The Temporary Pet
You walk into the Neopian Pound, looking for some interesting colours to snatch up and trade down at the boards. You glance around. You have been in here countless times, but it is still as mystical as the first time you came in. Contrary to what one would think, the pound is silent. There are no outcries or whines to be heard. Not a pet nor human dares to make a sound, fearing it would bring attention to themselves.
You hear the door open in the front of the pound. A rich, young Neopian walks into the abandon room with an orange Grundo. Normally no one would pay attention to a Grundo, but since this colour of Grundo could give its owner a rare avatar, the ones of this colour were always picked up immediately, then repounded. It was a sad life for avatar pets, but there was nothing you could do about it. Besides, you're not here for an avatar, you're here for a rare and valuable pet, and while avatar pets are valuable, they are not well sought after and would be hard to trade. The Grundo is placed in a cage on the opposite side of the room. Suddenly a crowd of people race towards the cage. The first one that gets there can adopt the pet, no matter how much the people behind them push and shout. After everyone realizes the pet has been adopted, they all scatter, and continue to scan the pound for more painted and well named pets.
You walk down the corridor. Cages after cages line the walls. Each cage contains a well-fed, but lonely, pet. Most of them are basic, or poorly named. No, none of these will be good for trading. What you need is one that really stands out from the rest. Every once in a while, you pass a speckled or Christmas pet. However, you quickly pass over them, as their value doesn't register as good enough in your mind. You walk to the next set of cages. More basics. Next cages. More basics. You have done this countless times before, so your eyes have been trained to go to any pet that looks different from the rest.
Something catches your eye. You turn. You sigh, as the pet that drew your attention simply had an interesting name, but was basic. You look at the name. The nameplate reads "TemporaryPetBori". You stare at it for a moment, then look at the pet. In the cage, a small red Bori is lying with her back against the far side of the cage, sleeping. With a name like that, you speculate that she had been made by a new account, probably a side account for an experienced player, that had to make a pet but was to get rid of it as soon as possible. Curiosity gnaws at you, but you sadly glance away and continue walking. You go to the next set of cages. More basics. Next cages.
You continue to walk along the rows of cages. The pound is not very crowded today, as you see the same pets many times. You pass a set of cages that has three pets of the same colour and species. You chuckle to yourself, as it looks like the pets were clones of each other. You go to the next set of cages. There she is again. TemporaryPetBori. This time she's awake, and looking at you. She is still young, and must not yet understand why she was abandoned, or why people pass her without a second glance. But she's noticed you and raises her head. She opens her mouth to speak, but stops when she realizes you are leaving. She lies her head back on her large paws and waits.
You continue to inspect the cages. More basics. Next cages. More basics. Next cages. Oh! There's a Maraquan pet! And it's rare, too! You glance at the name... what a pity. The name is random numbers and letters, with three underscores. No, that would be very hard to trade. Next cages. More basics. You sigh and decide to take a break. You exit the pound, glancing again at TemporaryPetBori as you leave. Your active pet is waiting outside for you as you walk out of the building.
You and them walk to Pizzaroo, the nearby restaurant. You and your pet sit down and eat while you talk about the pounded pets of today's expedition. You joke about how basic pets are taking over the pound, and your pet guiltily laughs as a newbie walks by. Their pet is basic, and looks genuinely hurt at your joke. You see it whisper something to its owner as they go to their table. The newbie glares at you as you eat, making you feel uncomfortable. Once you and your pet finish your pizza, you don't hang around for long and you head back to the pound. Your active waits outside again, as pets that have owners are not usually allowed into the pound unless they have special permission from Dr. Death himself.
You resume walking throughout the pound, ever searching for decent pets. Next cages. More basics. Next cages. As the afternoon drags on with no good pets appearing, you regret not grabbing that Maraquan pet from earlier while you had the chance. The pound announces that they are closing for the night in fifteen minutes. You sigh, as you don't usually go back home empty handed.
As you leave, you pass by that cage again. The one with the Bori. What was her name again? You glance at her nameplate. Oh yeah, TemporaryPetBori. She is looking up at you, but she doesn't dare to try speaking again, fearing that you will leave again like you did last time. Dr. Death says over the intercom that people need to head to the front and pay for their adoptions. You aren't adopting anything, but you feel like you should be leaving now anyways. You turn and start to walk away, when you hear a quiet, but desperate, yelp behind you. You glance back, and TemporaryPetBori has tears streaming down her face, as she is too young to understand why you don't talk to her. She doesn't understand that her owner abandoned her, and that no one wants her. She doesn't understand why she isn't loved.
You can't take it. This pet is only a basic, but yet you feel obligated to adopt her. She is silently crying out to you, and you turn to leave once more. You don't hear her anymore. You look back. She has buried her snout under her paws in shame, thinking that she did something to make you leave. Tears fall down your own face as well. Not only is she a basic, but she's poorly named! She would never be able to be traded! Suddenly, you're unsure if you want to trade her. What's happening to you?
Dr. Death says the pound closes in five minutes. You make a hasty decision. You walk over to the cage. You unlock the cage and look down at TemporaryPetBori. She doesn't look up, as she thinks that looking would make you leave again. You bend down and pick her up. She is surprised by this, and uncovers her eyes. She looks up at you as you walk towards the adoption counter. You hand the Uni, whose name you still have yet to catch, a small bag of neopoints. She counts them to make sure they are the right amount, hands you a couple back, and wishes you a good night.
You leave the pound. Your active pet is startled by you, but happily rejoins your side. As you walk back to your house, your active looks up at the pet you are holding. They shake their head and laugh, joking about how you finally learned to accept a pet by not its colour, but by its heart. You laugh as well, even though ten minutes later you talk about future paint and customization plans for TemporaryPetBori. Your active glances at you with an amused look, noting that maybe you haven't changed at all, but have at least warmed up to the idea of accepting a pet that is basic. You agree. You realize something ironic. TemporaryPetBori is going to be a permanent pet after all.
This is based off of my Bori, TemporaryPetBori, that I adopted from the pound. Thanks for reading!
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|Grundos in the Woods|
"I tell you," says the blue Grundo, "this is nonsense of the highest order! Total insanity! Absolute madness! You can't expect me to believe such a story, Mr. Gorax."