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My 2nd Shovel: An Addendum to “My 1st Shovel”


by sunbathr

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My 2nd Shovel: An Addendum to “My 1st Shovel”

Eleven years ago, on the 16th day of the Month of Sleeping, “My 1st Shovel” hit the shelves of Neopia’s most esteemed bookstores. It was a small and unassuming book. Its cover bore only a red shovel – presumably someone’s first – half-buried in a mound of dirt. On the back were the fortuitous words: “This is a guide book for when you get your first shovel.”

Upon the book’s release, it was critically panned. The Neopian Times editorial board called it “esoteric and self-aggrandizing.” Popular gardener and frequent shovel-user Illusen said: “This is the least marketable book I have ever seen. There is literally no target demographic of consumers for this book. Everyone knows how to use a shovel already. Literally everyone.”

Though its 5-step system for selecting a shovel was considered “questionable”, and “indiscriminately and tragically dung-like in every respect,” by King Skarl's head gardener, the book did rise to popularity among a niche group of users and their pets. And to those wonderful Neopians, I say this:

Over a decade has gone by. As summer enters full swing in Neopia and you find yourself spending more time gardening in your Neohome's yard, you might catch yourself wondering if it's time to buy a second shovel. Maybe your first shovel is getting a little rusty around the edges. Maybe one shovel just isn't enough to meet all of your shovelling needs.

This article is for you. I can't promise that it will lead to the same soul-searching journey provoked by the original volume, but from the bottom of my heart, I can promise you this: if I don't sell enough shovels to meet my quota, the Faerieland Job Agency will never offer me a temp position again.

Without further ado, I present the top five second shovels of Neopia.

***

1) Shovel Plus

Item Description: This item is no ordinary shovel... it will give a little of your opponents attack back to them. Fragile. You can only equip one of these.

This shovel is a step above the better-known Basic Shovel. Don't be put off by the name -- this is still a wonderful choice for people that have only owned one shovel in the past. It works well as a gardening tool that moves dirt from point A to point B, and, as the description states, as a weapon. It can be used to gently whack any unwelcome petpets that wander into your garden in search of a snack.

Pros: Affordably priced -- it should cost you no more than 1000 NP. According to wildly speculative and entirely unsubstantiated rumors, this is the preferred shovel of Queen Fyora herself.

Cons: It's pretty fragile. If you try to take care of a slorg infestation with this, it'll probably break.

2) Suspicious Shovel

Item Description: Hmm... it looks like this shovel has been recently used.

A Suspicious Shovel is buyable for under 100 NPs. I can only assume that it's originally worth bucket loads of neopoints, but is heavily discounted on account of the fact that its a second-hand shovel. This is a great shovel for any pet that needs to do some late-night digging in the Haunted Woods under the light of the full moon while glancing furtively behind their back...waiting, always waiting for the moment when their house of lies will come crumbling down around them, and all the while desperately wishing that they'd never agreed to fetch a Blumaroo Steak for Edna in the first place.

Pros: Even cheaper than a Shovel Plus! Also doubles as a statement piece in any outfit, because it's a wearable.

Cons: Lightly used. Should probably be tucked away in a closet if the Defenders of Neopia ever come knocking at the door to your Neohome.

3) Shovelfish

Item Description: If you are looking for buried treasure you will need a shovel.

Perhaps you've noticed something odd about this shovel. We'll get to that later. First of all, as someone who has never owned a Shovelfish, I feel qualified to say this is the best shovel you'll be reading about in this article. On any number of metrics, including dirt-per-scoop, price versus utility, and its legs-to-shovel ratio, it outperforms the other shovels listed on this page. So why is it ranked third? Unfortunately, it's one of the most expensive shovels we'll be looking at today. It costs a little over 200,000 NP. But wait! Look a little closer and you'll discover that unlike most objects with broad flat blades and upturned sides that are used to move dirt, snow, and sand, this object is also a fish.

Pros: You get a pet AND a shovel.

Cons: Expensive, requires feeding, has a bit of an attitude, and may swim back to its native habitat in Maraqua when your back is turned.

4) Dirt Shovel

Item Description: How can you dig holes without a dirt shovel?

The description of this item restates a question that has been asked many times throughout the ages. It is said that in Ancient Altador, this question was posed to the king by a lowly janitor. The king, a renowned philosopher, considered the question carefully. He was a Lupe, and story goes that his initial response to the janitor was that he could dig a hole with his paws. "But then your paws would get dirty," the janitor wisely pointed out. The king gasped. He had not considered this. He promoted the janitor to a new job at a museum, called the most famous engineers in all of Altador to court, and set them to the herculean task of designing and building a Dirt Shovel. Which they did.

I included this item in the list because its historical significance, and also because it is an affordable choice for a second shovel.

Pros: It's wearable! Pair it with a Dirt Friend and you've got a rustic, earthy look going.

Cons: The manufacturers still use the Ancient Altadorian design, and may therefore be a little outdated.

5) A Shovel

Item Description: You quickly learn that shovels are good for smacking enemies over the head... and digging. There is the digging thing.

Aptly named, A Shovel is both gardening equipment, and an in-depth exploration of brutalist, utility-focused engineering. A Shovel's name wastes no time getting to the point, and neither does its design. This superior digging and smacking tool can dig holes with ease -- lots of holes, probably at least four holes -- and is the preferred smacking weapon of the Tyrannian Army. With this dual-duty shovel in hand, you can be confident in your ability to smack holes, and dig enemies. Sorry, I meant smack digs, and hole enemies. Er, something like that.

Pros: Dual-duty tool, and you'll never forget what it's named because its name is exactly what it is.

Cons: Wildly expensive. Honestly a bit scary, and you probably shouldn't use one of these without proper training.

***

And there you have it! More than a decade after the original book was released, you finally have the information necessary to move forward with your shovel-related needs. I wish you all the best, and ask you to never forget to choose the shovel that's right for you, but also, to definitely choose a shovel, because my job depends on it.

 
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