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A Hunt for a Petpet

by steelmaheegun


It was late summer, and the weather was acting like fall. Trees that dotted Neopia Central were being washed with a wave of yellow. A light breeze rustled the lightened leaves, soon increasing to a gust that made you gasp for a breath.

     Sitting under an apple tree was a young yellow Lupe, staring with concentration at the many neopets and their owners enjoying the fresh new day in the beautiful park. On the other side of the tree's trunk sat the Lupe's owner, steelmaheegun, or Steel as he was more commonly called.

     A ripe apple suddenly detached from the tree and knocked the yellow Lupe on the head before rolling to the ground. The Lupe jumped, looking up into the tree's foliage. Rubbing his head in self-pity, he turned back to his observational state.

     "I think I want a petpet," he commented out of the blue.

     "And I half expected you to exclaim 'the sky is falling!'" Steel mused, looking around the trunk to eye his Lupe. "That's what you get for insisting on sitting under this apple tree, Jeger."

     Jeger frowned. "I'm serious, you know. It's not just a young phase. I want to have a petpet to take care of and accompany me. I know plenty about them, and I shouldn't even have to ask you for one."

     "You have plenty of petpets!" Steel cried out, a little louder than he had hoped for. "You have a Phnard, a Scarab, a Puppyblew, a Snowbunny, and that ugly little thing with a giant eyeball for a head… is it called a Turnali?"

     "Steel, get real. You know better than I that you only bought those to sell them again because you found a bargain at the Trading Post."

     A gust of wind picked up, sending a flurry of leaves at them with incredible force. Steel gasped, trying to catch his breath. Jeger laughed after the squall died down.

     "I think I feel a change in the winds!" Jeger jibed, jumping to his feet. "Let's go get me a petpet!"

     Steel wasn't going to argue. It was either because he knew better than to quarrel with a determined young Lupe, or because he still couldn't breathe normally.

     The marketplace was the first place to go. They passed a long line of poor neopets waiting to have their bowl filled with nice hot soup, passed the Shop Wizard who was endlessly busy finding the best prices for all sorts of people. The marketplace was bustling with people, moving from shop to shop to nab something at a low price before someone else took it.

     Jeger and Steel stood before a large shop - a mall, as it might be called.

     "'For all your petpet needs,'" Steel read aloud. He turned to his Lupe. "They'll probably have a good selection to look through, anyways. Then you can get an idea of what you want."

     Jeger didn't reply, but nodded instead. He was very excited to be on the hunt for a petpet, but also determined not to fall for the first one he saw. 'Every expense must be researched thoroughly,' as Steel would put it.

     As they entered the shop, a strange-looking Blumaroo in a cape came to greet them. "WELCOME IN MY SHOP!" she exclaimed, eyes wide. With that, she turned around to greet someone else.

     "Whoa… someone's had too much sugar." Jeger whispered to Steel, chuckling.

     The pair then proceeded to look at all the petpets, whether by just a passing glance or a researched stare. Steel was leaning over a glass pen that held a Miamouse and a Bloopy. As he played around a bit with each of them, he looked hard at the Bloopy. The Bloopy's little cheeks seemed to be stuffed fuller than before. Steel immediately slapped his pockets, feeling around for the omelette he was once carrying. Gone!

     "Jeger, I think that little thing stole…"

     "Steel, over here!" Jeger interrupted. Steel dropped his thought to look at the little Acko rubbing against Jeger's legs and purring.

     "Aww, sweet little thing." Steel commented, bending over to pet the orange petpet. He then saw the price sticker on the Acko's pen and jumped, landing hard on his rear.

     "Jeger, get away from it. We're NOT spending 89,977 neopoints on a petpet." Steel said, sitting on his bottom and waving a finger at the yellow Lupe.

     Jeger's eyes widened hearing the price. "OK then, maybe not the Acko."

     A few steps after leaving the Acko, Steel tripped on something, nearly toppling forwards. Fortunately he caught himself and stood up straight again. They immediately spotted the cause of Steel's near fall. A little Uggatrip stared up at them innocently.

     Steel squinted his eyes at the creature in rage. "That petpet is a major hazard. I won't have it running around with us."

     Jeger couldn't help laughing at Steel's anger, but agreed with him. He didn't want people mad at them because they tripped over his petpet just as much as Steel.

     The two approached a Reptillior cage, bolted with a heavy lock.

     "I wonder why this one isn't allowed to run around," Steel thought out loud, putting his hand near the cage. The snake-like petpet lunged at the opportunity of raw flesh, giving a fierce hiss at the same time. The cage held her back, however, and only allowed her two sharp fangs through the heavy-duty steel bars.

     Steel snapped his hand back quickly, grimacing. He turned to Jeger.

     "Shall we move on?"

     A green Pinceron hovered in the air before them, contained in a glass cage. Steel took one look at the robotic petpet's two large pincers and shook his head furiously.

     Jeger and Steel approached another pen, this time containing two Gruslens - a black one and a green one. Both of them leaned over the pen to observe the creatures with awe.

     "Now these two are great." Jeger remarked, hand wrestling with the black one. "If only they were cheaper." He sighed heavily while looking at the price tag that marked them each as 99,888 neopoints.

     The human and Lupe eventually left the huge petpet shop, each of them burdened with disappointment.

     "Well, none of the petpets in that shop were right for me. But do you know what that means?" Jeger asked, straightening his posture. Steel only looked at him blankly.

     "It means that somewhere out there, there's a petpet that's perfect for me! It means that to find my ideal petpet, we'll have to do a bit of hunting."

     Because they are hunters by nature, Lupes tend to view things from a different angle. If you thought the term 'hunting' meant only stalking Chias for pleasure, you were wrong. For Jeger, hunting means anything to do with searching and finding, such as simply looking for a petpet. And as a Lupe, whatever he does is done full throttle, not giving up until the goal is accomplished. Steel knew this all too well.

     "Alright. We might as well go to Meridell to do a few things. And who knows? Maybe you'll find your ideal petpet there," Steel said, brushing some dirty petpet prints off of his pants.

     Soft green landscape with rolling hills stood before them. The terrain was dotted with coniferous trees, the forests to the north thicker in foliage. The breathtaking Meridell castle held solid in its foundation as always. There were many old-fashioned shops for various purposes, as well as games from cheese rolling to Mortog kissing to Round Table Poker and Shape Shifter. In the beginnings of the forest to the north was Illusen's Glade. To the west was Meri Acres Farm, and fifty miles to the east was Brightvale, another kingdom.

     Jeger and Steel took in a deep breath of the fresh country air and started forward.

     "I'm going to go play a game of Ultimate Bullseye, Jeger. You go ahead and do what you want. I shouldn't take too long," Steel told the Lupe, then walked brusquely off to his destination.

     Jeger had no complaints. He was preoccupied with looking for a petpet.

     He hadn't taken three steps when a Symol popped its head out of the ground. It startled him at first, but he quickly realized the critter was harmless.

     "Hey little fella, do you not have a home?" Jeger asked kindly, slowly outstretching a paw. The petpet reached its nose forward to sniff Jeger, but became distracted by a voice.

     "Yaaaaaaffaa! Yaaaffa!" called a young Acara girl. The Symol seemed to recognize the name and disappeared underground, popping up again next to her. Jeger scratched his neck, somewhat embarrassed, and turned away.

     Walking down a worn out dirt path, the midday sun poured its warmth down onto Jeger. He passed many petpet-owning citizens of Meridell. One of the petpets, a Whinny, stopped on the road to offer his back to Jeger. He couldn't help but laughing. Such a small petpet thinking that he could transport a 128-pound Lupe!

     Jeger passed a fenced field occupied by a flock of Babaas. He stopped to watch them, interested. Suddenly the woolly little animals went into a terrified frenzy, each looking for some place to hide.

     He gave a confused look, wondering why they were so scared. He soon spotted the cause. On a nearby hill, a Darigan Ixi was playing with his Drackonack. The actually innocent sight must have sent the herd of Babaas into their petrified state.

     "No, not a Babaa. They're scared too easily." Jeger muttered to himself, crossing off the petpet on his mental list of possibilities.

     Soon Jeger and Steel met up again. Steel was quite jolly to have earned over a thousand neopoints. "Once I started, I just had to play all three of my daily games," he defended himself.

     The pair headed to their last destination of the day: Geraptiku. Ever since the city was discovered, Steel and Jeger had been consistently drawn to it. Despite the humid density of the forest, the danger of monsters that would love to eat your neopet as a side dish, and the lack of inhabitation, it was a favorite location for the two to visit. Perhaps it was the active sense of adventure the two shared that lulled them to the intriguing city so often.

     Jeger and Steel first visited the petpet shop. Nothing was there, as per usual.

     "Geraptiku petpets seem to be all the rage lately," Jeger commented, noticing the jar full of money at the spot where the shopkeeper should have been.

     "Ah. Like all new fads, they'll likely fade and die out. You know, I heard a lot of the Geraptiku petpets are prone to bite," Steel responded.

     Lupe and owner left the shop, heading to the hulking Deserted Tomb. The Deserted Tomb was perhaps their very favorite adventure in Geraptiku, but it was Steel that always insisted on going there. He was eager for treasure, and especially, the avatar.

     Climbing the ancient steps to the top, they saw that heavy vines and plants had already begun to grow over the stone door like big snakes. Jeger unsheathed his Iron Lupe Sword and cut through the foliage, exposing the door. Slowly, steadily, the old stone door slid upwards, opening. As usual, it stopped about halfway up. Jeger rolled his eyes. They ducked low and crawled under the door.

     After evading all of the traps set in the tomb, they reached the treasure room. Empty.

     "FIDDLESTICKS!" Steel cried out suddenly.

     Jeger gave Steel a strange look. "Why do you always say that?" he inquired regarding the unusual interjection.

     Steel cocked his head quizzically. "I… don't know."

     With a shrug, the two found the exit to the Deserted Tomb and left.

     The sun was beginning to set, the forest's shadows casting over the nearly empty city. Jeger was feeling a bit disappointed about not finding a petpet that day when they heard an excited squeal.

     "Look, Mom! I found a petpet!" a young Shoyru exclaimed. Bundled in her arms was a reddish orange snake creature with several large blue feathers sticking out of the back of its head. It looked up at the Shoyru with an inquisitive expression.

     Jeger sprinted up to the Shoyru and its owner.

     "Excuse me, do you mind if I take a look at your petpet?" he asked, trying not to act too conspicuous.

     The petpet, called a Quetzal, slithered down the Shoyru's leg and across the ground up to Jeger. It looked up at Jeger with curious eyes and seemed to be wearing a friendly little smile. The Quetzal glided across the ground and climbed onto Jeger's lap. There it continued to look up at the Lupe, ruffling its blue head feathers contentedly.

     Jeger laughed. It was love at first sight with the little Geraptiku creature.

     Steel ran up, immediately noticing the look in Jeger's eyes. There was a brief exchange of glances between them, and Steel looked up at the Shoyru's owner.

     "Will you take 31k for the Quetzal?" he asked while a voice in his head let out a bloodcurdling scream.

     The girl looked down at her Shoyru.

     "I don't want that one anyway, Mommy. I want an Angelpuss," the Shoyru stated.

     The owner looked back at Steel and nodded. "Alright, then."

     Steel made a trip to the bank to pay for the Quetzal, and the trio returned home. The hunt was over.

The End

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