The Halloween Draik Drama!
Also by chivo
The soft, dusty paths that idly wound their way through Neopia Central were almost empty, devoid of the frenzied footfalls of pets in a hurry to get home, or the excited rush of a group headed towards the Chocolate Factory. In slow, lazy motion, the Money Tree's boughs lowered, shading dozing pets beneath from the humidity of the afternoon sun. Around the Food Store, several Unis stood, eating various Ice Creams and chatting softly, while nearby a couple of Pteri friends relaxed in the shade cast by the Hotdog stand. Everything was relaxed and serene.
There was, however, one exception to this idyllic afternoon. One pet was neither relaxed nor paying any attention to the tiring afternoon sun. Rather, he was standing on tiptoes, claws sinking into the soft soil, his nose pressed eagerly up against the window of the Clothing Stall. Noticing someone outside, the enchanting and rather fabulous Uni who owned the store wandered out. Halloween was only weeks away, and the promise of a sale to some pet just dying for the perfect costume was never far from her mind. She was disappointed, however, to observe this eager fellow seemed to already have his costume put together.
"Fantastic costume!" she exclaimed, with a toss of luxurious mane. "Absolutely gruesome!"
The pet whirled around. He was a Draik, certainly, but not like the exquisite Royal specimens that ventured into the shop seeking tiaras, or even the impressive Faerie ones that wandered in now and then. This fellow's scales were a sickly, putrid green shade, his posture stooped. The ebony, leathery spans of his wings were tattered and bedraggled, matching the dusty rags he wore as clothing. Untamed tufts of grey hair seemed to form a rather chaotic mane, and the expression he wore was absolutely mournful.
"It's not a costume..." he replied, sounding a little taken aback. The Uni, horrified at her mistake, muttered a quick apology and ducked back into the shop as the gruesome Draik slumped down against a nearby tree.
Moments later, a nearby shop door opened, and out skipped a rather exquisite Royal Kyrii. She caught sight of the sulking Draik, and wandered over, calling his name.
"Phobic!" she trilled. "Pho, is that you?"
Phobic dragged his gaze up, muttering a hello to his friend.
"Yeah Spectra. It's me. Pull up a seat." Spectra, the alluring Kyrii delicately reclined next to him. She watched his sorrowful expression, and finally ventured... "Phobic, is something wrong?"
Tears welled in dull, green eyes, and the Draik babbled the embarrassing story of the shop keeper's mistake.
"I'm so hideous she thought this was my Halloween costume!" he lamented.
Spectra hid a smile.
"Pho, you're a Halloween Draik. You have to understand how she might have made the error!"
He shook his head sulkily, muttering, "You don't understand. Halloween comes, and every year it's the same old story for me! I can't find a costume to scare people; the reality is horrible enough!"
This outburst perplexed Spectra, and she paused, thinking back over her own previous Halloweens. The year before, she had worn a fantastic Vira costume, complete with a black mirror that laughed when she held it up. And the year before that, her owner had found her a fantastic outfit, and she had scared hundreds of Neohome owners in her Balthazar costume. It made sense, she supposed, that finding something gruesome possible wasn't an easy task when you already looked spooky!
Phobic dragged himself to his feet with a rather long suffering sigh.
"I can't stand Halloween."
Spectra couldn't stand to see her friend so down, and scampered to her feet, grabbing his arm.
"Phobic, stop wallowing in self pity. Come on, I'll walk you back to the Haunted Woods."
Together the two friends wandered home, Phobic lamenting the entire way about his misfortune.
As they wandered, the path grew narrow, and the overhanging trees seemed darker, and more menacing. Phobic was normally unworried about this; after all, the Haunted Woods were his home and he was more than acquainted with the somewhat ominous atmosphere. This afternoon, however, something seemed a little more sinister. With the sound of the Draik's footsteps and that of his friend, a third set could be heard tiptoeing behind them. A couple of times Spectra quickly turned her head to check if they were being followed, but saw no one.
"Pho...? I think we're being followed."
Phobic looked nervous. "Don't be ridiculous, Spectra; there is no way..." He trailed off, jumping a mile as a twig behind them snapped. The two friends spun around quickly and peered down the empty road behind them. Nothing. The path and the woods were silent, and they seemed alone. With a sight of relief, they turned back around and found themselves face to face with the most horrific sight either had ever laid eyes on!
There, in the shadows, stood what seemed to be Doctor Sloth. Phobic squinted, unsure. This Doctor Sloth had a pair of tattered cardboard wings taped to his back, and was holding a rather pretty pink flower.
"Doctor... Sloth?" he ventured.
The figure before them coughed, looking startled.
"Oh, no, no, dear pets! I am the Happiness Faerie!"
Phobic raised an eyebrow.
"No, you're not. You're Doctor Sloth."
"I am the Happiness Faerie!" screeched the figure, stomping a massive green foot in the dirt. "I come bearing a special gift for you lovely pets on this day!"
Spectra glanced at his free hand, where he clutched a rather vile potion bottle. Horrified, she shrank back.
"It's a transfiguration potion! It would turn us into mutants!"
Sloth giggled. "Don't be absurd, you silly Kyrii! The Happiness Faerie only gives gifts that bring joy!"
Phobic trembled. He had enough trouble finding a costume while he was Halloween. Mutant Draiks looked fantastic, but he was pretty sure they had even more trouble with Halloween than he did!
"Look, Doctor Sloth..."
"HAPPINESS FAERIE!" interrupted their visitor.
"Right." Phobic nodded. "Happiness Faerie, the potion is a kind offer, but we can't possibly accept."
Beneath the mask covering his face, the 'Happiness Faerie' scowled, and his eyes glowed crimson.
"You dare to refuse a gift from the great Sloth?"
Spectra coughed, murmuring. "I thought you were the Happiness Faerie?"
Sloth stopped short of his tantrum, realizing his mistake, and in fury, stomped back off into the shadows. Terrified, the two friends ran as fast as they could towards the Haunted Woods, not stopping until the reached the gnarled base of the Brain Tree. There, they slumped down, panting and wide eyed.
"He was trying to trick us!" Spectra cried. "I was so frightened, he would have turned us into Mutants!"
Phobic nodded, well aware his entire form was trembling with fear. After all, how many pets managed to fool Sloth and get away fast enough to tell the tale? He couldn't remember ever being so frightened in his life. The memory of that gruesome form, loosely disguised by cardboard wings and a simple flower, was enough to give him nightmares!
The friends had quite a week of fame telling their families and indeed anyone who would listen about the frightening encounter. It was a good thing in a way, Spectra thought, as it had taken Pho's mind off his drama relating to a Halloween costume.
When the night itself finally arrived, Spectra headed towards her friend's house. They had planned to meet as night fell and trick-or-treat together. Most mysteriously, though, Pho had refused to tell her what he was planning to wear! The Kyrii skipped down the path, thinking she looked very impressive in her Pant Devil costume and dreaming of the tasty treats the night may bring. Distracted, she knocked on Phobic's door.
As it slowly creaked open, Spectra gasped, catching sight of her friend's costume. Then, at the same time, they both burst out laughing. Phobic stood there, still his eerie Halloween self but with a pair of cardboard wings attached and a pink flower drooping between his claws.
Spectra applauded. "You look fantastic, Pho!"
He grinned, and shook his head. "Don't call me Pho. This Halloween, I'm the Happiness Faerie!"