For an easier life Circulation: 98,662,396 Issue: 167 | 19th day of Storing, Y6
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The Woes of an Avatar Pet: Part One


by precious_katuch14

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I have a very long, unusual name filled with numbers, but everyone just calls me Bob. I used to have an owner, some time ago. One minute I was happily playing around in the living room, the next minute shoved into a basket and taken to the Neopian Pound just because she was getting busier and busier, and too busy to take care of me. Anyway, I lived in it for days on end, eating only gruel, water and stale bread. Occasionally I'd get something good, only to have a bigger, meaner pet steal it from me.

     I'm a male red Elephante, and today may just be my lucky day to get adopted. A tall girl with wavy blonde hair and clad in shades of pink was making her way through, yelling, "I've got to adopt a pet, and I just have to!" Sure enough, all of us were all ears, wondering which among us would she adopt.

     The girl went towards the table of the Uni and Techo who ran the pound. After some chatting, yakking and nodding, she frantically scanned every single pet, commenting as she went.

     "Too skinny…not my type…too weak…too friendly…ah! You are perfect!" And lo, she was pointing at me! I didn't know what to say…whether to start pouring out my excitement or to just stay quiet for a bit. I settled on a simple, "Hi, my name is really long, but I think you'd prefer to call me Bob."

     "Hello," said my owner-to-be with a grin. "My name is Shirley, and I think we're going to have lots of fun together." She took my paw and led me out of the pound, amidst all the other pets that either looked defeated, sad or angry at the fact that they weren't chosen to lead a new life.

***

     The door of the Neohome opened to a fancy living room with all sorts of knickknacks placed just about everywhere. A royal female Kougra was seated in the sofa, reading the latest issue of the Neopian Times. A faerie Kadoatie lay on a small cushion at the bottom of the sofa, dozing soundly.

     "Hello, Cassie, we're back!" called Shirley. Sure enough, the Kougra, jumped up and sprinted towards the girl, wrapping her paws around her legs. Suddenly she perked up and looked at me. "Who's that, Shirley?" she asked skeptically.

     Shirley just grinned and said, "Cassie, this is your new brother, Bob. His real name is quite long, so we'll just call him Bob. Come on, let's all eat, I'm famished!"

     I agreed, and so the three of us went into the dining room. My new owner took out some sandwiches from the cabinet and placed one in front of me, and another in front of Cassie. Then she placed the stack in the middle of the table after getting one herself.

     "Feel free to take as many as you can eat," she said cheerily as she opened a book and began to read while eating.

     Sure enough, since I was so hungry, I ate more than just one measly sandwich. However, just as I was about to reach for another one, I realized that I ate every single piece. Cassie wasn't even finished with her sandwich yet. Yet, I wasn't even satiated, so I jumped off the chair, went over and tugged on Shirley's trousers.

     Cassie took that time to yell, "Bob ate all the sandwiches! He eats like a Snorkle!" At those words, I turned redder than I already was. I closed my eyes and expected the girl to scold or even scream at me, but instead, she just laughed.

     "Oh, don't you guys know there's more in the cupboard?" she said calmly. "No worries, you two." Shirley took out another stack of sandwiches for us to eat. This time, every time I took another helping, the Kougra would briefly glare at me, as if she were saying, "You better not eat all of them again, Bob, or else."

     ***

     "Tell us another story, Shirley," said Cassie and I together, after our owner read another faerie tale to us after breakfast.

     "Well, maybe later," she said. "I have to dash off for a guild meeting, and this is totally important. Oh, and Bob, do take the map on top of the coffee table and go to the place marked with an X. You're being wanted over there, and be sure to get back.

     "Can I have a bag of peanuts before I go?" I asked meekly. Shirley handed me a bag of peanuts, and as I gobbled every last nut, she gasped, and smiled a triumphant smile.

     Cassie perked up from where she was playing with Lilac, her faerie Kadoatie. "What happened?" she asked curiously.

     "I just got another secret avatar!" she said. "Turns out that feeding an Elephante a bag of peanuts would give out one! This is great! Bob, don't forget that thing I told you about the map. Behave, you two!" Shirley was out the door before anyone could say, "Peanuts". She seemed to be in a big hurry.

     The royal Kougra looked at me sternly. "Well? What are you waiting for? Get going!"

     "But what is this place that she wants me to go to?" I asked Cassie shyly. "Why should I go?"

     She sighed and said, "Must I explain everything to you? That place is the Lab Ray, where pets get zapped. I don't know what it's like, since after Shirley got me painted Royal, she vowed never to let me near the ray."

     It sounded exciting, so I was off, as fast as my feet (and little wings, since Elephantes did have wings…) could carry me there. Soon, after some time of journeying towards the Lab Ray, thanks to Shirley's map, I was there in the secret laboratory, facing a weird-looking Scorchio who claims to be a good doctor.

     "Hello there," he said cheerily. "So you're here to try the ray, eh?"

     I nodded, and he led me towards a huge invention that was emitting a few sparks every now and then. I felt a little nervous as the doc began flipping a few switches, pushing a few buttons and laughing as he did so. I shuddered as the sparks began to increase exponentially, and shut my eyes as it emitted a huge blast of light energy at my direction.

     The changes came, swift and intense. I could feel the wings at my back begin to grow, and my tail was growing from a small stump to a longer one. Soon the doctor tapped my back and gave me a mirror.

     "Is…is that me?" I asked as I gazed at the looking glass intently. A faerie Shoyru was staring back at me in the mirror.

     "Well, the ray can change species and color too, you know," said the Scorchio calmly, seeing my astonished, disbelieving face. "You should have known that…"

     But I didn't. Instead I just thanked the doc, returned his mirror and left silently. As I walked along, I realized that I had wings, and decided to fly. I hovered a couple of feet in the air…three…four, until I was looking down on what looked like minuscule models of other pets and their owners. Perhaps being a faerie Shoyru wouldn't be so bad after all…

     I soared through the clouds, higher than I ever flew in my life. Many pointed at me, or turned their heads to look at my majestic wings. I got a lot of attention, so much that I was surprised my head didn't even start to swell. So I just smiled back at them all and waved a little, all the way back home.

     Shirley was the first to greet me. "Bob…is that you?" she asked, obviously as flabbergasted as I was back at the lab.

     "Yes…it's me," I answered. "I changed into a faerie Shoyru." At this her sky-blue eyes lit up with excitement.

     "You look absolutely awesome!" she declared. "And did I mention that I got the PWNED avatar too? Wait till my friends see it! They'll be so green with envy, they'd look like a bunch of artichokes!"

     I flew into the living room, and caught sight of Cassie. She was looking at me with a mixture of what seemed to be jealousy and malice.

     "So," she said calmly, "you changed species. And my owner was yapping something about an avatar awhile ago."

     "Uh, that's another question I wanted to ask you, Cassie," I replied. "What the heck is an avatar, and why is Shirley always happy to get one of those?"

     The royal Kougra rolled her eyes. "Avatars are little animated pictures, according to Shirley, that you can show off while you chat with other owners. She collects them as a hobby…one of her many hobbies."

     "But why would people collect little pictures to show off to others who may as well have the same as they do?" I asked.

     "Humans make very strange, albeit very caring owners, Bob," she said solemnly. "Shirley likes to talk about secret avatars all the time, but at least she's not leaving me - or should I say, us - to die."

     "That IS quite a relief," I agreed, flapping my new faerie wings.

To be continued...

 
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