Gilbert the Poogle: Part One
"Ooh, look at those beautiful Poogles!" Ben pointed gleefully
at the group of joyful Poogles that crossed his path. Admiring the endearing charm
of these colourful Neopets, Ben proclaimed wistfully, "Oh, Penny, how I wish I
could grow up quickly and turn into such wonderful Poogles! Can I? Please?"
Gilbert sniggered at his little brother's ignorance.
"What do you know? You're just a dumb baby Chia.
How can you ever turn into a Poogle when you grow up?"
Ben hardly understood what his elder brother,
the fearsome, determined, and seasoned Battledomer of the family, was saying,
for he was still young and naïve. Nonetheless, he lowered his head in utter
disappointment. The cruel tone of voice was too much for his little heart.
Penny stroke the soft and sparse hair on his
yellow head thoughtfully, comforting him of the fact that he was born a Chia,
that he could not be anything else that he wanted to be. Unless, of course,
the doting owner was willing to indulge in him and splurge on that Poogle morphing
potion he had been eyeing for months.
The Fire Scorchio seemed to be able to read
his owner's mind.
"Don't even think about it, Penny. You'll need
those precious Neopoints to train me for the Battledome, remember? Besides,
I'm the family bodyguard. My battling skills need to be constantly sharpened,
just in case a few thugs here and there come provoking us."
At that the Baby Chia hung his head even lower.
"Stop it, Gilbert." Penny stared down piteously
at the disillusioned little Chia. "You're only making Ben feel worse. Oh, you
Oh you poor thing. Gilbert mouthed the words
sarcastically. It was not a good feeling to be the stronger, elder pet, only
to watch in helplessness as the owner continued to shower the weak and meek
little brother with more love and concern. Gilbert felt it was not right. Not
appropriate, in fact, that he should receive less attention from Penny. He was,
after all, the one Neopet that earned her all that priceless glory by winning
match after match in the Battledome. What did Ben do? The baby could only lie
in his stupid cot all day, hugging his worthless Slorg which, being just as
useless, always left a trail of disgusting slime on all of his freshly polished
Battling equipment. Ben was the least contributing member of the family, yet
Penny loved him most. It made absolutely no sense to Gilbert.
The proud-looking Fire Scorchio's attention
was quickly diverted, though, as Ben shrieked and squealed shamelessly as he
gazed, mesmerised, upon the newly batch of Usuki Dolls that had just arrived
in the Usuki shop. Gilbert was literally dragged into the store, while Ben took
Gilbert couldn't help but roll his eyes.
"You're a male pet and you're playing with Dolls?
What is the world coming to?"
Neither Penny nor Ben heard him. It was going
to be another long, taxing day, at least for the completely uninterested Scorchio.
Gilbert took great pride in his fiery image.
Being a fire pet was a sign of might and strength and to him, only masculine,
superior Neopets like himself were to be deemed worthy of the colour. Gilbert's
condescending attitude was evident even from the way he strolled down the street,
with his arrogant head constantly lifted up in the air with immense chauvinism.
To him, to be able to melt many an Ice Bori was a great achievement.
Everywhere in Neopia, other Neopets held Fire
pets like him in high honour.
Yet at home, Gilbert was only second to his little
brother. Everything that Benny asked for was flooded unto him. Somehow their
owner's heart melted into loving kindness and rained blessings upon Ben whenever
the little Chia pouted in apparent unhappiness. In fact, a few days ago Gilbert
even had a huge quarrel with Benny, an argument which turned into a fist-fight.
Seeing that Ben was wailing and sobbing buckets of frustrated tears, Penny was
immediately bribed to be on the little brother's side. Gilbert was given an
immediate, brutal lashing even before he had time to explain his side of the
situation. The smug, proudly satisfied look on Benny's face certainly didn't
help a single bit. Furious and frustrated at the injustice, Gilbert ran out
of the Neohome, as hot, angry tears letting loose from his eyes for the first
time in his life. It was simply the last straw for him.
Since then, Gilbert had returned home, and the
situation at home had calmed down a lot more, but hostility between the siblings
remained like the numbing frost on an iceberg.
Perhaps Penny realised her mistake, Gilbert
thought. He was expecting some sort of an apology for the unfairness done to
him. Penny could not have failed to notice the reconciliation gift-specifically
the Fire Gem-that he had wanted so badly, what with all that hinting and nudging
and winking that he had done.
Today, especially, Penny was late coming home
from shopping. Perhaps she had gone to buy the Fire Gem especially for her Scorchio.
Gilbert was seized in excitement of the moment of waiting.
Finally. She was finally home, with large bags
shopping, no doubt. The two pets went forward eagerly to greet her.
"Oh, hi, everyone. I'm home." Penny was exhausted,
but evidently weirdly elated about something too. She seemed especially mysterious,
and her tone of voice carried her excitement to the Scorchio's ears. It all
held Gilbert in exhilarating suspense.
"Look at what I bought!" Penny dramatically
pulled out something from her paper bag. Gilbert shut his eyes, afraid he would
not be able to contain the thrill when he saw the Fire Gem. As his eyes slowly
fluttered open, all he could do was stare in amazement and disbelief.
In Penny's hand was no sign of the Fire Gem
that her had been so eagerly anticipating. Instead, it was an annoying sweet-looking
Blue Poogle toy.
Oh, well, Gilbert thought. A Poogle toy
will do as well. Maybe Penny missed my hint.
The mildly disappointed Scorchio half-heartedly
reached out a lazy paw to receive his gift. The Poogle didn't touch his hand
though. Penny pushed the plushie in Ben's direction instead. The baby Chia was
as much in shock as the Scorchio was.
"Who-me?" Benny was pleasantly surprised. Somehow
his elder brother seemed more deserving party to receive the present than of
him, the Baby Chia felt. After all, he was "maligned" in the quarrel just a
few days ago.
Much to Gilbert's horror, Penny nodded.
"Take it, Ben, I bought it especially for you."
Gilbert's mind did not register. More than confused,
he was shocked beyond words. As Benny hesitantly reached out his short arm to
take it, the Scorchio regained his conscious mind and, felt, for the second
time this week, unfairly treated. In fact, this time he sensed more than that.
He was envious, even jealous of his little brother and all the attention he
got. More than anything now, he wanted Penny's undivided attention. Somehow
he must get it.
Not thinking straight, Gilbert quickly snatched
over the toy just at it touched the baby's hand. Before the two could react,
he violently grabbed the legs of the toy Poogle, trying to tear the toy's tough
fabric apart, to rip the plushie which was symbolic of Penny's injustice towards
him. With both paws, he twisted and pulled at the toy, hoping only to destroy
The two others could only stare wide-eyed in
utter bewilderment at Gilbert. But they were not only shocked to see the aggressive
reaction he had towards the toy Poogle. They were staring at something else,
something they had never seen before, something they never thought they ever
would see. A frightful transformation.
Slowly but surely, Gilbert's fire colour was
fading to a mild, warm blue. His wings shrunk, minimising only to become part
of his round back. His portly belly decreased slightly in size, and his legs,
forearms, paws and claws all reduced to mere smooth trunk-like paws. Yet the
change on his face was the worst part of all. His face was contorted into a
weird shape, his mouth shrinking to only a small part on the lower portion of
his face, his eyes grew wide and deceptively innocent, his nose converging into
a little bump on the middle of his face. Ears were gradually forming, extending
from both sides of his head. Slowly, Gilbert was turning, as they managed to
see clearly now, a blue Poogle, not unlike the toy one he was holding in his
Gilbert stopped in his attempt to rip open the
toy's belly. Panting furiously, he threw the plushie onto the floor in front
of Penny and Ben, as if victorious. But as much as he was relishing in his own
victory, he realised sometime strange. He had instinctively stood on all four
legs, something he was never inclined to do.
"Oh, Gilbert, what had you done…?" Penny sounded
as if in distress, as if unable to withstand the impact of the fact. She clasped
her pale face in horror, while Ben just stood in shock. For the both of them,
especially the innocent-minded Ben, the transformation unfolding before their
very eyes proved too much for them to handle in the while.
The shell-shocked look in the two other's eyes
told Gilbert that something was not right. Conveniently, he glanced at the large
hall mirror which was directly to his right. It was a devastating sight.
"What happened to me…Penny…Ben, Oh no!"
Gilbert, though still in ultimate astonishment,
was nevertheless disgusted by his new look. He stared momentarily at the Blue
Poogle toy on the floor, now non-magical, a limp toy, ungraciously sprawled
on the ground. The toy had been the culprit. But rather than to start blaming
the toy which was only doing its job, Gilbert was stunned with disbelief at
his new skin. He had lost his once glamorous self. The once fiery, feared-by-all,
mighty Fire Scorchio he was prided for was no more. What stood before the mirror
now was a disgustingly honey sweet, gentle-looking Poogle. An annoying cuddly
Poogle, which was the last thing Gilbert ever wanted to be.
"I'm so doomed."
To be continued...