Neopian Story Time: Elephante Dreams
Pundaberry didn't want to be an Elephante, he wanted to be an Aisha, or brave Lupe. Instead he was stuck as a big useless Elephante that nobody loved... or so he thought...
For as long as he could remember, Pundaberry had been living in the Pound. There might have been a time when he had love and a home, but even if there had been it was so long ago that it no longer mattered.
There was an up side to having been in the pound for so long; Pundaberry knew everything about it. He knew where the quietest, comfiest spot was to sleep at night. He also knew where the nicest spot was to sit during the day and be noticed by people coming in to adopt.
However, from this nice spot where he made himself comfy with a couple of pillows every day, he could see something else too. There were more Elephantes in the Pound than any other species. Being an Elephante himself, Pundaberry found this rather distressing.
Any sort of a rare or "LE" species was always adopted just as quickly as they were dropped off. The same thing tended to happen with pets that had amazing names. Aishas and Kacheeks were snapped up by customizers. Warriors and adventurers were quick to take away the Lupes and the Shoyrus. Even the Skeiths, with their ability to eat anything, eventually attracted the attention of somebody.
But who wanted an Elephante? With his unusual name and being a member of a big, ugly species, Pundaberry knew he would never be adopted. Still, he sat in the same place every day, where prospective adopters could see him easily. Not because he really thought someone would take him home, but because it was a comfy spot from which to dream.
Pundaberry spent his days dreaming of what it would be like to be someone else. Some days he dreamed of being an Aisha with a proper name...
It was a dark and stormy night when the couple arrived at the Pound. Lightening flashed across the sky as the gentleman pushed the door open, causing the Uni behind the counter to jump.
"Now see here," the lady said, sniffing with impatience, "we'd like to adopt a young Aisha."
"Oh, oh I see," the Uni stuttered, glancing up at the clock. "Well, it's rather late. We've already sent the pets to bed for the night and..."
The gentleman cleared his throat loudly, fixing the poor Uni with a narrow-eyed stare. She coughed uncomfortably and nodded. "This way, please."
The Uni led the couple into the room where the pets all slept at night. They stood in the door, looking around in disdain when, suddenly, the lady emitted a cry of delight! "Hubert! Isn't that the most handsome Aisha you've ever seen?"
Hubert followed her gaze to see a young, dark Aisha, just rousing himself from sleep to peer curiously at them. "He most certainly is. Come over here for a moment, lad!"
The Aisha obliged, moving easily through the many neopets who watched him with envy. "What's your name, son?" the lady asked, smiling fondly at him.
"Thomas," he said smoothly, and the couple sighed happily.
"He's perfect, Hubert."
"He is, Mary. Come along, son, we're taking you home with us. You'll soon be living like a proper young gentleman."
"Thank you for your help!" Mary called back to the Uni as they walked out the door. Thomas on the other hand didn't spare a single glance behind him.
Other days, Pundaberry dreamed of being a brave Lupe...
Ashley had adopted me because her mother had gone missing in the jungle, and she didn't feel she could go searching for her alone. She was right. The poor girl was nothing but skin and bones. I knew it was going to be up to me to find her mother, and to keep Ashley safe along the way.
We set out with as many supplies as we could carry between us and delved into the jungles of Mystery Island. Ashley was brave in her own sort of way. She was jumpy and started easily, but she tried very hard to control her fear every time a faerie flitted into her path or some distant petpet made a strange call.
By the time we made camp for the night, she was discouraged with our lack of progress. "Why haven't we found any traces of her yet?" she moaned aloud, studying her crude map of the jungle for the umpteenth time.
I simply sat beside her, my muzzle pressed against her hand comfortingly until the warmth of our little fire lulled her to sleep.
I was just starting to drift off myself when I heard a soft sound, like a growl. Immediately I sat bolt upright, my ears perked with interest. The growling stopped, but somewhere in the trees I heard a twig snap. Something was watching us.
I glanced at Ashley. She was still sound asleep and looked exhausted. I couldn't rouse her. No, I had to do this on my own. Bravely I got up and marched into the trees after the sound, my senses on alert. Then, ahead of me, I saw a shadow dart away.
With a growl and a flick of my tail I was after him. My paws pounded against the thorny twigs and rough rocks on the jungle floor but I paid them no mind. I was focused only on catching my fleeing target.
With a single bound I leapt forward and came down upon the back of my mysterious enemy. He fell under me and I pinned him down easily. "Now then, who are you and why are you watching us?" I demanded.
"Get off me, you Lupe!" my prisoner shouted, but I only pressed down harder on his shoulders. "Alright, alright, I'm a hunter. There, are you happy?"
"You weren't planning to hunt us, were you?" I asked suspiciously.
"No, of course not! I wanted to make sure you weren't hunters. I don't like competition."
I got off the hunter, letting him up, but not letting him go. "We've been searching for my friend's mother who was lost around here; do you know what might have happened to her?"
The hunter was thoughtful for a moment and then nodded. "Come to think of it, I did hear shouting a couple of days back, but I thought maybe it was just kids playing. Your friend's mother might have fallen into one of the traps I've set."
I no longer cared that Ashley needed her rest; this new lead was far too promising. I roused her right away and the hunter led us from trap to trap until, sure enough, we found Ashley's mother down in a pit, grumpy at us for taking so long to find her.
Ashley was so thrilled that she threw her arms around my neck and hugged me tight. "You're the bravest Lupe in the whole world! And you're mine forever."
But on the day that happens to be of particular interest to this story, Pundaberry was dreaming of being a wise and intellectual Lenny...
It was near impossible for Pundaberry to keep all his books in order; he had so very many of them. But this was the task that came of being a librarian.
As always, Pundaberry was working hard in the library, shelving books and organizing things when he came across a book he'd never seen before.
Filled with curiosity, Pundaberry pulled this book from the shelf and opened it up. To his great surprise, the pages were all completely empty! "I wonder what this book is for?" he mused aloud, stroking his beak. It wasn't good for a book to be empty. Maybe... maybe he should fill it-
Pundaberry jumped, torn from his daydream by the realization that someone was talking to him. Confused, Pundaberry glanced up to see who it was. To his great surprise it was the pink Uni who looked after them and a lady with her.
"Pundaberry, this is Jay. She'd like to have a word with you."
"Oh... oh, alright." Pundaberry sat up straighter, trying not to look so big. No one had ever wanted a word with him before. The lady was interesting looking, in a simple sort of a way. She wore a brown dress and had her brown hair pulled up in a lazy bun, a pencil stuck behind one ear. She also had brown eyes that were sparkling with amusement.
"Hello, Pundaberry. What an usual name that is... very inspiring."
Pundaberry felt a blush creeping up his cheeks. No one had ever liked his name... he didn't even like his name. How was it that she could find it inspiring? Maybe, he thought gloomily, she was just making fun of him. "What is it you wanted to ask me about?"
"Isn't that obvious?"
Pundaberry blinked in confusion, unable to imagine what she was talking about.
"Why, you adorable little Elephante! I've been here watching you every day! I should have thought it would have been obvious what I wanted!"
Pundaberry felt his jaw drop open. "Every day? But I've never seen you!" And then, to his own shame, he realized that was probably because he never paid any attention to the people at all. He was so absorbed in his dreaming that he wouldn't have noticed her, even if she'd come and stood right beside him every day.
Jay chuckled, seeming amused. "Perhaps not. But I've been here just the same, listening to you."
"L-listening to me?" Poor Pundaberry was becoming more confused by the minute.
"Yes dear, you mumble aloud with that far away look in your eye. You've told me the most fabulous stories."
Pundaberry blushed to the tip of his trunk. He'd never known that anyone else could hear his stories. "I... I..." He didn't even know what to say.
Jay sat down beside him and folded her hands in her lap. "Pundaberry, I am a story writer. I write novels, children's books and stories for the Neopian Times. However, lately I've been... well, a little bit stuck. Writer's block they call it. You have the most wonderfully fantastic imagination of any pet I've ever met. I'd like to adopt you, Pundaberry. I'd like you to come and write with me."
At first, Pundaberry was sure he had to still be dreaming. He wasn't special. Nobody wanted to adopt him just because of his imagination... did they?
"Do you mean it?" he asked finally, his voice small. He'd never come so close to having a home before that he hardly dared to let himself believe any of this was real.
But Jay left no room for doubt. "Of course I do. I wouldn't have kept coming back if I didn't. Come on now." She held out her hand and, after a long moment, Pundaberry took it, following her to the front desk where she arranged things with the Uni.
Then, just like that, they were walking away from the Pound together, heading towards a home and a future. "I think you'll like it with me, Pundaberry. You'll have someone to share your dreams with, and I will turn your dreams into stories. You'll be famous. Everyone will know about you."
But Pundaberry didn't think his dreams would make very good stories. None of them could compare to the truth. After all, how many Elephantes could dream their way into someone's heart? Perhaps he'd have to write a story about it.
This story was inspired by and based upon the book: Elephante Dreams. Thank you for the inspiration, TNT!