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World Dominate: Over-Cheery - Part One


by fierwym

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In a Second-Hand Shop

A small blue Wocky wandered through a tattered second-hand shop, hoping to spot something that was under-priced so she could resell it for a small profit. Her belly rumbled loudly with hunger, and she grimaced and looked away as a red Hissi with a silver chain around his neck glanced dubiously at her. Her eyes continued to scan the over-packed shelves full of useless junk. In a corner was a large tank with grime-covered glass and greenish water, teeming with the cheap fish people had caught in the Underwater Cavern. Her eyes watched the fish swim dully back and forth, and she could tell that some of them watched her out of the corner of their tiny eyes. What a life, she thought dully. At least in her life, she didn't have to swim back and forth and wonder when she would be eaten.

     Victoria sighed, then looked down at her small bag of neopoints. Fifty, perhaps one hundred. That was all. She would like to make more - she tried to make more every day of her life. Her greatest problem came with her size. She was very small for her age, something the other children at school had teased her about every single day when the teachers weren't looking. She frowned at the memory. "Why is she here?" they asked rudely, not bothering to keep their voices down. "Shouldn't she be in a lower grade?"

     Every time she tried to play games to earn neopoints the owner of the game would look at her and tell her baldly that she was too young to play. Despite constantly telling them that she was really in her late teens, they were always convinced that she was only entering the teenage years. At one point her parents, who had always hated her for being so small and never being "good enough" for them, had kicked her out of the house with nothing more than a small bag of neopoints and a small, tattered leather pouch to carry things in. And so she had spent her miserable life at the foot of the Money Tree, taking neopoints and other items, using the neopoints to buy second hand, cheap junk to survive off of. She had once won a Niptor as a prize from a contest, but, she remembered sadly, she had sold him for the neopoints. It wasn't too long after that happened that she had been robbed. For once in her life she had been slightly rich…

     She pushed the memory aside. Though her life was tough, she had survived. She had managed to do so for so long. She could continue.

     Pieces of rotting driftwood littered the shelf in front of her, all costing only a few neopoints. She rolled her eyes. Like she could really eat wood. She continued on, her four paws making little puffs of dust rise with every footstep. Tattered, useless items were all around her. Was she going to have to spend the night eating scrawnyfish or lesser spotted fish again?

     Then something on a shadowy shelf in a dark corner caught her eye. She walked over, eyes gleaming slightly in the dim light, a growing curiosity alighting her face. What was it? It must have been a fairly new item - there was no tag with its name and description on it. Each of its bright green leaves seemed determined to not let the darkness dampen their spirits. Wait, what was she saying? Dampen their spirits? Leaves didn't have personalities, did they?

     Then she blinked, once, twice, three times. Each of the bright green leaves was smiling.

     Instantly, she was met with a feeling quite opposite to what she would earlier have guessed. It wasn't shock, or repulsion at each of the smiling leaves with tiny black eyes… It was compassion. She loved that plant. Why, she could not say. She simply fell in love with it. She loved the way the brownish pod surrounded its roots, making it unnecessary to plant it in a pot. She loved the way the stems rose snakelike through the air, each supporting one of the five grinning leaves. She loved the way the leaves were shaped, almost heart-like, and the way each leaf smiled up at her so cheerfully. Instantly she knew one thing, and one thing only.

     She had to buy that plant.

     She didn't really care that it would take half her neopoints away. Something so obviously cheerful and bright shouldn't be locked away into a corner of little light. She gently picked it up, and it seemed to cuddle against her. Walking on three paws, the fourth carrying her beloved plant, she went over to the fish tank. There she bought some bread and butter fish for her dinner, not really caring that she had eaten fish for the past few months. She simply caressed her wonderful plant, handing over the neopoints for her purchase, and placing the fish in her worn pack. Still gazing happily at her new friend, she didn't notice the look of hesitation and pity cross the purple Scorchio's face as she left the battered shop with her plant, nor did she hear the soft whine of an Albat that was tied to the cashier's desk.

     She hummed and continued down the street, not noticing the darkening of the skies that could only mean a storm was coming, not noticing the stares she attracted as she walked with her plant held in her front paw, limping slightly as she walked on three paws. Perhaps if she had noticed she might have wondered why the people watching her with such pity and concern in their faces didn't come and help with whatever the problem was. And perhaps if she hadn't been gazing at nothing in particular as she hummed gently to herself on her way home, she might have noticed that the eyes of the plant she carried were no longer cheerful, and that each smile had turned to a terrible smirk.

          ******

     "I'll call you a Cheery Plant," said Victoria, stroking the plant as it hummed and crooned softly. By now, each set of eyes were smiling again, and each leaf had its cheerful smile. She set it on the cardboard table in her cardboard home, and began to fix her dinner, constantly looking back to the Cheery Plant that smiled so happily.

     Victoria did not know or suspect that the plant was something much more, that each of its ten eyes did not smile happily all the time, that when she wasn't looking each eye gleamed darkly and each smile twisted into that evil smirk. She didn't know, or suspect, that there was something much more dark and twisted about that plant, something so dark that she would be revolted if she knew…

     "Why are you so happy?" she asked it, sitting down and gnawing on cold fish, the bread and butter tasting much better than it had in all the months she had eaten it. Or perhaps she wasn't really tasting her meal, too entranced was she with that plant. "I wouldn't be smiling if I had been crammed into a dark corner and left to be forgotten. Yet you kept on smiling. I wonder why you were never picked up before. Surely anyone would want a cheerful thing like you."

     Each of the five leaves simply continued to smile.

     When Victoria finished her dinner, she gazed sleepily into one set of the small eyes for a while, chin resting on her paws. Her blue tale swayed lazily about, and she was content with her life for the first time ever. Nothing would ever go wrong now, she was sure. Everything would be alright now that she had the Cheery Plant. Nothing could ever go wrong again. Perhaps if she had been her usual self, the person she had been before she had found the plant, she would have backed away from it immediately. Surely such a thing so lulling, so happy that it sucked away her reason, was something not to be trusted. She sighed happily, still gazing at the plant that smiled back. There was nothing wrong with it, the new-Victoria knew. Nothing. Slowly her eyelids sank and rested onto her eyes, and she drifted away. The last thing she saw before she fell asleep were the smiles. It began to rain.

          ******

     Deep underground, far deeper than any would have imagined, a quarrel was taking place. So small were the many numerous holes to that place below the surface that anyone who saw them would immediately know the belonged to some type of petpet. In fact, only one hole leading down was large enough for a Pet to crawl down, but the entrance was under the roots of nothing other than the Brain Tree, who, being a knowing tree as he was, knew exactly what he guarded, and exactly who he guarded it for.

     Following one of these tunnels down, so far down one might suspect they'd never see the light of the sun again, was where the bickering voices sounded. Two small creatures stood face to face, their noses only a few inches apart from one another.

     "I told you not to let any of those plants reach the surface yet, Agent 53!"

     "I don't know how the plant did it, Master Alexander, but I assure you that I would never have let any of those plants reach the surface on my shift!"

     The one called Master Alexander sighed heavily. "Yes, I know you wouldn't dare do such a thing on purpose. Your blunder will be forgiven."

     "Will be?" asked Agent 53.

     The Master chuckled darkly. "You must go to the surface and find the plant. Bring it back down here."

     "And if someone has it in their possession?"

     "Come back for reinforcements," said the Master with a dark grin. "Whoever has that plant might like to see where it came from."

To be continued...

 
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