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Neopia's Fill in the Blank News Source | 1st day of Running, Yr 23
The Neopian Times Week 99 > New Series > Unwanted Attention: Part One

Unwanted Attention: Part One

by shelleylow

Hi! The name’s Dasher, Dash to most. You may or may not have heard of me from some of my owner’s stories that she wrote about our family, but for those of you who don’t, I’m a Golden Gelert, I like to read books and do any form of artwork, and I live with my family, consisting of my two brothers: Wen the Grarrl, who like most Grarrls likes to eat but more unusually likes to make his own food as well, and Flo the Zafara, a more tough character than the rest of our family, partly because of his street life before he came to live with us. If you haven’t heard about that then I’m not going to tell you; it’s a long story we haven’t got time for, and anyway it’s in a place where you can read it yourself. But getting back to my family, there’s my sister Tsunami the Peophin, who loves to sing (as long as she’s by herself or with friends) and of course my owner Shelleylow, or Shell. There is my pink Warf Frisky too, but then she doesn’t come into the story much.

     You see, being such a bibliophile as I am, I’ve often wanted to write a story of my own. My owner told me she had felt the same way when she was younger, and that if I wanted to write I might as well do it now as later, when I got inspiration to pen one. So now I finally have a chance to try my paw at this writing business, and I tell you it’s not half bad stuff so far.

     My owner does say I’m shaping up very well, though she’s always here to help me with the editing and syntax and suchlike little nuances that have such a profound effect on the reader. She is the veteran author, after all. So now that the introductions and such are over and done with-forgive me, I do tend to ramble a bit-without further delay or beating around the Heart Fruit Tree, let me begin.

     My ears flicked, catching the monotonous clicking of the keyboard as I lay stretched out on my owner’s bed. Sunlight filtered through the small window in the bamboo wall, setting one of my paws that lay in its path to gleaming, bright gold. Frisky lay on the bedspread across my other paw, drowsy with the afternoon.

     Shell was tapping away at her computer somewhere across the room, working on one of her new stories for the Times. You couldn’t talk to her while she was writing, much as I loved to. It always broke her concentration, she said, and as all my other siblings were busy with their own devices and would rather I kept out of their way for the moment, I was contenting myself with a new book about Faeries Shell had bought for me, and was in fact nearly finished with it. I had chosen to read it in her room; it was nice to keep her company and besides…

     The tapping stopped suddenly. “Glitter, glint, glisten, gleam, shine…er…shimmer…um…”

     “Sparkle,” I said, looking at her with a smug smile.

     My owner grinned at me. “Thanks, Dash. You’re as good as a thesaurus any day. I haven’t been at my best lately, terrible writer’s block…”

     “Anything to help,” I responded, grinning back at her, when suddenly from outside there was a whoosh and a soft thud.

     “Shell,” called my sister’s voice, “you’ve got mail.”

     Shell got up from her chair and as she left the room I could clearly hear her soft footsteps over the sandy floor heading for the Neomail Delivery Tube. I could also hear her talking to Su.

     “Strange… I don’t normally get Neomail at this time of day… I wonder who -- oh, no!”

     I leapt off the bed at her tone, abruptly waking Frisky from her nap. Leaving her grumble-growling in irritation at my lack of sensitivity, I sped into the living room. Shell was in front of the delivery tube, gazing at a letter in her hands with a horror that matched her tone of voice.

     “Who’s it from?” Tsunami inquired.

     Shell turned to look dismally at Su and me in turn.

     “Faeriegal,” she said.

     “No!” I cried. Su groaned softly.

     “What’s goin’ on in there?” Florepa poked his starry head in from the garden. “It’s bad enough I’m trying to figure out this Scamander Blade and the new Zafara Staff too, without all that shoutin’ from --”

     “Letter from Faeriegal,” I said simply.

     Florepa’s expression went from indignation to shock, and then back to indignation again, mixed with a little outrage.

     “What?” He bounded across the room towards us, his Chezzoom Mercutio bouncing behind and uttering his cackling call at intervals. “Not that Faeriegal again!

     What’s she want now?”

     “Faeriegal?” Wen lumbered out of the kitchen, a dripping wooden spoon held in his bright -flamed claw and his Uggatrip, Li’l Red, perched on his head. “Oh dear. I don’t like her.”

     “I don’t either,” Florepa muttered, loudly enough for all of us to hear. “And I’m not sure any of ya others do,” he added. I had to agree with him.

     “But what does the letter say, Shell?” Wen lowered his ash-grey face with its leaping pattern of flames around the eyes, and nudged the letter in my owner’s palm. “You can’t go expecting the worst without checking it out first.”

     “You’re a veritable rock of good sense in the middle of a swift-flowing stream, Wen,” Shell said admiringly. “What would we do without you?”

     Wen had always been the sensible one of the family, and his advice, as always, was logical. It was wrong and unfair to jump to conclusions, I surmised.

     “Perhaps she’s finally come to her senses and is writing to apologize for everything,” I suggested.

     “Don’t ya count on it,” Florepa growled.

     “Maybe you’re right, Dash,” Shell replied, slitting open the envelope with one finger and lifting out a pale pink piece of paper, drenched in a sickly scent of Lulus-Tsunami sneezed- and covered with pictures of flowers and dancing Flossets, from within. I saw Florepa’s revulsion intensify at this.

     Shell’s face quickly resumed an expression of distaste as her dark eyes traveled over the curly writing, which was done in sparkly purple ink. “I really wish she would write more legibly,” she grumbled.

     “That cursive does look rather intricate,” Tsunami agreed, holding a hoof to her muzzle. “And I’m sure all that glitter doesn’t help either.”

     “I’m talking about her grammar,” Shell rejoined with some irritation, though none of it was directed at my sister. “And her spelling too. I’ve told her a hundred times that I find it annoying but she never listens…”

     “Either that, or her intelligence is too low ta understand what ya mean,” Flo commented. “She’s lucky ya’re quite fluent in that sorta dimwit baby-talk.”

     “I still don’t like it when people write to me like this,” Shell murmured, half to herself. “Let’s see…u haf bin such a gud frein 2 me… er, right… im so hapy wer… Wer? oh, that’s a ‘we’re’… frens. I really can’t believe she thinks of me as a friend… we have absolutely nothing in common.”

     “And ya’re too nice TA tell her TA her face or block her from sendin’ mail to ya,” Flo grumbled. “Ya really frustrate me sometimes, Shell, with ya policies about civility. What that girl needs is a good hard kick in tha tail to send her packin’.”

     “Humans don’t have tails,” Wen told him mildly.

     “Ya’re another one, Wen, I hate when ya nit-pick…”

     “Isn’t there any way we can settle this with Faeriegal without having to resort to verbal abuse?” Su asked anxiously.

     “Yeah, Shell,” I piped up. I didn’t like Faeriegal at all, but I didn’t see that as a bad enough reason to go insulting her.

     “You know I never go that far, girls,” Shell reassured us. “I always try to be nice over Neomail, but…oh, she’s so annoying!”

     “What’s the rest of the letter say?” Wen focused his green eyes on the pink sheet, trying to read the relatively tiny words.

     “Right, Wen, I hadn’t finished the last bit... hmm… bcuz u r sonice 2 mi,-again, yeah right- i wan 2… oh no!”

     “What?” That was all of us at once.

     Shell raised her head. Her expression was once again horror-stricken. “She wants to come and visit us.”

     “What!” Florepa yelled again. “I’m not havin’ that human in our home! It was bad enough puttin’ up with her at someone else’s place, but here…”

     “Couldn’t you talk her out of it, Shell?” I asked despairingly, feeling my heart sink. A visit from Faeriegal! The thought was unbearable.

     “Yeah, Dash, maybe she can be persuaded not to come,” Su said hopefully.

     “Or else she gets lost on tha way here,” Florepa growled.

     “When’s she say she’s coming?” Wen queried.

     Shell looked at us with an air of resignation. “She says she’ll be right here, straight after she goes to do a bit of shopping for a few hours.”

     We all groaned loudly.

     “That just about does it!” Flo snapped. “That’s tha straw that broke tha Apis’ back… I’ll go mad, Shell, I really will! Especially if she’s bringin’ that stuck-up, prissy --”

     “Afraid so, Flo,” Shell said wearily. “Rosabelle is her only pet…”

     “Well that’s the blinkin’ limit,” the Zafara snarled. “I’m lockin’ myself in my room, Shell. If I see that Fyora-dratted human again, I just know I’ll do somethin’ drastic…”

     None of the rest of us said anything, but I knew we were all thinking the same thing as Flo.

     I remembered the first time we had met Faeriegal. Strangely enough, it had been at a guild gathering. Shell’s guild often had get-togethers and interactive projects, and this particular one had been a garden party at the home of Tdyans, our Guild Leader.

     I was quite excited about going, really; Tdyans’ four pets were quite pally with us. I was looking forward to discussing the latest Neopian books on release with Achilles81, her Gelert, and I knew for a fact the others would be having a good time as well. MaxKanine the Lupe and Wen, prudent and placid as they both were, would be having a light-hearted chat themselves, as would Tsunami and Rooruon the Cybunny, both the quieter and less flashy members of our respective families. And Florepa did have a soft spot for the cheerful little Moeioe. Of course there would be the other members’ pets, all new friends to make and old ones to greet, after all, even non-guild members were allowed to come and see what our guild was like. It would be fun, and I was dancing with impatience as Shell closed the door and we set off down the path.

     We hopped onto the ferry and reached Neopia Central shortly after, whereupon we had to find Neopia Avenue, and from there the correct house. Thankfully, Florepa’s street experience proved useful, and we were there quite soon.

     Achilles and Tdyans had been at the gate to welcome us in. “I’m glad you guys could make it,” she grinned. “Come on in. Not everyone’s here yet, but you can come and mingle with who is.”

     Achilles and I wagged tails and sniffed noses, the formal Gelert greeting. “I’ll join you later on,” he hissed. “She--” he jerked his blue and white muzzle at his owner, “wants me to stay here and help her welcome the guests, she’s convinced they’re all going to start pouring in at any moment.”

     I grinned. “Well, come and find me when you get off. I’ve just finished Faerie Folk, by the way…”

     Achilles’ eyes lit up. I knew he had read many more books than I had. “Really? It was good, wasn’t it? I liked that twist in the story ‘Nereid’s Rainfall’, the part where-” He shook his head. “I’d better not get distracted. See you later…”

     I waved my tail in the ‘goodbye’ gesture, and trotted off after Shell. There weren’t too many members about, but the few that were present had segregated into groups and were chatting and laughing. Their pets were either following suit or romping happily over the grass. I saw Max and Rooruon welcoming Tsunami and Wen somewhere across the neat lawn and the whole group then trot off towards the flower beds to admire the carefully cultivated blooms; Florepa had started up a game of Gormball with Moeioe and several of the younger pets as Merky, Moeioe’s Hornsby Gil, and the other Petpets bounced and fluttered around them like a bunch of animated Blumaroos at a picnic. Feeling a need for company I could at least strike up a conversation with-I was dying to discuss books-I looked around for someone I could talk to while Achilles was occupied with his duties. It was an author’s guild, there had to be some literary pets around here somewhere…

     “Oh look, there’s Sunny,” Shell suddenly said cheerily. “I’m going to go over and say hi. I haven’t talked to her in ages!”

     Seeing as the alternative to meeting this owner’s pets was to be left in the middle of the lawn, I padded after her. A girl, slightly younger than Shell, greeted her with a smile and a cheery wave.

     “Shelleylow, where in Neopia have you been?”

     “On sabbatical, Sunny. I’m recovering from writer’s block…but you, I’ve been reading, have had no shortage of ideas…”

     “Oh, those stories? Yeah… I guess they were pretty okay.”

     “They’re really good stories, Sunny, you’re your own worst critic, you know. You working on anything new?”

     I closed my ears to the friendly ramblings of the two humans and turned my attention instead to the pets grouped around the girl’s feet.

To be continued...

Previous Episodes

Unwanted Attention: Part Two

Unwanted Attention: Part Three

Unwanted Attention: Part Four

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