Befriending Boochi: Part Three
A sense of calm had fallen over Neopia. It had been two weeks now since Draikessa the Eventide Draik had befriended Boochi, the once feared Baby Bruce, and her friend Kayennah the Pirate Krawk had accidentally zapped Boochi with his very own ray gun turning him back into the Blue Bruce he used to be many years ago. The news of Boochi's transformation had spread quickly throughout the many Neopian lands, and Neopians no longer had to fear being randomly zapped into a Baby neopet. The streets were filled with far more expensively painted neopets than had ever been seen before, as owners now knew they could let their prized neopets wander freely around secure in the knowledge that they would not return home transformed into a Baby. Neopians no longer had to hide away!
Draikessa was sorting through a large pile of books she had recently read.
"No doubt you'll be donating them to the Money Tree, instead of selling them on and earning some money," Kayennah said disapprovingly.
"No doubt indeed," Draikessa agreed, with a grin. "Doesn't it make you feel all warm and fuzzy inside knowing you've done a good deed?"
Kayennah snorted. "I wouldn't know. I'm not exactly known for my good deeds."
"Apart from rescuing Boochi, you mean!" Draikessa laughed. "You've probably only gone and done the whole of Neopia the best favour in years!" She picked up a large pink book, shaped as Boochi when he was still a Baby Bruce. "Oh look, here's your book, The Big Book of Boochi! Should we donate this?"
"No, I want to keep this." Kayennah took the book, and thumbed thoughtfully through its many pages which listed name after name of all Boochi's past victims. "What I don't understand," she mused aloud, "is why Boochi hasn't changed all the Neopians back into what they were prior to him zapping them Baby. We know now that his ray gun can work in reverse. So surely it would make sense for him to make amends and transform everyone back?"
Draikessa sighed. "Really, Kayennah, are you still hung up on this? Maybe some of the owners already repainted their pets? Maybe a lot of the owners actually like having a Baby neopet. They are cute, after all. Maybe you should stop being so suspicious and trying to pick holes in Boochi's story. Leave the poor guy alone!"
"Maybe," Kayennah said with a shrug. "Maybe not." Though the two were the very best of friends, Kayennah often thought Draikessa was too trusting, often to the point of being naive, while Draikessa sometimes accused Kayennah of being too suspicious and occasionally cyncial, rarely ever allowing herself to see the good in people.
"Come on," Draikessa said, not wanting to argue with her best friend. "Let's take these books to the Money Tree and spread some joy."
"Yay," Kayennah said utterly without joy.
At the Money Tree, as the pair watched Draikessa's books get quickly snapped up by grateful Neopians, Kayennah said, "So where's the ray gun now then? Boochi still has it, right? So in theory, no one is really safe, are they? Technically he could still zap us all if he wanted to." Kayennah looked around Neopia Central as everyone went happily about their day. "All these Neopians, lulled into a false sense of security ... Someone tells them Boochi is a good guy now, and they just accept it. Haven't they even wondered about the gun and where it is now?"
Draikessa rarely ever lost her patience but she could feel herself starting to get cross. "Boochi IS a good guy!" she cried. "He always was. He was just misunderstood!"
"So you haven't wondered about the ray gun?"
Actually, no, Draikessa hadn't wondered about the ray gun. Something stirred in her, a slight sense of unease perhaps. WHY hadn't she wondered about the ray gun? Ugh! She shook her head dismissively. She wasn't going to let Kayennah's suspicious nature infect her too. She and Boochi were friends now. Everyone was friends with Boochi now. He was no longer the lonely Baby Bruce he used to be. He had no need to use his ray gun ever again, everyone knew that!
"Ok, ok," Draikessa relented. "Let's go find Boochi. He'll put your mind at rest, I'm sure."
They wandered away from the Money Tree and before long came to the neohome where Draikessa had taken Boochi on the evening they had first encountered him, when he had been lost and crying. Draikessa was dismayed to find that the neohome still looked as abandoned and unlived in as it had a few weeks ago. The drapes were still drawn and the garden was even more unkempt than ever.
"No one lives here, Draikessa," Kayennah commented, running her finger along the dusty window pane. "This place has obviously been abandoned for years. Boochi was clearly lying to you."
Draikessa shook her head. "He told you his owner abandoned him before he became a Baby Bruce. And once he was a Baby Bruce, there was no one to look after him. You can't expect a Baby to look after a neohome properly."
"He's not a Baby Bruce anymore though, is he? He's had plenty of time to clean up around here."
Again, Draikessa experienced that same uneasy sensation, but she quickly shrugged it off. "He's a bit of a celebrity now, you know! He's obviously too busy to spend his time cleaning!"
They eventually found Boochi in the Neopian Cafe, where he seemed to be enjoying his new-found popularity, surrounded by a crowd of Neopians all vying for his attention. When he spotted the Krawk and the Draik, he waved them over. "Let's go somewhere a bit less crowded," he suggested, and the three of them wove their way outside and found a secluded spot near the General Store.
"So things have been crazy," Draikessa began, while Kayennah cut straight to the chase.
"Where's your ray gun?" she demanded.
Boochi looked momentarily taken aback. "My ray gun?" he stammered. "Why, it's at home!" He laughed lightly. "I have no need for it anymore."
"Really?" Kayennah was unconvinced.
"In fact," Boochi continued, "I've been to see the mad lab ray scientist! He was very surprised to see me, I can tell you! I don't know how he managed it, but he's done something to the ray gun. Fixed it, I suppose. It's no more capable of zapping anyone into a Baby neopet now than a regular toy gun."
"That's great!" Draikessa enthused.
"That's convenient," Kayennah said dryly.
Boochi smiled, almost sadly. "The Baby days are over now," he said.
Kayennah narrowed her eyes. "Yes, they are," she said. "Now you're no longer a Baby, you'll have to get a job."