Life Is an Adventure, and So Is the Transfer Room
My name is Adaline, and I'm a transfer pet. Which means every home I've ever had only kept me for as long as they had too before sending me away for a better pet, or their "dreamy" as I've heard them called.
My very first owner, a rather harsh papa named Rick, had first made me as a red Xweetok. I'd liked the color immediately, but one of the first things he'd said to me was that I wouldn't have to be that "lousy color and species" for long. I soon discovered that he was a very rich Neopian when he took me to the Trading Post when I was just three hours old to buy me a Maraquan Cybunny Morphing Potion, with still enough money left to buy himself an expensive Krawk Plushie for his gallery on the way out. He brought me back home and made me drink the potion, much to my taste buds' displeasure, and sat there to watch as I transformed into a beautiful Maraquan Cybunny.
Now I admire my fuzzy blueish scales as I remember my very first visit to the Transfer Room. I had to wait there for three hours, hoping to bits that my new owner would be nice. Rick had told me it would be a big adventure to get a new home, so after the first hour of waiting I got up and made my way over to the Robot Hissi that was standing silently in the corner of the room; I wanted to ask it a very important question.
It looked down at me, glowing green eyes blank and uncaring. I swallowed down my nervousness and tried to look it in the eye. "Excuse me, but my owner said being transferred was an adventure. D-do you know why he said that? Is i-it...?" I stumbled over my words and trailed off under the robot's gaze - being only a week old, I didn't have an infinite amount of courage yet.
The Hissi actually seemed to blink at me then. Something in its eyes changed as it cocked its head and let out a short hiss that might have been a chuckle. "Why yes, I guess you could say it is an adventure." I shuddered at its metallic voice. "But hardly anyone knows it. Would you like to hear a secret, young one?" I gave a shy nod, and it continued. "This room is full of a special kind of magic, so that no matter how long it takes for your new owner to get here, you don't have to wait long for them. You could say that time runs differently here, so you can do whatever you want for six hours at the most."
Magic? Really? My little mind had a hard time wrapping around the concept that time could flow differently in different places. When I finally decided to just accept it, I asked, "What kind of magic?"
"Faerie magic. Queen Fyora placed the spell on this room because some Neopets had to wait so long for their new owners."
"But... w-what if their owners decided never to come?" I asked, suddenly scared. What if my new owner never came and I was left here forever?
The robot hissed. "Then after the six hours are up you'd be moved to the adoption room."
I could tell the Hissi was starting to lose interest in me, but I had one more question. "Why six hours? How does it work?"
The Hissi sighed, sounding like it was beginning to power down. "It's far too complicated for you to understand, little Cybunny."
The Robot Hissi's eyes regained their bright yet blank expression as it resumed staring at the door in bored silence. I blinked uncertainly and turned back to the room. It didn't look magical... In fact, it looked downright dirty, despite the rather expensive looking furniture and rugs. There were only about four other Neopets in the room, all of them looking either glum or bored. One blue Kougra was reading an old newspaper and muttering inaudibly to herself.
None of this told me that being transferred was an adventure at all, but I wasn't going to let that get me down. I needed to think of the positives, which was easy considering I was such an upbeat Cybunny already. I mean, a room that you could be in for six hours and maybe a day passes outside? How cool was that! I was sure I could make this work for me.
I found a few toys and began playing with them. I attracted the attention of everyone else in the room (except the Hissi) as I played with a plushie, pretending it was my own petpet. After an hour of this, there was a knock at the door, causing all heads in the room to snap up and watch hopefully for their new owner - except for me, who was busy building paper hats out of magazines and older versions of the Neopian Times.
But then I heard the voice of who'd come in and looked up in shock. Standing at the door was Rick, my owner. He was talking quietly with the Hissi, and ended the conversation by nodding and turning to scan the room with his cold, grey eyes. They stopped momentarily on me, and for a second I was afraid he'd take me back, but then they continued to search the room before settling on a Mutant Lutari standing shyly in the corner. Rick called to him and he came over, still looking a bit glum but obviously relieved to be getting out of this place. I realized that he must've been what I was traded for. 'Funny,' I thought to myself. 'I thought I'd been traded out for an even prettier pet.' For some reason this amused me, and I was curious as to what other kinds of Neopets I was worth being traded for. These owners had funny taste.
I giggled as the door closed behind my former owner with a loud "CLANG!" after which the Transfer Room regained its usual glumness. So I began exploring the room and finding old toys probably left behind by other pets. I kept playing until about an hour later when I heard the door creak open.
"I've come for an... Adaline?"
My ears perked up at the unfamiliar voice. I turned around to see a girl standing by the door, searching the room much like Rick had been, but less cold and stern. I felt her gaze stop on me and she called me over, smiling like I was just what she'd been looking for her entire life. I got up and ran over, happy to be leaving even though I did find it fun in there. When I reached her she picked up my tiny body and carried me out, hugging me all the way. I smiled and snuggled up to her, but I still had that nagging curiosity that I'd gotten when Rick took the Lutari out. 'I wonder if I'll ever go there again?...'
"Great!" my new owner said happily, more to herself than to me. "Now I have exactly what she needed, and I can finally get that Krawk I've always wanted."
It would be a lie if I said I wasn't crushed when she said that. I had, for a moment, thought that she would love me. But she only wanted me so she could get someone else. I wasn't going to be hers. But that was okay, because I didn't want an owner that would trade off her own pets. It was her loss anyway. And now I'd get to see somewhere else in the world, wherever she took me, and meet new people there before I could go see what this girl thought I was worth.
My spirits lifted at these thoughts, and I actually looked forward to when I could find another home. I even laughed a bit, realizing that I was just beginning that adventure Rick had talked about.
Now I realize that he probably didn't actually think there would be an adventure for me, but boy was he wrong. I've been on plenty of little adventures with my new friends, wherever I went, and every time I came back to the Transfer Room I'd look forward to more. Something new always awaits me. Of course, it would take too long to relay everything that's happened to me. The point is that right now I'm back in the room again.
It's been five years since I was first transferred, and now I'm sitting in my favorite chair near the door. I'm very grateful that time works differently in here; I like to know how long I have to wait before I can go. I've grown up past playing with toys, and there isn't much else to do when there's no one around who's willing to talk to you.
I think I may have fallen asleep, because now I hear the big metal doors opening again, and I get that feeling that says someone's looking expectantly at me. Yawning, I sit up and look towards the door only to see that the Robot Hissi is standing alone at the door, gazing at me with those near blank green eyes. "Come with me," he says, gesturing. "It's been six hours here, and no one has come. To the Adoption Room with you."
My eyes widen. The Adoption Room. Five long years and no one has failed to come for me, and now, for the first time, I'm going to where all the abandoned pets are found. I get up and follow the Hissi out of the room. It bumps my back as though I wasn't already moving.
I think the Hissi has changed over the years, gotten more... robotic, and harsh. I'm really glad I'm not a robot.
We reach the adoption room and he stops at the entrance. "I cannot continue. You will find a Uni to help you from here on out. Until next time." It nods its head and goes back to the Transfer room, leaving me at a pink door at the end of the hallway.
Taking a deep breath - this isn't an adventure I've had yet - I push open the door and am immediately met with the sound of shouting and... is that crying? I step into the room, trying to find the source of the noise. But before I can get any further, a pink Uni gets right up in my face, shouting, "BACK OFF, EVERYONE; PETS ARE TO BE ADOPTED IN AN ORDERLY FASHION!!"
I start to back up, but the Uni seems to notice me for the first time. "Oh! A newcomer. I don't see any owners with you so I'm just going to assume you're from the Transfer Room?" She doesn't wait for an answer and grabs my paw, dragging me through the crowd. "You're going to have to wait in back with the other new pets. But don't worry, I'm sure with your color you'll get out soon."
We've reached the edge of the white-painted room where there are far less Neopets. The ones that are there are standing around in small bunches and not talking to one another. The Uni takes a piece of cardboard and string from a large pocket and asks my name.
"A-Adaline," I stammer, completely in shock by the chaos of this place, and still trying to find the source of the crying.
"Aaa-daa-leen..." the Uni sounds out slowly, writing it down on the cardboard and slapping it on my chest, then running off before I can point out that she left off the E.
I sigh and turn around in a full circle, trying to find where the crying was coming from. I don't like crying, and I don't like unhappiness in general. It kills me to see a baby crying and no one helping it. And that's exactly what I find - a small Darigan Kougra no older than a week or two at most, sitting in the corner and crying his little heart out. It's unbearable, so I push my way through the unhappy basic colored pets and kneel down next to the poor little thing.
"Hey," I murmur quietly to him. "what's wrong, little dude?" He looks up at me in response, quieting for the moment but with tears still rolling down his cheeks.
"I-I..." he begins, hiccuping slightly. "M-my mom-ma doesn't l-like me. S-she said I was too much tro-trouble."
I look down at him and watch as he lays his head back down on his knees. Who would do such a thing?? Just throw out a tiny cub like this without a thought? I bend over and grasp the cardboard necklace he's wearing. "Keith." I read off of it. "Is that your name?"
He nods slightly, and I can't help but wrap my arms around him. He doesn't push away, so I hug him saying, "Hey, Keith. I'm gonna tell you something. I'm not going to let you be taken to a home alone. Where you go, I'll go. And you'll stay with me too, okay?"
The little Kougra looks up at me with wide eyes. "W-why?"
"Because I know what it's like to be left alone at your age, and something tells me the Adoption Room isn't the best place to start an adventure alone." I smile at him, and he smiles back, much to my satisfaction. "Oh, and by the way, my name is Adaline."
Just as those words escape my lips we're finally noticed by a dark-haired man just across the room. "Hey! Uni girl, I wanna adopt those two over there!" At this a lot more shouting breaks out, fighting over who would get the rare pets. But in the end the man won, and the pink Uni made her way over to the us. She smiled quickly and brought us both over to the man.
"Okay, sir, here you are. I hope you treat them well," the Uni says and runs off to help someone else before he can say a word.
I take one look at the man who'd adopted us and gasp, "Rick?"
His eyes widen. "Adaline! Well, this is a surprise. I thought I'd only end up trading you once."
My new/old owner takes us both home, where I meet a completely new set of Neopets from what had been there before. When I mention this to no one in particular, Keith tugs on my arm and asks what I mean. I answer, telling him about the Transfer Room's existence, and his eyes fill with tears upon realizing that we're going to go back to the pound.
"No, no! It's okay, the Transfer Room's not at all like the Adoption Room! We'll only be there for six hours at the most, and then we can start an adventure together." I begin to tell the Kougra about my travels around Neopia, and about my adventures along the way. His eyes widen with excitement as I explain how the Transfer Room works, and at the end of my story he's practically jumping up and down with anticipation.
"And here we are, the Transfer Room!" I exclaim, spreading my arms as wide as they'll go. Keith stares with something akin to disappointment at the sorry state of the place as we're gestured inside.
"Are you sure this is the place you were at before?" he asks.
For the next five and a half hours we're getting out all the toys that I'd played with when I first came here, and I begin teaching him how to make paper hats and things. Keith has just mastered the paper hat when a knock comes at the door and it opens.
"Hi, I'm here for a Maraquan Cybunny and a Darigan Kougra. Their former owner will be here to pick these guys up later." A girl with blue dyed hair steps into the room and addresses the Hissi as she shoves two Lutaris inside. She then turns her dark green eyes directly toward us. "You two, get over here. I don't have all day."
I stand up to come over, but Keith is hanging desperately onto my tail. "Adaline! We can't go with her, she's scary!"
I smile and grab his paw, pulling him upright. "Don't you worry. She won't keep us for too long. This whole thing is just one big adventure, and we'll get through it together from now on, alright?"
He pauses a moment, thinking. Then he looks up at me and I see a determined fire in his eyes that I've only seen in a mirror before. "Okay."