Home, Sweet Home
“We hope you’ll feel right at home from now on! Just let me know if you need anything,” Eva said cheerfully as she showed me around the neohome.
I looked at my “new” family with their huge grins plastered on their faces. They seemed so eager to please, just as all the other previous owners had been. Today was the typical beginning of all the families I had been adopted to. But with all of them, I only remained in their family for a short period of time before I was being traded for, pounded or adopted to someone who will then trade, pound, or adopt me to someone else... and the cycle goes on forever.
I sighed with a breath of relief as Eva finished giving me a complete tour of the neohome. I sat at a nova chair beside the window as I gloomily put my head on my paws as I looked out at the gently falling snowflakes. I attempted to tune out the squeals from my “temporary” family as they gushed over the Faerie Paint Brushes they had gotten as prizes from the Faeries’ Ruin plot. I wished I were back in the Pound, even if I didn’t like it very much. If I were back in the Pound, at least I wouldn’t have to deal with the feeble attempts from this family that try to appease me.
Then it hit me. An idea formed by the great mastermind – me. Instead of repeating the perfunctory cycle, why not break from it myself? Every time I raised my hopes that I will finally be permanently staying with a new family, I was heartbroken as those hopes were immediately crushed. By the end of the day, I wrought out a perfect plan as I prepared to leave this family for good.
“Sav! Your dinner is ready!” called Rie’s voice from downstairs. I smiled. It was time to witness the debacle once they found out what I have done. I went downstairs to find the family in a babbling circle around the dinner table. I grimaced in distaste. It was my first day here and we’re eating omelettes? They could at least buy a Sliced Turkey Dinner, Thornberry Noodle Soup or an Altadorian Cobb Salad to celebrate this day that I, Sav, have graced them with my presence.
“We’re not the wealthiest of Neopians,” Eva began, “but I feel that we are very wealthy and the luckiest people on Neopia because we have each other. Right, guys?”
“Right!” Rie agreed as she enthusiastically hugged Jo, who seemed to have trouble breathing.
“Today the Tooth Faerie visited me because I lost my tooth,” Kon began. “Do you want to see-”
“Eva, could I have Brynns Legendary Sword of Wraith Smiting –”
“I like cake, flowers, rainbows, and my petpet, Tenshi the White Ona. What would you like for your welcome gift, Sav?”
I felt overwhelmed by the warmth coming from them. It was apparent to me now that I could never belong to this close knit family.
“I’d like a haunted mansion, like the one owned by Nox. I suppose I could do with an army of meepits – one meepit is only 2 million NP, you know. Oh, and I’ve always wanted to try to fight in the Battledome, so a Super Attack Pea would be a good start for my Battledome career.”
They stared agape and no one spoke for a long moment. “Well...” Eva began, “we don’t have enough to afford all of those, but I did go shopping at the Shop Wizard’s yesterday, and I bought you a Gold Mauket! Isn’t he charming?” She held out a mauket that looked at me with its big glassy eyes as it gave a soft purr.
I merely grunted in response and turned toward my room, ignoring Eva’s hurt look. As I walked away, I was unable to shake off the feeling that I was being followed. As I looked behind me, I noticed the mauket had followed me to my room. “Go away,” I snapped. The mauket still followed and mewed as it sought attention. I sulked in my room for awhile, but it wasn’t long until I heard a yell.
“They’re... gone! Where are they? I looked everywhere! I even turned this house upside down just looking for them!”
A smile peeked from the corners of my mouth. And now the cacophony shall begin.
“Where are those Faerie Paint Brushes? I could have sworn I had spent my points on them yesterday at the Prize Shop,” Eva said as she feverishly went through a pile of toys at the living room.
Jo came running into the room. “They’re not in the Safety Deposit Box.”
“The Pant Devil and the Grundo Leader hasn’t visited us since two weeks ago. So they couldn’t have stolen it.” Rie looked worried. “Then where could they have gone?”
I watched the ruckus in silence, as they frantically ran to and fro around the room. “I took them,” I said with a confident sneer.
“Where did you take them?” Rie asked.
“To the Money Tree. I donated all three Paint Brushes.”
As these words left my mouth, I felt a tinge of guilt, but I quickly justified my actions with the reason why I had done so in the first place. It doesn’t matter, I told myself, I won’t be staying here any longer anyway. “I’ll pack my bags,” I said nonchalantly, hoping that none of them detected a quiver in my voice.
“Where are you going?” Eva asked.
I looked at her, surprised. “Back to the Pound, of course.”
She looked puzzled. “Why?”
“What do you mean why? I just gave away all three Faerie Paint Brushes!” I shouted, losing my stolid façade. How can these people not be angry? They were just simply looking at me with bewildered faces.
Eva broke the silence with a chuckle which grew into a loud laughter. I looked at her, aghast. Has she gone crazy from despair? “Aw, Sav, you didn’t think that just because you donated the brushes that we wouldn’t want you anymore? Plus, I’m sure those Faerie Paint Brushes made a wonderful day for three people in Neopia. Regardless of your reason for donating those brushes, that doesn’t mean we want you to leave.”
Jo cleared her throat. “Actually, I–”
Rie interrupted as she tackled her playfully. “Of course we wouldn’t want you to leave! You’re a part of this family now!”
I saw their childish grins, which now seemed so friendly rather than alienating. For the first time ever, I felt the contagious affection emanating from this happy family. I decided to give them a chance; maybe here is where I will be staying. Perhaps they could become my new and permanent family. Perhaps I could one day say “home, sweet home” with joyful thoughts of a family I belong in.
“Actually, I was going to give you this later,” Eva said, “but I think now would be a good time to give you your welcome gift. Of course, I can’t afford to buy a mansion of any kind, but I did buy you Noxs Mansion Background. I hope you like it!”
I looked at the background with a genuine smile. True, I didn’t get a haunted mansion that I wanted. But it was definitely a start.