Stand behind yer sheriff Circulation: 176,434,869 Issue: 339 | 18th day of Eating, Y10
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A New Friend: Part Two

by carys1994


I woke up in the morning to not only Toby’s tongue licking my face, but to two Kougras- one cloud, other red- beaming down at me.

     “Bibi! Pouncer! What are you doing in my bedroom?” I asked, and then noticed that they were standing on top of me. “Get off of me, now!”

     I shoved them off before they had a chance to move. They both giggled and ran downstairs. Those Kougras scared me; they were so weird. As I came downstairs, with Toby running around at my feet, I saw Bibi and Pouncer tucking into their Neocrunch cereal. I grabbed a bowl myself, filled it up with cereal and sat down at the table with them. I heard Bibi whisper something into her brother’s ear and they both giggled. What are those Kougras up to? I thought. All they did was whisper and giggle while I ate my breakfast. I soon got fed up with it. One more giggle and I’m gonna snap! I thought to myself. Then Pouncer laughed hysterically, and I really did snap. I slammed my paws on the table.

     “Okay, what’s so funny!?” I said angrily.

     Bibi giggled, while Pouncer tried to stop himself from bursting out with laughter again.

     “Well, Pouncer and I were playing about yesterday whilst having a walk and... and...” Now Bibi was trying to stop herself from laughing now.

     “Oh, just tell me! Nothing could be that funny!” I said. Pouncer took a few deep breaths, and then continued where Bibi left off.

     “And we saw you and Sunny sitting together on that hillside, the one where we sometimes go and play.” Then they both collapsed with laughter. I could not believe it. It was just my luck for them to see me with Sunnydaze, a yellow Lupe, the only time I wanted some privacy.

     “So,” I said. “How’s that so funny, then?”

     “It’s just so weird picturing you like that,” said Pouncer.

     “Wait until Ruby finds out!” smiled Bibi.

     I growled. There was no way Ruby could ever find out about it, in fact I was hoping that no one would find out, not even Caz.

     “You little tell tales, don’t ever tell anybody, let alone Ruby!” I growled, pointing a finger directly at them.

     They looked a bit scared for a moment, with their eyes wide and a stunned look on their faces. Then, at the exact same time, they both shrugged and retreated to the garden to play. I sighed and went to see if I had any neomail. I flicked through them.

     “Caz, Caz, Caz, Caz,” I mumbled, and then noticed one for me. I opened and read it.

     To Buster,

     Found out what freaked Sunny out so much yet? Come this afternoon, when Lollypop and Sunny are in Faerieland, so it won’t be so crowded. Bring the Kougras and Ruby if you like.


     Read the neomail. I forgot that I was supposed to find out about Sunny’s fear. But it didn’t matter that much, I already knew. At that moment a red Uni with a mane and tail like a Pteri’s nest came downstairs, dragging her hoofs as she walked.

     “Hey Ruby. You’re up a bit early for a day off, it isn’t even noon yet,” I said.

     “Ugh, I have got to get a new bed,” she mumbled. “It’s so lumpy I didn’t have a lie-in today.”

     “Well, start saving your neopoints. You want to go over Lollypop’s this afternoon?”

     “What? This afternoon? No, I can’t. Caz and I are going to do some work in the garden.”

     “Work? Garden? Ruby, those two words can never be in the same sentence with you, you always complain about getting muddy,” I said, confused.

     “I didn’t say that I was doing the work. Caz will be doing that and I’ll be sunbathing,” she said, and then saw herself in a mirror, and screamed. “First I have some business to attend to with my mane, it’s awful!”

     I’d seen worse. That afternoon I was on my way to Lollypop’s house with Toby trotting at my heel, and Bibi and Pouncer chasing each other. Honestly, at that moment the Puppyblew was being more obedient than they were, laughing and pouncing about, and the odd “You can’t catch me!” It seemed that what they’d seen last night had been removed from their brains, thank goodness. We soon arrived and were inside Lollypop’s stuffy little house. I liked it, even though it was a bit small, it always seemed to be cosy.

     “Come outside; it’s too nice of a day to be stuck in here,” said Lassie. Outside in the garden was Sky, splashing about in a paddling pool, while Max lay stretched out in the sunshine. The Kougras instantly ran around the garden, Toby following them.

     “So, have you found out yet?” asked Lassie eagerly.

     “Yes, she was abandoned by her owner and escaped from the pound and became a wild Lupe. Then she met this massive Lupe called Dark Shadow,” I explained.

     “Dark Shadow!?” said Sky, pricking up her ears. “Where have I heard that name before? Max, do us all a favour and go and get my Bad Pets book.”

     “Why do I have to do it?” Max groaned.

     “Because you have more legs than I do!”

     Max sighed and stomped into the house. Sky sighed.

     “Brothers these days, never think how lucky they are to not have a huge aquatic tail to drag everywhere!”

     Then Max came back outside and handed what looked like an old, thick, black book, with the pages turned yellow with age. On the cover it had in red, capital letters; BAD PETS of NEOPIA, with a ferocious looking Gelert underneath.

     “Where did you get that? I’ve never seen it in a shop before,” I said.

     “That’s because this is the only one in Neopia. It tells you of every evil pet in it, even some that have never been mentioned before.”

     “But, how did you get it?”

     “A Dark Faerie didn’t want it anymore, said it was useless. Lucky for me, I was a few meters away as she just dropped it into a bin. She walked off then, mumbling on that half the pets in there were fake. Well, once she’d gone, I put a hoof in there and grabbed it quickly. It seemed like an interesting enough book-”

     “Have you ever seen a book that didn’t look interesting?” Max butted in.

     “At least I can read them!” Sky snorted.

     “At least I’m not a geek!”

     Sky gasped. “Take that back!”

     Well, they were there arguing for about ten minutes, until Lassie finally got them to calm down. Sky snorted angrily and started flicking through the pages.

     “Ghost Lupe, Shadow Usul, Creepy Kau... a-ha! Found it, Dark Shadow.”

     I leant over her shoulder to see a picture of an aggressive shadow Lupe, eyes wide, teeth bared and growling.

     “He doesn’t look too friendly,” I said.

     “I know. It says here that most pets describe him as huge, a few inches taller than a Uni, even!”

     “Why don’t they just measure him? Then they’d have the proper size,” said Max.

     “No one would be stupid enough to go up to him and say, ‘Here, you mind if you hold the end of this measuring tape for me? Thanks!’” Then Sky continued. “He has anger issues, and usually takes in wild pets and act friendly at the start, and then goes uncontrollably nuts with anger. If the pet survives, it usually ends up either shell-shocked or have a phobia of Lupes, especially shadow Lupes.”

     “Wait a second; you’re saying that our sister is afraid of a complete loon?”

     “I think he looks and sounds quite mean,” said Lassie.

     “Well, the way Sunny described him, he is mean, just taking in pets like that and scaring them to death for no reason,” I said.

     A few days later Sunny and I were nosing around the marketplace together, eager to spend some neopoints that our owners had given us. We were nosing in a shop when I came over to her.

     “Found anything good yet?” I asked.

     “No, everything is so expensive,” she replied.

     “Yeah, I think it’s one of those rich owners who run it.”

     “Maybe we’ll get lucky in the next shop.”

     We both walked out of the shop, the same amount of NP with us as there was when we entered. We both wandered around gloomily, wishing we’d brought more NP with us. Then Sunny stopped and stared into a dark alley as we passed.

     “What?” I asked.

     “We should run. Now!” She said.

     “Hey, hold on! What’s the matter?”

     “Believe me, Buster, we should go!” Sunny was very distressed now, and obviously terrified of something.

     “What’s wrong? It’s just an alley, no need to worry so much!”

     “Buster, this is the alley Dark Shadow and I lived in!” She looked petrified by now. But nothing was in the alley, as far as I could see. Although it was very dark. I should’ve been wise and run, but I was curious. Dark Shadow wasn’t there, or so I thought.

     “Please, Buster. He could come any minute!”

     “No way! Is that really that little Lupe that I once took in?” said a deep voice, and out of the shadows came an enormous shadow Lupe. Sunny instantly shrank into the ground, whimpering.

     “Get into the alley!” he growled. Sunny obediently shuffled herself next to one of the dark walls.

     “Now who’s this?” He glared at me, straight into me and giving me a huge headache. I dipped my head down, trying to block his gaze. Out of the corner of my eye I saw Sunny let out a small growl, showing a glimpse of her white teeth. Dark Shadow must have seen her.

     “Didn’t you learn the first time? You cannot stand up to me!” He growled, and then raised one of his gigantic paws. I knew what he was going to do, and I wanted to do something, and quick. Before I knew what I was doing, my teeth had a good grip around Dark Shadow’s leg. He howled, and I immediately let go of him. I couldn’t believe what I’d done. I knew I was in for it; why had I been so stupid as to bite him? He was obviously going to fight.

     “You haven’t learnt anything, either,” he said, turning back over to me. Then he leaped over to me. What else could I do but attack back and defend myself?

     The battle was long and tiring. I kept on hoping that there’d be some way I could win, but I knew Dark Shadow would beat me in the end. I’d see Sunny in the corner of my eye every so often, looking petrified, as if she wanted to help but couldn’t. I understood, I just hoped she knew that. Dark Shadow and I continued to fight, snapping and barking. I was just trying to stay alive.

     I must have been moving a bit too fast and suddenly lost my footing and stumbled a bit. In that half-second I wasn’t concentrating, Dark Shadow snapped at my leg and would not let go. I struggled to get free but couldn’t. The pain was horrendous. Then he suddenly let go and with one last whack I was down, a crumpled heap of fur, too weak to stand up. Only now did I realise how much pain I was in, not only caused by the leg but by all the effects of the fight.

     “Not nice being bitten on the leg now, is it?” Dark Shadow snarled.

     I weakly looked up and saw Sunny’s eyes fill with tears. I suddenly forgot of everything that had happened just then and the pain was replaced by guilt. I remembered about the night on the hillside and what I’d said. Well, if he dares to come anywhere near you, I’ll beat him up, I’d said. I didn’t know how strong he’d be, but I’d still failed Sunny by not doing what I’d said. The thing that made me angriest, though, was the fact that this whole fight could’ve been avoided if I’d run when Sunny was literally begging us to. Why had I been so stupid?

     I suddenly heard a loud snarl and was brought back to reality. I knew what Dark Shadow was about to do, so I closed my eyes tight and prepared myself. Then I heard a loud roar, a roar that I did not recognise, but I recognised the pet that’d made it. There, at the entrance of the alley, side by side, were Bibi and Pouncer like I’d never seen them before. They were crouching low and growling, showing their surprisingly sharp teeth. Their tails were slowly swishing, their claws long and sharp, and it seemed like every hair on their backs was reaching for the sky, which made them much taller. They looked amazing; you’d never think that they fight over who gets to fill their bowl up with cereal first every morning. It was a loud snort that drew my gaze over to Ruby, who looked quite magnificent herself. She’d somehow slipped through the alley and made her way to the back of Dark Shadow. She had her head low, her horn pointing at him, her ears were back, eyes narrowed and hoof thudding the ground.

     Then I suddenly heard a low, thundering growl. I’d never heard a growl like it; it was so powerful and loud. I scanned all the pets that had arrived, but none of them were making it. It was just that moment my eyes rolled over to Sunny, who was no longer crying. Her legs were far apart, her head was low and her ears were back. I was so proud of her. I smiled weakly. All these pets were doing this for not only me but every other pet Dark Shadow had affected.

     Dark Shadow suddenly turned to Sunny, but before he could do anything Ruby reared up, neighing and swinging her front legs. Dark Shadow paused and looked up at Ruby with wide eyes. It must have been the first time any pet had been taller than him, and for a moment I was sure I’d seen a flicker of fear in his eyes. Then, before I knew it, there was a chain looped around his neck and he was being dragged out of the alley, the scary Techo, Caz and Lollypop tugging at the end of the chain. Everyone instantly went out of attack mode, knowing that there was no danger left. I wished that I’d taken a photo of Bibi and Pouncer; I doubt I’ll ever see them like that again. As for Ruby, I’ll most probably see her like that in one of her temper tantrums one day, and Sunny, well; I hope there she won’t ever need to go like that again.

     I must have fallen unconscious then, as the next thing I knew I was opening my eyes in a hospital, stitches in my wounds and a bandage around my leg. Bibi, Pouncer, Ruby and Caz were sitting around my bed.

     “What the... what happened?” I asked.

     “I see you’re awake, then.” Caz smiled.

     “Hi, Buster, welcome back!” greeted Pouncer, a wide smile on his face.

     “Guess what, the doctor said that your leg’s broken in two places!” said Bibi cheerily. I think she was happy just the fact that I was awake, not the fact that my leg was double broken.

     “You were always rubbish in the Battledome,” sighed Ruby.

     “Excuse me, but at least I don’t scamper about the place trying not to chip my hoof,” I said.

     “Well, without me that scruffy Lupe wouldn’t have been caught,” she snorted.

     “What happened to him, anyway?”

     “He’s safe and sound in the pound,” said Caz, softly stroking my head.

     “You’re a poet and you don’t know it,” Pouncer added.

     I had to stay in the hospital for nearly a week after that, the doctor said it would be too hard to live normally with my leg like that. I didn’t mind- I’d do anything for a week off school. Everyone would come and visit after school, and Caz would come in her free time, when she wasn’t working for neopoints. Sunny hadn’t been harmed at all. She’d visit me every day and sometimes even snuck out of school at dinnertime and visit and eat her lunch in the hospital. I was amazed she never got caught, but I was very weary whenever she came, but still enjoyed her company very much.

     “Hey, why are you taking such a risk in leaving school, not that I appreciate it, I love the company, but still, you won’t get in trouble just waiting until school has finished,” I asked her one day.

     “Well, it’s just that I hate thinking that I’m sitting there while you’re here doing nothing, nobody with you to keep you company. Anyway, you saved me, I owe you.” She smiled.

     I smiled back. I was happy then. I knew I had a friend and a family that have my back, and I have theirs.

The End

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