Zadar's Adventure in Babysitting
One fine morning, in a nice Neohome located on Evil Street, a very grouchy Mutant Kyrii was just waking up to start his day. CaturbulanceZadar stretched as he tumbled out of his bed, scratching his creamy white belly fur, and picking up a small hand mirror that was on the table next to his bed. He stared at his reflection, then gave a toothy smile.
Zadar opened the door and made his way to the kitchen, where he saw his sister by the stove, stirring something in a pan. UnaRae smiled as she saw her brother, then returned to stirring the potatoes in the pan.
"Zadar, did you remember that today you're going to be babysitting for our neighbours down the street?" Una spoke the words carefully, hoping to keep on her brother's good side. Una was a clever Koi, and she knew better than to annoy a grumpy Kyrii who had only just awakened for the day. One was wise to take no chances, she knew.
"Yeah, I did, actually. I suppose I'm going to be watching those two Grundos who live just down the next block, or is it someone else?" Zadar began to raid the fridge as he spoke, looking for something to eat that didn't need to be cooked. There were several apples, and a couple carrots. Zadar scowled at the sight of the apples, so he pulled out a carrot and began to munch.
Una looked at her brother, then got it all over with quickly. "No, it's a new family. I didn't quite get the name of whom you're looking after, but I think they said it's Hector or something. A bunch of numbers, too, but the main part of the name is Hector." Una breathed a sigh of relief when Zadar didn't grumble about the new brooms, as he used to do long ago.
Indeed, Zadar had become a very different Kyrii ever since Ccaenine had come into their family. Though initially unwelcoming and distant, Zadar had eventually mellowed out, and when Ccaenine had finally visited the Rainbow Pool with an expensive Baby paint brush one day, Zadar had finally lost the gruffness and became an outstanding older brother at last. Una had feared the worst when Ollie had joined the family a bit later, but Zadar remained mellow and pleasant.
But today was another story. Ccaenine was accompanying Una to Mystery Island to visit friends, and Ollie, like any other Ogrin, had retreated to Meridell, to study happenings on a farm, and see how improvements could be made to encourage better crop yields and so on. Ccaenine came into the kitchen at that moment, hopping along on his small, yet strong, Blumaroo tail. Ollie came into the kitchen a few minutes later, several books in a pack he wore over his shoulders. He sniffed the potatoes, smiling in his shy way at the others.
After breakfast, which was quite delicious, Ollie departed for the farm, and Una and Ccaenine left to catch the ferry to Mystery Island, leaving Zadar alone, waiting for the arrival of his charge for the day. Twenty minutes later, there came a knock at the door. Zadar went to open it. On the doorstep was a Mutant Hissi, a small basket at her side.
"Hi, you must be Zadar," the Mutant Hissi said. The head on the left did the speaking; the head on the right merely glanced at the basket. "I'm Bianca_Jade, or at least, that's the shorter version of my name. This is Hector. Thanks for watching him for me. Here's some food for him, and he has a few faerie abilities as well, it's how he tells us all what he needs or how he feels." The Hissi handed a paper bag to Zadar, and then handed over the basket.
"Bye, Hector! Behave yourself! Thank you very much, Zadar! I'll be gone for three hours, then I'll be back for Hector. Have fun!" The Hissi slithered away, and Zadar took the basket into the house. All this time, his charge hadn't said a word. Now Zadar glanced into the basket, curious as to just what he had gotten himself into.
Nestled inside the basket, on a bit of blanket, was an egg. Zadar bit back a groan. He had to babysit an egg? Was this a joke? Then, as he racked his brains, Zadar remembered that baby Pteris were eggs. Zadar gave a weak smile. This might not be too bad, after all, but what was he supposed to do with an egg for three hours? Did Hector even do anything? Zadar decided to beard the Noil in its den, right then and there.
"Hi there, Hector. I'm Zadar. Uh, can you even hear me? Do you mind if I set you on the sofa?" There was no answer, of course, but Zadar set the basket onto the sofa, then turned around quickly for a book. He turned back, and to his amazement, the basket was empty. Hector had apparently gotten out of the basket and was now on the sofa. Zadar looked at the egg in astonishment.
"Wow, how did you do that?" No response from Hector, but as Zadar reached over to pick him up, a sudden tingling sensation raced up his arm. Zadar dropped Hector and howled. He glanced at his hand, then shook it out, trying to get rid of the strange tingling sensation. Hector had landed on the sofa, so he was apparently unharmed. Zadar sat down next to him, and opened the book. A few moments later, he heard something rolling across the floor. He glanced at the cushion next to him. No egg.
Zadar hopped to his feet, then saw Hector rolling into the kitchen. He grumbled, closed the book, and followed the baby Pteri. Hector collided with the table, and Zadar tried to aim him back to the sitting room, but the egg merely reversed direction and collided with the table again. Zadar looked at Hector.
"Hmmm, I guess that means you're hungry? I'll go get your food. Stay here, I'll be right back." Zadar ran into the sitting room and grabbed the paper bag, then returned to the kitchen. To his surprise, Hector was on top of the table. Zadar muttered something about magic beneath his breath, then opened the bag. Inside was a worm nugget. Zadar looked at it, then at Hector. He had no mouth, being only a smooth shell with a few orange spots. How in the world of Neopia was Zadar supposed to feed Hector if he had no mouth?
Zadar set the worm nugget next to Hector, then turned around to get a cookie from the cookie jar for himself. When he turned back, the worm nugget was gone. It was not on the floor, or in the bag. It had simply vanished into thin air, or had it? Looking closely, Zadar found a small speck of dirt on Hector's shell. He picked it off carefully, then decided to walk out of the kitchen, and see if the baby Pteri would follow him. Sure enough, the egg rolled into the sitting room a moment later. Zadar grinned. He had been beat, but in the end, baby Pteris were really awesome!
The rest of the morning passed in a flash. All too soon, Bianca_Jade returned for Hector. She was all smiles and gratitude, but Zadar assured her it had been no trouble.
"He's perhaps the most interesting sort of baby I've ever seen, and very mysterious too," he confessed, and Bianca_Jade laughed, then picked up the basket, smiled at Zadar, and went her way. Zadar shut the door, cracked his knuckles, and flopped over into a cosy chair. It had been a fun morning, after all.
"So, how did your day go?" Una inquired later on, as she prepared the salad for dinner.
Zadar told her about his adventure with Hector, and Una smiled after he had finished.
"Sounds to me you had an eggshellent day," she quipped softly, then went on slicing vegetables. Ccaenine, who was helping Una mix biscuits, merely shook his head and gave a toothless smile. Ollie said nothing, but there was amusement in his amber eyes, just the same.
Zadar would go on and babysit for Hector again in the future, but I think that story will have to wait for another time.