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The 18 Karat Gelert: Part Two

by battlesunn


Raj was painted the very same day that Roger awoke to find him nestled in his pillow. The little Kougra cub was full of youthful vigor, bouncing about with his glossy star-spangled coat and generally making a nuisance of himself. Mina was delighted with his playful antics. Roger was not.

     The Gelert stood in the foyer of his Neohome. "I'm going now!" he called up the stairs to his owner.

     "Going where?" came the shouted reply. Roger curled his upper lip.

     "To Tyrannia. Today's the day of my big portrait painting with blueberry Neodrops."

     "Oh! Hey, take Raj with you. I need to do some work and I can't have the little scamp bothering me."

     Roger gasped in disbelief. "Excuse me? I'M the one who needs to work, I can't have him running around and disturbing my handsome vibrations!" the Gelert persisted. He heard a heavy sigh coming from his owner's room.

     "He'll be good, Roger. Just take him with you, have some brother to brother bonding time, okay?"

     Roger seethed. "I refuse!"


     "ALRIGHT, FINE! You'd just better be grateful," he grudgingly agreed. Next thing he knew, the Gelert was on his back, a large starry Kougra cub with a playful grin sitting on his chest.

     "Hiya Roger!" he squealed. Roger got up, knocking the Kougra from his stomach.

     "Get off me!" he grunted, brushing dust from his glittering pelt. Raj smiled at him, showing off his impressive fangs. Roger shuddered a bit at the sight of them. Those teeth were so unnerving.

     "Well, come on then," the Gelert barked. "I can't be late for this job."

     The two Pets started down the road to the Eyrie Taxi office. Raj couldn't seem to ask enough questions.

     "Where are we going?" the Kougra inquired, swiping at Buzzers and scampering around his brother's paws. Roger set his jaw.

     "We're going to Tyrannia. First we have to go to the Eyrie Taxi booth so that we can get there," he hissed through clenched teeth. Raj pounced at a flower.

     "Oh, okay! What's an Eyrie?"

     "It's a big Neopet. It can fly."

     "Cool! What's fly?"

     "It's like running through the sky."

     "Neat! Can I fly?"


     "Why not?"

     "You don't have wings."

     "Can I get wings?"

     "Here we are!" Roger said gratefully, stopping outside the Eyrie Taxi booth. He flashed a smile at the Aisha who was taking tickets.

     "Two for Tyrannia, miss," he said cheerfully. The Aisha blushed slightly.

     "Thirty Neopoints, sir," she said with a small giggle. Roger grinned, leaning against the counter.

     "I'm a little short, you think you could help me out--"

     "Wow! What's this?" Raj had jumped onto the booth, curious as to what was inside. "Neat! Do you live here, miss?" he asked, looking up at the Aisha. She smiled.

     "My, what a cute little Kougra you are! How old are you, sweetie?" she cooed. Raj cocked an ear.

     "I'm fourteen hours old, miss," he replied, wagging his tail. Roger scowled at him, reaching out with his paws and sweeping the Kougra off the booth, sending Raj tumbling to the ground. The Gelert smiled weakly at the Aisha.

     "I'm so sorry about him, miss. He's just so uncontrollable--"

     The Aisha cut him off. "Oh no, he's quite cute and charming." She looked down at Raj, reaching down below the booth and retrieving a bright red lollypop. "Here you go, honey. Sweets for a sweet! You can have this ride on the house, too, because you're such a good Kougra."

     Roger was crestfallen. "Don't I get one?" he whimpered.

     The Aisha found herself unable to reply, however, because just then, the Eyrie taxi arrived. The taxi itself was small wooden carriage strapped to two of the biggest Eyries that Roger had ever seen. Feeling slightly intimidated by the massive Neopets, the Gelert said a quick thanks to the Aisha and climbed tentatively into the carriage. Raj hopped into the taxi with no inhibitions, settling himself into a seat directly behind one of the Eyries, a brawny male with bright red feathers. Roger eyed his brother warily.

     "Tyrannia, please," he said to the Eyries, still keeping watch on the Kougra. The red Eyrie nodded to his yellow partner.

     Perfectly in sync with one another, the Eyries took off, soaring up into the sky and beating their muscular wings. Raj exhaled slowly.

     "Whoa..." the Kougra exhaled, leaning over the edge of the carriage. "You can see everything from up here!"

     Roger gasped. In one quick move he leaned over and grabbed Raj by the shoulders, tugging him back into the center of the taxi. He glared at the Kougra.

     "Are you crazy? Do you want to fall out? Mina would kill me if anything happened to you, so sit down and behave!" Roger scolded. "Honestly, you are so impossible!" The Gelert watched Raj for a further five minutes before deciding that he wasn't going to try anything else. Roger then pulled out a small mirror and comb and began fixing his gleaming golden fur. He had to look his best for the modeling job, after all.

     They arrived in Tyrannia with ten minutes to spare. Roger thanked the Eyries and set off for the Plateau, where the gig was scheduled to take place. Raj was fascinated with the prehistoric world and couldn't get enough of it. He had to stop at every store, play every game, and meet every new Neopet... More than once Roger found himself having to turn back and yell at the Kougra to keep up.

     Finally, the two Pets made it to the plateau. Roger was quick to spot the shadowed Wocky from before and quickly walked up to him. The Gelert poised himself, brushing down his glistening golden fur.

     "How do I look?" he asked, in a tone that suggested it was more of a flat statement than a question. The Wocky gave a small cough.

     "Um..." he began, scratching the back of his head.

     "That was a rhetorical question." Roger snapped, cutting him off. The Gelert continued to preen himself. "I'm here. Now, where should I stand?" he asked, tilting his head so that the wind fluttered his long, ribbony ears. The Wocky raised his eyebrows, gazing at Raj. He jabbed his paw in the Kougra's direction.

     "Who's that?" he asked, an intrigued look in his eyes. Roger pursed his lips.

     "It's my brother, Raj. He's nobody. Ignore him. Stop looking at him. LOOK AT ME!"

     It was a lost cause. The Wocky approached Raj, already pulling out some contractual papers.

     "Hey, little guy. How'd you like to model for our blueberry Neodrops?" he asked. Raj's eyes lit up.

     "Wow! I could be just like my big brother!" he exclaimed. Roger screamed.

     "NOOOO! This is MY modeling gig! MINE! I'm the new face of blueberry Neodrops, not him!" The Gelert struck a quick pose. "See? SEE? I can be dangerous! I can make Neodrops cool again!" he shouted desperately. The Wocky watched him impassively.

     "Sorry, buddy. You're old news. The corporate world needs a new poster Pet, and it's this guy!" he said, taking Raj's paw and holding it up. "Raj of the Stars just plain sounds better than 18 Karat Canine." He gestured to the painter. "Get your brushes and paints, Joe. I need you to do about ten portraits of this cub with our Neodrops for the new campaign..."

     Roger couldn't believe his eyes. That conniving Kougra had stolen his gig! Well, he wasn't going to stand for that! The Gelert stood on the ridge of the plateau and gave his golden-furred head and elegant shake.

     "I don't need you. Clearly, you're all too thick-headed to recognize real talent," he glared pointedly at Raj. "--As opposed to the flavor of the month." He whirled around on his paw. "I'm leaving now, don't try and stop me!" Roger paused for a minute, presumably waiting for someone to stop him. When no one did, the Gelert snarled and stomped off, holding his head high and not watching where he was going.

     Raj spotted the rock before he did. "Roger! Look out!" the Kougra shouted. But it was too late; Roger tripped on the protruding stone and went careening down the slope, landing with a splash in a hot spring at the foot of the hill.

     The Gelert lay in a heap in the pool as the water, heated from the volcano, seeped into his fur. Roger groaned and rose shakily from the spring. Raj, the Wocky and the painter, who had assembled at the top of the hill, gasped in shock at the sight before them. Confused, Roger looked down over his body and screeched.

     All of the golden paint in his fur had washed off, leaving his coat a dull yellow, plain as the Sakhmet sands. Roger was unable to speak. He lifted his paws, the last few traces of gold running down his arms in watery streaks to land in the pool below. The Gelert sniffled, tears forming in his eyes. All his life his beautiful golden fur had set him apart from the other Pets, made him special, made him a legend. And now... He was nothing! Nothing but a regular, run of the mill yellow Gelert!

     Raj watched his brother climb slowly out the pool, his fur clinging to his body and making him look even more haggard. The Kougra was heartbroken. He felt as though it was his fault that his brother had lost his only real source of pride. Within a few moments, Raj had made up his mind about what he was going to do.

     The Kougra strode purposefully down the hill, ignoring the confused stares of the Wocky and the painter as he did. He passed his brother, who was too crestfallen to even notice him, and jumped into the pool.

     Roger heard a loud splashing noise and turned to see what had made the sound. He gave a little cry of surprise. There was his brother, Raj, sitting in the pool and scrubbing the water vigorously into his starry fur. The paint began to come off him, too, and within a few minutes Raj was a blue Kougra once again. He grinned at Roger, shaking his coat and hopping out of the pool. He sat next to the Gelert and leaned against him comfortingly.

     "I'm sorry Roger," he said, looking up at his brother. "It's my fault that you didn't get to do your modeling thing and that you lost your golden fur."

     Roger gaped open-mouthed at the little Neopet. He had never felt this way before, all funny and warm inside. He felt... Touched. The Gelert smiled and nuzzled the Kougra, genuine affection glistening in his eyes.

     "Aw, that's okay." Roger said with a sigh. "Maybe Mina can get me another paint brush." The Gelert brightened up. "Hey... Gelerts can be painted Royal now! That would be a much more fitting color for a Pet of my regal countenance, wouldn't you say?" Roger grinned, a bit of his old personality shining through. He picked up Raj and swung him onto his back.

     "Come on, you little rascal. Let's go play some Grarrl Keno!"

     Raj laughed as he leaned forward, clinging to the Gelert's neck. Roger joined in and chuckled as he galloped off across the rocky terrain, flashing all of Tyrannia his million Neopoint smile.

The End

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