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Bringing Home The Gold


by jeaniesofatso

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Just... a little... more... Beads of sweat formed on Tyrin the Kougra's head as he carefully moved the loop around the wire. Just an inch more until the end, he thought. Just one inch more... and he could get a gold trophy on this game...

     "BOO!" screamed his sister Tara, and Island Uni.

     "Aah!" yelled Tyrin, yanking the loop. BUZZ!

     "You have not yet mastered this test. Try again when you are ready." The Techo lectured in a monotonous, and somewhat contemptuous, tone.

     "No!" wailed Tyrin. He whirled around. "That was my only chance!" he yelled.

     "Well, excuse me," huffed his sister. "We're eating dinner."

     "And that was why you had to ruin my game?! I just lost a trophy!" Tyrin wailed. He put his head in his paws. "No!"

     "Well anyway, we're going to Pizarroo tonight. Come on." Tara turned and trotted off.

     The Kougra sniffed and wiped a tear from his eye. How proud his owner would have been of him if he had brought home the gold trophy for The Buzzer Game. He stood up to go. Tyrin walked through the dense forest, taking a shortcut to their Neohome on Mystery Island. When he arrived, he put a false smile on his face. "Hi guys!"

     "Hi!" squealed his other sister, Tinina, a cute Kacheek with white fur and a flower behind her ear. "We're going to Pizzaroo tonight!"

     "Yeah!" cheered Tyrin's brother Tydar, an Island Kougra with a warm but shy personality. He tackled Tyrin to the ground.

     "Off! Get off, you big fat furball!" Tyrin shoved his brother off.

     "Well, sorry," pouted Tydar. "I see poor little Tyrin doesn't want his beautiful green fur all messed up."

     "Hey!" Tyrin looked down at himself. His green fur stuck out in places and was tangled and rough. "Oh, I guess I look pretty shabby."

     "That's right!" chirped their owner Trinn. She was very fond of the letter T because it stood for her favorite things such as Tombola, Tyrannia, Tree, and mysTery island. Trinn held out a blue brush. "Get over here, furball." She tackled Tyrin and started brushing his fur.

     "Ow! Ow!" Tyrin struggled and was tempted to scratch Trinn when she refused to let go. He had almost squirmed out of her grasp when Tinnia pushed him and helped Trinn get the Kougra in a headlock.

     "It's not that bad to brush your fur once in a while!" she chided. "Look at me!"

     "You never brush your fur because it's so short!" howled Tyrin. "Let go of me, Trinn, you're yanking all my fur out--"

     "All done! That wasn't so bad, was it?" Trinn smiled and petted Tyrin. "You're all nice and shiny now! Let's go!" She walked off toward the harbor, and her four pets followed.

     Tyrin scowled and massaged his aching neck. His paw felt soft, silky fur. He looked down at himself in amazement. Somehow, Trinn, master of brushing, had smoothened his fur. Tyrin smiled, pleased. His green fur gleamed. It was beautiful... until the next time he played with Tydar.

     The group took the boat to Neopia Central. They arrived at Pizzaroo (with a lot of complaints from Tinnia, who eventually had to be carried by Trinn because her feet hurt). Tyrin breathed in the delicious smells wafting from the store. When they stepped in, it grew even stronger. Tyrin closed his eyes as the wonderful smells drifted into his nose. "I want to get... my favorite."

     "Of course!" Trinn smiled, heading to the back of and EXTREMELY long line. "Such a glamorous Kougra should get his favorite slice of pizza... or did you want two?"

     "Two!" Tyrin grinned. "I love pizza!"

     Tara scowled. Trinn noticed and added, "Do you want two slices of pizza also? Special treatment for a special Island Uni."

     "No," huffed Tara, flicking her tail. "I don't want to grow fat."

     "You already are fat," sniggered Tydar.

     "You should be quiet if you know what's good for you," snarled Tara.

     "Or what? You'll step on me with your dainty hooves?" Tydar growled back. "Listen, s--"

     "Don't fight!" yelled Trinn. "We're in a store! And Tydar, get along with your sister! Just because she's adopted doesn't mean that you have to be mean to her."

     Tydar snarled but fell quiet. The Island Kougra had never gotten along with his adopted sister. When they adopted Tara, she had already been painted Island. Wondering who in the world would have abandoned an Island Uni, Trinn had adopted her. Although sibling might not get along (Tyrin always fought with his sister Tinnia over something stupid), but Tyrin was sure that one day they would challenge the other to a Battledome match.

     "I'll go save a seat. Remember, I want four slices of pizza. Hm... what's that kind, you know, with the olive like things on it? Get me three of those, and one of the real cheesy ones, and one with dung on it to smash in Tydar's face." Tinnia hopped off to look for a table.

     "That's five," snorted Tydar. He broke into a grin, Tinnia usually had that effect on people. Her cute face and friendly smile made people smile. Anyone, except for Tara. Suddenly Tinnia ran back.

     "I want another one," she said. "Trinn, could you also get me that one with the stuff on it, you know... uh... I forgot what it's called... um..."

     "Not that smart, are you?" laughed Tydar, grabbing his sister in a headlock and giving her a noogie.

     "Hey! Let go!" Tinnia broke free and scowled at her brother. "Look at my fur!"

     "Disgusting," agreed Tydar. "I'll go save a table," he said. "Trinn, could you get me that one with the stuff on it, you know... uh... I forgot what it's called... um..." he left laughing, with his sister glaring.

     "Humph," she fumed and crossed her arms. "See if I talk to him again." She turned toward Tyrin. "What are you getting?"

     "The one with the stuff on it, you know, uh, I forgot what it's called... um-- OW!" Tinnia smacked her brother in the head.

     "Don't make fun of my stupidity!" she laughed. "I'm just kidding. Don't take it seriously. I know you take everything literally. Remember when I told you to use your head and you--"

     "Don't tell anyone!" hissed Tyrin. When he had been little, he couldn't figure out how to turn on the lamp in their house. He hadn't noticed the power cord, and when Tinnia told him to use his head, he had head- butted the expensive lamp, effectively shattering it into pieces. Trinn had fumed for days.

     Finally, when Trinn arrived at the front of the very long line, she ordered the pizza and walked around the store with two boxes in her arms. When she found the table (which wasn't too difficult because Tydar was standing on top of the table waving his arms) she set down the pizza and pushed the Kougra off onto the seat.

     "What do you think you're doing?" she asked. "This is a STORE. Not our Neohome."

     "I know, I was just pointing the table out to you. You wouldn't have been able to find our table in all these people. Besides," he nodded to their left, "He's doing it also." A small yellow Chia and a orange Gelert were hopping up and down on their table. Trinn sighed.

     "Dig in!" Tinnia opened the two boxes of pizza and sat down next to Trinn and Tyrin. She grabbed a whole box (like she always did) and began eating. "Mmmm."

     "You eat too much," said Trinn. "Do you know how much we spend on food? 15,000 NPs per week! And you spend 10,000!"

     "That's what gives me my strength in the Battledome," snorted Tinnia, finishing her first slice of pizza and grabbing another.

     "Wow," said Tydar. "Even I can't eat that fast." It was true. Tinnia was the neopet that Trinn trained the most. Tyrin was only on level three, and Tydar on level 16, while Tinnia was on level 22. Tara was on level 16 from her previous owner. Tinnia somehow managed to remain average weight, and she would always run around Mystery Island doing odd jobs with Tydar for free food.

     "So what did you guys do today?" asked Trinn. "I went shopping with Tara."

     "Tsk," said Tinnia, finishing off her second slice. "I told you, Neopoints should be entrusted to me. Not the bank. If we," she pointed to herself and Tyrin, "Took care of your Neopoints, we wouldn't have to have no lighting in our house."

     "We DO have lighting in our house," argued Trinn. "Except they're the extension option."

     "Whatever," said Tydar. "Today, I..." he paused for effect, "Got you the BEACH avatar."

     "Really?" asked Trinn.

     "No, but I found out how to get it. Just take Tinnia to the beach."

     "Well, today," Tara flicked her mane behind her and daintily picked up a slice of pizza, "I went shopping with Trinn."

     "We bought some more codestones for you," added Trinn.

     "Oh goody," said Tinnia. "I have to beat that darn Snowager. I've already beat flaming Meerca."

     "Whoa," said Tydar. "I got scorched."

     "You got knocked out by the Chia Clown," reminded Trinn.

     "You're so mean," snorted Tydar.

     The group finished off their pizza. "Oh, what did you do today?" asked Tinnia, picking up the dung pizza and smashing it into Tydar's face. The Kougra absolutely hated dung, although he loved the dung couch in his room. "Tyrin, you haven't said anything yet."

     Tyrin had been quiet the entire time. He looked down at the table. "I..."

     Trinn took one look at his crestfallen face and patted him on the back. "Did someone make fun of you? What happened, Tyrin?"

     Tyrin sniffed and choked back a sob. A tear rolled down his cheek.

     "Oh no," said Tinnia.

     Tyrin broke into tears. "Waaah!"

     "I'm going," said Tara, standing up. She trotted out the store.

     Tyrin felt the eyes of the entire store on him. Of course. Who cries in the middle of a pizza store? He felt like a loser and cried even more.

     "There," said Tinnia, wiping his face with her handkerchief. "Don't worry, it's clean."

     "Yeah right," snorted Tydar. "Let's go back to our room. Maybe we can play a board game or something to make you feel better."

     "Good idea," said Trinn, picking up Tyrin. She carried him gently all the way back to their Neohome. During the long walk, Tinnia's petpet's petpetpet Mootix nearly got blown away.

     When they arrived at their Neohome, Trinn carried Tyrin to the bathroom. "Let's give you a bath."

     "I want a bath!" yelled Tinnia. "I love baths!"

     "I hate baths," grumped Tydar as Trinn dragged him into the bathtub.

     Trinn gave Tydar a bath first and scrubbed all of the mud off of his paw and dung from his face. She poured shampoo all over his head (Ow! You got it into my eye!) and rinsed, dried, and combed him (You're killing me! I'm going to be balder than a mutant Lenny!).

     Tinnia was next. After washing out the bathtub four times, the pretty Kacheek stepped into the water and splashed around. "Whee!"

     "That's not a bath," stated Tydar.

     "So?" Tinnia grabbed her bottle of rainwater shampoo and poured it on her fur. "Now it is." She splashed around some more, scrubbed herself clean with some lavender- scented soap, then hopped out of the bathtub onto a fluffy white towel. "Yay." She wrapped the towel around her (resembling a white fluffball) and waddled out of the bathroom.

     "Alright, you're next," said Trinn, washing out the bathtub then heaved Tyrin into it. She carefully poured shampoo on his head and scrubbed vigorously.

     "Oof," said Tyrin as he slipped and fell into the water with a loud splash. Trinn giggled.

     "You are so clumsy, Tyrin," she joked. "Remember how you used to trip over your feet?"

     Tyrin frowned. "Not anymore," he said. "Today I played The Buzzer Game and--"

     "And what?" asked Trinn.

     "And I got a good score," finished Tyrin defensively. "A VERY good score."

     "Good enough for a Kougra to bring home the gold?" laughed Trinn.

     Tyrin hesitated. "Yes."

     "Whoa!" Trinn smiled. "You have a steady hand, little Kougra. I'm so bad at that game, that's why I always tell Tydar to do it. Guess I should ask you now, huh?"

     Tyrin smiled. "You bet." He had been playing this game for a VERY long time, maybe three years. Even when everyone else was out solving the island mystery, he had found enough time to play The Buzzer Game. True, it annoyed a lot of people, even him, but he still loved the game.

     "What do you say we all go and play right now?" asked Trinn, winking at Tyrin. "Won't that be fun?"

     "Huh? Right now?" asked Tyrin. "It's pitch dark outside!"

     "We can bring lights. Besides, they have torches outside." Trinn laughed. "Tara! Tydar, and Tinnia! Come on! We're going!"

     Soon a grumpy island Uni, an excited white Kacheek, and pouting island Kougra followed Trinn out the door, Tydar leading the way. They made their way to The Buzzer Game. The Techo smiled and showed them the wire, handed the loop to Trinn, then started blinking excessively.

     "Don't worry, he always does that," smiled Tyrin.

     Trinn actually got to the second level, then BZZ! when she just got past the loop. Tinnia had four tries, her high score was zero. Tydar got 40.

     "I bet I could do better than you!" Tara picked up the wire loop, but it was awkward with her hooves. When she barely made it to level four, the Techo dropped a piece of fruit a foot next to her head. "Aiie!" she shrieked and dropped the wire loop. BZZ.

     Tara scowled and stomped off. Although she won the beauty contest and poetry contest multiple times, she couldn't stand to see anyone else win. She glared at Tyrin out of the corner of her eye.

     "Your turn," said the Techo to Tyrin. Inside, the Techo knew that today Tyrin would take home the gold trophy. Anyone would be able to tell from the determined look on the Kougra's face.

     Tyrin picked up the wire loop. The first level he got a whopping 45 points. The second level he got 30. As his score went higher and higher, passerby stopped to watch. The Kougra concentrated only on the wire. The Techo's blinking, boo!'s, singing staff members, dropping fruit, and glowing red eyes were all in vain (not to mention the blinking). He didn't even bat an eyelash when a fruit landed four inches away from his head.

     Finally the score crept up to 830. But he had to get 900 to be first on the high score list. Tyrin had one more life, one more level, and one humongous crowd off spectators. The group held their breath as Tyrin moved the wire carefully with utmost caution, millimeter by millimeter. Finally, long after the bonus time ran out, after one minute and forty seconds, there was one centimeter left. The crowd watched with wide eyes as Tyrin grew closer and closer to the red dot. Half a centimeter. One fourth. One sixth. Two millimeters...

     "Arrgh!" yelled Tara, ramming into Tyrin. But she was too late, and Tyrin had been expecting it.. He moved the wire quickly the remaining two millimeters.

     "You have mastered this level!" congratulated the Techo. As soon as the wire touched the red dot, Tyrin was pushed into the wire structure and fell on top of the Techo, who scowled.

     "Whoopee!" screamed Tinnia.

     "Yeah, go Tyrin!" cheered Tydin.

     "Way to go!" yelled Trinn.

     "You've won the gold trophy," said the Techo, getting up. He handed a gold trophy to Tyrin (which seemed to have materialized out of the air). "You are also first on the high score list, with a score of 9?? points. You might have gotten some more if the buzzer contraption wasn't ruined."

     "Yeah!" Tyrin held the gold trophy up, and the audience broke into cheers. A Gelert whistled a piercing whistle so shrill that Tyrin winced a little. The Kougra looked toward Trinn, and he saw...

     That in his owner's face was a glowing pride. He could tell what she was thinking. 'My Kougra won the gold trophy! A GOLD trophy!'

     "For this trophy I would like to thank Trinn, my owner for taking great care of me, Tydar my annoying brother for messing up my fur, Tinnia my sister for screaming at me all the time, and..." he took a deep breath. "Last of all, my adopted sister Tara, who helped me to learn that there can be unexpected disasters while playing games, and sudden twists in life. Thanks." Tyrin walked over to Trinn, who picked him up and hugged him tightly (regardless of the trophy, which was quite hard and was poking Trinn in the face).

     "I'm so proud of you, you little cutie- pie!" said Trinn.

     "Oof, put me down. If you don't I'm going to take back what I said." Tyrin was set on the ground. Tinnia snatched the trophy from him.

     "Wow," she said, admiring the shining surface. "Don't get your muddy paws on it," she snapped at Tydar, who already had mud on his feet and was reaching for the trophy.

     "Let's go home," said Tara quietly. She headed toward their Neohome.

     After the group got home, Tyrin was given the honor of putting the beautiful new trophy (with the slightest bit of mud on it) in Trinn's trophy cabinet.

     "Let's party!" yelled Tinnia.

     "In memory of this occasion," said Tydar, pulling some lime jellies out of the fridge. "Dig in."

     The whole family loved lime jelly (except for Tara who preferred strawberry) ate two servings of it each.

     "I wish it was poisonous jelly," grunted Tinnia, who was full for once. She was lying on her back staring up at the ceiling because she was too bloated to do anything else.

     "Dung," said Trinn. "So I could smash it in Tydar's face."

     "Eww!" said Tydar with a horrified expression on his face. "DUNG jelly? What's up with all these dung items?"

     "To annoy you," snorted Tara. Then she added, "I'm sorry, Tyrin."

     "Huh?" asked Tinnia, getting some more jelly from the fridge.

     "Before I came here, I was always bullied around by my family," explained Tara quietly. "They discouraged whatever I did, so I became like that. Whenever someone else was close to achieving something, I spoiled it."

     "Aw," said Tyrin. "Don't worry about it. It's just a game anyway."

     "And when I saw you crying at Pizzaroo I felt horrible." Tara brushed away a tear. "You won't send me back to the pound, will you?"

     "Of course not!" reassured Trinn quickly. "We adopted you! You're part of our family now."

     "Yeah," agreed Tydar grudgingly. "I guess I shouldn't have been mean to you."

     "For your own good," snorted Tinnia, shoving a half a poisonous jelly into her mouth. "Mmm. She could trample you."

     "Yeah, I guess so," said Tydar, edging away.

     "Who cares about a trophy? All that matters is that we're a family." Tyrin smiled. "What do you say we go to Pizzaroo again to celebrate?"

     "Oh, no," said Tinnia, holding her stomach. "I can't eat anymore. This time, really."

     Everyone laughed. "I bet you can't eat one more slice of pizza," challenged Tydar.

     "What? Of COURSE I can!" Tinnia managed to hobble toward the door. "Off to Pizzaroo, everybody!"

     Tyrin smiled as he followed his sister out the door. Today he hadn't just brought home the gold. He had brought them together.

     "Thanks," said Tara. "If you want, I can give the special little Kougra a ride on my back."

     Tyrin leapt onto Tara's back and the group set off to Neopia Central in honor of Tyrin's gold trophy.

The End

 
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