|Aeyrvaes could feel the sweat beading on his checkered brow,
a large drop of perspiration threatening to spill over onto his muzzle. The Gelert
exhaled and tried to calm his wracking nerves, but his efforts were in vain. The
small line of pets standing in front of him inched ever closer to the large and
foreboding camera. With a small poof, the camera flashed again, taking an instant
photo of a rather queasy looking Shoyru. Aeyrvaes winced. The flashing of the
camera caused his eyes to hurt. The Gelert shielded his eyes with a checkered
paw as the photographer, an uneasily cheerful Scorchio, snapped another picture.
How did Aeyrvaes, a simple mild-mannered checkered
Gelert, manage to get himself in this mess? It’s a long and complicated story
that begins on a glaring sunny day in the month of Running, and Aeyrvaes was
just waking up to go to Neoschool…
BLEEP! BLEEP! BLEEP!
Aeyrvaes groaned and rolled over onto his side,
tucking his long rope-like tail under his belly. He knew that he wouldn’t be
able to rest for much longer, pretty soon his owner would be barging on in,
wielding her spray bottle. The Gelert sighed and shook off his covers, stretching
out his long black and white checkered limbs and yawning loudly. He smacked
his lips and blinked feverishly, attempting to dislodge the small particles
of dust that had gathered in the corners of his rheumy eyes during the night.
Finally, he became satisfied with his early
morning routine and padded downstairs to the kitchen, where his owner, Battlesunny,
was waiting. Aeyrvaes was an only pet, so his owner was able to buy fairly expensive
breakfasts without having to worry about purchasing an equal amount for 3 other
pets. Today’s breakfast was a bowl of crystal crunch cereal and some orange
juice. Aeyrvaes eyed the glassy cereal suspiciously for a moment before digging
in his spoon and dumping the crunchy cereal in his mouth.
He finished up his breakfast, gave his owner
a quick lick on the face as a goodbye, and dashed out the door. The Gelert printed
all the way to school, his overloaded bookbag pounding painfully against his
stomach as he ran.
He scrambled in through the Neoschool doors
and galloped up the stairs to his classroom, which, unfortunately for Aeyrvaes,
was on the eighth floor. By the time he made it to his classroom, his tongue
was lolling out of his mouth and he was nursing several stitches in his side.
The winded Gelert slid gratefully into his seat and half-watched his teacher
as she rambled on about how important it was to pay attention in class.
Aeyrvaes allowed his mind to wander to more
important thoughts, such as what color he would paint his Greeble if his owner
didn’t think that it was a complete waste of money.
"…And so class, that is why paying attention
in school can lead you on your way to a better career choice! In other news,
tomorrow is school, picture day, so make sure that you look your best…"
Aeyrvaes’ checkered head snapped up. He timidly
raised his paw.
"Err, did you say, picture day?" he asked gingerly.
The teacher nodded.
"Yes I did. Why do you ask?" she replied as
she dug out her lesson plan for the day. Aeyrvaes whimpered, his long ears drooping
"No reason… I just thought that you said, err,
The teacher raised an eyebrow slightly, but
then turned and began to write some math problems on the board. Aeyrvaes wasn’t
paying attention. He was far to occupied with thoughts about picture day. It
wasn’t as though Aeyrvaes was afraid of the camera, or the little puppet that
the photographer used to get the pet’s attention, but he had a small problem.
Aeyrvaes had been born with a nasty teeth condition.
Basically, his teeth were brown enough to make the Grarrl in the crest spinbrush
game cover his eyes in horror. It wasn’t usually a big problem; Aeyrvaes usually
just avoided smiling. This gave him a very contemplative and depressing look,
but he didn’t care. Most onlookers associated silence with intelligence for
some reason, so everybody simply assumed that Aeyrvaes was too intelligent to
split a grin.
This would also be Aeyrvaes’ very first picture
day; he had always managed to miss it because his owner moved around so much.
(She never could decide which Neopian world she liked the best, though she had
stuck with their current home, Mystery Island for quite a while).
Aeyrvaes plopped his face on his paw, giving
his chocolate brown eyes a very scrunched up look. From her desk, the teacher
smiled. Little Aeyrvaes was contemplating again! He was such a great student,
so very silent and wise.
From his desk, Aeyrvaes doodled absent-mindedly
on a piece of loose-leaf paper. He didn’t realize it, but he was subconsciously
drawing pictures of teeth. Big, ugly, vile teeth. Aeyrvaes finally became aware
of what he was scribbling, and gasped in horror. The teacher snapped up her
head and glared at the Gelert.
"Yes, Aeyrvaes? What is it?" she asked impatiently.
Aeyrvaes racked his brain for an answer.
"Err, I just realized that, err, petpets don’t
have to eat!" he quickly replied. The teacher regarded him for a moment and
"Alright then. Just keep it to a dull roar,
Aeyrvaes breathed a small sigh of relief and
slicked back his black and white hair. He would have to find some way to whiten
his teeth by tomorrow, or else he would never be thought of as intelligent again!
Aeyrvaes stuck his small pink tongue out of the side of mouth in concentration
as he tinkered around with various white objects in his NeoHome’s basement.
He examined a tube of mint toothpaste, and then squeezed some onto an icy snowball.
He sprinkled it with a bit of powdered ice negg, and then shoved it into his
mouth. It didn’t taste all that bad; it was almost as though he was eating a
slice of winter. The toothpaste stuck to the roof of his mouth, just like peanut
butter, and refused to come off. Aeyrvaes stumbled around for a moment, making
various "Mmf! Mmf!" noises until he found a carton of Kau Kau farm milk. He
poured all of its contents down his gullet and swirled it around his mouth,
dislodging the sticky toothpaste. Aeyrvaes swallowed the remainder of milk and
toothpaste that was in his mouth and collapsed, gasping, onto his worktable.
After regaining his composure, Aeyrvaes leapt
up and grabbed a small hand held mirror. The Gelert grinned from ear to ear
and exposed his long-hidden jaws to the mirror’s glassy surface. With a small
chink! The mirror shattered. Aeyrvaes winced. Obviously, his teeth were still
the color of a mud covered Snorkle. Aeyrvaes sniffled. His ultra whitening formula
hadn’t worked at all! Feeling extremely dispirited, the Gelert cast what was
left of the shattered mirror to the ground, where the plastic handle broke in
Aeyrvaes returned to his workable and pondered
some more, desperate to discover a solution to his dental hygiene troubles.
He glanced at the large clock that hung on the gritty wall and gasped. He only
had three more hours until he had to go to bed! And then he would have to wake
up, and then he would have to go to school, and then he would have to go to
the photographer, and then he would have to… Smile!
The Gelert gnawed his nails in agitation and
looked all around the room, searching desperately for inspiration. His eyes
roved around the walls, over the ancient vase that had sat on a dusty shelf
since who knew when, over a painting of himself done by some artistic Kougra
in Neopia Central, and over the photographs of his old NeoHomes, lined up neatly
on the wall. Then it hit him.
He could get his owner to move again! If he
wasn’t there, than he couldn’t possibly have his picture taken! With new resolution
burning in his heart, Aeyrvaes strode up the stairs of the basement and into
the living room, where his owner was reclining in a plush armchair and reading
the latest issue of The Neopian Times. The Gelert trotted boldly up to Battlesunny
and tugged at her shirtsleeve. She put down her newspaper and smiled at Aeyrvaes,
extending her arm to scratch him behind his ears.
"Hello Aeyrvaes! What can I do for you?" she
asked warmly. Aeyrvaes took a deep breath, and spilled.
"Can we please move? I want to move RIGHT NOW,"
he said seriously. Battlesunny chuckled.
"No thanks, Aeyr. I like it here; it’s so nice
and warm. Not like that lousy mountain…" She glared sourly out the window at
the distant peaks of Terror Mountain. Aeyrvaes sighed.
"Please? I really want to miss Neoschool tomorrow,"
the Gelert pleaded. Battlesunny clucked her tongue sympathetically and wrapped
her arms around Aeyrvaes’ checkered head for a hug.
"Aww, it’s because tomorrow is picture day,
isn’t it? And your condition…" she trailed off, unsure of how to continue. Aeyrvaes
"Yeah, that’s it. So can we?" he asked eagerly.
Battlesunny buried her nose back into The Neopian Times.
"No," she said simply.
"No? Why not?" Aeyrvaes demanded.
"Because I like it here. You promised that if
I bought you a checkered paint brush you’d stop being a Pouty Pete. I did, but
you aren’t. Now be quiet and practice smiling, because you’re having your picture
Aeyrvaes sighed sadly. He knew that there would
be no use in arguing with his owner when she got this way. He turned and plodded
miserably up to his room, where he flopped down on his bed and drifted into
a dreamless sleep.
So that’s how Aeyrvaes got to where he was when we first began this story.
Sweating, worrying, and about to have his picture taken.
Aeyrvaes whimpered nervously as the photographer
called his name. He trudged bravely up to the small, raised platform and sat
down on his haunches, refusing to smile.
"Aww, come on mister Gelert, smile! You don’t
want me to bring out Mr. Happy, the happily happy puppet?" the photographer
wheedled. Aeyrvaes shook his head. The photographer scowled and leaned against
"I’m not taking your picture until you smile,
kid. I can sit here all day if you want."
Aeyrvaes closed his eyes. He remembered what
his owner had said earlier, about how he was special despite his dental conditio—hey!
Wait a minute, she had never said anything like that! All she did was complain
about his pouting. Aeyrvaes snorted. Some owner SHE was! Well, he would show
The Gelert turned held his head up high, and
opened his jaws in a cheerful smile. The photographer grinned back, and, to
Aeyrvaes’ immense surprise, he had disgusting teeth, too! The Gelert squared
his checkered shoulders and smiled as the photographer snapped a picture of
him, preserving him forever in film.
Aeyrvaes leapt proudly off the platform and
trotted down the hall, passing all the revolted students that were staring at
the Gelert’s teeth. In response, Aeyrvaes simply tossed his head, and smiled.
He would be doing a lot more of that in the future.