A petpet for Mínare
Today was entirely too cold, Azure the Lupe decided as he
trotted to the park. "If it's going to be this cold," he complained to his Wadjet,
Zith, "it should at least snow."
Zith said nothing, but Zith rarely did. She did,
however, huddle deeper into his dense red coat. The Bearog trotting beside him,
Jim, Jack, and Bob, didn't seem to mind the cold one bit. Jim, Jack, and Bob
were the reason he was out here on such a frigid day at all. Kokono had come
down with a case of the Sneezles, so it fell to one of the others to exercise
Jo had offered to do it, but her Slorg's slime
trail would have frozen it to the sidewalk. As amusing as the thought of Fwick
glued to the sidewalk by his own slime was, Azure opted to do it himself.
A leaf skittered in front of them, and Jack and
Jim went into hot pursuit. Only Bob kept looking back towards Azure, as the
other two heads happily snapped at the leaf. It was obvious that Bob didn't
want to play with the leaf, nor did he have control of the legs at that moment.
Azure chuckled. Normally the three different heads of a Bearog had similar dispositions,
but Bob's shy and recluse attitude definitely clashed with the exuberance and
playfulness of Jim and Jack.
Hopefully, Azure thought, there would be other
petpets at the park for the Bearog to play with. Zith didn't enjoy wrestling
with something that had her out-limbed and out-headed. A quiet pet, Zith didn't
like lots of people or loud noises. Something that was all too common for her
in the house now.
She'd really been much happier, Azure reflected,
when it had just been him, Fire, and Fire's Feepit, Snow. Unfortunately for
Zith, gentle Snow had been given to a friend, and now an excitable Snicklebeast
named Dustil claimed the position of Fire's petpet.
Jim and Jack abruptly grew bored with the leaf,
and returned to Azure, much to Bob's obvious relief. Instead, Jim and Jack wanted
to wrestle with Azure's tail, an activity Zith disapproved of loudly. She drew
herself up from her death grip on his neck and hissed violently. All three heads
of the Bearog stared at her blankly for a moment, then bounded off in a search
for a less reluctant playmate.
As the Bearog frolicked, Jack's head looked sharply
to the right, banging Jim in the process. While Jim shook his head dazedly,
the Bearog bounded over to a tree that seemed to have a small fire burning at
its roots. Azure trotted closer and realized that the fire was actually a fire
Bori. He grinned, Mínare was her name and she had a Snowickle named Erunáme
that could always give Koko's Bearog a good workout in play. As he got closer
though, he realized that he didn't see Erunáme anywhere, and Mínare was crying.
Concerned, Azure rushed over to her. "Mín, what's
She looked at him with tear filled eyes, "Yesterday
Mom and I went to Meridell, and the Tur..." She hiccuped and tried again, "Tur
"Turmaculus?" Azure supplied helpfully. She nodded
and burst into tears again. Compassion welled up in Azure. "Oh, Mín I'm sorry."
Zith chirped softly, and slithered over to Mínare.
Nudging her paw, Zith purred softly. Mínare picked her up, and nuzzled her causing
Zith to purr louder.
Looking around, Azure saw that there was no one
else at the park. "Mín, could you do me a favor?" She looked at him with red-rimmed,
curious eyes. "Could you hold on to Zith while I take the three drooling heads
and wear them out?" She nodded, cuddling Zith closer to her.
Grabbing a stick, Azure instantly got the Bearog's
attention. Three grinning heads smiled at the stick, eyes shining in anticipation.
He took off, running as fast as he could across the park. Three barking heads,
four legs, and a tail followed him.
But while the stick held Jim's, Jack's, and Bob's
attention, Azure's mind was back at the tree. He recalled how happy Zith had
made Mínare, and how happy Zith seemed to be with her. It has been a long time
since Zith had purred like that. Mínare was an only pet, with a kind owner.
Life would be quieter at her house. Zith hadn't been truly happy ever since
he'd moved in with Nim, the guild house was far too busy and loud for her.
A sudden memory of red fur flashed in his mind.
A young cub, half grown, wrestling with his brothers. Brothers he hadn't seen
in years. He'd lost his family, he'd found Zith. Then he'd found Nim, and gained
a new family. Now there was another young cub who needed family.
Heavyhearted, he made up his mind. Swerving sharply,
he ran home. By the time they got to the front door, the Bearog was worn out.
Entering the living room, the Bearog collapsed in exhaustion on a floor cushion.
Azure gathered up all of Zith's things into a bag. "Stay here, and be good,"
he called back to the exhausted Bearog as he ran back out. Racing back to the
park, Azure made himself slow down. If he kept going this fast, he'd be too
winded to talk when he got to Mínare.
Approaching the tree where he'd left them, Azure
heard a small giggle. Mínare was lying on her back, with Zith on her stomach.
Smiling, she scratched Zith right above the eye, Zith's favorite spot. A loud
rumbling purr emanated from the Wadjet.
Mínare glanced up and saw Azure's approach. A
quick flash of regret flickered across her face, then she composed herself and
smiled at him. "All done exercising the boys?" she asked him.
Azure smiled, "Yep, and now they are sprawled
across a cushion, sleeping." He continued, "While I was there, I picked up some
stuff for you."
"Stuff for me?" she repeated, confused.
"Yeah, you're going to need a copy of 'Sakhmet
Petpets', and her purple ball; Zith gets really unhappy if she doesn't have
her brown bed to curl up in when she's sleepy, so you'll need it, and Barbecue
Pork is her favorite food..."
Mínare cut him off, "Azure, you can't give me
your petpet! Won't Nim get mad?" However, while she was renouncing his gift,
she cuddled a purring Zith closer to her.
Azure shook his head. "Nim didn't give me Zith.
I found Zith back when I thought humans were just a story to keep little cubs
Mínare looked at him with huge eyes, "Why are
you doing this?"
"Because you need each other," he told her seriously.
"Zith is happier with you, and you need someone to keep you company."
Eyes shining, she wordlessly took the bag of
Zith's possessions from him. "Now go home," he urged her. "It's cold, and your
owner will start to worry about how long you've been gone."
"Thank you," she whispered, and she started back
through the park to her house, cuddling Zith closely all the while.
Azure sat against the tree as he watched them
walk away. The wind picked up and leaves skittered across the grass in a dance
only the wind and the leaves knew. With a sigh, he picked himself up and headed
back home. A Gelert ran across the other end of the park, chased by a Warf.
His heart lightening, Azure smiled at their play. Someday he'd get another petpet,
he decided, when he found one who needed a good home. But for now, it was good
just to watch the fun. Sending the Gelert and the Warf another grin, Azure ran
back to the warmth of his own home.