"Yeah... sure am. Since Year 3. These Split Paint Brushes
used to be a big deal back then."
"You were painted after you got out of the Pound?"
"Sure was. Decided to keep the paint brush for
myself after I got it... it was a tough steal, too. I was still pretty new at
the game and right in front of me, this girl finds a split paint brush. She's
all... all excited about using it on her Kyrii or somethin... but boy, you know...
when I was lookin' at her and thinking about how she just got lucky and her
cute little Kyrii's gonna have a brand new paint job... you know, meanwhile
I don't know where my next meal's comin' from... ah, it was a tough fight."
"Fight?!" Oxxy exclaimed, his eyes widening.
"Heh... kid wouldn't let go. I finally got it
away from her... and she starts cryin', mopin' about... sayin' she's gonna call
the guards on me... ah, she made me mad, you know? So mad I didn't think...
I halfway wanted to give it back to her, but I was so hungry... so right then
and there I decided to spite both her and me and use the thing on myself. Split
Techo, snazziest pet in Neopia... and I was miserable. I went hungry that night
and her Kyrii didn't get a new paint job," the Techo sighed, rubbing her arm
and revealing more of the dulled orange paint.
Oxxy was completely silent, not knowing how
to respond... how he even COULD respond to what he'd been told.
"Yeah, kiddo. That's the life you got ahead
of you out here on the streets. Steal from a little girl to make yourself miserable.
Doesn't make much sense when you put it that way. We all suffer so much out
here... none of us asked to be abandoned, to no longer exist in the eyes of
Neopians... but what we can do is... I don't know... maybe try... you know...
try and make the best of it, to be good pets, to try and help each other while
we're out here."
Oxxy shook his head. "But... you DO help others.
You give food to other pets all the time."
"Oh, sure... tidbits."
"You probably helped some of them stay alive."
"Didn't do 'em any favors," the Techo sighed.
Oxxy put on a determined look, and put one paw
on her shoulder. She looked up in surprise, and Oxxy cleared his throat, not
even certain what he was going to say.
"That... that... y'know... that isn't true!
You do a lot of good... and I bet you could do even more if... y'know... if..."
The Techo's eyes slowly softened, and she shook
her head with amusement, putting on a sheepish smile.
"Kid... you're rubbing my dirt off," she said
Oxxy quickly removed his paw from her shoulder,
leaving a paw-shaped purple mark in the dirt.
"Oh, man. I'm-I'm sorry!"
She gave him an amused but quizzical look, but
suddenly something caught her eye behind him, and her smile quickly melted into
a look of horror.
Oxxy's eyes widened in fear and he turned to
look behind him, but before he could do so, a ringing blow struck his shoulder,
and he cried out in shock and pain as he fell to the ground. Above where he
lay, the Techo had instinctively snatched the paint brush to protect her loot,
and unfortunately it turned out that it was just that that the assailants were
They were a tough-looking trio; a slimy, nasal-voiced
Aisha with heartless eyes, a large red Lupe who'd been the one to attack Oxxy,
and a thick, green Grundo with the body of a sumo wrestler. They closed in around
the Techo, practically drooling after her loot.
"Hand it over, sweet pea," the Grundo snarled,
making a fist with his left hand. His right hand was tightly bandaged up, and
he kept it behind him the whole time.
"Forget it. You think I'm gonna hand over something
like this to a bunch of newbies, you're seriously mistaken. How old are you
all, 22 minutes tops?"
"Old enough to know better, Techy," the Aisha
snorted, lifting one paw which was equipped with massive dagger-like claws.
"You wanna go at it, let's go at it!" the Techo
cried, tossing her head proudly.
Oxxy had just barely begun to stir after his
attack, and he looked in shock at the sight of the small, spindly Techo standing
before the three hulking brutes as if she could really hold her own in a brawl
with them. She had to be crazy!
"We don't wanna hurt ya too much, honey..."
the Lupe snickered, drawing in ever closer.
"Don't worry about that. Hey, kiddo!" she yelled,
turning toward Oxxy. "You good at fetch?"
Oxxy had just barely stumbled to his feet, and
he looked at her incredulously.
"Let's try ya!" She drew back and hurled the
Ghost Paint Brush at Oxxy, who screamed, panicking, running toward it. Now he
KNEW she was crazy!
He made a mighty leap for the brush and miraculously
managed to catch the handle in his teeth. He whimpered as it was in his mouth,
terrified of the paint that somehow remained on the end of the bristles.
"Haha! Good one, kid!" the Techo squealed delightedly,
seeming almost like a different person.
Meanwhile, the three brutes were completely
baffled as to what had just happened, proving her claim that they were inexperienced
newbies. Finally they decided to go after Oxxy, but their coordination was terrible,
and the Aisha almost immediately tripped over his own claws, jamming them in
the "A" on his collar.
The Grundo had better luck, but before he was
able to make a move, *WHAM!* A blow to his stomach by... the Techo?!
Oxxy watched the spectacle in amazement, as
the small, seemingly helpless Techo took down the Grundo, who doubled over in
pain. She got a great deal of amusement out of this and giggled, jumping up
and down and pointing at him.
But... wait a minute... Oxxy realized suddenly
that the Lupe was nowhere in sight. He had a bad feeling, and suddenly he heard
a crunch in the leaves behind him, and there the Lupe stood, ready to charge
"Kid! Do something already!" the Techo screamed,
jumping up and down, arms outstretched. What could Oxxy do... except...
He released the paint brush from his jaws, tossing
it in the Techo's general direction, and summoning up all his courage, he gave
a hearty swat and connected with the red Lupe's muzzle, sending him to the ground
"Oh my gosh!!" Oxxy screamed. "I just beat up
my first Lupe!"
"You... urghhh... you didn't beat me up, you
punk kid. I'm just gettin' started..." the Lupe groaned.
"But I hitcha! I hitcha right in the nose!"
Oxxy cried, nearly bursting with happiness and pride. "Did you see that?!"
The Techo had caught the Paint Brush and was
standing there, shaking her head.
"Not bad, kiddo."
"You really think so?" Oxxy grinned.
"He's coming at you again, though," she said
calmly, cringing as the red Lupe tackled Oxxy to the ground.
Oxxy had the wind knocked out of him in the
blow, and his mind alternated between trying to get away from the Lupe and thinking
of something mean to yell to the Techo for not warning him in time. He managed
to escape momentarily, putting his angry thoughts on the back burner.
"You think this is some kind of a game, do ya
kid?" the red Lupe roared, his eyes proving that he sure didn't think it was
any kind of game.
"I..." Oxxy began, but before he could finish,
he was knocked to the ground again, crying in pain.
To be continued...