What’s the Occasion?
It was a chilly September day in the town of Neopia. Leaves were rustling in the wind, the sun was just about to start setting, and the smell of warm cocoa filled the autumn air. Lily the Kacheek was enjoying her daily walk, which calmed her as she closed her eyes to breathe in the fresh air, until she heard a small noise which seemed to grow louder…
"Excuse me, excuse me! Out of the way please!" It was a little pink Cybunny skipping in Lily’s direction, who seemed to be in a hurry and had a nervous look on her face. "No time to chat, I’ve got a busy day of hopping around ahead of me!" And the Cybunny skipped away into the distance.
Lily squinted her eyes, shielding them from the sun, and faced the direction the Cybunny was hopping in. "Was that… Daisy? Strange, I don’t even think she recognized me! That was an interesting watch she was carrying too, I wonder what it was fo—" Lily paused as she realized she was talking out loud, then subtly looked around, hoping no one was there to see that she was talking to herself.
She continued her walk and soon enough came across the Chocolate Factory, which carried her favourite gummy snack, Blueberry Gummy Slorgs. Lily wondered if she should treat herself to this snack, but also knew her Mum wouldn’t want her eating sugary sweets before dinner.
"You know what," she said again out loud after a few minutes of contemplation, "my birthday is coming up so I’m gonna make this one exception and eat some Gummy Slorgs before dinner." Not caring this time if anyone was around to listen, Lily stepped into the shop and walked to the aisle to grab hold of her favourite gummy snack.
"Oh hi, Lily," said a soft voice. Lily turned over her shoulder to see one her best friends standing behind her.
"Lupin!" she exclaimed with excitement. "It’s so nice to see you…" Lily’s voice drifted as her eyes made her way to a beautifully wrapped present which Lupin was carrying. Lupin the Kougra noticed Lily staring at the gift he was holding, hid it behind his back out of sight, and cleared his throat.
"It’s, uh, really nice to see you, too. Well, I’d better be on my way. I have to stop by the post office to pick up a few new stamps for my album. I’ve already halfway completed The Battledome page, how exciting is that?" The Kougra spoke up again before Lily could even say anything. "You know me and my love for avatar collecting. Anyway, I’ll see you later, bye!" And Lupin the Kougra was already dashing out the door.
Lily finally made it home, thinking about how strange her encounters were during her walk. "I’m home!" she shouted, as she entered through the doorway. Lily made her way to the kitchen where her mother, Rose, was preparing dinner. "How was your walk, Lily?" asked Rose.
"It was quite interesting. I saw both Daisy and Lupin and they seemed to be…in a hurry. In a hurry to leave and not have a conversation with me." Lily looked down to the floor.
"I’m sure it’s nothing to worry about, dear. Perhaps they were in a rush to go somewhere, or to get something done." Rose put out bowls of vegetable soup for Lily and herself.
"You’re probably right." said Lily, with a frown on her face, and still looking down to the floor.
"Cheer up Lily, your birthday is right around the corner, and that’s something to look forward to. I was actually wondering, would you want a chocolate cake, or a vanilla ca—" But Lily interrupted her mother with a loud squeal, and a huge grin on her face.
"That’s it! My birthday is coming up! When I saw Daisy, she ran right past me saying she had no time to talk. She looked a bit nervous, but maybe it’s because she’s planning a surprise birthday party for me! She even said she had a busy day ahead of her, I mean, what else could she be doing? Oh and guess what Lupin was holding when I ran into him? a PRESENT! A present for me, don’t you think? I saw him at the Chocolate Factory, and he knows my favourite candy, so maybe that’s what he was buying for me! Oh, how nicely wrapped it was. The gift wrap had little White Weewoos and cupcakes all over it, and a big pink bow sat right on top of the gift! He was in a rush to leave our conversation, and maybe it’s because he didn’t want me to ask what the present was, or who it was for!? I mean, I can’t think of anyone else’s birthday coming up, except MINE!" Lily spoke so fast, that she was out of breath.
"Whoa, whoa," Rose laughed, "Well if you think that’s the case, then I sure hope it is. Don’t get too ahead of yourself though, Lily."
"I won’t, Mum. I just really can’t wait to see what my friends have planned out for me!" Lily took the last sip of her soup and dashed into her room, plopping down on her bed feeling exhausted, but still cheerful. She slowly fell asleep with a wide smile across her face.
Lily woke the next morning, as happy as can be. She walked downstairs to make some breakfast. "Guess what, Mum!" Rose was in the kitchen washing the dishes. "What is it, dear?" she asked curiously.
"I had a dream about my surprise party! Everyone was there, and we laughed and danced, and I opened my presents and we also had some vanilla cake."
"That sounds lovely. So I’m assuming it’s vanilla cake you’d like for your birthday?" smiled Rose.
"Yes, that would be great." said Lily, smiling back. For her birthday every year, Lily’s family hosts a small gathering of their closest relatives who come all the way from Terror Mountain, The Lost Desert, Mystery Island, and even Kreludor. She was very excited to see her family again, however, she was even more excited this year for her surprise birthday party.
It was just one day before Lily’s birthday now. Lily thought her friends would have called her by now to invite her to her surprise party, obviously knowing they would say they’re going somewhere else, like bowling, or to the plaza. She waited and waited by the phone, but there was no ring. Lily decided to walk over to Daisy the Cybunny’s house to ask if she had any plans for today, making sure she wouldn’t be obvious about it. As she was walking up to Daisy’s front door, she saw Daisy come out through the side door, with what looked like a bag of confetti in her hands. Lily jumped off her porch and hid behind a nearby bush. Daisy was now trotting down the sidewalk, and Lily followed quietly behind.
After about twenty minutes of walking, Daisy slowed down as they approached a large, dense forest area. Lily stopped and hid behind one of the trees, with Daisy still not knowing Lily had followed. Lily watched very closely as Daisy hopped through a small opening in the forest. Lily wondered if she should go in after her friend. After a few minutes of contemplation and a deep breath, she entered the small opening and found herself stumbled upon a gorgeous, green glade.
"SURPRISE!!" Shouted a large group of Lily’s friends, and others who didn’t look familiar to her, but Lily didn’t mind. She was in disbelief. She had the biggest smile on her face, and looked around at all the wonderful decorations, the colourful streamers, the beautifully wrapped presents, and a large vanilla cake. She was just beginning to say something, when all of a sudden everyone ran past her and there was not a single face in front of her sight. She turned around to see everyone huddled around… a White Weewoo?
"Thanks for everything you do!" shouted a Lupe.
"We appreciate you always delivering our articles and comics, especially during every 50th issue, which we know are the busiest times." said a Kiko.
"The Neopian Times Writer avatar is my favourite, and you’re on it!" exclaimed a Skeith.
"Thanks for making the dreams of avatar collectors come true!" said Daisy the Cybunny.
The White Weewoo was chirping about and nuzzling all the Neopets, and all the Neopets were cheering on the White Weewoo for all of its hard work with the Neopian Times. Lily was about to burst into tears. All this time, she thought the surprise party was for her, when instead, it was a celebration for the upcoming 800th issue of the Neopian Times. She spotted Lupin the Kougra delivering the same present she saw back at the Chocolate Factory to the Weewoo. The Weewoo opened the gift up with its beak, and its eyes lit up at the sight— it was a brand new quill.
Lily ran home. She told her Mum what had happened, and then locked herself in her room. "I can’t believe they forgot about my birthday, and are instead celebrating the release of Issue 800." Lily was saying to herself. "Perfect timing too," she said in annoyed tone, "the Weewoo must’ve entered right after I did. And why did no one tell me about the party or anything?" Lily had so many questions, and decided she would ask Daisy the Cybunny the next day.
When Lily woke up, she phoned her friend Daisy who picked up the phone immediately. Lily asked why she wasn’t told about the party, or about the upcoming Neopian Times issue.
"Lily," said Daisy slowly, "what do Lupin, Clover, Holly, Iris, Violet and I have in common?"
Lily pondered the question. "I don’t know Daisy, what do you all have in common?"
"We’re all avatar collectors! You despise avatar collecting, you even said yourself you only really enjoy restocking. We thought you wouldn’t be interested in a party which celebrates the upcoming Neopian Times issue, where us avatar collectors finally have a chance to get this seasonal avatar." Daisy’s response was very true, and Lily was at a loss for words.
Lily didn’t ask Daisy if she knew that her birthday was coming up, as she didn’t want to feel upset and disappointed again, so the two friends just apologized to one another and said goodbye.
The next day, Lily’s family from all over Neopia came over and celebrated her birthday with her. A few hours into the celebration, Lily decided to take her daily walk. When she came home, she was in for a big treat.
"SURPRISE!!" All of Lily’s friends from the Neopian Times party the day before were now at her house, celebrating her birthday. Lily was once again in disbelief and looked behind her shoulder, jokingly making sure the surprise was for her and not a Weewoo, giving everyone a good laugh. She was so thankful for her friends and family, and all the hard work they put into setting up her party. The White Weewoo also attended Lily’s party, and she was very grateful for that. Best of all, a few days after Lily’s birthday, the White Weewoo awarded her the very sought-after Neopian Times Writer avatar, because the story you’re reading right now is what I, Lily, have written and submitted to the 800th issue of the Neopian Times.
Also, in case you were wondering, I am definitely giving avatar collecting a try now, *wink*.