Chet Flash wuz here Circulation: 143,141,548 Issue: 299 | 6th day of Swimming, Y9
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The Worst Of Luck


by flikie

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Also by mimed

"Two hundred and eighteen neopoints..." Tiv the red Draik grumbled to himself. That wasn't nearly enough to buy a petpet at Ye Olde Petpets, and he knew it.

     "No, dear," his mother had said earlier that morning. "We have to save all that we can to have enough for the weekly groceries. Petpets just cost too much."

     Such was the peasant life, however. Tiv’s mother worked from sunrise to sundown as a maid in a nearby manor house to support the two of them. Life was a constant struggle in Meridell for poor folks, and they needed every neopoint they could get to buy food at the marketplace.

     Tiv decided to go to the petpet shop anyway and have a look around, even though he knew he wouldn’t be able to get the petpet he dreamed of having. He grabbed his leather satchel and headed out the font door of his neohome. As he made his way down the path he kicked at the dirt and grumbled about the amount of neopoints he had. The air was crisp, and the grass was a lush emerald color as the young Draik made his way to the marketplace. Everything was still and quiet in the trees nearby, and Tiv sighed deeply, feeling so utterly alone in such a big world.

     Finally, after what seemed like an eternity, the little Draik arrived at his destination. As he approached the place he saw the medieval petpets in a pen surrounding the shop; they stopped to stare at him, eyes teeming with curiosity. A wooden sign loomed over Tiv's head, and as he glanced up he read:

     YE OLDE PETPETS

     "H-hello?" Tiv said meekly, opening the creaking door. "Eeeeek!" Suddenly a crazed turtum came barreling past him, and it knocked him back against the wall. The young Draik leaned against the rickety wall for a moment, both shocked and throbbing with pain, before he got back to his feet. "Owww..." he muttered, rubbing his head gingerly.

     "Why, hello there!" bellowed a gruff voice from the other side of the dimly lit room. "I am the shopkeeper here; my name is Wildon. Sorry if Hilly frightened you..." A blue Ixi wafted from the darkness, gesturing to the curious turtum that now stood menacingly in the doorway. Hilly responded with an unapologetic snort.

     "What's your name, laddy?" the shopkeeper asked. Tiv wasn’t paying much attention; instead, he was fixated on a strange creature that had wrapped itself around the Wildon's arm. Its white skin shimmered even in the candlelight, and its scaly tail flicked back and forth. The young Draik quickly decided that it was the most beautiful thing he had ever seen.

     "Tiv," he replied finally, still mesmerized by the scaly creature. He bravely leaned forward to touch it, but it pulled away from his reach and scrambled up the Ixi's arm, where it fanned its wings and glared back angrily.

     The Ixi noticed the Draik’s interest in the creature, and he said warmly, "Oh, Roshil here is a little weary of strangers. She hasn't been sold to anyone before because she refuses to leave. She's a rare sort of petpet known as a ukali, in case you're wondering. I can show you around the rest of the shop, though." On the Ixi’s arm, the ukali bobbed its head up and down, watching Tiv with its glowing red eyes.

     Tiv agreed eagerly and followed the Ixi outside the pen with one eye watching the quick-tempered Roshil. First stop was a little crokabek; it cawed as they approached. Shiny black feathers covered its light, hunched body. Tiv read the description sign below its cage:

     Crokabek can be found perched on the battlements of Castle Meridell.

     Tiv drew closer, cooing at the little crokabek. It stared at him, not amused at all, and it promptly turned around and left Tiv with a face full of tail feathers. Tiv frowned in dismay, and Wildon apologized once again.

     “Let’s go to the next one...” said Wildon awkwardly, gesturing to a dragoyle nearby.

     An affectionate little fellow that loves to collect shiny things.

     Tiv held out his fist full of 218 neopoints, hoping that the dragoyle would be thoroughly enthused with them. Its eyes blinked in glee, and in the blink of an eye, it snatched the coins. Tiv stared at his empty paw in disbelief, expecting the petpet to give the neopoints back, but the dragoyle didn’t! Instead, it hunched over the neopoints greedily, watched as the sunlight reflected off the coin’s shiny surface.

     “He... just... took my neopoints!” yelled the Draik to the shopkeeper.

     “Oh, yes, he does love shiny things. Didn’t you read the sign?” Wildon replied in a matter-of-fact tone.

     Tiv was enraged now. “Of course I read the sign! I want my neopoints back.”

     Wildon just shrugged, as if to say it was a lost cause. The dragoyle didn’t look like it was willing to give up the “shiny things” without a fight. Roshil, who was still comfortably coiled around Wildon's arm, snickered and flexed her claws.

     “And just WHAT are YOU looking at?” Tiv sneered, poking his face in Roshil’s. She lunged at him, latching onto his arm with her teeth. “Ooww!” screamed the Draik. “Get her off! OFF!”

     Tiv ran around the store, vigorously shaking his arm. Roshil looked quite pleased with herself and was content to stay latched on, and Tiv could have sworn that he saw her smile deviously. Wildon came to his aid, trying to suppress his laughter, and pried Roshil’s mouth off the young Draik’s arm.

     “I’m leaving, and don’t expect me to ever come back!” declared Tiv, his yellow eyes glowing with rage. He stormed toward the door.

     “I’m so sorry, lad. Please forgive me. Roshil normally is never this hostile!” Wildon set the ukali down on the ground and continued with a sigh, “Don’t take it so personally.”

     “It’s okay,” replied the Draik, choking back tears and rubbing his injuried arm. “Maybe I wasn’t meant to have a new friend after all.”

     Poor Tiv felt so discouraged. His mother didn’t give him enough neopoints points in the first place, then the remaining neopoints he had left were stolen, and now THIS! Every petpet he had come across didn’t like him at all. Tiv turned to leave, crestfallen and without hope; he slumped a little, tears welling in his eyes.

     When he got home he would probably have to work in the neogarden all alone, digging up potatoes and turnips. Or maybe later he would have to head to the marketplace to purchase some more gruel. Anything would get his mind off the terrible, disappointing day he had had.

     ------------

     Tiv ran up the steps of his stone neohome to the front door.

     “Hello, dear,” greeted his mother. “How was the trip?”

     “Horrible, just plain horrible,” Tiv said, slapping his long tail on the dirt floor.

     “I really would like to hear about it, dear, but I need you to run to the market for something—“

     Suddenly, something moved in Tiv’s sachel. The young Draik jumped and quickly threw it to the ground.

     “HUMPH!” said something inside the pack.

     His nother screamed, and backed away. “W-what did it say?” she stuttered.

     “My sachel said ‘humph,’” replied Tiv as his eyes widened in disbelief.

     Tiv bravely moved closer, inspecting the bag carefully. It wrinkled and pulsed, as if something was alive and moving around inside. He kicked it softly and out popped a ball of white. It quickly unraveled and stood up; it was Roshil!

     “She must have gotten in my back while I was back at Ye Olde Petpets!” explained Tiv nervously.

     Roshil jumped at Tiv, and he prepared for impact. But instead of attacking him, she landed softly on his shoulder, spitting out coins from her mouth. They made a pinging sound as they hit the floor.

     “My neopoints! You must have gotten them back from the Dragoyle for me!” Tiv exclaimed as he now stroked Roshil.

     Tiv’s mother tapped her foot and declared, “Alright, mister, you have a lot of explaining to do!”

     ------------

     “This fruit looks good, doesn’t it?” Roshil nuzzled Tiv’s neck in response. The market was teeming with life, and Tiv loved the hustle and bustle of it all now that he had a new friend to accompany him.

     Two weeks ago when he had first unknowingly brought the petpet home, his mother had been furious. It had taken a little convincing to prove to her how helpful Roshil could be around the house, and she had reluctantly allowed Tiv to keep the petpet. Now the two were inseparable.

     “Mom will be happy with it, won’t she?” Tiv asked his petpet as he paid for the fruit. The ukali nodded, and the Draik gingerly placed the food into his sachel.

     As the two headed in the direction of home, the young Draik stroked his ukali, knowing that he would never again be alone.

The End

 
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