A little red haired girl steps off the ship, a little dazed. She looks around her in amazement. She has never seen such a strange place! Everywhere she looks, there are strange creatures walking with humans. From what her friend had told her, the creatures were called “Neopets”. A grin spreads across her face. She will like it here.
She follows the crowd of people towards a little building. Once inside, they are questioned by important-looking people. The girl, a little nervous, steps up to a desk. The woman behind it looks up briefly, then picks up her pen. She motions for the girl to sit in a hard wooden chair.
“Name?” she asks.
“Annie,” the girl replies.
“Age?” the woman questions.
“Eight,” says Annie.
After more questions, lasting about fifteen minutes, the woman thanks her, then calls “Next!”. Annie gets up, and follows another crowd to another building. This one is bigger, and filled with noise. When Annie walks in, she gasps. The whole building is filled with large pens, each holding a large number of a certain type of Neopet. The place is colorful, filled with reds, greens, blues, and yellows. She browses the pens, looking at each type of Neopet. She stops in front of a pen filled with slightly teddy bear-looking Neopets. The plaque on the railing read “Yurble”. Her eyes fill with light. A helper comes up to her.
“Hello,” he says. “Would you like any help picking a Neopet?”
“No,” she says. “I want one of these.”
“Ah, a Yurble. Excellent choice. There are a few more outside, if you would like to look.”
He helps her over the fence, and they duck through an opening in the wall. Outside are even more Yurbles! And as Annie looks over the fence, she sees that all pens have an outdoor part, too. She wanders through, looking at each individual pet. Finally, she stops in front of a little green Yurble. She looks up at the man, and tells him, “I want him.”
As the girl and her pet walk out, she looks down at him, and smiles. Tentatively, he smiles back. He reaches up, and grasps her hand. She squeezes it, and they walk towards their new home. Her friend, the same that had told her of this place, had built a little house on the edge of Neopia Central. It is small, only four rooms, but it is enough for them. The little Yurble looks around him in amazement. All this for him? Annie is exploring, too. She has never seen her home either. It is a surprise welcoming gift. As soon as they are both settled, Annie goes into her pet’s room. He’s sitting down on his bed, looking very excited. She sits in his desk chair, and faces him.
“You need a name. You don’t have a name, do you?” she asks him.
He shakes his head and says “No.”
“Well, then. I’ll call you....” She ponders for a bit, then she grins. “I’ll call you Sageran!”
The Yurble smiles and repeats his name.
The next day, Annie and Sageran go out and explore their new home. They pass shop after shop, looking in the windows. They buy a loaf of bread with the little money they have. With the rest, they open a bank account. They stop by the Money Tree, and manage to grab 300 NP and a Butterfish. They sit under a nearby tree and enjoy their lunch. Annie suddenly gasps, and rushes over to a little pool filled with every color imaginable. Sageran follows, looking excited. He joins his owner on a low bench, and settles down, as if to watch a show. Annie’s eyes are glued to the Neopets in the pool. She watches as a Xweetok steps in, is handed a brush, and dives under. She surfaces a few minutes later, but she looks completely different! Instead of her once-red stripe, she has a teal stripe! And wings! Next to her, Sageran is busy staring at a Blumaroo. He too is given a brush, then cannonballs into the water, splashing several others. In a minute, he climbs out, admiring his new stars. Then, his eyes widen. On the other side of the rainbow in the middle of the pool, barely visible, are darker pets. He gapes as a Green Bori climbs in, then reappears hideously mutated. But then Annie catches his arm, and he looks away. She points to her watch, telling him it’s getting late.
As they walk home, Annie turns to him.
“Sage,” she says seriously. “Someday, you’ll be in that pool. I promise.”
He smiles, happy that he has such a loving owner.
Years pass. Annie grows, and so does Sageran. They become rich Neopians, and move to Altador. Sageran remains an only pet, and the pride and joy of Annie. She buys him a Raindorf to keep him company when she has to leave on trips around the world. They make many friends, and are very popular with the upper classes. In Altador, they are friends with the eleven rulers. Often you will find them dancing with Sasha, or discussing planting with Florin. Whenever Annie is called away, Sageran will wander around Altador, chatting with vendors, taking his Raindorf over to the Fanciful Fauna to play with the other Petpets.
Annie is packing for a trip to Brightvale when Sageran knocks on her door. He steps in, and Annie turns around.
“Yes?” she asks.
“Uh, Annie?” he starts. “While you’re in Brightvale, I was wondering... Would you maybe buy me a paintbrush?”
She smiles. “Of course. Is there any color you want?”
“Well, I was hoping I’d be painted Electric.”
“I’ll see if I can find any,” she reassures him. “Would you help me pack?”
Without a word, he picks up a pile of folded clothes and sets them down into an open suitcase. They spend the next two hours packing, and making sure everything Annie needs is with her. They then walk down to the docks, and Sageran watches as she boards the boat. He waves to her until she is lost on the horizon. He then turns around and heads home. He thinks of a better idea, and turns left, climbing the winding road until he reaches the Archives. He sits down at a table, and picks up a book he had left behind a few days ago. Sageran sits, absorbed in his book, for many hours. As it gets dark, Finneus comes in to clear the building.
A week later, Sageran is woken by the sound of the front door slamming. He jumps out of bed, and runs down the stairs. Annie sets down her bags, and hugs him.
“Did you miss me?” they ask in unison. They laugh, and he helps bring her suitcases up to her room. There are a few more bags than there were when she left, but this is normal. Annie always brings back a few souvenirs from wherever she’s been. When all the luggage has been put away, Sageran sits on the bed, looking expectant. Annie notices, and a huge grin spreads across her face.
“Expecting something?” she asks teasingly. He nods his head furiously. “Well then, you’re lucky. Because I have a few things for you!”
She pulls out a bag, filled with items. One by one, she pulls them out to show her beloved pet. After she puts down the last item, she reaches into the bag one last time. Sageran, his eyes huge, waits in anticipation. With a flourish, she pulls out an Electric Paint Brush. Sageran squeals, and jumps up to hug Annie. Within moments, both are out the door, Sageran pulling his owner, urging her to go faster. She laughs, and they make it to the docks in record time. The captain smiles at Sageran’s excitement, and the boat launches.
The minute they pull in, Sageran is off the boat, and dashing for the Rainbow Pool. Annie is close behind, nearly as excited as he is. Without breaking stride, he dives in, and Annie waits at the edge. When he surfaces, Sageran’s smile practically splits his face. Her expression matches his. He steps out, and shakes off the excess water. Then he looks down at himself. His once-green fur is a rich blue, with shots of light blue. His joy is so great, all around him people watch him and smile. They remember when their pets were first painted. He hugs Annie, and she hugs him back. She whispers in his ear, “I’ll always be there for you!”
Time passes on. Owner and pet continue to grow. Before long, Annie is a young woman. Sageran, once a small Yurble, now reaches his owner’s elbow. They are happy together, but lately, Sageran has noticed that Annie has been distant lately. Her smiles have become a little absent, like she’s far away. He has asked her what’s been bothering her, but she just smiles and says, “Nothing.” She spends more time away from home, not just on business trips. Visiting old friends and such. Unlike the old days, she doesn’t ask Sageran to come along.
Then Annie does something she hasn’t done for years. She asks him to come with her to Faerieland. Surprised, but nonetheless pleased, he says yes. They pack quickly, and they board the ship that takes them up to the clouds. As they settle in to a hotel, Sageran notices that Annie has brought more luggage than usual. It seems as though she has brought almost her whole room with her. He’s puzzled, but says nothing. Annie slips through the connecting door, and Sageran turns around.
“You wanna go for walk?” she asks.
The two of them walk around the city, shopping a bit. Finally, they stop at a little ice cream bar. Annie buys them each a sundae, and they sit down. Annie turns to her pet, her eyes serious.
“Sage,” she says. “I’ve got something to tell you.”
He stops eating. “What?”
“Sage, I know we’ve had a lot of fun together, but...” she swallows. “I can’t stay here any longer. I had a life back home. I need to return to it.”
Sageran stares at her, not believing his ears. Annie, leave? It couldn’t happen! She was his life, his best friend! Suddenly, all the luggage made sense.
“Sage, I’m going home.” This time, “home” wasn’t their mansion. “Home” was somewhere they couldn’t be together.
A Yurble sits in an empty mansion, listlessly staring out the window. His Raindorf sits in his lap, silently urging him to get up. He looks down, then sighs. “I’ll always be there for you!” His owner’s words had haunted him ever since she had left. He’s been alone now for five years. Every day of those five years has been spent in front of the same window, keeping vigil. He sits, silently, wishing for his owner. He barely eats, unless his Raindorf reminds him. He’s not even a Neopet anymore. He’s just a shell, waiting to be filled again. His eyes flutter, then close. He sleeps, dreamlessly, filling in the empty hours. His Raindorf stays awake, watching the road. After several hours, he squeaks. The Yurble jerks awake. He peers out into the gathering twilight. His eyes widen as he sees a figure approaching. As it draws nearer, the figure becomes clearer. It’s a redheaded woman, strangely familiar, yet different. She calls out. At first, he can’t tell what she’s saying. She calls again, and this time, he can understand.
“Sage? Sage, are you there?”
Without a moment’s thought, he jumps up and runs out the door. He runs towards the figure, tears streaming down his cheeks. The figure puts down her bags and runs towards him. Owner and pet collide, furiously hugging each other. They don’t let go of each other for a solid five minutes. When they do, they look at each other.
“Did you miss me?” they ask in unison, and laugh. Annie smiles. She’s home.
If you're reading this... FIRST TIME IN THE NT!!! I worked for 2 days on this, so hopefully it gets in!
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|Witches in the Shadows: Part Two|
The figure, still clad tightly in robes that obscured most of his form, checked the contents of a small bag. Inside, over a dozen Lightmites buzzed, filling the bag with their pure yellow glow.