The New Pet
Things used to be perfect. I loved my life as it was, and I never wanted anything to change. It all started the day Vendetta rescued me from the pound. I was lonely and sad—I felt ashamed; my own creator didn't want me. I thought it was my fault. I thought I had done something wrong. But for some reason, I wasn't yet ready to accept my fate. Even though so many Neopians passed me by, I waited, patiently, quietly, and all alone, for my savior to arrive.
And she did. She came, looking just for me, I knew it! The second our eyes met, she flew over to me and wrapped her comforting arms around me. I felt at home. This was the owner I had been waiting for! And so I came home with her. She had a Neohome in Shenkuu. It wasn't very decorated, and it wasn't very big, but she and the other pets always seemed happy.
She introduced me to my new friends—all other Lupes she had rescued from the pound, like me. I was still a Christmas painted Lupe back then.
Vendetta waved a hand in the direction of the other pets. She addressed the red Lupe, standing to the left, first. "This is Islunik," she said. "He's usually quiet, but nice. I'm sure you'll get along great!"
Islunik dipped his head in greeting, and although he didn't say anything, I knew he was very polite and respected me. After all, he was a pounded pet, too. We both went through the same thing. He knew what it felt like to be all alone, and then saved.
Vendetta then motioned to the blue Lupe beside Islunik. This Lupe was sitting and smiling, his eyes bright. "This is Niv," she said. "He's really been looking forward to making a new friend." She then turned to me, eyes twinkling, and introduced me to them. "You two, this is Zasco. He's the newest addition to our family. Welcome!"
And from that moment on, the four of us, together, were the best of friends. We were inseparable. Nothing could come between us. Every day was fun; Vendetta would buy us lots of toys, and play all sorts of games with us. She always split the attention equally. Islunik, Niv and I soon forgot we were all adopted. We were like real brothers. We'd play around all day, go on adventures around Shenkuu... well, not really adventures, but some of them sure seemed like it. Oh, the funny stuff we did!
One day, Vendetta took me to the shopping center to buy some books. I really enjoy reading and have already read a lot, so she wanted me to pick some books out that I haven't yet read. As we walked, a strange baby Bruce appeared out of nowhere. It took me a second to recognize him. Boochi! Then, I was zapped. I was frightened at first. I can't remember anything from that moment until I was back at home, with Vendetta, Islunik, and Niv standing over me, all of their eyes wide with amazement.
"He's so small!" Niv exclaimed, his fluffy tail swishing from side to side. "I can't believe this has really happened!"
Islunik was lost for words. He stared at me with such astounded curiosity and stuck his nose in my face, as if I were an illusion and if he could look at me from the right distance, it would break. Vendetta finally broke the silence. "Zasco?" she whispered.
I squirmed where I lay on the ground, feeling funny. Different. "Yes?" I murmured back, unsure.
She stared at me for a while longer before finally announcing, "You're a baby."
At first, the news didn't register. I felt like I was in a dream. Suddenly, it all came rushing back—Boochi's attack, being zapped, and now laying here, feeling odd...
I jumped to my feet. My very, very short feet. I looked down. My paws were a bright baby blue, so soft and small. Islunik and Niv were many inches taller than me, and Vendetta seemed like a giant. My ears felt too big for my head. My tail felt heavier than usual. It finally hit me: I've really been zapped into a baby Lupe.
My head swirled, clogged with confusion. It took a long time for me to adjust to being a baby Lupe. Eventually, I got used to it. I actually grew to enjoy being the baby of the family. Islunik and Niv were a little more careful around me since I was so small, but they never made fun of me for my size. At the beginning, I whined and pleaded Vendetta to paint me back to a normal color, but she didn't have the neopoints just then. Now that I look back on it, I'm glad I stayed a baby. I did Vendetta a huge favor. She'd always wanted a baby Lupe, and I was honored to be that dream pet she'd always desired.
Life went back to normal. We played a lot more games. Vendetta was saving up neopoints, but I wasn't sure what for. Maybe she's going to paint Islunik or Niv, I thought. But it wasn't true. Instead, the end of my happy days drew closer with each game. With each trip to the bank, walking, talking and laughing with my family, I was one step closer to my doom. The worst possible thing happened.
I was replaced.
At least, that's how it feels to me, anyways. About a month ago, Vendetta left home very excited with Islunik. I thought maybe she was going to paint him, so I was very excited. But when she came home, my heart dropped. Vendetta and Islunik had brought home a new pet. A Chomby named Chyrar. She had saved up all those neopoints to get a Chomby. Needless to say, I was extremely furious. I didn't like him from the start.
He was this weird yellow Neopet among me and my family. Despite Vendetta's happiness, I was reluctant. I didn't want to talk to him.
I remember when she first brought him in the house, and had us Lupes line up for introductions. Her eyes were twinkling so brightly, it reminded me of my first day here. But I went through so much pain, and she brought me a home and happiness; this Chomby was just... created. He never went through what we went through. I felt like he was invading our home—like he shouldn't be welcome here. But Vendetta didn't notice my fury.
"This is Chyrar," she said excitedly to us. "He'll be joining our family!" She smiled and turned to Chyrar, and introduced us. Islunik greeted him the same way he had greeted me on my first day—he dipped his head politely. Even though he was present at Chyrar's creation, he hadn't been introduced formally yet. Niv swished his tail and smiled, saying hello.
"And this is Zasco, our most recent addition—before you," Vendetta told the new pet. "He was found in the pound as well, and I was very happy to bring him home. I hope you can all be friends."
I don't know why, but I was very angry when Vendetta told Chyrar that I was from the pound. I had so many conflicting emotions!
"Don't tell him that!" I snapped. Islunik and Niv turned to me and stared in surprise. I had never yelled before—not to any of them. But I didn't stop there. "Don't tell that new pet about me! Maybe I don't want him to know about all the hardships I went through! He never had to experience any of that! He'd never understand the pain I went through!" Infuriated, I stormed out of the house and went into the yard and sat under a tree by myself. Islunik could tell I wanted to be alone, and brought it upon himself to occupy Chyrar and Niv, who began chatting happily. But Vendetta came after me.
"What's wrong?" she asked, sitting by me under the tree, watching the clouds pass by. "Why don't you like Chyrar?"
I shrugged. "I just... don't." I didn't really feel like explaining it to her. I didn't quite understand it fully myself. "I just don't like the thought of him living with us. We were fine the way we were before."
Vendetta paused, considering this. That's one of the best things about Vendetta. She doesn't just force her opinion on you; she thinks about what you've said and tries to see your side of it. Then she replied, "You don't have to feel angry or jealous. It's okay, Zasco. I'm not going to forget about you or ignore you now that Chyrar is here."
Her words were so soothing. I felt as comforted as I did that day in the pound when she saved me. But I was still angry at Chyrar, at the world, at everything. I didn't want to listen. So I shrugged it off. I stood up and began to drag myself back inside. "Yeah, okay," I mumbled over my shoulders.
As I made my way back inside the house, I came across the other three pets in the yard. Islunik was sitting nearby while Niv and Chyrar played and ran around. They were very excited to have a new friend. I wasn't upset with Niv for wanting to be friends with Chyrar. By this point, I was feeling sad and lonely. I didn't feel anything else. All the anger had burned out of me. I just didn't care anymore. Let them prance around and be happy, I thought. Things are never going to be the same.
Islunik tried to stop me before I got inside the house. "Can we talk?" he asked, matching his pace with mine.
I shrugged. "I don't really feel like talking right now," I said simply. Before Islunik could say anything else, I hurried inside and went to my room. I curled up on my bed and wrapped my fluffy tail around my nose. I was still feeling sad when I fell asleep. Over the following few weeks, whenever Chyrar would try to talk to me, I would snap at him and run off.
That was one month ago today.
Today, I am angry again. I still haven't accepted Chyrar as a part of the family. I've tolerated him, though. I've found bits of happiness here and there—moments where Chyrar is gone with Vendetta, or asleep while we're all left awake, and I can be alone with my friends without his interference. Sometimes Vendetta will bring home interesting but delicious food, or a new toy, and I get so excited and grateful that I forget that Chyrar is here. And I've tried my best for the worried Vendetta's sake to be happier, but I'm just not. She's tried talking to me a few more times since that day, but I still haven't acknowledged her.
A few minutes ago she came home, running through the door, squealing and screaming with laughter at the top of her lungs. She hurriedly rushed Chyrar over to her, and she presented him with the source of today's fury: a baby paint brush.
I watched in agony as Chyrar was painted baby, just like me. And now, everyone but me is standing over him in awe, complimenting him, talking with him. Everyone but me. I'm so mad, I want to blow up in everyone's faces, I want to go sit under my tree again and sulk, and then run off to my room and shut myself away from everyone. But I can't. I can't even move. I'm mixed with so many emotions: shock, rage, fear. I'm being replaced. Vendetta got a new pet, made him the baby of the family, and now she's going to get rid of me! She's going to throw me back into that awful pound, away from my new life, and I'll never see her or Niv or Islunik ever again! I'll never see my family again! And it's all... it's all Chyrar's fault!
Everything I've bottled up for the past month comes out at once. Not in a flurry of insults, not in a physical attack. I cry. I cry and whine and throw a tantrum, just like the baby I am. I fall to the floor and let all the sadness out, wriggle my small little legs and hit the ground as the tears stream out of my eyes like rushing water from a valve.
Everyone looks at me in astonishment. Niv is horrified—I've never cried before, and as nice as he is, he's been pretty oblivious to my inner-torment this past month. Islunik is perplexed and sympathetic, but is still too alarmed to move, or to try and comfort me, since my actions are so unexpected. Chyrar is completely dumfounded. He has tried to become my friend over the past month by approaching me, trying to talk to me, offering to play with me. In fact, I notice, he's been nothing but nice to me, even though I know he's smart enough to tell that I don't like him at all. He's not sure whether to stay where he is or come help me. He isn't sure if I'll accept his help since my tantrum is about him.
Finally, it's Vendetta who rushes to my side. She flies to me like she did in the pound, except this time my vision is so blurred with tears I can barely make out her face. She picks me up and cradles me in her arms, and starts to rock me. I let her. I'm tired of this. I'm tired of being so mad, so infuriated with Chyrar. What did he really ever do to me? He's been trying to befriend me the entire time! And it was Vendetta who wanted to paint him a baby. That's her decision. No, she was never trying to get rid of me... she wanted me to have another friend. I was so happy being with Niv and Islunik that she thought having another baby friend would make me even happier. And I overlooked it... everything...
I fall asleep cradled in her warm, protective arms, and for the first time in a month, dream sweet dreams.
When I wake up again, it's the next morning. My eyes are a little swollen and red from yesterday's crying, which I suddenly feel very embarrassed about. I decide it's time to put everything behind me. As I walk into the kitchen, Vendetta sees me, and seems to understand. "They're all playing out in the yard," she tells me before I can say anything.
I nod my thanks and hurry outside. Sure enough, I see Chyrar and Niv play-wrestling in the yard, while Islunik munches on a Lupe treat Vendetta must have given him. As I approach, the playing stops, and they all meet me halfway to talk.
No one says anything right away, and I know I'm going to have to start the conversation. Guiltily I raise my eyes from the ground to meet Chyrar's bright gaze. He looks so different now as a baby, like me; less intimidating, even. He looks... nice. Sweet. It's a side of him I'd always ignored, since I was so angry with him. But now, I can see the genuine kindness in his heart, and I shuffle my feet. Tears threaten to run down my face again. "I'm... I'm..." The words can't seem to come out. I'm having trouble organizing my thoughts, but I take a moment to calm down. I realize I was trembling, but now I've stopped. I take a deep breath and try again. "Chyrar, I'm so sorry. For—"
But Chyrar interrupts me. I realize this is the first time I've spoken to him other than to yell about him. "It's okay, Zasco." He smiles at me, and I can see it in his eyes that he understands. And that he forgives me. He truly does.
I grin, and I feel a heavy burden lift off my shoulders, float away into the air and vanish forever. "Let's forget everything and start over," I say. "Do you want to be friends?"
Chyrar's answer couldn't possibly have been any more eager, more honest and blissful. "Of course!" he answers.
And forever more, I know we will always be together. We will grow and change together. One day, Islunik and Niv will be painted, too, and we'll all have our own unique way to shine. It doesn't matter if Chyrar went through what we went through—he actually did, in a way. I shunned him. I made him feel lonely and sad since I didn't like him. But everything's been fixed, and I know our lives together are going to be even better than they were before.