Bluestar the little baby Kougra had been left with a babysitter. Again. She wasn’t really upset with her owner or her favorite siblings, not at all. She understood that Jessica was working. And the others… Well, she knew that Faith hated being stuck indoors, and besides that she was playing Yooyuball with her friends. Practicing, actually; Faith hoped to play competitive someday, in the Altador Cup, though Bluestar didn’t know how one would go about that.
Her brother Kaiouzu was doing a lot of schoolwork lately. He loved reading, apparently so much so he wanted to go to school, university hopefully. But nobody really went to school in Meridell, and there weren’t even any Neoschools around here. But Brightvale was close enough for him, and he’d been working a lot on his application, and so was too busy to look after her.
And that meant Redtail had been stuck with the little baby again. But he wasn’t really a great babysitter. He never entertained her with games. He never played tag or hide-and-seek with her, and to be honest it wasn’t really fun running around the backyard by herself. He also didn’t really like to take her over to her friends’ houses, and he didn’t really want them over here cause then he’d have even more little babies to watch. So what he normally did was sit in the kitchen and read magazines.
But she still loved her brother-stuck-as-babysitter. He was by far the most fun Neopet in the entire world to prank. Cause he always got so worked up over the pranks, and even though he’d yell at her for doing the stupid things she did– like stepping on his cape when he walked by so it’d slip off, or hitting him in the back of the head with a fish she’d caught at the cove– he never really meant to be yelly. He did it to keep up appearances, and she didn’t think many people realized that and just thought he was being a jerk screaming at a baby. Had to keep up the bored, scary mutant attitude he’s been cultivating for… well, forever.
But today, though the baby didn’t know it yet, wasn’t going to be a day she’d have to entertain herself with pranks. No, she was going to have a very full schedule very soon.
At the moment the little Kougra was behaving, stacking her vast collection of blocks into the borders of a box, placing her plushies inside. It was then her little Petpet, a small Halloween Huggy named Fang, began to flutter around her head, whining like he was wounded, which he wasn’t.
She looked up from the prison she was building, and one look at the adorable creature was all she needed. She turned to look at the babysitter sitting on the other side of the room, and raised her voice into a yell that wasn’t really an indoor voice but she was way too lazy to walk over to him. “Redtail, Fang has to go to the bathroom!”
Her brother released a corner of his magazine to wave his hand in the air for a moment. She wasn’t a mind reader, and she didn’t know what the heck he was trying to tell her, so she did all she could think of to, and just yelled louder. “Redtail! He has to PEE! PEE!”
He didn’t respond to that one either. The baby let out a grumble, stringing along a small line of clean insults. “Cheese-covered Turmac, stupid rubbish heap Symol, evil Meepit Feepit, person who’s rude to customer service employees that are just doing their job.”
She stalked off, trying to slam the sliding glass door behind her and failing miserably, letting herself into the backyard without her brother’s permission or supervision.
A startled gasp ripped from her throat, and she fell over backwards onto the patio. Fang was screeching and flying circles around her head, and she didn’t bother trying to calm him because frankly, she wasn’t all that calm right now either.
“REDTAIL!” she screeched, voice cracking up near the top, hoping that her voice traveled through the closed door.
She didn’t know if that’s what made him hurry, or if it was because she’d rushed outside against his orders. Well, technically he didn’t tell her not to leave, though he’d never said it was alright either, and that wasn’t a distinction her brother’d care to make.
She heard his paws stomping on the hardwood floor, and she could imagine his cape swishing behind him and the angry look that would be on his face. Or surprised and worried, if her scream of terror had gotten to him.
The door was yanked open, and Fang disappeared into the safety of the house. She looked up at him, he looked down at her, and she found that it had been worry after all. It was a bit touching. He didn’t really like to show that he cared about anyone, even if he did. A lot.
But then he looked up, saw that gigantic glowing pink portal with the thin black rim around it, and his jaw tightened and his eyes widened and he didn’t say a word.
The pink stuff was moving in swirls, kind of reminding Bluestar of water though she knew it didn’t look much like water at all. It was more of just the way it looked not solid that made her think of water. She had the sudden and powerful urge to walk up to the thing and stick her hand into it, just to see if it’d get her hand wet.
Before she could even get to her paws, the magical pink water/mist shook like ripples on the lake when you threw your stone in, and a flaming magma Kougra was thrown out of it. It was like he’d been shoved and fell through the other end of the portal, and he crashed into the grass, burning a patch around him.
She wondered if there were other portals out there. Had these things popped up everywhere?! What even were they?
But the magma guy rose to his paws, and he had the most confused look on his face she’d ever seen, and without knowing why that previous little thought was immediately swept away. She didn’t think there were other portals.
“What happened?” the magma asked, surveying the area as he sat back on his haunches and rubbed a spot on his head he must’ve bumped.
“I could ask you the same thing,” Redtail grumbled, squaring his shoulders in a way Bluestar took to mean hostile.
The little baby rushed towards the portal, with Redtail yelling out, “Bluestar, no!” behind her. He sounded angry and scared and gosh, he thought she was going to run straight into the thing, didn’t he? She might be a child but she wasn’t that stupid. She just wanted to look into it, like maybe she might be able to see into the other side. She couldn’t. Saw right through it, like it was a pink stained-glass window or something.
“What happened? Did you go through a portal of your own? Where did this come from? Are you alright? What’s your name? I’m Bluestar, it’s nice to meet you. Welcome to Meridell, behind our house. I have a Huggy named Fang, but he’s inside cause this thing scared him.”
“I… I don’t know what happened, man. One second I was sitting on my couch, then it’s like someone pushed me and now I’m here.”
“Hmm,” Redtail said, walking up to the portal now as well. He grabbed onto Bluestar’s ear and lightly pulled her away from the thing, and though she didn’t fight him she hissed quietly in annoyance and let herself be dragged behind him. “What is this thing?”
The magma had stood up, turning to look at the thing himself. “Maybe if I go back in, it’ll just take me back home.”
Redtail snorted, a kind of cruel laugh at the back of his throat he got when he thought someone just said something really stupid. “Do you want to try that? Some unexplained ugly thing that just appeared in my backyard and that you fell out of?”
“Look, I don’t know! I came out just fine so why shouldn’t I be able to go in fine?” His voice went from bitter and accusing to whiny and annoyed as he continued, “Ugh, do you know how annoying it’s gonna be to get back home? Gotta find a carriage or something out to the water, then find a boat heading to Moltara. Believe it not, not a lot of people go there, you know. It’s too hot. Tourists can’t stand the heat. One ship in thirty, maybe. UGH.”
“I’m sure you’ll figure it out,” Redtail sneered.
“I VOLUNTEER!” Bluestar shouted, running quickly around her brother’s legs and flinging herself at the portal. She didn’t really know why she did it. Seemed like a good idea at the time.
The pink stuff actually did feel like water moving through it. Like a sheet of water from a waterfall, except the waterfall wasn’t moving and slamming into your head with a force enough to give you a concussion. Bluestar didn’t really like waterfalls, they always hurt too much, but everyone seemed to just love running through them.
But she found she didn’t go anywhere. Turning, she was just on the other side of the portal. It hadn’t worked at all.
“You stupid, rotten baby!” Redtail snarled, his face a mask of rage tinted pink.
But she knew from the long time she’d been his sister that what sounded super mean and rude was actually just him concerned. And suddenly she was ashamed of herself. Cause that was probably really dangerous and something bad could of happened and then Redtail would probably feel horrible and worried and sad.
“I’m sorry,” she murmured, not able to look at him.
He opened his mouth to say more when the portal started moving again, the same little ripples and then bam!
Redtail and Magma (he still hasn’t given his name, what’s up with that?) jumped out of the way as another Kougra landed on the dirt. She was pastel, and had this really pretty black wig on, and contacts that turned her eyes a beautiful deep green..
“What the? Where am I?” she asked, rising to her paws and looking around, eyes finding the only other people around.
“You’re in Meridell!” Bluestar said, hopping towards her and moving to stand back next to her brother.
“No, we don’t know what happened either,” Redtail grumbled.
The pastel looked back from what had spit her out, and her eyes widened in alarm, then narrowed a bit and her head tilted like she was thinking about something.
“Looks like it don’t work both ways,” the magma said. “You just go right through it.”
“Oh, well…” the pastel murmured, not saying much more, staring into the portal’s pretty pink window.
Suddenly another Neopet was shot from the thing, and with a yelp Bluestar dove out of the way just in time to avoid being bowled over. This was yet another Kougra, a basic blue.
Bluestar looked up at her brother and said, “Redtail I think we’re going to have some friends over for dinner!”
It didn’t take long for people to realize what was happening in their backyard. This portal just kept spitting out Kougras. It would slow down a bit and not do anything for several minutes and then bam! Another Kougra.
They were at Kougra 577 at about three and a half hours after finding the portal there. How long it’d been sitting there before her and Redtail had stumbled upon it, and why it hadn’t powered up before they’d noticed it? She was a baby, however, and she didn’t think about it for very long. Cause right now there were a lot of new potential friends for her to make.
Fang was at her side again, having calmed down enough to feel comfortable again. He didn’t even react when it powered up and another Neopet came out. Just sat happily on her back and said hi to everyone she did.
Faith had finally returned from her Yooyuball game, and Kaiouzu had gotten home not too long ago as well. Together they were all trying to keep order, explain things to people, and give them directions back into town if they wanted it.
Bluestar was currently listening to Dale, a pink Kougra with those ocean blue eyes the color had, tell her about his hometown. He lived in Shenkuu, and very much loved the city. He told her all about the Lunar Temple and how pretty it was in the mountains. She’d never been to Shenkuu, though she’d wanted to go a few times.
But suddenly the baby spotted what looked like a messenger from the castle talking to Kai and Faith. She watched Yenol walk up to join the three of them, listening to whatever the Neopet wanted.
Bluestar said a hasty goodbye to Dale and hurried towards them, wanting to hear what all that was about.
Yenol, by the way, was Bluestar’s cousin who lived up in Tyrannia with her other cousins. He had been Kougra 148, just as confused as all the other Neopets who’d come out of that portal had been. Bluestar was just happy to see some of her family again. She didn’t get to see them much outside of their yearly family reunion in Altador.
But Bluestar was a bit too late, cause as she was running up she saw the messenger walking away. She skidded to a stop behind them, asking excitedly, “What was that? What did he want? Oh, is someone in trouble? Are they going to the dungeons?! I hope it’s not me, I didn’t do anything. I’ll fight them, just watch!”
“Calm down, Bluestar,” Faith said with a laugh, patting the baby on the head. “It seems that King Skarl has heard of what’s been happening down here, and may or may not be holding a feast for all of us.”
“WHAT?! A feast! Are we all going up to the Castle then? Are we going to dine in the King’s own halls? That’s so awesome! I bet there’s gonna be so much food. We should get going now, then, right?! It’s already past my dinnertime you know, so why don’t we go go go! Let’s go!” Bluestar yipped, making to run past them all and out towards the city.
Just to have her ear grabbed and yanked painfully.
“No need to be rude!” she growled, turning towards her very impolite assailant.
Of course, it had been Redtail. She didn’t even know when he’d turned up.
“That thing’s slowing down,” he said, ignoring Bluestar’s exclamation and turning towards the others. “Just hit 611,”
“Do you think that thing’s not gonna stop until every Kougra in Neopia is here?” Faith asked worriedly, wringing her paws and hopping into the air, floating just above them all on her wings. She really didn’t like being on the ground.
“Great Fyora, I hope not. If that happens, I’m moving,” the mutant grumbled, rubbing a paw over his brow. He must have a headache coming on, if he didn’t already have one. Redtail really wasn’t good with people, especially for extended periods of time.
“Well, let’s see, then,” Kaiouzu grinned, turning towards the thing as it shot another Kougra out.
You couldn’t really see their yard at all anymore, as full as it was to the brim with Neopets. It was good that they had such a large yard, and that this portal hadn’t appeared in a bigger place, like, say, Neopia Central. That would’ve been a huge mess. Well, an even bigger one.
It was 5:47pm, and the most massive four tables in all of history had been set up in the field behind their backyard, and more food than Bluestar had ever seen in her life had been set on them. It’d all been wheeled in on 57 of the largest carts she’d ever seen, being pulled along by just as many tired looking Unis.
King Skarl himself had arrived, laughing merrily at a joke one of his jesters had been telling him. He’d overseen the arranging of the tables and food, then sat down at the head of the first one.
699 Kougras were now eating alongside King Skarl at one of the largest feasts in the history of Neopia. Well, probably, at least. It was probably one of the largests feasts in history. Though, to be honest, Bluestar didn’t know much about Meridell’s feasting past.
And as they were all just about to dig in, the portal spit out one more Kougra. A very confused looking disco, who almost jumped out of her skin when she turned around and saw such a huge mass of Neopets just sitting down to dinner.
For several seconds everyone just sat there, her staring at them and all of them staring back. Then King Skarl let out a booming laugh and called, “Well now, come on over! We were just about to have dinner, and I’m sure we have room for one more!”
And with that the table erupted in cheers and shouts, and the disco Kougra (who I learned later to be named Tammy) came over and joined us for dinner.
It was the longest, loudest, and most fun night in all of the little baby’s life. Everyone present got along very well, and it wasn’t long before they were all acting like one big happy family. Laughing at one another’s jokes, stealing food off of their neighbor’s plates, and every so often someone got a pie in the face. Bluestar hadn’t known there were even this many Kougras in Neopia, and was even more astounded when Rainey, a water Kougra sitting next to her, had explained that this wasn’t even all of them.
And then, at 7:10pm, the portal vanished with a Poof! and a cloud of pink mist. The spot where it had been looked no different than before, except that a thin line of grass was flattened down where it had been. And then, after a moment of silence, 700 Kougras, 57 Unis, 8 of the King’s Knights, 4 jesters, 20 servants, and a fat Skeith named King Skarl all went merrily back to their feast.