The Life of a Hopeless Habitarium Pinchit
They never knew what happened to the others. All they knew was that when they hatched, there were only five of them, and everything was completely destroyed. No food, no supplies, no homes or nests. Nothing but a barren wasteland of mystery, rotted resources, and a dirty old lake.
When the five petpetpets, or P3s, as they liked to call themselves for short, had hatched, they decided to name themselves based on their skills. There was Sandy, a female Mootix, who had gotten her name from her ability to build so quickly, sand and dirt literally flew around in the air, and then boom, her creation was completed. The other Mootix of the group had been named Doer, as he was able to build, fight, and harvest, though each only in a mediocre fashion. Then there were the twin male Larnikins; Rocker and Woody, who easily developed a technique that let them harvest food and resources at ten times the speed.
Last and, unfortunately least, was Chin, the only Pinchit of the group. He was supposed to learn to fight so that he could protect the others, but instead had somehow managed to develop a weight problem, hence his name. He tried to tell the others that there was no connection between his weight and the suddenly missing food they had just managed to harvest, but of course they didn't believe him.
So the others built a cage. They couldn't trust Chin, not when there was barely enough food for one P3, let alone five. But it wasn't just the food that brought them to this decision. Chin somehow managed to destroy any building he tried to repair; it would literally collapse right to the ground as soon as he touched it. And worst of all, his harvesting skills were just pathetic. His size made him slow; even Doer, with his mediocre skills, was three times faster. And Chin had more than once tripped and sent precious cargo flying into the lake.
Sandy, the overseer of their progress, had built the trap, which consisted of a large shell, two stones, and a strange, pointed decaying ruin she'd found, and placed them in a small square. Then, while Chin slept, the twins Rocky and Woody used all their strength to carry him, and, in one quick burst of energy, managed to toss him over into the blocked-in area.
“Guys, please, I know I'm useless, but this is ridiculous!” Chin cried. “I-I can learn! I'll practice real hard! I'll lose weight! But I'll starve in here!”
“No, you won't,” Doer laughed at him. “If you ate nothing and we ate continuously for three weeks, you'd still be bigger than us.”
Chin frowned and squatted down as low as he could, searching for a hole he could squeeze through. There were plenty of little spots here and there, but he was simply too big to make it. After a while, he was forced to give up, and could do nothing but fall asleep to the other P3s' hurtful cheering.
Hours passed by, and the sun had long since begun to set. Chin had slept as much as he could, and now was forced to simply sit, bored out of his mind. Squatting down again, he peeked out at his brethren as they were finishing up for the day.
“What a workout!” Rocker whistled, wiping sweat off his brow.
“Careful, brother, some people don't know what that is,” Woody smirked, looking over towards Chin's cage.
The twins howled with laughter.
“Enough joking,” Sandy told them, having just stored the final bit of wood for the day. “We need our rest. Let's go home. We did pretty good today, but I want us to do even better tomorrow.”
The four of them nodded and headed back to their newly built, small and humble houses, leaving Chin in his cage without a blanket or dinner. The sun had finally descended all the way, and he could see just the small tip of the moon beginning to peek out from the mountains in the distance.
“Is this the life I'll be forced to live forever?” Chin wondered aloud to himself in anguish. “Stuck in this tiny blocked-in space, hated by the only people I know to be my family, with no skills or use to this place at all?” And he began to cry.
Suddenly, a rustling in the distance jolted him from his sadness, and his tearful face turned to fear. He could only see out of the little holes between the bottoms of the blockades, and could only make out what seemed to be a bunch of strange-looking P3s marching in rows of three, closer and closer to their little area of land. They were blue, with sharp teeth and muscular bodies, and their expressions did not look friendly.
“We're under attack!” Chin heard Sandy scream from the distance. “Everyone, prepare for battle!”
“Hey, Hey!” Chin yelled, batting around his cage frantically. “Don't forget me! I can help!”
“You can help by staying in there,” Sandy told him as the four P3s stood in a row with claws in the air, ready to fight.
All Chin could do was watch at the enemy marched closer and closer, destroying everything in their wake as they did. The towers that held their supplies- ransacked and destroyed. Their homes- now piles of disintegrated dust. But worst of all, their resources- like the trees that wielded wood for their buildings, knocked to the ground, unusable. In a matter of just a few short moments, this enemy had managed to do irreparable damage to their only home.
“This must be the enemy that wiped out our ancestors,” Doer cried. “And now we're left facing them again. It's just become a repeat of history!”
“Don't be like that,” Rocker exclaimed.
“No, he's right, this is hopeless!” Woody argued. “There must by hundreds of them, and only four of us! Plus that idiot in the cage...”
“Let's get out of here! We'll find a new place to live!” Doer decided, leading himself and the twins away from the approaching threat and towards the backwoods.
“What about Chin?! We can't just leave him to be hurt!” Sandy asked.
“Sure, we can! They'll be busy taking him prisoner while we make our escape!” Doer told her. Hesitantly, Sandy grimaced and followed behind the others, leaving Chin stuck to face the oncoming enemy.
As soon as the others had just finished disappearing into the woods, the enemy had reached Chin's cage. The biggest of them all, a red P3 rather than blue like his army, lifted a huge claw and smashed the shell to pieces.
“This is our land, now, you pathetic Pinchit.”
“I-I quite agree,” Chin stuttered nervously. “S-So you should let me leave, so you can have it all to yourself!”
“Did you hear that, boys?” the mighty leader howled, and the entire army laughed in cruel and creepy sync. “Let you leave, eh? More like, let you live. If you can prove to us that you have some skill that would be of use to us, as our slave.”
Chin swallowed. He was in the cage because he had no skill. And now having some type of skill was the only thing that could save his life.
Dropping his head, he knew he had to give in. There was nothing else he could do, nowhere he could run, and no way he could take on an entire muscle-bound, coordinated army.
“I have no skill.”
“Well, then I guess I'll just have to-” the leader began, raising his claws over his head menacingly, when suddenly, a huge drop of sticky water splashed right on to him!
“What the-” the leader growled, and looked up. His eyes widened as a shadow fell on the entire land, and another drop of water fell onto the ground, sending several members of the army flying in every direction. Crying out in fear, the leader and his remaining army flew away as fast as they could in terror, screaming as they did so.
Chin backed away until his whole body was pressed against the decayed ruin Sandy had made as part of the cage. The giant creature lowered its head and stared him straight in the eyes.
“Well, looky here,” the huge creature bellowed, drool escaping its mouth. “An abandoned Habitarium!”
“Wh-what?” Chin gulped. Then he raised his voice. “Who are you?”
“My name is Larry. I'm a Lupe,” the grayish-blue creature replied with a toothy smile. “What's your name?”
“Chin!” Chin called up to him, having to use his loudest voice so the humongous creature, the Lupe, whatever that was, could hear him properly.
“What are you doing, all locked up in this cage thing? Where are the other P3s?”
“You know of P3s?” Chin asked incredulously.
Larry laughed. “Know of them? Of course I know of them! Everyone knows of them!”
“Who's everyone?” Chin was so confused. Who and what was this Lupe creature? Was there a whole other world out there that he and his brethren knew nothing about? He thought that the whole world only consisted of P3s like him and his family. And he knew his other P3 comrades thought the same. So what was going on?
Larry looked around the abandoned and desolated Habitarium with pity. “Well, you certainly can't stay here. So why don't I show you what you've been missing out on?” With one quick scoop, the Lupe lifted Chin in his giant paw, placed him on his head, and began walking away.
“Wooooow!” Chin gasped in amazement. Huge buildings ten times bigger than even the Lupe were everywhere! The smell of delicious food wafted from all directions, and dozens upon dozens of creatures, big like Larry, were walking about, chatting, living what looked to be a very good life.
“I... I can't believe this!” Chin cried out in shock and joy. “What is this place?”
“Neopia Central,” Larry grinned. “Oh, but the world is much bigger than this, believe you me. I don't have the money or the means to show you, but trust me. It's huge.”
Chin couldn't even find the words to describe his emotions, so he sat in utter silence, while Larry gave him a tour of all the local areas and places. He fed him a delicious meatball. Told him the names of all the big, weird creatures they saw, which were all known as “Neopets”. Bizarre, interesting, and just plain amazing information had filled Chin's head to the maximum, until he was too dizzy with wonder to even stand.
“With this huge world, I should easily be able to find a place for a small, useless critter like me,” Chin smiled.
“Useless?” Larry asked in surprise.
“Yeah.” Chin lowered his eyes in guilt. “My 'family' so to speak, caged me up because I did nothing but cause trouble. I can't build, or harvest food, or even help fight that enemy that you thankfully scared away. And now they are probably lost in the giant woods somewhere, all alone...” and then Chin once again began to cry. “I hate imagining them out there, with no food or shelter, after all the work they put into our home, when here I am, having a great time, having never done a single useful or productive thing in my life!”
“Wow.” Larry raised an eyebrow. “I never realized you Petpetpets had it so tough! But then again, suddenly being born into such a wasted Habitarium would do that to you.”
“What am I going to do? I need to go find them and tell them about this big new world, but I have no idea where to find them!”
“New? Hey, we've been around way longer than you...”
But Chin wasn't listening. Hopping off of Larry's head, he began running in the direction of all the nearby shops. “I'll ask around and see if anyone knows anything about their whereabouts!”
“Hey, wait!” Larry barked, heading after him. “No one around here will have noticed anything as tiny as you guys. If you want to find them, you should go back to your Habitarium and trace their steps.”
“Even better idea!” Chin agreed, hopping back onto the Lupe's cocked head. “I would be super grateful if you'd return me to my home!”
Larry nodded slightly, turned around, and headed back. Reaching the Habitarium, Chin hopped down and started running into the woods.
“Be careful, little one! And if you ever need me, just whistle! We Lupes have great hearing! Oh hey, my old baby tooth!” Larry exclaimed, poking the pointed decayed ruin that was a part of Chin's cage with a talon.
“Thank you!” Chin called back, running as fast as his soft, pudgy body could manage. He had no idea where he was going. All he knew was that the others had run in this direction when the army had come. He'd have to bump into them eventually, right?
Night fell once again, and Chin could run no longer. His legs were sore and his stomach growling, and to top it off, he was freezing. He needed shelter, but had no skills to build it.
“Why can't I build anything?!” he yelled into the trees and dark sky, kicking a piece of wood lying on the ground. “Wait, what the-?” Underneath the wood, a tiny hammer lay in a gooey pool of mud. Picking it up, along with the piece of wood, Chin nodded to himself determinedly and began pounding away.
“It's no use,” he sighed after an hour of trying to build a temporary shelter. “I'm exhausted, and like always, as soon as I get halfway done, it just collapses on me. I give up.” Sliding down onto the ground, Chin stared up at the tops of the trees, fumbling around with the hammer he'd found. “I wonder why this was even here... unless...” he jumped back up, tripping as he did and falling into the mud. Scrambling back up a second time, he jumped around in excitement. “This is Doer's hammer! I can tell because it was put together pretty cheaply...”
With new hope that his family was okay, he kept heading forward. “I can't stop now. They never stopped when the going got tough. So I need to be tough, and keep going!”
This wasn't as easy as he'd tried to make it sound for himself. A cold wind blew in from the left and right, and it had now been almost two days since he'd last eaten. He considered whistling for Larry to come pick him up, since surely the Lupe would know of a place Chin could live, but after saving his life, he knew it would be wrong to ask any more of him.
Finally, exhaustion and hunger had gotten the better of him, and he collapsed onto the hard ground below, panting and holding on to his stomach. After everything that had happened, was this the end?
“Get away from us!”
The sudden scream in the distance scared Chin awake from his thoughts. “Huh?!”
Without thinking, Chin jumped up and sprinted towards the sounds of anguish. Familiar and unfamiliar voices sounded closer and closer, and finally, hiding behind a large tree a small distance away, Chin peeked out and saw the other P3s, and he gasped.
They were tied together tightly with thick rope, right in the middle of a clearing, surrounded by the enemy that had attacked them earlier. The enemy had created a small town there, with homes, storages, hospitals, nests, and large resources all made to camouflage nicely into the surrounding forest. The gang struggling fruitlessly to escape, the leader stepped forward, an evil look on his face.
“We've got you now, you stupid things,” he smirked at them. “Thinking you could escape us. We're all fighters and destroyers, not builders or harvesters. So we're always having to catch P3s like you to do our work. Your ancestors built this place. You can follow suit by working as our harvesters and building repairmen. Once you're too old to go on, we'll replace you... permanently.” He growled the last word deeply and menacingly, to let them know he meant business.
“You'll never get away with this!” Sandy yelled at him. He returned her threat with cruel laughter.
“And who's going to save you? That pathetic fat one you four abandoned back at your old home? I highly doubt he's even still around, if you catch my drift. And even if he was, after locking him up like that, I can't imagine he'd come looking for you.”
The four P3s lowered their heads with guilt. “You're right. We'll be your slaves.”
The enemy laughed and started listing out all the things the four prisoners would have to do from now on. “Every morning at dawn, two of you will begin harvesting the supplies we tell you to, and two of you will do repairs on any buildings that need renovation. At noon, you'll switch places. If you do well, you'll all be given one meal and allowed to sleep for an hour. If you do poorly-”
“They won't be doing any of that!” Chin interrupted, rushing forward into the clearing. “The ones who should be begging for mercy is you!”
“Ho-ho! What is this? The little pudgy one decided to make an appearance as a supposed hero?” The leader cackled, and then his amused expression turned to such anger that even the rest of the army recoiled in fear. “Here's a little tip for you- Run.”
“No!” Chin yelled. He hoped he would sound brave, despite the real reason being that he didn't have the energy to run away. “I'm going to rescue my family. They're all I have. And you don't leave family behind, even if they leave you.” He looked at them and smiled. “Because families forgive each other.”
“Enough of this!” and the leader marched over to Chin with claws raised.
As quick as he could, Chin took off around the leader and headed towards the nearest buildings. “Ancestors, I'm sorry to destroy what you worked so hard to build. But this is to avenge you.” Taking the hammer he'd found and kept, he lifted it high above his head and began smashing the buildings to pieces.
“Stop him!” the leader screamed, and the army of enemies immediately chased after Chin.
Smash! Crash! Crack! Boom!
The enemy frantically chased after Chin as he ran from building to building, smashing them in only seconds each. Just like the enemy, he too, was an amazing destroyer. Who knew it would turn out to be a skill?
“Yeah, go, Chin!” the tied-up P3s yelled as Chin continued on. But eventually, his condition got the worst of him, and he fell to the ground, his hammer flying through the air and far out of reach.
“We've got you now,” the leader panted, stomping towards him. “I will personally make you pay for what you have done. You have no chance of escape. You're mine, now.”
“Just... one... more... chance...” Chin said with his remaining breath. And he whistled.
Everyone stopped and waited. The leader, the army, and the tied up P3s turned their heads back and forth, all watching and waiting for something to happen.
After a couple of minutes, the confused and even angrier leader picked up Chin's hammer and continued going towards him.
“E-Everyone, whistle!” Sandy cried. “He must know what he's doing!”
The four tied up P3s whistled their longest and loudest, as the leader lifted the hammer above Chin. “Say goodbye-- What?!” A huge shadow fell over them.
“Sorry, sorry, got here as fast as I could,” the Lupe panted, leaning down close so he could see the situation. “Need some help?”
“Larry!” Chin cried excitedly.
“The one and only.”
“Run!” the enemy leader yelled, and the army retreated far away, and continued running until they were only tiny blue specks in the far off distance.
“Hey, what's going on?” Larry asked. “Chin? Chin?”
But Chin was not moving.
When Chin's eyes opened, a bright light shone in his face, and he had to squint from being blinded. “Have I left the land of the living?”
“Well, no,” a loud voice replied, and Chin blinked a few times to suddenly see Larry's face come in to focus beside him. “You've left the woods, if that's what you mean.”
“W-Where am I?”
“Home, silly,” a soft female voice replied, and Chin turned his head to see Sandy holding a bowl of soup. “A new home. But a softer one. With easier living.”
“Huh?” Sitting up, Chin looked around him. He could see the sun way up above, but there was long strands of something blocking out a lot of it.
“This Lupe guy,” Doer began.
“Larry,” Larry corrected.
“Yeah, Larry,” Doer continued, “told us we were welcome to live on his petpet!”
“Petpet? What's that?” Chin asked.
“No idea. But we're living on one. And look; it's all soft and fuzzy and warm! And free meals! No work!”
Chin smiled. “Sounds like my kind of life.”
The twins Woody and Rocker approached him guiltily. “We're sorry about all the fat jokes.”
“And about leaving you,” Sandy added. “No family would do that. We weren't your family then. We are, now. Thanks for saving us.” And she kissed him on the cheek.
“D'awh,” Chin blushed. “Well, thank YOU, Larry. I would have been a goner if you hadn't shown up.”
“Hey now, let's stop with all the sappy thank yous and sorries. Let's just enjoy a good meal and some bright warm sun, okay?”
“Okay!” the P3s agreed. Suddenly, their home began to shake a little.
“Sorry, my petpet is excited. Likes to shake a lot. I hope you guys don't get sea-sick.”
“What's a sea?”
The five P3s smiled to themselves as their petpet home shook again, and Larry handed them more food. The day was beautiful, life was great, and there was a whole huge world out there for them to someday explore.
Chin couldn't even begin to wait.