Green Neggs and Cheese
Sophie the blue Shoyru was lonely. Her sister had recently morphed pirate and was running with a new crowd of all-pirate pets. While Sophie knew Yaoyue would include her if she asked, she also didn't want to put that kind of pressure on her sister. And besides, she'd feel weird being the only one in the group not painted. Before the morph, Yaoyue and Sophie played together after school every day.
Her mother was sympathetic, but only to a point. "I asked if you wanted to take the potion, Sophie," she reminded her. "But you wanted to wait to be painted Faerie."
Sophie sighed. "I know..."
"This is temporary. It's new to her and she's excited. But Yaoyue will always be your sister, and you'll spend time together again. Just be patient."
Sophie started taking different routes home from school, trying to fill the time, even going to other lands to explore. One day, in Tyrannia, she noticed a sign in one of the shop windows. “That’s it!”
She flew home as quickly as she could, looking for her mother.
“A petpet? That’s a lot of responsibility, Sophie.”
“I know, but I can handle it! I’m certain of it.”
Her mother sighed, looking out the window to where Yaoyue was engaging in a battle with her pirate sword. “All right. But you have to take good care of it. A petpet isn’t a toy, remember.”
Overjoyed, Sophie flew back to the shop. Once arrived, however, she found herself nervous to go inside. What if she couldn’t find the perfect petpet? Or worse, what if they didn’t like her?
Steeling herself, she pushed through the door and was greeted by the shopkeeper, an Elephante called Pacha with a Reptillier wrapped around his arm. Sophie’s eyes were wide as she wandered through the aisles, looking every which way at the brightly colored petpets. In a back corner, she noticed the display had many more of these petpets than the rest.
“Excuse me,” she said to Pacha. “Why are there so many of these petpets?”
“Oh, the Mazzews.” The Elephante sighed. “That’s a sad case. These petpets give avatars, you know, but it’s been years now, so most people have it. And, well, many didn’t want to keep the poor petpets after they’d received their avatar. Sad business, very sad. They get quite attached after so many months. It's hard for them to trust a new owner.”
“Oh,” she said, not sure what else to say. She felt very sad, now. She turned back to the display, and her eyes locked with a little Mazzew in the corner. “May I see that one, please?”
“Sure, sure,” Pacha skillfully lifted the creature out of the display and placed it next to Sophie. Another pet called for Pacha from the front, and he turned to assist them. “Let me know if you need any help with her, little Shoyru.”
Sophie nodded and turned her attention to the Mazzew. She tried to talk to her, but the Mazzew cowered and would not make eye contact. When Sophie reached out her paw, the Mazzew scratched in fear and tore a piece of Sophie’s dress. Oops. She mentally added, Learn to sew to her to-do list and hoped her mother wouldn’t notice. She picked up some toys and some treats, but no matter what she tried, the Mazzew wasn’t interested.
Exasperated, Sophie looked up to see Pacha returning. “How are we doing?”
She looked down, not wanting him to see the tears in her eyes. “She doesn’t seem to like me,” she mumbled.
“Oh, well, they’re shy at first. Why don’t you come back tomorrow?”
Sophie nodded, thanked him for his help, and went home.
“How was it, dear?”
Sophie assumed a cheery smile. “Good! But I’m going to wait to get her until she’s more comfortable with me.” She suddenly remembered the rip in her dress and placed her arm strategically in front of it.
The next day at school, she went to the library and picked up a book on petpets and a book on sewing. If only they had a book on pirate sisters. She shook her head and settled down to look through them. She made a few stops after school and went into the petpet shop with her hands full.
“Welcome back,” Pacha said. He looked at what she was carrying and smiled. “I see someone’s done some research.”
Embarrassed, Sophie looked at the ground. “I read that Mazzews love green Neggs and cheese.”
“Let’s see what your friend thinks of it.” He led her to the back of the store and brought out the same Mazzew from the day before. Sophie’s heartbeat quickened. What would she do if the Mazzew didn’t like her gift?
The Mazzew, once out of the display, looked up at Sophie and then quickly away, but Sophie noticed her little nose sniffing curiously. Sophie carefully set the green Negg and cheese between them and waited. After a few moments, the Mazzew slowly began to eat. Sophie kept her distance, not wanting to frighten her. When she finished eating, Sophie slowly reached out her paw. She gave the Mazzew a few cautious pats before the creature retreated.
“Ah, I’m sorry,” Pacha said as he lifted the Mazzew back into the display. “She’s not quite ready yet.”
Sophie shrugged. It was better than yesterday, so she supposed she’d have to accept that the Mazzew wasn’t ready to trust her completely. And after all, who could blame her?
Sophie came back every day for a week, repeating the same process. Each day, the Mazzew seemed less frightened, until finally, instead of retreating, she nuzzled up to Sophie.
Pacha’s face broke into a smile. “Well, look at that! You’ve done it.”
Sophie smiled too, feeling tears come to her eyes again. “I think I’m ready to take her home.”
“I’d say so. If you ever have any problems, just stop in and I’ll see what I can do to help. What are you going to name her?”
Sophie thanked him, thinking she’d have to look for a book on gifts Elephantes enjoyed, and carefully tucked Amie under her arm for the flight home. Amie hid her face in Sophie’s dress, but did not tear it this time.
Once she arrived home, she excitedly showed Amie to her mother, telling her about all she’d done to gain the little creature's trust.
“Oh, she’s staying over at her pirate Eyrie friend’s Neohome tonight. But don’t worry, you can introduce her to Amie tomorrow.”
Sophie felt disappointment sink into her happiness. Sophie's mother gave her a hug. “Sophie, I’m very proud of you.”
Sophie nodded and spent the rest of the evening acquainting Amie with their Neohome.
In the morning, Yaoyue’s jaw dropped when she walked through the door and saw Amie. “A petpet? Wow! I didn’t know you were doing this, Sophie!”
“Her name is Amie,” their mother said.
Sophie gestured to the table, piled high with treats for Amie. “She likes green Neggs and cheese.”
Yaoyue picked up a piece of cheese and gingerly offered it to the petpet. Yaoyue looked at Amie thoughtfully while she ate the cheese. “She seems a little sad, Sophie.”
Sophie sighed. “I know. I think it’s because the other petpets still don’t have a home.”
Yaoyue looked over at her, confused. “What do you mean?”
Sophie explained the situation to Yaoyue, whose frown deepened. “But that’s terrible! We should do something about it!”
“But what can we do? We’ve already adopted Amie. We can’t take more petpets.”
“Come to the pirate club tomorrow.” Yaoyue gleamed with excitement. “If you tell them what you told me, I’m sure some of them will want to adopt a Mazzew!”
“But—Yaoyue, I’m not pirate—“
“That doesn’t matter! This is for the good of all these petpets. Come on, Sophie. We have to at least try.”
“Well, alright. I’ll be there.”
The next day, Sophie and Amie went with Yaoyue to the pirate club. Sophie felt nervous, but having Amie with her helped. She wasn’t the only non-pirate at least. She then noticed that none of the pets were looking at her with judgment, just curiously.
“My sister adopted this Mazzew yesterday,” Yaoyue announced. “And she learned something very sad in the process. Sophie?”
Sophie told them the story about the Mazzews and how she had adopted Amie. When she finished, Yaoyue said, “Does anyone else want to adopt a Mazzew? Now remember, they’re going to be your companion for LIFE.”
A number of pets raised their arms, and those who already had petpets volunteered to help with the adoption process.
Yaoyue’s friend the pirate Eyrie came up to Sophie. “What should we get for them?”
“They love green Neggs and cheese,” Sophie said.
One week later, Sophie watched in awe as the rest of the Mazzews went home with their pirate pets, and even Pacha wiped a tear from his eye.
When they arrived home, Yaoyue hugged her. “If it wasn’t for you, all those petpets would still be lonely.”
She stepped back and looked at Sophie guiltily. “I guess I haven’t been around very much lately. It’s just been so exciting to be pirate. I’m sorry, Sophie. I didn’t mean to abandon you.”
“It's okay, Yaoyue. I was lonely, but everything is better, now. Besides, without this happening, I never would have found Amie.” The Mazzew was happily finishing off a green Negg and a piece of cheese in Sophie’s arms. Sophie patted her head with tenderness.
“I know, but from now on I’ll make sure to spend time with you, too. I’m not always going to be pirate, but I am always going to be your sister.”
Sophie smiled and hugged Amie close to her chest, brushing away some crumbs from the green Neggs and cheese. “We’ll never be lonely again.”