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Neopia's Fill in the Blank News Source | 6th day of Swimming, Yr 22
The Neopian Times Week 49 > Short Stories > Dragon Thieves: Guys and Girls

Dragon Thieves: Guys and Girls

by child_dragon

Note: Learn more about the Dragon Thieves here.

It's funny how fate moves. A simple chance occurrence can change a life forever. As our owner is MiracleStar, it's ironic that a star determined the fate of one of us. Perhaps on that night, it really was a miracle star, a chance happening that twisted the fate of one pet to the better.

***

THE RED ACARA stared up at his new owner in uncertainty. She was filling out the final forms required for creating a NeoPet. It was her second, and apparently she knew what she was doing. Apparently.

     "All right, enjoy your new pet," the Uni handling the forms said brightly.

     "Right," the girl replied in disgust.

     "Is something wrong?" she asked.

     "No, nothing's wrong," the Acara's owner sneered. "I'm just dumb, that's all."

     "Oh, all right then…"

     The girl handed the forms back to the Uni and gestured for the Acara to follow.

     "Come on starbubble239…."

     The red Acara followed, still pondering why his new owner was acting so strange.

     The house wasn't that large, with only four rooms, two bedrooms, a living room, and a kitchen.

     "You can sleep on the sofa for now," she said, and left for her first pet's room.

     The Acara glanced around uncertainly, timidly exploring his new house. Soon he heard a high-pitched squealing, and turned to see a white Usul running from the hallway into the room.

     "My new sister! My new sister!" she was shouting.

     The Acara was nearly knocked off his feet when she collided with him in one giant hug.

     "My new sister!"

     "Um, I'm a guy," he replied worriedly, disentangling himself from the Usul.

     She stared at him in amazement, than turned and went running back across the room to cling to the legs of the girl who'd brought him home.

     "Mommy!!!!" she shrieked. "She is a he?!?!"

     "I'm afraid so," the girl replied with a sigh. "I accidentally checked the wrong box on the application, and we're stuck with him now."

     "But I didn't want a brother! I wanted a sister! A sister I could play dress-up with, and go shopping with, and share my Usuki collection with! Not a boy that likes to roll in the dirt and play rough games that hurt people and doesn't care about clothes and Usukis. And besides, starbubble239, is a horrible name for a boy. Can't we get him changed to a girl? Maybe with the lab ray?"

     For the first time the Acara decided to chime in. He was quite happy with being a guy, and didn't feel like playing roulette with his gender.

     "I like being a guy."

     Both the girls turned to him with fire in their eyes. The human girl was obviously irritated at his interruption, and the Usul, well, she was furious that he would dare speak out against what she had decided on. The Acara sighed and wondered over to the back door, gazing out into the garden.

     "Do whatever you want. Just no turning me into different things. I like being a red Acara. I'm going outside now."

     "How can you know you like being a guy!?" the Usul shrieked after him. "You've only been one for a couple hours now!"

     But starbubble239 was already outside, climbing a tree and wishing he was anywhere but here. Behind him, he could hear the Usul throwing a tantrum, and the human screaming back in return. He sighed and gazed out across the neighbourhood, trying to distract himself from the huge fight brewing inside what was supposed to be his home. But all he could see was how happy the other families were. And for some reason, it hurt.

     The next couple days were not happy ones, to say the least. The girl mainly ignored his presence, except to feed him. The Usul gave him venomous glances every chance she got, and talked non-stop about how wonderful it would have been to have a sister. But as much as she pleaded and whined, the girl wouldn't cough up the money to have starbubble239 changed into a girl. The Acara, for his part, spent as much time as possible out of the house. Really, it wasn't a home, more of a place he ate and slept. All his waking hours were spent outside, roaming the woods, wondering the park, and just generally watching others. He never played with any of the other pets. He didn't want to for some reason. He grew to be a loner, the strange Acara that never spoke and spent all his time outside. Eventually he grew to be noticed by the local bullies.

     "Hey, you there!"

     Starbubble239 slowly turned to face the yellow Skeith and his gang of other pets.

     "You there!" he repeated.

     The Acara didn't reply, just waited in silence.

     "Do you have a home? Or did your owner abandon you cause you're so weird?"

     "I have a home," starbubble239 replied, then started to walk away.

     "I'm talking to you!"

     "Not anymore," the Acara replied, already on his way down the street.

     The Skeith snarled and rushed him, but the Acara was expecting his attack. He leaped to the side and snatched up a handy stick laying nearby and cracked it across the Skeith's head. He staggered, dazed, then shook himself, glaring at the Acara. Starbubble239 for his part didn't move, merely stood there in calm silence, waiting to see what would happen next.

     "You gonna pay for that," the Skeith growled, and the rest of his gang closed in on the vastly outnumbered Acara.

     "Not today," he replied, and turned and ran.

     The rest of the pets followed, bellowing dire threats, but starbubble239 knew the neighbourhood better than any of them. He leaped onto a fence, then shimmied up a tree and onto a roof. With a laugh, he leaped from that house to the next, and continued this with the furious Skeith chasing behind, until they were left behind and out of sight. Starbubble239 sighed and found a perch near a house's chimney. He was tired of this life, of returning home every night to glares and stony silence. It was as his very presence was a open sore, irritating the family. He didn't want to be there, and they didn't want him there. He could take care of himself, he knew he could. The incident with the Skeith proved that. And so decided, he settled back to wait until dark.

     The sun set. And starbubble239 didn't move from his spot on the roof. He didn't stir until well after sunset, when night had fully fallen and everyone had gone to bed. Only then did he climb down and start off. Not in the direction of his house, but the opposite direction. There was literally nothing there for him. His owner had never bought him toys or anything, and there was no mementos he wanted to remind him of that place. The family where he should have been a girl.

     Eventually he reached Neopia Central. It was nearly midnight, and practically no one was out. An old, lone Nimmo walked slowly down the main path, stopping to peer quizzically at the solemn Acara.

     "Why are you out so late?" he questioned.

     "Because I have no where to go," starbubble239 replied.

     "Surely you have a home."

     "Not anymore."

     The Nimmo nodded sagely.

     "A runaway then."

     "You might say that."

     "So you don't fit in with your family, I guess. You decided that you could make it on your own, without an owner."

     "Sure."

     The Nimmo was silent, staring at the Acara for a long time.

     "Everyone runs away at some time or another. Or at least considers it," he said, gazing up at the stars. "Most of the time it's for trivial reasons, but I can see in your eyes that it's not this time. You seem older than your age, only the result of bad past.

     Then let me give you some advice. You need an owner. No, don't argue with me. Every pet should have an owner, it's the way things are here. Besides, you won't really survive out here on your own. So go to the pound, and put yourself up for adoption. It's the only way. And maybe someone who'll take you in will come."

     Starbubble239 stared at the ground for a long time, thinking.

     "But I heard the pound is a horrible place."

     "Depends on what you make of it. Don't let that ol' Techo scare you off. It's a place to find owners, and you do need one."

     And with that, the Nimmo started off down the street again. Starbubble239 stared at his departing back for a long time, then back up at the stars.

     "Will I find a home?" he asked them.

     And a small flash of light shot across the sky. It may not of even been a shooting star, but to the lonely Acara that night, it was indeed a sign. Call it fate, chance, or dumb luck, but a single flash of light decided the course of this pet's life. Without a single backwards glance, he went straight for the pound. It wasn't open at the time, but he sat outside and waited for sunup.

     "Well, what are you doing here?" the yellow Techo grumped in the morning, upon arriving to work and seeing the young Acara outside.

     "I'm here to be adopted."

     "Not many pets are adopted from here," the Techo sighed, unlocking the door.

     "Morning doctor!" a bright voice shouted out from behind the pair.

     "Morning," Dr_Death replied sullenly.

     "Who's this?" the red Uni asked cheerily, looking at starbubble239.

     "I'm going to be adopted," he replied.

     The Uni looked doubtfully at him.

     "Well, this is a new low," she said in disgust.

     "What?" starbubble239 asked, panicked. "I can't be adopted?"

     "No, no, she's not talking about you!" Dr_Death shouted from inside the center.

     "I mean, I've never seen an owner too despicable to just leave their pet outside, to not even have the decency to fill out the forms," the Uni explained.

     "Oh, my owner doesn't know I'm here. I came myself."

     The Uni stared at him for a few minutes, then trotted inside, muttering to herself.

     "Ai yi yi," she muttered, filling a cup with hot coffee. "I can't deal with this in the morning. Look, kid, you don't want to be a runaway."

     "I'm not a runaway. I never had a family to begin with!" he snapped back, his temper rising.

     The yellow Techo sighed and took out a pen and paper.

     "Give me your name. I'll put you back there, if that's truly what you want."

     The Uni stared at the two of them in shock.

     "I can't believe you. You're actually letting him do this?" she shrieked.

     "Excuse us for a moment," Dr_Death said to starbubble239 with a strained look.

     He took the Uni by the arm and gently dragged her back into another room. Starbubble239 strained to hear what was being said, but try as he might, he caught nothing. Eventually the two came back in, the Uni looking quite subdued.

     "My name's starbubble239," the Acara said hopefully.

     Dr_Death nodded and recorded it on the file.

     "Follow me," he muttered, and opened a door leading to a long hallway with cages and abandoned pets.

     "Men are crazy," the Uni muttered from behind them.

     "That's just the problem," starbubble239 replied. "I'm not a girl."

     And he followed the Techo to what he believed was his chance to a family.

The End

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