Karifki's Beginning: Part Three
Jakes took a step back hastily so the gigantic fireball of death wouldn’t hit him too. Xavier and his three goons were thrown for a loop (haha, get it, loop = Lupe? I'm so punny) and when they got up, they looked like burnt marshmallows. They moaned and started brushing the black ash off themselves.
Jakes turned and looked in the direction that the fireball came from and yelled, “Jeez, Rox! You almost killed me!”
Karifki turned his head to see who Jakes was yelling at. And standing before his eyes was not only the coolest Ixi he’d ever seen, but also the prettiest. The striped Ixi was walking slowly toward them. Fire was playing around in her black fingers and her purple eyes flickered in the light from it. She was wearing a purple and black robe with a hood that was pulled back to reveal her golden hair, black horns and blue with purple striped ears. She walked on her hind legs like Nabile, though so did many neopets. Her feet made no noise as she moved and she came to a stand next to Jakes.
“You moved, did you not?” she asked rhetorically in a calm voice to the fuming Jakes, then glanced down at Karifki, then turned around completely and glared with disdain at Xavier and his goons.
“Sorry, did I hit you? It was programmed to only hit fools, but... oh wait... I guess it did its job,” she mocked with a cold voice.
“This is your back up? A chick? Lame,” the Robot Krawk squawked in his metallic voice. Then he spontaneously combusted and lay in a heap on the ground, his hit points completely gone.
“Ohh... Best not get this ‘chick’ mad, dudes. She has a wicked temper,” Jakes said smugly.
“Jakes, for your information, that is it for my big shows of magic. I have drained my mana. It will be a while for it to charge back up,” the Ixi whispered, so only this side of the alley could hear her.
“That’s it? Wow, I expected better from you, Roxy,” he replied just as quietly.
“I am sorry. You are right. I am not useful anymore. I will just go then,” she said sarcastically, then turned to leave, but the Lupe grabbed her shoulder.
“I mean... That’s okay. You did a great job,” Jakes said quickly.
“Darn right I did,” she said, then called out to Xavier, “So, are you gentlemen going to leave or do we have to make you?”
“HA! I’d like to see you try!” Xavier called, then they attacked.
Roxy dodged gracefully and slipped a roundhouse-kick into a fire Grarrl, while Jakes blocked a punch from Xavier and kicked his shin then punched his nose. As the fight went on, Roxy and Jakes slowly began leading them away from Karifki. They were taking heavy damage, but were returning the favor as well.
“Here, quickly drink this,” a sweet small voice whispered from next to Karifki’s head. It was a small green Quiggle and she was holding a minor healing potion in her hands. Karifki didn’t ask questions; he just chugged it and immediately felt better.
“Good, can you walk?” she asked, trying to help him to his feet. She was smaller than him by about a foot, small, skinny and wearing a long yellow dress. Her black hair hung in a braid down her back and it swayed as she helped him stand.
“Quickly, while my siblings got them distracted,” she said, helping support his weight as they tried to escape.
“Where do you think you are going?!” Xavier yelled and he grabbed the poor Quiggle’s braid and lifted her off the ground. She squeaked in pain.
“HEY! LEAVE HER ALONE!” Jakes roared from the other side of the alley. He was busy in hand to hand combat with the final member of the goons, a mutant Zafara.
“Chocolate!” Roxy called worriedly from her own battle.
“Leave her alone, Xavier! You want me, remember?” Karifki said from the ground where he had fallen. Xavier put a heavy foot on Karifki’s chest to keep him down.
“I don’t think so. I think I’ll make an example of her,” he said, pushing a clawed hand over her throat. She gasped and kicked at him, her short legs not able to reach him. He chuckled manically as he scraped her neck with a claw. Just then a sword tip was pressed to his own throat.
“Withdraw your claw and drop her,” a new voice commanded, “NOW.”
The point of the sword pushed into his throat deeper, making it difficult to breathe. He obeyed silently. And the Quiggle dropped to the ground gracefully and ran behind the legs of the human that had spoken. She was a middle sized girl, in her late teens early twenties with dark hair and green eyes. She was wearing blue jeans, a yellow top that had a green Chomby on the front, and combat boots.
“Now, take your foot off him,” she demanded and he paused before complying once again.
Karifki took in a jagged breath of air.
“Chocolate, help him up,” she told the Quiggle. Chocolate hurried to help Karifki up and they moved behind her.
“Now, tell your lackeys that play time's over,” the human said to Xavier.
Xavier gave a low whistle and the fighting stopped. Jakes and Roxy headed over to stand by their owner.
“Now leave. And never bother this Aisha or my family again. Or so help me I will make you regret it,” she threatened like a pro.
“No can do, miss,” Xavier replied. “That Aisha belongs to me.”
“I paid for my freedom in full! You said so yourself!” Karifki yelled as best he could.
“Shut it, twerp,” Xavier said.
“Neopets don’t belong to ANYONE. They are their own person and have freedom just like you or I,” said the human, her sword never wavering from his throat.
“Aren’t you these pets' owner? Don’t you own them?” Xavier countered.
“No, my pets stay with me because they want to. It is my job to take care of them and in return they love me and help me. We are a family. Now begone, before you force me to be even cheesier than I have been or, ya know, carry out my threat.” She narrowed her eyes at him.
“HA! Bring it. There is nothing you can do to me that I can’t recover from. Then I’ll be back to get you as soon as I heal.”
“I never said it’d be physical. I simply said you’d regret it.”
“As I said. Bring it.” He and she glared at each other for a moment. Then she sighed and put up her sword. Victory shone in Xavier’s eyes for a split second before confusion filled them when she smiled.
“You asked for it,” she said, then placed her fingers together in front of her and pulled them apart. A screen appeared between her fingers, floating in front of her and she began typing on an invisible keyboard.
"Is that a new Virtupets gadget?" Karifki thought as they all watched her as she smiled to herself, clicked a button and then closed the page.
“Here they come~,” she sing-songed.
“Here who comes?” Karifki asked, unable to help himself.
She smiled down at him. “I was just on the Pound board,” she said smugly and Karifki watched in amazement as all the color drained from Xavier’s face.
“Oh no...” he said in a terrified voice.
“Oh yes,” the human said.
Suddenly, you could hear and feel a rumbling of many feet on the ground, coming from both ends of the alley. Xavier turned to run, but it was too late. All the n00bs and experienced Pound addicts were on him.
“OMG... Do you have an owner?”
“Are you up for trade?”
“*fansqueal* OMG I MUST HAVE YOU!”
“Where is your owner? I must speak with them.”
“An UC Mutant DRAIK? I think I’ve died and gone to heaven!”
And that was just some of the comments that were coming from the dog pile where Xavier once stood. Some of them were unintelligible and/or unreadable. We left those out for your sake.
Then some of them spotted Xavier’s goons trying to sneak out of the alley and pounced on them too.
“Well, my work here is done,” the human said, brushing her hands off in accomplishment then turned around and picked up the still gaping Karifki.
“Wow, Mom. That was totally wicked,” Jakes said proudly.
“Yes, and I thought Meepits were scary,” Chocolate added.
“Remind me not to get on your bad side, Mother,” Roxy said as they left the alley and for the Haunted Woods and then home to Faerieland (before it fell).
“Who ARE you people?!” Karifki managed before he collapsed with exhaustion.
When Karifki awoke, he was in a small room with very little furniture. He sat up and realized that his pain was gone. He was still a little woozy, but all his injuries had vanished. He pulled his legs out of the covers and realized all his clothes were missing and had been replaced with an oversized Twisted Roses concert T-shirt.
“Where the heck...?” he said aloud and made his way to the window. Were those... clouds? Was he really in Faerieland? He took a step away from the window in shock, then recovered and made his way to the door. He tried the knob. It was unlocked. He opened the door and stuck his head out to look around. There was a corridor, then a light at the end where some talking could be heard.
He slowly made his way down the hall to the light and the voices. As he got closer, he could hear the conversation.
“... and, I think we should ask him,” a small female voice said quietly.
“As do I,” said another female.
“Well, though it might be nice to have another guy around here, I don’t know about him,” said a male one. All these voices were very familiar and Karifki searched his mind for the memory of them.
“Ever since Shmoocooms left, I’ve wanted another pet. I think he would-” started a different female voice.
“He’s listening,” the second female voice interrupted, quieting the others.
Karifki waited for a second, then he heard the third female voice say, “Dude, we know you're there. Just come out already.”
Karifki paused, then peeked his head around the corner and all the memories slid back into his conscious.
“Hey,” said the human from last night. “How are you doing today?”
“Yeah, we thought you’d die. Luckily, Rox knows some healing magic,” said Jakes.
“It is not my forte,” Roxy added, not taking her eyes off her book.
“Do you hurt anywhere?” the kind green Quiggle, Chocolate, asked. She had gotten up from her chair at the table and came to stand next to Karifki and took his hand in her own. She was wearing a pink dress today.
“No, I’m good,” he whispered. “’Just tired.”
A brilliant smile lit up Chocolate’s face. “Good! Are you hungry? I can get you something.”
“Uh... sure. Whatever is fine. I’m not picky,” he said.
“Come sit down, dude,” the human said, patting the seat next to her. “My name is Bambi. That’s not my username, though. And this is, from the left, RoxyPebblesTie, though you can call her Roxy...”
“Greetings,” she said, reaching across the table and shaking Karifki’s hand, then going back to her book.
“...Then it’s Jake_Jakes; call him Jakes. With the S. People get that confused...”
“’Sup, dude?” Jakes said, saluting him. He was leaning back in his chair with his hands behind his head.
“Hi,” Karifki greeted, nodding at him.
“...And last but not least, ChocolateNut; call her Chocolate.”
“It’s very nice to meet you,” she said politely. She set a plate of Strawberry Jelly in front of him. “This was the yummiest thing we have right now.” She sighed.
“No, it’s okay. I love Jelly,” Karifki said, scarfing down half of it. She smiled.
“Umm... not to be rude or anything, but why ChocolateNut?” Karifki asked, wiping his mouth with his arm.
“Oh, she was my very first pet. And you know how n00bs are with the first names. I had some chocolate in my pocket when I created her and she dove for it and gobbled it up. It was so cute I named her ChocolateNut,” Bambi clarified.
“Ah... well, I like it,” Karifki said and Chocolate smiled again (she’s a very happy neopet). “And my name is Karifki. Car-if-key. I don’t know who named me. I don’t have an owner. As far as I know, I never had one. Um... you guys aren’t gonna charge me for like, saving my life and feeding me an’ stuff right? Cuz, I can’t pay it right now.”
They all chuckled, but not meanly.
“No, we won’t. But we did want to ask you a question, though. That is... if we are all agreed?” Bambi raised an eyebrow at her pets and one by one they nodded.
“Okay, ask away,” Karifki said and waited expectantly.
“Hum... well, we wanted to know if... since you don’t have a home or an owner, or like any family, we wanted to know if you wanted to become part of ours.”
Karifki was silent.
“We appreciated your bravery in the alleyway,” Roxy said, still reading.
“The way you offered yourself up to that bully to help me, even though you were all hurt and stuff,” Chocolate whispered. You could tell she really wanted Karifki to say yes.
This was more than Karifki had ever hoped for. He never thought anyone would want him. He’d been on the streets for so long he didn’t know what to say.
“Well, I... I...”
“If you don’t want to, just say it, man,” Jakes huffed.
“NO!” Karifki burst out suddenly, startling everyone in the room but Roxy, who just flicked her ears because of the loud noise.
“Uhh... sorry... But, no. It’s not that I don’t want to. It’s that I’ve never had a family before. I wouldn’t know what to do. How to act. I don’t think I’d be very good at it.”
Bambi stood up then knelt beside Karifki’s chair and put a comforting hand on his shoulder.
“Dude, just be yourself. We don’t need or expect any more than that. We’d love you no matter who you are or what you’ve done or will do. That is what a family is.”
“And Mom is barely ever here anyway, so you would not be tied down here all the time. You can go off and do your own thing during the day, but have a hot meal and a warm bed when you come home at night,” Roxy said in her calm voice.
“Hey, I’ve been getting on a lot lately,” Bambi interjected, frowning.
“The thing is, you would have to help with chores and making NP, though. Since Mom’s never here,” Jakes added.
“And I’m in charge while she is gone,” Chocolate piped up.
Bambi was pouting and muttering something about ‘ungrateful Neopets’ under her breath, then her face cleared and she brightened up.
“So you wanna have a go? You’re free to leave at any time,” she said, gazing into his eyes.
He didn’t hesitate. “I’d really like to be part of your family,” he said shyly and Bambi hugged him.
“Welcome home, Karifki,” she said.
“Alright! I’m not the only guy!” Jakes shouted, gripping Karifki in a headlock and giving him a ‘nuggie.
“YAY! Another little brother!” Chocolate squealed in delight.
“Hey, I’m hardly little anymore!” Jakes said in outrage (he was almost six feet and six inches, Chocolate on the other hand was about half that).
“Sure thing, Little Brother,” Chocolate joked and giggled to herself.
“Can a little brother do this?!” Jakes roared playfully and picked up Chocolate and tossed her into the air. She screamed in joy and Bambi tackled them both and showered them with kisses and hugs.
“OH, you guys are so cute!” she squealed, giving Jakes another kiss on the cheek, while he protested loudly about his masculinity going down the drain with each kiss.
“Welcome to the family, little brother,” came Roxy’s voice from behind him. He turned his head and she messed up his hair a bit, gave his head a pat, then disappeared up the stairs.
Jakes had managed to escape and yelled that he was going surfing before slamming the door loudly.
Meanwhile, Bambi and Chocolate were lying on the soft cloud floor of the living room giggling to themselves.
Karifki smiled. He could get used to this.
“Hey, Karifki?! Get over here! Have you ever seen a cloud ceiling before?” Bambi called and Karifki trotted over to the two girls on the ground and joined them.
“It’s a ceiling,” she explained, “but it’s a cloud...”