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The Protecter Chronicles: The Beginning of the End - Part One


by angelfire_from_above

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The green Zafara sighed, and rolled over. It was almost closing time, and Dr. Death was already preparing the evening meal. As the last few stragglers wandered out of the pound, he groaned and settled down for a nap, attempting to calm his ragged nerves. He couldn't eat, not now, so instead he started to close his eyes when a shadow fell over him.

     "Hmm, I don't know... what about this Zafara?"

     A green Uni with a small leaf shaped pendant looked at him, turned to the human girl next to her and rolled her eyes.

     "OK, you know I don't have any official say in your choice, so why are you asking me again?"

     The girl smiled. "I don't know, I guess because you made such a good choice with Keoyasha. Dr. Death? We'll take this little fellow home."

     Algerdon gaped in shock. Home? Wait, there must be some mistake, he wanted to shout, but it was too late. Dr_death unlocked his door, and a rare smile flitted across his features for a moment.

     "All right, you do understand the responsibility you are taking, and the care and needs this pet has as with any other pet you own or have owned..."

      Algerdon didn't hear the rest; he was still in shock. Oh no, he thought, what am I going to tell Darl? His thoughts were interrupted by the girl's hand tapping him on the shoulder.

     "Are you alright? I said we can go home now, unless you want to go out and buy a toy or something first."

     Algerdon shook himself slightly and tried to gather his scattered thoughts.

     "Oh, uh, sure, that would be nice, I guess."

     The girl grinned. "Ok, let's head down to the Neopian Bazaar."

     An hour later the three were walking down the streets of Meridell. The Uni and the girl were talking animatedly and the green Zafara was eating an omelette.

     "What's your name?" the girl queried suddenly, and the Green Zafara scowled, apparently contemplating whether he should reply or not.

     "AlgedonxendritheZafara," he mumbled finally, trying to drown his answer into his cheese and onion omelette. It was a very good omelette, he thought to himself. But it needed more cheese...

     Fire stared at him, baffled.

     "I'm sorry, what did you say? I didn't quite catch that last part."

     She was starting to wonder at her decision. Maybe a Grundo would have been a better choice, after all. She chided herself. It wasn't his fault, she told herself sternly. The Pound could be a rough place, after all. But he'd come around; Laurel said so, and she trusted her word.

     "I said, Algerdon Xendri the Zafara."

     He peered at her dubiously, as if in doubt of her hearing capabilities. Oh great, he thought. She can't even hear.

     Oh great, she thought. He thinks I can't hear.

     "I'm Fire, and this is Laurel. There are two more at home, Firslie and Keoyasha. The oldest is Firslie, a Red Bori; she acts like she's the youngest, though, and then there is Laurel here; she won't be making in trouble for you. She likes to keep to herself. And then there is Keoyasha. Actually, Keoyasha and Firslie share a room; they seem to get along OK..."

     She trailed off; feeling distinctly put out due to the fact that she had been talking for almost three minutes straight without an answer. She sighed and tried again.

     "You will have your own room, but for now you will have to do with the old stone furniture, until we save up to buy new if you don't like stone-"

     "That's OK, I like stone," he cut her off abruptly. Laurel glared at him and Fire sighed. This wasn't going well, she thought.

     They were silent for a while, and then she turned to him suddenly, as a perfectly horrible, bribing, and yet somehow fantastic brainwave came bursting through.

     "Would you like to be painted?"

     Suddenly all his attention was focused on her, as if she had nothing better to do. His eyes were glued to her face now, raptly hanging on to every word.

     "Really?" he asked, in awe.

     "Sure, why not?" Oh, no, she thought miserably, her heart sinking. I hope he doesn't want to be painted Grey, or Pirate or something like that. Or even worse, maybe he harbors the secret hopes of becoming a Darigan Draik. "What do you want to be painted?" she asked, her heart slowly sinking at the excited look on his face.

     "Shadow," he replied certainly, and she relaxed. Ok, I can afford that, she decided.

     "Why Shadow?" she asked hesitantly.

     A guarded, closed expression clamped down on his face, and he replied calmly: "Oh, I just like it."

     He finished his omelette with a gulp, and she absentmindedly handed him a Pear. He sniffed it, and then tentatively took a bite. He stared at it in surprise. "This is good! What is it?"

     She stopped dead and stared at him. He didn't know what a pear was? Well, she did spoil her pets with health food... maybe his last owner just fed him omelettes and jelly... if he had a last owner; maybe he was just another street rat, or maybe a runaway. Who knows, she thought.

     "It's a Pear," she replied finally, slightly distracted. "We have lots of them at home, and other fruits as well. You can have as much fruit as you want. It's good for you."

     His face lit up. "Really?" he asked curiously, his interest lit again. "You mean you guys don't have days when you don't eat? That's nice," he commented, and finished demolishing the Pear, stem and all.

     Oh dear, she thought. This was going to be interesting.

     As they reached their street, they could hear sounds of conflict, and the door burst open spilling out a small red Bori and a blue Uni as if it couldn't wait to get rid of its cargo, both the pets laughing hysterically. Algerdon, Fire and Laurel stared in surprise, and finally the red Bori stood up shakily, and tried to speak through gasps and giggles.

     "Ha-ha, oh dear, hi Fire, hahaha, hi Laurel... hohoho... you would never guess..."

     A red Bori collapsed on the doorstep, giggling, and they all stood there for a while longer. Finally the blue Uni stood up.

     "Whoo, ok, I'm better... Fire, you would never believe it; you know the neighbor's Droolik, Cuddles?"

     Fire groaned.

     "Don't tell me--another traveling salesman? When will they ever learn! Can't they read the 'Do Not Pet' sign?" She shook her head, and then started to grin.

     "Well, go on, what happened?"

     Keoyasha smiled.

     "Well, they came to our house first, and they were two big Jetsams, Insurance salesmen they were. For Sharky Insurance or something likes that. Well, I explained that we already had insurance, and that we were very happy, when Firslie just HAD to ask me right then if the neighbors had any insurance... and of course those two got these huge grins on their face, and said they would go over and check for her... well, I warned them that they had their own personal insurance, Cuddles, but..."

     She collapsed laughing again, and this time the whole family joined in. Even Algerdon smiled, and nodded goodnaturedly as they ushered him in the house.

     After he had been shown around (the fridge had interested him greatly, with its stock of fresh fruit), he settled down in his room. He considered his exciting day: First, getting caught by the Chia police, next, getting hauled in to the Pound, and now this. Really, maybe he should just start a nice, safe hobby like rock collecting, or something, he thought dryly. Yeah, right. The Council would have a fit... Exhausted, he began to settle down to sleep, when his door suddenly burst open. Surprised, he leapt into the air and landed on the floor with a WHUMP!!

     "I thought that it was the usual custom to knock--or are you the exception?" he snapped irately as Laurel tried to hide a smile.

     "I thought most people slept on beds when they had them--or are YOU the exception?" she replied.

     Algerdon tried to think up a witty and sharp reply when Laurel shook her head.

     "Never mind that, and sorry, I was in a hurry--get ready and we will be out the door in five, OK?" Algerdon stared in confusion.

     "Wha-What for?" he asked in bewilderment.

     "What do you mean, what for? For your paint brush to get you painted! I thought you want to be painted shadow. Fire just went and bought one, and we're going to go get you painted. Fire is making it a family outing; after you get painted we'll go for hotdogs at Hubert's."

     She turned around without another word and headed for the door. Algerdon stared for another moment, then grinned and jumped to his feet. Maybe families aren't so bad after all, he thought. Maybe he might just stay here...

     A month later he changed his mind.

To be continued...

Thanks bunches to Nimras23 for the use of her characters...and yes, I know I have a cheesy title...yay for cheesieness!!

 
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