He heard footsteps outside his door. They padded lightly, so he presumed it was someone small. Gripping the wooden pencil he had been tapping incessantly for the past half an hour, he held his breath, craned his neck and listened intently.
The footsteps stopped abruptly outside his door. He could sense hesitation from the being outside. Silence reigned for a few seconds before the door slowly creaked open. At this, he took a deep breath, readying his lungs, bracing himself for the entrant. Slowly, hesitantly, the figure let itself in and he bit his lip in anticipation. This was it; the moment he had been preparing himself for.
“WHO SAID YOU COULD BARGE INTO MY OFFICE, YOU LOUSY INGRATE!!!”
A shout that would put the Snowager to shame resonated throughout the Neopian Pound. This was followed by the crying of a small Kacheek as he bolted into the arms of the kindly pink Uni.
Sighing, she petted the poor, traumatized Neopet’s head and glared at the smirking figure at the doorway.
“Good going, Doctor D, you’re a real ray of sunshine.” Her tone was laced with sarcasm.
“Why, thank you, Coral, you’re too kind” was the nonchalant reply, as the said ray of sunshine stuffed his hands in his pockets and strolled back into his office.
Groaning, Coral followed the retreating figure. “Seriously, would it kill you to be nice for once? That must have been the fifth one you scared today. All that poor Neopet wanted was to ask for his Maraquan colouring book he left here the other day.”
“And you could, you know, treat some of these pets here with a little more sympathy; not everyone likes to see the face of death every time they walk into your office.”
“I mean, these poor Neopets were abandoned. We should treat them with joy, happiness and love. We have to shower these poor creatures with care and concern, and remind them daily that their world is not the dark and dismal place they imagine, but filled with rainbows! That is the power of love!” Coral finished with a slight twirl of her hooves.
Doctor Death had stared blankly at her throughout her elaborate (and cheesy) speech. When she finished, he drawled in the most uninterested voice he could muster, “What’s your point?”
This was when Coral had one of her rare tempers. Slamming her hoof on the table, she proceeded to tell Doctor Death exactly what she thought of him.
“ARRRRGH!! I GIVE UP! YOU’RE HOPELESS!! I BET YOU COULDN’T EVEN BE NICE EVEN IF YOUR LIFE DEPENDED ON IT, YOU UNFEELING LITTLE-”
“I’D RATHER BE NASTY THAN A GOODY TWO SHOES LIKE YOU!!”
By this time, all the pound pets had gathered outside the door listening in on their heated (and very childish) argument.
“YOU- YOU- SMELLY SOCK!!”
Doctor Death burst out laughing, “That’s the best you can come up with?”
Coral opened her mouth to retort but was silenced by the Doctor.
“Instead of arguing like little children,” he began, unknowingly insulting all the small pets gathered outside, “I propose that we have a little bet. With the stakes being dinner at the restaurant Kelp.”
“Bet? On what?” Despite herself, Coral was curious.
“Hmm... I suggest we change our roles. You have to be nasty, and I have to be n... n...” Doctor Death took a deep breath, “...nice.”
“Fine,” agreed Coral confidently, “we seal it with a pinky promise.”
“Err... no need.” Doctor Death stifled a laugh. This was in the bag.
The pound pets outside clamored for a better eavesdropping spot, “What’re they saying? What’re they saying?”
“Dunno. All I heard was something about a coconut...”
The next day...
Hmmm... Nasty, huh, Coral thought to herself. I’ll show that obnoxious Techo ‘Nasty’!
She scanned around for her first ‘victim’, which, coincidentally, happened to be the little Kacheek Doctor Death had scared previously.
“Hey there, kid!” she called after him. Heh... see how rude I am... I didn’t address him by his proper name! she thought triumphantly.
The Kacheek approached her readily, smile plastered on his face. “Yes, Coral?”
Coral then proceeded to give him the evilest look she could muster.
“Ummm... I think we have some medicine for Blurred Vision in the medicine cupboard...”
“Eheh... No I’m fine...” Coral flushed. “Umm... run along now...”
Doctor Death, too, wasn’t exactly having the easiest time in his life.
He decided that his first act of being nice was going to start in the dining hall, where most of the pets would be polishing off their lunch. He pushed open the double doors leading to the hall and was met by...
A deathly silence. (No pun intended.)
The entire room of previously talking and laughing pets became as silent as the game graveyard. A few of the younger ones gave him a look of pure terror. Doctor Death walked down the room, giving all the pets around him what he assumed was a smile.
“Every time the doctor smiles, a Puppyblew dies...”
Instantly, he whipped around to face the offender, finding himself looking at an Acara with poor whispering skills. The look on her and her Shoyru friend’s face was one of pure abject terror.
“WHY, YOU LITTLE RUNT, I OUGHTA-!!” Fortunately, he caught himself in time. “...oughta... offer you some dessert!” he finished with a twitch that was a vain attempt of a smile.
The doctor grabbed the nearest dessert bowl (which actually belonged to a poor little Cybunny) and thrust it in their faces. “Here, DARLINGS, would you like more dessert?” Another smile-twitch.
“N-no t-t-hanks, w-we’ve already eat-eaten,” stammered the poor Acara.
“Are. You. Sure?” Doctor Death’s voice was laced with sugar. He prodded the bowl in their faces.
Fearing what horrible punishment the Doctor would meet out should they refuse his offer of strawberry jelly; the two pets nodded and proceeded to gulp down the jelly as if their lives depended on it.
“Ah... It’s so nice to see you two enjoying it...” breezed Doctor Death, misinterpreting their squeak of fear for an exclamation of joy. “Here, have some more, if you wish.”
A poor Pteri was robbed of his jelly this time. By this time, the dining hall was slowly being emptied.
“Doctor, what in the name of Lord Kass’s dirtiest laundry is going on?”
Coral had entered an unusually empty dining room, with its only occupants being Doctor Death and two pets currently drowning in jelly.
“What is going on, you ask,” Doctor Death swaggered up to her, “I’m being NICE to these pets. Aren’t I?” He turned on the two pets, both of which burst into tears. Coral smirked.
The Techo sighed. “Alright, fine, it’s harder than I thought. How are you doing?”
“Alright, Coral, yesterday was a fiasco, but today is different!” Coral told herself confidently in the mirror. “Now, let’s see your mean look!”
She pulled a constipated face.
She checked her watch; it was two, the time at which she would normally bake chocolate frosted cookies for the pets. Hmmm... an idea formed in her head.
One hour later...
“Coral! Coral! Can we have your yummy chocolate frosted cookies now?? Please?” chirped the pets around her.
“Eheheh! You’re all in for a surprise!” Coral announced to the crowd, “Because today, there is no... CHOCOLATE FROSTING!!”
She triumphantly held up a plate of chocolate frosted cookies that were completely devoid of chocolate frosting, which made them, well, cookies.
“YAY, COOKIES! THANKS, CORAL!”
“Wuh... wait, but there’s no choco-” Coral didn’t get to finish her sentence as the happy throng rushed past her with the tray.
That went a lot better in her imagination. Maybe Doctor is right, she sighed, defeated. I’m no good at this mean thing; I should just get my wallet ready and tell him.
Trudging slowly up, she made her way to the doctor’s office, but just as she was about to turn the doorknob, the door flew open and a Gelert darted past, screaming his lungs out.
“COME BACK HERE, YOU COWARDLY LITTLE-I mean, sugar muffin!!” came the unmistakable voice of Doctor Death.
“Hey, Doc,” Coral greeted him nervously.
“WELCOME, YOU CUTE LITTLE- oh, it’s you, Coral.” The doctor looked slightly more upset than usual when he saw her. “Come in...”
“I have something to say...” She twisted her hooves around nervously, but he ignored her.
“Look, for these past two days I’ve tried being nice, tried and tried and tried.” He was pacing up and down the office now. “All I’ve succeeded in doing is made five pets cry, driven one of them to paint himself invisible so he can avoid me, made two pets develop an irrational fear of drawers, and I swear one of them develops NeoBlues every time the word ‘carrot’ is mentioned, and...”
Coral raised an eyebrow.
“Anyway,” Doctor Death cleared his throat, “I admit that I... have lost the bet. As promised, I will buy you dinner at Kelp.”
“Umm... Thank you, Doctor.” Coral smiled. “I’m glad the bet is over, and we can go back to our respective nice and nasty selves. I prefer you as your mean old self anyway. You’re a lot nicer when you’re nasty.”
“Why, thank you.” Doctor Death had a genuine smile on his face, “By the way, what was it you wanted to say earlier?”
“Oh... nothing,” Coral smiled, clutching her empty wallet.
After all, she could be a lot nastier when she was nice.
My first time writing for the NT so constructive criticism is appreciated!