MOEIOE WAS SQUEAKY clean from the tips of his faerie wings to the bottoms
of his hooves, from his brightly-polished tusks to the bristly hairs at the
end of his tail. For a special day like this, he'd given in to his brothers'
oft-ignored demands that he take a bath. He stood with his hind legs on the
seat of his chair and his front hooves propped up on the kitchen table as he
stared excitedly at the pyramid of chocolate faerie cakes topped with a single
flaming candle. The faerie Moehog broke his attention away from this mesmerising
sight and offered a toothy grin to the other Neopets and humans who surrounded
him as they finished singing, "Happy birthday, dear Moeioe... Happy birthday
to you!" Puffing up his cheeks with air, Moeioe turned back to the cake, blew
with all his might, and watched the candle sputter out as everyone clapped and
Later that evening, the partygoers relocated
to the living room to watch Moeioe rip through the wrapping paper on the stack
of gifts he'd received. His older brothers, Achilles81 the cloud Gelert and
MaxKanine the green Lupe, had gotten him a copy of Classic Moehog Tales (with
a Moehog Comic slipped inside) and a Lupe Warrior Lunchbox respectively, and
the newest member of their family, Rooruon the mutant Cybunny, had given him
a fancy new stencil set. Once he'd made his way through the presents and gone
around thanking his family and friends, he settled down into the seat of honour--his owner Tdyans' lap. As he surveyed the pile of toys, books, and supplies
that he'd accumulated, he suddenly realised something. "Tdyans, didn't you get
me anything for my birthday?"
Tdyans smiled down at him and patted his mane.
"Of course I did, Moeioe," she said. "But it's a surprise, and you'll have to
wait a few days." Satisfied with her response, if a little curious, Moeioe sat
back contentedly and listened as his friends and family shared fond memories
from a year before when Moeioe had been adopted from the Pound. Moeioe had been
too young at the time to remember anything about it himself, but he liked to
hear the story, even as a part of him felt that there was something missing
Suddenly, their companionable chatter was interrupted
by a knock at the door. Tdyans looked around the room, noting everyone present
and wondering who their new guest could be. Still perplexed, she picked Moeioe
up, carried him to the door, and opened it to reveal a girl with short brown
hair standing on the porch. Moeioe looked up at Tdyans to see absolutely no
recognition on her face, but there was something about this girl that seemed
familiar to him somehow. "I'm sorry," Tdyans spoke up after a moment, "but who--"
She was interrupted as the girl held out a nicely
wrapped gift with a card resting on top of it. "For Moeioe," the girl said,
smiling. Tdyans took the gift and opened the card, holding it in front of Moeioe
so that both of them could read the words that had been written inside:
"There are many paths that life can take us
down, but somehow it always leads us in the right direction, even if we don't
recognise it at the time."
Moeioe looked up again to see his owner's face
etched with even more confusion. Then he turned back to look at the girl, only
to find that she had disappeared into the Neopian night. "Well, that was strange,"
Tdyans said, shutting the door slowly and carrying Moeioe and his new present
back into the living room. She seemed to put the odd incident out of her mind
once they returned to their company, but something about the girl's face continued
to nudge at the back of Moeioe's mind for the rest of the evening.
After their guests had finally trickled out
one by one, Moeioe was sent upstairs to bed while the rest of his family took
on the job of cleaning up after the party. The faerie Moehog settled into his
soft Kau print bed, and their strange visitor's face swam before his vision
just before his mind went blank in sleep...
A little blue Moehog awoke suddenly to stuffy darkness and the sounds of muffled
voices. He'd been born just a couple of hours earlier, with only the sense that
he was a Neopet and that Neopets were supposed to have owners who loved and
cared for them. But he'd hardly gotten a glimpse of *his* owner before he'd
been shut up inside this cardboard box and, in the midst of his new-born fright
and confusion, had fallen asleep.
Now the voices finally ceased, and the flaps
of the box opened up above him, letting in glaring, fluorescent light. The little
Moehog trembled and squinted up at the creature who loomed above him--a yellow
Techo with frazzled, gray hair in a white lab coat. The Techo reached into the
box and pulled him out, and the little Moehog turned his head to catch the barest
glimpse of a human walking out the door. "Come on fella," the Techo said, holding
the little Moehog against his chest and leading him away from the reception
area of the Neopian Pound. "You don't need a human like that." The Moehog looked
up at the Techo In spite of his stern expression, there was a hint of kindness
in his voice.
A red Uni fell into step beside them and patted
the little Moehog with her hoof. "Yeah, don't worry little guy. You'll find
the perfect owner here and then you'll both live happily ever after." The Techo
rolled his eyes at that, but nodded enthusiastically when he noticed that the
Moehog was watching him. Finally, they arrived at the back of the Pound. The
Techo opened up a cage and gently placed the little Moehog inside, trying to
offer the same reassuring smile as the Uni before they both turned and headed
back to the front desk.
The little blue Moehog turned his head this
way and that, taking in his new surroundings. There were Neopets of every size
and shape all around him and all in cages just like his. "Hmph," he heard from
his left, and turned to see a purple Poogle staring disdainfully at him from
the next cage over. "A Moehog?" the Poogle said, her voice conveying her disgust.
"Fat chance you'll ever find an owner!"
The Moehog's tiny ears drooped, but just at
that moment, the pets heard someone coming, and every head turned anxiously
toward the new human who had just walked into the room. A girl with short brown
hair strolled slowly through the rows of cages and came to a stop in front of
the little Moehog, who looked up at her hopefully. "Ooh, what a cute pet!" she
exclaimed, looking at the name tag that had been attached to his cage. "And
a cute name too--Moeioe!" As the girl stood before his cage staring at him,
the little Moehog, Moeioe, stared back. He looked at her friendly smile and
shining eyes, and suddenly he found himself picturing a life with her. He saw
her opening the cage and taking him to a cozy, warm NeoHome. He saw her feeding
him and buying him toys. He saw them playing in a grassy yard together, and
he sighed happily at the pictures that had formed in his mind of their future.
But then the girl began to turn away, and the
happy visions in the little Moehog's head shattered. "I'll keep you in mind,
and maybe I'll come back," she promised him, but he felt none of the reassurance
that she tried to inject into her statement. He watched in silent dismay as
she walked away and out of sight to continue browsing through the pets.
"Ha, that's not likely!" the Poogle chimed in
again with a delighted sneer. "Wave goodbye, Moehog. There goes *your* last
chance of getting out of here." Moeioe laid down dejectedly on the floor of
his cage, resting his head against his hooves as tears gathered in his eyes.
He'd been born expecting to be loved and instead he'd been given away. He'd
allowed himself to dream of a life with that girl, and now that dream had been
crushed. He was determined not to hope for anything again, but that resolution
only added to his despair.
He didn't bother turning his head as the other
pets did when the door to the back room swung open again, but out of the corner
of his eye he could see another human, flanked by two pets--a green Lupe and
a cloud Gelert "I'm still not quite sure why I brought you guys here," the girl
was saying. "I mean, I think I'm just a two-pet person."
"Well," the Gelert pointed out, "you used to
think you were just a one-pet person too--"
"But you kept being drawn back to the Pound,"
the Lupe continued. "And then you found me, and you said you knew it was meant
The Gelert concluded, "So maybe this is meant
to be too. Maybe there's someone here you're supposed to find."
Their owner sighed and nodded a little uncertainly,
finally turning to observe the pound pets who were all staring intently at her--all except one. She walked slowly to stand in front of the sniffling blue Moehog's
cage, and then quietly asked, "What's the matter little guy?" Moeioe finally
looked up through tear-blurred eyes to see a girl with curly, brown hair and
hazel eyes standing over him with a concerned look on her face. "Aw, of course
you can't talk yet to answer me," she said, reaching through the bars of his
cage to scratch his head. "You're practically just a baby!"
Moeioe leaned into her comforting touch, but
then remembered his decision not to hope for an owner any more and pulled away
a little. Still, his crying had stopped. With a sigh, the girl pulled her hand
back and began to turn away. The Moehog just nodded to himself, having forced
himself to expect just this outcome of the encounter. But then the girl hesitated
and stepped back to his cage to stare into his eyes again. She lingered for
a few moments, indecision written across her face, and then looked down at her
two pets, who simply nodded back at her. The girl smiled. "Try not to look *too*
smug about it guys." Then, to the little Moehog's surprise, she opened the door
to his cage and reached in to draw him out and into her arms. "Come on--" she
paused to look at the name tag--"Moeioe. You're coming home with us."
As she carried him away, Moeioe looked over
her shoulder to see the first girl who had stopped in front of his cage returning,
only to notice his absence with a disappointed expression. He looked from her--the pictures of a happy life with her that he'd entertained still floating through
his mind--to the girl who carried him now and the two pets who walked by her
sides, and he couldn't bring himself to picture a happy life with them. What
he'd thought was meant to be had disappointed him already in his young life,
and he could neither let go of it completely, nor allow himself to hope again.
The Lupe was trying to teach Moeioe how to talk
as they walked down Neopia Avenue in the fading daylight. "I'm MaxKanine," he
said, "but you can call me Max. Can you say that?"
"Ma-Maxi," Moeioe tried.
The Gelert snickered lightly, but MaxKanine
just grinned and said, "And that's Achilles81... but you can call him Achi."
Achilles frowned at Max, but couldn't help but
smile slightly when Moeioe repeated, "Achi."
"And that's your new owner, Tdyans," Max continued,
nodding up at the girl who walked beside them.
"Tee-Tee-die--" the little Moehog struggled
with the strange name.
Tdyans just smiled and picked him up off of
the ground. "It's okay, you'll figure it out eventually." As they turned into
a driveway that led up to a large house, she said, "And *this* is your new NeoHome."
MaxKanine gave Moeioe a tour of the NeoHome,
and then they all led him to the guest bedroom, explaining that they'd have
to start building him a room of his own tomorrow as they tucked him into a soft
royal oak bed. "All right Moeioe," Tdyans said, "Max and Achilles will be in
their rooms just down the hall, and I have to go back to my own home."
As the little Moehog watched them walk toward
the doorway, the bed around him suddenly seemed very big and lonely. They turned
back to look at him one last time before closing the door, and at seeing his
frightened expression, Tdyans looked down at her two older pets and they nodded
in unison for the second time that evening. "Sleep over in Moeioe's room!" she
exclaimed. Without another word, Maxi and Achi leaped onto the bed and curled
up on either side of Moeioe. The little Moehog laid his head against the Lupe's
soft, green shoulder and watched as his new owner laid across the end of the
bed with a yawn. "Just for tonight," he heard her say in an indulgent voice
right before his eyes fell closed and he drifted off to sleep.
When Moeioe awoke the next morning, Tdyans was
gone, but Maxi and Achi led him into the kitchen for a breakfast of warm hotcakes.
Just as he was sipping the last of his Kau Kau Milk, Tdyans walked through the
door smiling. "We're going into town, guys," she said. "I have a surprise for
Moeioe's heart sank. He was certain that he
knew exactly what this "surprise" was, but he followed along obediently as they
left the house and walked toward Neopia Central together. He consoled himself
with the fact that he hadn't allowed himself to dream of a life with them as
he'd done with the other girl before. Well, perhaps he had, but then a Neopet
couldn't control what he dreamed about in his sleep, especially when that Neopet
spent the night with a soft, snoring Lupe, a Gelert who whimpered in his sleep,
and a human who awoke every couple of hours to check on him and pat his head
Moeioe kept his head down as he trudged after
Tdyans, Achilles81, and MaxKanine, so when they finally stopped, he was surprised
to find that they were standing not in front of the Pound, but in front of a
strange looking pool with a rainbow rising out of it. He looked up at Tdyans,
confused, and she smiled and pulled a brightly wrapped gift out from behind
her back, setting it down before him. Moeioe was even more puzzled now--he'd
never received a present before in his short life. Maxi helped him get the idea
by grabbing one end of the bright red bow between his sharp teeth and pulling
it free. Then he nodded to Moeioe encouragingly, and the little Moehog stuck
his hoof out and scratched at the blue wrapping paper experimentally. The glossy
paper tore off, and he curiously scratched away more and more until finally,
his gift was revealed--a strange-looking paint brush with black paint and flames
on its bristles.
"Would you like to be painted fire, Moeioe?"
Tdyans asked. Moeioe, still not completely sure what all this was about, looked
around and noticed the other pets who were gathered around the pool. A Peophin
nearby hopped into the pool with another strange paint brush, and her reddish
fur slowly changed to a lovely purple. All of the other pets present seemed
to be undergoing similar transformations, and Moeioe turned back to Tdyans and
nodded his head enthusiastically.
She picked him up and set him down gently into
the cool, shallow water, and then she slowly dipped the bristles of the strange
paint brush into the pool near his feet. The colour from the paint brush spread
through the water, clinging to Moeioe's legs and spreading up and around the
rest of his short fur. Moeioe looked down at himself to see ash gray hooves
and handsome, coal black fur with painted orange flames leaping up his little
legs. For the first time since he had been created just a day earlier, Moeioe
smiled a real, toothy Moehog grin and leaped out of the water to dance around
excitedly on the bank, admiring the way that his new coat looked under the friendly
He hopped joyfully up to MaxKanine, who was
so caught up in the little Moehog's gusto that he threw his head back and howled.
Moeioe watched him curiously for a moment, and then threw his head back and
did the same. "Aa-ooooo!" Even Achilles81, after rolling his eyes, joined in
the celebratory howl. Moeioe stopped for a moment and looked up again at Tdyans--his new owner--and smiled before he threw his head back once again. "Aa-oooooo!"
"Moeioe, Moeioe, wake up." Moeioe opened his eyes slowly to darkness rather
than bright sunlight and wondered where he was. Then he looked down at his fur
and saw that it was no longer black and orange, but light blue and green. Finally,
he looked up to see his family--Tdyans, Achilles81, MaxKanine, and Rooruon--gathered around him on the bed. "Are you all right, Moeioe?" Tdyans asked. She
smiled a little as she explained, "You were... howling... in your sleep."
Moeioe smiled back, realising that he had been
dreaming, but also knowing deep down that it had been more than just a dream.
He looked over at the strange card that had been set on his dresser and remembered
the girl with the short, brown hair--how he'd imagined a life with her and
then been disappointed. And then he turned back to his family, and he realised
life without *them* was unimaginable.
He climbed into Tdyans lap and nuzzled her contentedly.
"I'm glad it was you Tdyans," he said.
He looked up at her and watched as her face
showed first confusion and then a simple smile as she hugged him back. "I'm
glad it was you too, Moeioe."
Author's Note: The one year anniversary of Moeioe's creation, abandonment,
and adoption was July 24th, and in case you hadn't guessed, this is my birthday
gift to him. Perhaps it's really "just another adoption story" at heart, but I
felt the need to write it. It's based on a true story; someone Neomailed me after
reading one of my stories and said she'd recognised Moeioe's name because she
had almost adopted him way back when. And although I'm sure she would have been
a good owner to him, I'm still glad that he ended up with me instead. I simply
can't imagine my little Neopian family without him.