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Neopia's Fill in the Blank News Source | 12th day of Eating, Yr 23
The Neopian Times Week 72 > Short Stories > The Land of Discard

The Land of Discard

by smudgeoffudge

Pelbert the Poogle looked up at his owner with his new blue button eyes, he'd just been painted plushie. "Aww, how cute!" his owner cooed and picked him up. Walking away from the Rainbow Pool, Pelbert couldn't help but notice the admiring glances, or hear the people tell his owner how very lucky they were. If they were all happy, why shouldn't he be? But inside he wasn't too sure he liked his new look.

     Back home, his owner sat him on the floor and he tried to walk around.

     "Hey, I can barley move!" he complained.

     "The paint brushes only affect your colouring, not your stats. See here, it says you are 'super speedy' so you should still be able to move fast. Give it a another try."

     But Pelbert didn't think he could do it. After a while however, he found he could run around, it was just a different kind of run. He had to wiggle and bounce to run, and it looked rather comical. His owner thought it was the cutest thing, and it was kind of fun, like bouncing in a fun house. He ran around the house saying "Bouncy... bouncy!"

     "Why don't you go outside for a while, and I'll make some cookies." So away he went.

     Like some kids will do, he soon forgot what he was doing and was not careful. He was running up a hill and then rolling down the other side, when he fell into some bushes. If he hadn't been plushie coloured, he might have had a small scratch and thought nothing of it. But instead he got a rather large rip! It was the first time he had gotten ripped, and it was tragic. Stuffing was poking out of his rip, the tear seemed to get bigger each time he moved, and more stuffing seemed to come out.

     "I'm ripping in half!" he screamed, but was too far away for his owner to hear him. No one else seemed to be around, so he would have to make his own way home. "I hope I can make it home in one piece!" he whimpered. He was running down the street when he suddenly fell into a large puddle of mud. When he came out, he looked awful.

     "Eeek! A Mud monster! Help!" someone screamed, but he couldn't see who it was because of the mud.

     "I didn't know Poogles could be painted mutant, I'm getting out of here before Sloth sees me and gets an idea!" said someone else.

     Pelbert began to cry and as he walked home, he knew he must look horrible. "I don't know how I can explain this to my owner. Is there any way this can be fixed? What if it can't? Maybe I can be stitched up, but how are we going to get all this mud out? I'll never look the same anyway. Maybe I won't go home at all," Pelbert cried.

     He didn't know that he could be fixed, that a trip to the healing spring was really all he needed, so he didn't go home. Instead he just crawled into a cardboard box as it began to rain. He fell asleep as the box began to float downhill and into a gutter. After the rain stopped, a rather grumpy Chia came out of his home and muttered, "Stupid NeoHome at the bottom of the hill! The yard always floods and then I have all this junk floating around to clean up! Maybe one day I'll actually find something useful. What's this?" The Chia poked the box and then looked inside. "Humph, rags and garbage who needs it? Discard!" he yelled. With the word 'Discard' something strange happened, Pelbert felt as if he were flying, falling, and spinning. He didn't know which way was up or down. Just when he thought he could stand it no longer, it stopped.

     Pelbert poked his head from the box. All around him were mountains! They were huge mountains so tall the tops were covered in clouds. They were all colours of the rainbow, some were glittery and others actually seemed furry! After he looked at the mountains a while he noticed that they were not made of rock. The glittery mountain was really a made of toy balls. The furry looking mountain was made of cotton candy. It was very organised now that he looked at it, not all jumbled together like a junk heap.

     "Where am I anyway?" he asked, though no one was around. "The last word I heard was 'Discard'."

     Just then he saw a little speck of light in the distance, and it got bigger. Then a faerie appeared! Well, it WAS a faerie, but not a very pretty one. Her hair was long white strings, like a mop. Her dress was tattered rags, but her wings were the worst. Her wings looked like they had been cut from a newspaper that was crinkled and yellowed with age.

     "I wanna go home!" Pelbert cried and the faerie just looked at him with pity. "You speak?" she said. "But if you speak, then you are alive! You shouldn't be here...but you are."

     "Where am I?" Pelbert asked.

     "You are in the place everything goes when it is discarded! But no Neopet has ever been here!"

     "You mean, I can't go home?" Pelbert asked.

     "I don't know, if you were discarded that obviously means you were not wanted."

     "But my owner didn't discard me, she loves me and I love her. I got all dirty and ragged, and I'll probably never be pretty again. But my owner will love me. I should have never ran away from home. If my owner wants me, that should be enough to send me home."

     "I'm not so sure about that. Well, I can help you get clean at least," she said and disappeared. She returned a few seconds later with a healing potion.

     "You mean, all I needed was a potion? I thought I was ruined forever!"

     The faerie just smiled sadly. When he looked at her, Pelbert realised something. She was a Faerie, what was SHE doing here? And she looked about as awful as him, why didn't she take a healing potion too?

     "So, you are a Faerie. What do you do here?" Pelbert asked.

     "Well, all the faeries have an element. Some are air faeries, Some are light faeries. Me, I never could figure out what I was. My best friends, the Cooking Pot faerie, and the Soup faerie, had the same problem. You see, sometimes special faeries are born and we don't seem to really fit in anywhere. But there is always a place we belong, if we can find it. I finally found out I belong here, sorting the discarded items. I go to each item when it appears and I sort it into a pile. I put all the blue fuzzles over there, and all the red ones over there...and sometimes I even find discarded pet pets...but those won't stay in a pile, but anyway...I just sort what I can."

     "What! People actually discard pet pets?!" Pelbert asked.

     "Yeah, people discard all sorts of things. Look over there at that mountain of faerie paint brushes!" the faerie said as she gestured as gracefully as she could.

     "Wow, that is something!" Pelbert said "But is it all just going to sit there?"

     "I'm not sure, maybe some day there will be a way to get back discarded things. But most people do intend to discard something, and wouldn't want it back. But it doesn't hurt to have it all organised Maybe the day will come where people might want something back, and there will be a way to get it back," the faerie said. But this just made Pelbert feel worse. When would that day come? Well, he knew one thing, he wasn't going to just sit in a pile and wait.

     "Listen Mrs. Faerie, I don't belong here. It has to be a glitch or something! It isn't fair."

     "What did you say!?" the faerie half whispered.

     "A Glitch. It has to be a Glitch."

     "How do you know about the GLITCH?" the faerie asked and now she seemed scared or angry. Pelbert didn't know what she was going to do.

     "I...I don't know any glitch...it is just a thing people say when things go wrong...wait...why did you said THE GLITCH...as if it is a person?"

     "The Glitch is...a person...well...it is alive...sort of, but we aren't supposed to say his name. He...it...might hear you."

     "But if the Glitch brought me here then maybe it has to bring me home. Don't Glitches work in people's favour at times."

     "The Glitch does sometimes work in one's favour, but only if one is very greedy and has bad intentions. You want to go home, but I don't think it is because you are greedy. I don't think the Glitch ever just helped anyone." But Pelbert wasn't listening. He was going to go find THE GLITCH!

     He climbed over a mountain of jellybeans, and then over a mountain of rugs, but all around him were just more mountains. "Doesn't this place ever end?!" he asked

     "Eventually," the Discard Faerie said.

     "Hey, I didn't know you were following me," Pelbert said

     "Well, I don't have much else to do. Yes, this place ends, but it'll be hard to climb all the mountains, there are so many."

     "Is there any other way? You know, you could carry me if you wanted to be nice..." Pelbert said.

     "Nope, I am afraid not. If you want to give up, it won't be so bad. You'll have plenty of food and things. You'll never want for anything here. Here, let me read you a nice book," the faerie said

"No!" said Pelbert. "I see it now, you don't want me to leave because you are lonely and want someone to talk to. Well, I want to go home and I will, no matter how long it takes."

     "You're right, I am lonely. It's boring here. I've played with all the toys, I've read all the books, I've eaten all different kinds of food, but I don't have anyone to talk to."

     "I'm sorry, it's a nice place to visit, but I don't want to live here. If you want to talk...then talk...we can talk while I try to find my way home," Pelbert said

     Pelbert kept climbing over mountains and for a while the faerie was quiet, but it had been so long since she had had company that she began to tell him stories. They were pretty interesting stories about faeries and adventures. She even told him a little more about herself, but it wasn't much. Just some stuff about how she had always looked that way and how people teased her. But she said as least she had found out where she needed to be. Pelbert was sure she really wasn't very happy, but kept it to himself. If anyone had told him a few days ago that he would be climbing a mountain of cookies while a faerie told him stories, and that he would only want to go home, he wouldn't have believed it.

     He seemed to climb for hours and got very tired. He napped a few times when he was on a soft mountain. He snacked on cookies (there were veggies and healthy food around, but wouldn't YOU eat the candy?) when he got hungry. He loved cookies a lot, so ate and awful lot of them. But he got a bad stomach ache. He decided he didn't really want to see a cookie again for a while. Sometimes he noticed a pet pet here or there. They seemed happy enough, munching away at whatever was near. Had people really discarded them? Could he bring them home? What about the other items? Would it be possible to sneak just a little of this or a little of that home with him? But he knew he shouldn't be greedy or he'd never get home. But he still wanted to help the pet pets. Soon he noticed that the surroundings were getting nastier. There were mountains of smelly socks and mountains of volcanic rocks. Things were not as brightly coloured as before.

     "Great, it's only going to get worse...isn't it?" he asked

     "I'm afraid so. It just looked better to do it this way. All the nice stuff at one end and everything else at the other end. My own design you see. Everything was all jumbled up when I first came here."

     "Oh, that must have took a long long time to get it all like this," Pelbert said. He was just a little Poogle so of course he would say something like this. He couldn't think of anything else to say.

     "Oh yes, a long, long time. But it is good to finally have someone to see it and appreciate it," the faerie said. And she really wasn't so bad. When he was hungry he could ask for just about anything and the faerie would fetch it for him. (By now he wasn't asking for cookies.) But even though he had begged her, she said she would not carry him to the end. He would have to make it there himself, and even if he did, it was pretty pointless. That is what she told him, anyway. But Pelbert was sure that she was just saying that because she wanted him to stay.

     But perhaps the Glitch knew they were coming, because strange things began to happen. As if it wasn't bad enough to be climbing a mountain of sludge, Pelbert found all kinds of odd things happening. Everything seemed to turn funny colours Then time seemed to stand still for a minute and a big sign appeared that said, "Neopets is Temporarily unavailable!"

     "Eeek that is horrible!" Pelbert screamed in slow motion as a faerie Kougra grinned down at him from the humongous sign.

     Then another thing happened, when Pelbert tried to eat something, the words "feed to Pelbert" didn't appear on the list. So all he could do was look at the item, but he couldn't eat it. It became hard to even walk, and he found he was walking backwards. So he had to turn around to walk the way he wanted to go!

     "Tahw si gnineppah?" Pelbert asked.

     "We must be nearing the Glitch!" the faerie said. "Everything is all weird and you are talking backwards!"

     But that wasn't what Pelbert heard. He heard the faerie talking backwards. But somehow he figured out what was going on. He looked up to see that the sky had turned into html, CSS, and other codes and when pelbert looked at the ground it seemed to be made of wires and circuits! They must be very near the Glitch then. But where was he? They traveled down a road made of broken wires. Here and there were little spark-like things. They looked sad, that is, if a spark can look sad. Pelbert thought they looked a bit like Meltons. Pelbert saw that they were pacing. It seemed like they wanted to travel down the road, but each time they got to a gap in the road where the circuits or wires were missing, they would hover there. So they couldn't get going to where they needed to be. Pelbert traveled some more and finally saw a silly-looking black evil fuzzle. It was munching happily on a wire.

     "Hehehe... burp!" it said and started chewing another wire. Then it shot into the air, and the all the codes that were so neatly arranged became jumbled up. They finally just resembled dark clouds in the sky.

     "The Glitch!" he shouted "Hey, get down here now! I want to go home!"

     But the Glitch just buzzed around and messed up some more codes and chewed some more wires.

     "Hey look at the mess you are making!" Pelbert shouted but the Glitch just laughed.

     How could he make it behave? What could he do? Pelbert thought for a moment. The Glitch liked to mess everything up? But what if he thought he wasn't messing everything up? Could he trick the Glitch into fixing something instead?

     "Wow, look at the Mess you are making! Look at all the broken wires and messed up codes. This is wonderful! Everyone must be so happy. Now, if someone really wanted to mess things up they'd come along and connect these wires and they'd fix that code up there. But that will never happen and that is great. But I'm not bad enough to do that. Boy, would that be a surprise though, I bet no one would even suspect such a thing could happen. And look at me - I was discarded. If I could get put back where I was before, everyone would be so surprised!" Pelbert said

     The glitch was confused of course.

     "Broken wires...is what peoples be wanting?" the Glitch said in a funny squeaky voice.

     "Oh yeah, everyone just loves all the broken wires, just look at them. They are so curly. Much better than straight connected wires. Those are so boring. They just lay there. In fact, people just love chaos. They'd never tell you though. They make out like they hate it when you mess things up."

     "Mwahahahaha. Me show them!" The Glitch said and he connected all the wires. The little sparks jumped around happily and zoomed away at lightening speed.

     "And those codes up there, they are so jumbled that it is beautiful. They don't compute at all!" Pelbert exclaimed.

     The Glitch stormed up and fixed all the codes. The "Neopets is Temporarily Unavailable" screen went away.

     "Ooh what you did! Now people will have to get on with playing boring games and shopping in boring shops. Their little brake is over now! Hehehe, you showed them!" Pelbert laughed.

     "Hehehehehe!" the glitch said and suddenly Pelbert saw a big button appear that said "Put Pelbert Back" along with some other buttons. They had names like 'Fluffy' and 'Snuggums'. They were the pet pets! Some of them could go home because they were discarded by accident. Pelbert pushed a lot of buttons, so many that he thought he'd never get to the end, but he wanted to make sure the pet pets got home first. Finally Pelbert was able to put himself back home. The Discard Faerie cried and said she would miss him, but he was certain that he didn't want to stay.

     "Please don't go! I'll be so lonely!" the Faerie cried.

     "Mwahahahaha!" the Glitch laughed.

     "Shut up!" both the Faerie and Pelbert yelled.

     Just then something green and white spotted fell out of the sky and landed in the Faeries arms. It was an egg! It cracked open and a little green Draik's head poked out.

     "Mama!" it said looking at the Faerie.

     Pelbert snuck away as the Faerie was looking at the Draik. He was sure that someone would be sad that they had discarded a Draik egg. But then again, maybe the Glitch was at work again. And who was to say that the egg hadn't been discarded on purpose? But the little Draik was happy and the Faerie was happy, so what did it matter? When Pelbert finally made it back home, his owner didn't seem to notice how long he'd been gone; it was as if he had just been out for a walk.

     "Oh, I am so sorry I ran away! I got ripped and then got all dirty and ragged! Then I thought you wouldn't want me anymore."

     "Oh, it will be OK! See, the dirt comes right off. And I can get a potion for you if you have rip. It will heal like a cut heals. But I don't see a rip on you. You look fine to me. Are you sure you like being a plushie? If it scares you, we can do something else. I can see you've had a bad day. It is only your first day as a plushie. But if you are sure you are not going to like it, I won't make you be what you don't want to be."

     "I don't care what colour I am. But I did get all ripped and dirty and I was gone for days and days when I ran away! I just wanted to come home, that was all I cared about," Pelbert said and told her everything that happened.

     "How could you have been gone for days and days? You only just left. It was a cute story though. And you know I will always love you, you don't have to worry about that," she said. That wasn't the end of Pelbert's fun, because from time to time items would appear in their inventory. He told her that they were gifts from the Faerie of Discard Land, but his owner still couldn't quite believe him. Finally she just shook her head and laughed. "Well someone out there likes you..." Over the years, they never stopped getting gifts, usually it was cookies.

     "Arrgh anything but that!" said Pelbert

The End


Author's Note: If you create a pet and name it Pelbert, please take good care of it and feed it every day. But maybe not too many cookies.

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