Kadoatery Khronicles: Part One
“Don’t worry, Vash. It’s just for a little while.” The red Cybunny sighed, petting her pink Kadoatie on the back. Vash just stared.
“Look, I know you’re disappointed I can’t take you on my trip to the Lost Desert,” continued the Cybunny, “but you get to stay at the Kadoatery. It’s a nice place Neopets leave their Kadoaties when they go on vacation. Pets come to feed them de-licious food, and the Kadoaties are very well taken care of there!”
Vash just groaned. He loved going on trips with his owner, Ciasa. And he’d never stayed at the Kadoatery before! How was he supposed to know if it was really that great? What if the other Kadoaties were really mean? What if nobody came to feed him?
Then Ciasa looked at her watch. “We’d better get going soon. Come on!”
Vash sat on Ciasa’s shoulder, watching Neopets walking down the street, some taking their own Kadoaties to the Kadoatery, or possibly going to go pick them up. Any minute now, he’d be dropped off in this Kadoatery place, which he’d never been to, never seen, and never even heard of. Oh, woe is Kadoatie! “Look! There’s the Kadoatery! Doesn’t it look nice?” Ciasa said loudly as she stopped in front of the building.
The Kadoatie didn’t quite think so. The building was large, square, and brown. It reminded Vash of a cage. It even had grey cage-bars painted on the front of the building! He shivered. He didn’t like cages. It also had a series of colorful lights on the top-front, and a large statue of a Kadoatie rested on the roof. Glitzy, Vash thought. Bah.
Ciasa took her Kadoatie into the strange building. Inside the place was a counter on the side of the room. Behind the counter sat a blue Zafara. The wall to the right was lined with cages, each with a Kadoatie inside, watching him. He twitched a little. “Hello!” the Zafara shouted, getting up from his chair behind the counter, “You’re Ciasa, right?”
She placed her paws around Vash’s stomach and held him out in front of her. “That’s me. I’m going to the Lost Desert for, like, a month. This is my Kadoatie, Vash.” She held her Kadoatie up a little more. “Say hi to George, Vash.”
“Hi to George, Vash,” the Kadoatie murmured. He knew a Neopet wouldn’t be able to understand a word he said. He could be as sarcastic or even mean as he wanted, since they wouldn’t care.
George took Vash from Ciasa’s paws and put him in the only empty cage on the wall. He took out a slip of paper and wrote “Vash” on it. He attached it to the cage, along with a sign that read “Funnydew Neggnog.” Is anyone going to be able to afford that? he thought. I’m gonna starve.
“Well, I’m going to hit the road soon,” Ciasa said, “I’ll give you some hints on taking care of this particular Kadoatie. You see...”
While Ciasa was giving enough information on what not to feed Vash, what he liked, and such to fill a Petpet care book, Vash heard a little voice squeak, “Hi!” Vash looked through his cage window into the cage to his right. Inside was a little green Kadoatie, who continued, “You’re new here, I see! What’s your name? My name’s Firefly.”
“Hey, I’m... Vash,” the pink one replied. I guess I was wrong about the Kadoaties here, Vash thought. That is, if they’re all like this guy. Which I doubt. Why would everyone be this nice?
“If you like, I’ll introduce everyone,” Firefly mewed with a smile. “Above you is Suiko. She’s really nice.”
Vash looked through his roof window to see a blue Kadoatie, who meowed a greeting.
Firefly went on. “To your left is Panda!”
A yellow Kadoatie nodded as if to say, “That’s me.”
“And right below you is Ren.”
The pink Kad looked down through a window separating his cage from the one below. The Island Kadoatie inside purred, smirking. “What’s up?”
“Nothing, really,” Vash meowed with a grin on his face. Thanks to Firefly, he was going to be much more at home at the Kadoatery. “Well, not that I know of.”
“Oh! My boat’s leaving soon!” Ciasa yelped, bounding out the door, “See you in a month, Vash. Bye!”
When Firefly was done staring, he turned to Vash and asked, “Where’s your owner going?”
“She’s taking a vacation to the Lost Desert.”
“Really. Mine’s at Krawk Island. He’s been gone for a month, already. One more month to go...” Firefly started to look sad.
“One month to go,” Vash echoed.
“Why would anyone go on a vacation without their Petpet for two months?”
Firefly didn’t say anything.
Quickly changing the subject, the pink Kad mewed, “So, what’s all this I heard about Neopets feeding us?”
It was Suiko who answered, “Sometimes pets come to visit us. They bring us food items, and if it matches the one on our signs, they give it to us!”
“But it all depends,” Panda broke in, “Once my sign said ‘Blue Draik Egg,’ and I didn’t get an item treat until some rich-looking Lupe came who had one. That was two weeks after my sign was put up.”
“Don’t fret, though,” Firefly chimed in, “Funnydew Neggnog is one of the easy-to-get treats. It’s definitely cheaper than a Draik egg. And don’t even worry about getting a Draik egg sign. Those are getting rarer and rarer.”
“Yeah,” Ren agreed, “Oh, wait! Someone’s coming in!”
That second, a Faerie Wocky dashed into the Kadoatery. The occupant of every cage – except Vash, who was confused by it all – struck the saddest, most pathetic pose they could and looked to the doorway with large, watering eyes. She walked up to Vash’s cage. “Aw, are you hungry?” she chirped, “I have a treat for you!”
The Wocky produced a Funnydew Neggnog from who-knows-where with a flourish and held it up against the bars of Vash’s cage. He eagerly lapped it up from between the bars, licking his lips for every little bit of flavor once he was finished. “De-lish!” he mewed.
George had been watching the whole time. “Congratulations, ma’am!” he shouted, “You’ve fed your first Kadoatie! You win a prize!”
The Zafara unlocked a cabinet on the wall opposite the cages, reached in, and pulled out a bronze trophy shaped like a Kadoatie.
“Yeah!” the Wocky yelled happily as she took the trophy.
“What’s your name, miss?” George grabbed a signboard and a pen.
She smiled broadly. “It’s Katrina.”
George replaced the Funnydew Neggnog sign with one reading, “Vash has been fed. Thanks, Katrina!” Katrina screamed, “Yes! I fed my first Kadoatie!” With that she ran out onto the high street. The slamming of the door was followed by an awkward silence.
“Does... that happen every day?” Vash asked, effectively breaking it. “’Cause it’s a little scary.”
“You think it’s just a little?” Ren chuckled.
“It depends,” Suiko commented, “Either the Neopet is more serious or they’re trading in their trophy for a higher-level one.”
“They could also get the Mew Avatar,” Panda added, “All the girls want it.”
“This place is different, but you’ll get used to it!” a certain green Kad mewed.
“Oh, and by the way,” Suiko meowed, “don’t worry about not getting another treat. Every day, George switches the ‘has been fed’ signs with new ones for treats.”
The sun was already starting do go down. Soon, George placed two Kadoatie snacks inside every cage, and when everyone finished eating, he switched off the lights and left.
Oh, boy. Vash hadn’t expected it to be so dark. It was the darkest room he’d ever been in. He couldn’t so much as see the bars of his own cage. The Kad let out a little squeak.
“Uh? Is that you, Vash?” who sounded like Firefly meowed sleepily.
“Is something wrong?”
“I can’t sleep,” he admitted, “It’s really dark.”
“So, you’re not scared?” asked Vash, scraping the floor of his cage with his claws.
“Nah, not at all. After staying here for a couple of nights, you get used to the dark, the same way you get used to striking poses whenever a Neopet comes in.” The green Kadoatie chuckled. “After picking up their Kadoaties, some Neopets come back here, asking George, ‘What in Neopia did you do? You’ve done something wonderful! My Petpet doesn’t have a panic attack when I turn off the lights at night anymore!”
Vash also laughed, if a little nervously. Firefly laughed a little more, causing Vash to do the same. The pink Kadoatie felt very much more relaxed at once.
After a few seconds of silence, Firefly yawned. “Well, good night, Vash.”
“Good night, Firefly.”
Vash curled up in the corner of his cage to sleep. Somehow, just that little talk made him no longer afraid. For one thing, it made him glad that he’d already made four wonderful new friends. For another, it gave him something to sleep on: what sort of overdramatic pose he’d take on the next time someone visited...
To be continued...