Chet Flash wuz here Circulation: 125,893,067 Issue: 254 | 25th day of Hiding, Y8
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Priceless


by freefalldreams

--------

"You can't do that, Freefall!" I snapped at my owner. "Just getting a pet from the Pound and turning it Mutant..."

     "Explorer Of Worlds, don't tell me what I can and can't do!" Freefall snapped back, pushing her long, rather frizzy brown hair out of her eyes and squinting at the Kacheek Transmogrification Potion in front of her on the kitchen table. "Yep, it's the real thing... I wonder what dear old Slothy was doing in Pizzaroo?"

     Again I tried to make my avatar-crazed owner see reason. "Freefall," I said to her, "the shopkeeper threw us out as soon as he saw Sloth give that to you. That thing's evil..."

     "Who cares, it'll give me an avatar!" said Freefall with a rather wicked grin. "Be glad you're so pretty..."

     I knew Freefall would never use the potion on me, since she had spent lots of Neopoints on the Fountain Faerie quest that had turned me from a plain red Wocky into an Island one. Trying to exploit her thriftiness, I said, "I don't see why you don't sell it; it would put quite a bit in our Lab Map fund."

     Freefall laughed. "Not enough to buy the whole map, and anyway, avatars are priceless!" She stood up and put the bottle of potion on the mantelpiece, safely out of my reach. "I'm off to the Pound," she said as she put on her old brown coat. "I'll be back for supper."

     Before I could get up, she was out the front door and I heard her locking it. I quickly tried the back door, but as I expected, it was locked too. I sat on the floor with a sigh of disgust. I was locked in the house, or rather the ancient tower that was rumored to have once belonged to a witch, that was our home. Even worse, I had no way of getting to either Freefall or the potion. I would just have to let her go ahead with her selfish plans...

     Except if I used magic, of course. The old witch who had once lived here wasn't the only witch on Magical Road... I got my magical staff out of the old vase where I usually hid it, and ran upstairs for my spell book, the Morguss Spell Book. Then I realized that I still couldn't do anything... Although I was the only witch I knew of in our part of Neopia Central, if I unlocked the door with magic and went after Freefall, I'd be in deep trouble for going out alone, and if I hid or destroyed the potion, I'd be in even worse trouble... I put my staff and spell book away in disgust, and looked for something to do while Freefall was gone.

     After what seemed like hours of admiring my keyring collection I made myself a cup of Coffee and Marshmallows. I was getting bored and I wished that my Devilpuss, Condi, was here. She was probably out hunting...

      If I hadn't been so bored, I would never have thought of playing with magic while Freefall wasn't home, but as it was, I happened to remember that there was a levitation spell in my spell book. It looked very interesting, and I'd never tried it before. What better time than now?

     So, when Freefall arrived home with a fat yellow Nimmo in tow, keyrings were flying around the room like bizarre insects and the table was bouncing off the walls. As for the cup of coffee, I lost control of it just as Freefall walked in, causing it to fall on my head and douse me in coffee.

     Freefall was furious. "Explorer! What in Fyora's name is going on here?" she shouted at the top of her very loud voice.

     As if on cue, Condi shot down the chimney and started to chase the keyrings. I hastily started the counter-spell for levitation, and soon everything was landing gently on the floor, except for the table, which landed, not so gently, on Freefall's foot. She howled, kicked the table over, tried to hop around the room on one foot, fell over sideways, and howled even louder. I chose the moment to go upstairs and clean the coffee off myself.

      ******

     By the time I got my fur washed and brushed and a clean grass skirt on, the kitchen was organized again. Freefall was sitting by the fire and sulking, while the Nimmo cheerfully wiped the floor and arranged my keyrings on the now-upright table. Condi was hovering around and looking at him warily.

     As I entered the room, Freefall glared at me. "I'll want an explanation of that mess later," she grumbled as she stood up, "but now we need to test this potion..."

     "No!" I yelled as she took the bottle of potion off the mantelpiece, but, to my extreme surprise, the Nimmo snatched it eagerly out of Freefall's hands.

     "This is the stuff?" he asked.

     "Sure is," Freefall replied. "Drink up!"

     I watched in horror as the Nimmo gulped down the foul-smelling liquid. His flesh turned grey, he grew even fatter, and his head began warping... Within moments, we were facing a Mutant Kacheek. He blinked a few times, then said, "I'm famished, when's supper?"

      ******

     Over a meal of strawberry and lemon jelly our new Mutant Kacheek introduced himself. His name was Karmapa, and he had always wanted to look cool, so he'd jumped at the chance to turn Mutant.

     After we finished eating he cleared the table and did the dishes. Freefall leaned across the table and asked me, "What would you say about keeping him?"

     "For good?" My heart leaped. I had always wanted a little brother, but Freefall had always refused. "But where would he sleep?" I asked, coming back down to earth and remembering that, as Freefall said every time I mentioned getting another pet, our old, half-ruined, tower was just big enough for the three of us and a lot of books. "We've barely got enough room for you, me, and Condi!"

     "I'll make him a bed in the living room," Freefall said in a business-like way, as if she'd never even thought of the tower being too small. "That is, if you want him to stay..."

     "Of course I do!"

     "Good!" Freefall said with a grin. She called Karmapa over to us. "Would you like to stay with us for good and be Explorer's little brother?" she asked him.

     He stared at us for a moment. "M-may I?" he asked in shock. "You really mean it?"

     "Sure!" Freefall and I said at the same time.

     "Thank you!" Karmapa shouted, throwing his stubby arms around Freefall's neck. Then he turned to me. "Are you really my sister now?" he asked, his red eyes wide.

     "If you want me to be," I said, hoping for the best, and the next moment his little arms were around my neck and he was crying into my flowery mane. "Thank you," he said when he finally looked up, "thank you for letting me have a home, and a family..."

     Freefall winked and whispered in my ear, "Fair exchange for an avatar." I didn't care. To Freefall, avatars might be priceless, but to me, the priceless thing was having a little brother.

The End

 
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