The Relentless Faellie
“Again? You're going to the beauty shop again?” Zani the pink Shoyru looked at her friend Thelsie with her mouth slightly agape. “You were just there yesterday morning!”
Thelsie shook her green mane impatiently. She had been recently colored Island and was endlessly proud of it. “The flowers aren't sitting right.” She tossed her hair again to show Zani what she meant, and the other Neopet laughed.
“They probably aren't sitting right because you shake your mane in every other Neopet's face to get them to notice you.”
Thelsie snuffled, but didn't appear to take Zani too seriously, “I want to get my hooves painted another color anyway. Don't you think blue would match the flowers better than yellow?”
Zani shook her head slightly and responded with, “I really have no idea, Thelsie.” The two Neopets were strolling along one of the main paths in Neopia Central after having met up for lunch. Most Neopets weren't sure why Zani and Thelsie were so close given that even for a Uni, Thelsie was incredibly vain, and Zani was usually found with her nose in a book. Zani's owner had been the one to insist that she be painted. Zani had proclaimed that she was perfectly happy with her original blue color. Zani was, overall, a very simple pet. Thelsie was really her only close friend, and she liked it that way. She usually talked about herself so much that Zani didn't have to worry about coming up with her end of the conversation.
Just now Thelsie was going on about the pros and cons of using organic conditioner when a fuzzy ball of creamy golden fur leapt out of some nearby bushes and attached itself to Zani's right leg. Thelsie jumped and screamed, but Zani only snorted in annoyance. She could see that it was a Faellie—the huge ears and tiny white wings gave it away—and she just wondered what it was doing so far from Faerieland. She reached down and pried it off of her, realizing right away that the small creature hadn't eaten much for weeks. It was scrawny as could be.
Thelsie, meanwhile, had settled down and was peering down at the Faellie with curiosity. “Oh, my! It's a Faellie! It's so cute, isn't it?”
Zani grimaced a little. “Yeah, uh huh. Do you want it? It looks really hungry.”
“You know my owner won't let me have another petpet. I already have Tasha.” Tasha was Thelsie's Whinny. “Why don't you take it home?” A peal of thunder rang out over their heads as soon as the words were out of her mouth. “It's about to rain, anyway. You shouldn't just leave it out here.”
Zani sighed heavily, eying the clouds coming in overhead. “I suppose I could take it home until the storm is through, and maybe feed it as well. But I don't intend to keep it.”
“Why not? It's adorable. And it seems quite fond of you.”
Indeed, the Faellie had squirmed out of Zani's arms and curled itself up around her neck. “I don't want the responsibility. It'd be too much work for nothing.”
Now Thelsie was giving Zani a sideways look, “I don't think it's for nothing, Zani. But I have to get going. The rain will make my mane frizz!” And with that, she clopped along down the path away from the Shoyru and the Faellie.
Zani's Neohome was at the far end of Neopia Central, and both she and the Faellie were soaked through when they got there. She found her owner inside, reading the Neopian Times and eating a bowl of soup. She looked up when Zani came in and smiled widely at the sight of the small petpet in her arms.
"What have you got there?"
Zani sighed inwardly. Knowing her owner, Zani was sure she'd be pestered to keep the small creature for good. "It's just a Faellie. I thought I'd bring it in out of the rain."
"It's so cute! What are you going to call it?"
Zani frowned. "I'm not calling it anything. It'll only be here for a short while."
"You mean you're not keeping it?"
"Of course not. You know how I feel about petpets."
Her owner just smiled to herself and gestured toward the soup that was sizzling on the stovetop, "All right. Chestnut soup's on the stove if you want to eat."
Zani started toward the kitchen, tugging on the Faellie, who was resolutely still wrapped around her neck. She finally gave in and hop-flew over to the pot of soup, hoping she could coax it away from her with food.
The Faellie sniffed the bowl Zani held in front of it, then unwound itself from Zani's neck and cautiously began drinking. Zani took advantage of the freedom of movement to eat some soup herself, and it wasn't long before the two were finished and Zani was dozing off where she sat. She started to her bedroom to take a nap, and was irritated to find that the Faellie was following her.
"Shoo," she told it. "You shouldn't get to used to being around me. I'm taking you to the Faerieland petpet shop just as soon as the rain stops." And with that Zani shut her bedroom door in the Faellie's face, and the tiny creature burst into tears. Zani resolutely put her earphones on and cranked up the new Chomby and the Fungus Balls album. It wasn’t really her taste--Thelsie had lent it to her--but it did the trick; she could no longer hear the crying petpet.
When Zani came out of her room some time later, she found the little Faellie curled up in a tight ball just in front of her door. Hearing the door open, the petpet immediately flew up to Zani’s shoulder, where it seemed determined to rest. Zani opened her mouth to scold it off, but stopped when she saw how red the Faellie’s eyes were from the tears it had cried. It had been difficult enough for Zani to drown out the Faellie earlier; she just couldn’t push it away now.
Zani heaved a great sigh. “I can’t keep you, but I suppose I can at least give you a name. How do you like the name Yellow? It’s the color you are, anyway.”
Yellow’s eyes widened and a pleased mewl came out of its mouth. There was a low chuckle from the other side of the room, and Zani now saw that her owner was still there, reclining and looking out the window. “Why are you laughing?” Zani asked, beginning to be indignant.
“No reason,” Zani’s owner answered casually. “It looks as though the rain has stopped. Will you be taking Yellow to the Faerieland petpet shop soon?”
“Yes,” Zani said, wondering why her owner hadn't insisted that she keep the Faellie around longer, “but first I need to feed it again.”
“There’s still leftover chestnut soup in the kitchen.”
Zani nodded, and headed to feed the Faellie, beginning to feel very silly. Why was she feeding this petpet again? She knew that the petpet shop would feed it, so why bother?
She spooned some warmed up soup into a bowl for Yellow and smiled widely when the small Faellie, now regaining strength and feeling very hungry, nearly fell into its food in its attempts to lap it up. When nearly the whole bowl was consumed, Yellow offered up a dainty burp and Zani laughed.
“Good, isn’t it? Chestnut soup is my favorite.”
Yellow looked up at Zani mutely, its eyes expressive with what seemed like agreement.
Zani sighed, becoming frustrated with herself. Petpets didn’t know enough to agree or disagree, so why did she feel as though this Faellie understood her?
Just as soon as Zani finished this thought Yellow leapt up onto her shoulder and wrapped herself around her neck again, firmly but not tightly. Zani couldn’t help but somewhat enjoy the warm, soft feeling of having it there. That made her feel even more anxious about taking the petpet to its rightful place, and she stated grimly, “Time to take you back to Faerieland.” Yellow didn’t vocally respond, but Zani thought she felt the Faellie squeeze a little nonetheless.
Without saying goodbye to her owner--the last thing she needed right then was her owner’s opinion on the situation--Zani flew right out of an open window and headed in the direction of Faerieland. It wasn’t much more than a thirty minute flight for her at top speed, and the usually calming journey over the water was marred for her on this day by her troubled thoughts.
Yellow was just a petpet, and Zani knew now that she shouldn’t have named it, maybe she shouldn’t have brought it home at all. Petpets were just trouble and not worth anything—
“Eeep! Eeep!” Zani was jolted out of her thoughts by Yellow’s distressed cries and sudden movement around her neck.
“What the--?” Zani slowed, trying to get a grip on the Faellie that was now scampering up and down Zani’s arms. “What’s the matter with you?”
“Eeep, eeep eeep!”
“That’s not an answer,” Zani replied, and she looked ahead in the direction that Yellow was fervently staring. What she saw was a tiny green dot very rapidly moving toward them. She quickly flew herself and Yellow higher into the air, and in the time that it took to do this, a green Draik flew along beneath them at breakneck speed, its flapping wings going off noisily.
Zani was stunned. If that Draik had hit her mid-flight, she could easily have been hurt, and likely, knocked into the water. She couldn’t swim! She probably would have drowned. She gazed down at Yellow, who was now in her arms gazing up at her adoringly.
“You heard that Draik coming, didn’t you?” Zani didn’t know much about Faellies, but those huge ears had to be good for something. Zani herself hadn’t heard a thing. If it weren’t for the Faellie, she would have been in trouble.
“Thank you, Yellow.” Zani’s meek gratitude seemed a feeble response to what Yellow had done for her, and it was then that Zani realized that she no longer wanted to take the petpet to Faerieland. Without saying anything to Yellow, who seemed quiet and content as though she could already see into Zani’s heart, Zani turned around and headed back home.
“Are you sure about this, Zani?”
A week later Zani, her owner, and Yellow were at the Rainbow Pool. In her hand, Zani’s owner held a small paint brush specifically to paint petpets – a petpet paint brush. She was just about to use it on Yellow.
“Yes, I’m sure.”
Zani’s owner shook her head and smiled. “Yellow the pink Faellie. Who would have thought?”
Within a few seconds the little Faellie was a dashing shade of pink, almost exactly the same color as Zani herself, and looking pleased indeed.
“I’m glad you decided to keep Yellow, Zani,” Zani’s owner spoke up as they both admired the paint job.
Her owner’s voice held that tone in it that told Zani that she too had known that the Faellie would become a permanent fixture in their lives, but Zani was happy. She pulled the Faellie into her arms and held it close to her, saying only, “Me, too.”