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Yoinked: The Grundo Thief's Story

by rissa714


Rysnall was one punctual Faerie Acara. He always showed up at the Krelufun factory for his shift precisely on time. Though he had just started the job not long ago, he was a reliable and efficient worker, taking his responsibility as the vat filler very seriously. No blobs of red, blue or yellow color went in any vat but its own, and thus, every plushie produced was of the highest quality.

     This is why he was the first to notice the missing plushies.

     It was one ordinary evening when he was due to finish work in only thirty minutes that he saw something that he had never seen before on the conveyor belt. A gap. There was actually an empty space between the yellow Jub Jub and the red Chomby plush rolling down the belt! Looking over his plushie chart, Rysnall noted that the mysterious gap should have been occupied by an orange Scorchio. Rysnall frowned, scratching his head. Where could it have gone?

     All of a sudden, Rysnall's attention was diverted by the sight of a giant yellow blob of Kreludite, falling toward the floor. He had been so preoccupied by the gap in the plushies that he had released this particular blob without paying much attention to where it was falling. Now, open-mouthed, he watched as it hit something that had been scurrying across the factory floor with an odd boink! It appeared to be another Neopet!

     Rysnall was dumbfounded. Why hadn't he noticed that pet before? Looking again, even dotted with yellow, Rysnall could tell that the creature was a purple Grundo wearing a grey suit. It would have been easily camouflaged by the factory's grey walls and purple tubing.

     The Grundo seemed to have recovered from the hit on the head by the runaway blob, and before he turned away and scampered for the factory door, Rysnall saw that he was holding an orange Scorchio plushie! He growled to himself. There was no way he was letting this Grundo thief get away with one of the plushies he had put so much effort into making!

     Rysnall flapped his wings and soared into the air after the sneaky culprit, who was now shuffling through the door to the outside. Rysnall spotted an open window and zoomed through it without hesitation. He found himself outside, blinking in the bright Neopian sun. It took him a moment to spot the Grundo, but then he saw him below, running into an alley between buildings not far from the factory.

     Rysnall followed, but quickly lost sight of him behind all the shops and businesses. Wait... there! The Grundo thief, looking nervous but moving more slowly, had just entered a building at the end of the street! He seemed to believe he had lost his pursuer. Rysnall was sure that he had him trapped now! He flew right outside the door, blinking in confusion at the sign hanging over the door. "Neopian Adoption Centre," it read. Rysnall frowned as he landed and pushed the door open. Why would the Grundo be going inside of an adoption agency?

     Inside, Rysnall was greeted by a pink Uni and a yellow Techo sharing a desk, both smiling in a winning manner. The Uni spoke to him first. "Why, hello! Are you here to adopt?"

     The Techo jumped in with, "Or are you here to abandon?" The look on his face made Rysnall feel somewhat uneasy.

     Rysnall glanced around the small lobby. "Er, neither. I'm looking for a purple Grundo that came in here. Have you seen him?"

     The Techo nodded, pointing a slim finger toward a set of double doors to his right. "Yes, Xarax. He's a regular visitor here. He's with the young orphans now."

     By the point Rysnall was extremely confused. Xarax? The young orphans? Perhaps the Techo was mistaken. This couldn't be the thief he was after! Still, he hesitantly went through the doors, certain he'd find nothing but young Neopets, abandoned just after being born, looking for owners. And indeed there were young Neopets in that room--a blue Xweetok, a red Wocky, and a green Mynci, among others--all gathered around the purple Grundo that was still covered in yellow Kreludite! In his arms was a young blue Ixi, happily snuggling the orange Scorchio plushie that had been yoinked off of the conveyor belt less than an hour earlier. Looking around, Rysnall could see Krelufun plushies all around the room, some in the arms of other abandoned pets.

     The Grundo looked up when Rysnall entered, and didn't seem ashamed, just defiant. He carefully set the Ixi down on the ground as he turned to face Rysnall. It was clear that he was through running.

     "You're Xarax?" Rysnall asked. He watched as the Ixi scooted closer to the Grundo, hugging his legs and smiling happily up at him.

     The purple Grundo thief nodded, placing an absent hand on the Ixi's head. "I'm Xarax. I guess I knew from the moment I saw those wings of yours that I wouldn't be able to outrun you."

     Rysnall was still somewhat confused. "Did you steal all of these plushies?"

     Xarax chuckled. "Yes. And you should be quite proud of yourself. You're the first worker ever to notice them missing."

     "And you've been giving them to these ownerless pets?"

     Xarax's face hardened. "Some of these pets have been in the pound for years, with no one to love them, hold them, or even do something as simple as buy a toy for them. Your factory is so huge, I didn't think they'd miss one here or there."

     Rysnall smiled for the first time. "Apparently they haven't.... until now." He looked around at the dejected pets, still clinging to their plushies. They all seemed to be gazing up at him with desperate eyes. A nearby yellow Yurble slept contentedly in a rough-looking bed, clutching a green Chomby plush. On the next bed over, a blue Shoyru was flying his rainbow Scorchio toy through the air. The walls seemed so bare, and the floors were just scratched wood. But worst of all was the heavy feeling of longing in the air. Longing for a caring owner.

     Rysnall remembered the day he was born, right into his loving owners' arms from the beginning. He had never wanted for food, toys, or love. He couldn't imagine the suffering these pets went through waiting day in and day out to be adopted.

     But apparently Xarax could do more than just imagine such pain, for he went on. "I was adopted by my owner from this very place, a long time ago. I know how lonely it can be. But sometimes something as small as a stuffed toy makes a difference." He looked at the younger pets with something like love in his eyes. "It's all they have, really."

     Rysnall sighed. "Xarax, next time you swipe a plushie from that factory..."

     Xarax stood up straight, his eyebrow raised in question as Rysnall grinned broadly.

     "Watch out for falling Kreludite!"

     Xarax looked down at his splotchy self and laughed. Without another word, Rysnall flew out of the room. Over the next few weeks, Rysnall would occasionally see another of those empty spaces floating down the conveyor belt. He would look away and drop another blob of color into the proper vat.

     And then he would smile.

The End

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