Difficulties: Part Three
“I see you’ve found a new owner, Lela,” Rose said to me, her smile bright. She turned her attention to a girl, who stood at my side. “Lela’s adoption fee is 80 neopoints. Then I’ll need you to sign some papers.”
I wasn’t sure what was going on. I looked at the girl who stood next me, and she smiled down at me broadly. I had been in the pound for a month and a half, and the bright light in the front room of the pound dazzled me.
The girl’s name was Elisabeth. She had long, soft blond hair held back in a ponytail, and some loose bangs skittered across her forehead. When she adopted me, she told me that I could call her Elisa for short. I remember glancing back into my cage for one last look at Leilani. The Peophin had a smile on her face, because she was happy that I was moving into a new home, but she also had tears in her eyes. I knew she was going to miss me. And I knew I’d miss her.
How will she survive in the pound alone? I thought, terrified. I remembered that when I first arrived in the pound, Leilani was pushing her third week living there. At that time, she didn’t think she’d be able to make it alone. Then I came along, and we became the best of friends. Now I had to move on without her. It just wasn’t fair...
“Sure thing,” Elisabeth said, her voice bringing me back from the dark depths of my mind. She reached into her pocket and pulled out some coins, which she quickly counted before handing them to Rose. The pink Uni pulled out some papers, which she said was proof that Elisa had adopted me.
My new owner signed her full name, Elisabeth Lynn Johnson, on three different lines in very fancy writing. Rose smiled, gave her a copy of the papers, said, “Enjoy your new home, Lela,” and my new owner and I walked out of the pound together.
* * *
“This is where I live,” Elisabeth said as we walked up the steps in front of a small cottage. The walk from the pound to my new home took only a few minutes. “Well, I mean, where we live. It’s your home now, too.” She unlocked the front door and pushed it open, letting me step in first.
“I know it’s small, but I like it that way,” Elisa said sheepishly. “I hope you don’t mind. You’re an only pet, though, so you get your own room. Maybe that’ll make up for it.”
“I don’t mind,” I said, observing the front room curiously. My old house in the Lost Desert had been huge – much too large for a family of four. “I like small homes too.” Up against the center of one wall was a small Neovision set, and against the opposite side a simple cream-colored couch. Close to the couch was a little glass coffee table with some freshly-picked wildflowers on top, standing tall in a stylish spring flower vase. A rolled-up issue of the Neopian Times sat next to it.
The kitchen was attached; a medium-height counter faced me. Elisa gave me a tour around the cottage, showing me her room and my new room. It was small, but I immediately fell in love with it. A big, comfy-looking bed sat in the middle of the room, with a pastel-colored quilt and three matching pillows on top.
There was a desk equipped with tons of writing and drawing supplies. Obviously, Elisa had wanted to be prepared for her new pet. A dresser stood up against the opposite wall of the desk, with some plushies placed on top. I walked over and picked up a blue Korbat plushie, giving it a hug.
This room made me feel safe. Loved. Secure.
* * *
“The apple tarts are ready,” Elisabeth called a few hours later.
I looked up from my cozy spot on the couch. I hadn’t been here long, but already I felt at home. I knew that I belonged with Elisabeth. She was the perfect owner. I closed the paper book I had found in my room, Super Roo – The Comic, and took in a deep sniff. “They smell amazing!” I exclaimed.
“Careful. They’re hot,” Elisa warned as she set the steaming plate of tarts on the coffee table. “Let me get you some milk to go with those.” She disappeared back into the kitchen.
She came back a second later with a tall glass of white liquid. “Here we go. I hope you don’t mind if it’s low fat. I’m really into healthy foods right now.”
“I like healthy foods,” I said, thinking about the food Rose fed us. “In the pound, the adoptions Uni gave us lots of healthy things. It’s way better than sand, which is what I had to eat at my old home.”
Elisabeth looked shocked. “Your owner made you eat sand?”
“Well, we didn’t really have the choice. There aren’t very many other options in the Lost Desert.” I shivered. “I’d much rather be here than in the hot desert.”
An hour or two ago, I had told Elisa about my dream to be a Flotsam and live in Maraqua. My new owner told me that she thought it was a very worthy dream, and she’d help me accomplish it, no matter what the cost.
After I finished four apple tarts, I was full. Elisa promised me that she’d spend all day tomorrow in the Games Room, making the start of our savings. I went to bed early, exhausted. Tomorrow I’ll write a letter to Kate and Annabelle, I thought. It was weird to think that I was an only pet now.
* * *
The next morning, I rolled over in my bed with a comfortable sigh. I’ve never felt this great waking up in my life! I marveled. My eyes scanned the room, and I noticed a small, neon-yellow piece of paper taped to my desk.
Quickly, I hopped out of bed and snatched up the note.
Good morning, Lela!
As I promised last night, I’m spending the day in the Games Room. I’ll be back by dinner, for sure. Here’s some neopoints. I thought maybe you’d like to spend the day exploring Neopia Central, since this is going to be your home for a while. Feel free to buy whatever you like, and don’t forget to eat lunch. I left breakfast on the table for you. Hope it doesn’t get too cold!
I glanced at the bag of neopoints Elisa had left for me. Wow! I thought. How nice of her! There’s 10,000 neopoints in here! I truly did have the best owner in the world. I had never even seen a bundle of more than 30,000 neopoints before, because Jessica always kept her money to herself.
Elisa had made me strawberry Wocky pancakes, and they were delicious. A little cold from sitting out while I slept, but they still tasted great. I wrapped up the leftovers and put them in the fridge, then went back up to my room to write my first Neomail. I didn’t know how to send it, so I decided to wait until after Elisa came home before it was whisked away to the Lost Desert.
Dear Kate and Annabelle,
How are you guys? It’s me, Lela! Remember your middle sister? I just wanted to let you guys know that I miss you so much! I’ve found a new home, in Neopia Central. My new owner’s name is Elisabeth. She adopted me out of the pound yesterday.
You can write me back if you want. I’d like that a lot.
From your sister,
The first place I went to in Neopia Central was the book shop. They didn’t have any books on Flotsams in stock, so I purchased Deep Sea Explorations. I made my way to the Grooming Parlor, where I bought a star compact mirror, which was what Annabelle used to have, and some lavender soap. In Uni’s Clothing, I bought a pink purse that reminded me of Kate. I was able to wedge in the neopoints and my purchases into it, with plenty of empty space left.
In the Plaza, I bought a new plushie to go on my shelf and a slice of mushrolivepepper pizza for lunch, but I picked off all the peppers and dumped them into the nearest trash can. I was in Neopia Central for hours, browsing all the shops and seeing all the sights. I found the Post Office, where they informed me how to send a Neomail. Luckily, I had stuck the letter in my pocket, so I was able to send it right then.
At dusk, I finally trudged home. I was hungry and tired from walking all day. I clutched my purse close, shivering slightly. Being cold was a new sensation for me, since the weather in the desert was almost always the same. Fall was approaching, which meant summer was almost over and I’d have to start Neoschool for the first time.
There was no Neoschool in the Lost Desert, I thought as I walked along the grass. The tall trees towered over me, and the shadows of night began to creep in. I walked a little faster. I wonder what it’s like. Will I make friends, or will all the other pets think I’m weird?
I had been looking down at my feet as I walked, so I wouldn’t have to see the shadows. That’s when I ran smack dab into something – actually, it was someone.
To be continued...