Somebody's Waiting to Take You Home: Part One
A large cardboard box sat on the corner of Usul Road. Its
damp edges were frayed and worn, and the box rattled and shook violently, threatening
to rip open at any moment. A dirty-white cardboard sign hung by a frazzled string
on the front of the box. It read, "Free Lupe Pups" in a teenager's messy, hurried
Inside the tired box, six energetic Lupe pups
were wrestling with each other and yapping happily. The newly created pups were
unaware of their predicament. Two were red, two were blue, one was green, and
one was yellow. As passerbies strolled along the foot path (on Neopian roads,
there are no sidewalks. One road side is for walkers, one is for bikers), they
briefly paused to glance curiously into the box. The first few just looked down
at the other pets by their sides and shook their heads sadly, already having
too many mouths to feed without taking on another.
But then a black-haired teenage boy, perhaps
age thirteen, came along, swinging his Neopoints bag jauntily. He had just joined
Neopets a week ago, and was looking for his first pet. He already had a 3 room
wooden NeoHome set up, and some plushies and food waiting, as all owners should
before they take on the responsibility of a first pet. He peered hopefully into
the box, and spotted the Green pup, who was tugging on the ear of a fellow Blue
pup. He fell in love instantly, like many humans, and scooped the pup up in
his arms, quickly naming it Okana and telling it about the whole and happy life
it was heading towards.
He was the first. From then on, other users
crowded around the box, cooing and awwing over the adorable pups. The pups made
themselves look as cute and lovable as possible. By the time night's darkness
fell, and people were scurrying back to their NeoHomes or back to Earth, all
had been adopted. All but one.
One remained in the box. It was a female Red
pup, who called itself Jem, since it had no name. Jem leaned gently over the
edge of the cardboard box and waved as the last Blue pup was carried away by
a skipping and happy girl. Jem sighed, then looked eagerly around for more humans.
To her surprise, there were none! She shrugged, then hopped out of the box.
There must be a human nearby, thought the young Lupe, optimistic like
all young pets who haven't been hurt, lied to, or heartbroken.
She trotted along the walking path, slightly
confused and extremely amazed. Everything was so big, and she was so small and
insignificant! A big, glowing sign loomed over her head, with some words she
couldn't read, since her old owner hadn't taught her how to read letters yet.
A Wocky ran by her, in a hurry to get to the Magic Shop in time for restock.
He brushed into her rather hard, and the force knocked the pup off her paws.
She landed with a thud on the soft grass that
surrounded the foot path, and climbed shakily to her feet. The young Lupe was
used to being surrounded by other protective Lupes, and having a box and walls
to keep her safe and unharmed. Jem continued on her way, not really knowing
where she was going, and not really caring. Several different humans passed
her, but they always had one or two pets with them, and those pets always snarled
at her if she approached. They didn't want a street urchin in their home!
Jem finally stopped to rest, only slightly discouraged,
but very tired. She curled up warily on the Rainbow Pool's edge, and lazily
watched happy Neopets plunge in, get stroked with those magic paint brushes
that everyone loves, and turn a different color. A Spotted Flotsam climbed out
with it's newly-spotted flippers, and shook itself like a Gelert. The shimmering
water splashed onto Jem's coat, making her giggle in spite of her tiredness.
"What fun!" thought Jem. She gave a happy yip and dove into the swirling pool.
The water closed on top of her. She stretched
out and began swimming underwater, then snapped playfully at a swimming Zafara's
heels, not meaning to bite. But her canine teeth grazed the Zafara's paw pads,
and it kicked out of reflex. Jem went flying through the air when the large
foot smashed against her side, and her crimson body skidded across the gravel.
She saw but didn't immediately feel rocks launch themselves into her skin, ripping
it all over her back and ribs. Little did she know, this accident was the cause
of a horrible fear, which you will learn about later.
She lay there on the gravel path for a moment,
staring with almost fascination at the wounds that spurted bright red liquid
and caused a burning sensation that made her wince and whimper. "So this is
pain," she whispered with amazement. Don't forget, the Lupe had not been alive
for very long. She had no experience with things like pain and the like.
But when she shakily got to her feet, the burning
worsened. She tried to walk, but ended up staggering across the waiting line
of pets for the Rainbow Pool. A Blue Kyrii, waiting to be painted Gold, looked
at her with pity and advised with an Meridell accent, "Ay, that's a nasty gravel
wound. Ye best get over to the Healing Springs quick as a Snowbunny, or the
wounds might get worse."
"What's the Healing Springs, and where is it,
and why do you talk funny?" inquired Jem, panting hard with the effort of standing
straight, wincing at the shooting stabs of pain that went through her sides.
"Why lass, the Healing Springs is a place where
a kind Water Faerie might heal ya for free. No gurantees though, but it be worth
a try." The Kyrii looked at her and glanced around, seeing if an owner accompanied
her. "Ye don't have an owner, do ye?"
Jem said earnestly, "No, but I want one. Do
you know where one might be?"
The Kyrii smiled at the eager pup and told her,
"Tis always a quite a many owners without Neopets by the Faerie Pets Display.
They go to see if a Faerie Pet be the one they want to dream about, and which
kind. The Healing Springs is also in Faerieland, so ye'll be transforming 2
Mortogs with one kiss, if ye know what I mean, lass. Good luck to ye!" He turned
and leapt into the Rainbow Pool with his gold paint brush.
With these words of wisdom and a broken rib,
Jem dragged herself to the Faerieland Cloud Ride port...
To be continued...