The Lonely Spardel
It was noon. The quiet forest was still, with no wind. Birds chirped and sang. Light filtered in through the trees above, and the whole forest sat waiting in suspense for some unknown event to take place, as if it was holding its breath. Then, THUD, a young Zafara jumped out of seemingly nowhere and over a log.
Shafara was darting about through the forest as she often did. Her sleek deep blue fur was shielded from sight mostly by her sky-blue, fur lined cloak, which was fastened by a tiny sapphire on a gold clasp, and her eyes glistened like that very gem. She was always looking for adventures in the woods, adventures of which she could tell tales to her friends.
She thought she may have found such an adventure when, in the distance, she saw a creaky old shack. As she approached, she noticed that there was an old sign in front that read The Spardel Shack in white letters, but it was very faint, faded, and simply old. It was held up by two rusty chains. She stopped outside the tiny structure. The wind picked up a bit, and the sign swung in the slight breeze, creaking and clanking quietly on its chains. She looked again at the building, and shuddered. It was falling apart. It was frightening to look at, for it seemed as if no living soul had touched the place in a very, very long time.
The spardel shack? Shafara thought, curious. I would give 1000 neopoints to know the history of this place. What was it like before it was abandoned? I wonder if I could go inside... it looks creepy.
Shafara finally got the courage to enter. Creeeeaaaakkkk! The door groaned and complained as she opened it. Inside, many old petpet beds and toys lined the walls. A cracked painting of a spardel hung on one wall. A tattered rug lay on the ground in front of her. A desk sat in the corner, casting a shadow darker than the blackness around it. The remains of an old lamp lay on the floor by it. Shafara gazed around at the tired old shack. It must have been a very cute place at one time. Shafara imagined bright colors on the now dusty walls and cute spardels running around. She sighed, wishing she knew more about the old building.
“Who goes there?” came a voice from the dark corner. Shafara jumped. She had no reason to panic, though, as a small, chocolate colored spardel came from the shadows. His red eyes shone; his fur was silky and smooth. Shafara smiled. Then she frowned. If it was just a spardel, then... who had spoken? She had always liked spardels, but did not know if she would like whatever else was in the shack. She jumped for a second time as the spardel spoke:
“Are you a friend, or a foe?” he demanded.
“You can talk?” she asked, perplexed, and relieved, because it had just been the spardel, and nothing else was hidden in the shadows.
“Yes, I can talk. A light faerie blessed me.... Friend or foe?” he said again.
“I mean you no harm,” Shafara said.
“Hehe, I haven’t seen anyone in a long time. No one but myself has been in this place for years.” The spardel smiled as he spoke.
“Um, excuse me, but can I ask you why... why no one has been here?”
“No one knows why, but this building was shut down years ago.”
“What was this building anyway? I saw a sign outside,” Shafara said, cocking her head.
“This place was once a gallery. A gallery featuring spardels. The Spardel Shack. Then they cleared it out. It was guarded for a few months by a gold spardel, but eventually he left too, and the shack was abandoned, like I was only a few years ago. I am the only spardel who lives here now, because this building shares my past.”
“I was once owned by a rich draik. She had me labbed until I turned chocolate. I lived with her for a year or two, until she saw a faerie seti being sold at the trading post. She no longer wanted a poor little spardel, and I was dumped outside, like so many recyclable plastic bottles. It was while I wandered in search of a new home that the light faerie blessed me. She said that I would be able to speak and that I would find a perfect home. This shack is far from perfect, though it suits me. After all, there is much spardel history here.”
Shafara had an idea. A gallery featuring spardels... she thought.
“Thank you, Spardel, I’ll be back soon!” Shafara called over her shoulder as she left the shack.
“Good... bye?” Spardel said, rather dazed, though she was out of the door before he could even finish saying “good”.
Shafara rushed to get her owner, and told her all about the chocolate spardel in the little shack. They did not have a gallery of their own. They all loved spardels. Shafara cooked up a plan which she told to her owner. Once it was approved, she and her brother got spardels from anyone they could get to sell them one, while her smooth-talking, cunning owner haggled for petpet paintbrushes and played the games to pay for them.
Over the course of many days, and at the expense of many neopoints, Shafara’s neohome was overrun with spardels. Custard, purple, chocolate, blue, pink, and green! Spardels in spots, spardels in wings! White and Tyrannian and island spardels! Shafara gathered them up, and checked each color off her list. Finally, they had every non-lab variety of spardel!
“Spardel, Spardel, come out!” Shafara cried out as she ran to the shack. “Look!”
All the land spardels were in a neat single file line behind her, all eighteen of them, and the maraquan one was in the fish bowl she carried in her arms.
“Goodness, this is all very well, but... the shack is in complete disrepair... how will I care for all these new spardels?” Spardel asked, tears coming to his eyes. Tears of joy and of chocolate sauce, for he was a chocolate spardel.
“That’s why I brought my family. We’re here to fix the place! You said it was once a gallery, and my family has never had a gallery. We decided to claim this place. You can live with us now!” Shafara said, picking up the chocolate spardel. She hugged him.
“I... can live with you? Oh, my, am I... am I dreaming?” Spardel asked, trembling with delight.
“Nope! You’re my spardel now!” Shafara said joyfully. More dark chocolate tears dripped on her shoulder.
“Oh, happy day, the silly faerie was right!” he cried out in pure joy, his tail wiggling in circles, as he was hugged tighter.
Over the course of many weeks, the whole shack was repaired. Windows were replaced, door hinges were oiled, holes were patched. The furniture was restored. The whole building was painted a rich brown. The sign was restored. Outside the shack hung a brilliant red banner that read:
THE SPARDEL SHACK