A Petpet for the Day of Giving
The air was so bitterly cold that the moment Alice stepped outside, she had to stop for a few moments and cough as the chilled oxygen hit her lungs. After she recovered, she wiped her teary eyes and looked up.
Shenkuu was covered in snow.
Now this wasn't an unusual occurrence. Even though Terror Mountain was the most famous for getting the white, fluffy cold stuff, almost all of the other lands had to experience winter at least once a year. Well, except for the tropical ones like Mystery Island and Lutari Isle.
What was unusual was that it came in with a gigantic storm. Goldfaerie and her sisters had been stuck inside for the last three days, surviving on their meager rations that they'd had stored up in the pantry. The wind and snow had subsided last night, but they only had a can of mushy peas left, and they dubbed the Christmas Lupe to be the one to go into town and replenish their supplies. All because of the gigantic, stupidly fluffy warm red coat that came with her color.
Goldfaerie couldn't wait until the lab decided to give her a more amazing color.
That is, if it didn't change her species first. She shuddered. If it changed her into a Xweetok like her sister... the idea was horrendous. She didn't have anything against Miszuli or her species, but the thought of having so much fur? She had enough of a difficult time with her own.
Shaking the terrible possibilities from her mind, the Lupe started to walk forward. The snow crunched beneath her feet, and as she drew her paws forward some of the top layer brushed off and sparkled in the early morning light. She paused for a moment to admire its beauty, then pushed on. After all, she had all three of her sisters' petpets to get food for as well.
As she made her way down to town, she couldn't help but muse about how much she wanted a petpet of her own. Her oldest sister, Mina, had a rambunctious and stubborn little Biyako called Samuel. She insisted that the calm name suited her terrible little critter, but the only one that the little feline acted nice toward was her, the beautiful Maractite Aisha. Then there was the next eldest, Eeqah the Halloween Kiko—or the floating pumpkin, as Miszuli liked to joke—with her glowing little Gracklebug she called Radiation. That critter didn't like to move much at all, instead preferring to ride everywhere on the top of Eeqah's head. Finally there was Miszuli's tiny Naleap she called Sonata, and the bird was aptly named. She flitted all over the place, whistling tunes into the ears of everyone who would listen—or wouldn't. There were many times when Goldfaerie had been reading a book when all of a sudden one of the Faerieland tunes would suddenly be blasted into her ears, and she'd look up to find Sonata flying away with great vigor.
And each petpet needed a different kind of food. Goldfaerie sighed and closed her eyes for a second. Next thing she knew she was tumbling down the slope, head over heels. When she finally came to a stop all you could see of her was her short green tail sticking out of a mound of snow, fluffed up like Samuel when he got scared.
"GAH!" she said, and burst out of the mount in an explosion of powdery snow. Her fur was coated with it, and her eyes were wide as she clambered out onto relatively solid ground. She shook, causing most of it to fall off, but her paws were chilled down to the bone, and her teeth were chattering.
When she turned her head to see one of the town's outer buildings barely a couple of yards away, she lifted up her paw to head towards it, when... a noise made her stop.
It was a soft little whimper. She stopped, lowered her foot back to the ground, and after a moment she heard it again. Coming from right behind her. Goldfaerie turned around to see a small hole in the snow that hadn't been caused when she came tumbling down the slope. The whimpering noises were coming from it, and when she peered over the top of it, her jaw fell open.
Right in the hole in the snow was a small little Warf, its creamy yellow fur matted and soaked, and it had a small cut on one of its paws. Had this happened when she made her abrupt appearance at the market place? Was it her fault the little petpet was hurt? Without stopping to think, Goldfaerie reached down into the hole and picked up the little critter. It allowed her to pick it up without any fuss, and as soon as she hoisted it up it buried itself into her arms.
Goldfaerie ran right into the marketplace.
Despite the previous days' storms, it was up and running with just as much fervor as it had before the snow came. One of the town's Elders was busy running a noodle booth, but the Lupe bypassed it for one that sold fabrics, blankets and scarves. She didn't even quibble at the price the Wocky quoted to her, and took the ratty piece of fabric that was handed to her. Goldfaerie quickly wrapped the little petpet up in it, and tore off a small piece to wrap around the little Warf's paw.
In short order, the little Warf was dry, fluffy, and making happy noises at the Lupe. Goldfaerie grinned and hugged the little critter, glad that it looked so much better.
Whose petpet is this? she wondered, the smile falling from her face. Surely the Warf had to belong to somebody, and whoever they were must be missing her terribly. After all, Goldfaerie thought, who couldn't help but fall in love with such an adorable, sweet little petpet?
She spent all day going over town, asking the residents if they knew anyone who had lost a Warf recently. She was finally directed to an old Quiggle that lived on the outskirts of town, much like her and her sisters. Warfs tumbled all over the place, and Goldfaerie's heart fell as she knocked on the door, noting the way her Warf wiggled in happiness at the sight of all of them.
But the warf was not hers.
"What do you mean, he's not yours?" Goldfaerie asked.
"I don't have any warfs that look like that one," snarled the Quiggle, her mouth frowning so much that it was probably deeper than Maraqua. "Besides, what would I do with it? It has a nasty gash on its paw, and I'd never be able to sell that thing for any sort of profit. If you want it, kiddo, keep it. It's of no use to me."
Goldfaerie looked down at the little Warf she held in her arms. Keep it? She truly hadn't thought about keeping the little thing. She loved it a lot, but... that would mean another mouth to feed, wouldn't it?
"Keep the petpet, Lupe," said the Quiggle, growling. "Now get off my property."
The door slammed in her face, and Goldfaerie took a few steps back, amazed that anyone could be so rude. She held the Warf out in front of her. She originally wanted a Meowclops. A beautiful, shiny grey Meowclops that she could take out to petpet shows and win prizes, but...
"You'll be my petpet," said Goldfaerie, hugging the Warf close. "If anyone comes up to me and says you're their's... well... I'll just give them all of my neopoints and an apology note."
She walked back down the pathway, whistling merrily. Neither of them noticed the curtains of the window fluttering shut, nor did they see the grin on the Quiggle's face as she turned toward the bowls in the kitchen. She raised Warfs for a living, and sold them to pets and humans that needed companions and friends. But occasionally, when she saw a pet that automatically bonded with one of her warfs and couldn't pay the neopoints she normally asked... well, sometimes she turned a blind eye.
"Happy Day of Giving, kiddo," she said, and picked up an empty little bowl with 'Alice' written right on it. Perhaps she would wrap that up as a little gift.