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One Friday Afternoon


by vanquishee

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Note: This story was inspired by a certain petpet; can you figure out which one before you finish the tale?

It was a glorious Friday morning in Neopia Central - the Food Shop was in a tizzy selling food to its hungry patrons, the bakery was baking scrumptious goodies for ravenous customers, the Post Office was buzzing with business since the newest Neopia stamp was released, and most importantly, the newest Neopian Times edition was on the book shelves ready to be sold to die-hard NT fanatics. The sun was shining on this particular day, and while dozens of NT fans were lining up in front of the bookstore to read the newest publication, a little petpet watched from afar while he stood underneath Neopia Central's famous Money Tree.

      It was strange seeing this type of petpet in this particular neck of the woods - he does not come from Neopia Central, but rather half way across Neopia in the mysterious and legendary city of Altador. What was most alarming was the predicament the petpet was in, for this particular species is known to be quite scared of loud noises and sudden movements, which is a far cry from the buzzing atmosphere that is typical of Neopia Central.

      Now I know what you must be thinking, we should fetch that little lost petpet and find him a good home. It all sounds so simple: an uncommon Altadorian petpet would be a prize for any Neopia Central resident. In fact, he has been "adopted" by others beforehand, but for some strange reason he would reappear in the exact same spot underneath the Money Tree a few days later.

      A kind Neo-citizen was sitting in front of the Bakery Shop, just about to bite into his newly purchased Sprinkle Doughnut, when he saw the mini petpet eagerly shifting his eyes looking left and right at intervals of three minutes, almost as if looking for something. He noticed the petpet every time he visited the Bakery Shop and decided to approach him. As he walked to the mini petpet, he noticed the mini petpet start to cower a bit in fear, almost visibly trembling, and the kind Neo-citizen feared the little guy might have a case of the Shaky Flakys. He thought the petpet would scamper away in fear, but oddly enough, he stayed put in his spot.

     Taking the doughnut out of the paper bag the baker placed it in for sanitary concerns, he extended his right arm and offered the doughnut to the little Altadorian petpet and said, "Hello little fella. You seem a bit hungry, would you like a bite of my doughnut?" replied a kind Samaritan.

      The petpet twitched his tiny button nose and sniffed the food - almost checking to see if the doughnut was real. The kind Samaritan was prepared to give the doughnut to him based on his reaction, but then the little petpet nodded his head in refusal and cowered from the Samaritan.

      The kind Samaritan regarded the Altadorian petpet once more and quietly whispered "Your body has shrunk practically in half since the first time I met you. I gave you a Turkey Club sandwich last Friday, so why won't you accept my doughnut? It has sprinkles all over; my Doglefox loves them."

      The petpet appeared more nervous and uneasily quivered as he softly mumbled, "I do not like any word that begins with the letter D."

      The sweet Samaritan then heard the petpet's tummy rumble in hungry, and said, "It seems a bit silly to be afraid of the letter D. How about I take you to the Food Shop and get you some food instead?"

      The Altador petpet shook his head in refusal once more and said, "I cannot leave this spot. I have to stay in this spot. I *must* stay in this spot underneath the Money Tree."

      The Samaritan tilted his head in curiosity and asked "Why are you afraid of the letter D? And why must you stay in this particular spot, exactly underneath the Money Tree?"

      The petpet sighed and explained, "It all began half a year ago on a particular Friday afternoon..."

      ****

      My master and I were walking around Neopia Central searching for an items for Jhudora the Dark Faerie: a Danish Bacon. Unfortunately, on our way there a hail ensued and so we raced towards the Money Tree to shield us from the clumps of flying snow. What we thought was going to be a few minutes of hail turned out to be longer than anticipated and so my master said, "Don't worry, my love, I'll be back to fetch you."

      You see, my master had errands to run that day and she had a time constraint of exactly 13 minutes and 32 seconds and so she made a decision - she kissed me on my forehead, rubbed behind my horns, and then quickly fled to complete the task. And so, here I am half a year later in the very same spot she left me in.

      Now I know what you must be thinking; what kind of irresponsible master would leave their petpet behind? But you see, my master had very good intentions! She was the first person who adopted me and I was in complete and utter joy. She would love me and in return, I would love her back. She would be the first person I'd wake up to in the morning and that last person I would see before I'd go to sleep. Our relationship knew no bounds and so I was happy.

      However, days turned into weeks and my beautiful soft white and grey fur no longer shined, but instead was beginning to appear clumpy and rugged. My glorious two horns on top of my head were dulling and no longer seemed razor sharp. Even though my claws started to become long and un-tamed and my body size began to shrink due to lack of nourishment, I continued waiting for my master because that is what I do – to be loyal to my master until my last dying day.

      My hope was unwavering as I stood underneath the Money Tree. Deep down I just knew my master would come back to me and it would be like before - playing around in Neopia Central, snuggling together in bed, or going to my homeland of Altador city. It was those images that helped me boost my confidence during the dark night.

      Unlike other courageous petpets in Neopia, I happen to be quite scared of loud noises, sudden movements - so living in the outdoors doesn't bode well for me. The rustling branches and leaves of the large Money Tree, the howling in the dark night, or the chirps of birds would have me running with my tail in between my legs, but no matter what circumstances I refused to leave my spot from underneath the tree. In fact, this spot was initially filled with lush green grass, but since I have been sitting here for so long it has faded away into a dark brown spot of soil.

      Finally, far across Neopia Central Park I saw my master walking to the Book Shop. She looked a bit different, maybe she got a haircut from the barber, but I was relieved! My waiting was all worth it because she had come back for me. With what little strength I had due to my lack of nourishment, I ran to her with tears welling up in my eyes. All of a sudden, I saw something that shook me to my core: she was walking with another petpet, a Doglefox!

      I approached my master in the hopes of finding some sort of explanation, but she looked at me in fright. She grabbed her Doglefox out of fear and shooed me away by smacking my black button nose with a book (ironically) titled Don't Bug Me. It was as if my relationship with her was a figment of my imagination. I was in complete and utter disbelief and shock. I didn't know what to do, but I ran. I ran as far as my hind legs could take me until I had enough and collapsed on a field of grass, out of breath and at a loss of words.

      My mind was a complete blank. I felt as if someone had repeatedly punched me in my stomach and I felt my heart literally ripping in two. I wept for my master and even howled her name out in the dark night sky as despair, disappointment, and darkness engulfed as I pondered, 'What's so great about Doglefox anyway?'

      As he began to retrace all the steps leading to his current situation, he suddenly realized a strange pattern: Jhudora the Dark Faerie asked for Danish Bacon on the day his master left me. The book she used to shoo him away was called Don't Bug Me. The petpet that she replaced him with was a Doglefox. It all made sense! It was as if a light bulb turned on in his head – the Dark Faerie, Danish Bacon, Don't Bug Me, and that Doglefox - all words that began with the letter D! From then on, this initial hatred began to grow, like a seed sprouting from the ground, it stretched so far to his current situation where he is scared of the letter D.

     ***

     So now you know the reason why this little petpet is quite scared of anything that starts with the letter D - not because it's an irrational fear, but because he associates it with being loved, lost, and subsequently replaced by a Doglefox.

      Yet here he was, still sitting in his customary spot underneath the Money Tree waiting for his master to retrieve him.

      The kind Samaritan shoved his doughnut back into his pocket so as to shield the poor petpet away from anymore despair. He pitied the petpet and asked him, "What if your master never comes back?"

      Again, the petpet shook his head and firmly replied, "I will still be here for her. I will always be there for her until my last dying day."

      "In this exact spot that she left you?"

      "For for ever and ever..." replied the Altachuck.

     Altachuck Trivia: This Petpet is quite scared of loud noises, sudden movements, and anything that starts with the letter D. It needs a kind and loving Neopet to take care of it, but it will be quite loyal to its owner for ever and ever.

The End

 
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