The yellow Xweetok sat on the couch, all sprawled out and completely, undeniably... bored. She plucked a piece of lint off of the fabric, and flicked it away, watching it—for lack of anything better to do—as it sloooooowly made its way to the floor.
Shadow was gone doing something, like writing another (failed) entry for the NT, or playing games in an attempt to save up for a promised white paint brush. Nij, a mutant Korbat, was busy pulling a prank on Hailey, and Hailey, a spotted Peophin, was busy being pranked.
“Why can’t anything interesting ever happen around here?” she asked, ignoring the Peophin’s surprised shriek from upstairs, who had happened to open a door to find a bucket of goo on her head. She let out a dejected sigh.
Just then, the door to the living room was flung open, and a girl came in, looking all excited. The Xweetok lifted up her head, wondering how in Neopia the girl could look so bright and cheery.
“Yai!” the girl, who just happened to be Shadow, said. “Guess what? You’ve got a new sib!”
A sib? So Shadow had been in the pound? Who was it? Was it a girl? Were they nice?
Yai asked her third question, and Shadow brightened.
“His name is blueberry_blue_12,” said the girl. “We can just call him Blue. And guess what? He’s an island Kougra!”
Yai, being a new pet to Neopia, had no clue why being ‘island’ was so special. So instead of leaping up and down in excitement, she just asked, “Why isn’t he here?”
“Apparently his last owner put him in the Neolodge,” Shadow said thoughtfully. “I don’t want to take him away, so he won’t be coming for a few days yet.”
Blue sat on a floaty plastic chair in the pool, fiddling with the wreath he had around his neck, and trying to get used to this odd form. He’d previously been a lab ray pet, his owner being one of those people who liked to adopted not so nicely named pets and zap them to something nice before returning to the pound.
Before he was put in the pound, the boy who’d been zapping him had come up to him and told him that he’d be put in the neolodge first, so that he wouldn’t have to endure the horribleness of the pound cages for even a second. Blue was just grateful that he wouldn’t have to face the scary Techo again.
The island Kougra used to be a blue Lenny, and it was weird for him to be using his front two limbs as feet instead of wings. Every once in a while, he still had the urge to fly out through his window, but always remembered he no longer had wings when he used his paws to pull himself up to the windowsill. In a way, it was depressing. Plus, his new tail tended to wander, getting into his face when he was reading the random magazine he found next to his bed in the morning.
He was surprised that he hadn’t been adopted yet. Usually, whenever the other pets were adopted when they were in the Neolodge, their new owners came to give them the good—or bad—news. Nobody had come yet to claim him, and he was beginning to get worried. Was he one of those painted pets that stood in the back of the pound, while the pound workers showed the owners to other, less fortunate pets? He’d heard of that happening before, and that the pet had stayed in the pound for months.
Well, today was his last day in the Neolodge, and then he’d be forced to head to the pound. At least the Presidential Palace had been fun for a little while. He’d actually gotten to see the Poogle President! The Poogle hadn’t exactly been how he’d imagined him to be, having had been fat, with a suit that’d had a food stain on the tie, but he’d gotten to see somebody important.
“Blueberry_blue_12!” called a voice from over near the reception area. Blue rolled off of the floaty plastic chair, and got soaked before he climbed himself out of the pool. The wreath around his neck didn’t seem to mind. In fact, it got greener, bigger, and the flowers got more vibrant.
“Stupid wreath,” he muttered, pushing the leaves down until they got out of his face.
He meandered up to the receptionist, and started to get a tingle of excitement running down his back. He’d been adopted! He wouldn’t have to sample the pound’s awful food! He wouldn’t have to sleep on the grimy floors! YES!!!!!!!
A girl with billowing black hair stood at the counter, with wire framed glasses and her hair pulled back into a ponytail. When Blue took a look at her, the first thing that came to his mind was that she must be a bookworm, and had a few entries—or none—in the Neopian Times. The pencil behind her ear seemed to testify that.
“Hello?” he said, walking cautiously up to them. The blumaroo secretary gave him a condescending look.
The girl, who looked at him, and her mouth split open in a smile.
“I’m Shadow,” she said, bending down on her knees. “I’m your new owner.”
A feeling of relief flooded through him, but he was still worried about her thinking that he was a trophy pet. She didn’t look too rich.
“Are you ready to come home?” she asked.
Home. He’d been waiting for a place to call that ever since his first owner announced that he was going to the pound for the first time. When his last owner had adopted him, Blue had thought he’d finally found one until he’d been told that he was going to be a foster pet until he got a beautiful color.
That had happened within a week, along with a species change and two gender changes. A shudder of horror went through his body as he remembered being a girl. That had been horrible.
“Yes,” Blue said, as Shadow checked him out. It took only a few minutes, and then they were gone and outside the door.
“I have three neopets,” she said, looking at him. “Their names are Afilanij, Hailey_devine, and Yaitheira. Nij and Hailey are painted. Actually, Nij is morphed, and Yai is the only one who’s normal. I’m saving up for a white paint brush for her, however.”
“Cool,” the Kougra said, hoping that this was the right thing to say.
“Warning, however,” said Shadow, holding up a finger. “Nij likes to play pranks.”
Blue wasn’t too surprised. He’d lived with a few other owners before this one, and almost all of them had held a prankster pet. It was traditional.
The neohome they approached wasn’t too large. It was only three rooms large, and Blue surmised that it was only because the owner was saving up NP that they hadn’t added on any more. All of them were made out of marble, and most of them were locked, and because it was in the Haunted Woods, he wasn’t surprised.
A water balloon hit Shadow on the top of the head, and Blue looked up to see the shape of a mutant Korbat laughing wickedly. The sound of the Korbat’s wings filled the ‘night’ air with a sound like leather fluttering in the wind.
“Nij!” Shadow gasped, revealing the Korbat’s name, even though Blue had already guessed.
“Welcome home!” the Korbat said maniacally and then he flew off.
What a way to feel welcome. Shadow wiped the water away from her face, and spat as some of it dripped into her mouth.
“Sorry,” she said. “I didn’t think he’d start off like that straight away.”
“It’s okay,” said Blue. Then he said a question that had been pressing against his tongue the whole way to this neohome. “You’re not going to abandon me, are you?”
She looked over at him.
“No way,” she said. “You are home.”