Permanence: Part Two
"Welcome to your new permanent home!"
I looked up as I entered Katie's Neohome (apparently my new permanent home now) to see a faerie Draik smiling vibrantly. A Darigan Draik sat on a couch next to her, looking annoyed.
"Hey Annabel," Katie spoke up from behind me. "This is Jenna."
"Nice to meet you!" Annabel, the faerie Draik, squealed. "When I found out Katie was gonna trade for a sister for me, I was so excited!"
"Yup," the Darigan Draik muttered. "Katie would do anything for her precious Annabel."
I stared at the Darigan Draik, bewildered. What did she mean by that?
"Don't be so rude, Arie," Katie scolded her.
Annabel quickly fluttered over to me. "Oh, we're going to have so much fun together, Jenna!"
"Fun?" I quipped, sounding unintentionally rude. But I couldn't help it, I was worn out from meeting all of these new owners and pets.
Arie let out a quick laugh. "Jenna, I think we'll get along quite well."
"What do you mean?" Annabel asked, sounding hurt.
"I didn't mean it," I quickly amended. "I'm only a bit tired from my journey."
Relief spread across Annabel's face. "In that case, you go rest! We'll have plenty of time to talk later on!" she chirped.
"Right, of course," I mumbled, overwhelmed by Annabel's bubbly personality.
"Katie, show her to her room!" Annabel ordered.
"Right away!" Katie quickly responded, grabbing my hand and leading me up the stairs.
What was with these people?
Katie dragged me to a room at the end of the hall, opening the door with a flourish. As I entered, I let out a gasp of surprise.
The room was completely pink. The walls, the furniture, and even the books on the shelves. It was all... pink.
"Annabel designed it. It took about ten million neopoints, but..." Katie laughed nervously.
I stared at her incredulously. "Ten million!?"
"Yes, well. You rest!" Katie smiled, hurrying out of the room and closing the door behind her.
Exhausted, I flopped onto the bed, burying my face in the frilly pink pillows. Back at the second Kate's house, I had been an only neopet, so it was easier for me to not get attached. But here, I wasn't so sure how things were going to work out, especially since Annabel was determined to make me her best friend.
Just then, there was a soft knock at the door. Thinking it might be Katie or maybe even Annabel, I yelled out a 'Come in!' However, when the door opened, the person standing behind it was Arie. She quickly scurried into the room and closed the door softly behind her, twisting the lock.
I stared at her, confused. "What are you-"
"Shh!" she interrupted, hurrying over to my bed. "I came here to tell you something important, but you're going to have to be quiet."
Could this family get any stranger?
"What is it?" I sighed, drained of all energy.
"You're going to have to run away," Arie whispered quickly.
"What!?" I screamed, shocked.
"Shhh!" Arie ordered, eyes flicking towards the door.
But fortunately, it seemed as if no one else in the house had heard my sudden outburst.
"Look, I know it's crazy..." Arie started.
"Crazy is an understatement," I muttered, rolling over on the bed so that my back was to her.
Was Arie being serious? Run away? Never in my whole life had I considered such a thing. But then again, never in my whole life had I been in a situation such as this one.
"Just let me explain," she begged.
"Fine." I relented after a few moments, pulling myself up into a sitting position.
A grin broke out across Arie's face, only to be replaced moments later with a dark frown. "You think Katie is Annabel's owner, right?"
"Er... yeah, of course," I responded, puzzled.
"Well, in this house, it's the other way around. Annabel has Katie wrapped around her little finger; Katie would do anything for her," Arie answered bitterly.
"What makes you say that?"
"Didn't you hear what Annabel said when you entered? Katie traded for you to make Annabel happy. You're not Katie's dreamie. You're Annabel's dreamie so to speak. And have you noticed this room?" Arie paused to gesture around dramatically. "This room cost ten million neopoints. Do you think any normal owner would spend that much for a pet she doesn't even know?"
I opened my mouth, prepared to respond, but Arie continued on as if she hadn't even asked the question.
"Of course not. She did it for Annabel. Not to mention that Annabel's room cost twenty million," she finished.
"Maybe they're just... excited to see me," I offered.
Arie gave me a look. "If you still don't believe me, then I guess I'll just have to tell you about my own past."
"Your own past?"
"Yes." She nodded sadly. "I was once a beautiful faerie Draik who was traded off by an owner who told me that I would be 'permanent'. I was traded to Katie's neohome and became her first pet. Life was great. But one day, a friend of Katie's gifted her another faerie Draik- Annabel. Annabel was quite the drama queen, even back then, but Katie was so excited to have her there that she didn't even care."
"Go on," I urged, my curiosity fully piqued.
"Annabel threw a huge tantrum, saying that she absolutely refused to live in the same neohome as another faerie Draik. Katie convinced her that it wasn't so bad and sent the two of us to walk around Neopia Central to bond. Little did I know, Annabel's heart was filled with anger, and she still didn't want to live with me."
Arie paused to take a deep breath. "While we were walking close to the Rainbow Pool, she shoved me inside and took off flying in the opposite direction. I was prepared to follow her, but then I started to transform... into a Darigan. The transformation was such a shock that I ended up having to walk home; my wings felt so foreign on my back."
I stared at Arie, shocked. Had Annabel really done something like that?
"But that's not all," Arie continued. "When I got home, it turned out Annabel had told Katie that I was the one who tried to push her in, but ended up falling in myself. She was so convincing that I even felt myself start to believe her."
Arie shook her head ruefully, a sad smile on her face.
"I'm sorry," I said lamely, placing a hand on her shoulder.
"Don't be. Now that you're here we can run away together," Arie whispered darkly, the look of sadness replaced by one of excitement.
I took a deep breath, weighing my options carefully. If I stayed here, I would be taking the risk of having Annabel doing something terrible to me. Or worse- she could get bored of me and have Katie trade me away. If I left with Arie... I would be free. I would never have to be traded or abandoned again. And best of all, I would have a friend who knew what it was like to be betrayed.
"I'm in." I decided. "When do we leave?"
A dangerous smile spread across Arie's face. "Tonight. I'll come to your room at midnight. Pack whatever you want to take with you in the bag under the bed. Just make sure no one sees you."
I glanced at the pink clock on the pink table to my right, noting the time. Two hours till midnight. I nodded as Arie left the room and began to quickly search under the bed for the bag. I came up with a plain black duffel bag, looking so out of place in the completely pink room.
I quickly unzipped the bag and tossed in a few books, the clock, some snacks from the table drawer, and 200 NP I found under the rug at the foot of the bed. After a few moments I decided to throw in a small pillow, figuring that Arie and I might have to sleep in some pretty crazy places.
I zipped up the bag and kicked it under the bed, leaning back as I waited anxiously for midnight to arrive.
"Wake up," a voice whispered quietly in my ear.
I opened my eyes with a start, groggily rubbing my eyes. I looked to see who had woken me up and was glad that it was Arie. I must have fallen asleep while waiting for her.
"Ready?" she asked, a bag identical to mine slung over her shoulder.
"Yup," I responded, grabbing my own bag from under the bed. "Let's go."
Arie stalked over to the window by my bed and opened it easily, peering out into the night. The streets were deserted, making it the perfect time for our escape.
"So what's the plan?" I asked.
"We're going to fly out," Arie responded shortly, hurtling out of the window.
I hurried to follow her, flapping my wings furiously to keep up. "And after that?"
"I... um... didn't think that far," Arie admitted sheepishly.
I chuckled, not the slightest bit worried. "I know some people who can help."
"I still think you're crazy," Arie said.
We stood outside of the Neopian Pound.
"Do you have any better ideas?" I challenged, pulling open the door to the Adoption Center.
A pink Uni greeted us as we entered, glancing a bit suspiciously at our bags.
"We're here to adopt two neopets," I informed her, trying to look as innocent as possible.
"Where's your owner?" she asked just as sweetly.
"Sick. With Blurry Vision. So she told us to come pick out two neopets for her," Arie quickly lied.
The Uni gave us a strange look before sighing and pointing towards a door. "Go ahead. I'll be there in a moment."
We rushed inside before she could change her mind.
As we walked past the prison cells, it felt so nostalgic; the memories of the Pound were still fresh in my mind. I shook off the feeling as we approached the cell I was looking for. The two neopets inside looked up, startled.
"Ruce, Colourstory." I grinned, inclining my head towards them. "We're here to adopt you."
To be continued...