Pinjar, Super Kougra!
Pinjar, the red Kougra, whined loudly as his eccentric owner pulled him down the street by his black jeweled collar against his will.
“But I don’t want to be painted with a Faerie Paint Brush! Faerie pets always look so... girly...”
Pinjar really didn’t want to look girly at any time, for any reason or in any universe. For one, he’d be embarrassed to ever step foot outside of their neohome again, and two, if he did leave the neohome, his friends (not to mention complete strangers) would laugh their heads off at him, no matter how many male faerie Neopets there were in the world.
“You won’t look girly,” his owner reassured. “I think you’ll look fantastic! And I need a Faerie Kougra for my next series.”
“But can’t you paint someone else’s Kougra Faerie?”
“No, it has to be you – you’re the perfect model!”
Yeah, right. She was an artist, and her concept of what looks fantastic could be sort of weird sometimes, not to mention her sense of style. “But this is just like when you made me start wearing this collar, and everyone made fun of me for months after that!”
Indeed, when she bought the black jeweled collar for him, his friends had made his life miserable with their constant bantering, not to mention the looks from some people they would pass on the street... She had him wear it 24/7 for so long that people actually started asking why he’d taken it off, and so here he was, still wearing it.
“Pinjar,” she said, turning around and stooping a little to meet his eyes, “What’s more important? The way we look, or who we are deep down inside?”
He knew what the obvious answer was, but to a young Kougra who was only school age and had yet to make any sort of impression on the world he lived in, the answer in his mind was looks.
“But what if somebody remembers this when I become famous someday?”
“They’ll admire you for being different from everybody else. That is true beauty.” She smiled, turning around and beginning to walk again. He knew she wouldn’t change her mind, so he trudged along behind her, his head low to the ground.
She, of course, noticed her beloved little pal’s dejection. “Pinjar, if you do this, I’ll buy you any Paint Brush your heart desires... but not until I finish this series of paintings.”
Pinjar picked his head up immediately. “Even a Shadow one?”
“Sure. Money’s no object to me.” She shrugged.
“Alright, I’ll do it. But if anyone laughs at me, you’re going to hear about it.”
His owner laughed, and then pointed straight ahead. “We’re here.”
Up ahead was the Rainbow Pool, where a few pets and their owners were splashing around, seemingly having fun. Pinjar wasn’t looking forward to this, but did he really have a choice?
It only took a minute – after a quick dip, the once red Kougra emerged in a handsome shade of purple, spreading his new wings and shaking water from them... and splashing everyone in the vicinity.
“Oops... Sorry,” he said sheepishly, getting several glares from, now wet, owners standing near the pool, and then whispered to his own, “We’d better leave in a hurry. These people seem miffed now.”
“Eh,” she replied, “What harm does a little water do?” The two shared a chuckle that received even more glares. “Come on, let’s go get something to eat, huh?”
As they began walking, Pinjar looked himself over. He didn’t look so bad... But he still felt a bit silly. Actually, it wasn’t so much that he felt silly... He felt downright weird. But not in a way that a Paint Brush could cause...
He chose to ignore the strange feeling coming over him, and pushed it to the very back of his mind. It kept nagging at him a bit, but when they walked up to Hubert’s Hotdog Stand, it was easily forgotten for the time being.
“Hi, Hubert. We’ll have the usual, two nacho cheese stuffed hot dogs, extra cheese on top,” Pinjar’s owner said, and Hubert smiled.
“Coming right up.”
Pinjar felt like someone was staring at the side of his head... And in fact, someone was. A yellow Ixi was, very impolitely, staring at him like he had two heads.
He cleared his throat. “Pardon me, but does something about me offend you?”
The yellow Ixi’s eyes narrowed, and he spoke up in a thick accent. “No. I’m not allowed to look at people?”
“You were staring – and staring is extremely rude.”
“Well, excuse me,” the Ixi said, turning his back to the Kougra.
“Pinjar, do you want something to drink with that?” Hubert asked, and the Ixi piped in snidely.
“Pinjar. PIN JER,” the annoyed Kougra retorted. “You just heard him pronounce it!”
Hubert was holding out Pinjar’s hot dog, which he didn’t see, and so when he began to wave his paws around and shout at the Ixi, he accidentally smacked the hot dog right in the disrespectful creature’s direction.
It seemed like the moment went into slow motion. The cheese-smothered hot dog went flying through the air, flipping and showering cheese on everything in its path. Pinjar wanted to shout a word of warning to the yellow Ixi who didn’t see it coming, but it was over so fast. The hot dog landed right on top of his head, spewing cheese all over him in a tasty-looking explosion.
The Ixi could barely react. He finally turned in such a swift and sudden jerk that they could feel cheese drops whiz past their heads. “You did that on purpose!!”
“Believe me, I wouldn’t waste something so delicious on you,” he said jokingly, and the Ixi growled.
“You’ll be sorry. All of Neopia will be SORRY!”
With that, the infuriated yellow Ixi, covered in dripping nacho cheese, stormed off, leaving a trail behind him.
“Um, I think he kind of over-reacted,” Pinjar’s owner said. “Wow...”
Later, into the night...
Pinjar was lying in bed, tossing and turning. As the day progressed, he had begun to feel so strange and he didn’t know why. He figured it was just the weather changing, or something he ate... But it didn’t feel like that...
His muscles ached like he had just spent a month running a non-stop marathon, and no matter how he tried to get comfortable, his body just continued to hurt. Finally, he sat up and decided to walk around the room a bit to see if maybe that would help.
As soon as he put his paws on the ground, every muscle in his body stiffened in a collective, simultaneous cramp, causing him to fall flat on his face.
Pinjar growled. This whole thing was putting him in a less than cheerful mood.
He pushed up off the ground, and tried to take a step forward. It was like he had anvils tied to himself, not to mention his body felt very prickly like pins and needles. Frustrated, and letting his bad mood get to him, he raised a paw and punched his desk, not expecting anything to happen – instead, the desk exploded in a shower of large toothpicks.
“Um... What just happened?” Pinjar asked, looking down at his paw. “I guess I don’t know my own strength...”
Obviously he knew that couldn’t be the case, because he hadn’t done much strength training as of yet in his life. So what was going on?
“Maybe I should take a walk and try to figure this thing out...”
He tiptoed through the neohome and out the front door, closing it gently as not to wake his owner – or make that explode, too.
It was dark outside, and the only luminescence this early in the morning was the light of the full moon overhead. He traipsed along the streets of Neopia Central, wondering exactly how this happened. The only thing he’d done differently as of late was get painted. But Paint Brushes couldn’t do stuff like that... could they?
“Maybe there was something different about that one... Some kind of glitch, or something...” He pondered. “But why would it make me so much stronger?”
He had no clue, but one thing was for certain: no more punching things... unless he had to. The world of Neopia had its dangers, after all.
Strolling down the street, he heard a loud smash. Pinjar stopped, listening for any sounds after that, and he heard... giggling? Curious, the Kougra followed the sound to investigate, and what he saw caught him off guard.
Up ahead, barely hidden in the shadows, was a yellow Ixi. He had broken through the Food Shop window and was climbing inside.
Pinjar watched, not sure what was going on.
The Ixi got through the broken window with ease, turning on the lights once he got inside. Pinjar crept closer to the window, and peered over the edge, watching as he began taking all the food he could find and shoving it into a large sack.
“A little of this... All of that... In the morning, we’ll stock this food in our shop and sell it ourselves! It won’t be long then.”
“Hold it right there!”
Pinjar had snuck in, and was standing in the window where a display was usually set up. “What do you think you’re doing?”
The Ixi glared at him, and suddenly a look of recognition washed over his face. “Oh, it’s you!”
Pinjar raised a non-existent eyebrow. “Do we know each other?” To him most yellow Ixi looked alike.
“You’re the one who threw the hot dog on me!”
“Oh... Oh!” Pinjar recognized the accent now.
“Did you come back to annoy me more?”
“No, I was at home when... Wait, why would I tell you? No, I’m here to stop you.”
“That’s still pretty annoying,” the Ixi replied.
“Whatever. I’m going to take you to the Defenders of Neopia now, and report your crime.”
“Not if I can escape to my lair first!”
The Ixi threw the bag of food over his shoulder and bolted out the, surprisingly, unlocked door.
“Wait... What was the point of breaking through the window if the door was unlocked?” Pinjar asked, and shook his head. “I have to go after him!”
Remembering he had wings now, Pinjar began flapping them, rising quickly, albeit clumsily, into the air, trying to steer himself in the direction the Ixi was headed. He finally got going, soaring after the Ixi who thought he’d lost him back at the store.
The Kougra followed him to the Haunted Woods, where he dashed into a rather eerie neohome. "This is his lair?"
Pinjar landed – or in this case, crashed – on the doorstep. Regaining his composure, he threw the door open and went in after the criminal.
At a table in the middle of the room, sat the yellow Ixi, a cloud Usul and...
“The Shadow Usul?!” Pinjar exclaimed.
“Nibelungenlied!” the cloud Usul barked at her yellow companion, “Why did someone just barge into our home?”
“He must have followed me here from the Food Shop, Usica,” the Ixi replied.
“What in Neopia is going on here??” Pinjar asked, totally beyond confused.
“If you must know, we had a plan – which you are presently delaying!” Usica the cloud Usul snapped.
“To do what?”
“Rob the Food Shop and then sell the food in our own shop for much cheaper!” Nibelungenlied explained.
“And the point of that is...?”
“To make money rapidly so we can put our evil plan into action! Build a giant tube that will suck all the Usuls of Neopia up!” Usica laughed maniacally.
“Um... Okay.” Pinjar stared at her.
“What? You don’t think it’s brilliant?” Usica asked, offended.
“I think he doesn’t get it,” the Ixi answered.
“What’s not to get? We’re going to suck them up, give them to the Shadow Usul who will... do something with them...” she gave the Shadow Usul a weird look, and went back to her explanation, “And then I will be the most beautiful Usul in all the land!”
“More like the only one. You’re doing this just out of vanity?”
“And the hot dog thing,” Nibelungenlied added.
“And you." He looked at the Ixi. "A hot dog makes you break the law?”
He shrugged. “I still haven’t gotten all the nacho cheese out of my fur.”
“Well...” Pinjar wasn’t sure how to react to the bizarre plot. “I’m going to put a stop to it!”
“Good luck,” Usica cackled. “You still have to face my beloved pet!”
She whistled, and a cute little Doglefox came running into the room.
Pinjar looked at it, and then to the Usul diva. “Let me guess. It’s name is something like Poofy or Snuggles?”
“No, it’s Doberman.”
Pinjar seemed to remember his owner once talking about a very vicious specie of creature, from fairy tales about a far away world, by that name.
The little Doglefox growled at Pinjar and advanced in a threatening manner. Until, that is, Pinjar picked it up by the tail, put it outside and closed the door.
“Well, I didn’t expect that,” Usica said, looking over at the Shadow Usul. “You’re all mysterious and dangerous – do something!”
The shadow Usul got off her chair and began creeping towards Pinjar in a slow, fluid motion. Honestly, he was rather frightened because everyone knew that you don’t mess with the Shadow Usul. But he wasn’t expecting what happened next.
While slinking along menacingly, the Shadow Usul failed to notice a pen lying in her path, and tripped, doing a face-plant right into the floor.
“Okay, I’m done screwing around here,” Pinjar announced.
It only took a few moments to trap the three in the sack Nibelungenlied had thrown the food into earlier, and when he was done, he flew off into the night sky, heading to the Defenders of Neopia Headquarters.
The next morning...
Pinjar yawned, climbing out of bed and wandering out to his kitchen.
His owner was sitting at the table with a cup of coffee in hand, reading the Neopian Times. “Morning, Pinjar. Wow, did you sleep okay? You look like you were up, running around all night.”
“Nah, I slept just fine,” he said with a smile, grabbing a Fish Pop and sitting down opposite of her. “What’s interesting in the news today?”
“Oh, uh, some unidentified Neopet calling himself ‘the Super Kougra’ captured and turned in the Shadow Usul and a couple of her henchmen. Apparently, though, they escaped while they were still in holding. It doesn’t say much else. Seems they were caught breaking into the Food Shop to steal food and sell it for really cheap. What a stupid crime,” she laughed.
Pinjar sighed. He went through all that trouble just so they could escape again. But as long as they were out there committing crimes, he’d find them – and any other criminals that lurked around – or his name isn’t Pinjar, the Super Kougra!