The Night of the Brain Tree Fruit
An eerie wind blew through the trees of the Haunted Woods accompanied by the various moans and groans that the residents of the area were accustomed to. It took someone with a heart full of courage to live in those woods, or a complete fool. In the distance the gruesome howl of a Werelupe filled the night, drowning out the sound of rushing feet heading in the direction of the Brain Tree.
"Whhhooo aarree yyyoouu? Annswweer mm Quueessttiiooon..." the Brain Tree moaned, eyes darting in every direction in an attempt to spy the sneaky Neopian who had managed to avoid his all seeking gaze. The only answer he received, though, was silence as a strange potion was doused on his roots. Soon his eyes became quite heavy and for the first time in centuries the Brain Tree slept.
"Fruit! Brain Tree Fruit! Come buy some delicious fruit!"
"Raise your intelligence by 20 points!"
"Only a mere one million each! How can you not afford this extraordinary intelligence boost for your pets?"
"What is going on?" Roslyni asked herself as she walked through the market place accompanied by her three siblings.
"Brain Tree fruit?" Darien the baby Zafara asked, gripping his older sister's hand tightly. "I didn't know the Brain Tree had fruit... it looks scary."
"It looks like a throbbing brain! Gross!" screamed Rosalie, pointing at the closest vender selling the newly discovered fruit.
"Rosalie! It's not nice to point!" Scarletine lectured the small Cybunny as she shot the vender an apologetic look.
"You can't lecture her! You're still a baby too, Scarletine," whined the small Zafara as he shot the Xweetok a mean look.
"Calm down, all of you!" Roslyni scolded with a tired look on her face. Why on Neopia she was stuck with three baby pets was a mystery to her. "One Draik simply cannot do this alone..." She sighed before turning her attention to the vender. "Excuse me, sir? What exactly are these?" she asked, motioning to the odd fruit.
"Why, madam, they are only the finest fruit ever to come into existence! This morning as Neopians went to the Brain Tree to complete a quest they were quite shocked to see the fellow sleeping! And what do you suppose was hanging from his branches? Well, this fine fruit! Brain Fruit! It was unheard of for the Brain Tree to produce fruit until today; they are very limited as once the fellow wakes up rumor has it they will disappear! So buy buy buy while you can, little missy! Only one million each," the vender said with a grin as he reached out his grimy hands with the expectation of a sale.
"Umm... no, thank you," Roslyni muttered as she quickly backed away and rushed her siblings along.
"Brain fruit? Just seems like cheating to me! If you want to be smarter, just read some books," pouted Scarletine as they walked along. Looking about it seemed every vender was selling the mysterious new item. Neopians all around them were scrambling to scrape together enough to purchase them.
"Well, Scarletine... It looks like you are going to have to read a million books to catch up with Neopia now! Too bad we can't afford to buy some for you; it might give you an advantage on becoming the smartest pet..." teased Darien.
"Humph, I wouldn't touch one of those gross looking things if there were no more books left in Neopia!" Scarletine said with a huff.
As the days passed the popularity of the fruit seemed to increase. The Food Club began seeing each individual fruit consumed as a separate point, the Employment Agency began asking for them, and even Kadoaties began pleading for them. Stranger still the Brain Tree still slept, but with the new craze for the fruit being produced no one seemed to mind, nor really care.
As time kept passing though... strange occurrences began. Neopians began to change. Hunger unseen before plagued those who had consumed the fruit, health deteriorating as lines became unmanageable outside the hospital gates... a plague it seemed gripped them and was spreading fast. Soon no one felt safe to leave their homes. Families tore apart as those who had not consumed the fruit barricaded their homes to keep others at bay. Looting took place as pets desperate to find enough to purchase yet another fruit broke into homes, stores, and even galleries in hopes of finding something to sell.
"It's no good!" Roslyni cried out in frustration as she tried to move Darien away from the door that had been boarded and nailed shut.
"The Soup Faerie... We have to get to her! She can help us!" he whined as the poor baby tried desperately to free himself from his sister's grasp.
"No, Darien... The Soup Faerie fled days ago... those pets who ate the fruit, she was overrun by them they ate her out of house and home. She's gone." Roslyni tried to comfort the small Zafara, holding him tight as he sobbed into her shirt.
"But... I'm so hungry," he said with a sniffle.
"We all are! Now hush, I'm trying to read my book!" Scarletine yelled from the corner where she had positioned herself with a flashlight and one of her newest books, Chemistry for Beginners.
"Scarletine, don't be so mean! We are all hungry but that doesn't mean we have to be at each other's throats," Roslyni scolded as she placed Darien down to play with the plushies from her collection.
"Big sister! Big sister!" Rosalie yelled as she ran into the room, the latest edition of The Neopian Times in hand.
"What is it, Rosalie?" Roslyni asked as she took the paper from the small Cybunny. "Oh no..."
"What is it?" Darien asked as he gazed up at his sister.
"New symptoms have emerged... the Neopians who ate the fruit... they have started turning into zombies! The article says to be on high alert and stay indoors until a cure can be found... it seems that the thirst for knowledge that came with the brain tree fruit has driven them to start trying to consume actual... brains." Roslyni gulped.
"What!? No! It wasn't supposed to do that!" Scarletine cried in horror as a sudden banging came to the door.
"Wasn't supposed to- What? Explain!" Roslyni yelled at the small Xweetok.
"S-Sister... don't think now is a good time!" Rosalie whimpered as the banging on the door grew steadily louder accompanied by groans and nails dragging on the frame.
"I-I... Okay! I made a potion using my chemistry book and a book of Dark Faerie spells! It was supposed to cause the downfall of those who sought to much knowledge! I-I thought it would give me the upper hand in the book club... everyone would spend money on fruit and I would be the only one buying books... Prices would drop... I could finally..."
"Scarletine! How could you! You greedy selfish little girl!" Roslyni cried as the door began to give way.
"I didn't mean to do this! I just wanted to be the best!" Scarletine sobbed as the zombie pets outside the door broke through. Groaning as they made their way in to the helpless pets inside...
Moral of the story... Don't let greed blind you to the possibilities of the consequences you will have to face. Happy Halloween, Neopia!