Caution: Quills may be sharp Circulation: 81,443,838 Issue: 150 | 23rd day of Swimming, Y6
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Wishing for Wings: Buzz Off

by sharakh


It was a beautiful day in Neopia Central. Within the modest NeoHome at 223377 Bread Street, the daylight streamed in through an open window and onto the upturned face of a Spardel. The petpet stared at the clouds above intensely, blinking only as a necessity.

      "He's doing it again," Msomari the mutant buzz remarked from his beanbag chair, looking up from the Times.

      Friskitorius sighed and glanced over to his petpet. "You know Skoop, Mso... I can't stop him." And, with that, the red Gelert went back to his comic book.

      Skoop took in the conversation with the barest flick of an ear. That wasn't interesting. The sky, now... the sky was glorious. If he stared at it long enough, he could imagine it within his reach... darting amongst the clouds, chasing Pteris through the ever-changing winds. His eyes shut rapturously as a breeze brushed across his face, and he sprung into the air, unfurling his wings, preparing to soar...

      ...and then promptly landed on his head. He had no real wings, after all.

      The Spardel carefully righted himself, his head aching, and went to lay near his owner. He didn't understand whatever the yellow pet said as he did, though it sounded mean. His own pet, though, the big red one, said something soothing to him.

      It didn't matter. He couldn't fly. Large tears flowed from his oversized eyes as he curled up, snuffling.

      He'd tried. Oh, how he'd tried. It had taken him a long time to sneak up to Faerieland without an owner. He hid in the backpacks of travelers and among store cargo until at last he'd found himself tossed out on his back onto a fluffy white cloud. His first order of business was to find wings. This proved harder than he'd thought -- wherever the faeries hid them, they did so well. So he'd fashioned his own out of paper and tape, using his teeth. A few experimental leaps were enough to confirm that they didn't work, so he scampered over to the Petpet shop there and studied the strange and wonderful flying petpets in the window.

      That was how his owner had found him... just as he'd studied enough and took off for the ultimate test: leaping off the edge of Faerieland. The big red pet had stopped him, though, picking him up by the nape of his neck and taking him back down to Neopia Central.

      He'd been undaunted, however. During his time in Faerieland, he'd noticed brushes being used to give petpets wings. Surely this could work for him, too! So Skoop, as he was now called, set out to find one when his owner was playing fetch with him. When he returned triumphant, however, he'd been given a scolding speech instead of wings. He reluctantly returned the paint brush from whence it'd come, but not before trying to paint wings onto his back by wedging the brush in a door. The magic didn't work on him.

      No, no matter what he did or how hard he strove, poor Skoop found himself ground-bound. His sniffling and snorting was enough to make the mean yellow one say something and stand up, leaving the room. As he did so, Skoop looked up.

      And saw them.

      Wings. Huge, gorgeous wings. Wings attached to the back of his owner's nasty friend, maybe, but wings just the same. Wings he didn't seem to be using.

      A plan hatched in the desperate mind of the Spardel...


The big red one snored loudly in his bed, kicking and muttering occasionally. Skoop watched and listened in the moonlight from his blanket in the corner. Tonight was the night. Tonight, he was going to get wings.

      Slowly, agonizingly, his owner quieted, settling back into a deeper slumber. On soft paws the Spardel snuck across the room and nosed open the door. The mean yellow one slept just across the hall. He'd been yelled at and shooed out of the room enough times to know that. With a last glance to make certain he wasn't being watched, Skoop slipped out of the door and into the dark hallway.

      The door was right there, looming, forbidding, and cracked open ever so slightly. He nearly yipped in joy. Tonight was definitely the night! Carefully he crept across the hall, eyes on the doorknob, hoping fervently the one within wouldn't remember he'd left it open and shut-

      A sudden grunt interrupted his thoughts. He froze in mid-step, gaze snapping downward. In front of the door was a large, muscular lump, snorting and grunting in its sleep. Two large, sharp tusks gleamed in the dim light.

      It was Rahisi, the mean one's Donksaur. Skoop had no real problem with Rahisi -- the Donksaur was easygoing in general -- but he knew he was fiercely protective of his owner. The Spardel had no desire to be on the business end of those tusks.

      His ears drooped in exasperation. He was so close! There was no way he could sneak past Rahisi, though; the Donksaur's nose was keener than his own. With a soft sigh, Skoop shuffled back into his own room.

      A sweet smell tickled his nose as he moped his way past his master's bed... something he hadn't noticed before. His owner was always stuffing things he'd found during his daily travels under the bed. His curiosity overtook his depression; Skoop crawled under the bed, nose twitching, trying to find the object.

      It took a moment for him to realize that the ugly, corncob-shaped flower blossom before him was the thing making the wonderful smell. Tentatively he licked a petal. His tastebuds exploded with a wonderful sugary taste. He opened his mouth, ready to drown his sorrows in food... then paused. Rahisi had a sweet tusk...

      Once he had the large blossom situated out in the hallway, he stepped in front of it in order to hide it. Then, carefully, he angled his head forward and touched Rahisi with his cold nose. The Donksaur shook, snorted, and woke up slowly. His tiny blue eyes regarded the Spardel with curiosity and minor annoyance.

      Then a scent caught his tremendous nose. It wrinkled as he inhaled deeply. His ears trembled. That was a smell of home! Ponderously he stood and began to look for the delectable source.

      Skoop waved to get his attention. Rahisi looked back at him reluctantly. The Spardel gestured sharply to the door behind Rahisi with one paw, then brought out the blossom with the other. He repeated the move a few times, shaking the blossom in front of Rahisi's nose.

      The light of comprehension at last dawned in Rahisi's piggish eyes. He nodded emphatically, murmured, "Ugga," softly, and took the blossom as he moved away from the door. Skoop padded into the bedroom while Rahisi enjoyed his honey treat.

      The Spardel's sharp ears heard the mean one muttering; he froze just inside the door. But he was only talking in his sleep... and shifting. Shifting so his back was to the doorway.

      Skoop's eyes widened as he again gazed on the wings that were his goal. They shimmered, almost sparkled in the moonlight. In no time at all he was clambering up the bedclothes, slinking softly along the edge of the bed, until he sat before his prize. With one trembling paw, he reached out and stroked one wing gently. It was so light, so soft! And soon, soon they would be his. Oh, the mean one might wake up, but by then he'd have wings - it was just a matter of flying out the open window.

      His attention turned to the manner in which they were attached. He didn't see any buttons or zippers. Skoop wrapped a paw around one wing and tugged lightly. The wing didn't budge. He pulled harder. Still no movement from the wing, but there was annoyed muttering coming from the mean one now. The Spardel's ears drooped; he hadn't really thought past how to get the wings. He just assumed they'd come off, happy to be used on someone who wanted to fly...

      Maybe he wasn't pulling hard enough. He braced himself on his two hindpaws, took the wing edge in both front paws, and gave an incredible yank. Still the wing held firm, but now the mean one was shifting, obviously waking up. Skoop went back down on all fours, becoming desperate. Pulling hadn't worked... there was only one thing left to try.

      He launched himself at the place where the wing connected to the back and bit down. Hard.

      "YEEEEEEEEEEEEEOUCH!" came the exclamation from the other room. Friskitorius was awake in seconds. He stumbled out of the blankets and opened his bedroom door just in time to see Msomari storm out of his own room with a certain Spardel in hand.

      The buzz's red eyes bored into Friski. "This... this son of Sloth bit me, Friskitorius! He snuck in my room, climbed up on my bed, and bit me in the back!" He thrust out his hands, the Spardel clenched between them. "I've tolerated your petpet's craziness. I've tripped over pinwheels and miniature gliders and all manner of fake wings as I've come home after a long day. But so help me, Friski, this is the last draw! He attacked me! I want him gone! Do you hear me?! GONE!"

      Skoop seemed to understand the tone of Msomari's tirade if not the words. Looking up at his owner, his ears drooped behind his head and his eyes started watering.

      "Aw, Mso," Friski replied, taking Skoop from him, "I'm sure he didn't mean anything by it. You know how desperate the little guy is. I'll make sure he stays away from your room at night, if that makes you feel better, but I'm not gonna get rid of him. He's my pal."

      Msomari growled and opened his mouth for a retort, but then spied his own happily munching petpet. "And YOU! What kind of guard Donksaur are you, anyway?!"

      "Ut uhg," Rahisi said placidly, then returned to his meal.

      The buzz glared down at Skoop, snarling, "See that he doesn't show up in my room again, Friski." With that, he went back into his room and slammed the door.

      With a sigh, Friski nosed his petpet into his own room and shut the door behind them. As he climbed back up into bed, he looked over at the attentive Skoop. "I know you want to fly, Skoop, but Mso's wings are off-limits, okay? I don't want anything to happen to you."

      Skoop watched as his owner fell back asleep. So his plan hadn't worked out exactly right. He'd tried the easy target and missed. He didn't mind. There were plenty of other wings in Neopia; one set of them was bound to be his. He'd find them eventually.

      As the Spardel curled back up in his blanket in the corner, his mind was already drifting to the clouds. His gentle snores soon joined his master's. Ground-bound he may be in the waking world, but he was the ruler of the sky in his dreams....


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