"No! Don't hurt him! He's my pet!" a voice cried. It was
an owner, trying to protect her baby Kougra from a villain. The villain cackled
lightly and pushed the owner onto the floor.
"I don't think so missy!" the villain said swiftly,
taking the baby Kougra. "Hand over the Neopoints and he won't get hurt!" He
jabbed his thumb toward the Kougra, who was whimpering.
"But I don't have the Neopoints!" the owner
cried ruefully. The villain was not impressed. Suddenly, there was a flash of
"WAKE UP!" someone shouted loudly. A spotted Zafara woke up with a jolt. A
pair of big, angry eyes looked back at him.
"What are you doing here, Kimmi?" the Zafara
asked him. "I lock my door at night and nobody has the key except me… and maybe
mom, too." He raised his eyebrows as the island Gelert pup leapt off his bed.
"Maybe," Kimmi, an island Gelert, said smartly,
falling over his clumsy paws as he started for the door. "Mommy gave me the
key because you were going to sleep in and we have a big day planned ahead of
us. After all, it is the first day of summer, and Neoschool just ended. She
wants to go shopping for new Neoschool clothes, supplies, books, you name it!
In fact," the little Gelert went on, "she got the Neoschool list for all of
us on what things we'll be needing for next year! I'm so excited! This year
I start Neoschool!"
"Well it's nothing exciting," the Zafara replied
flatly. "You sit at school all day, reading from the textbook, doing work and
coming home with a carriageload of homework each night."
"I never saw a carriage come here every night,
Loop," Kimmi answered in a matter-of-fact tone. Loop rolled his eyes as his
little brother disappeared out of the room.
Just as Loop was settling back in his bed, ready
to drift back to sleep, there was a loud crash and a bang. "LOOP!" a female
voice called up the stairs angrily. The Zafara's attention turned abruptly to
the loud crash and the calling of his owner's voice. Slowly, he dragged himself
out of bed and crept down the stairs, only to find that oatmeal had taken over
the kitchen. In the center of the room, Kimmi sat innocently on the counter,
covered with goo that Loop believed had once been a tasty breakfast.
"What did you do now, Kimmi?" Loop asked, rolling
his eyes again. Loop had been his owner's first made. Then she just had
to adopt Boye, Loop's older sister. She was a rainbow Draik, cheerful and happy.
Though she was the best battler in the family, no doubt. Then she made Kimmi,
the little island Gelert. He was a cheerful pup too, yet he was hyper and destructive.
And a troublemaker.
"I didn't do anything," Kimmi said simply, licking
his oatmeal covered nose. "I was helping mommy make breakfast. She let me and
she told me to take the oatmeal off the stove. Well," he sighed. "I kinda did
something funny, because the next thing I know is that I'm covered in oatmeal.
Mommy was in the living room when this happened because she needed to do something,
I don't really know. She's still in there, calling a cleanup crew. Do you know
they clean a room for free if it's an emergency. I think I'm going to go get
a bath." He stuck out his tongue, for he hated baths. He preferred to roll around
in dirt and mud. Now it seemed oatmeal was fine too.
Loop suddenly felt something fall on his head.
He looked up at the ceiling and saw that the oatmeal was dripping right on him.
He closed his eyes and looked at Kimmi, who began a small contest with himself
to see if he could lick all the oatmeal off his face. "Loop, I'm glad you came
down and awoke from your sleep," a voice said from the archway that led to the
living room. The Zafara turned with surprise and saw his owner, hands on her
hips. Her strawberry blond curly hair was tied neatly into pigtails. Strands
of hair escaped and was tucked behind her ears. Her blue eyes were distressed
and upset. "You'll have to go with Boye to the coffee shop today," she went
on, waving toward the door. "She's already outside, waiting for you. Get both
of yourself two snowberry delights and a cup of tea each. Or if you prefer,
then you can get some water or a drink from the food shop today and then you
can go to the coffee shop to eat. Just make sure you won't eat on the streets.
I have to stay home and give Kimmi a bath."
Loop nodded his head, surprised at his sister's
quickness. Usually, she sat in the bathroom for hours, just thinking about Battledome
items. Growing up with two brothers didn't help her touch her feminine side
either, especially if one was very annoying, for now she was a tomboy. Avoiding
the oatmeal mess, he glanced over his shoulder at his owner and walked outside.
"Did you see that mess Kimmi made?" Boye asked
a few moments later as the two pets walked saw the bustling streets of Neopia
that they were approaching. Loop nodded his head.
"Mom had a fit," Loop replied.
"Yeah, Caroline was really angry when she saw
what Kimmi did," Boye answered. Instead of calling Caroline - Boye, Loop, and
Kimmi's owner - 'mom', she called Caroline by her first name. Since she was
adopted, it really didn't make a big difference.
"Wait, I want to stop by here for a second,"
Loop said suddenly, gazing at a small, rickety hut. In order to get to Neopia
Central, they needed to cross through the market place. Boye looked at him with
raised eyebrows. "You're not hungry, are you?" Loop asked. Boye shook her head.
"Then we have time to go and check this store out. Look, and they say they have
Battledome items, too."
That caught the Draik's attention. She craned
her neck to look into the window eagerly. Loop smiled and pushed the door open,
a bell tinkling softly as he walked into the shop. Inside was prettier than
on the outside. Bookshelves decorated with books, morphing potions, Battledome
items, rare books and rare yet cheap plushies lined the walls. A map of Neopia
was taped on the back of a door that seemed to lead into a back room. Boye immediately
went over to the Battledome items and Loop wandered toward the counter. "Hello?"
he called out, tapping a small bell that was there to catch the owner's attention.
The back door opened and a hunchbacked lady
walked over to Loop. She had greasy black hair that hung past her shoulders
and uncomfortable piercing green eyes. "Can I help you?" she asked, her voice
high with interest. Her gnarly face twisted into an unpleasant smile.
"Um, yes, I was wondering if this is all you
have?" Loop asked, his voice high and squeaky with fright. The old woman immediately
shook her head quickly. Too quickly, Loop thought, wishing he hadn't
entered the store at all.
"No, no," she replied. "My shop imports goods
every Monday and today is Monday. I was 'restocked' or whatever they call it.
Anyway, there are some rare and valuable goods, if you'd like to go and check."
She waved a repulsive hand at the back door. Loop swallowed hard. Glancing over
his shoulder, he saw Boye was too busy looking at a lost dessert dagger. He
turned back to the woman, who seemed to watch him with her beady eyes.
"O-okay," Loop stuttered.
"Well then follow me!" the woman said excitedly,
clapping her hands together and shuffling toward the door. Loop followed reluctantly,
looking at Boye again. What if I don't come out alive? Loop thought to
himself. What if she's an old hag that eats every pet that comes into her
shop? And here I am, following her like a dumb pet that wants to be eaten! HELP
ME BOYE! He wanted to scream. But when she pushed open the door and Loop
poked his head in, he saw it was a completely normal storage room. He laughed
to himself. "How dumb am I?" Loop asked himself under his breath. The woman
seemed not to notice.
"Here we are," she said lightly, clasping her
hands together once more. "The books are over in that corner and magic items
are in those boxes and Battledome items are over there…" She seemed to talk
some more, but Loop didn't seem to notice. His eyes locked with an odd looking
book. The cover showed half a black Usul, yet the other side of the Usul seemed
to be rainbow. A chain was wrapped about the book and a heavy lock hung in the
middle. The picture seemed familiar.
When the woman finally stopped talking, Loop
walked over to the book and said defiantly, "I want this."
"That?" the woman spluttered. "You can't have
that. It's much too powerful! I've had people buy it and trouble had
been caused in Neopia. Then somehow, the book wound it's way back to me! You
absolutely can't have that!"
"How come nobody in Neopia seems to know about
this 'trouble'?" Loop pointed out defensively. No matter what, he needed to
buy this book.
The woman's face paled. "Because nobody but
me can remember the horrors that took about Neopia. I remember the beast that
awakened. Somebody drifted it back to sleep, but once it slept again, the trouble
and horror was erased from everybody's mind. Everybody's mind but mine of course.
The beast was awakened six times and I am the only one in the whole of Neopia
who knows where it sleeps."
Loop eyed her suspiciously. He heard his mom
talking about cracked hags like these that still sold things in the market place.
But, he knew she wouldn't let him buy it. So he would just borrow and
never return it instead. "Fine," he lied, putting the book down on the dusty
shelf. Relief overtook the woman. Loop strode over to the magic items and pretended
to be interested in them. He heard a tinkle of a bell and the woman walked out
of the back room, calling over her shoulder,
"Just look around and maybe you might find what
you're looking for."
Loop smirked to himself and picked up an old
looking book labeled 50 NP. Taking a gunny sack from a pile in the corner,
he grabbed the ancient book the woman would not let him buy and also the old
one he would buy. Then, he strode out of the back room.
When he got there, he saw an old looking man
had come with his blue, sullen Kougra to buy a special potion. The woman pointed
to the back room and he thanked her kindly. Then it was Loop's turn. "I'd like
to buy this please," he said, taking the boring book out of the gunny sack and
hiding the ancient one from view.
"That'll be fifty Neopoints please," she said
gently. Loop took out a spare fifty Neopoints he found on the streets of the
market place and handed it to the hag. The cash register popped open and she
put the Neopoints in. "This book is very good," she told him. He pretended to
be eager and nodded his head, though really he was anxious to leave quickly.
"And I'm sorry you couldn't purchase that book you really wanted," she continued,
"but this book is much better anyhow."
"Thank you," Loop said meekly. The woman nodded
and smiled, showing a mouthful of rotten, smelly teeth. He tried not to gag
at the putrid smell and he threw the book into the gunny sack. "Boye, are you
ready to leave?" he asked impatiently, turning to his sister.
"Yup," Boye replied, already at his side. They
waved goodbye to the old woman and walked out of the shop, the bell tinkling
softly as they left. "What was she talking about a book you couldn't buy? Besides,
why did you buy that stupid book, anyway? I saw the exact one for twenty Neopoints
in another shop the other day."
"So," Loop said, casting a glance at the small
shop that was slowly disappearing from view, "I could buy this."
To be continued…