The Promised Petpet
“Don’t do it!” Bluefur yelled. “Please, Baghera! We can go buy one in town! You don’t have to do this!”
The little blue Acara was shouting to her brother who was climbing up a huge cliff and was attempting to get a Catamara perched on the edge.
“Almost... there...” Baghera grunted. He reached out his paw and swiped at the little petpet, who got scared and hopped away.
“Uggghhh. Great.” Baghera moaned as he let go of the cliff and let himself fall. Bluefur watched in horror as the green Kougra slowly fell from the cliff and gracefully landed in the water below. She dove into the sparkling water and paddled toward the spot where her brother fell in.
“BAGHERA!” she yelled as she saw his silhouette in the depths of the clear water. The little Acara was about to dive down and rescue him when his head grew closer to the surface and finally popped out with a splash.
“Look,” the Kougra said joyously. “I found a Neopoint underwater!”
Bluefur growled as she dragged her brother onto the sandy shore of Mystery Island, their home.
“What have I told you about climbing on the Rock Pool cliffs?” the younger sister said, scolding her brother.
“Aw, come off it, sis!” Baghera said as he shook the salty water out of his fur and started walking down the beach.
“No, you come off it!” Bluefur retaliated as she jogged to keep up with her brother. “If I’ve told you once, I’ve told you twice! Taming told me to keep an eye out for you and make sure you don’t do anything stupid again!”
“What, like he’s going to do anything? All he does is train for the Battledome. I’m sure he doesn’t really care what we do.”
Bluefur had a shocked look upon her face. “He is our older brother! Of course he cares!” They were both quiet as they walked along the shore, leaving a long row of paw prints in the otherwise untouched sand.
“Baghera...” the Acara whispered as she stared straight ahead. “Look over there...!”
The Kougra followed suit and looked ahead, where the Island Mystic used to be. Instead there was a pile of wood, poles, and a sign that said:
Future Site of the Petpet Enclosure
“We can’t let them do this!” Baghera yelled to his older brother, Taming.
“They are going to gather up all the free petpets and make them live in cages! This is horrible!”
“I’m sure they are not going to take them from the wild. They will probably have them imported from Maraqua or Neopia Central or something,” the orange Gelert reassured him.
“But I saw him!” Baghera argued. “I saw Mr. Grubba, that slimy Skeith who owns the petpet enclosure! He was looking at all the petpets at the Rock Pool!”
“I’m sure its nothing,” Bluefur said, backing up Taming. “Nothing is going to happen, okay? We talked to Mr. Grubba and he said they were getting the petpets imported. That is that.”
“But... he... how...” Baghera stammered, trying to prove them wrong.
“What about what the Island Mystic said? About trouble coming soon?!”
“Come off it, you know that is just a huge tigersquash sandwich. Nobody believes that old Mystic,” Taming snapped.
“He said that trouble would come soon, and a petpet would light the way home! I’m positive he is talking about that horrible new enclosure!”
“Baghera, do you honestly believe what that old cook says? He told me I would be attacked by wild Chia!”
“But.... He.... They...” Baghera stammered. He recognized defeat and trudged to his room, head hung low.
“Kids these days,” Bluefur sighed as Taming laughed and rubbed her on the head.
That night, Baghera couldn’t sleep. He stared out his window, watching the sparkling stars and seeing the Virtupets space station glimmer far away. He finally decided that trying to sleep was useless, and hopped out of the window and felt his paws sink into the damp sand of the beach that their Neohome was located on.
Water gently tickled his feet as he strolled down the beach in the moonlight. Then the Kougra slowly and gracefully slid into the water and took a few strokes into the dark blue water. He then floated on his back and watched the stars from the water. Somehow the sky looked bigger than from his Neohome window.
“So pretty,” Baghera whispered, commenting on the stars. “So sparkly. So...” He did not finish his sentence because he dozed off into a soothing (and wet) sleep.
The next thing he knew, Baghera’s face was smacked into sand as a wave crashed over him.
“Owwww!” Baghera yelled. He splashed water on his face to get rid of the sand and groggily stood up, looking out at the ocean.
“Huh? Where am I?” The Kougra contemplated, thinking back to last night and how he fell asleep on the water.
“Oh no!” he moaned, comprehension dawning on his green face. “I fell asleep floating! Taming is going to kill me!”
He turned around and started running, thinking he could slip into his window unnoticed. He stopped. Something was different. The plants were not bright green like at Mystery Island, but a dark, bluish green. Now that he thought about it, the sand was very coarse and unfamiliar. Baghera’s heart beat quickened, and he ran into the very back of a nearby cave.
“Where am I?” the scared Kougra wondered aloud as he curled up into a ball. Neither he nor his younger sister had ever been off of Mystery Island, and he had no idea where he was.
“Hey, Rufus!” a deep voice boomed from somewhere in the front of the cave. “Grab them there crates. We are gonna make us a nice bit of Dubloons today! I can smell the riches!”
“Aye,” a gravely voice responded, growing closer to Baghera by the second.
“That new shipment of stolen petpets will really make that Grubba happy. We will make loads, as long as we won’t get caught. We stole this batch of petpets from Maraqua, and yesterday’s from Tyrannia.”
“I knew it!” Baghera shouted, realizing that Mr. Grubba really was a petpet stealer.
“AYE!” the gravely voice shrieked as the owner of it must have spotted the green Kougra who just spoke, wrapped up into a tiny ball.
“Largo! We have a visitor!” the gravely voice shouted as it held a lantern up to Baghera’s face. It was a scarred Krawk, looking very tough indeed.
“What, you found someone?” the deep voice boomed as it tramped up to them, making the ground shake. He stepped into the light also, and Baghera recognized him as the fattest Bruce he had ever seen.
“Throw the scallywag into the hull. He’d make a nice deckswabber!” They both laughed, harsh and deep as the Krawk threw Baghera into a net and eventually tossed him into a lower compartment of their wooden ship.
It smelled of dung and burnt jelly. Baghera peeked through the holes in the net and looked around at his prison. Water was dripping rhythmically and a sunken shadow was cast over everything, emitting from a swinging lantern. With a great heave, the ship started moving and Baghera’s face smacked on the ground for the second time that day.
He heard some muffled voices from up on the deck, and the scared Kougra struggled to lie on his back inside the net and listen. He could not make out the conversation and started thinking about Taming’s dream of being a master at the Training School and how Bluefur wanted to be a Beach Volleyball champion. He lost track of time, but a while later he felt a tickle on his toes. The Neopet ignored it at first, but it pestered him so much that he sat up and looked to see what it was.
There was a small shadow over his feet, and it was moving. Baghera squinted to see what it was in the dim light but the thing scampered across the damp floor and hid behind a crate. Just as Baghera was going to say something, he noticed that there was no longer a pressure on his lower paws. He looked down, and he noticed the net was cut!
“What the...” Baghera wondered aloud as he wiggled his feet out of the hole. Then he stuck his tail through, twisted his stomach through, and finally shimmied all the way out.
“I’m free!” Baghera yelled, slapping his hand over his mouth, realizing that the pirates must have heard him. The voices on deck abruptly stopped, and they were replaced by shouts and the sound of many feet clomping down the wooden stairs.
The nimble Kougra dived behind the crate where the mysterious thing was hiding and listened intently as the pirates then were in the room with him. Baghera barely dared to breathe, thinking he would give himself away. He could feel the tension in the air as the floorboards creaked under the fat Bruce’s weight.
“Come out, come out, wherever you are...” another voice hissed as the Bruce leaned over boxes and crates, looking for Baghera.
“Rufus,” one of the pirated gruffly snapped as his eyes fell on the broken net. “This little Kougra is trickier than we thought. That net was stolen from faeries; it was supposed to be unbreakable. I say we just throw the scallywag overboard.”
Baghera’s eyes searched the room in panic for a way to escape, and spotted the small shadow right above him, peering down from a trapdoor in the ceiling. Baghera got himself ready to jump and felt his leg muscles tighten. He would have to jump pretty high to reach the trapdoor.
“THERE HE IS!” the Krawk shouted, pointing to Baghera. The big Bruce roared and bounded toward him.
“This is it,” Baghera thought. He looked up, took a deep breath, and stretched his legs as far as he could. While in midair, Baghera felt like he was in slow motion. He saw the Bruce jump in the air and try to grab him. Baghera flexed his legs as long as he could. The trapdoor was growing nearer and he reached his paws out to grab it.
Baghera’s right paw scratched the ceiling as his left one swung in and got a steady grip. Noticing that the Bruce was an inch below him groping for his tail, the nimble Kougra brought his legs up to his chest and slid them to the right side of his paw that was holing onto the opening. He then reached his right paw up, grabbed the other side of the hole, and pulled himself up. As he flew through the hole in the ceiling, Baghera could feel the Bruce’s flipper grab a single hair on his tail and pulled it out.
From the safety of the trapdoor opening, Baghera watched the Bruce fall to the ground, the single hair in his hand, and a look of pure rage on his face. Baghera’s mind snapped back to normal time and he slammed the trapdoor shut and locked it. He then ran over to the opening of the hole where the ladder that the pirates ran down was. He slammed it shut and locked it.
Baghera caught his breath as he heard the pirates’ shouts of rage from below. He looked around, trying to find the shadow that saved his life. He finally spotted it, and it jumped on top of a crate that said “PETPETS” on it. Baghera walked over, but the little guy jumped away so fast that Baghera only caught a glimpse of him.
Reading maps that he found in the Pirates’ den, Baghera navigated the big ship towards Mystery Island. Little petpets were running around all over the deck; Baghera had freed them all. He could see the familiar palm trees of his home growing closer. The shadow was sitting on the tip of the ship, watching the sea. Baghera had reasoned that he was a petpet. He was a very quick one, because he could never get a good look at him.
Once they landed on the shore of Mystery Island, people had run on shore to see them. Big pirate ships rarely, if at all, landed on the Island. At the front of the group was Taming, holding Bluefur on his shoulders. Both of their faces were sunken and sad. That is, until they saw Baghera at the wheel of the ship.
“BAGHERA!” Bluefur screamed as she hopped off Taming’s shoulders and ran towards the ship.
“BAGHERA! BAGHERA!” she continuously shouted as she jumped up and down, Taming right behind her.
Baghera’s eyes sparkled with tears as he jumped down off the boat and embraced his siblings. Everybody else was going crazy, yelling: “BAGHERA, WHERE WERE YOU!” or “WE WERE SO WORRIED!” or even “WHERE DID YOU RUN AWAY TO, HUH?!” Baghera assumed that the whole island was shaken at his disappearance and was glad he was back.
“Where were you?” Bluefur asked as she pulled out of the hug.
“It’s a long story,” Baghera chuckled.
“We missed you,” Taming said, putting his paw on the Kougra’s shoulder and staring him straight in the eye. “Really, we care about you.”
After one last hug, little Bluefur pointed at the little heads and noses sticking over the rim of the ship, wondering what they were.
“Those little guys,” Baghera said, laughing, “are your late Christmas presents!”
And so the legend went on of how the brave Kougra was kidnapped by pirates and escaped. He then sailed back to his home and let the pirate ship free in the ocean (with the evil pirates locked below). That courageous Neopet caught the greedy Mr. Grubba red handed and forced him to let all the petpets live free or with caring owners instead of being kept in an enclosure. But the brave, green Kougra could not have done it by himself. He had the help of a mysterious petpet that the Island Mystic warned of. Nobody except the Kougra has seen the mysterious petpet, but the Kougra swears that some nights while he is floating in the ocean looking at the stars, his little buddy is right there, floating with him.