Another Chance: Part One
I slinked through the woods skilfully as I stared through the trees at a green glow. An Earth Faerie was foolishly wandering the Haunted Woods alone. Soon she would be in a bottle for sale. I may have been a large Lupe, but I had practiced years of being stealthy. My inky purple fur was like a shadow of the night as my paws hit the ground soundlessly. I saw that Earth Faerie ignorantly sitting in a clearing. I looked at her in disgust; it was her fault my life was so miserable. Maybe she had done nothing to me directly, but it had been faeries who had hurt me as a pup and made me who I was. To me, all faeries were the same. They were supposed to be good, kind, and helping to Neopia, but I have lived my whole life full of anguish and agony with no aid from them. Perhaps, if things had been different, I might have had another view on faeries, but fate had given me the life of Balthazar the bounty hunter.
With my net in hand, I prepared to pounce on the Faerie. In one quick motion I would trap her in my net, then into a bottle. I had been doing this for years and had yet to make a mistake, but tonight something went wrong. At first I didn’t see what it was that caused me to stumble to the ground. With a loud clunk, my body slammed down on the tough ground. I was not greatly hurt, but I was very angry when the faerie fluttered away nervously. I looked around me with fury and what had tripped me. I saw a pathetic baby Neopet, a Bruce.
“What do you think you’re doing!” I howled at him.
Rage had filled my head. This weak, tiny, Neopet had ruined my capture. Nobody ever got in my way; he would have to be punished. I extended my claws ready to tear him to shreds. Just as I was a hair away from him I caught sight of the ray gun in his hand.
All I remember after that was a flash and an evil, “Bwa ha ha!”
I opened my eyes carefully. I didn’t feel in any pain, only different. My mind was in a confused state as I tried to place what was wrong with. Once I had fully woken up, I realized with a shock that everything was much bigger than it had originally been. Every tree look twice as tall as I remembered. Then I noticed that my fur was no longer the cloudy purple, but a light periwinkle. This did not make any sense; my fur had been a dark indigo for as long as I remembered. I had to get to some sort of mirror and see what else had changed. I quickly dashed through the forest looking for a reflection. I found a pond and gasped at the creature gazing back at me. My body was tiny and I had a red bandana around my neck. I was a baby. Suddenly I remembered the Bruce, but now I realized that it was no ordinary pet; it was Boochi.
I angrily stormed away from the puddle of water and cursed Boochi in my mind. I tried to think of ways to get him to turn me back. If I found him, I could threaten him, but how would I get to him? Now that I was a pup, everything would be twice as hard. It was then that I came to the realization that I should be afraid. Almost all my life I had been one of the many monsters of the Haunted Woods with no fears, but now I was a prey to those beasts. A baby Lupe would not frighten anyone. All of my fame as a dangerous bounty hunter was gone. Anything could be lurking behind me wanting to snack on a defenceless baby. I began to panic as I thought of all the horrors of the Haunted Woods. But that wasn't all; now anything could be a threat.
As if to confirm my worries, a few minutes later I met Cyndi. At this time I didn’t know her by any other name than some user. She walked into my view with a small shivering Kyrii. Cyndi was average height for a user, had long black hair in a ponytail, and wore a whole lot of pink.
“Oooh, a Baby Lupe,” she cooed disgustingly. “Hey there, little guy.”
I tried to bark at her viciously, but it came out as an unthreatening squeak. I hated this baby body. When I was Balthazar, people would cower in fear and not dare to offend me. Now, they would look at me as an adorable little baby. I couldn't believe that all of my power had just vanished in a split second; now I had nothing. Instead of scaring off this user, I decided just to tell her to get lost. Unfortunately, as I tried to speak, I found that I couldn’t say more than a senseless babble; it was probably another side effect of being a baby.
“I think he wants to be left alone,” pointed out the red Kyrii; he had the right idea.
“I bet he’s just lost,” the girl erroneously suggested. “Have you been abandoned?”
I decided to nod; maybe if she knew, she would leave me alone. The sooner she left, the better for me. Then I could think clearly instead of having this girl constantly interrupt me.
“How would you like to come home with me?” she suggested.
I bared my teeth and growled at her babyishly. It wasn’t scary, but it showed that I was not happy.
“Okay, he doesn’t want to. Can we go now, Cyndi?” whined the Kyrii.
“I can’t leave a baby Lupe all alone in the forest,” declared Cyndi nobly. “He could get eaten. I bet he’s just confused.”
She then leaned down and picked me up. I could not stand this any longer. Why couldn't she just leave me alone? I had done everything in my power to get rid of her, yet now she was going to take me away. I was used to being feared; the last thing I wanted was to have this girl gushing over me for the rest of my life.
To get her to drop me, I yapped, nipped, and snarled at her. It seemed to have little effect; if I had been my normal body, she would have torn apart by now.
After much resisting, I made another discovery about my baby body: it tired easily. Soon I was exhausted in Cyndi’s arms. I closed my eyes automatically and somehow effortlessly fell asleep.
When I opened my eyes again, I was no longer in the dark and gloom of the Haunted Woods; I was in the bright and cheery Neopia Central. I grimaced at the amount of sunlight shining over me. This place was much different than the Haunted Woods. There were so many more colours. Everybody was smiling and waving to one another. At every turn there was a clump of insanely shaped shops. In no time we approached a Neohome, which I assumed Cyndi intended to make my home.
I proved to be correct when she announced, “This is going to be where you’ll live with me.”
The room I entered into was a large hall. There were stairs leading up and some decorative furniture. Everything was some shade of pink. I tried one last time to show her that this was not what I wanted. I howled, and yapped, and squeaked, but she just stroked me as if that would make me feel better. Out of a door to the side came a blue Cybunny who appeared to have been waiting for Cyndi.
“You’re back!” she cheered then upon noticing me, “Who’s that?”
“This is a Baby Lupe I found in the woods,” explained Cyndi. “He’s going to live with us.”
I managed to sneer at her to show my disapproval of her idea, but once again she didn’t get it.
“Allow me to introduce you to your new family. This Cybunny is your new sister, Rosie, and you’ve already met your brother, Jonathon,” said Cyndi.
I gave both of them a cruel stare to tell them to not come any closer. I think they got the message.
“Now we need a name for you,” declared Cyndi as she looked at me. “Since you’re always growling I’ll call you Growler.”
I hated my new name; it had none of the creativity or depth of Balthazar. I was just another boring pet now. Who could say the name Growler with respect? I couldn’t let Cyndi keep me here. Then I thought of the advantages; it may have been for the best if I stayed for a few days to learn how to use my new baby body while being fed and sheltered. I made my decision to stay here, but only for a while. I hoped that I would last.
“There’s a room upstairs that you can sleep in, Growler,” Cyndi offered.
I wanted to snap at her for using that name, but I was very tired and the thought of a soft bed was calling me. I didn’t even stop to think that I had never been in a bed before. I certainly hoped that I would not go soft from this experience. Cyndi took me upstairs and into a room with nothing but a bed. She placed me on the comfy mattress and in a matter of seconds I was ready to sleep.
Before I drifted I heard the wimpy Kyrii Jonathon say, “He sure is a grumpy guy.”
Then Cyndi answered, “I know, but he needs a family. I’m sure he’ll get used to us with time.”
Then I went into another easy sleep.
Cyndi proved to be wrong; at least, in my mind she was. I did not grow any closer to Cyndi over the next few days. I would often sleep the majority of the day away in my bed. Partly because as a baby every time was naptime, and partly because it was the only time when no one would bother me. I showed some sort of disapproval every time someone came close to me. I ate when fed, but aside from that I tried to avoid my family as much as possible. After a while I got an idea that maybe Cyndi would listen to me if I learned to talk. So over the next few days I always listened to the words I heard and tried to reteach myself English.
At night sometime I would creep out my window and prowl through the town. It was much quieter at night and I could examine paths and landmarks. In no time I knew Neopia Central like the back of my paw, my old paw that is. I always returned, but it wasn’t my intention to escape. I was practicing using my new body as skilfully as I had with my old one; this baby body had a long way to go and would probably never be as good as I once had been. Still, I wanted to get fit so that I could travel and survive when I left. I was also searching for the best escape route for when I was ready to leave.
“Hey Growler, do you want to play ball with us?” asked Rosie shyly.
I merely looked at her in disgust from my bed. I had learned that yapping, barking, snarling, and all other threatening actions were just a waste of my energy. Rosie left as always and went to play with Jonathon. My new siblings were not so bad; they understood that I preferred to be alone. Cyndi was another story; she was always trying to get me involved with whatever she was doing, from taking me to the store or giving me a bath. I mostly resisted, but sometimes she would not take no for an answer. I don’t know if she just couldn’t take a hint or if she was ignoring my constant signs of displeasure. As I thought about my new family, I drifted into one of my frequent naps.
To be continued...