The Street Warf
“Wouldn't it be nice if there was a Petpet Pound?” asked Madeleine the Royalgirl Zafara.
“Oh, be quiet, Maddy, you're only saying that because you haven't found the 'perfect petpet' yet,” replied an annoyed Aeyana.
Madeleine made a grunting noise and sat down in a sofa chair, resting her head on her arm. Aeyana laughed triumphantly and continued reading the Neopian Times.
“Maddy, don't be so grumpy! It's not your fault no petpet likes you!” The Faerie Wocky snickered. She put down the newspaper and licked her fur neck. Then she smiled wryly. “Are you jealous of me?” she asked Madeleine.
“What?! Why?!” was Maddy's answer.
“Well, you know, I DO have a lovely little Plushie Kadoatie, and she's just wonderful, really, it's just natural to feel a bit greedy and I can understand,” boasted Aeyana.
“Aeyana, I'm not jealous! I'd never be jealous of your bratty attitude or your stupid Kad either!” growled Madeleine, approaching the Wocky with every step she took. Aeyana found it amusing.
“Oh really?” she asked dubiously. “Then why do you always bug me about petpets? I know you want to fight... you afwaid? Is wittle Maddy afwaid?” she taunted.
Before Maddy could strike a punch, Mom came into the room.
“Girls! Stop this ridiculous fighting! Let's get along like the family we are, alright? Also, we need to go to Neopia Central; I need to go to the bank,” Mom ordered.
Both Zafara and Wocky muttered, “Fine.”
Aeyana rolled up her issue of the Neopian Times and whistled innocently. She then threw it unexpectedly at her sister. “Hey!” exclaimed Maddy. Aeyana cackled and ran for it. Madeleine was alone.
“I hate it when Aeyana can see through me,” she thought bitterly, “I am a tad jealous of her. Why won't petpets like me? Why can't I ever feel a connection with one? Even the expensive ones? I want a petpet terribly! But certainly not a Kad; they're too finicky.”
* * *
“Good evening, madam. It's great to see you again. What can I do for you today?” greeted the Bank's plump Skeith.
“Thank you Alabaster, I just need to deposit a couple of Neopoints. Here we go- it's 12,583 of 'em.”
The Skeith grabbed the bag full of the currency and asked Mom to insert her PIN number so he could find her account.
While Mom and the Skeith were busy in financial issues, Aeyana was messing with the Bank's safe. “I reckon I can crack the code. Let's see, maybe my birth date will work? Oh... Four... Ten... Oh...” said Aeyana.
Madeleine was inspecting the Bank, exploring here and there. She was looking through the glass window and saw a scrawny little thing limping on the streets. She wondered what it was and squinted her eyes till they were slits, as if it would help her.
“I think it's a petpet!” she gasped. She hurriedly opened the doors and scurried to the creature.
“MADELEINE, NO!! COME BACK HERE RIGHT NOW!!” roared Mom.
“There she goes.” Aeyana giggled.
Madeleine crouched next to the petpet. She observed it was a Warf. “My, aren't you tiny!” she breathed. Her heart suddenly felt as if it had become of lead. It felt heavy, but pleasant. Her pulse went up. “Y-you're the one, aren't you?” she whispered.
Two sad and begging brown eyes stared at her.
Madeleine thought this was the cutest Warf ever. It certainly had excellent parentage, for its fur looked soft and pure. It oozed friendliness, since when Maddy approached it, it had been calm and not hyper. Yes, this was the petpet.
Madeleine saw an angel, but to someone else the Warf would have looked like a forgotten warrior with his battle scars, horribly thin, dirty and muddy fur, and skeletal appearance.
* * *
“Mom, look! This wee li'l guy was out in the streets! But he's so charming! Who would have abandoned him?”
Mom screeched, as did Aeyana and (surprisingly) the Bank guy.
“What is that horrid creature?” demanded Mom.
“Mother, he looks like a hobo petpet!” observed Aeyana.
“He's real ugly!” said the Bank guy.
Madeleine couldn't understand why they didn't notice his gorgeousness. Surely a petpet this wonderful would be seen? Then again, he was in the streets, and nice wonderful things don't last too long alone. “Mom, I wanna take him home. He's my petpet! I'll take care of him very well, I promise.” begged Maddy.
“Madeleine, honey, don't you want a- erm, better looking petpet? Look, he's mangy and has scars!” said Mom. The Warf scratched his ear.
“Ewww, he has fleas!” shrieked Aeyana.
“I'll give him a warm bath, but please, Mom, it'll make me extremely happy.”
Madeleine's mom gave in. “I have one condition, though. You won't keep him.”
“Why?! What'll be the point of having him then?”
“You can have him for a week. But you'll make him nice and pretty and he'll be put up for auction. The money we earn can be put towards your Petpet Fund. To find you a better petpet.”
“Warfs are terribly common and cheap. Gross,” said Aeyana, nodding her head.
Maddy agreed to her Mom's harsh conditions. At least when the Warf was clean, he'd find a great home. He could be happy, just as he would with her...
She sniffed deeply and wiped her eyes with the back of her furry paws, wiping away tears. The Warf licked them away, trying to help. Maddy sighed. She hoped she didn't get attached to him.
* * *
At Maddy's house, the Warf received a warm bubble bath. Maddy then dried him with a warm and fluffy pink towel. She suspected the Warf hadn't ever experienced comfort like this before; he wagged his tail and barked happily and stomped his leg rapidly when she wiped him.
After the bath, the Warf's fur was its normal shade of cream and chocolate spots. She stroked his tummy, making him droop his eyes in contentment. “All righty, little guy, it's time for a collar.”
She browsed her sister's wardrobe and found a Blue Satin Collar. She clicked it open and put it around the Warf's neck. He barked happily.
“What should I name you?” she wondered out loud. She gazed tenderly at the Warf. He looked so content here, and she was going to dispose of him soon. She decided to name him Woof, since he barked a lot and that's what it sounded like.
She grabbed Woof under his tummy and carried him. She sang a lullaby and Woof began to fall asleep. Then the tiny Warf snored. Maddy smiled and put him on her bed. Oh, she loved him so! But, no, he'd find a home where he would also be greatly appreciated. It was for the best.
* * *
“Maddy, is the Warf ready?” asked Mom, a week later.
“Yes, Mom! Hold on a sec- I need to grab him!” panted Maddy. Woof was putting up a chase. He was barking and running around the room, inviting Maddy for a chase. “Not now, Woof... I need to put you up for auction...” wailed Maddy.
Woof stopped in his tracks and trotted back over to Maddy, attempting to lick her face.
“No, stop it!” she giggled. She finally had a hold of him and went to the living room. Aeyana was there with her Kadoatie, and Mom was looking rather impatient. “Come, Madeleine, we need to go.”
They traveled to the Auction House. Aeyana's Plushie Kad, Miranda, was mewing behind her. She occasionally hissed and spat at Woof, who thought she was playing and barked back in response. Miranda loathed Woof, but Maddy thought she liked him deep inside (she had seen Miranda rub up against Woof and purr).
There were many wooden seats in the Auction House. The Blue Scorchio was standing on top of a podium, waiting dully for customers. He smiled broadly when he saw Madeleine and her family.
“Welcome to the Auction House!” he said in a false cheery voice that sounded rehearsed, “I am Sam, the head of this incredible building. What do you have to auction?”
“This Warf,” said Mom, and Woof poked his head from behind Maddy and barked.
“Ooh, looks healthy, except for the scars. Anyhoo, you're my first ones here today! Very early, you see. Now, lessee, I need the Warf.” He extended his paw out.
Madeleine whimpered. Woof had grown to trust her, and she was about to put him up for auction. What kind of heartless monster was she? She couldn't do it! It would be as if she were ripping out half her heart and giving it away. Woof gazed at her with the same eyes he'd had when she first saw him... but what must be done must be done.
“Here,” she said in a croaky voice , reaching for a whimpering Woof. “I want him to have a nice home. Bye, Woof,” she said miserably. Aeyana snickered evilly and held her head up high and walked away, with Miranda behind her, mimicking her owner.
“Wait, Aeyana! Since your sister loved this Warf so much, we're going to stay and watch the auction. Then whoever gets Woof can be friends with Madeleine, so she can visit him, I suppose,” said Mom. Maddy's face lit up like the sun and she sat down promptly in a seat right in front of the podium, where'd she would have the best view of her beloved Woof.
About ten minutes after Woof was put into auction for two hours, the first bidder came. And so it began.
* * *
Madeleine noticed that many people wanted Woof. They claimed his scars looked 'cool' and he was very 'friendly, so I want him because my ol' petpet was EVIL'. Woof started out as worth 5 neopoints, but the offers began...
100 neopoints... 450 neopoints... 1200 neopoints... 3000 neopoints.... Soon, Woof was now worth 5000 neopoints. The most recent bidder had been a confident looking redheaded boy. He had a smug smirk on his face.
“Do I hear 5001?” inquired Sam the Auction Scorchio, “5005? 5150?”
“5200!!!” yelled someone from the back row. The redheaded boy looked angry and raised the price. Woof was approaching 6000 now....
Madeleine couldn't hold it. “Mom, please, don't make him get adopted! I love him so much!” she sobbed, with fat tears in her face.
Mom smiled kindly. “You love him that much, huh? Well, since I can't bid on him and I can't cancel the whole shebang, I'll ask a good friend of mine to bid for me, then you can have Woof back.” She got out a piece of paper from her pocket and wrote a message to a girl asking for her to come with at least 40,000 neopoints in hand (“You never know what these crazy Neopians might bid,” reasoned Mom) and telling her about Woof. After she was done, she whistled and a White Weewoo came flying from nowhere.
“Neomail to Deirdre. She lives in 13489, Grand Chia Way,” said Mom. The Weewoo hooted and flew away. Minutes later, it came back with Deirdre's response: she'd be there in a millisecond, but Madeleine's mom had better pay her back later. As said she would, Deirdre came huffing and puffing, red at the face.
“Hi, Alyssa. Your Zafara is crazy,” remarked Deirdre, winking at Madeleine, who smiled in return.
“Do I hear 10,000 neopoints?” asked Sam.
“10,000 neopoints!” yelled Deirdre.
The redheaded boy growled and shouted, “10,300!”
“10,500!” yelled Deirdre.
“13,000!” roared the boy. Deirdre glanced at Madeleine's mom. “Alyssa, this is getting out of hand! I'll be poor if that boy right there keeps beating me!”
“Please, Deirdre. I'll pay you back,” pleaded Mom.
“Fine, alright,” sighed Deirdre. “Just because you're my best friend, ya hear, Alyssa?”
The battle was on again. The redhead and Deirdre were fighting without weapons; they used money. Then Deirdre declared, “20,000 neopoints, and that's my final offer!” The redheaded boy looked nervous. He checked his neopoint bag, which was now empty. He sighed heavily and accepted defeat.
“Do I hear 21,000? 21,550? 22,550? No? Going once... going twice... SOLD TO GIRL WITH RED FACE AND BROWN PONYTAIL!!” yelled Sam.
Deirdre, Alyssa, and Maddy all whooped and jumped up and down. Aeyana remained seated, clapping politely (yet annoyed) like the other Neopians.
“We did it!” shrieked Maddy. “I have Woof back!”
“Deedee, let's go to the Bank, I need to pay you!” exclaimed Mom.
“No, Lissy. I was joking! That's what friends are for, they're there for each other through the bad times and good times!” laughed Deirdre.
Sam the Auction Scorchio had Woof in his hands. “It is yours,” he said to Maddy.
Woof barked very happily and wagged his tail ferociously, licking Maddy's face like a hurricane. Maddy had found the perfect petpet. All because of a mangy Street Warf that no one wanted.