Invisible Paint Brushes rock Circulation: 135,120,767 Issue: 264 | 3rd day of Storing, Y8
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The Petpet Brigade: Part One


by superfox65

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The doglefox shivered. It was going to be a long night.

      Ever since the recall of all petpets, there had been little food and water, no nice warm beds, and especially... no Buddhiah. The Christmas doglefox was filled with sorrow at the fact that he might never see his owner again.

      Oh, Buddhiah! His bright, inquisitive eyes ever sparkling as he looked at him. He had saved up his own Neopoints and painted him Christmas, affectionately naming him Buttons. He would hug him, telling him that he was the best Petpet in the world. And he'd hug him back as well as he could with his tiny paws and woof happily, licking his face. And he'd laugh as though he was tickled, and would feed him Petpet treats and buy him toys and all sorts of Petpet beds. And they'd play and laugh all day long, and he'd wait until he came home from Neoschool, and...

      He shook the cherished memories out of his mind. It hurt too much to think about.

      The door of the old, abandoned barn opened, and squads of raggedly uniformed petpets trooped in. The meeting had begun.

      He joined the fray in the middle, plopping dejectedly down next to an unbelievably young Puppyblew.

      "First time here, huh?" he asked the youngster.

      "Yeah. Does it show?" The Puppyblew was shivering, perhaps from the cold or possibly excitement.

      "Not really," he replied. Then the room silenced. The doors of the barn closed, and all was shrouded in darkness.

      A lantern was lit, then another, and another. They were placed around an upturned food trough by some multicolored Buzzers. The Buzzers returned to their seats.

      The new recruits muttered impatiently, but the veterans stayed quiet. They knew the drill.

      Suddenly, a shadow was cast from the left side of the room. The lanterns showed it was a Gruslen, and then it walked out and stood beside the food trough.

      He was almost pure white, with silver stripes and peach-colored chest fur. His tusks were obviously newly polished, and he had an air of grace about him. However, his polished tusks had been sharpened to a point, and his eyes showed a gleam of remembrance of long ago days. His name was General Gruslen, and he was the leader of the Petpet Brigade.

      "Friends, petpets, Mortogs," he said, glancing at the troop of Mortogs that were obviously NOT princes or princesses, "lend me your ears. Since the time of the Great Recall, we have been fighting for peace and tranquility. For those petpets who have not heard the story of such a war, I will tell it now.

      "For many years, we petpets valiantly served the Neopets: protecting them in the Battledome, fetching things from the mysterious Symol Hole, battling for their pleasure, getting zapped by a strange ray, even being EATEN by the Turmaculus. After a few years with our abusive owners, we learned to ignore such things. However, when our owners would talk to us, we would often gasp for water, but be given none. We would have to make do with moldy old beds that were barely even livable, while our owners got beds of high quality wood and silver. We would often go without supper for many days, while our owners feasted on fine meats and cakes. Ignored, unkempt, punished, yet expected to be stuffed down holes, kissed till we explode, or even be EATEN! After much endurance of this, we told the Neopets that enough was enough. They, however, didn't listen and continued on as usual. They figured our threats to leave were simple bluffs, but they thought wrong.

      "We bit, fought, scratched, hit, and slapped. Then, the petpets were finally recalled, and we left to go into hiding.

      "Many of us came here, to train in case there should ever be a need to war against the Neopets. Others were not so lucky. In attempts to return to their owners, many petpets were captured, brainwashed, and resold to their owners for a stiff fee. We were able to rescue some, but not all. Our attempt at rescuing over 500 un-brainwashed petpets was a failure." He bowed his head, raising his tail high in salute. "May we always remember Frankie."

      "To Frankie!" the veterans chorused.

      "To Frankie," the Gruslen said. "Our veterans will have some time off these next few days, and you new recruits will train under me and Sergeant Pibb."

      A large Dua nodded in recognition.

      "All right troops, let's move out!"

     ***

      "Finally," the Doglefox thought. "Maybe I can sneak out and find Buddhiah." He wriggled with the thought of finally finding his beloved owner. He padded over to the ladder which led to his bunk. Climbing up on all fours, he swung himself up into bed. He would do it tonight. He would sneak out and find Buddhiah. Sliding off his Petpet Brigade side pack, he muffled the bells around his neck and slid silently out the window.

      He had memorized his address. The only problem was finding it. In a big city like Neopia Central, it was easy to get lost.

      A carriage was passing by, pulled by six brainwashed Whinnies. He ran behind it and leapt up onto the backboard. He almost slipped, but pulled himself up and onto the tiny ledge. Looking up, he saw the sign and knew he was in trouble. It read:

     The Petpet Pound

     Returning your little darlings since the Great Petpet Recall

      He thought about jumping off but was interrupted by a voice behind him.

      "Hey! What're you doin' here?

      "I... I'm just... uh..."

      "What are you, stupid? This is a Petpet Pound carriage! Do you want to get brainwashed or something?"

      "Er... I ... well... no..." Buttons the doglefox stammered. Painted Christmas by his former owner before the Great Petpet War, he was insecure as he felt he was only useful in the winter.

      "You'd better get outta here. It's not like your owner can save you if you get caught."

      The word "owner" made a stiff knot appear in his throat. He sniffled a bit, but turned his face away so that whoever was inside the carriage wouldn't see that he was on the verge of tears.

      "Here, I'll make you a deal," the voice said. "You bust me out of this here carriage, and I'll follow ya around and help ya out for the next 3 weeks, 'kay?"

      He nodded yes, and by standing on tip paw, reached up and knocked out the peg that was holding the cage door shut. It swung open, revealing a small female Meowclops.

      "Great!" she said, as they jumped off the back of the pound carriage. "Now, what's the first thing ya wanna do?"

      Buttons pondered this for a moment, and then stared at her fixedly. "Do you know of Cairn Close?"

     ***

      "My name's Cyclopa. You know, Cyclops, Cyclop-uh?"

      The doglefox nodded, not really listening. The petpet in the carriage had happened to be a Meowclops, and also turned out to be really annoying. Buttons didn't really mind, though. After he got back to Buddhiah, everything would be fine, and he wouldn't need the help of Cyclops-Cyclop-uh whatever.

      They finally reached the old street. The doglefox walked down to number 10913 and scratched at the door.

      The door opened to reveal a person, people, pudding, peep, whatever they were called. It didn't look like much, but Buddhiah called it Owner so he did, too. She looked around, not seeming to notice him. He yipped happily and finally the peep-person looked down. Instead of pleasure at finally seeing him again, the people-pudding's face changed to a look of anger and disgust.

      "What's this?" it said. Buttons was not sure if it was happy or angry. It was confusing.

      "Mom, mom, it sounded like Buttons! Where's my little Buttons?" a voice said. It was Buddhiah!

      "It's not your Buttons, it's just some Petpet. I'm afraid I have to send for the Pound." The pudding-person scooped him up with one hand and roughly carried him into the kitchen. He yelped piteously. He had come all this way to find his Buddhiah, yet he wasn't allowed to see him? When he came to the house bringing peace, he was to be sent to the pound? What did the pudding want him to do, waltz in, fangs bared, demanding to see Buddhiah? Even draw his rainbow gun which he kept with him only for emergencies? What was he supposed to do?

      "Buddhiah, make sure that petpet doesn't go anywhere. Hold him tight, but don't get yourself bit. I'll be back soon." The pudding thing left through the front door.

      Neither the pudding nor Buddhiah believed that it was actually him! He licked her face and danced in a silly circle. Buddhiah laughed and said, "My doglefox used to do that. He'd yip and lick and dance all funny... and I wish you were him."

      Buttons had a choice to make: break the law that kept petpets petpets, or be shunned as just another doglefox.

      "But... I am," he said. There. He had done it. He had broken the one law, Gilbert's Law, the fine law of Petpetopia.

      Gilbert was a Gallion who would speak to his owner every evening, as all petpets can. Gilbert's owner got cocky, and showed off the poor Gallion to everyone, and one night he was stolen and never seen again. At a Petpet assembly one night, it was decided that no petpet would speak to his or her owners ever again. The vote was unanimous, and this law was named "Gilbert's Law" in honor of the lost petpet.

      He had broken the one rule. Smooth move, he thought.

      "Oh Buttons! It really IS you! I didn't know you could talk!" The young Lupe sobbed happily and hugged him tight.

      He closed his eyes contentedly. He hugged him back as best he could, then began to lick his owner's face.

      "There it is, men."

      The pudding thing had returned! The Lupes from the pound trooped in carrying nets and kennels.

      He made a break for it.

      Buttons jumped off the table and zoomed into the living room. He ducked far into the back of the couch, but the Lupes followed. Finally, a huge, tough-looking one lifted up the entire couch and the workers slammed their nets down.

      He was caught!

      As he was roughly muzzled and shoved into a kennel, he heard Buddhiah sobbing.

      "But... Mom... it's Buttons! It's my Buttons!"

      "That thing was not your old petpet. It's a dangerous beast. One moment it would lick you and kill you the next."

      It stung to be called "it" and a "thing" and a "dangerous beast" by the pudding thing that had once affectionately scratched him behind the ears and snuck him bits of petpet nip while his owner was at Neoschool. He curled up in a piteous fold on the floor of his kennel.

      "Yeah, we heard. Some Meowclops got away earlier. We're not that sloppy. We've got padlocks on our carriage doors. He won't be getting' outta there," he heard one of the Lupes say. Hs kennel was thrown into the back of the carriage and the back door swung shut. Ricocheting off of the wall, he slumped in the kennel and knew no more.

      He woke up chained by his neck and paws to a thick metal sheet. His Santa hat was gone, as well as the bells around his neck. His large red nose throbbed where he had hit the bars. His entire body ached. The urge to sleep was strong, so very strong, and he fought to stay awake. His senses seemed dull, everything was blurry, his nose wasn't working, and he felt strangely giddy. A plant thing which he had never seen before was being dangled in front of his face. It smelled good, a bit too good. He felt that he was going insane. His mind started to rave, strange thoughts echoing through his mind. "Good wood, three four, shut the door, red yellow blue and a banana too! Give me a K! Give me an I! Give me another K! Give me an O! What does that spell? Lenny cupcakes, get your Lenny cupcakes here! 5 for 500 Neopoints! Rain, rain, go away, come again on Monday. Oh, swirly, smell good. Petpet nip is yum yum, yep, yummy!

      "No! No! I will not be brainwashed! Wash, wash, oh my gosh, red yellow, lucky fellow, Buddhiah, Kaus, Kaus, go Kau tipping. Cyclopa! Oooh, sleepy time, sleep good, go swim tomorrow... "

      He woke up to a whole new world. His senses seemed dulled. But what did that matter? Petpet nip was good. Yum yum. Oh, it was just so yum. He suddenly remembered what he had seen on one of Buddhiah's TCG cards. "He who controls the Petpet nip controls the petpets." Was this how they were being brainwashed? It seemed his mind was in order, but he was unable to control his body. He was still tired, so he soon fell asleep. But while his mind was dormant, his newly controlled body had other ideas.

To be continued...

 
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