Neopian Times Edition 337
“I don’t want to drink that! It smells disgusting!” Aroo complained, crossing his arms against his chest and sticking his nose up in the air. The shadow Blumaroo stood and paced around the room, then sat and bounced his foot up and down continuously. His mother, a rainbow Blumaroo, narrowed her eyes at him.
“See, you have Jitters. You have to drink your Potion of Containment. The Neopian Hospital said that it is the perfect cure. You will be able to sleep.” She spoke calmly, but she knew that if Aroo didn’t take the potion soon, she would have to find a way to hold him down and make him take it. He could hardly sit still.
Aroo wrinkled his nose as he stared at it. “It looks like Slumberberry Potion to me! You just want me to sleep forever so you can take Rodie to the pound and get rid of him!” Rodie was Aroo’s petpet, a spyder petpet. Aroo knew that his mother hated Rodie and wanted to do anything she could to get rid of the yellow monster.
“I do not want to get rid of Rodie.” His mother spoke carefully. “I just want you to feel better.”
Aroo inched closer to the bottle and sniffed it. He scratched his ear. “Will it taste bitter?”
“No. It will taste just like candy.”
“Mom, I don’t think that you know what you are talking about,” Aroo chided as he moved closer to the bottle. He hadn’t slept in nearly a day and his feet were aching from all of the moving he was doing. He placed a hand on the side and felt the cool glass. “Maybe just a sip?”
“One teaspoon is all you need, Aroo,” his mother replied, the faint hope in her voice evident. She let Aroo open the bottle and take a swig. He yawned and rubbed his brown eyes carefully. His eyes snapped open and his face fell as he realized, “Mom! That so IS Slumb- Sleep… Slumbersleeperberry….” He yawned and sat down on the couch, his eyes dropping. “Slumberberry Potion!” With that, Aroo drifted off to sleep.
And in his sleep, he dreamed.
Aroo often dreamt of being a Prince of a mighty kingdom that ruled a large land in Neopia. He dreamt of having servants and people to do his bidding for him. He dreamt that anything he asked for was given to him and that he had all of the neopoints in the world. In his dreams, Aroo was greedy.
When he entered his dream that afternoon, he was sitting atop his throne, a golden crown on his head, bejeweled with the best jewels in Neopia. His subjects gathered around him as the door slammed open to reveal a rather tall looking orange Zafara covered in a dark green cloth. She was holding a straw basket, with numerous potions inside. As she strode forward, she knelt her head before the wondrous Prince. He smiled and stood off of his throne, his brown eyes scanning the basket filled with goods.
“What do you have there, Zafara?” he asked, jingling a brown bag of neopoints in his hand. “Anything I can buy?”
“Just the finest drinks in all the land. This one,” she held up the largest bottle, filled with red liquid, “is the finest I have. As well as the cheapest.”
Aroo, of course, needed to have the finest of everything. And to get it at such a cheap price, well, that was the icing on the cake for the young Blumaroo! He tossed the bag of neopoints to the older Zafara and greedily picked up the drink, popping off the cap. He drank, and drank, until the bottle was empty. “Is there any more?”
“No, sir, that is the only bottle in Neopia.”
Aroo’s eyes narrowed angrily and he looked at the empty flask. “I want more!”
A voice rang out from behind him, a rainbow Blumaroo dressed most regally in her long red gown. She stalked forward and stopped next to her son. “Dear, you cannot always have what you want. This woman has been kind enough to allow you to taste the most exquisite drink in all the land…”
“I want more! It’s not fair!” Aroo squealed, clutching the bag of neopoints from the elderly Zafara and crossing his arms. “Tell me where to get more!”
The Zafara sighed and frowned. Aroo could tell she was displeased with his behavior, but he didn’t mind it. The drink had been the tastiest thing he had ever had. He yawned, relatively bored with waiting.
“There is a land far to the north where the berries for this potion grow in a thicket.”
“Thank you. You may go.”
Aroo’s mother frowned and nudged her son. “Aroo, you should compensate her for the drink…”
“No, this money shall be used to fund our new Berry Project.” He tossed the moneybag to a graying Tonu standing off to the side. “Herrin. Oversee this project.”
Herrin nodded and adjusted his coat. His pale blue face blanched slightly as he saw the Queen’s eyes fall on him. He blushed and turned on his heels, going to gather as many people as he could to go to the lands of the north and retrieve the wonderful berries that the Prince had fallen in love with. The Zafara had been waiting, but now she turned, and skulked out of the hall without anyone else noticing she had left.
His mother stood off to the side and shook her head at her son. He yawned sleepily and excused himself to his bedchambers, where he slept the next entire day away. He woke up refreshed and rested only to see that the stars were sprinkled across the dark Neopian sky and there was a chill in the air for the oncoming winter. Herrin was waiting for him in the dining hall, with flasks of his favorite berry juice.
“We found it, Sire. Drink, drink!” Aroo didn’t need telling twice. He picked up each flask and drained it. He drank three entire flasks without stopping and looked to Herrin.
“Did you find out what the berry is called?”
Herrin shook his head, “No, there were no other Neopians about. We will try again.”
Aroo yawned tiredly again. He felt more tired than he had a moment ago and he had only just woken. “Herrin. I think I will go back to sleep and wake up tomorrow to start afresh.”
“Great idea, Sire.”
Aroo went back to his chambers and slept. He slept for days without realizing it. Each time he drank more of the berry drink, he slept for longer. Herrin reported that some of the workers were falling asleep on the job and that they had trouble rousing them. Aroo ordered that more workers be hired to fill their places.
Soon, Aroo found that he was sleeping for weeks at a time. Months. Finally, he awoke nearly a year after his last bout of drinking. He rubbed his eyes sleepily and looked around the hall with his throne upon it. He had spent the year sleeping on the hard surface; his back ached and his shoulders had knots in them.
“H-herrin?” His voice croaked from lack of use. He rubbed his neck, wishing he had a drink. Herrin shuffled his feet forward and racked his hands nervously before the Prince.
“Why is everyone sleeping all over the hall?” Aroo asked, yawning somewhat, “And where is my berry drink?”
“Well, Sire, everyone has fallen victim to the berry picking! We have only just figured out, that the berries were slumberberries and that the old Zafara was a Faerie come to teach you a lesson!” Herrin had been practicing this exact moment for months. He had been waiting for Aroo to awake and see what he had done to his kingdom. “Even your mother and father have fallen victim to this pitiless sleep!”
Aroo frowned. He listened to what Herrin said and immediately realized how selfish he had been and how greedy. He followed Herrin through the marble castle halls and saw his mother sleeping in her bed. He knelt down next to her and felt the tears well up in his eyes.
“I’m sorry, Mother.”
A voice, far away and familiar, was comforting him. Telling him to wake up. He looked down at his mother and then looked up at the ceiling…
Aroo’s eyes fluttered open to see his mother standing over him. He smiled brightly and hugged her waist, “Mother! I’m sorry I didn’t listen to you earlier!”
Her eyes widened slightly at his behavior. “That was hours ago, dear. You took your medicine and the Jitters went away. You are all better!”
Aroo grinned broadly. “I should have listened to you forever ago! Can I go out and play now? I don’t want to sleep anymore.” The remnants of the dream he had were still somewhat memorable, but they were fading fast. He picked up Rodie and ran out the door, into the bright sunlight, where the kingdoms were far away and the slumberberry potions nowhere in sight.