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The Neopian Times Week 7 > Short Stories > Ijab of the Mountain - The Tale of the First Spotted Kougra

Ijab of the Mountain - The Tale of the First Spotted Kougra

by Raven_Starlight

When people visited Mystery Island, a very popular thing to do was to walk to the top of the highest mountain and watch the stars at night. It had become such a popular attraction, that a well-marked road had been built by the natives, and there were many food stands staked at the beginning of it, hoping for business. But business was slow to none now. It was all over the news, in every part of Neopia. If you stayed too long on the mountain at night… you were likely never to return.

At first, no one had a clue what was happening. In the morning, people would hike up, only to find items and backpacks littering the mountain. The natives believed it was a spirit out for revenge and the only bit of evidence the murderer left were a few paw prints. This made reporters think it was a Kougra. But Kougras had been living peacefully among the tourists and natives for many many years.

Then, about four days into the whole fiasco, detectives found some key evidence. They brought back a roll of muddy, dirty, but intact film, with the word "Ijab" written on the outside. When taken to the developer, they found the person had taken three blurry, unfocussed pictures of a yellow creature with black spots, which looked very Kougra like. But who had ever heard of a spotted Kougra? The news reporters named the unidentified NeoPet Ijab, after the writing the photographer (and victim) had put on the roll of film.

Finally, the Chia police decided that they must do away with the beast. They asked for a brave volunteer to go up to the top of the mountain and bring back the skin of this spotted…Creature. No one dared to step forward, except for a small girl, with no pets. Everyone laughed at the thought that this little inexperienced child with no pet would be able to save Mystery Island. But no one offered to go in place of her.

So that evening, the girl hiked to the top of the mountain and waited for nightfall. All she was armed with was a small sword, and she even protested carrying it at all, because she said she would not need it. When the figure of the mysterious Ijab stepped forward, she held out her lantern to see what it truly was.

And indeed, Ijab was a Kougra. But he had spots instead of stripes.

"Why aren't you afraid of me?!" Ijab growled. "I have no problem destroying you!"

But the girl just looked straight into his eyes and sternly said, "Because I do not know you personally. I only know you through what I hear."

With that, Ijab stopped pacing in front of her, and sat down. "So, then you must hear more, I see. You people call me Ijab. I am a Kougra, or so I think."

"A very unique Kougra at that," stated the girl.

Ijab scoffed. "You call me unique. Most would call me an error, a freak of nature. I looked like all the cubs when I was born; a solid colour. We don’t get our stripes until later. But instead of stripes, I ended up with these blotchy black splotches. So they made fun of me. And teased me. Especially this one blue cub. He always looked down upon me like a pile of sludge. But he was a coward. They all were. They would have never fought me. I am so strong, I could have been the leader of the Mountain Kougra's one day, if it wasn’t for these awful spots. But one day I got too angry, and I attacked the cub. And as soon as it had started, it had ended. The cub was no more, and I was running away from the scene of the crime, never to return. So now I am on my own."

"Then why have you destroyed all these other people and pets?" asked the little girl. Ijab looked down at his feet sadly. "I don’t know. I'm confused. I don’t know what to do! I've gotten a bad hand in the card game of life, and I don’t know how to use it. I am thought of as ugly, but I am strong. So I have made myself feared throughout the land instead of looked down upon."

The girl stood up and drew her fire sword. "Well, I was sent here to battle you."

Ijab stood up and showed his fangs. "And I have come to fight you."

But the girl walked over to the side of the mountain, and threw the sword off the edge. "Ah, I see. I said I was sent to battle you, but I never said I would. Now…You said you came to battle me, but that doesn’t mean you are going to, now does it?"

They both stood there, the girl unarmed, and the Kougra starring wide eyed at her. Then, after what seemed like the whole night, the girl walked over and patted Ijab on the head.

"I will not tell that we didn't battle," she said. "You may stay here, or you may meet me at the dock tomorrow at noon, and come back with me to my home." With that, the girl made her way down the mountainside.

Even though it was the middle of the night, there were still reporters and interviewers waiting for the girl's return when she reached the bottom. But she kept her promise to Ijab. "He fell off the side, into the ocean," was all she would say. At noon the next day, she waited at the dock for her boat home. She was about to get on, when she felt a nudge at her hand. She looked down, and there was Ijab.

"I've decided to come!" he exclaimed.

The captain of the ship ran over and pushed the girl and the other passengers away. "Watch out! It's Ijab!" He screamed.

But the girl walked over and threw her arms around Ijab. "It's not Ijab, silly. It's my Kougra, Baji."

The Captain did not believe her at first. "How did he become spotted, then?" The girl waved her arms in the air. "Oh, a paintbrush! I painted him with my reward money for getting rid of Ijab, in remembrance of Ijab!"

Everyone bought her explanation, and Ijab…or Baji, as the girl called him, was the star passenger on the ship home.

"Wow, you sure lie well," Ijab/Baji said to the girl. "Thanks."

But the girl shook her head. "I did not lie…Well, I didn’t paint you. But I did get rid of Ijab. I turned him around to what you are now, Baji, my Kougra, and NOT a delinquent like everyone thought you were before."

So Ijab's new name was Baji, which is Ijab spelled backwards. And he has lived a guilt free, Battledome free life, thanks to one little girl who didn’t judge him without knowing him, and gave him a second chance.

The End

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