I sprinted into the kitchen, nearly tripping over my sister’s scattered Usuki dolls on the tile floor, and frantically held up a notice that Ms. Trinity had given us at school. “Read it, Mom, and you’ll understand my problem!”
My Mom sighed at my sudden outburst and took the flier from my paws, reading it out loud:
“Tomorrow is Petpet Day, where the students are entitled to bring their Petpets to school. Food and toys will be provided for all pets. Don’t miss out.” Mom paused. “Yeah, I don’t see your problem.”
“Mom, I DON’T HAVE A PETPET!”
Mom still wore a blank expression. “Yes. And?”
“Mom, all the other kids at school do! I‘m going to be a loser if I show up to school tomorrow without a Petpet!”
“What about your friend Trace? I thought his dad was allergic to them.”
“He got a Baby Space Fungus. Apparently they don’t have fur.”
“No kidding. Borrow your brother’s or sister’s.” Mom turned back to the stove to stir the piping hot bowl of asparagus. “I’m sure they’ll let you take their Petpets to school...”
Goldie, Free, and Rackquel flew down the stairs, each with their Petpet trailing behind. They all started talking in protest at once, stopping as Mom raised her hand for silence.
“OK, why can’t you let Dragon borrow one of your Petpets? Rackquel, you start.”
My red Ruki brother held his Karren tightly to his side. “Isn’t this quite obvious that we can't trust him? He was going to push Jazlyn out the hotel room window in Faerieland!”
“To see if she could FLY-”
“Dragon, stop,” Mom insisted. “Goldie, state your reason for not letting your brother take Rocky to school.”
Goldie let out a snort, stomping her hooves on the ground. She was painted baby, and her usual tantrums reflected that well. “Let’s remember that one time when Dragon put Rocky in the pond in the backyard just to see if he could swim!”
“A Stego can probably stay above water-”
“Dragon! No more interrupting.” Mom narrowed her eyes and then looked back at my other sister, a starry Wocky named Free. “Free, Dragon can’t take FireBreath to school tomorrow for one measly day because...”
“A lot can happen to FireBreath in one measly day!” Free protested. “Have you forgotten the time Dragon painted FireBreath PURPLE? With NON-MAGICAL PAINT?”
“That old Meerca from the Soup Kitchen said it was real-”
“Dragon, don’t you understand?” Mom said frankly. “After what you did to Jazlyn, Rocky, and FireBreath, you can‘t really blame me for not getting you your own...”
“Mom, I did that stuff a while ago. You can trust me now!”
I could see Rackquel rolling his eyes.
“I don’t know, Dragon...” Mom twisted a piece of her dark red hair, thinking hard about the topic. “Will you take care of it? And not make it do anything crazy?”
“I promise I won’t!”
“Well... all right,” Mom bit her lower lip, then went to snatch her raincoat from the den. “Goldie, watch the asparagus, will you? Drain it in forty-five minutes.”
“But, MOTHER!” Goldie trotted over to the stove, waving her wings so she could fly to the top where the pot was. “What makes you think Dragon will take care of a Petpet?!”
“One strike and he’s out,” Mom promised, as she slipped out the door and into the rain.
The agony of waiting for Mom to return was unbearable. The clock kept changing... ten minutes... thirty minutes... one hour... and still no sight of Mom. I was beginning to lose hope and counted the raindrops that stuck to the window... until I saw Mom rounding the corner of our street, carrying a blue Petpet crate. My stomach did a flip-flop as I flew downstairs to the door, yelling, “SHE’S BACK!” Nicely enough, my stuck-up siblings eventually came down to watch the introduction of a new family member.
Mom finally unlocked the door after what seemed like days, slipping into the kitchen and setting the crate on the countertop. “Sweet Neopia, that’s a heavy rainfall out there! All right, Dragon, promise me you’ll take care of your new pet.”
“Promise!” I beamed, feeling my siblings behind me shift in anxiety.
“Ok, hun, open the crate.”
I couldn’t see in the crate at all, so instead of straining to look past the tightly molded grids, I fumbled with the latch before it dropped to the ground. I opened the small entry, reaching my stubby green arm inside. A gentle tongue licked my paw. Hm... no biting or feeling of metal... I guess it was a friendly, furry mutant. I got a hold of whatever was in the crate, gingerly pulling it out.
My face dropped at the sight of an Angelpuss.
“AWWWWWWW!!!!” my sisters crooned, while Rackquel leaned against the wall for support from laughing so hard.
“Well, Dragon? What do you think?” Mom asked, hands clasped together in excitement.
I was speechless. I was expecting something insane... like a Moach, or a Meowclops, heck, even a Triffin... but instead, my new pet was an Angelpuss. A white Angelpuss, halo and all, with its big yellow eyes gazing back at me. This isn’t something that a boy Shoyru with fire wings would own... it was something that Ashlee, the popular Royalgirl Cybunny at school would own and dress with ribbons and bows! My Uni sister had a more cool Petpet than me!
“She was the friendliest at the store, not to mention the cutest!” Mom chirped. “What will you name her?”
“It’s a girl?” I muttered disappointedly. When Mom nodded, not detecting my slight depression, I shrugged. “Drakiana,” I said blankly, studying the Angelpuss, who meowed and twitched her ears. I guess she was kind of cute... but the heavy rainfall outside was a perfect match towards my dreary mood.
The leash hooked onto Drakiana's collar was bright pink. It matched my cheeks perfectly as I walked into my classroom late, with my dainty Angelpuss floating by my side. Trace, who was sitting at his desk with his Baby Space Fungus chewing on a pencil, looked up at me questionably at the sight of Drakiana. So did the rest of the class. I saw painted Petpets, rare Petpets, and Petpets that I could only imagine of acquiring.
"Dragon deary, what a cute Angelpuss!" Ms. Trinity, who was sitting at her desk, smiled. "Take a seat, we're about to start the show-and-tell. Just open the back door, will you, please? It‘s kind of warm in here."
Snickers were heard from around the classroom. Jaq, the snobbiest and most overrated kid I’ve ever met, bobbed his dumb Royalboy Uni head up and down in laughter, happily getting approval from those around him who were too afraid to stand up to such a rude Neopet.
I opened the door, surprised as I was overcome with a huge wave of warm air that enveloped around me. Kicking the doorstop in place, I tugged carefully on Drakiana’s collar and slunk into the seat next to Trace in the back of the room. My Camouflage Elephante friend gave me a cheerful look, as if he thought Drakiana was a cool Petpet. On the other side of me was Ashlee, who was stroking her Faerie Kadoatie. She grinned warmly at me as Drakiana gracefully flew over to the Kadoatie and batted at her tail. Ashlee's Kadoatie craned its neck in curiosity.
"Who would like to go first on this beautiful, warm, sunny, Neopia Central day?" Ms. Trinity asked, her white Aisha ears bobbing up and down as she pushed her chunky yellow glass up more towards her eyes. Honestly, Ms. Trinity was nice and all, but sometimes I think that she has too many bowls of optimistic outlooks on life in the morning.
"I would!" Trace raised his trunk. Stumbling out of his seat, he ungracefully trudged to the front of the classroom, followed by his Baby Space Fungus, but not before crashing headfirst into the ground. Jaq had thrown his crimson cloak across the aisle, waiting for the perfect moment for him and his sidekick Marvin, a Desert Grarrl, to pull it so poor Trace would take his embarrassing tumble. They roared in laughter, followed by the rest of the class, except for Ashlee, whose gentle paws covered her mouth in horror. I gritted my teeth at Jaq and his loser friend. Trace got up as if nothing happened, using his trunk to dust off his shoulders. After Ms. Trinity shushed the class, he picked up his Petpet.
"This is Guy. I got him two weeks ago from my dad. He likes to go for walks and swim. He's still training, currently at level 3." Trace beamed.
"Level 3? Pathetic!" Jaq hissed.
Ignoring the jab, Trace bowed and carried Guy back to his seat. The class clapped feebly, besides Ms. Trinity, who clapped as if Jhudora had announced that she had forever left the world of Neopia.
"I'm next!" Jaq stood up, striding stiffly to the front and center with his pet close behind. "I am presenting you Lord Kriss. Father won Lord Kriss after completing one of Fyora’s quests. He then painted him Darigan using a paint brush from his collection of two-hundred seventy five. Lord Kriss is currently at level 159. He will not size up to your weak pets, for he knows that he is indeed more powerful than all of them combined."
As the class gushed over Lord Kriss, I used my hand to hold up my head from boredom. Jaq's superior attitude was nothing short of common.
"Lovely, Jaq!" Ms. Trinity squealed. "Now, Dragon, let's see your little friend."
Sighing, I tugged on Drakiana's leash, and we lingered down the aisles. Jaq smirked, but I ignored him.
“This is Drakiana, my Angelpuss.” I lifted her off the ground. She began purring loudly. “Mom got her for me. She’s really friendly, and she loves to make friends.”
Right when I said, the most unexpected thing happened.
Then Petpets in the class started to become restless. Barks, hisses, squeals, and meows escalated throughout the spacious room. Even with their owners orders, they went into a frenzy and managed to escape their frantic clutches. Every Petpet dashed towards the open back door, even Drakiana, who leaped out of my arms and slipped out of her collar, eagerly followed. They were so fast that no one could catch a single one. It was like a tide wave of little creatures.
“LORD KRISS!” Jaq bolted from his seat towards the back door. I, who was standing in shock and awe, followed him and the rest of the class outside into the large, green field under the beaming sun. The commotion arose as we realized where all of our Petpets had gone to. And that was in a giant, deep pit of mud from last night’s rainfall. I caught sight of Drakiana, who was playfully chasing Lord Kriss. Without hesitating, I dove into the mud. I heard screams as Ashlee’s Kadoatie meowed and jumped on my back.
“Oh my goodness, Layla, get off of Dragon!” Ashlee gasped. Now, I always thought that Ashlee was a helpless Cybunny who had the boys that were in love with her do everything for her. But when she hitched up her dress and hopped into the mud, I admit that I was mistaken.
Jaq was on the edge of the mud pit, kicking up the green grass in anger. “LORD KRISS, DO NOT ASSOCIATE YOURSELF WITH THAT STUPID ANGELPUSS!”
A Gobbler raced by me, being chased by a Plushie Warf, kicking mud into my face. Wiping it out of my eyes, I squinted and realized that Guy was crawling in front of me, trying to find a place to bury himself. That was when Trace saw him.
“INCOMING!” Trace bounded into the mud, splashing everyone who was close to him. Including Jaq and Marvin.
“YOU IDIOT! LOOK AT WHAT YOU DID!” Jaq roared, while Marvin stood frozen, deep growls escaping his throat. The rest of the class, however, raced into the mud after their Petpets. A shadow cast over me, but it was only Ashlee. Her paw extended towards mine as she helped me up.
“This is rather fun.” She smiled, scooping up Layla, who was rolling in the mud.
“Yeah. I’ll never forget this.” I agreed. Drakiana flew over towards me, landing on the top of my head. Ashlee bit her lip, but her mouth curved into a smile.
And so did mine.