A New Friend
Kaerhas was bored. The blue Bori sat on the living room
floor, absentmindedly picking at the fraying threads of a Headless Von Roo Plushie.
With a sigh, the young Neopet stood up, the jingly bell tied to his tail ringing
musically, and headed into the kitchen with the vague idea of searching for something
Halfway through poking around in the empty cupboards,
Kaerhas heard the doorbell ring. His boredom melted away faster than a Brucicle
in the Lost Desert, and the Bori made a dash for the front door to greet his
“Kyrinn! You’re back!” Kaerhas called out happily
as he rounded the corner and the door came into view. A teenage human girl stepped
through the doorway, accompanied by a warm summer breeze. Kaerhas could see
the black night sky behind her, twinkling with stars. Somewhat awkwardly closing
the door with her foot (her arms were laden with grocery bags), Kyrinn shook
back her short, dark hair and greeted her excited pet with equal enthusiasm.
“Yup, I’m back!” Kyrinn handed Kaerhas one of the
bags. “And I heard about a lost city on Mystery Island, Geraptiku, I think it
was called. I’m going to go explore it tomorrow! Are you coming with me?”
Kaerhas bounded into the kitchen after his owner,
his bell ringing madly. “Actually, Kyrinn, I’ve been thinking,” Kaerhas called
over the din of his owner tossing random foodstuffs into the cupboards and refrigerator.
The Bori ducked as a can of Achyfi went flying haphazardly past his ears and
continued speaking, unperturbed. “You know how you’re always gone a lot, when
you’re exploring? I get really bored at home.”
“Yeah?” Kyrinn answered, prompting Kaerhas to continue.
“Well, I kind of want a Petpet. I mean, I like all
the books and toys you got me, but they get a little boring after a while….”
Kaerhas gave his owner a pleading look.
“Of course we can get you a Petpet!” Kyrinn said cheerfully.
She grabbed a pan and started making dinner.
Kaerhas’ ears perked up as he bounced around his owner.
“Well, yeah. It must get pretty boring at home by
yourself. I guess I should try to stay home a bit more….” Kyrinn paused in her
cooking, then shrugged. “But in the meantime, what Petpet do you want?”
Kaerhas picked up a Petpet catalogue from the table
and leafed through it. “I’m not sure. I’ve been looking through this, and I
saw several ones that I liked, but I just can’t decide!”
“That’s okay,” Kyrinn replied, looking nearly as excited
as her hyperactive pet. “It’ll be like a quest! We can travel to different lands,
brave storms on Terror Mountain, explore Altador, take a ship to Mystery Island….”
Kyrinn had a tendency to term even the smallest task a “quest,” and the eccentric
owner lived for completing such quests.
Kaerhas listened as Kyrinn rattled on about the adventures
they’d have, the dangers they’d run into, the magnificent battles they’d fight,
and so on with increasing excitement. “When do we go?” he demanded.
Kyrinn grinned. “Tomorrow, we leave at dawn to begin
our new quest: Find the Perfect Petpet!”
* * * *
Kaerhas bounded out of bed the next morning, leapt
into the bathroom, splashed cold water on his face, and jumped down the stairs.
The Bori found Kyrinn curled up in a squishy armchair in the living room, sipping
a cup of snowberry tea and reading the comics page of the Neopian Times. Not
looking up from her newspaper (nothing could distract her while she was reading),
Kyrinn gestured to the kitchen. Kaerhas took the hint and went to the table
to find his breakfast of toast waiting for him.
After he bolted down the food, Kaerhas went back into
the living room, only pausing to tie his bell to its usual place on the tip
of his tail. Kyrinn looked up and grinned cheekily at her pet. Setting down
her newspaper, she gulped down the rest of her tea. “Ready to go?”
“Yes!” Kaerhas followed his owner to the door, and
the two of them stepped out of their Neohome and onto the streets of Neopia
It was still early, so Kaerhas and Kyrinn met few
people. The sun was not even over the horizon, but it was bright and in the
east, the sky was a light pink color. Kyrinn really wasn’t kidding about
starting at dawn, Kaerhas thought. I hope the store’s open. Kyrinn
had decided that they would start at the Petpet Shop in Neopia Central, since
that was the closest. The two passed the Book Shop and the Kadoatery, where
the noisy Petpets were already screaming and wailing. Kaerhas winced.
“I know I don’t want one of those,” Kaerhas raised
his voice to be heard over the racket.
“They’re too expensive, anyway,” Kyrinn answered.
Kaerhas and Kyrinn reached the Petpet Shop after a
short walk. Kyrinn pushed open the door to be greeted by a cheerful “Hello!
Can I help you?” said by an equally cheerful Usul.
Despite the early hour, everything was up and running.
The Usul shopkeeper was extremely helpful and happy to see potential customers,
and while his owner explained their mission to the shopkeeper, Kaerhas wandered
around the shelves examining the Petpets.
The Bori picked up a Warf, giggling as another one
snuck up behind him and batted playfully at his tail, amusing itself with the
jingly bell. Kaerhas made a few rounds through the shop, carefully evaluating
Eventually Kaerhas went back the counter at the front
of the shop. He had a whole hoard of curious Petpets following along behind
him, but the Bori was empty-handed.
“You didn’t find one you wanted?” Kyrinn asked, pausing
her conversation with the shopkeeper. Kaerhas shook his head.
“They’re all nice, but I just didn’t find one that
was…right for me,” Kaerhas explained.
Kyrinn smiled, grabbing her pet by the paw. “Don’t
worry, we’ve got plenty of time to search. Thanks for all your help,” she called
back to the Usul as they exited the store.
“Where to now?” Kaerhas asked eagerly, skipping down
the street at the side of his owner. Kyrinn looked down at a small piece of
paper on which she had written a list of places.
“We could go to Ye Olde Petpets in Meridell,” Kyrinn
suggested. “It’ll be a bit of a walk though.”
“Cool, let’s go!” The Bori hopped around in excitement.
“And let’s play a few rounds of Ultimate Bullseye while we’re there!”
“Remember, it’ll be quite a while before we actually
get to Meridell,” Kyrinn reminded.
Kyrinn’s words proved true: it was long past noon
by the time they finally got to Meridell. Kaerhas was so hungry by that time
that even the potatoes and gruel they bought at the food shop tasted good.
“This ‘adventuring’ stuff isn’t as easy as it sounds,”
Kaerhas mumbled with a full mouth. Kyrinn scoffed.
“Of course not,” she answered. “It would hardly be
any fun if it was.”
Kaerhas and his owner made their way to Ye Olde Petpets
after lunch. The Ixi shopkeeper greeted them and led the two to the Petpets,
chatting to Kyrinn and trying to persuade her to make a purchase while Kaerhas
looked at all the Whinnys, Turtums, and Symols gathered around him.
Kaerhas went back to his owner a few minutes later,
looking slightly disheartened. Kyrinn wasn’t altogether too surprised when her
Bori announced that he had found no Petpet that he wanted. Bidding the disappointed-looking
shopkeeper goodbye, Kyrinn and Kaerhas left to find an inn where they could
stay the night.
* * * *
Over the next week, Kaerhas and Kyrinn traveled all
over Neopia. The pair of them went to the Haunted Woods, the Rock Pool on Mystery
Island, the Little Nippers Petpet shop on Krawk Island, even going as far as
to visit Maraqua. The result was always the same: Kaerhas left the shop without
finding any Petpet that he particularly liked.
“Don’t worry about it,” Kyrinn reassured her Bori,
who was getting more and more discouraged by the day. “We’ll find one soon.”
Kaerhas smiled at the encouragement, but the truth
was, they were fast running out of Petpet stores that they had yet to visit.
The Bori really did want a Petpet, but he also wanted to make sure he had exactly
the right one.
“In any case, we’ll be going to the Virtupets Space
Station tomorrow,” Kyrinn announced. “You can look around the RoboPet Shop there.”
Kaerhas cheered up immensely at the prospect of exploring
the Space Station and hopped off to bed, his good mood restored. Kyrinn smiled,
watching the Bori go upstairs, then picked up a book and settled down in her
* * * *
Kaerhas may have slept soundly, but hundreds of miles
away on the Space Station, another Neopet was experiencing a very different
night. Chaelian rolled over on his tiny metal cot, trying to find a comfortable
position and get to sleep. The Xweetok knew that, tomorrow being Saturday, the
RoboPet Shop would have a busy day, filled to the capacity with pets and their
broken robot Petpets. And, as usual, he would be the one stuck fixing all of
those broken Petpets while the Grundo shopkeeper was busy selling more of the
Chaelian had been employed at the RoboPets shop for
quite some time now. The owner had hired him after discovering the Xweetok’s
skill at engineering and mechanics, so now it was Chaelian’s job to make repairs
on any Petpets that needed repairing, as well as helping in keeping the shop
tidy and occasionally taking over as shopkeeper if the Grundo was sick or had
something else to attend to. In exchange, Chaelian got room and board at the
Virtupets Space Station.
Sighing, the Xweetok returned from his memories and
stretched, then got out of bed. As he dropped onto the floor, he made a loud
thunk on the floor. Chaelian paused, hoping he didn’t wake anyone. He heard
no sound save for the snoring from the Grundo next door, so he relaxed and turned
on a small lamp. The light gleamed on his left foreleg, which was made of metal.
The Xweetok stretched out his prosthetic leg, then retrieved a book from his
table, curled up on a hard, rickety chair, and started to read.
Chaelian was woken abruptly by a loud banging on his
door. A Grundo’s voice shouted at him from the other side.
“Chaelian! You’re wanted at the RoboPet Shop!”
Chaelian groaned, realizing he’d fallen asleep while
reading. The Xweetok checked the clock by his bedside.
“You jerk, you’ve woken me an hour too early!” Chaelian
yelled back through the metal door. He heard giggling as the Grundo scampered
Realizing he wouldn’t be able to fall asleep again,
Chaelian decided to go to the shop early. Yawning, he went into the tiny bathroom
in his room and quickly brushed his teeth and washed his face. Shaking the water
from his green and brown fur, the Xweetok left his room.
The loudspeaker was already booming messages across
the Space Station, effectively waking up anyone who was still abed. Chaelian
clapped his paws over his ears out of habit as the loudspeaker announced, “Looking
for the best Virtupet weapons? Check out the Weapons store today!”
The door to the RoboPet Shop opened just as Chaelian
reached it and a green Grundo stepped out. He looked slightly surprised to see
“Oh, good, Chaelian. I was just about to go look for
you,” the Grundo ushered Chaelian into the shop. “Glad you’re here early. We’ve
got a busy day.”
Sure enough, no sooner had Chaelian settled down into
his workroom than a distraught Aisha showed up, carrying a flashing, slightly
squashed-looking Cuttlebot. Chaelian took the Petpet to the workroom and called
over a Screwtop. Taking a screwdriver from the Screwtop’s toolkit, the Xweetok
began making repairs.
By the time the Petpet was fixed, there was already
a queue at the door of the Robopet Shop and a pile of broken Petpets awaiting
Chaelian’s attention. Returning the Cuttlebot to its grateful owner, Chaelian
took a Cybit from the pile and started reattaching its arm.
The Petpets from the shop clustered around Chaelian.
They knew and liked him, and, in turn, the Xweetok loved the playful little
robots. Once in a while, the shopkeeper would go into the workroom to check
up on Chaelian, or to pick up a Petpet for a potential customer.
“Just like every other day, isn’t it, Neji?” Chaelian
murmured softly to a Griefer as he petted it. Neji chirped happily and bumped
into Chaelian’s paw. The little Griefer was Chaelian’s favorite of all the Petpets
in the shop, and the Xweetok was slowly saving up his Neopoints, hoping that
he’d be able to buy Neji for himself someday. The Grundo shopkeeper had obligingly
reserved the Petpet for Chaelian.
The Xweetok returned to his work. However, the words
he had spoken to the Griefer came back to him, and he couldn’t help but feel
a certain restlessness, a desire for something other than seeing metal walls
all around him and harried Grundos rushing by. Chaelian loved the Space Station,
but he wanted something new, a change of some sort. “I’ve been here for too
long,” he realized.
“Hey! Chaelian! Stop daydreaming and get back to work!”
Realizing that he’d been sitting motionless for quite
some time now, lost in his thoughts, Chaelian shook his head and returned to
sorting out the wires in the Millipod he was holding.
* * * *
“Hey! Check out that weird machine! Isn’t it cool?
I wonder what it does!”
Kyrinn smiled to herself as Kaerhas ran around the
Space Station in excitement. She was glad that her pet was back to normal; she
hated seeing anyone depressed, especially Kaerhas. Kyrinn put a gentle but firm
hand on the Bori’s shoulder to keep him from running off.
“Come on, Kaerhas, we can explore this place later,”
Kyrinn remonstrated. In fact, the teenager was itching to look around the Space
Station herself. It had changed quite a bit since she had been here last. Still,
better to complete their mission before they forgot it in the prospect of exploration.
“We’re going to the RoboPet Shop, remember?”
“Oh yeah! Let’s go!” Kaerhas bounded off again, startling
a couple of orange Grundos walking by.
Kaerhas and Kyrinn had taken a shuttle up to the Virtupets
Space Station that morning. After grabbing a quick bite to eat at Grundo’s,
the two were now heading toward the Petpet store. Kyrinn hoped that Kaerhas
would finally find a suitable Petpet, although given the way things had been
going the past week, the chances weren’t that good. She shrugged. Well, there
wasn’t much use worrying about it; something was sure to turn up.
“Look, there it is!” Kaerhas found the RoboPet Shop
easily and pointed it out to his owner. It was lunch hour, so only a few pets
were hanging around the small store. Judging by the conversations Kaerhas overheard,
it seemed that they were waiting for the repairs to be finished on their Petpets.
Upon entering the shop, Kyrinn was immediately accosted
by the Grundo shopkeeper. Kaerhas went to explore the shop, leaving his owner
to listen to the green Grundo’s explanations of the technology and advantages
of robot Petpets. Stepping over the Rotawheels and Wains, the Bori noticed a
slightly open door near the back of the shop. Curiosity overcame him, and he
went over to investigate.
* * * *
Kyrinn edged away from a large tank containing a Chomper
that seemed intent on biting her through the glass. The Grundo next to her was
still reciting the different parts that were used to build the RoboPets and
didn’t seem liable to stop anytime soon.
Looking up, the girl realized that her Bori had disappeared.
Now where did he go? Kyrinn wondered, scanning the room. A slight flash
of blue from behind a door at the back of the shop and the sound of a jingly
bell announced Kaerhas’ presence. Kyrinn checked a sigh and turned to the Grundo.
“Excuse me, Mr. Grundo, but I believe—”
Kyrinn was interrupted by an indignant “Hey, what do
you think you’re doing!?” and a loud crashing and clattering sound. Not a moment
later, Kaerhas came bounding out of the room, dragging a green Xweetok with
a metal arm behind him.
“Now wait just a—” the shopkeeper began, but was cut
off by Kaerhas.
“Can we keep him?” the Bori asked eagerly. Kyrinn coughed.
“Um, Kaerhas…that’s a Xweetok, not a Petpet.”
“Oh.” Kaerhas looked disappointed, then brightened.
“Then let’s adopt him!”
The Grundo shopkeeper protested. “Hold it! You can’t
just take off with my assistant like this….”
Kyrinn spoke over the Grundo. “Kaerhas, we can’t take
a random Neopet home with us just like that. I mean, if he wanted to come, I’d
have no problem with it, but….”
“I want to.”
Chaelian’s quiet voice cut through the turmoil. Everyone
turned and stared at him, but the Xweetok didn’t care. This was the chance he’d
been waiting for; this was a chance for a new life! The hyperactive and cheerful
Bori intrigued him; Kaerhas was both friendly and likable, and the girl seemed
like a nice enough owner. Chaelian wasn’t about to miss this opportunity.
“I’ll go with you,” Chaelian spoke more loudly this
time. The Grundo spluttered in confusion.
“I’ll still come to work every day. I’ll work really
hard, and I won’t be late….” Chaelian pleaded with his employer, but in his
eyes was a strong determined look: the look of a Xweetok who would clearly not
give up easily. The Grundo recognized that look and remembered the young Xweetok
who had come to the shop years ago, begging for a job. He sighed.
“Fine. You’d better be here tomorrow, 8:00 sharp!”
Kaerhas cheered and pounced on his new friend. Kyrinn
smiled, seeing the two, knowing that her Bori wouldn’t be lonely anymore, and
went with the Grundo shopkeeper to settle the matter. Kaerhas had come to the
Space Station in hopes of finding a Petpet, but now he left it with a new brother.
* * * *
And so Kaerhas found a new friend to keep him company,
and Chaelian found a new home and (for most of the time) got along fine with
Kaerhas. Kyrinn went back to her adventuring, once in a while stopping by to
check up on her two pets, and everyone lived happily and in relative peace,
with the possible exception of the Peophin incident. But that, of course, is