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Pet Name: Jaegeran
Jaegeran exhaled with a crestfallen sigh as his claws clattered hollowly over the paved sidewalk of Neopia Central. “What kind of way is this for a Lutari to get around?” he demanded angrily. “Walking?! Are you kidding me? I belong back home on Lutari Island.”
The Lutari carried on, his voice slowly changing to a wistful tone as his fluffy tail swished back and forth.
“I should be in the warm water, cutting through the waves and riding my surfboard. Nothing but surf and turf and bright, sunny skies all day long! I hate Neopia Central! I wish my owner had never moved here!”
“Oh, you’re new here, too?”
Jaegeran jumped, his tail lashing as he tried to hide his embarrassment at someone hearing his complaining.
“Er, yeah. I’ve only been here about a day. My name’s Jaegeran, but call me Jae,” he said by way of introduction. The newcomer was a brainy-looking striped Meerca; he had a large backpack over one shoulder. The Meerca gave Jae a strong pawshake.
“Good to meet ya! I’m Kailoureiro. I just moved here, too. I came from Moltara, so I understand how you feel. I miss home, too. But it’s not so bad here, really. You can still do the same things you did back on the island. You just have to do them a little differently, that’s all.”
“But what I love to do most is swim and surf! How can I do that when I’m surrounded by nothing but grass, trees and shops?” Jaegeran gestured at their surroundings. The Lutari perked up suddenly when he saw a familiar shape sticking out of Kailoureiro’s backpack.
“Hey, what’s that? The board with wheels in your bag.”
“What, this old thing?” The Meerca pulled out an orange and yellow skateboard with some sort of metal contraption on the back. “It’s a little something I built in my workshop- a steam-powered skateboard!”
Kailoureiro set it on the ground in front of Jaegeran. The Lutari hopped on board experimentally, posing as though he were on a surfboard. He scooted forward a few feet, propelled by his hind legs and then looked at the engine, eying it skeptically.
“So... uh... how does it work, exactly? It looks like a surfboard, but smaller. I was the BEST surfer back on Lutari Island, you know...”
“Well, it’s quite simple, really... Oh, no!” began the Meerca, but suddenly his jaw dropped in fear and he pointed at a large, imposing figure lumbering up behind Jaegeran. “It’s Buster!”
“Buster?” queried Jaegeran. Next thing the Lutari knew, he’d been grabbed by the scruff of his neck by the biggest, ugliest Skeith he’d ever seen.
“Yeah,” grunted the Skeith, his fetid breath making Jaegeran cringe, “Buster. ‘Cause I like to BUST the stupid little toys this nerdy little Meerca likes to build! Ha-ha-ha!”
He guffawed loudly, raising one hefty leg to try to smash the steam skateboard. Jaegeran backpedaled, accidentally hitting a switch on the steam engine with his foot. With a few pops and clangs, the engine whirred to life and the board shot forward, away from the startled Skeith. As he passed Kailoureiro, Jaegeran grabbed the Meerca’s arm, pulling him to safety on the skateboard.
“Oh, no you don’t!” Buster bellowed. The Skeith grabbed hold of the Meerca’s tail as he tried to stop them from escaping. Buster’s feet dug furrows into the ground as the powerful steam engine pulled him forward. Jaegeran and Kailoureiro looked back fearfully as the skateboard began to slow down. Veering quickly to his right, Jaegeran tried to aim their pursuer toward a row of trash cans. Buster’s eyes bulged comically as he saw what was coming.
“Aw, no... mmmmph!”
Still holding fast to Kailoureiro’s tail, Buster tumbled headfirst into a stinking trashcan brimming with junk. The can tipped over and began to roll, bumping and bouncing along the uneven roads. Navigating the walkways of Neopia Central like a surfer tackling monster waves, Jaegeran did his best to make Buster let go. Spitting out a rotten blandfish, Buster finally managed to clamber out of the trashcan one-handed... .and he STILL had hold of Kailoureiro’s tail! He stumbled along dizzily as clumps of putrid, slimy garbage slid off his body.
“Oh, are youse two punks gonna get it!”
Jaegeran turned around to say something witty, but Kailoureiro’s terrified cry stopped him.
“What? What is it, Kailoureiro? Oh, geez... duck!”
Up ahead, the dung farmer Gelert from Meridell Acres trundled along with a big, dung-laden cart, whistling tunelessly but cheerfully. He looked up suddenly, doing a double-take as he beheld the bizarre contraption and its three riders rapidly barreling straight at his cart. The Gelert dove aside just in time. Jaegeran ducked down, shielding the Meerca with his body as the skateboard shot under the big wheels of the dung cart. Buster wasn’t so lucky. Finally losing his grip on Kailoureiro’s tail, he ran right into the dung cart, tumbling wings over tail right into the steaming load of dung.
“My dung! My beautiful dung- ruined!” wailed the Gelert.
Jaegeran straightened, grinning broadly.
“Did you see that? That was awesome! Let’s see what else this thing can do!”
Unencumbered by the Skeith’s enormous bulk and propelled by Jaegeran’s strong legs, the skateboard shot forward. He whipped the board back and forth, making hairpin turns. Growing bolder, he headed straight for the Neopia Plaza. There, he rode up shop walls and along brick walls, performing all the fancy moves he used to do back on his surfboard on Lutari Island. Finally, Jaegeran let the board coast to a stop. Kailoureiro was ecstatic.
“That was radical! Where did you learn to skate like that? You’re amazing!”
Jaegeran gazed off into the horizon.
“Back home in the water... It was just like surfing, only I was on land! But you know what?” He patted the skateboard fondly, “I think you were right; maybe- just maybe- Neopia Central can be my 'home', too.”
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