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Baby Angel: Growing Up


by shadowcristal

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Once upon the time there was a red house with white corners in the land of Brightvale. A little pet and her owner were living in it, as to be expected. This little one's name was Angel, a beautiful Zafara. She was somewhat spoiled, but her heart was pure and true.

     It was a nice, sunny day, and everything was just going perfectly. They had gone out to play in their huge backyard, and Angel was having very much fun right then.

     "Look at me!" she cried out to her owner, flapping her arms wildly.

     Her owner smiled back. His name was Shade, and Angel was his only pet. For them, this little place was the whole world, captured in the hill and the pond.

     As she ran backwards, Angel tripped on a stone. She fell tumbling to the soft grass and hit her knees on a big, ugly rock. The Zafara cried.

     Shade immediately ran forward and patted his little pet on the back. He took up a silk handkerchief and wiped away her tears as he flashed that smile at her again. Angel took the hanky and blew her nose into it. She sniffled twice, and looked up at her owner.

     "You okay?" Shade asked.

     The Zafara nodded. Angel really wanted to keep playing, so she got up and wiped her eyes for the last time. She ran up the hill and rolled down.

     The wind blew in her fur as the grass flattened under her body. Angel, the lady of the Stillwater Heights! Now that would be a nice title. Well, the name was a little bit lame but that was okay. The Zafara closed her eyes and felt the speed increase.

     "Watch out!" her owner called.

     Alas, it was too late! With a splash, Angel fell into the pond.

     "Help!" she shrieked, not knowing how to swim. Her owner jumped head-first into the little pond, scaring all the fish away. He grabbed her tail and started swimming towards the edge. After a few minutes Shade managed to drag the spluttering pet onto the grass.

     "I'm sorry," the Zafara mumbled.

     "It's… not okay," Shade said, "But whoever doesn't learn to laugh at himself takes life too seriously, and that's not good." With that, her owner laughed. Angel joined in.

     They just stood there, letting the sun dry them and laughing for no apparent reason. Suddenly Shade squeezed her tightly and then let her go. His eyes were as cold as stones as he looked at her.

     "Never do that again," he said with a dark face. Then he started to walk home.

     Angel felt confused. He first laughed, and then scolded her? She tried to not sob as she felt the stuffiness in her throat. The Zafara tried her very best, but a muffled little hiccup came out.

     "Hurry up!" Shade waved at her. He looked serious, yet able to laugh. What an odd combination.

     Anger rose inside her. She wasn't just a kid! He couldn't just do that! She spluttered with her thoughts for a few minutes, but knew it was hopeless. Shade had won this time.

     "Am I just a princess to be saved?" the Zafara asked herself. All of a sudden, she felt some regret and shame over her evil thoughts and anger against Shade. It wasn't his fault, he did what was right.

     But if he did the right thing, then why did she get mad? She hoped the doubts about Shade would fade.

     -

     They didn't. Instead they grew worse with each time that Shade saved her. She knew she ought to be grateful, but she wasn't.

     The time with the pond and the rock was forgotten. Angel didn't care about those childish things anymore; she had grown up. At least she thought so.

     "You're a grown-up little lady," a great lady in King Hagan's court had told her and given her a candy.

     Such an ambiguous message, but the Zafara decided to decipher it by the words. Angel decided that she was grown-up and did not need anyone's help. It felt good to be grown up, she thought as she walked down the road.

     It was fair day. This year, some pets had set up tents in some areas where you could amuse yourself. They would go together. However, Shade had to do some things before he could attend, so the Zafara was left to explore on her own.

     She waded through the mass of other pets that were there to play. Occasionally Angel could hear excited shouts. There were lots of competitions, but she wasn't any good at them.

     "Look! I want that doll!" A Baby Kougra pointed towards a Jhudora doll. The Zafara turned her head and looked at it. The purple color was bright, and the misty green compelled her to move forward…

     The Kougra's owner threw the dart. Seconds later the Kougra was holding the doll, and he was smiling happily.

     "I want something too," Angel thought as she looked around. Everywhere she looked, she could not escape the sight of happy pets with their owners. They seemed so happy and bubbly and full of joy. Was that how she looked to those abandoned, crying pets when she ran around in her backyard?

     She felt so alone. Shade wasn't here, and by the time he arrived the whole thing would be over.

     "Well, you're a grown-up!" Angel told herself. "No need to cry and whine! Grown-up ladies do not complain… Anyway, Shade will come."

     The last thing wasn't true. Shade wouldn't come. She looked at the big, perfect hourglass in the center of the fair. The fine, white sand moved here and there inside the clear glass as she stared at it.

     One hour… Two hours.

     Angel sighed. Then she stopped, and decided she would like to have some fun. After all, it was no use pouting. The Zafara got the determined look, and walked forward to a stall.

     "Would little missy like to shoot some arrows?" the Wocky behind the counter asked as she laid out five arrows of varying size on the clear glass.

     Angel nodded. Why not? Shooting with a bow was really cool, and this was totally the chance to try it since Shade wasn't here. If he was absent, he could not scold her, she thought as she grabbed the middle-sized bow.

     "Isn't that a little bit too big?" the Wocky pointed out.

     "Nope," the Zafara grinned.

     "Three arrows for... hmm… fifty NP, shall we say?" The Wocky held out her hand.

     Oh no! She only had a hundred NP! Well, she would have to win it by six arrows.

     "You think, and meanwhile I'll show you the prizes," the owner said as she took out a big box. Angel gasped. Inside the box, there was a plushie looking just like her.

     "I want that one!" She pointed towards this dream plushie.

     "You're going to have to win it. Good luck." The Wocky put the box away and waited for Angel to shoot.

     Angel took an arrow, put it precisely and let it go. The bow made a sound and the arrow flew over the target. Oh no! Her first arrow was wasted.

     "You're going to have to do better than that," the Wocky commented as she sat in her blue little chair.

     The Zafara grasped another arrow, and sent it flying. It hit a white ring, worth two points. The bull's eye was worth ten, and that was the amount of points the plushie cost. She'd have to make an effort.

     Angel was so involved in her little fight against the arrow and the target she didn't notice the dark shadow beside her. She took the third arrow, and closed one eye, hoping it would help…

     A hand took hers. Together they let go of the string, and the arrow hit bull's eye.

     The Zafara felt like cheering, but she managed to restrain her urge of jumping around and looked at her mysterious helper. At the same time she felt sullen because she needed help. After all, she was supposed to be grown up.

     It was none other than Shade.

     "You're here!" Angel cried, and hugged her owner fiercely.

     "Yes I am…" Shade murmured and walked over to the box, with Angel still hugging him.

     The Wocky opened the box and Angel grabbed the plushie.

     "Happy now?" her owner asked as they walked home. Angel was thoughtful. He had helped again, without her asking. She felt somewhat angry, but the plushie made up for that.

     "I guess…" she muttered. Shade shrugged.

     "What were you doing?" Angel asked.

     "Oh, you know… the usual things," he replied and helped her over a street.

     "You know, I could've done it without you." She just had to tell him what she had on her heart; it wouldn't be fair otherwise.

     "Oh really?" Her owner grinned sarcastically. "All by yourself?"

     The Zafara felt ashamed and disappointed. She hadn't been good enough! Angel knew that if Shade hadn't helped her, she wouldn't have the plushie right now.

     "So, there…" Shade patted her.

     "I'm sorry," Angel admitted, "But really, sometimes I want to do things on my own. I'm grown up now."

     "I see…" he said quietly.

     "It isn't that I don't need an owner or anything, it's just this feeling… that I have to prove myself to me, and see what I can do," she went on, noticing Shade's sad face.

     "Well," Shade said, "sometimes I see that. Sometimes I can see you're in trouble, but I don't really know what to do. I could be your knight, coming in and rescuing you or I could leave you alone to fend for yourself."

     "What is an owner supposed to do?" Angel asked. A new curiosity burned inside her; she just had to know the answer!

     "I don't really know…" Shade confessed.

     "I guess I can do it on my own. If I need you, I'll call. Okay?" The Zafara smiled at her owner, who smiled back.

     "I guess so," he replied, somewhat amused.

     "Deal."

     "You're growing up…" Shade said after a minute of silence.

     "Yes, I am!" Angel replied happily and hugged her plushie.

     "Well, would you like to have another try for yourself?" he teased.

     "Shade!"

The End

 
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