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Neopia's Fill in the Blank News Source | 20th day of Swimming, Yr 21
The Neopian Times Week 57 > Short Stories > Po and the Petpet Mill

Po and the Petpet Mill

by polayo

Tika fluttered in my face as I yawned and batted her away, rolling over and pulling the blankets closer around my shoulders, I groaned.

     She wouldn't stop pestering me.

     "Fine!" I exclaimed, throwing the blankets off me and hopping off my bed groggily. After thumping down stairs with Tika jumping about by my paws, I poured her Petpet food into her bowl, and poured myself a bowl of cereal.

     I pulled the newspaper closer to me, startled as I read the headlines.

ILLEGAL PETPET MILL

NEOPIA CENTRAL - Somewhere in Neopia central, an illegal Petpet mill is being run. Hundreds of Petpets show up, unscheduled, at the Petpet shop, battered, beaten, and starved. These Petpets are ill and mistreated. So far, investigators have not been able to find the Petpet mill. However, even if it is found, officials say that they might not be able to do anything about it. Many pets and owners say 'they're only Petpets' and will hear nothing more of it. Some of the most important people in Neopia, sadly, think that too. Join in the search for the Petpet mill: and if all goes well, they'll thank you for their lives.

     I gasped, glanced toward Tika, as if the make sure my baby was OK.

     The horrors of it! What about the poor Petpets at the Petpet mill? What will happen to them? Visions flashed into my mind OK Tika being dragged away, beaten, abused, and then dropped at the Neopian Petpet Shop...

     "NO!" I cried, and lunged off the chair, grabbing Tika and embracing her, hugging her tight, as if what I had envisioned was really happening.

     I made up my mind, then and there, to find the Petpet mill and someway-someway! -Shut it down. The thought of little Babaas, Doglefoxes, Kadoaties, and other Petpets being abused numbed my brain-how could anyone say Petpets are just...Petpets?

***

For safety, I made Tika stay behind-if we found the mill and she got lost, who knows if I would get her back? -And I walked out into the buzzing, Saturday afternoon in Neopia. How could anywhere in such a peaceful place be the home to such monsters that would abuse the lovely creatures we can call our own?

     My feet crunched on the gravel road as I stumbled along; down on all fours like I usually am, tail wagging behind me. My ears fluttered in the in the breeze, my new dangling star earring making a soft clinking sound with the ringed earrings that adorned my ears.

     I stopped. "Wait a second," I said quietly to myself, as the clinking continued, a steady, sometimes stalled beat of clanking metal. And then it was joined with a whining, pain-filled and nervous groan. I dashed in the direction of where it was coming, through the woods, branches slapping me in the face and twigs scraping at my paws. When I broke through, into the clearing, I knew I was there.

     There was a huge wooden fence surrounding the area, and my eye quickly caught what the clanking was. A Doglefox was chained to the fence, and he was tugging, the chain links clanked as he twisted his neck away and whined. Other Petpets wandered free towards the trough of water on one side.

     I gasped. This was the Petpet mill. The Petpets looked as if they were in agony, wincing with each step, scars showing through their fur: they looked as if they were simply a bag of bones. With barely any food to sustain them, I could see why.

     No one seemed to be around, so I stepped out of the brush and closer toward the fence. The Doglefox that was chained to the fence whined as I approached, and I fiddled with his chain. I managed to loosen it a bit so he was able to reach the water and food, but he was still secured to the fence. His eyes looked mournfully up at me, but knowing I could do no more, he scampered off.

     I stood again and looked around. There was near a hundred Petpets here, all eating the same food, drinking the same water, sleeping on the same blankets. If they even had blankets.

     I rattled the entrance to the fence, the clanking noise ringing out into the otherwise silence. Suddenly, I stopped. There had been some sort of rustling, and I'd heard it-was it just a Petpet? Or was I in trouble?

     I heard it again, but this time it was followed by a fat, mangy Usul stepping out of the small hut that bordered the fence. "Hey!" It shouted gruffly.

     Full of terror, I turned and ran as fast as I could away from there. I swallowed my fear and dashed back into the main streets of Neopia, breathing heavily. I began to walk, as if to regain my composure, slowly. Pets who had seen me emerge from the forest looked at me oddly, but I simply smiled their way. I didn't care what they thought of me. But I definitely cared about those Petpets...

     I arrived at my house, and Tika began chirping excitedly as I neared. I smiled at her, and she pawed the screen door. I finally opened it and swept her into my arms, making my way toward the kitchen table where I'd left the newspaper from the morning. At the bottom there was a number to call NIA-Neopian Investigations Agency, and the NPD, Neopian Police Department.

     I randomly chose the NPD and picked up my phone, dialing fervently. When it stopped ringing, the voice that came through from the other line was even and trim. I began talking breathlessly, explaining why I needed to talk to the Chief-of-police immediately.

     Reluctantly, she agreed, and told me to be at the main building by 10:30. Glancing at the clock, it bleeped as it turned 10:00 sharp. "All right, I'll be there," I said, and put down the phone.

     "You stay here, Tika," I set her down and patted her one her head as I stepped out the door the second time that morning. "I'll be back soon, don't worry." At the offices, I sat in a cold, uncomfortable waiting room, when finally my name was called. I made my way to the room, and stood in front of the green Lupe, the chief of police. He nodded at me as I sat down timidly.

     "So, Polayo, you seem to have some information on the Petpet mill. What can you tell us?"

     "Well, after reading the article this morning, I went to look for it and, miracle of miracles"--I tried to have a good attitude about it all, being semi-cheerful--"I came across it thanks to a clinking of metal, which was a chain holding a Doglefox to a fence. So I burst through the forest and found it-there are around hundred Petpets around there, all starved and bags of bones. I ran away when someone-an Usul-stepped out of the hut near the fence. I could take you there again, if you need to see it."

     He was silent for a moment, deciding. Finally, he pressed a button on his speakerphone. "Get my squad ready," he muttered roughly into it.

     I smiled. I was doing something right for once.

     Only minutes later, we were out once again on the streets, with me in front of these grown, trained pets. I laughed to myself-what a sight we must have been! We moved slowly, gaining speed as we went on, until we came to the space in the undergrowth and edge of the forest-now trampled, seeing as I had run over it twice. Without a word I pushed away the branches until I again emerged from the trees into the clearing. As it was last time, it seemed as if no one was around-but I wasn't to be fooled.

     "See?" I whispered to the officers stepping one by one from the covering of trees, "See how bad they're being treated? You've gotta stop this, please!"

     They all walked slowly around, as quietly as they could. A lot of them were making little 'tsk-tsk' noises, and shaking their heads regretfully.

     But then I heard it again. The rustle. Not knowing what to say, I simply stopped short. Before the Chief could ask me what was wrong, the Usul stepped out of the house again. He was furious, his face contorted in anger.

     "Get out!" He howled, coming down from his porch. "Get out!"

     "Sorry, sir," said the Chief, handcuffing the Usul while a look of shock took place of the fury, "you're under arrest. We'll be taking you back to the headquarters."

     I smiled, and tapped the Chief on the shoulder. "I'll stay here," I said, "with the Petpets, comfort them and such. Then maybe you can send someone over here later to deal with them?"

     "Sure," he said, distracted, and I jumped over the fence into the clearing. The Petpets rushed toward me, smelling Tika's scent on my paws, and I hugged them each, patting them and comforting them. This was my environment, with the Petpets.

     The Petpets weren't ready to be sold or kept as pets, and they were meant to be kept in the back of the Petpet shop for about a year-I know, a long time, isn't it? But I suggested that they be given to different Neopian families, and we'd be glad to take care of the Babaas. When I brought home a box of 7 tiny baby Babaas, Tika was overjoyed-she now struts around with the little ones following her, pestering her, and depending on her. She pretends she hates it, but I can tell that secretly she loves it.

     The mill was shut down, thankfully. The land has been sold and whoever bought it planted the trees again, so soon there will be no more sign of it. However, that doesn't mean all memory of it is gone...

The End

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