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Neopia's Fill in the Blank News Source | 25th day of Relaxing, Yr 21
The Neopian Times Week 41 > Short Stories > Chia Hunting

Chia Hunting

by heatherdragon

It was cold and rainy, so I easily lost the scent. I, strength84 the fire Lupe, was hunting for Chias. However, I wasn't doing so well. I had been looking for hours, and when I finally found the scent, it began to rain. The scent was washed away, and now I only smelled damp earth and my wet fur. I realized it was late in the evening, probably around eleven. I knew heatherdragon would be worried sick.

I heard the thunder rumbling, the raindrops hitting the ground. I looked around me and realized I had no idea where I was. I had been so worried about finding Chias and following the scent, I hadn't bothered to worry about where I was going. Trees surrounded me, casting shadows over the wet dirt and grass. I saw a bolt of lightning. My stomach sank as I realized the horrible truth. I was lost!

I knew I shouldn't go any farther because I could get even more lost. I gathered some wet leaves and put them into a pile under a tree. I lay on the bumpy, uncomfortable pile of leaves and fell into an uneasy sleep.

I woke up with a start and sat straight up. It was still dark. My stomach growled loudly. I heard a rustle of leaves, then a splash. I got to my feet and walked a few yards forward.

"I'm warning you, I'm level 50," I warned, even though I was only level 18. I bared my teeth and growled at the unknown beast. It was still hiding in the bushes somewhere and I couldn't see it, but at that moment I caught a whiff of something. It was a Chia.

I stopped growling and I closed my mouth. I crouched low to the ground and crawled toward the bushes. The scent of the Chia was even stronger there. Thunder clashed above me. I waited. As soon as I heard a twig break I leapt over the bushes. A red Chia ran as fast as his little legs could carry him. The chase was on.

I ran after him, splashing through mud puddles. I knew I was faster than the Chia but I couldn't get near him. The chase lasted about 15 minutes. I chased the poor Chia to a wall of stone. It had nowhere to go. I went to grab my Lupe wand from my knapsack but I had left it by a pile of leaves. As I was doing this the Chia, frightened, was clumsily pulling a Chia-shaped stone from his pocket. He put the stone into a hole the same shape and gave it a slight twist. I watched in amazement, forgetting my hunger as a hole grew in the middle of the rock wall. My eyes were as wide as could be.

The Chia grabbed the stone and ran through the opening. I followed as the opening began to shrink.

When I saw what was on the other side, however, I completely forgot about the Chia. It was the most amazing thing I had ever seen. Hundreds of thousands of Chias were working and living together in a village of their own. Two Chia children were playing tag.

A sign read: LUPE WARNING MEETING TONIGHT

Little shops ran by Chias lined the roads. Tiny Chia houses were everywhere. There was no telling where the Chia I had been chasing was. I wondered how the Chia children that were playing tag would taste, licking my lips. At that moment however, an old blue Chia walked up to me. His gray beard almost touched the ground. In his hand was a wooden staff, used as a waling stick. I could easily tell that he was a respectable Chia, and resisted the urge to gobble him up in one bite (although the thought did cross my mind).

He gently hit my legs with his staff.

"Stand up straight," his voice was deep, yet caring. It was also commanding at the same time. "Come with me."

We walked for hours. I couldn't believe how big this Chia village was. The old Chia led me to a stone shrine. As we walked into the small building other chias bowed to us, or at least to the old geezer.

"You are welcome to stay here awhile, provided you swear to secrecy. If every outsider knew about this place, we would be in danger. You must also promise not to harm any Chia in this village. Do you promise?"

I thought a moment. A feast of Chias was at my grasp. I licked my lips at the thought. But then I thought of the thousands of Chias against me. I mean, one Lupe can only eat so much.

"I suppose," I said reluctantly.

"Good, follow me." He showed me the wall to his left. There were at least a hundred names carved in it. He handed me a chisel. "Engrave your name here. By doing so you sign a contract stating that you will do what you've already promised to do." I wondered if I should have asked for my lawyer, but I carved my name in the wall anyway. S-T-R-E-N-G-T-H-8-4.

The old Chia smiled and led me out of the shrine. I figured the shrine was sacred to the Chias.

The Chia pointed at a building next to the shrine that I hadn't noticed before. It was a skyscraper, taller than any in Neopia Central. At the very top was a sign flashing bright colors, that read, "Chia Motel." So much for sacred, huh? I squeezed inside the small door made for Chias. As I walked in I received many stares. The old Chia pointed to me, and the man sitting behind the counter nodded and smiled. He gave me a key to a suite.

When we got to my room the old Chia said, "There is an endless supply of chocolate Chias in the refrigerator, so you will not be tempted to eat the real thing. There's a bus into town every morning at 11:00. If you brought any Neopoints, you can go buy some souvenirs."

"Thanks," I muttered. The old chia simply nodded his head and departed. Great, I thought, I'm stuck in a town inhabited by Chias who just stare at me with wide eyes and dropped jaws. Worst of all, I'm being told what to do by an old geezer.

I decided to go to bed. Unfortunately, the bed was made for Chias, so I found it more comfortable to just sleep on the floor.

The next morning I grabbed the 11:00 bus. Every Chia kept looking at me. Even the bus driver couldn't help but glance in his mirror and stare at me. Soon all the seats were full, except for the one next to me. The Chias preferred to stand then, and I pretended not to notice.

When I got out it was pretty much the same way.

I passed a kid who bit the head off a chocolate Lupe. I went to a battle shop but everything there was made for Chias. At a candy store, there were no sugar coated Lupe treats. In an arcade, I saw an Avocado Chia playing darts. There was a picture of a Lupe in the center of it. Finally, I went to a furniture store and found a steel mirror. However, the clerk wouldn't let me purchase it.

I went back to the hotel, discouraged. I hated this place. The day after tomorrow I would go home.

In the morning I asked a Chia to do me a favor and purchase a large backpack. I knew that if I had tried to run the errand it would be in vein. Soon he came back with the item and I paid him back for it along with some interest.

I went back to my room and began to stuff the backpack with chocolate Chias. It fit snuggly around me, but it did the job.

I knew I couldn't leave without thanking the old geezer in the shrine. I found him reading a scroll, but as soon as I walked in he said, "What can I do for you, strength?" without even turning around. This bewildered me but I continued.

"I came back to thank you for your generosity, and to say that I am leaving tomorrow."

"Why?"

"Well, Sir, I feel like I don't belong here."

"How so?"

I felt like I was being interrogated, but I answered. "No one treats me like… like… like I should be treated."

"Just like us Chias, before this utopia was built?"

There was a small pause. My mind drifted back to the kid who had taken a bite out of a chocolate Lupe and the Avocado Chia playing darts. Didn't we do the same things to the Chias, only using the real thing instead of a chocolate substitute? I'd never looked at it from a Chia's point of view. I felt heartbroken and angry at myself to know that my whole life I had been scaring little children and hurting poor Chias. I knew chocolate Chias tasted good, but it was chocolate. I'm sure a chocolate Chia would taste the same. We are all pets of Neopia. No matter what species or color, should we not treat each and every pet with the same respect?

"I have offended and hurt Chias. Yet, you still treat me with kindness and generosity, which I do not deserve because of my actions." I lowered my head in shame.

"So, you have learned your lesson, I see."

"I have," were the last two words I ever said to the old Chia. The next day I left with a map and a hoard of chocolate Chias, for my loving family. When I got home heatherdragon hugged me, then scolded me for worrying her so much.

After that adventure, I never hunted, ate, or harmed a Chia ever again. However, I'll never say no to a chocolate one!

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