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Happy Holidays!

Our annual tradition of bringing you a classic Neopianized, holiday story is here! With it, we'd like to thank you, our visitor, for making another year great. Your kind words always motivate us to keep bringing you top notch Neopets coverage!

Here's to a happy and healthy 2019! We can't wait to see what Neopets has in store!

Turn your speakers up! Hover over our talking heads to listen!

It was a Christmas like any other on Krawk Island. The snow had come in thick, and the ice in the harbour was keeping most of the ships in port. It was a time to stay indoors, with a hot drink and a warm fire.

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The Golden Dubloon was one of the few places still open on Christmas Eve. Old Captain Hackett wouldn't close the tavern for anything short of the world ending, and this was no exception. The chefs and the waitresses were expected to work all through Christmas if they wanted to keep their jobs.

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Hannah was on shift that night. The Usul waited tables as she dreamed of the adventures she could be having instead.

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Malkus Vile was one of the last punters left. He'd run up a sizable tab, and when it came to settling up, he turned his deep pockets out.

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"Old Malkus is running a bit low on the old dubloon front, girls," he said with a waxy smile. "But I can offer you some of my treasure by way of payment."

"We've heard about your treasure, Malkus," Loretta Fontaine replied with a frown. "It's no good here."

"Looks like you'll be washing the dishes," her sister, Rosetta, added.

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Vile's smile faltered, but then Hannah came over, enticed by the mention of treasure for the taking.

"What treasure are you offering?" she asked. Malkus grinned, and produced a little figure of a Gelert.

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"A very old treasure, this one," he said. "All the way from Terror Mountain."

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Hannah took it gladly as payment, Terror Mountain being a very exotic thought at this time of year. The little Gelert seemed to stare up at her. It would go well with the other spoils of her adventures.

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"What did he offer you?" Loretta asked as Malkus disappeared out into the snow. Hannah moved to hide it.

"Let me see!" Rosetta said, making a grab for the figure.

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Trying to fend her off, Hannah accidentally dropped it. The little Gelert fell and hit the table at an angle, breaking off an arm and gouging part of the wood from his snout.

"You broke it!" Hannah shouted.

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"That's why you should never take anything from Malkus Vile," Loretta said simply, as the sisters wandered off.

Hannah spent the rest of the evening repairing the Gelert figure, with some glue from the manager's office. The scar on his snout would remain, but in some ways it looked like it was meant to be there.

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At closing time, she rushed home across Krawk Island, fighting against the snow. There, she placed the little figure on her shelf of treasures. It sat between the giant fly trap she found on Mystery Island, the maracite doll from Maraqua, and a golden skull she had found on an atoll off Krawk Island.

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Satisfied, she retired to bed. Christmas would bring no relief for her. She was due back at the Golden Dubloon in the morning.

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Hannah's clock chimed twelve and the quiet of her house was suddenly interrupted by a laugh that sounded awfully like Malkus Vile. Near the Christmas tree there was a rustling, and a little figure trotted out from behind one of the presents. It was a Moehog, dressed in the garb of the Lost Desert, with fiery red eyes.

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The Moehog toy stepped further into the room, and his eyes seemed to glow brighter. From beneath the floorboards clockwork toys made to look like icy skeletons rose up, armed with tiny weapons.

Up on the shelf, the Gelert figure came to life, stretching his repaired arm. The other treasures were moving as well.

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"Treasures of the shelf!" the Gelert toy called to the others.

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"We must defend Hannah from this creature, this Bringer of Night!"

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Hannah woke to the sounds of the battle on her parlour floor, and made her way downstairs. She stood, shocked, in the doorway for a moment as she took in the scene. But as she took a single step forward, she began to shrink until she was the same size as the other toys.

She could see that her treasures were losing the battle. She had to do something, but what? She could throw her shoe at the Moehog, but what good would that do?

She smiled as she hit on an idea. She rushed over to the Christmas tree and tugged at the ribbon, unwrapping it. Inside was a length of rope, a new one she'd bought herself for Christmas.

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Heaving the large rope over her shoulder, she made a beeline for the Bringer, who was busy fighting the Gelert toy. She crept up behind the Moehog and threw the rope over his arms, tightening it and locking them in place. The Gelert toy took his chance, and put his dagger into the Bringer toy.

The creature shouted, and the icy skeletons stopped moving. All of them, Bringer included, turned to dust.

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Hannah turned to the Gelert and saw that he was a toy no longer. He was a real Gelert, though he still kept the scar on his snout.

"Thank you!" he said. "That creature had placed a curse on me. But by helping me defeat him, you have freed me. I can return home, to Terror Mountain. My name's Kanrik. Head of the Thieves Guild."

"Hannah," she said.

"What can I do to repay you?"

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Thieves Guild? That sounded interesting. And certainly better than another shift at the Golden Dubloon.

"Take me with you!" she said.

Kanrik smiled, and took her hand. There was a dislocating feeling of magic being worked, and they were away.

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They arrived in a dark basement, tables set up and surrounded by thieves as they talked about their takings for the day. It was cold there, much colder than Krawk Island.

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"Welcome to the Guild," Kanrik said. "This is where we do business."

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Kanrik showed her around, introducing her to the other thieves. Eventually, he took her upstairs, and from the ground floor she could see Happy Valley beyond, the new adventure he had brought her to.

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"This is Terror Mountain," he told her. "We can explore every nook and cranny... together."

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Kanrik leaned in for a kiss.

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Hannah was having none of that. She kicked him firmly in the shin and ran off down the street.

"If it's all the same, I'll just explore some more!" she called back at him.

The streets of Happy Valley were packed high with snow, and every house was decorated for Christmas. In the distance, she could see the spire of Terror Mountain itself, inviting her with the promise of the unknown. She was so busy staring that she ran right into the back of someone else.

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Hannah gathered herself and looked up to see a Faerie, dressed in a long blue coat.

"Oh my, I am sorry!" she said as she helped Hannah up. "I didn't see you there. I'm Taelia, nice to meet you. What are you doing out so late?"

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Hannah explained what had happened that night, while Taelia listened patiently.

"Gosh, how exciting!" Taelia said when Hannah finished. "So you've never been here before? Why, then you've never seen the Christmas Ball! I'm on my way there now. Come with me, it's a spectacular dance we hold in the early hours of Christmas morning each year."

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Taelia took her hand and led her through the streets to the town square. There, a grand tree was set up, and costumed Neopets were gathered round it. Taelia rushed off to meet them, and at the same time a band struck up to begin the dancing. Hannah found a bench and sat down to watch.

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When the ball had ended and the Neopets broke off to return to their homes, Taelia came and found Hannah again.

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"I live on the very peak of Terror Mountain," she said. "I always find sunrise there to be breathtaking. Do you want to come?"

Hannah agreed readily, and the Faerie guided her out of the town towards the base of the mountain. There, they found an entrance to a cavern, with a sign that said, 'Ice Caves'.

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Taelia showed Hannah through the twisting, ice filled caves, pointing out the decorations on the Neggery and a shop for Ice Crystals. The Faerie hushed her as they passed a cave with a giant Snowickle sleeping inside.

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They emerged onto the peak of the mountain. The usual blizzards had stopped, and as Taelia disappeared into her home, Hannah watched the sun rise on the horizon.

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A panting nearby took her attention, and Hannah turned to see Kanrik coming out of the Ice Caves. He looked like he'd been running to keep up with her.

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"There you are!" he said. "I've been searching everywhere. Listen, I'm sorry about before. I got the wrong end of the stick. Can we start again? I want you to stay."

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"So do I," Hannah agreed, looking back at the sunrise.

"I think I'm going to like it here, Kanrik."

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"Happy Christmas, Hannah."

She smiled. She already had the best present she could ask for.

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This year's musical background provided by MusOpen.org

Preloading some holiday spirit...

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