Caution: Quills may be sharp Circulation: 142,862,738 Issue: 176 | 4th day of Awakening, Y7
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Achieving the Dream?


by jumperlilo

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The New Year helped me come to a decision. I made it a resolution to save up as much as possible so I could buy a Maraquan Paint Brush for my future Kau. After inheriting some NeoHome land, that turns out to basically be a field, which flooded sometime later, I couldn't think of a better Neopet.

     I felt that I should celebrate by helping out a Neopet in getting my Kau, and so promptly skipped off to the Pound. I searched long and hard for a Kau there, many an hour, but could not see one. Eventually I asked a Techo who seemed to be walking around in a laboratory outfit, for help.

     "A Kau?" he asked me.

     "Yes, any kind," I confirmed.

     He rubbed a smooth hand against his chin, "Yes, I think I can help you there. But I only have one - been here a while. We're using him as a labrat, but will stop when you adopt him of course. But by now, well, as you may imagine, he's not quite the same as he used to be."

     I gasped. "You're experimenting on Neopets?"

     The Techo chuckled. "What else do you think I do here? The Laboratory Ray needs a lot of testing, you know. Plus, I want the 'Pwned by the Lab' avatar."

     I glared at him, sticking my nose up high, but followed him anyway. I disagreed with what he was doing, but I did need a Kau, and it would be rescuing the poor creature. I couldn't help but wonder what was going to be wrong with it though, and whether it would sway my decision. What if it had Nimmo legs?

     "Here he is," the Techo grinned at me, gesturing at a young Kau who peered up from his cage. I fell in love with him instantly, and wanted to sweep him away from this terrible place. How fitting that soon he would be able to swim around free in my Holiday NeoHome.

     "I'll take him!" I exclaimed excitedly, at which point the Kau broke out into a large grin.

     The Techo opened the cage and tied a leash around the Kau's neck, leading both it and me towards the front desk. He entered some numbers and codes in a register and looked at me, waiting for a price to arrive on the little screen. "That'll be five hundred and twenty-eight neopoints please."

     I raised my eyebrows, thinking I could probably have this Kau as a battle pet too, then, since it obviously wasn't its Green colour driving up the price. I handed the neopoints over and was given the leash. I beamed proudly. "Thank you!" I flushed, before marching happily outside.

     Back at my own NeoHome, I settled the Kau into a nice room, filled with newly brought coral furniture. We smiled awkwardly at each other, and then I tried to make conversation. "So, what's your name?"

     "No name," he said, wide-eyed.

     "Oh." I thought for a moment. "How about Ribbet?"

     "Ribbet?" He frowned. "Why?"

     "It's a bit like ribbon, but cuter, don't you think? Plus if we tied a ribbon in your hair now…" I reached over, taking a shining blue ribbon from my pocket and, failing to find enough hair in his mane, I tied it round a horn.

     "Gelerts wear collars, not ribbons," he said, a confused expression forming on his face. I frowned back at him, wondering what significance that had with anything. We both said nothing for a moment, and then I shrugged and let it go.

     "How about we go get you a Petpet?" I suggested, thinking we could bond over the Tennas. "Or," I thought carefully, trying to show I was generous and not too overprotective, "I could give you neopoints and you could buy one of your own?"

     Ribbet looked excited, and I could have almost sworn I heard him bark. "I'd love to go shopping! I've never been shopping before, and well, I want to take a good long look around, so you might not want to come too."

     I nodded, a little disappointed but trying not to show it. I offered Ribbet thirty thousand neopoints, leaving my bank account feeling a little empty. I wasn't sure how I was going to start raising money for that Maraquan Paint Brush, but supposed it was worth it just to find such a nice, poorly treated Neopet and make them happy.

     Five hours later, Ribbet returned. I heard the front door open and immediately called out to him, "Hey Ribbet! What did you manage to get then?"

     "I got a Kookith," he shouted back proudly. I made a mad dash to meet him in the hallway, excited about finally being able to pet such an expensive Petpet. Upon my arrival, all I could do was stand still, my mouth gaping open.

     "That's a Babaa," I said, a little too accusingly. Ribbet looked affronted.

     "No, it isn't."

     "Yes, it is." I didn't want to argue with my new pet Kau, but he was either playing games or was delusional about this matter, since there was no way escaping the fact that Petpet in his hands was a woolly Babaa.

     He turned around, growling back as he climbed the stairs up to his room, "It is a Kookith, and now me and my Kookith are going upstairs to set up his bed and things," he shook a plastic bag full of Petpet objects, "which are all Kookith based."

     Twenty minutes later I was sure Ribbet had cooled down and would no longer be so angry. I felt bad for basically calling him a liar when we were meant to be bonding, and supposed that if he wanted to pretend that Babaa was a Kookith, more power to him. I took up a warm cup of cocoa and tapped gently on his door.

     "Come in," he said quietly. I could hear joyful baa's as I entered. The Babaa was jumping on its new bed, springing up and down. It accidentally landed on the floor a couple of times, but its wool cushioned the fall. I was surprised to see the Petpet furniture was Kookith based.

     "I brought you a drink," I said, offering him the cup. He took it, giving me a slight smile, and tipped it into a bowl. I watched fascinated as he lapped it up, but decided to leave the odd habit for discussion later (especially if it was by way of how the laboratory Techo fed him, in which case I didn't want to remind him about that time). "What have you called your… er, Petpet?"

     "His name is Meowzeroweneonew," Ribbet said proudly. I stared at him dazed for a few moments. "That's Meow for short," he elaborated, "but I wanted a name full of flavour, hence the original."

     I nodded understandably, and leaned over to hug Ribbet. He returned the hug and I was thoroughly content with my choice of Neopet; what a wonderful and friendly personality he had!

     Ribbet smiled sheepishly at me, "Shall we go for walkies now?"

     My eyes bulged. I had no idea Kau enjoyed strolling about, and with leashes on (one he was holding in his mouth at the one). I stuttered before thinking what to say, "Actually I have to go do something, back soon."

     I hurried over to the Neopian Pound. It was getting dark, and I was worried about the Pant Devil and other creatures sneaking up on me, but managed to make the journey fine. The lobby was clear, and I headed straight for the front desk. A Uni stood behind it, talking into a phone. I rang the bell urgently, as I could see there was the Laboratory Techo near the back, by filing cabinets. He turned round and walked toward me. "How may I help you, madam?"

     "You've given me a faulty Kau," I said, looking a bit flustered. I checked around me and saw the Uni had broken off her call to give me a nasty look. I shook my head trying to explain, "I don't want to return him or anything, but he's definitely not… exactly the Kau I was looking for. He doesn't act like a Kau."

     "So all Neopets must conform to a certain way of living now?" the Uni said, glowering at me.

     I shook my head again, more vigorously so, giving me a little headache. I waited for the spinning feeling to end then continued, "It's just, I wondered why he's acting so strange. I mean, when I came, you," I nodded towards the Techo, "told me something was odd about him. I can't place my finger on exactly what you meant though. I just know that my Kau asked me for walkies, and brought home a Babaa, thinking it's a Kookith. He's even brought it Kookith furniture."

     The Uni raised her eyebrows, "But still -"

     "Don't worry Amoretta," the Techo said abruptly. "I'll handle this." He took my hand and let me behind the counter, toward the filing cabinets. He searched for the drawers labeled 'G' and then for names beginning with 'K'. "Our name changes are very up to date," he explained, though I didn't understand why. "They have to be for lab pets, it means swapping them around all the time. They're label by species, then name. I couldn't be bothered to swap Kau's files around to be honest, so I just changed his name on his file so I could do it later."

     "What are you talking about?" I asked, tired of being confused.

     "Your new pet Kau used to be a Gelert. He still thinks of himself as one, and subsequently, I believe the other Neopets have exploited his lack of attaching images to names, and I found a list of Petpet names and images they'd mixed up, including the Babaas and Kookiths. Thank goodness they didn't move onto the other everyday objects, eh?"

     I nodded slowly. "I think I'm starting to understand you now."

     "Yes, but unfortunately he changed species before I could get the avatar and just kept getting stat changes afterwards. Very annoying I'm sure you'll agree."

     I frowned at him, but didn't comment. My mind was still reeling. "Thanks," I mumbled, and wandered out. The Uni watched me, still glaring.

     Outside it was even darker than before, but I didn't worry so much. I was concentrating on how I could make this new information work. So what if my Kau thought it was a Gelert? I still loved him. I wasn't going to abandon him to go under the ray again. But should I explain to him he's wrong now? Should I get him to call his Babaa, a Babaa? Or is wrong for me to confuse him more?

     I rounded a corner, and a shadow somehow managed to appear in the darkness. I pondered how a shadow could be darker than the darkness and normal shadows, but I figured stranger things had happened today, that is, until the shadow started talking to me.

     "Hand over all your neopoints and items," it hissed.

     I felt a shiver go down my spine. It was the Shadow Usul. "I don't have anything," I said to the darkness, my voice shaky. I was spinning around, trying to spot her exact location, to no avail.

     Suddenly I felt paws on my chest, knocking me to the ground. I was being robbed, and it felt horrible. I had roughly eight thousand neopoints in my pocket, taken from the kitchen table as the change Ribbet had left over from his shopping, and I always carried my Water Faerie Doll around with me in my bag, because I thought it would be safer with me, and couldn't bear to part with it. Now it was all going to be gone.

     The Shadow Usul's eyes gleamed as it held up the bag of neopoints, and then I saw it spot the doll, which it immediately pounced on, only to be knocked sideways by what I thought at first was a flying Elephante.

     I watched a scuffle ensue, and the Shadow Usul retreated quickly, along with my neopoints, but I was glad that was all. I watched the bulky build Elephante, only to realise it was my beloved Kau, standing proud.

     "Oh, Ribbet, well done! I've never seen a Kau leap like that before." I ran over and, rather thoughtfully, patted him on the head as though he were a Gelert.

     "Gelerts can leap and hop and jump very well," he said, wagging his little Kau tail.

     * * *

     Three months have gone on since I got Ribbet. I've persuaded him about how things really are, but also have explained to him that it's not wrong to think he's a Gelert though, since he is inside. He now recognizes that Meow is a Babaa however, but both are already attached to the Kookith furniture.

     Today I brought a Maraquan Paint Brush, and hopped up to Ribbet's room. I couldn't hide the huge grin on my face as I knocked and he opened the door. I held the Paint Brush out to him. He looked embarrassed.

     "Er, Gelerts don't come in the colour Maraquan," he said sheepishly.

     Over three months of dreaming. Three months.

The End

 
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