The Lutaris are Late
It started out as a normal day on Lutari Island. Everyone was going about their business, darting in and out of shelters to avoid the ever pouring rain. The pets here, mostly Lutaris, were all extremely friendly.
“Hey, Bill!” one would call, with a cordial wave to his neighbor.
“Sup, Greg?” the other would respond, laughing. Yes, the pets here were very, very nice.
Unfortunately, Lutaris had a few bad habits. They were not perfect, but who is? So maybe no one on Lutari Island owned an up-to-date calendar. That’s just Lutaris for you.
When the brave Pteri landed haphazardly in the center of the island, its feathers ruffled and wet from the weather, everyone was quite shocked. It was rare they got visitors, and today was a particularly stormy day.
“Greetings!” they called out from here and there, some leaning out windows and others peering out doors. They all were calm, as they watched the newcomer curiously.
The newcomer was not calm. In fact, the cloud Pteri was quite dismayed. “My goodness, what are you all still doing here?” The inhabitants of Lutari Island shared an awkward laugh.
“Well, this is our home,” one tall Lutari responded, tilting his head. Perhaps the storms had made this flying friend dazed and confused. “We are always here.”
“Not on Neopets’s birthday!” the bird shouted with anguish. “You should be in Neopia! For the Create-a-Pet festival!”
Oh. The Lutaris were left speechless, as they glanced at each other.
“Is... that today?”
“Yes!” the Pteri responded, throwing his wings up. “You’re late, so very late!”
Panic hit the island, as Lutaris disappeared back into their houses, yelling to each other with excitement. Pets scrambled for clothes, backpacks, and their trinkets. Mothers instructed their children sternly, doing their best to prep the young for their first ever Create-a-Pet festival.
“Stand up straight, brush your fur, always say ‘yes sir’ and ‘no sir’.” Children nodded absently, their eyes glowing with anticipation. Their first Create-a-Pet festival! Easily, the CaP festival, as it was often shortened to, was the most exciting celebration in all of Neopets's worlds, and even a few of Sloth’s worlds. Beyond that, it was a festival exclusively for limited edition pets.
In the center of the town, the Pteri was resting, while some of the older Lutaris quizzed him.
“Have they started the festival?”
“Who’s going first?”
“I bet it’s those Cybunnies- they always throw a fit about going first.”
With a wave of his wing, the Pteri cut off the talk. “This year it’s alphabetical. Chombies are first up, Cybunnies are second. Well, with the exception of the Tonus. They have their Horn Festival tomorrow, so they’re going in the middle of the day.”
There was a silence, as the surrounding Lutaris frowned in concentration. Alphabetically... “That means we’re... second to last?” one calculated aloud, and the Pteri nodded.
“Just the Poogles go after you.”
“Ugh, Poogles,” said one of the oldest Lutaris, a pet with a bent back and a heavy wooden walking stick. “Never did like them. Too short.”
“Regardless, you need to get back before they go,” replied the bird with a sigh. “If you don’t, I promise you, there’s going to be a bunch of disappointed owners.”
The reality hit the group, and the Lutaris nodded. It wouldn’t be nice to disappoint the owners who were trying to get themselves a limited edition pet. Especially if there was someone who specifically wanted a Lutari. Which, of course, there always was: year after year, Lutaris continued to prove themselves one of the most popular pets.
Families were grouping up, and pets converged, mingling together in a colorful ball of red, blue, green, and yellow. Only basic Lutaris would make this trip. The older, painted pets would stay back and maintain the village.
Mothers were calling for children, children were calling to other children, and fathers were simply annoyed by the whole process. Chaos wasn’t a significant word for the social breakdown that happened on the shore of the island. A mass of pets, pushing and shoving, shouting, growling, laughing, and giggling.
It was a young girl who was the first to dive into the murky waters, her blue coat helping her blend in and disappear under the current. Her mother was short to follow, seemingly aggravated by the girl’s impatient departure. “Sally, come back here!” the yellow Lutari growled, as she dived into the waters.
Other Lutaris began to scrape together their courage. If a young girl could do it, surely they could do it too. The whole process was anything but organized, as the mass pressed closer to the shore, and colorful shapes slipped into the rough waters.
And then they were on their way, a group of seafaring mammals, moving through the torrid waters with unprecedented grace. Indeed, a Lutari migration is a sight to behold, as the whole thing seems choreographed. With every change in water, even if it be minute, all the Lutaris will adapt at the same time. Their thoughts run parallel as they swim, the water coursing over their sleek fur.
Then the waters settled. Their swimming became easier, and light began to filter down from above. The pack started to swim higher and higher, until their backs brushed the air.
“That’s Mystery Island,” a young Lutari breathed, his green head sticking above the calm waters. Never before had he seen the island, made distinct by the grey plume of smoke rising from the island. The smoke was from one of Mystery Island’s defining features- the volcano.
“No way,” replied another youngster, his own eyes wide with disbelief as he took in the tropical island.
“Hurry up, or you’ll get left behind!” At the shout from an older Lutari, both boys disappeared back under the water, quickening their pace. No one wanted to be left behind on a day like this.
The group continued, past Maraqua, past Tyrannia, past Meridell. They moved swiftly as they passed each of these destinations. There was no time to spend sightseeing, what with the clock continually ticking. They had to get to Neopia before the Poogles went.
Several Blumaroos waved at the group as they streaked past Roo Island. “We’re almost there,” mothers cooed to their children, who were tiring fast. Anticipation was building up in all the Lutaris, as the sun continued its descent in the sky.
When sand rose up, and the travelers found themselves a foot hold, they were all smiles. Fathers were grinning and clapping each other on the back. Mothers fretted over their children, happy but still anxious. “Oh, I hope your new owner brushes your teeth every day!”
“Mom!” children complained, swiping away their doting mothers’ paws with embarrassment. Everyone was more than ready for the festival, as they pulled themselves from the ocean and towards Neopia.
“We’re here!” they shouted in chorus as they arrived in Neopia Central, dripping ocean water from their fur. Several children let out happy squeals, and a few punched the air.
A few nearby neopets stared at the rag-tag group, baffled.
“... um, hi,” a few Neopian pets greeted the group, clearly confused.
“Where’s the festival?” the Lutaris inquired cheerfully, shiny white teeth glinting in the peaceful Neopia sunshine.
The Neopian pets shared a look. “Um,” an Aisha said, approaching the ground, “the Create-a-Pet festival was yesterday.”
The Aisha’s words didn’t really register with the group. “Haha, what?” a large male said, waving off the Aisha’s words without concern. “Seriously, where is it?” When the red four eared pet didn’t answer, the Lutari grew silent.
“We missed it?” one little boy whined, slumping forward. “Lame!” Most of the other Lutaris were left speechless.
“I guess... the storm did confuse that Pteri,” a female suggested, scratching her head. “... you know, I swear I saw him yesterday, flying outside the storm.” A few of the other Lutaris turned to her, mouths agape.
“How come you didn’t mention that earlier?”
“Well, it could have been any Pteri!” the Lutari defended, crossing her arms. A few others continued to snap at her, while she acidly defended. But in the end, what was done was done. The Lutaris had missed the festival.
The moral of the story?
“That’s it, I’m buying a calendar,” a Lutari said, shoving his way through the crowd. The decision quickly became unanimous, and very soon the Gift Shop Scorchio found himself swamped by a mess of colorful tropical pets, all itching for pocket calendars.
So look both ways before crossing the street, stay in school, and if you don’t own a calendar, be prepared to face the consequences.