Sanity is forbidden Circulation: 124,395,024 Issue: 250 | 28th day of Swimming, Y8
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Not Just Another Lupe Story: Part One


by harpyeagletimberwolf

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"Oh please, oh please, oh please?" A young green Lupe sat staring longingly into the paintbrush shop with his owner, Cole. Past the glass window sat a Darigan paintbrush on a golden stand.

      "It's on sale and everything! Please?" the green Lupe got to his knees and begged.

      "I'm sorry, Cobalt, but we can't afford to invest so much money on this."

      With a look of extreme disappointment on his face, Cobalt began to walk away.

      Cole waved at him. "I'll see you a bit later, okay? My lunch break is almost over, and I don't want to be fired from another job." Cole was an assistant banker and he barely made enough to support himself and his only pet, Cobalt. He only had a few hundred Neopoints in the bank and that was for emergencies only, so the two of them lived off of the Money Tree and the soup kitchen. Together, they lived in a small shabby Neohome made of sticks.

      As Cobalt walked down the street, he caught a glimpse of a fiery Eyrie coming toward him. The Eyrie approached him and saw the look on his face. "Couldn't talk him into getting it, eh?"

      "Hi, Tarrow, and no, I couldn't."

      "Don't worry, though. It took me a long time to convince Riley to paint me fire, too."

      They walked along in silence, each in his own thoughts. "Well, I would help you if I could, but I can't, so I won't." Tarrow tried to lighten the mood.

      "Thanks for the thought... I guess. Look, we've always been this poor and we always will be." He kicked a pebble as he walked, trying in vain to let out his frustration, when suddenly, "Oomf!" Cobalt shouted as he stumbled.

      "They really need to clear these roads of debris, because they're so..." He never got to finish his sentence because he abruptly noticed what he had stumbled over. His jaw dropped as he stared at one of the biggest bags of Neopoints he had ever seen. As fast as he could get his paws on it, Cobalt scooped it up and ran home, nearly forgetting Tarrow.

      With the bag of Neopoints sitting on the table, Cobalt knew what he SHOULD do - try to find the owner of the money, and what he WANTED to do - buy a Darigan paintbrush. In the end, his hunger for that Darigan paintbrush finally won.

      'I better count it to make sure I have enough,' Cobalt thought to himself. After several minutes of counting, Cobalt realized he was still about 100,000 Neopoints short. 'Maybe the guy who sells them will compromise.'

      With a greedy glare in his eyes, Cobalt walked to the paintbrush shop and went up to the shopkeeper.

      "Would you accept one million Neopoints instead of 1.1 million for that Darigan paintbrush?" Cobalt pleaded.

      The shopkeeper sadly shook his head, "I'm sorry, but I can't go any lower that 1.1 million."

      "I understand." Cobalt walked out of the shop sadly, clutching the bag of Neopoints.

      "Hey, you!"

      Cobalt swiveled around and saw no one, "Me?"

      "Yeah, you." A green Skeith in a dark brown trench coat and hat shading his face stepped out of the shadows. "I hear you wanna buy a Darigan paintbrush?"

      "Yeah! Do you know where I could get one?" Cobalt asked eagerly.

      "Of course I do, kid," the Skeith opened up his jacket to reveal some rare items, including a Darigan paintbrush. "I got one right here. How much you got?"

      "Uhhhh... one million," Cobalt whispered.

      "What a coincidence! That happens to be exactly what I'm asking!"

      "Really?"

      "Truly, so you gonna buy it?"

      "Of course!" Cobalt handed the Skeith his bag of Neopoints in return for the Darigan paintbrush. "What's with the tape around the handle?"

      "Uhhhh... that's nothing, just a bit old, that's all."

      "Okay," Cobalt replied.

      His furry legs could hardly move him fast enough to the Rainbow Pool, where he applied the deep purple brush to his fur. Almost instantly, he could feel new bones and muscles fusing to his shoulder blades to form wings.

      At last, the transformation was complete. His fur had lost its softness, and gained a rough, bristly exterior. His eyes were no longer yellow, but now a fierce red. He flapped his leathery wings and felt the wind from beneath them. He now felt like a somebody, and a powerful one at that.

      Oh, how he had longed to feel the wind under his wings as he soared through the clouds. Below him, the other creatures looked like Moaches and they all seemed to be in a hurry to get somewhere. But not Cobalt! He felt carefree and jovial. At that moment, nothing could've made him happier. Then, suddenly, it seemed to hit him like a brick-this was not his money to go about spending. He tried to just push the thought out of his head, but it wouldn't budge.

      Off to the east, high above the hustle and bustle of the crowded cities, sat the fluffy cloud city known as Faerieland.

      "I don't know..." Queen Fyora sat at a gorgeously sculpted marble desk, peering into what seemed to be a small hand held mirror.

      "Let us continue to test him," the chief advisor of the Queen, a lean faerie Gelert, stood beside her, paws behind her back. "He may turn out to be the one yet."

      The Queen once again looked into the majestic silver mirror. In it, she saw Cobalt flying, but she could tell something was bothering him.

      Meanwhile, Cobalt was just flying home.

      'What will Cole think?' Cobalt wondered to himself. 'He might think I stole it. But, I can't tell him the truth, because he wouldn't understand how badly I wanted this. He would have wanted me to try to find the owner of the money. And he probably would've guilt-tripped me by saying that it most likely belonged to some poor, hungry, destitute Neopian, who needed it more than us.' He was so distracted with his thoughts, that he nearly knocked a blue Shoyru out of the sky.

      "Hey! Watch it, buddy!" The Shoyru waved his fist.

      "You watch it!" Cobalt yelled back after him.

      'Why did I say that?' Cobalt pondered, but brushed it aside.

      As Cobalt neared his home, he could see the flaming figure of Tarrow standing by the door. Cobalt landed gracefully and approached him.

      Tarrow quickly spotted Cobalt and shouted at him, "Hey, you! Back off! I've got a..." he grabbed a twig off of the ground, "...a stick! And I'm not afraid to use it!"

      "Relax! It's just me!" Cobalt stated rather matter-of-factly.

      "Huh?" Tarrow dropped his stick and walked up to Cobalt apprehensively. He looked him up and down, studying him.

      "Cobalt? Is that really you?" he said with a very perplexed look on his face, "Something's different about you..."

      Cobalt rolled his eyes. "That wasn't funny." His mouth was a hard straight line.

      "I'm not kidding. I mean, I KNOW you got finally got to be painted Darigan, but there's something else, too. I just can't put my finger on it." Tarrow rubbed his shaggy chin.

      "Well, whatever. So, how do you like the new me?" Cobalt grinned foolishly.

      "Yeah it's nice." Something dawned on Tarrow. "Wait a minute! You didn't use that money you found, did you?!"

      "Uhh... well, yeah, about that..." Cobalt put on the most innocent face he could master.

      Tarrow didn't buy it.

      "Okay, so I did use the money, but finders keepers, right?"

      "Wrong. And you know it, too. That money was not yours and you had no right at all to spend it."

      "I know, I know." Cobalt cast his eyes down. "But you've got to help me come up with something to tell Cole, before he gets home!" Cobalt gave Tarrow a sad puppyblew look. "Pleeeease?"

      Tarrow frowned. "It's against my better judgment, but you are my best friend, so how can I refuse." So, together, they brainstormed until they came up with an idea.

      Later that evening, Cole walked in the front door, only to find Tarrow there.

      "Hi, Tarrow. Is Cobalt here? We need to get to the Soup Kitchen before it closes." Cole slowly closed the door behind him with his foot, and set his daily minimum wage on the counter. Compared to the much larger sum of Neopoints Cobalt had found, this one was tiny.

      Tarrow looked at the floor and put his talons behind his back.

      "Ummm.... well, you see, my owner and I have had some rather good fortune lately, and stumbled upon a rather large, um, sum of money, and we thought--"

      "No, no, no, and finally, no." Cole stopped Tarrow midway through his sentence. "We are not going to accept any charity from anyone, even you guys. We're doing fine as it is, and we don't need any help."

      "Well, I'm sorry, but we wanted to, and besides," Tarrow turned toward the corridor on his left, "it's too late."

      "What do you mean, 'too late'?" Cole raised an eyebrow, as he observed a shadowy Lupe step into the light. As he beheld Cobalt's new look, his mouth gaped open.

To be continued...

Author's Note: I would like to thank my cousin for critiquing my story. Oh and, this is my first Neopian Times story!

 
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