Taking On the Bullies
Also by whitneywar516
Jennastar knocked on the door of the yellow cottage, waited twenty seconds, and knocked again. What’s taking so long? she thought.
Finally, a (very) young, blue Xweetok opened the door, her small round face discouraging the red Kougra. Well, the Xweetok took one look at Jenna and her older Bori brother Zaraneeta before she turned and yelled into the house, “Zaby!”
Within seconds, a green Xweetok climbed down the long stretch of stairs inside the cottage. She grinned when she saw her friends waiting for her, and Jenna forgot all about the tiny Xweetok. When she, Zaraneeta and Zabaliana set off, the slamming of a door behind them was heard, and the Kougra nearly jumped.
“Please excuse my sister’s behavior,” apologized Zabaliana. “Neowyo doesn’t have any sense of manners.”
“Oh, it’s perfectly fine,” Zaraneeta replied.
* * * * * *
A few days ago, Jenna and Zaraneeta had started neoschool, only to find out that Zar was the only Bori in his level. This caused a great commotion among the neopets there and lots of them taunted him about how unpopular his species were. But in the midst of the in-crowd, the two saw one lonely Xweetok, last in the lunch line. Knowing how it felt to be alone, they sat down with her, and found out that she had just moved from Terror Mountain. As Zabaliana described the white, powdery, fresh flakes, the lovely Snow Faerie, and the glittering Ice Caves, Zaraneeta longed to be rolling in the white blanket that covered the whole mountain. And so, eventually, they befriended the lonely Neopet.
* * * * * *
“So, how’s the paint brush saving coming along?” Jenna asked Zabaliana as they walked down the hall that was crowded with neopets.
“Not too well,” the green Xweetok replied, shaking her head. “My owner still hasn’t mastered the art of saving.”
“Too bad.” Zaraneeta tried to show some sympathy.
“No, actually that’s a good thing! If she can afford one, it’ll be something icky, like pink or baby.” Zabaliana stuck out her tongue. “And you know whaaaaa!”
Zabaliana tripped, lost her balance, and slid to the ground, her books scattering everywhere. She landed at the feet of a red Gelert. The group stopped short.
The Gelert wasn’t alone; beside him strode a yellow Lupe. And behind them all was a blue Wocky, walking with her nose pointed to the sky. The Lupe was obviously the leader of the group as he spoke first.
“Ahhhh.” He smiled evilly to Zaraneeta as he spoke. “We meet again... Zareeta.”
“Zaraneeta,” corrected the Bori.
“Whatever. Look, I see that your face is shaped as that of a dignified Lupe’s, such as myself, so to speak.” The Lupe spoke coolly.
“So?” Zaraneeta shrugged as he slowly backed into his group.
“We—oh, yes. Proper introductions first.” he cleared his throat. “I am Russell Patrick Langer. And these losers,” he added, referring to his pack, “are Drew and Grace.”
At this Drew, the Gelert, growled. Russell whipped around, scowling.
“What was that?”
“Nothin’.” Drew mumbled.
Russell again turned his attention to Zaraneeta. “Anyway, we have formed a group called ‘The Best’. It’s formed of Lupe-like neopets and Wocky-like neopets. You look somewhat like a Lupe and—”
“And Zaby and I look somewhat like a Wocky!” interrupted Jenna. Russell growled.
“Did you just interrupt me?” he asked.
“Yeah, you know I actually did!” Jenna replied.
“Oh no, she admits it!” the Kougra heard someone whisper. She turned around, and then felt a sharp pain in her tail. She yelped and looked behind himself. Several long, wicked scratches marred the Kougra’s tail fur.
“Oh, that’s the way you wanna play, huh?”
Jenna rushed at Russell, knocking over her opponent. Russell snarled fiercely and aimed a scratch at the Kougra. But it landed on Zaraneeta, who hurled himself at the Lupe. He completely bowled over Russell, and Jenna leapt on top of them both.
“Oh, please! Everyone, stop!” Zabaliana cried in distress as she tried to separate Jen and Zar from Russell. The Lupe grinned evilly.
“How about this?” he suggested. “My team fights your... group in the Battledome on Saturday. Winner gets Drew’s collection of books, Grace’s red paint brush, and my Draconack. Loser always has to let the winners go first in everything for the rest of the semester!”
“You drive a hard bargain...” Zaraneeta said slowly. “Deal.”
“See you then!” Grace scoffed, though anyone could see that she wasn’t happy at the prospect of giving up her paint brush.
Jenna pulled Zaby and Zar into a corner. “Do you think that was a good idea?” she asked them. “What if we lose?”
“And what if we win?” replied Zaraneeta, looking more confident than he was. “Maybe the people around here will actually respect us for once!” Zabaliana was silent. Jenna still looked scared.
“But what if we lose?” she repeated.
* * * * * *
“Zar, where are you going?” Corrie, Zaraneeta and Jenna’s eleven-year-old owner asked as she prepared dinner that evening.
“Shopping,” Zaraneeta replied, clutching a bag of neopoints. “Jen, you wanna come?”
“So not happening,” Jenna retorted.
“But I have enough neopoints for that helmet you want.”
“Corrie, can I go?”
“Now hold on, you two!” Corrie said. “What’s going on?”
Jenna and Zaraneeta shuffled uncertainly. Corrie crossed her arms defiantly and gazed at them. “Well?”
So Jen and Zar explained about “The Best”, Russell the Bully, the struggle, and the challenge. “So, now, we’re going to go shopping for weapons,” Zaraneeta concluded.
Corrie shook her head, her shoulder-length brown hair waving from side to side. She gazed sympathetically at her two pets. “Alright,” she said finally. “But, be careful.”
* * * * * *
“Sweetie, where are you going?” Zabaliana’s owner Whitney asked her Xweetok when she saw Zaby rushing out the door with a bag of neopoints.
“I’m going to the Neopian Bazaar... to get some weapons,” Zabaliana replied. “I really need some.”
“Honey, you don’t need any of that!” Whitney said, a little confused. “I thought you liked the outdoors, not playing dress up!”
“DWESS UP?!” Neowyo exclaimed, setting down her Usuki.
“Yes, Neowyo,” Whitney replied calmly. “Your sister would like to play dress up... in heavy metal armor.”
“I said weapons, not armor! And it’s not dress up!” Zabaliana nearly shouted. “I just need weapons for the Battledome! I’m helping Jennastar and Zaraneeta at the Battledome on Saturday!”
“Helping them, is it?” said Whitney. “They’re strong children; why, Zaraneeta’s level 7! If they needed help, they would ask some other pet at school,” she continued, thinking that fighting was just what Zabaliana didn’t really want to do and Zar and Jenna were forcing her to.
“There are no pets at school that would help them,” Zabaliana muttered.
“What was that?” Whitney asked. Zabaliana sighed.
“Alright!” she said, sitting down. “I’ll tell you what’s really going on.”
* * * * * *
Saturday arrived. For Russell, it took too long to come. For Jen, Zar, and Zaby, it came altogether too soon.
Zabaliana gulped as she entered the Island Arena, holding a wooden blocking shield, a lime elixir, and an odd-looking hat which she had no idea what it did. Jennastar felt like a knight wearing an Accelerator Helmet and grasping a Thief Dagger. Zaraneeta glared at Russell, revealing a Bori Slingshot and wearing a Bori Helmet.
“Next match: Jennastar vs. Drew,” called the referee. Quivering, Jenna stepped from the bleachers and onto the arena. Drew did the same, shooting a confident smirk at his opponent.
“Ready,” said the referee. Jenna clenched her dagger with a sweaty palm. Drew unsheathed his light faerie sword.
Drew leapt at Jen, aiming the sword into her side. Jen yelped and threw her dagger at the Gelert. Big mistake. Even though the Kougra was an accurate thrower, Drew expertly dodged the dagger and he kicked the Kougra in the stomach. Jen was knocked over and she looked up in time to see Drew point his sword threateningly at her throat. The first match was over.
Zabaliana stood up as the referee called her name. Grace grinned at Zaby, causing her opponent to lose all confidence. She has an immense rubber axe of doom and all I have is this worthless shield and a silly old hat, she thought. I’m doomed.
Zabaliana placed the hat doubtfully on her head and was surprised to see that Grace did absolutely nothing but look away from her. Still amazed, Zaby knocked her down with the Xweetok Swish. Grace still acted like she had no idea what was going on.
This is kinda fun! Zaby thought as she Thunder-tailed the Wocky, tripping her off her feet as she struggled to stand up. Zaby hit Grace on the head and, surprisingly, knocked her unconscious. The second match had come to an end.
Zabaliana proudly walked back to her seat beside Jenna, who was rubbing her side in pain.
“You did great out there,” she said. Zaby beamed.
“Next match: Zaraneeta vs. Russell.”
“Go Zar!” Zabaliana encouraged. Zaraneeta forced a weak smile.
Zaraneeta took a pebble out of his pocket and shot Russell in the leg. The Lupe smirked, his eyes saying, “Is that really the best you can do?” Russell tossed a battlecard at Zar, who bounced back painfully. Before he had time to recover, Russell threw a Green Potion at the Bori, throwing him to the ground and slammed another battlecard at him. Russell ran over to Zar before he could stand up and put a foot on the fallen Bori’s chest.
The Best had won.
Corrie ran onto the arena and stuffed a healing potion into Zaraneeta’s mouth. The wounded Bori stood up.
“We – cough – lost,” he groaned. “The kids at – cough – school will tease us more than ever – cough-!”
“You, on the other hand, were great out there, Zaby!” Jenna exclaimed, supporting her weak brother. Zabaliana blushed.
“It was nothing, really,” she replied. “I just put on this hat and Grace acted like she had no idea what was going on!”
“Zaby,” coughed Zar, “don’t you know what – cough – that hat did to – cough – you?”
“Nuh-uh,” replied Zabaliana.
“It – cough – made you in – cough – visible.”
Zabaliana stared at the hat incredulously. “Cool!”
* * * * * *
“Zabawiana!” Neowyo called into the house the next day.
“I’m coming!” Zabaliana yelled back, trying to fit her hat into her backpack. She finally zipped it and ran out the door.
“Brace yourselves,” Zar said when the “bus” – a large, Eyrie-drawn carriage – came in sight.
“Don’t worry,” said Zabaliana. “I brought my hat and we can take turns wearing it.”
Nothing could have prepared for the surprise that awaited them.
As Zaby entered the carriage, someone shouted, “Hey! Look, everyone! It’s Zabaliana! And Zaraneeta and Jennastar.”
And as they walked down the aisle, everyone gave Zaby, Vy, and Zar high-fives and thumbs-up. A green Wocky, a yellow Shoyru, and a blue Kacheek even yelled, “Hey, you guys! Sit by us!”
So Jen, Zar, and Zaby doubtfully sat by the friendly pets, wondering why everyone was being so nice to the all of a sudden.
“You guys were incredible!” the Kacheek, Sara, exclaimed.
“We were?” Zabaliana asked, confused.
“You know, at the Battledome yesterday,” replied the Shoyru, Steven.
“But we lost!” Zaraneeta protested.
“I know,” said Andrew, the Wocky. “We were there. But no one has ever been brave enough to threaten Russell, EVER! You guys, on the other hand, were courageous enough to even take the challenge!”
The carriage came to a stop and they all piled out.
“See you guys at lunch!” Steven said, running off as the bell rang. Zaby, Jen, and Zar ran inside also. There, Grace was waiting.
“Hey, Xweetok,” she called as Zaby entered. “Nice fight.” She gave the bewildered Zabaliana her red paint brush and they shook paws. Then, Grace walked off and blended into the crowd.
Zabaliana, Jenna, and Zaraneeta walked to their class, smiles breaking out on the faces. They had fought the main bullies at school and lost. But now, everyone respected them when they had least expected it. So maybe school wasn’t so bad after all...