"That's nice," I absently replied, turning another page in my book.
"Bored, bored, bored, bored."
"Kiddo! Are you listening to me?"
"Yes. Of course."
My book was suddenly yanked from my hands. A blue Eyrie glared up at me.
"I'm bored," he stated.
"And it's my job to entertain you every minute of your life?" I demanded,
snatching my book back. "You just got some new books, how about you read?"
"I'm tired of reading," he said. "I want to go outside."
I pointed at the window and gave Un-eairkagh a stern look. Rain pounded into
the ground, thunder rumbled overhead. It was one of the worst storms I'd seen
in a long time.
"Well, can we go to Melody's house then?" he asked.
"And get soaked?"
"Fine, then just I'll go. Please?"
I sighed. "All right, just let Melody dry you off before you go rampaging
across her house. And you better not catch a cold."
"I won't, I promise," he exclaimed, running for the door.
I watched him go out and take off running through the soaked grass. Another
clap of thunder made me cringe, and I shut the door. Un-eairkagh was way too
hyper of a pet for me to handle at times, which made me glad Melody always let
him play with her pets. She was the most tolerant and gentle person I knew.
I settled back down and resumed reading.
I lost track of time once again, that always happens when I read, but I was
jolted from my chair when the door banged open. I nervously edged to the hall,
wondering who would be bursting in like that. I saw a sodden Un-eairkagh standing
in the doorway. His eyes were huge and terrified. I ran over to him.
"What's wrong!?" I cried.
"There's a Zafara," he stammered. "Oh, Kiddo, DO SOMETHING!!"
"What? You're not making any sense!"
He shook his head, and bolted out the door again.
"Follow me!" he shouted.
I ran after him, shifting into my white Eyrie form as I went. He led me down
the path to Melody's house, stopping at a small ditch.
"Here!" he said, peering in.
I looked down inside. There was nothing there, except lots of water flowing
towards the river. Part of the ditch had been washed away by the rain.
"Oh, no. It's gone."
"What!? For crying out loud, what is going on?"
He sat down in the mud.
"A Zafara. Real young. It was lying in the ditch, badly hurt." He put his
head down, and I think tears streaked his already wet feathers. I looked at
"The river," I said. "It might have gotten washed away into the river." Un-eairkagh
leaped to his feet and bounded down in that direction. I followed, half running,
half sliding on the muddy ground. We stopped short of the water's edge, and
desperately scanned the water.
"Might have gotten washed downstream. C'mon, I'm not giving up yet," I said,
spreading my wings. We took flight and followed the river, searching for the
Zafara. We were flying low, and it was difficult to stay aloft. Then Un-eairkagh
shouted. I followed his gaze and saw a brief glimpse of red fur in the turbulent
water. Then it was gone again.
"Follow me from above!!" I shouted. "Don't loose track, and stay in the air!"
He looked momentarily startled, his features outlined by lighting, then horrified
as I dove headfirst into the raging river. The water was icy cold, and for a
moment stunned me. I struggled to get my head above the water as I was tossed
about by the raging current. I heard wing beats above me, and knew Un-eairkagh
was following my directions. How could a little Zafara of survived this? I ducked
underwater and opened my eyes, peering through the murky water, straining to
see a bit of red fur. There! I swam for it, making slow progress, for even underwater
the current was incredibly turbulent. Just when I thought my lungs would burst,
I snagged the tip of its tail in my beak. I struggled to the surface, black
spots swimming in my vision. My head burst through the surface, and I gasped
for air. I shifted to my human form and held the Zafara above the water and
kicking to stay afloat.
"Grab 'em eairkagh!!" I shouted.
My Eyrie dived just as a wave knocked me underwater again. I felt a tug, and
the Zafara was pulled out of my hands. I frantically surfaced, thinking I'd
lost it to the waves. I glanced up and saw Un-eairkagh, clutching something
red. The Zafara was safe, now I had to look to myself.
"Take him to Melody!!" I shouted.
"I'll make it out. Don't worry!"
"No you won't!! The river's at flood level!"
"And there's nothing you can do to help. GO!!"
He let out a mournful cry, and wheeled in the direction of Melody's house.
I swam with the current, trying to reach the shore. But every time I got near,
the river knocked me back again. I was tiring fast, and it was getting harder
and harder to keep my head above the water. Another wave knocked me under water,
and I struggled to reach the surface. I hit something hard, and flailed about
with my hands. Where was up? A red haze surrounded my vision. I needed air.
But where was the surface? I ran into something again, I couldn't see through
the murky water. My vision swam, and I knew I was out of air. Blackness surrounded
me, and I sank into oblivion.
"Is she alive?"
I tried to move, to respond to the voice.
"I think so. She's breathing..."
"Let's get her inside then."
I felt myself being lifted, and sank back into darkness.
I woke to warm blankets and a fire nearby. I opened my eyes groggily, and
saw a small wooden room with a couple couches and a fireplace. A kid sat in
a nearby chair, sketching with a pencil. He was brown haired, and looked around
my age, a teenager. A brown Pteri sat on his shoulder and a rainbow Peophin
by his feet. I stirred a bit, and all three looked up to where I lay.
"Oh, you're awake," the kid said, relieved.
"Where am I?" I asked, sitting up.
"My house. On the outskirts of Neopia Central. We fished you out of the river,
you were caught on tree branch that had fallen. We didn't think you were alive
for a bit there."
"Thanks," I said softly, rubbing my head gingerly. I must've hit it on something.
"My name's Gryphen. This is Kvol," he said, indicating the Peophin, "and MoonFire."
The Pteri bobbed its head in greeting.
"Pleased to meet you. How'd you end up in the river?"
"Jumped in after a Zafara."
"No idea who's it is, or if it even has an owner."
"I'm sorry, but," he said softly.
"No, my Eyrie's got it. It's safe, don't worry."
"Oh, thank goodness," he said, laughing. "I didn't see it, and was afraid
it had drowned."
"Do you think maybe we should tell her Eyrie she's safe?" Kvol suggested softly.
"Oh, right. I'll send a Neomail, where's he at?"
"Melody's house. She's my best friend, she'll be worried too."
I quickly gave him her address and he left to let her know I was all right.
"You're clothes are drying," the Pteri informed me. "We put you in some of
Gryphen's, didn't want to leave you wet, might get sick."
"Oh, uhh, thanks," I said, feeling my face go red.
Gryphen re-entered the room.
"Okay, got it sent. Unfortunately, I don't think you should head home just
yet. The storm's gotten worse, and the river is flooding really badly. I just
heard they're building barriers to keep the water back further upstream. We
should be safe here though, my house is on pretty high ground. See, that's why
I didn't take you to the hospital…too dangerous right now."
"That's good," I said, feeling a bit sleepy again.
"How about you let her sleep?" Kvol suggested, apparently the perceptive one
of the bunch.
He quietly left the room and I closed my eyes and slept again.
I woke and realised something was wrong. True, I was in a stranger's house,
but it was something else. Then I knew. The rain had stopped. Kvol slipped into
the room and noticed I was awake.
"Rain's stopped," she said.
"I noticed," I replied, standing up and stretching.
"Gryphen said he'd take you home. You slept all night, it's nearly noon now."
"Wow. Where's my clothes?"
"I'll get 'em. And I'll make Gryphen get you something to eat. He's rather
forgetful of these things. I don't know what he'd do without me."
I smiled and followed her out the room.
Gryphen had walked me all the way to Melody's house. We avoided the worst
of the storm's damage, but there were still downed branches and assorted debris
"Look's like a hurricane went through," I muttered.
"Almost. It was classified as a tropical storm, and if it had rotation it
would have been a hurricane."
"Man. How'd the flooding work out?"
"Not too much damage, actually. The dams held. No ones homeless and as far
as I know, no one had been hurt too badly."
"Thanks to you."
He looked at the ground, embarrassed.
"Well, anyone would've done it. It wasn't really dangerous pulling you out,
you were pretty close to shore. Now saving that Zafara, that took guts."
"We don't know if it's okay yet. I haven't seen it since I pulled it from
"True. This her house?"
"Sure is. Um, thanks for saving my life," I said shyly. "I wish I could reward
"No, no, no. Don't want one. Just Neomail me sometime, all right?"
I held his eyes briefly, then turned and headed up to Melody's door. I opened
it and went inside, glancing back at Gryphen. He had already started back towards
"Melody?" I called.
"CHILD_DRAGON!!!" came the exuberant reply of Un-eairkagh.
There was the sound of running feet, and then I knocked on my back with the
Eyrie standing on my chest exclaiming, "You're all right, you're all right,
you're all right!!!"
"Yes, she's all right. Sheesh. Get off her!" Melody said from above me. Un-eairkagh
jumped off and Melody pulled me to my feet.
"Gryphen sent me word. Come see the Zafara, he's alive. He's pretty young,
I'd say still a child."
I followed her into Padiglione and FireDarkWolfX's room. The red Zafara was
huddled at the foot of Padiglione's bed, the Kougra sitting worriedly nearby.
"He won't talk," she said softly.
I sat down next to him and reached out a hand. He cringed away.
"It's all right," I said softly. "You're safe now."
He looked at me fearfully, then recognition sparked in his eyes. "The river,"
"That's right. I helped get you out, as did Un-eairkagh," I said, nodding
towards the Eyrie.
He started crying, and this time I picked him up and held him close, telling
him he's safe.
We moved the Zafara to my house, where we had an extra room. He cried himself
to sleep, and I left him alone.
"Was he hurt?" I asked of Melody before I left.
"No, aside from being in the river. Why?"
"Un-eairkagh saw blood on him."
"Well," she said, puzzled, "it couldn't have been his."
I told Un-eairkagh to amuse himself for a while, and I headed for the Zafara's
room. He was scared, and I wanted him to have someone when he woke. I sat near
his bed for several hours before he blinked his eyes and looked around.
"All right?" I asked.
"What's your name?"
"Aldrai," he replied.
"How'd you get in the ditch?"
He seemed to shrink into himself.
"It's okay, you don't have to tell me. Do you have an owner?"
He shook his head.
"My mum, she, she, she…." he said, starting to cry.
"It's all right," I said, holding him.
He buried his head in my shirt and continued talking.
"She took me for a walk, and we met a group of other pets. They were being
mean, and one of them pulled my ear, so my mum bit him. They…." He stopped,
overwhelmed with tears.
"They attacked her…and she was crying for them not to hurt me, and then..."
I stroked his head, crying myself now.
"It's okay. You don't have to say any more," I said.
"I'm scared. I want my mum."
I didn't know what to say to that.
Aldrai had nowhere else to go, so I took him in as one of my own pets. He
rarely speaks, but you can always understand what he wants. He follows Un-eairkagh
around all the time, and the Eyrie loves him. He hates violence of any kind,
and can't stand it when Un-eairkagh fights in the Battledome. He's adjusted
pretty well, loves to read, plays with Melody and Sabreur's pets. The only thing
is, he has nightmares nearly every night, in which he wakes up crying and screaming.
I have to go hold him, and he cries in my arms. He rarely uses his own bed,
rather comes in with Un-eairkagh or I. And I have a mission now. And so does
Melody and Sabreur. We're going to find that group of pets that destroyed Aldrai's
mum, and make sure they never hurt anyone ever again.
To be continued...
Feel free to Neomail me, I encourage it. I like feedback. Sabreur is really my
brother, you can Neomail him also, though I ask you to go easy on that. He's in
college right now, and I'd rather not have him mad at me for getting a ton of
Battledome challenges, etc. Melody is also real, my best friend. She's in college
too, her NeoPets name is horngodess, but I wouldn't suggest bugging her, she has
a very demanding major and hardly any free time. Gryphen is made up.