Dusk in Tyrannia: Part Five
Chapter 5: I need a volunteer... Mwahahaha!
^^How are your studies coming along?^^ Migga asked me
when I put down my Mechanical Pencil with a relieved sigh about three quarters
of the way through my semester.
^^Almost done,^^ I admitted. ^^I have everything
I need except information on Tyrannian petpets.^^
^^That will be easy to take care of,^^ she reassured
me with a toss of her mane, ^^We're having a Gruslen Expert come down to the
school to give a talk about them. You could learn quite a bit from her.^^
Boy did I...
An ink black shadow Kougra walked into our classroom,
carrying a basket and leading two creatures (they looked like miniature Kougras
with tusks) on heavy leashes. The instant the basket touched the floor, a green
one sprang inside and curled up with a protective grumble. A broad shouldered
Gruslen, if that's what they were, with snow white fur and pale stripes circled
the basket once and then sat next to it, staring at us with piercing eyes.
I smiled happily as Murrov sauntered into the
room and exchanged soft greetings with the shadow Kougra before turning to us,
^^Greetings class! My name is Murrov and I will be your translator for Kiara1896.
You can call her Kiara for short. Now please remember, she only speaks Common
Neopian, so you are going to have to wait for me to translate for you. Please
be patient and wait politely for any questions to be translated and then answered.^^
"Allow me to introduce Lime and Frost," Kiara
began, "These two Gruslens are a pair and currently have four kits in the basket,
which Lime is currently lying with. When my talk is over some of you may, QUIETLY
and SLOWLY approach the basket to take a look at them. Don't pick them up unless
I show you how to properly do it. Properly is the key; it's safer... for you."
Kiara told us all about the petpets: their feeding
habits, what they needed to keep occupied, how to pick one that was just right
for us. I scribbled notes like crazy, learning terms for their personality type.
Dominant: a bold petpet that wants to be the boss of everything, including you.
Submissive: a shy petpet that looks to you for leadership and guidance. She
showed us several tests to find a balanced petpet that was neither too dominant
nor too submissive.
"Now, let's have a brave volunteer." Kiara grinned
wickedly as several paws shot into the air. "Who wants to give Frost a good
brushing?" She held up a Red Long Hair Brush and Frost whirled and pounced on
it, growling and shaking it back and forth like it was a game of tug-o-war.
Everyone gulped and every last paw was hastily
lowered as the feline's tusks jabbed harshly into the bristles.
Frost was still growling at the brush and he
wrapped all four paws around it and began clawing at the wood, scraping pieces
off with every jab. The Gruslen was now clinging to the brush with everything
he had, his muscles flexing and working with determination to 'kill' the brush.
Several pets blanched.
I rolled my eyes and stood up, making my way
over. I was making a show of bravery, though I had to admit I was surprised
by the petpet's ferocity.
"And we have a volunteer. What's your name? Dusk?
All right, Dusk, as I have demonstrated, Gruslens may appear to be cute and
harmless but if you anger them you could be in for a visit to the Neopian Hospital.
Now, believe it or not, Frost here is only playing."
Frost gave another growl and with a sudden snap,
the handle broke and the bristling petpet landed on all fours, clutching his
prize (the bristly part of the brush) in his tusked jaws.
"As you can see," Kiara let go of the shattered
handle and held up her paw, "no blood, and no wounds. No bandages needed. Frost
knew to only attack the brush, and not me. Now Dusk, here." Kiara handed me
a Blue Short Hair Brush. "Go ahead and give him a few light strokes."
Frost caught sight of the blue brush in my paws
and immediately his whole demeanor changed. His fur lay flat, he sat up, tall
and proud, and began to purr. The broken brush clattered to the table, forgotten
in an instant.
I ran the brush softly over his head and down
his back, smiling as his purr deepened and he leaned happily into the movements
of the brush. Regally as a prince, he gave me each leg to brush over and made
not a peep as I began fluffing the fur of his tail with several quick strokes.
Then it was on to his neck, chest and then fully onto his back for a full length
tummy brushing. When I was finished, he caught my paw in both of his front paws
and gave my palm a quick lick. I giggled as his slightly rough tongue ran over
The classroom clapped as I retrieved my paw,
unharmed, from between his tusks and stepped back. As I made my way back to
my seat, my gears were turning. I had never owned a petpet before, but the petpet's
charms had caught my attention. Even the ferocity and the determination to cause
damage to the brush hadn't put me off too terribly much.
After class was dismissed, I handed Murrov's
book back to him. ^^Thank you,^^ I told him in perfect Tyrannian. ^^This really
Murrov smiled happily. ^^I'm glad I could help.^^
I approached Kiara and waited for the curious
crowd to dissipate from around the basket. Lime seemed to be taking the attention
more like a proud momma than a defensive and worried animal. She watched every
pet who picked up one of her babies, but didn't object to any of them.
"Kiara?" I asked quietly in Common Neopian. "Do
you... do you let Neopets adopt your Gruslens?"
"Of course," Kiara said, tickling Lime under
the chin and earning a happy 'mrreow' from the feline. "But if you want one,
you will have to answer my questions to my complete satisfaction. Hmmm... "
She looked me over, head to toe. "You aren't Tyrannian in origin, are you?"
"I'm from the Darigan Citadel," I admitted.
"Thought so; you don't have the accent of a native
here." Kiara rubbed her chin, sizing me up thoughtfully before nodding to herself.
"Okay, meet me at this house," she handed me a slip of paper with an address
on it, "and we can go over just what you're looking for in a Gruslen, if that's
really the petpet for you."
After I finished my homework and put my notes
in with my report, which I would finish writing soon, Migga and I talked.
We came up with a list of questions I wanted
to be sure to ask. Migga also suggested that I make a list of supplies I would
need for my petpet, if I satisfied Kiara. I bought and read Gruslens Galore
from cover to cover, learning about pampered Gruslens as well as stories from
other Gruslen owners. I learned a few more things about Gruslen behaviors and
added a number of toys to keep it occupied, as well as a scratching post for
its claws and chew toys for its teeth.
Kiara was very pleased to hear we had as many
questions for her about her petpets as she did about us. She was even more pleased
to hear that I was going to make absolutely sure she wasn't going to hand off
a sickly or bad tempered creature to me.
"It takes a good buyer to see a good seller,"
she told me. "Never ever be afraid to make sure the seller is as good as her
I answered her questions as best I could while
No, I had never had a petpet before. Yes, I accepted
the fact that Gruslens were as tough, determined and sometimes ferocious as
they were sweet, gentle and cuddly. No, I didn't think starting out with a helpless
kitten was the best way to go; I would be happy adopting an adult Gruslen who
needed a second chance. (That one seemed to please her a lot.) Yes, I had a
list of supplies for my petpet. (She only added a wind up toy for my petpet
to pursue aside from the ball and springy toy I had already put.)
"Okay, I think we've narrowed down the type of
Gruslen you would like," Kiara told me, smiling warmly. "And yes, I actually
do think you would enjoy one, even if they are a little challenging for a beginning
Petpet owner. You want an adult, normal in temperament and already trained in
the basics of proper behavior. You definitely want a male since you want a traveler
to accompany you in the Citadel rather than a home loving female."
I was led to a room and introduced to the most
handsome fellow I'd ever seen. His fur was jet black and his eyes were the clearest,
crystalline purple I had ever seen. I could only barely see his darker stripes
and he seemed to flow from shadow to shadow like liquid. I knelt and let him
smell my hand before running my paw along his spine. He twined around my legs,
purring and then sprang up to perch comfortably on my shoulder.
"What will you name him?" Kiara asked me, as
I handed her the Neopoints to adopt him.
I had thought about a name for a long time after
I got my lists finished last night. I couldn't be so horrible as to humiliate
my petpet with the name 'Fluffy' or 'Boopsie'.
"I think I'll call him Obsidian," I said. "Dark
like volcanic glass."
Migga and I went shopping that afternoon for
all the supplies I would need for my new petpet. Obsidian was well behaved and
got a lot of attention from passers by.
I was surprised and pleased to see that Obsidian
loved attention, but never strayed far from me. Already attached to his new
owner, he was always in line of sight. Sometimes he romped ahead, his brand
new nametag jingling around his neck. Sometimes he dropped back to walk perfectly
by my right side. And sometimes he would drop back behind me, always just visible
out of the corner of my eye.
With a happy purr he would loll around my feet
when I stood still for more than a moment, pawing ever so gently at my legs
with his paws. Then he would roll onto his back to get the soft, thick fur of
his tummy and chest rubbed.
^^He seems to be training you very well,^^ Migga
laughed as, for the sixth time, Obsidian lay across my feet to present his tummy.
I agreed with a smile and scooped him up onto
my shoulder. He gave a surprised 'mrrew', and then settled right in to contentedly
ride. My next lesson proved to be that a 'happy' Gruslen will knead whatever
they are lying on with their claws. I winced as Obsidian happily clawed at my
fur, rumbling a purr as we traveled from one store to the next.
He was already litter trained, to my relief;
and he made the point clear by leaping into the tray the instant I filled it
with litter sand.
We spent that afternoon, and the afternoons following
that day bonding and learning about each other. I learned what he wanted by
the way he behaved, and he learned that claws are not for scratching and teeth
were not for biting. Or at least that applied when it came to me and my possessions.
He had the independence of most felines and had no interest in performing 'tricks',
though he did learn some commands that made him helpful.
To be continued...