fyora's eyes get a bit misty.
"I remember, selectively. I remember that the rainbow pool was free, and that the line was weeks long. I remember that the healing springs were always packed with sick pets, with yet another ridiculous line. I remember the biggest building in all of Neopia being the soup kitchen- she had multiple assistants, for Jhudora's sake!"
"I remember a time when Neopians were very poor, and there were no good incentives for them to work at it. No Destructo-O-Match, no Maths Nightmare. Only Pyramids solitaire and Cheat."
"Fyora. Your highness. This is all true. The lines were longer. The games were different. Neopia was a different place, with different people and a different attitude, and you can't blame your mother for that, nor can you hate her for it."
Again, she made that sound.
"Do you know where the plushie came from?"
"Oh, LawyerBot! No one knows- he appeared one day outside of the castle walls. You know as well as I do!"
"May I ask, your highness, do you know where I came from?"
"You were brought in during my mother's time as an advisor. And you've continued to do a commendable job since."
"Thank you, your highness." I feel my face panels warming. "But do you know when I was brought in?"
"Not specifically, no."
"When the plushie stopped talking."
I point out across the land, in the direction of the long line forming at the base of the plushie's tree. "I know your eyes are not perfect, but unless they've gotten much worse since I last looked at your report, there is a fifty percent chance that you can see what I am pointing at."
"There is a fifty percent chance that your eyes are closed at any given time."
There is a pause as Fyora takes in the sight. "They love him. They line up daily to visit him, hoping for wisdom."
"He occupies prime real estate, but the people won't care about that."
"So, he... he should stay?"
"Look at them, your highness. This is like the days before my time. The plushie advised your mother, and she ruled according to his word. The rainbow pool stayed free, the soup kitchen expanded as needed. She offered him anything he wanted in return for his kind help, and he asked only to remain in the view of the public. He gets quite lonely indoors and out of sight, you see."
"Neopia is not such a needy place as it was at one time. But we do need our plushie."
"So then, he stays!"
"Wonderful choice, your highness!"
"One last question, LawyerBot."
"When did the plushie stop talking?"
"Ah. That's another story entirely."