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Neopia's Fill in the Blank News Source | 27th day of Awakening, Yr 23
The Neopian Times Week 97 > Short Stories > My Dinner with the Ixi of Doom

My Dinner with the Ixi of Doom

by battlesunn

Mr. Bronston, a fiery red Draik, eyed the nervously fidgeting teenage girl sitting across from him and folded his sharpened claws on the desk before him. The Draik heaved a large sigh, and pushed a large file overflowing with sinister looking pink sheets across the slick wooden surface.

     "Your Ixi has some serious behavioral problems, Miss Battlesunn," Mr. Bronston said, his upper lip curling distastefully at the mere mention of the Ixi. Battlesunn sighed, allowing her shoulders to slump dispiritedly. Mr. Bronston snorted contemptuously, ruffling the sheets pointedly.

     "Now, I’ve been teaching Neoschool for over eight years, but I have never come across a pet quite like Zarrelian," the Draik continued.

     Battlesunn gnawed her lip worriedly. Her pet, a demonic Halloween Ixi called Zarrelian, had been attending Neoschool for about five months now, and had already managed to create a terrible feud between him and his teacher, Mr. Bronston. She wrung her hands distractedly, glancing agitatedly around the gymnasium in which the evening’s owner/teacher conferences were taking place.

     "Err, yes sir. I know that Zarrelian can be a tad… difficult, at times, but he’s not a bad pet... really." Battlesunn hated to lie, but she couldn’t bear the thought of her Ixi having to go through life with such a lousy blotch on his permanent record. Mr. Bronston wasn’t buying it.

     "I’m not in the mood to play games, Miss Battlesunn. Why, just this morning, he switched my Borovan with a Moehog Transmogrification Potion!" the Draik chuckled despite his anger. "Although, it was extremely lucky on my part that one of my fellow teachers took a drink from it before I did. I can’t exactly afford a Draik morphing potion on my salary, you know." He suddenly turned menacing again.

     "But that’s beside the point. I’ve had it up to here with Zarrelian —." At this point Mr. Bronston held his claw at a height level with his graying plume of hair. "And I’m honestly not sure how much more I can take!" The Draik slammed his fist down on the table, the force of the impact causing Battlesunn to jump out of her seat. Mr. Bronston scowled angrily at Zarrelian’s owner.

     "If I was in charge of this Neoschool, which I SHOULD be—," He shot a nasty glance in the direction of the principal, a plump, purple-furred Poogle. "Then I would expel Zarrelian in a second and not miss a moment of sleep over it." The Draik hissed, his large spiked tail swishing against the floor. Battlesunn gulped, thin beads of sweat forming on her brow. She plastered a false smile over her face and gave a weak chuckle.

     "Tell me about it… I’ve got to live with him twenty-four seven!" Mr. Bronston just glared at her. Battlesunn was suddenly struck by inspiration. She adopted a calm, even tone and addressed the Neoschool teacher gently.

     "Now listen sir, I only want the best for my pets, and I know that Zarrelian is really a good Ixi, and I need you to see that." Battlesunn cleared her throat, summoning all of her courage to aid her.

     "And I was wondering… would you like to come to our NeoHome for a nice dinner tomorrow? My Gelert cooks the most wonderful Tigersquash casseroles!" She waited, with bated breath, for the Draik’s answer. Mr. Bronston stroked his chin thoughtfully, rolling his eyes skyward.

     "Well… I am kind of partial to Tigersquash… and I do like your other pets… so, why not? Alright, I’ll be there at six." The Draik glanced at his wristwatch and breathed a sigh of relief.

     "Oh thank the Faeries… Owner/teacher night is finally over! I’m going home." He leapt out of his seat and scurried out the door, leaving a very worried owner in his wake.

***

Shelleylou, a shadowed Gelert, sneezed and rubbed her eyes blearily. She wasn’t feeling very well. Just last night, she had awoken with a pounding headache and a nose like a leaky faucet. The Gelert gave a wracking cough and leaned against the kitchen counter for support, miserably wiping her dripping snout.

     Just then, a loud bang was heard, followed by a cacophony of footsteps. Shelly raised her head as her owner, Battlesunn, came dashing in to the kitchen, gasping. She ran up to her Gelert and frantically shoved a recipe sheet into her matted, ebony-furred paws. Shelly blinked in confusion.

     "What’s this?" she asked, her voice muffled and distorted from her cold. Battlesunn grinned.

     "Why, none other than a fantastic recipe for Tigersquash casserole, my little chef. Straight off the Internet!" she cheerfully replied. Shelly shook her head and returned the sheet to her owner.

     "I’m sorry Sunny, I’m not feeling well and I don’t think that I can cook—" Battlesunn cut her off.

     "You can cook? Great! Now make sure that you do a great job, Mr. Bronston is coming over for dinner and I need to make a good impression so that he’s not so biased against Zarrelian. Where is the little Ixi, anyway?" she inquired, eyes roving around the house. Shelly groaned, holding a paw to her forehead.

     "Suuuunnnyyyy… I can’t cook, I feel sick!" she complained. Battlesunn turned and glared at her.

     "I’m ashamed of you Shelly! I try to save your little brother’s education, and you refuse to help." Battlesunn paused dramatically before tossing the ultimate punishment her Gelert’s way.

     "Shelly, I’m very disappointed in you."

     Shelly sighed. "Alright, fine. I’ll cook the stupid casserole. But don’t blame me if y’all come down with the flu." The Gelert’s last words were lost upon Battlesunn, who had excitedly fled after hearing "I’ll cook the casserole", and was now searching for Zarrelian. Shelly whimpered and grudgingly began pulling out the ingredients that she would need to concoct the meal, pausing every few minutes to sneeze or blow her nose.

***

Battlesunn finally found Zarrelian in the basement. The little Ixi was currently immersed in a game of tic-tac-toe with his petpet; a crimson-feathered Mallard named Webbleflub. Battlesunn leaned against the doorframe and cleared her throat importantly.

     "A-HEM."

     Zarrelian whirled around, scowling at the person who dared to intrude on his playtime.

     "What?" he snapped, scrambling to his hooves. Battlesunn clapped her hands together and grinned, leaning down until she was eye-level with her Ixi.

     "What’s the best thing that could happen for your education?" she eagerly asked. Zarrelian shrugged.

     "I dunno… I guess I could stop eating my textbooks," the Ixi sighed sadly. "It’s the goat in me."

     Deciding not to reply or dwell too much on that last comment, Battlesunn shook her head and smiled.

     "Nope! Mr. Bronston’s coming over for dinner!" she proclaimed. Zarrelian froze, mouth hanging open in shock.

     "Wait… so you’re saying that you invited my teacher over for dinner?" he asked, astonished. Battlesunn nodded.

     "You betcha! And I expect you to be nice, Zarrel. You entire future is depending on the outcome of this meal!"

***

Shelly winced as she sneezed on the finished casserole, sniffling and coughing miserably.

     "Oh great!" she growled. "Now I’ve gone and spoiled the entire dinner…" The Gelert glanced at the large wall clock. Five minutes to six. Shelly glanced at the germ-infested meal again. Well, it didn’t look that bad, and besides, she was pretty sure that Draiks, or any other species of pet for that matter, couldn’t catch a sickness from a Gelert. So, with just a little trepidation, Shelly gingerly dusted the casserole off and carried it into the dining room.

***

Mr. Bronston smiled and he approached the modest NeoHome situated on Winding Wood Drive. It was a pleasant neighborhood, much nicer than the area that he lived in, for sure.

     As he drew nearer to the house, the Draik’s nostrils were greeted by the heavenly scent of a perfectly baked Tigersquash casserole, just out of the oven. Mr. Bronston could feel his mouth beginning to salivate. He could just taste that delicious, fruity meal.

     The Draik rang the doorbell and waited, observing a slightly unsettling lawn gnome sitting just a few paces ahead. Suddenly, the door swung open, revealing Zarrelian, clad in a crisp tuxedo and sporting a very miserable expression. Battlesunn, standing a little ways behind the Ixi, gave him a quick nudge in the tail with her foot. Zarrelian scowled at his owner and cleared his throat, offering his polished hoof to his teacher.

     "Hello Mr. Bronston," he spat, doing his best to mask the contempt in his voice. "Welcome to our NeoHome." The Ixi gritted his teeth and squeezed his eyes shut in preparation for what he had to do next. "May I take your coat?"

     Mr. Bronston grinned. Oh, he was enjoying this. The Draik chuckled and shrugged off his heavy overcoat, depositing it in Zarrelian’s outstretched arms.

     "Why thank you, Zarrel. Make sure you don’t wrinkle that, it’s imported."

     Zarrelian snarled angrily and opened his mouth to protest, but Battlesunn quickly clamped her hand over his face. She grinned sheepishly up at the slightly amused Draik and jerked her head in the direction of the kitchen.

     "Dinner’s over there, Mr. Bronston. I hope you enjoy it, Shelly’s been hard at work cooking all day."

     Mr. Bronston licked his lips and strode into the kitchen, pausing to stare hungrily at the steaming casserole.

     "That smells delicious…" He suddenly caught sight of Shelly, leaning against the counter and massaging her pale fur. Mr. Bronston raised a brow.

     "You don’t look so good, Shelly," he said, eyeing her trembling paws. She sneezed, and then slowly shook her head.

     "No, no… I’m f-f-f--aachoo!" The Gelert turned and blew her nose into a tissue, grimacing. Mr. Bronston sighed sympathetically and seated himself at the table, twiddling his claws and waiting for the hosts. The sounds of a scuffle reached the Draik’s ears, causing him to whirl around in his seat and chuckle as Zarrelian came stomping angrily into the room, a large, flowery card under his arm. Battlesunn followed after him, smiling triumphantly. She glared down at her Ixi, crossing her arms over her chest.

     "Go on, Zarrel," she hissed. Zarrelian sighed, and launched into an impromptu dance number, accompanied by his owner on the guitar. Battlesunn nodded pointedly at Shelly, who winced and dragged herself over to her performing family. The Gelert coughed, and began singing a makeshift ditty, pausing every now and then to sneeze, cough or gasp.

     Mr. Bronston raised a brow, and leaned back in his seat. Quite personally, he didn’t give a Juppie about any musical numbers -- he was just hungry, and the tantalizing casserole sitting a mere two feet away from him on the table wasn’t helping at all.

     Finally, they finished their dance and returned to the table. Battlesunn grinned and rang a small silver bell, heralding her two other Pets, Ezanna, a black and white Krawk, and Mordegan, a forest green Lupe.

     Finally, the family seated themselves around the table. Battlesunn looked as though she was about to launch into some pre-dinner speech, but stopped short when she noticed her guest staring expectantly at the casserole. Battlesunn coughed, and gestured at the meal.

     "Ezanna, be a dear and serve our guest some dinner," she ordered. Ezanna rolled his eyes. Honestly, be a dear? What WAS she thinking? The Krawk grabbed a shiny silver spatula and carefully lifted a generous piece of the bacteria-ridden concoction and heaped it onto Mr. Bronston’s plate. The Draik grinned, twirling his fork between his claws.

     "Thanks," he said, nodding at Ezanna. All eyes were on the Neoschool teacher as he dug his fork into the gooey casserole slowly raising it up to his snout and then inhaling the warm aroma. Mr. Bronston opened his mouth, and popped it in.

     At first, the Draik looked pleased, causing his hosts to exhale in relief. But then, he began sputtering, tail lashing against the hardwood floor. Battlesunn stared open-mouthed at Shelleylou.

     "What did you PUT in that thing?" she practically shrieked. The Gelert moaned before falling face first on to the table.

     Unfortunately for Mr. Bronston, a Draik’s immunity system is savagely lowered after bacteria from another species of Neopet transfers into their bloodstream. It wasn’t long before Mr. Bronston developed an acute case of the Sneezles, the disease that Shelleylou had been harboring. And, unfortunately for the NeoHome, a Draik’s sneezes arrive in the form of…

     "SWEET MOTHER OF FAERIES! THE DRAPES ARE ABLAZE!"

     Zarrelian gasped, every time his teacher sneezed, a jet of red-hot flame would spurt from his mouth, causing the surrounding area to immediately catch fire. The Ixi knew that he would have to do something. The heroic young Neopet dashed upstairs, grabbed his Mallard and his Hypno Helmet, and hightailed it outside. Zarrelian sniggered as he seated himself on the lawn in front of his NeoHome, watching, with glee, the going-ons inside.

     Battlesunn grabbed Ezanna and shook him frantically.

     "DO SOMETHING!" she snarled. Ezanna wriggled in her grasp.

     "What do you want ME to do?" he demanded. Battlesunn released her hold on the Krawk, causing him to tumble down onto the floor.

     "You’re the one who took a course in fire safety! You tell me!"

     Ezanna rubbed his temples feverishly before finally coming up with an idea.

     "Stop drop and roll!" he proclaimed. Mordegan, his emerald green fur ablaze, threw himself down to the ground and began rolling around.

     "It’s just spreading the flames!" the Lupe cried. Battlesunn suddenly remembered something.

     "The hose, of course!" She ran outside and grabbed the coiled green garden hose, wielding it like a sword.

     "Eat water, fire!"

     Battlesunn twisted the handle of the hose, releasing a jet of icy cold water. It cascaded over the flames, drenching them instantly. In a matter of seconds, the fire (and Mr. Bronston’s flash fever) had been extinguished, leaving in its wake a slightly charred NeoHome and a very miserable Draik.

     Mr. Bronston, water dripping off his whiskers, stormed up to the door and grabbed his tattered coat. He turned on Battlesunn, tossing the useless garment at her feet.

     "Good day," he spat in a tone laden with venom. The Draik ground the coat into ashes with his foot and then took wing, soaring off into the starless evening sky. Zarrelian trotted merrily up to his owner and grinned.

     "I think it went pretty well," he quipped.

     Battlesunn sprayed him with the hose.

The End

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