The Unknown Friend
The starry Aisha crinkled her nose in disgust at the sight of the revolting Slorg in front of her.
She was at the Petpet Shop and wasn’t quite expecting to see so many ugly petpets. The Slorg looked at her with a hurt look on his face, obviously realizing what the Aisha was grimacing at.
“Ew,” she murmured under her breath, low enough so that the storekeeper couldn’t hear her. The Slorg winced.
All the other petpets in the store were flapping their wings, mindlessly barking and hissing, making such an unbearable racket. This little Slorg (who had now retired to the corner of his cage) was just sitting sadly.
“Anything I can help you with, miss?” the Usul shopkeeper said with a beaming smile. Her eyes wandered to the Slorg while waiting for a response from the Aisha.
“No thank you,” she replied hesitantly, “except... are there, I don’t know, any other petpets... that are more... err, fluffy and cute?”
“Ahh... I see,” the Usul mumbled. “Are you sure you don’t want that little guy?”
She was beckoning towards the Slorg, who had a hopeful look on his face.
“Ehh... I don’t think so...” the Aisha said tersely.
“All right. Here, follow me. I’ll show you to the other petpets.”
The shopkeeper took her to a different section of the store, where there were little Babaas and Puppyblews romping and napping. The Aisha gasped.
“They’re so cute!” she exclaimed, clapping her hands together. Immediately, a tiny sleeping Noil caught her attention.
“May I see that one?” she asked. The storekeeper obliged and carefully picked up the little Noil from his playpen and handed it to the Aisha.
“Here you go.”
She held the yawning Noil and smiled at it. He was so cute and fluffy!
“I’ll take this one!” she said, not even bothering to take a second look at the other petpets.
For the first night, the Noil acted perfectly as any petpet should; he was quiet, sweet, and very laid-back. Then, the next morning, the Aisha awoke to a surprise.
All the curtains in her home were destroyed. The sofa was ripped to shreds, rugs throughout the house were torn apart, the walls had scratches in them, and everything else was in a state of disaster or in shambles. There would be no way the Aisha could handle such a crazy petpet, so she decided to give him back to the store.
She waltzed into the shop clutching the Noil, and set him down on the counter.
“Back again so soon?” the same storekeeper asked her, raising her brows.
“Yes... I had a little bit of trouble with this one.”
“Y’know, for some petpets, you just have to give them a little time to get used to their surroundings,” the storekeeper said, who was looking a little annoyed at this point, “but if you want, I can show you some more petpets.”
The same Slorg from the day before was there again, watching the Aisha. Again, she cringed at the sight of him and the little green Slorg winced. He looked sadly at the floor of his cage, knowing full well that he wouldn’t be getting an owner any time soon. The shopkeeper noticed the Aisha staring at the Slorg.
“He’s been here for five months...” she said sadly. “He’s such a sweet little guy, I’d take him home myself if it weren’t for the fact that I already have eight petpets to take care of.”
Five months? He was living in that little cage for five months? The Aisha felt horrible... maybe someone else would buy him soon. The holidays were coming up; someone would have to buy him! She couldn’t take him. He was so slimy; he would ruin her home just like the previous petpet.
Well... he wasn’t that ugly. He was just different looking. She watched him curiously, noting the fact that he looked rather intelligent for a petpet. He wasn’t howling or romping around like the rest of the petpets... he appeared like he was in deep thought. Anyway, there would be no way she would be buying him... at least, today.
“On second thought, I think I’ll just swing by later,” the Aisha said on her way to the door, “you know, after you restock.”
She thought about the Slorg as she was walking back to her home. It was cold outside.
Five months, she repeated in her head.
For the next few weeks, she couldn’t help but think about the Slorg, wondering what had happened to him. Finally, she couldn’t take it any longer, and decided to drop by the petpet store to see if he was still there. She could always let him live in the kitchen... the floor was made of marble; it could be cleaned easily.
“Hi,” she said as she walked into the store. Ah. The warm current of air clashed with the freezing air outside; it felt very nice.
“Hi!” said the Usul shopkeeper. “What can I do for you today?”
“I was wondering... do you still have that little Slorg that was here for so long?”
“I’m so sorry, we just sold him yesterday,” the Usul said sadly. “But at least he got a home finally!”
“Yeah... at least he got a home...” she said longingly.
Just then, the door opened, and a rather upset-looking Mynci strode in angrily with a Tonu at her side, holding a box in his arms.
“He’s so slimy and gross!” the Mynci exclaimed. “This is not the pet I wanted for my birthday, Marty! I wanted something cuter and fluffier!”
The Tonu hung his head in embarrassment for buying his little sister such an awful present. After all, he personally thought Slorgs looked rather cute. The Usul storekeeper sighed, realizing what was happening. She took the box from the Tonu’s arms and refunded him of his money, looking rather sad while doing it.
The storekeeper opened the box, and inside was a sad little Slorg, looking back up at her with the most hurt look on his face ever.
“I’m so sorry,” she said to the Slorg, “I thought you would finally be getting a home.”
“Wait! Can I buy him?” the Aisha inquired. The storekeeper turned around in shock. She thought she had left.
“Of course you can!” she said with a beaming smile. “Just make sure he doesn’t get cold when you get home; it’s very chilly out tonight.”
The Aisha brought her new friend home, and carefully set the cardboard box on the kitchen floor. She opened it, and the Slorg looked up at her, with a small smile.
“This is your new home,” she said, smiling back at him, but then added (while looking a tad bit embarrassed), “Just try not to venture into the other rooms with rugs... it might be hard to clean.”
The Slorg nodded, as if he understood every word she said.
Petpets can’t understand what we say, she reminded herself. She took two bowls from her cupboard, filling one with water, and the other with chopped vegetables. The Aisha wasn’t quite sure on what Slorgs liked to eat.
The Slorg genuinely looked happy, and went over to the water to take a sip. She decided let him adjust to his surroundings, so she left the room to go read a book. When she came back, he was sound asleep in front of the warm stove, so she didn’t bother to wake him up.
As the Aisha was about to leave the room, a small voice spoke from where the Slorg was sitting.
“Thank you,” it said.