Betrayed: Part Two
"I accept your offer of 435 Neopoints. Come again!"
Fang gratefully took the Bacon Deluxe Hot Dog from Hubert, smiling at the blue Mynci as he turned to leave. He had come to the Neopian Bazaar to buy a few items - not just for himself, but for Rosie and Seth, his owner and older brother. They would surely love him for this.
As the red Gelert exited Hubert's Hotdogs, he glanced up at the sky. It was a dark red-pink colour, and the sun was setting behind the horizon. Fang gasped and suddenly felt worried. He had been out for longer than he had intended; surely Rosie was worried by now.
But as he slung his green backpack over his shoulder and set off to leave, a Neopet in the corner of his eye caught his attention. She was not like what he had seen before. Tiny, probably not much smaller than him, but still tiny. A Xweetok with matted brown and green fur, covered in mud. Her eyes were exhausted; beside her was a small pink Floud, looking almost as exhausted as her owner.
The Xweetok turned to look at him just as he noticed her. Their eyes locked. Fang saw emptiness in her eyes, a painful fear and loneliness that he couldn't bear.
Pity won him over; Rosie would have to wait.
Remaining calm and confident, Fang trotted over to the little Xweetok, lifting his head in a friendly manner. "Hello there!" he called cheerfully. "My name's Fang. What's yours?"
But the green Xweetok just fixed him with this intent, curious stare and did not reply. Fang felt a little awkward at this weird silence.
"Are you alright?" he asked uncertainly.
Still no answer. And then, at last, the Xweetok said, "Not really, no." But the weakness in her voice shocked Fang so much so he could barely respond.
Blinking slowly, Fang said, "What's wrong?"
Elou wrapped her tail around her Floud, pulling her closer to her fragile body. The red Gelert whom she had spotted earlier had noticed her, now, and had come over. He had begun to ask her all these questions... What's your name? Are you okay? But she did not want to talk to him. She wanted to be alone.
As he asked her what was wrong, she stared at the ground for several moments, wondering if she should answer. She knew how rude she was being but she couldn't help it. As she hesitated, Angel let out a thin, low whining sound, and Elou patted her ears.
The red Gelert was watching her. "That's a very cute Floud," he said, sitting down beside Angel. Elou watched as her petpet edged closer to the small Gelert and pressed against his side; the Gelert laughed and stroked it's soft pink fur.
"Her name is Angel." Elou finally spoke again, finding her voice. She was definitely not regaining strength. Her voice was as weak as ever and she could barely move, let alone answer this Neopet.
"Angel," the Gelert echoed, smiling at the petpet.
Elou suddenly felt the urge to speak to this Neopet. He seemed friendly and willing to make conversation, despite how rude she was being. Not really thinking, she blurted out, "Okay. I was abandoned by my owner a day ago when he put me in the Pound. I saw how many cages there were, how many upset and terrified pets, and I couldn't take it. So... I ran away." She lowered her eyes and felt the tears coming, but she tried to push them away. "I knew I had to keep running. But the Techo and my owner were following me. I finally found a bush to hide behind, and they gave up and turned back, but now I don't know what I'm going to do..."
She found her voice rising into a squeak on the last couple of words and before she had even finished speaking the tears were flowing down her cheeks, creating an endless downpour down her face. Elou buried her head into her chest and did not dare look up at Fang - or so he called himself - for she did not want to see his amusement.
But when he spoke he didn't sound at all amused, merely sympathetic, which made Elou slowly lift her head. "It's okay; don't cry. I was just like you. I fled the Pound when I was littler, and now I'm with Rosie and Seth." He flicked his tail in a friendly way. "You can come with me. I'm sure Rosie will welcome you."
Elou blinked, wiping her eyes, and took his offer into consideration. There wasn't much more she could do - and after all, Fang seemed quite nice. He didn't seem much older than her; he was small, with huge blue eyes and a small frame. But he was bigger than her. She felt so tiny, so... fragile.
Still, she nodded. "Okay."
The red Gelert led the way through the Neopian Bazaar, sticking close to her side. Angel bounced along at Elou's other side, seeming to have regained her energy once more. It wasn't long before Fang stopped - but they weren't near a house.
"That's Seth," he murmured. "He looks annoyed."
Elou looked over at the blue Lupe Fang was gesturing toward. He was large and muscular; compared to the two, he looked almost giant. His eyes looked fairly annoyed but he seemed to be trying to calm himself down; but he was coming straight toward them.
Seth tried to push the thoughts of his owner aside. He had just had his first official argument with her, after she had asked him to run a few errands for him and he had refused, saying it was her turn. She had compared him to a friend's pet - Blaze - whom was lazy and useless, which had made Seth furious. But it wasn't his fault. Rosie had been neglecting him and Fang lately, choosing to do other things instead rather than spend time with her pets.
He was a little way away from the house now, his paws leading him toward the Neopian Bazaar. Even though the sun was going down he wanted to find Fang. His little brother should be back by now.
But he came short as two figures came towards him, both small Neopets. One was Fang; but the other Seth didn't recognize. She was a tiny green Xweetok - even tinier than Fang - and looked exhausted, trailing after the Gelert as if she had just run for twelve miles or more. Next to her a little Floud bounced along, blue eyes looking excited.
"Hey, Fang," Seth called curiously. "Who's your friend?"
Fang seemed to have noticed him before he had called out, and came racing over. "She hasn't told me her name yet," he admitted. "But she was weak and tired, so I thought I'd bring her to Rosie." He cast a sympathetic glance at the Xweetok as she caught up, her breath in slow gasps.
Seth examined the little Neopet. She was so small, so... fragile. Her green neck fur and hair was matted with mud and twigs, her huge green eyes round with exhaustion. Her tail drooped and dragged in the dust. He gave a little nod, feeling himself full of pity for her. "Yes, let's bring her to Rosie."
The Xweetok walked in-between Fang and Seth as they headed back for the house. Seth didn't want to see Rosie again after their argument, but he couldn't leave the poor Xweetok out and alone to fend for herself when there was nothing she could do.
"What is your name?" Fang asked the Xweetok after a few moments of silence. "I know the Floud is Angel, but I want to know your name." Seth was surprised by the gentleness in his tone. Never before had he seen his pest of a little brother so sweet and sympathetic.
She hesitated, before saying quietly, "Aelouro." Seth was quite shocked by the weakness in her voice but he wasn't too surprised. She looked battered, after all. But that just made him feel even more pitiful, and even more proud of his brother when Fang just nodded carefully.
"Do you have a nickname?" the Gelert asked softly. "I mean, that's hard to pronounce."
"Yes. My father called me Elou," replied the Xweetok, less hesitant. It seemed as if she were already growing close to Fang.
Before he knew it, Seth was home again. He knocked on the door, calling, "Rosie!" but still he was reluctant to speak to her.
The door opened slowly. Seth looked up at his owner; he was stunned. She looked worse than before. Her long blond hair was matted and greasy, and her blue eyes were tired and confused. Rosie eyed Seth for several moments before turning her attention to the Xweetok. "Who is this?" Her voice was tense with frustration, not like the usual Rosie.
Her unexpected tone made Elou flinch, which made Seth annoyed. He bared his fangs, but before he could spit a reply, Fang answered calmly, "This is Elou. She ran away from the Pound, like I did. We were wondering if you could take her in?"
Rosie frowned, her eyes fixed on Elou who cowered low to the ground, eyes fearful. Angel looked up at Rosie with huge blue eyes that were round with curiosity.
"No." Seth was bewildered by the fury in Rosie's eyes as she glared at Elou. "We will not be keeping a Xweetok in our family."
"But, Rosie-" Fang tried to protest, his tone desperate.
"No!" their owner repeated more loudly. She didn't wait for another response. She slammed the door behind her, leaving the three Neopets to do nothing but gaze in bewilderment at each other.
To be continued...