The 18 Karat Gelert: Part Two
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
"He'll be good, Roger. Just take him with you,
have some brother to brother bonding time, okay?"
Roger seethed. "I refuse!"
"I INSIST THAT YOU TAKE HIM!"
"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?"
"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
"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
"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
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
"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
"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
"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
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
"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
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.