Revenge: Part Two
The mud was slick, as I found the next morning while we walked to school. I had to keep a hold on Qin’s hand the whole way; otherwise, I would’ve slipped. See, I wasn’t quite used to my Usul body yet, even though I’d had it for a few weeks already. The large tail that I now had was very large and very heavy as well. When I’d first become an Usul, I fell over quite a lot. Now it was only when I didn’t have something sturdy beneath my feet.
Qin kept on looking down to see if I were still standing upright, especially when he felt a particularly strong tug on the hand I was holding onto.
“You okay?” he asked, when I’d lost my footing for the thousandth time and had to hold onto him for dear life to keep from face planting.
“Yeah,” I said, trying to find something to stand on that was not slick. I was going to have to wash off a bunch of my fur to get the brown gunk off of it, though. Why did I have to settle on being white? Couldn’t I have chosen Tyrannian instead? Sure, it wasn’t as pretty, but white fur was so hard to take care of.
Q’tai was extremely tired, but he frequently kept on shooting dark looks in my direction to remind me that he hadn’t forgotten my midnight intrusion. He probably thought that I deserved punishment for seeing him when he wasn’t putting on his tough exterior he was wearing when we’d first seen him. If I were in his place, I’d probably be feeling pretty resentful.
“Oh no!” gasped Shei, suddenly. “I forgot my Global Studies essay at home! It’s due today!”
“Oh well,” said Qin, shrugging. “It’s not like Miss Luna won’t take it tomorrow. You know she has a soft spot for you, Shei.”
It was too late. The dark creature had already started to run back through the pouring rain to go to our neohome, the liquid streaming down her coal black coat. Slumping his shoulders, the Grundo just sighed and urged us to continue on. Q’tai wrinkled his nose, and shook his head, clearly thinking that our sister was crazy. I grinned wildly.
At least we had one thing in common.
The next thing I knew, I’d slipped, and this time I didn’t have the chance to find something to grab onto before I found myself falling down in the mud. The soft, brown goop squelched as I fell into it, and I gasped as the air in my lungs flew out of me. Limbs crashed and slid, and tears welled up in my eyes, the pain flooding through my body.
Q’tai started to laugh.
So did some other voices, and I cringed when I heard them. One was extremely high pitched, almost like a cackling you’d hear from Edna or Sophie—when the latter was feeling particularly nasty. The second was beautiful, like the laugh of a neovision star, and the last one was raspy. It was one that could be imagined issuing forth from some swamp creature’s mouth. My heart clenched, and I wished that I could suddenly become invisible.
“Oooh! Look! Serves her right for leaving us!”
“I can’t believe that she left us to go and join those snobs, too!”
“Who does she think she is, anyway?”
Alex, Jenny, and Leah, the three at school known as the Trio, sauntered towards us mockingly. Alex was a beautiful striped Xweetok with a coat that was the envy of many of the girls at school, Jenny was a pretty blue Yurble, though she wasn’t quite a match for Alex, and Leah was a gentle looking—though her personality was far from it—faerie Lenny.
My blood ran cold.
“Leave us alone,” said Qin calmly as he helped me back up. He didn’t even bother to look at them.
“Look at that color, too,” said Leah. “It’s so cheap!”
Both Jenny and Alex glared at her, and I would’ve laughed had I not been so afraid. The Trio had always been able to strike fear into me, especially after I left their group. Knowing them, if I hadn’t been surrounded by my new friends, I would’ve been a target of their bullying.
“She can’t even manage to keep it clean,” said Alex, smirking. She looked down at me—which really wasn’t that hard to do because of my stature now—with her scary, ice blue eyes. “You’d really think that if a pet wanted to put an impression on somebody, they’d manage to keep a slight standard of hygiene, wouldn’t they?”
“Is something wrong, kids?” asked a teacher sternly as he walked up to us. His long lanky Nimmo arms were held behind his back, and he looked particularly unhappy to be outside in the weather we were having.
“No, sir,” said Alex, her expression not changing. “We were just having a nice conversation.”
Q’tai just snickered behind his paw.
“That’s just mean!” gasped Lily, one of my closest friends, as she helped me to towel the fur on my head. “How could they do that to you?”
“It is the Trio,” I pointed out, “and my new brother’s probably just acting out, you know. Being upset about being abandoned and all that.”
“Yeah, but still!” the yellow Kougra said, wrinkling her nose. “The pound’s no excuse for hurting your feelings like that! I should know! I was once there!”
She put the white towel down on the bench and surveyed me critically. Lily was the school fashion expert, and she even had a whole section in the school newspaper so that she could give advice to everybody. She talked about what was ‘in’ or ‘out’ that week, and gave little quotes, like, ‘No matter who tells you this, ultra fashionable potato sacks are NOT ultra fashionable’.
After a few moments she nodded, and I reached over to my right to take my backpack out from beneath the towel.
Mr. Jeffries welcomed us into class when we finally got there, and I sat down in the back with my friend to pay attention as he finished out the science lesson.
The class passed by quickly, the wind howling and raging outside, and soon we found ourselves with a lot of free time to chatter and talk. I wasn’t surprised when a starry Lupe and some other pets came over to where I sat. The Lupe was the one who had opened my eyes to the fact that my previous group of friends was really a group of bullies, and had allowed me to come and hang out with him and his friends. I had been very surprised to find them welcoming me into their group happily.
“Hey, Naqasa,” he said, sitting down in a chair and leaning backwards in it. “You okay? Who was that dweeb, anyway?”
“That ‘dweeb’ is my other brother,” I said, sighing and resting my head on one of my hands. “The one Mom adopted from the pound yesterday.”
The Lupe frowned and said, “Wow, I’m sorry. I hope things get better.”
“I hope so,” I said.
“Right!” said Lily, laughing a little. “When Snorkles fly!”
“I think there are faerie Snorkles, aren’t there?”
“Yeah, I think so...” said Brian thoughtfully as he furrowed his eyebrows, trying to remember.
Lily threw up her arms in defeat.
“He’d probably be less mean had I not walked in on him last night,” I said, drawing a bit on my notebook. “I saw him when he didn’t want anybody to see him, and I think he’s punishing me for it.”
“Sheesh, what did you walk in on him doing?” asked Brian. “Pretending to be Judge Hog and wearing a blanket as a cape?”
“Surely this wouldst be ‘Playing the role of Judge Hog whilst substituting a blanket for a cape’ as an alternative?” suggested a yellow Lupe called Ettalo, who had started to speak this way ever since we had read a really old book by a famous Meridellian playwright called Tilliam Quakelance.
Brian raised an eyebrow and shrugged as a few of the other students laughed. Ettole was a pet who loved to rearrange the sentences of the other pets around him when the mood struck him, and by now we’d all gotten used to his quirks and sayings. Most of the time he was actually quite funny! It was strange how he used to hang alone like I’d used to before his sister, who was actually really rambunctious, pulled him out of obscurity and made him sit with us.
Ettole grinned and raised a pencil in the air as if he were holding a sword.
“I conquer thy vulgar language prowess whilst we converse!” he boasted, spurring on some more giggles. Then he looked at me and I knew that he wanted me to continue speaking.
“I... told you, I walked in on something personal,” I said, looking down and fiddling with my air faerie pen. The clouds near the end were very squishy. “He was remembering what life was like before the pound, I think.”
“Ohhhh...” said Lily, and a lot of the faces around me grew sympathetic towards Q’tai.
“Don’t tell him I told you!” I said, showing them that I was worried. “He’ll throttle me if he finds out I said anything!”
“That’s a polite phrase for it,” said Brian, shrugging.
“Yeah!” said Lily.
“On lighter subjects,” said Ettole’s energetic sister, Xelo, who was clearly trying to change the subject, “who’s going to the Yooyuball tryouts tomorrow?”
To be continued...
Author's Note: Thanks to uzumaki for letting me use her pets Xelorin and Ettalo in my series.