Dedicated to my little alley cat, Sammy. Found in the city fifteen years
ago, orphaned with her brothers and sisters and eventually given to us, a little
fuzz ball of joy. The cat that loves to be loved, cuddled, and sits with you
even if a bomb is dropped on the house. It hurts when she gets old, but at least
I can say she was mine.
IT WAS A cloudy day in the month of Gathering, Y3. A large, red female Scorchio
hovered over her clutch of eggs as she glared outside of the bars of her cage
on this dreary day. The cart she was in gave a bump and she roared as she tried
to steady her nest. She knew her mate, long gone, was watching over her, guiding
her to freedom of this terrible circus.
The first egg cracked as the
train rattled on. The mother wasn't sure if it was broken or hatching, but she
had to find out. She put her nose close to the egg. She sniffed, and then turned
her eye to it. She was surprised when a little nose peeked out and flared its
minute nostrils at her, crying softly. It then tried to continue breaking out
of its egg. The mother gently began turning the eggs, soon after resting above
them and warming them with her body.
The clutch of young Scorchios were just shy of a month old when a mean-looking
human entered their cage. The baby Scorchios hid behind their mother and peeked
only their eyes out in fear. The mother grunted and shifted herself in a better
position in case she had to defend her children. "What do you want?" she growled
in a low, gravely voice. Her eyes glared and studied the man carefully.
"Well, ma'am, I'm here to
sort out your little kids, there," he said, motioning a threatening, sharp
stick and coiled lassos at the young Scorchios. The clutch shrank back as one
while their giant of a mother took a booming step forward.
"Well you're not taking any
of my clutch go to those evil people!" She cried and swiped her tail around,
careful not hit any of her children, and grabbed the man by the ankles. Slowly,
deliberately, she held him upside down in mid air. "If anything, you will be
the one to go!" she cried.
"But, Scorchio, ma'am, they're
just being taken to market..." the man pleaded, fearing his life.
"What happens to those that
buy them, huh? I know what goes on in those corrupt auction houses of yours!"
She put her massive head right up to his face. The man winced as her steaming
breath hit his face. Her eyes were aflame and her nostrils flared out threateningly.
She whispered to him, "Maybe, if you think it's so safe, we should bring you
there instead?" The colour drained from the man's face and he began to shake.
With her intimidation working,
she threw the man aside. Gathering her small children in her huge arms. She
leaped out of the cage and carried them up into the sky. "That children, is
what you must do. It is was your father taught to me and it is what I shall
teach to you. These circus handlers need to be trained to our ways. Remember,
my darlings, if you destroy their tents, they are too poor to afford new ones!
If they are gone, you will all be free!" Her voice rose as she said it and within
a moment, she had lifted her head back and spouted a flame at one of the circus
tents. A lasso was then thrown around her tail and dragged her down until they
got one over her neck, and she fell from the skies gallantly. She covered her
children so that they would remain safe, and always so that they would always
remember the sound of her fiercely beating heart.
FlamingFireCannon, a Scorchio who had inherited his mother's red coat and
size, carried his handler grudgingly, doing a rehearsed, simple dance. He acted
up when he was supposed to and the handler got him 'under control', also rehearsed.
It was all for the crowd, of course.
FireCannon looked to the side
as his brother, IcyFrostCannon, and silently they got a plan. Icy was a 'puller
Scorchio', in other words, he pulled wagons for noisy, young Neopets. Within
a moment, he motioned to their sister, Teriqa, and she knew the plan instantly.
The two grabbed the lines holding them with their tails and ripped them away.
FireCannon slapped his rider, a young yellow Zafara, with his wings and tail,
throwing the poor pet into the stands. The siblings roared and spit fire, setting
the vibrant circus tent in flames.
The place was in turmoil.
Handlers instantly went after the Scorchios, some handlers brutally hurt before
they finally held the three down. They tied them down, wings and all, and pulled
out the fire whips. They all knew what was coming, but they did not regret their
rebellion as they watched the circus tent go up in flames. It was only a matter
of time before all the tents were destroyed, and the circus forced to close
Thrashing about, the mother Scorchio roared, refusing to speak to her handlers.
She lashed out at them all, hitting them with her tail, striking them with her
claws, head and teeth. They had not bound her wings yet, so she unfolded them
and flapped, as well.
The handlers yelled out curses
and orders before the ropes snapped and they ran. The mother Scorchio pivoted
quickly, facing her children. They were extremely young and could hardly fly
yet, but they would have to flee with her.
"Come!" She hissed, and her
children tried. They lifted themselves wobbly into the air and flew off, but
not quickly enough.
The handlers mounted Unis
and spurred them forward as they followed the Scorchios. They were a threat
to all Neopia if they were that destructive! A striped Techo pointed
a Grand Lightning Beam straight at the mother, without a moment's hesitation,
he fired. The mother roared and fell to the ground, thrashing, and they had
no choice but to finish her life as the rest of the squad of circus handlers
went after the young ones. A few of them, like Teriqa, dropped to the ground,
crying and wanting their mother. The rest, including FireCannon and Icy, kept
flying, sparing no time to grieve.
More of the young Scorchios
fell from the sky. The remaining four dove down into the shadows of a thick,
large forest nearby and silently landed on its floor. They looked into each
other's eyes, saying goodbye without speaking. With that, the remaining scattered
and never saw each other again.
FireCannon found it increasingly difficult to live on his own. He traveled
from town to town, trying to entertain his way to food and a roof over his head.
However, people seemed to be prejudiced against Scorchios, and he got little,
not enough to live on. He contemplated whether he should go back to the circus,
take his punishment and live, or to die traveling hopelessly from here to there.
It was not long before he
collapsed on a dirt road and he groaned and called out despairingly for help,
his voice hardly carrying a few feet. He whimpered and knew it was the end.
Gulping, he closed his eyes, ready to face the end.
It was then that he felt someone
nudging his mouth open and putting savoury, wonderful food in his mouth. He
opened his eyes weakly, but his vision was blurred.
"Relax, now," whoever,
whatever, it was said softly. Feminine… Gentle, but raspy, as if her voice is
hardly used. It was a voice so human. FireCannon shuddered involuntarily.
Humans were the worst at the circus, but he obeyed. He closed his eyes again
and let her hand feed him until he fell asleep.
"Bwahahahaha! I will crush you with my bulk of doom!" A fire Scorchio bellowed,
a grin spread wide across his ashy face. He was chasing a mutant Lupe down the
halls of a rather large NeoHome.
They swept past a human girl
with black wings who stumbled out of their way. "If you guys break something…"
She trailed off as she heard a loud crash and two voices scream, "I didn't do
it!" She sighed and chuckled. To think what FireCannon could have become if
she hadn't found him that day… If he hadn't had such a wonderful mother... But
if she had only disowned both the Lupe and the Scorchio before they destroyed
her carefully created and furnished NeoHome.
"IF THAT WAS THE KAUVARA LAMP,
I'LL GET YOU TWO!" GryphonSong screamed. She got an answer of scrabbling paws
as they shot past her again, trying to escape. "OH, NO YOU DON'T!" she yelled
and took off after them. FireCannon, the now-fire Scorchio, was a joy… but what
a curse he could be!
For the inspiration of this story, in case anyone bothers to care, came from
a dream I had, my wonderful kitty (to whom it is dedicated), and a fake item in
my (poor quality) Dream Gallery. Also, I would like to thank those who edited
this in The Neopian Times Appreciation Guild and made me notice the tons of mistakes
I made. This story was also altered so it wouldn't turn into a series. Sorry about
that, I'm just lazy!