My Zebie: Part One
My owner, Lina, woke me by shaking my shoulders.
"What? What?" I shouted, covering my eyes to block out the light from the window.
"Good morning, sleepyhead," Lina said as she kissed my brow. "Sorry, but I've been waiting for you to get up for about an hour now, and I got tired of waiting."
"Yeah, well, I wish you had waited longer, cause I'm still tired," I said, yawning deeply. "Why did you want me to wake up?"
"Well, you know what I promised you a few months ago?"
I paused mid-yawn and stared at her. She smiled widely as realization dawned on me.
"I'm going to get a petpet?" I shrieked, jumping out of bed. Lina nodded and hugged me, and I hugged her back fiercely. At last! A petpet of my own!
A few months ago, when my brother Ed had gotten his Ditrey, Lina had promised me that I could get my own petpet once she earned enough neopoints.
"I want you to get any petpet you want," Lina had told me that day. "No matter how much it costs. So before you decide, we're going to save up as much neopoints we can."
We decided to set a goal for ourselves of 800,000 neopoints and a baby paint brush. We had bought the paint brush first and stored it in the Safety Deposit Box, and then we worked hard to earn the rest of the neopoints.
All of my siblings had worked towards our goal; Ed played Wingoball and Zurroball, Cream had thought of different captions to enter and win the Caption Contest, and Kimiko had kept the shop well stocked and reasonably priced. Everyone did something, but no one worked as hard as me.
I played Key Quest every chance I could. I stored every last neopoint in the bank, and I cheered every time I got a codestone or negg. Twice, when I was really lucky, I got a paint brush! I also made sure that Lina went to Coltzan's Shrine every day, just in case we got lucky. Several times Coltzan helped us out by giving us a scroll or a dubloon.
"Where am I going to get my petpet?" I asked, wondering if we would go to the user shops or the auction house.
"We're going on a whole trip around Neopia!" Lina exclaimed. "We're going to visit every Neopian land and petpet shop until we find your perfect petpet.
I gasped, barely able to contain my excitement. Finally, I was able to stutter, "When... when do we leave?"
"As soon as you're done with breakfast," Lina replied, smiling.
With that, I raced down to the kitchen. I poured myself a bowl of Neocrunch cereal as fast as I could and gulped it down, barely chewing. My mind raced frantically, imagining all the different petpets I would see, and which one I would want.
That first day, we traveled to Faerieland. We visited the Discarded Magical Blue Grundo Plushie of Prosperity for good luck, and found 2,000 neopoints lying on the ground nearby.
The Faerie Petpet's window was cracked from when Faerieland had fallen. I was surprised they hadn't fixed it yet, but figured that when your whole city falls from the sky and lands in an entirely new place, it probably takes a while to get used to.
Light colored pets with wings and fur littered the different shelves and playpens in the shop. I laughed as a Floud accidentally bumped my head. It didn't hurt, but the little guy seemed confused. I pushed him towards some other Flouds and he started to bark and play with them. A Harris chattered at me from where it was sitting.
I studied each petpet long and hard, petting and playing with any who wandered near me. Finally, I looked at Lina and shook my head.
"My petpet isn't here," I told her.
It was still early in the day, so we made our way towards the Haunted Woods. I shivered as the air grew cooler and mist clung to my ankles. We hurried towards Spooky Petpets.
"Ew," I said as I stepped into a mud puddle. Why would a petpet shop be so dirty? I started to pull my foot away, and yelped when I spotted an eyeball.
"That's not a puddle, it's a petpet!"
The mud petpet glared at me. I took a quick glance around the rest of the shop, taking in bones and slime and fangs. We quickly left.
The Lost Desert was next on our list. In Sakhmet, we went to Peopatra's Petpets. There was a cage of young Wadjets that wriggled and looked a lot like Kimiko's petpet, Keke. The Nuks were incredibly cute. I petted a female Nuk for a long time, arguing with myself. I didn't want to buy the first cute petpet I saw; I wanted one that mattered.
"We can always come back," Lina said to me. I agreed and put the Nuk back in her pen.
By then we were both tired and ready to go home. But our search was not done. The next day, we travelled all the way to Moltara. I brushed the sweat off my forehead and trotted to catch up with Lina.
On our way to the Petpetorium, something green and glowing caught my eye. Instinctively, I pounced. Opening my hands to revel the source of the glow, I saw a little green worm. I peered at me, curious.
"Oh, it's so cute," I said. The worm trilled and began to inch up my arm.
"Is it a petpet?" Lina asked.
The worm suddenly jumped to the ground and wriggled down a hole, and the glow faded as it went further down into the earth.
"I guess not," I said, laughing.
The Petpetorium was filled with flames and magma petpets. There were warnings about burns next to almost every cage. I scratched the few that were friendly, but eventually decided that a Moltaran petpet was not for me.
Next we went to Maraqua; from one extreme to the other. We fitted diver helmets over our suits and jumped off our boat, waiting until we sank gently to the bottom.
"We should have brought Ray," Lina said through the intercom, referring to my Maraquan Aisha sister.
The Maraquan petpets struck me as the most unusual of all the petpets I've seen so far. There was a black and yellow Bubblebee, a reddish Splime with blue tentacles, an orange, pink, and blue Mundo, and many others. Despite their appearances, they were very friendly. Lina and I played with them for most of the day before returning home.
Then, one day, we went to Meridell. I went into the petpet shop and greeted the shopkeeper with a kind smile.
"Is there anything in particular you're looking for?" the Ixi asked. "We have some new Turtum hatchlings. They're very friendly, but not quite housebroken yet."
"We're just looking," Lina replied, scratching me on the head. She scanned the petpets with an expert eye, pausing to inspect the Albats for petpetpet infestations and checking to make sure that the Hoovles' hooves were well trimmed.
The shopkeeper noticed Lina's interest. "This is not your first petpet, is it?"
"No." She smiled. "Sulza here is my youngest neopet; I have eight others, all of whom have petpets. You certainly do learn a lot from the little critters. Who would have ever thought that I'd need to learn how to clean a Gruslen's teeth?"
Lina and the Ixi, whose name was Victorie, began an avid discussion about the different techniques required to care for a variety of petpets. A blind Karren nuzzled against my paw, and I gently petted and scratched the variety of petpets in the shop but none seemed special. I was simply waiting for a petpet that would call out to me. Being a very social, energetic young Aisha, you'd think I wouldn't be so picky when it came to choosing a petpet, but I knew that I was looking for a companion for the rest of my life, and I didn't want to be hasty.
I eventually wandered back outside, hoping Lina wouldn't take too much longer. There were a few fences for outdoor petpets along the shop, and I casually wandered along, watching as the animals grazed and played in their pastures. A well worn path worked its way past the pens and through a patch of trees. I yawned and continued walking, slowly emerging from behind an oak's thick trunk.
I paused, watching carefully. Here was another pen, but it was not filled with Hoovles or Tralbaks. Underneath the shade of these trees was a pen filled with a species of petpet I was not familiar with. They had small curled horns and fur, with cute dished faces that ended in a soft muzzle. They had cloven hooves and short tails, and tufts of fur underneath their chin. A few babies frolicked among the older adults, jumping from one boulder to another and chasing each other, before their mothers called them to nurse. The largest creature in the herd turned his horned head towards me and bleated, shaking the long fur out of his face so that he could stare at me with his deep, soulful eyes.
"Handsome, isn't he?" said a voice behind me.
To be continued...