Needed Adventure: Part One
This is a sequel to "Needed"
Too." You shouldn't need to read those series in order to understand this
one, but you will probably appreciate it more if you do.
Dantam ambled up to the cauldron-shaped little cottage
and scratched on the familiar wooden door. "Just a minute!" a warm voice called
from inside. Dantam smiled and sniffed at the flowers that were blossoming all
around the doorstep while he waited. Finally, the door swung open, releasing
the smell of fresh, hot soup out into the sunny afternoon. The Soup Faerie looked
down at the shadow-coloured Gelert who stood patiently before her. "Ah, Dantam,"
she said, reaching down to scratch her friend's head. "Please come in."
Dantam followed her into the cozy home and curled
up on a worn but comfortable yellow armchair. The faerie sat down across from
him. "The pair of pets I sent on soup duty yesterday said that you wanted to
see me about something," he began.
"Yes, well, it's a bit hard to explain, but there's
someone I'd like you to meet-- someone who I was hoping you could take in."
"A homeless Neopet? Of course-- why would that
be any problem?"
"Well no, not exactly. He's not a Neopet. He's
"Oh." Dantam's brow wrinkled a little.
"His owners dumped him off here about a week
ago, and I've been trying to figure out just what to do with him ever since--"
"They just 'dumped him off?' Well, that's unusual.
I mean, petpets are worth quite a few Neopoints. Was it a behavioral problem,
maybe? Chewing on things, or wetting the floor, or--"
"Most certainly not!" an indignant voice piped
up from the back of the Soup Faerie's cottage, and a small whoot came flying
out to land beside Dantam on the arm of the yellow chair.
Dantam's long, curling ears twitched as he glanced
curiously at the whoot and then turned his gaze to the back of the cottage.
"Who said that?"
"Ahem." Dantam's eyes flew back down to the whoot
as the same voice spoke up from right beside him. The whoot did a little bow.
"That would be me," he said, his small beak clacking as he opened and closed
it with the words.
Dantam started a little from his seat and his
mouth fell open. He looked back and forth between the whoot and the Soup Faerie
before he finally settled on the faerie and exclaimed, "He can talk?"
Before the Soup Faerie could give any answer,
the whoot fluttered up to the top of the armchair and spoke in his dignified
voice. "And why not? Oh, I know it's not exactly 'normal' for my kind. But when
a self-respecting petpet is left cooped up all day in a library full of books
that his 'owner' will never bother to read because she's always off slobbering
and mindlessly fighting and whatever else you Neopets do.... Well, what else
is that petpet to do but to teach himself to read and to speak?"
"Well... nothing else, I suppose," Dantam replied,
feeling a bit flabbergasted still by the fact that a whoot was talking to him,
let alone that it had just given him such a speech. "Still, you're quite amazing."
"Hmph," the whoot huffed, crossing his claws
and hopping back down to the arm of the chair so that he was face to face with
the Gelert again. "Well, that's not the way my former 'owner' saw it. The night
I decided to reveal my talent-- the result of all of my training and effort--
I was deemed a 'freak' and quickly dropped on the doorstep of this kind faerie."
He waved a claw at the Soup Faerie, who smiled a little at the quirky petpet.
"I guess that's where I come in," Dantam said.
"Well, there are lots of Neopets at the junkyard who'd love to have a petpet,
talking or no, I'm sure. And then when I find a home for your new owner, you'd--"
"No owners!" the whoot interrupted him.
"Er... no owners?"
"That's right. I wish to procure a place in this
junkyard of yours, but on one condition only: I belong to no one. I assure you
that I can pull my own weight--"
Dantam couldn't help but chuckle, holding a paw
up beside the tiny whoot's head to show his small stature. "You sure about that?"
The whoot ruffled his feathers and glared at
the Gelert until Dantam pulled his paw back and smiled apologetically. Clearing
his throat, the petpet began again. "All I ask is that I'm free to be my own
fellow, to do my share and receive my share just like any of your tenants, and
that you give me the respect you'd offer to anyone else." He paused and looked
up at Dantam, a bit of a pleading look seeping through his insistent dignity.
"Is it a deal?"
"Hmmm," Dantam mused, putting a paw to his chin
and pretending to be deep in thought. Finally, he grinned and engulfed the whoot's
outstretched claw in his paw and shook. "It's a deal."
"Excellent! We'd best be on our way then," the
whoot said crisply, his confidence making a full reappearance. He turned to
the Soup Faerie and bowed. "My thanks to you, madam, for your kindness and service
"It was no problem at all," the Soup Faerie answered.
"You'll have to come back to visit me from time to time. You too, of course,
Dantam-- I expect you to be on the next soup duty!" she said as she opened the
door to let the two of them out.
"Of course, I wouldn't miss it," Dantam answered.
"Things have just been so busy lately."
"Oh, I understand," the Soup Faerie answered
with a knowing smile, and with that she closed the door and the Gelert and whoot
headed down the path away from her little home.
"So," Dantam said, "if you're going to be living
with us, I guess I need to know what to call you."
"Well, my 'owner' blessed me with the ingenious
appellation of... Whooter." Dantam tried to hide a grin and the whoot coughed.
"But I've been thinking of changing it to something more dignified.... Archimedes,
Dantam opened his mouth to respond when, suddenly,
a cry from above stopped him. "Dantam!" The Gelert and whoot looked up in unison
just in time to see a plump green Pteri come falling down from the sky to land
in a heap in front of them.
"Dantam!" the Pteri spoke between pants as he
pulled himself to his feet. "I-- came-- as fast-- as I could!"
"Tago, what is it? What's going on?"
"Allegra sent me... She told me-- to tell you--"
"Tell me what, Tago?!" Dantam exclaimed, pacing
back and forth with nervous energy as the whoot looked on between the two Neopets,
"She said--" The Pteri drew in a deep breath
and then let it whoosh out with the words: "It's time!"
In the next second, a flash of black fur shot
past the Pteri with a call of, "Thanks, Tago! Take a rest!" Tago gladly accepted
the order and flopped back onto the ground with a sigh.
The whoot looked first at the shadow Gelert who
was already streaking toward the western edge of Neopia Central, then to the
panting pile of green feathers, and finally back to Dantam again. "Hey there!
Wait for me, remember?" he cried out as he flew as fast as his small wings would
carry him after the excited Gelert, who showed no signs of slowing. "What in
the world is going on anyway? Time for what?"
By the time Dantam slid to a stop in front of
the junkyard entrance, the whoot had given up on asking questions and was just
concentrating on keeping up. "Allegra!" Dantam called out to a motherly-looking
blue Lenny who waited at the gate for him. "What's happening? Is Tessa all right?"
Allegra nodded, reaching out her wing to offer
Dantam a comforting pat on the shoulder. "Yes, Tessa's all right, Dantam. They're
all all right.... Congratulations-- Daddy."
"Daddy!" Dantam and the whoot exclaimed at the
same time as a smile curled across Allegra's beak. Without another word, Dantam
was off again, charging into the junkyard, through the maze of discarded items
and toward the center, where he and the other homeless pets that he took in
Once there, he turned toward a cave that had
been formed in the side of a junk pile on the edge of the encampment-- the cave
in which Cap, the old Skeith who had run the junkyard before Dantam, had lived.
Dantam and Tessa had moved in once they'd realized they'd soon be needing the
extra space, and it had quickly come to feel like home. But now Dantam found
himself approaching the entrance with apprehension. He stuck his head in and
called out quietly, "Tessa?"
"Come on, Dantam. You're not going to hang around
out there forever, are you?" Tessa's gently-laughing voice rang warmly through
the cave. That was all it took for Dantam to overcome his misgivings. He slowly
walked inside, his eyes widening in awe at the sight before him. Tessa smiled.
"Meet your new family."
Three tiny Gelert puppies-- barely more than
small balls of fluff-- lay nestled against her side, snuffling and whimpering
lightly as they slept. Two of the pups looked just like Tessa, with baby blue
fur splattered with white cloud patches. Then there was the third. "He looks
just like me!"
"Well, almost just like you," Tessa said
with a nod. Dantam bent his head down so that it was level with the puppies.
He caught a glimpse of a small white birthmark on the pup's chest as he raised
one front paw in his sleep to bat at his father's nose.
Dantam pulled away with a quiet chuckle and the
pup settled back into his dreams. "Wow," he whispered.
"Yeah," Tessa agreed with a radiant smile.
Dantam turned to her, his eyes shining, and nuzzled
her lovingly before he looked back at the cave's entrance. There stood Allegra
and the tiny whoot, peering in at them. Dantam smiled at his old friend. "Allegra,
thank you for being here to help Tessa these past few weeks."
"Oh, it was my pleasure, Dantam, you know that.
Sometimes it's nice to see this old junkyard again... although I'll be looking
forward to getting back home to Sullivan."
Dantam nodded and then turned his grin to the
whoot, who seemed to have been struck speechless. "Well, it looks like you're
not the only new arrival to the junkyard today, Whooter."
Without even removing his mesmerized gaze from
the sight of the puppies, the whoot cleared his throat. "That's Archimedes."
Dantam rolled his eyes but couldn't help the
smile that lit up his face.
"Whooter, have you finished counting yet?" Tessa
asked, staring at the chart that lay on the ground between her paws.
"Yes," came the voice of the little whoot as
he fluttered over to her, a pencil held in his claw. He jotted a few things
down on the chart with a dramatic flourish. "There you are," he said. "Plenty
of meats, vegetables, and breads to last us through the summer.... We could
do with a few more fruits, though, I suppose."
"Hmmm, well, we could send a team to the edge
of the forest tomorrow to collect some wild berries. They should be just about
ripe by now."
"An excellent idea! Why, I-- Ooph!" Whooter was
cut short as he found himself thrown to the ground. He looked up to see just
what he expected: a tiny white patch of fur surrounded by black. "Enzo!" he
"Hey, Whooter!" the Gelert pup said, offering
a sloppy lick to the whoot's feathery face. As Whooter sputtered and spat, Enzo
leapt off his chest and trotted away, wagging his long, curling tail tauntingly
as he disappeared over a mound of garbage. His sisters, with their twin cloud-patterned
coats, giggled in unison and then scrambled after him.
Whooter stood to his feet and brushed the dust
from himself, his feathers standing on end as he scowled after the mischievous
pups. He looked to Tessa, who was struggling to stifle her own laughter behind
a cloud-colored paw. "Madam?" he said, with a courteous bow.
"Go on-- teach him a lesson," Tessa answered
with a wink. "We're done for now." As the whoot gave another bow and flew off
after her pups, she finally gave way and let her laughter ring out through the
"Get back here, you scamp!" Whooter called out
as he spotted Enzo running among the piles of junk, his sisters-- ever inseparable--
tagging after him.
The truth was, the whoot adored the three Gelert
pups whose first day in Neopia he had been a witness to-- even and especially
the most mischievous one. "Come and get me, Whooter!" Enzo called out. The name
"Archimedes" had fallen by the wayside because "Whooter" was easier for the
pups to pronounce. The whoot still insisted vehemently to anyone who would listen
that he was a free petpet, that he had no owner, and they all nodded in agreement.
But everyone in the junkyard knew that his heart belonged to those pups.
"I've got you!" the normally reserved whoot exclaimed
with glee as he dove down at the shadow-colored pup, knocking him over lightly.
Enzo flew head over heels through the dust, but jumped right back to his feet
and sprang at the whoot. "Whoa there!" Whooter cried and fluttered away, just
out of the pup's reach. "You're almost bigger than me now, Enzo!" he exclaimed,
landing tiredly on the ground with the implicit understanding that their game
was over. "You're either going to have to stop growing or start playing a bit
gentler with me."
"I can't stop growing, Whooter! I wanna be big
and strong, just like my dad!"
"Daddy's not that big and strong, Enzo," little
"Yeah," said Stella, who was always in agreement
with her sister. "Uncle Feruli's way bigger and stronger than Daddy!" she pointed
out, referring to the big Eyrie who, along with his constant companion, Silviana
the Zafara, visited the junkyard often nowadays to see his adopted nieces and
"Nuh-uh!" Enzo insisted as he hopped around,
crouching and batting at imaginary enemies. "Dad could take 'im!"
"No, he couldn't," Costa said in her matter-of-fact
voice. "Uncle Feruli's so big he can carry Aunt Silviana on his back all the
"Yeah," Stella piped up, "and he's so strong
he could stop a wagon, remember?"
Enzo's brow furrowed, and he opened his mouth
to reply, but Whooter hopped up between the brother and sisters. "I'm afraid
your sisters are right, Enzo. But not to worry-- brawn isn't everything you
know. Why, it's just as the great Neopian philosopher Acarastotle always said--"
"Oh, Whooter." The three Gelert pups groaned
and rolled their eyes in unison, recognizing the start of one of the whoot's
Whooter continued, unfazed, but he knew he had
no hope of holding the pups' attentions when Stella looked toward the entrance
to the junkyard and suddenly exclaimed, "Daddy!" All three pups went running
toward the gate, and Whooter, with a sigh, cut his speech short and went flying
To be continued...