The 'Smartest' Pet in the World
He was a predator.
He was cunning and dangerous.
The claws that scraped the marble were sharp and long, and could slice the thinnest hair on the world in twain, and the golden beak was so tough that it could break the world’s toughest diamond into fragments smaller than atoms. His wings could crumble the thickest stone wall with just the slightest twitch, and his legs were so powerful that even the strongest Grarrl would run away in fear.
His prey arrived. The small, helpless creature wandered naively before his cleverly secluded lookout that only an intelligent beast such as himself could find.
After all, he was a predator.
Everything else was prey.
The foolish thing nibbled on a small tchea, its short, stubbly nails digging into the soft flesh of the fruit. How dimwitted could it be, not to recognize that it was watched, or that it—hardly worthy to be so—had been selected to feel the tender caress of his beautiful arsenal of weapons? What a sad, sad creature.
His leg muscles tightened, preparing for a spring of such grace and perfection that one would be blind after looking upon it.
The doomed ignorant yawned slowly.
He pushed himself into the air with the smoothest push ever witnessed.
His prey swallowed more fruit.
He was almost upon it with his incredible speed when...
The Mutant Lupe took one small step to the side, and he crashed into the floor, rolling forward several times before slamming into the island in the center of the kitchen, creating an extremely loud thud. The large Christmas Eyrie let out a cry of pain and then groaned before picking himself up, clutching his head.
His ‘prey’ rolled her eyes and tossed the core of her meal into the trash can.
“You should really watch where you leap, Ekelondon,” she reproved. “You just might get hurt.”
“I’ll remember that next time,” he said, a tad bit dizzy, and then a tone of wonder and disbelief entered his voice. “Lera, how’d you know I was coming?”
“Your little self commentary was amazing,” she noted, and he winced. Had he really said those things out loud? “Plus, a secluded lookout on top of the fridge isn’t really all that... secluded.”
“I didn’t know you thought so wonderfully of me either, dear brother.”
Ekelondon coughed a little, to... er... ‘clear his throat’.
“So, ah...” he said, shuffling his feet around nervously. “...er... how was your sleep last night?”
“Pretty good,” she said nonchalantly, pretending to examine her claws.
“Um... any dreams?” he asked. He didn’t want her to keep thinking about any recent mortifying experiences he might have recently acquired.
“Actually, yeah,” she said, her ears perking up with interest. “It was really odd, too.”
“What was it about?”
“You,” she said, pointing at him, and he flinched a little bit, afraid of where he thought it might lead, “Unit, our owner, I, and somebody else were inside this really old Neovian style building, and we were on the second floor. However, it was like we were in a hall of some sorts. There was a tarnished old brass railing to my left, and it opened the floor up to where I could look down and see the first.”
“Sounds like a theatre lobby,” commented the Eyrie. “Did you know who the other person was?”
“Not really,” Lera muttered, her expression suddenly introspective. “However, I did sense that she belonged there, or, at the very least, with us. I didn’t feel like any of us should’ve been there, like it was about to turn into a nightmare. We were searching for something, though. Something important.”
“The dream ended there,” she said, smiling regretfully. Both of them had forgotten why they were talking about dreams in the first place. “You?”
“I think I was chasing a talking cookie through Sakhmet, only the buildings were lime green with purple polka-dots.”
“Typical,” the Lupe said, rolling her eyes.
One of the doors to the kitchen slammed open, startling them both, and a smaller than average Grundo bustled in to immediately start opening cabinets and drawers within his reach, his expression calm as he searched.
His green antennae twitched a little, and he turned his gaze upon them.
“Do you know where I can locate the washcloths?” he asked, shuffling over to a tall chair near the virtupets dishwasher. “My bookshelf is acquiring a vast amount of particulate matter.”
“I’m surrounded by smart people,” moaned the Eyrie.
“Good for you,” snapped Lera as the Grundo, who could only be Unit, climbed on the aforementioned chair. She then walked over to him and lifted a small square of fabric off of a high shelf. “Sorry, kiddo. Shadow moved them again.”
“It’s okay,” he said, taking the cloth from her and cautiously lowering himself to the floor. “I’ll just have to have another discussion with her about the troubles of being the most gravitationally challenged member of our household.”
“So what were you conversing about?” asked Unit, craning his head back to look up at Lera.
“Strange dreams,” she stated simply, shrugging.
“Ah, the advice and tales we gain in our sleep,” said the Grundo, putting a finger to his chin. “I myself had one last night involving a Meepit and a magical toilet. I wonder if there’s a connection...?”
“Who knows?” she said. “It’d just be one more Meepit-world-domination theory.”
“Of course,” he replied. “Say, can you and Ekelondon there assist me in the cleaning of my bookshelf?”
“Nuh-uh,” said the Eyrie, trying to make a dash for it before his sister grabbed the ruff of his neck.
“We’d love to,” Lera answered, smiling politely as she struggled to hold on to him.
“But it’s work!”
“Doing a little work like this won’t hurt anybody.”
“But that’s what they all say!”
“The people who work!”
Lera and Unit were sitting on the couch, reading, and a completely exhausted Ekelondon was dozing on the rug—he’d picked up one little book off of the floor, handed it to one of the others, and declared himself to be too tired to do anything more—when their owner entered the building.
“Helloooo?” called out a voice from the front entrance. “Where are my beloooved pets? I have a surprise for yoooooooou!”
The awake pair looked at each other for a brief moment before leaping out of the room, and the sleepy one was barely raising his head by the time they had left. Realizing he was quite alone, Ekelondon gave a startled gasp and picked his groggy self up as fast as he could. He stumbled as he trailed slowly after them.
Shadow, the human, stood right next to the door, her hand clutching the knob as she grinned.
“Wuzz the sooprize?” asked the Eyrie, slurring his words as he rubbed his heavy eyelids.
“Guys, I’d like you to meet your new sister, Lafairi,” she said happily, pulling the door open. A thin, gangly yellow Uni cautiously stepped into the house, instantly lowering her eyes shyly to the ground. She seemed to be really young as well, maybe a month or two old, because she was still a little wobbly on her legs.
“Pleased to meet you!” exclaimed Lera, holding out a paw, which her new sibling hesitantly shook.
“Has our owner nobly sprung you from the decadent pound?” Unit asked.
“Do you have a nickname?”
“What is your favorite pastime?”
“I—um, I...” she started to say, and then stopped, her innocent face a little puzzled.
“Not so fast, guys!” urged Shadow, resting her hand on her new pet’s head. Lafairi looked up at her gratefully. “She is from the pound, so you remember how confusing everything was when you came here.”
The entrance was silent as two of her pets thought for a moment. Lera and Unit had both come from the pound, and both of them had suffered from the usual memory loss pets suffered when they were abandoned, not remembering their past, who they’d been cared for by, and sometimes even who they were. The most that they could remember was maybe little snippets of their past, but hardly more than that. Ekelondon was the only one present who’d been created by their owner.
“A Uni!” the Eyrie said, as if he’d suddenly realized that the new pet was standing there. “Finally! Somebody with brains I can match with!”
However Lafairi, all sweet and curiously, turned to Shadow and asked, “Mommy? Who’s the stupid Eyrie?”