As the sun began to rise, it illuminated Neopia Central
in a pale gray light. Slowly, the sleepy little city began to stir and awaken
with life. Shopkeepers began opening their stores, turning the little white signs
Some young Neopets were already awake and played
hopscotch in the square, laughing and giggling cheerfully. A Faerie flitted
by overhead, a curious Snowbunny watching its darting motions in curiosity.
A sour looking green Kougra watched all this
from the sidewalk, snorting and rolling his brilliant yellow eyes disdainfully.
He turned heel and began to head for the Book Shop.
Tinklelelel! A small bell rang as the
Kougra opened the door and stepped in.
"Welcome, traveler, to the land of magic! The
land where anything and everything can happen!" a voice greeted from behind
a stack of books. "The land of- BOOKS!" A lanky blue Nimmo jumped out from behind
the stack, carrying an armful of books.
"Cut the silliness, Lou." The Kougra narrowed
"Sorry," the Nimmo blushed. "It's a gimmick.
Today's generation of kids are being brainwashed by those newfangled Virtupets
space station viewing screens that're all the rage these days. They don't appreciate
the allure of a good book."
"Is my order in?" the Kougra asked, leaning
against the wall with arms crossed.
"Lemme check my list." Lou picked up a sheet
of paper from the counter. "Hmm, Dark Voltaire, Dark Voltaire… ah-hah, here
we are!" Lou dove beneath his desk and emerged with a brand new hardback book.
"That'll be three-hundred and twenty-five Neopoints,
After paying for his book, Voltaire left the
store and headed for Fritti's Coffee Shop.
"I'll take a cup of Hot Borovan, please."
Dark Voltaire sat down at a table near the main
window and lifted his book, feeling delight in the faint cracking sound as it
opened for the first time. He inhaled, smelled the fresh book scent, and curled
his tail in pleasure.
Other Neopets filed into the shop and took up
the adjacent tables. Voltaire peered at them disdainfully over his tome.
The fools, he thought. They live such
futile lives, always squabbling and snatching and stealing. Their existence
is so unenriched and so slovenly… at least I know that in the end, I a much
smarter and wiser than them. He returned to his book and sipped his drink
with an aristocratic air.
The shop's door opened again. Voltaire looked
up over a table, but saw no one enter. Like magic, the door closed again, seemingly
by itself. He craned his neck, but could still see no one. He squinted, confused,
and returned to his book.
"Squeak!" Voltaire jumped and looked around.
He didn't see anything that could have made the strange high-pitched noise.
Warily. He began reading once more.
"Squeak!" Voltaire put his book down and stood
"What IS that infernal squeaking?!" he demanded
loudly. Something tugged at his paw. Slowly, Voltaire looked down to see a tiny
blue Ona standing next to him, a saccharine grin on its face.
"Squeak!" It stated proudly, letting go of Voltaire's
"Who in Snowflake's name are YOU?!?"
Voltaire practically yelled, very much so annoyed.
"Mreeeeyeehhhhh!" the sickeningly adorable Ona
hugged Voltaire's leg, burying its face into the soft green fur.
"GAAHH, GET OFF ME!!!" Voltaire shouted furiously,
jumping back. He gingerly picked up the Ona by with two fingers, trying to come
in as little contact with it as possible, and marched towards the front of the
"Excuse me, but I think someone lost their…
petpet." Voltaire spat the last word, wrinkling his nose.
"Aww, he's so cute! I'll ask around and see
if it belongs to anyone." The female Lenny running the register went around
the store, asking all the customers, but no one claimed ownership on it.
"What am I supposed to do with this… THING?"
Voltaire asked in desperation. The Lenny shrugged helplessly.
Muttering under his breath, the Kougra left
the shop, his book tucked under one arm, the Ona under another. He carried it
much like one would carry a football, or other inanimate object. The Ona giggled
and squeaked happily. Voltaire was still muttering bitterly when he entered
the petpet shop.
He walked over to the counter and rang the service
bell, trying to ignore the heavy smell of woodchips and petpet musk that choked
the air. The faint rustling sounds of petpets moving around in their cages was
After ringing three times, a green Lupe finally
came to the service counter. She wore a pair of stained overalls and cradled
a bored looking Tyrannian Doglefox in her arms.
"Hi!" she greeted cheerfully.
"Err, hi. I was wondering, do you buy petpets?"
Voltaire asked, eyeing the panting Doglefox with caution.
"Shore do!" the Lupe grinned.
"Okay, then would you kindly take care of this?"
Voltaire plopped the Ona down on the desk. It looked up at the Lupe with innocent
"Awwww, he's adorable!" the Lupe squealed. "Are
you sure you wanna sell him? He really seems to like you."
Indeed, the Ona was stretching its stubby arms
out to Voltaire, asking to be held. It squeaked merrily.
"Yes, I'm quite sure." Voltaire rolled
his eyes and pushed the Ona closer to the Lupe's side of the counter.
"I'll give you 10,000 Neopoints for him."
As Voltaire left the shop, he counted his money
gleefully. With this, he could buy a month's worth of books and coffee! As he
approached his Neohome, he chuckled gleefully, thinking about how jealous his
friends would be if they knew how many Neopoints he now had in his possession.
A high-pitched version of the chuckle sounded behind him.
Voltaire jumped and spun around.
"YOU!" he roared. "How did you get out of the
The Ona only looked up at him, a cutesy grin
on his face.
"Oh no, don't you look at me like that, you
little pest! Go away, leave me alone!" Voltaire growled in agitation.
"Squeaken!" the Ona hugged Voltaire again.
"YUCK! Must you do that? It's positively
"Mreeeeh," the Ona nuzzled Voltaire's leg happily.
"Ugh, am I going to have to trek all the way
over Neopia just to get you away from me? Cripes, it's almost nightfall… ugh…
hate to do this, but I guess you can stay with me… JUST FOR TONIGHT. Tomorrow
morning, you're going STRAIGHT BACK to the store!"
Voltaire stormed into the house, the Ona skipping
cutely behind him.
"I'm home!" Voltaire called out upon entering.
"Howdy!" a voice called from the kitchen. "Yer
just in time fer a helpin' of Starberry Soup!"
Voltaire walked into the kitchen, the Ona still
trailing behind, looking around at its surroundings with innocent curiosity.
A red Lupe stood at the stove, wearing a silly
looking chef's hat and an equally silly looking apron that read "Kiss the Lupe".
He turned to Voltaire, wiping his paws off on a stained rag on the counter.
"Set you down at th' table and I'll get you
a bowl -- hey, who's that?" the Lupe pointed at the Ona, who blinked in return.
"Loooong story, Lykokantzaroi." Voltaire sighed
and took a seat at the table.
"Hold that thought a sec, Voltaire. Joss! Dinner's
ready!" Lyko called.
Thump Thump Thump Thump!
Fast quadrupedal footfalls sounded down the
stairwell and in a few seconds, a green Gelert came skidding along the hardwood
floor into the kitchen.
"Awesome, I'm starved!" he leapt energetically
into a chair and sat down.
"Hey, hey, easy on th' chairs! Ya'll know I
spent a lot on th' kitchen furniture!" Lykokantzaroi warned, waving a soup ladle
reprimandingly at Joss. "Oh, does your little friend want some food too?" Lyko
softened his tone and nodded towards the Ona sitting on the table.
"He is NOT my little friend!" Voltaire growled,
sneering at the Ona in rabid defiance.
"Awright, awright, don't need t'get your pants
in a bind. I'll get him a liddle bowl." Lyko passed the Ona a bowl of the hot
"Hey, what's with the bear thing?" Joss had
obviously been in his own little world as he lapped up his soup eagerly, and
only just now noticed the petpet on the table.
"Byuuuuh." The Ona reached out and put a tiny
paw on Joss's nose. He blinked in response, licking the last bits of soup from
"Yeah, Voltaire, tell us the story," Lyko prodded.
"Okay, okay." Voltaire sighed and told what
had happened that morning, taking sips of soup in between every other sentence.
"Wow… that's so weird!" Joss awed. "It's almost
like, y'know, fate!"
"PSSSHAW," Voltaire snorted. "According to Myceas
the famous Mynci philosopher, there is no such thing as fate or luck. Not that
I'd expect you to know that."
Joss bared his teeth, growling softly under
his breath, but said nothing.
"Don't get used to having the Ona around, he's
going back to the petpet store tomorrow morning, first thing." Voltaire put
his empty bowl in the sink and stalked off moodily.
That night, Voltaire sat lounging on his bed,
finishing his new book. The Ona sat in a beanbag chair and played with a red
rubber ball. The ball slipped out of his paws and knocked a book off the bed
and onto the floor with a heavy clunk.
Voltaire looked up and grimaced. "Do be careful,
that's an old book."
The Ona picked up the book and held it open
and upside-down in front of him. His little brows furrowed as he studied the
"That's not how you do it." Voltaire put the
book right side up. "There. And you should start at the first page. Now leave
me alone." Voltaire turned, but the Ona squeaked at him.
"What do you want now?"
The little Ona held the book open and up to
Voltaire and squeaked urgently. Voltaire sighed, putting a paw on his forehead
"You want me to read to you. Listen, I'm not
about to -- hey… that's my favorite book. At least you have good taste."
The Ona squeaked happily in reply, still holding
the book up expectantly.
"Okay, okay, sit up here and I'll read it to
you." Voltaire surrendered and patted a spot on the bed next to him, wondering
why on earth he gave in. The Ona climbed up and sat close to Voltaire, snuggling
up against him. Voltaire made a face, but made no move to push him away this
"Now, this book is called The Search for Reason,
and it's by a guy named Diderot…" Voltaire began to explain. The Ona squealed
with delight when Voltaire said the last word.
"What, you like that name? Diderot?" Voltaire
warmed. "He is a very smart and famous Pteri. Maybe I can call you Diderot.
I'm getting rather tired of calling you 'Ona' or 'that horrid thing'. What do
"Myeeeaaaahhh! Buum!" the Ona replied cheerfully,
revealing in his new name.
"So Diderot it is. Anyway, back to the book.
Author's Note: Yes, Voltaire, Diderot, and the whole gang do exist -- visit
them on my lycanthropic_gallery account. ^_^ Also, this is my first published
NT story, so I'd greatly appreciate any feedback you can give me! Thanks.