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Traded


by natalia_ivanovna

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“Are my faerie pancakes ready yet?” Princessa drawled as she stretched, shaking off early morning sleep residue. Yawning, she padded over to an ornate full-length mirror resting smack dab in the middle of the rose wallpapered wall and smiled. Yes, she was a lovely pink Draik indeed, beautiful and rare, the envy of all her owner’s friends and their pets.

     “My dear, you are the most fortunate pet in all Neopia,” she told her reflection contentedly. Brushing a comb through her hair, she walked down the curved stairs in the elegantly decorated home and made her way to the kitchen.

     “Morning, Princessa,” her owner, Sarah, said. The delicious aroma of melting butter and pancake batter filled the Draik’s nostrils.

     “Morning, Sarah. What’s our appointment schedule like today? Have we many guests to entertain?” Princessa asked primly. Most days they had at least one person over for lunch or dinner, delighting in the praise and flattery inevitably bestowed on both owner and pet. Just the day before, three friends had visited throughout the day.

     “Why, however did you get such a lovely Draik?” one had said, leaning over to stroke Princessa’s smooth skin and flawless features.

     “You’re divinely lucky to have Princessa, darling,” another had said.

     “I’m terribly jealous,” finished the third. Princessa smiled, remembering the visits. It had been a good day.

     “No one today, Princessa,” Sarah said, shaking the Draik out of her reverie. “I’m afraid I’ll be out the whole day.” Princessa tilted her head to one side, helping herself to a freshly made pancake.

     “Oh? That’s too bad. I even had a new outfit all picked out. Maybe tomorrow then,” Princessa said. Seating herself down in a cushioned chair, she began to eat, cutting the pancakes into neat squares before pushing a perfectly proportioned piece into her mouth.

     “Well, we’ll see.” Picking up her plate and cup, Sarah put them in the sink to wash later. She stood up and dabbed on the barest hint of lip gloss. Grabbing her purse, she headed out of the room.

     “Bye, Princessa,” came her voice before the door snapped shut behind her. Princessa stared at the table for a moment before resuming to eat. She wondered what it was that Sarah had gone to do; it was rare that Sarah went anywhere and didn’t take Princessa with her. The two of them always made such a lovely vision, walking down cobblestone paths in Neopia Central together, dressed in the most fashionable clothing and immaculately accessorized. Oh well, she would find out soon, she told herself.

     The rest of the day was uneventful; Princessa groomed herself and tried on different combinations of clothes and shoes. Evening drew near and Sarah still hadn’t returned. Princessa was almost about to go to sleep out of sheer boredom when the door swung open and Sarah came in. Her face was alight and she had a strange smile on her face.

     “Where have you been? It’s been so long!” Princessa said. Sarah didn’t answer. Instead, she gave Princessa a cursory smile and swept into her bedroom. There was nothing to do but for Princessa to turn in as well. Surely the mystery would be solved the next day, the Draik thought as her head hit the soft pillow.

     The next day was no better. Something odd was definitely happening and Princessa wasn’t sure exactly what it was. Sarah said barely a sentence or two to her before heading out again, returning again nearing nightfall. This continued on for another two days. Princessa had almost decided to shake Sarah till she explained herself when the girl walked over to the Draik of her own accord and sat down on the sofa.

     “You’d better sit down too,” Sarah told her. Princessa complied.

     “So I’ve got great news,” Sarah said. “I didn’t want to say anything till I was sure but now the deal is final. You’re going to have a new owner and I’m going to have a royal colored Draik!” Sarah turned to look at Princessa excitedly. Princessa felt like she had been kicked in the stomach. This was Sarah’s great news? Had she lost her mind?

     “You... you’re joking, right? Is this your way of saying you’re getting me painted royal?” Princessa felt the smallest twinge of hope emerge in her heart. It was instantly crushed with Sarah’s answer.

      “No, silly. I’m trading you with Lillian, do you remember Lillian? She was that lovely royal Draik I practically died over. Now Marge, you remember Marge right, Lillian’s owner? She and I were having lunch and talking it over and she said she’d always loved your name and that she wanted to have you, maybe even paint you something gorgeous like island or Maraquan. Well, you could’ve knocked me over with a feather! Of course, I told her that would be wonderful,” Sarah finished in a rush, out of breath. She smiled at Princessa. The Draik was silent.

     “Well, isn’t this fabulous, darling? I simply can’t wait!” Sarah said, when Princessa didn’t respond. Princessa shook her head. This couldn’t be happening. Could it?

      “Sarah,” Princessa finally said in a small voice, “aren’t you going to miss me? How will we be the deadly duo if I’m not with you?”

      Sarah began to frown. “Now, you’re not going to get all clingy and sentimental on me, are you, Prin? Lillian’s just as rich, if not richer, than I am. You won’t want for anything. What are you whining for? This is a great opportunity for the both of us.”

      Princessa opened her mouth to argue but Sarah’s angry face made her close it. Sarah was serious. Quietly, Princessa walked to her room.

     She plopped onto her soft pink bed and looked around at all her things. She felt tears bubble in her eyes and threaten to overflow. Sarah had been the one to hatch her from an egg; she had never known another owner. Life without Sarah would be unimaginable... and yet, maybe it wouldn’t be so bad, Princessa suddenly thought, straightening herself upright. Marge was rich. And she was Sarah’s friend, so they’d be sure to visit one another. No, Princessa, she told herself, this may be a good thing yet. You’re gorgeous, remember? Everyone wants to be you. Rare. Expensive. Special.

      Fresh mauve rays hit the bed in the morning and Princessa sat up in bed, rubbing her eyes. Ah, morning. Another lovely day, another glorious sunrise, another... wait. Princessa suddenly felt butterflies swarm in her stomach. Today might be the day. Pushing her feet into fluffy pink slippers, she ran downstairs. She found Sarah in the kitchen whistling and humming, dressed in an elegant black-and-white power suit.

      “Princessa, is that you? Oh gosh, you’re not at all ready! Go and get dressed, dear. Put on that lovely pink and gold dress I bought you from the Faerieland marketplace and put a bow in your hair. And hurry! Marge will be here any moment now,” Sarah finished in one breath. Turning back to the counter, she delicately placed a cherry on top of a giant fudge and whipped cream creation. Princessa slowly trudged upstairs.

      When she came back down, she looked lovely, the very picture of angelic beauty. And just in time too because it was just then that the doorbell rung.

      “I’ll get it!” Sarah trilled, rushing into the room. A tall red-haired girl stood at the other side of the door along with a very prim looking royal Draik whose nose couldn’t be more upturned unless she wanted to be looking straight at the ceiling. Princessa sighed. Here goes, she thought. Better make a good impression, she told herself sternly. Waltzing towards the red-haired girl slowly, she stopped in front of her and curtsied.

      “It’s lovely to see you again, Marge,” she said politely. “And how are you, Lillian?” she asked, turning to the royal Draik.

      “I’m very well, Princessa,” Marge replied. Lillian acceded to turn her head towards Princessa and gave her the barest of nods.

      “Well, I’m so glad you’re here,” Sarah gushed. “We both are. I hope you’ll be very happy with Princessa.”

      “And you with Lillian,” Marge said. She spread a hand outward grandly, indicating for Lillian to move towards Sarah. Sarah smiled.

      “Won’t you have a fudge sundae? Or tea? I have everything ready,” Sarah asked.

      “No, I’m afraid I have to run. I have an appointment with a few friends at noon,” Marge said airily. And with a last nod and smile, they were off. Princessa turned to look at her new owner.

      “Well, let’s go show you off, darling,” Marge said to her. Princessa smiled. This wouldn’t be so bad after all.

      A week later, Princessa began to feel terribly homesick. Marge was nice enough but never around and even when they did spend time together, they never really talked. It was always meeting with Marge’s wealthy friends and sitting in a corner with the other expensive neopets who barely said a word to one another. Even when they did talk, it was always about what new color their owner had painted them or how many neopoints their owner had. Princessa hadn’t minded it at first, it being a lot like what she had been accustomed to with Sarah, but it all felt hollow without her old friend’s sarcastic commentary afterwards or the sodas they’d share in the evenings or the late night tea and Neovision movies they enjoyed. Marge had a few other neopets as well—a desert painted Krawk, a mallow Grundo, and a grey Poogle—but they ignored her presence.

      “You’ll be gone soon anyway,” the Poogle had told her one day when she tried to ask why the others never spoke to each other, “there’s just no point making friends.” Princessa had slunk into her ornately decorated room, filled with all that a neopet could want, and cried.

      A few days passed. The Poogle’s warning came true. Marge strode into the room and called to Princessa.

      “Get ready, Princessa,” she had said, “I’m trading you for a Maraquan Krawk.” Princessa blinked.

      “A... already? But I thought you were going to paint me Maraquan,” she said. Marge lifted a perfectly arched brow.

      “Yes, well, it’s just easier to trade you. And Georgia is perfectly happy with the trade. She’s your new owner, by the way,” Marge finished.

      So Princessa packed her bags once again, donned a silky violet dress, and was whisked away to a new mansion with a fashionable raven-haired girl named Georgia. And after that to a mansion with a blue-eyed girl with straw colored hair named Maven. And after that to a mansion with a girl named Holly. Mansion with a girl named Fiona. Mansion, new owner, Dolly. Mansion, Cory. Polly. Tessa. Jamie. Someone. Someone. Someone.

      She was beautiful. Rare. Expensive. Envied. Sought after.

      Traded.

The End

 
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