A Feline Rivalry
"Jarnk, where are you going this time?”
The Pirate Xweetok was already up and about, whirling his long coat over his shoulders and slipping his arms through the holes. He looked eager and ready to tackle the day ahead of him, but what he was planning, no one seemed to know. “Heading to the petpet shop. You all have petpets, but I don’t see one around here reserved for me.”
Pit grunted. “Well, whose fault is that? No one is going to go out and buy a petpet for you. We all got our petpets ourselves.” The Christmas Zafara retorted. As if on cue, Pit’s petpet, Bartholomew, hopped up onto the chair beside Pit. The White Meowclops gave a tiny mew and curled up on the arm of the chair next to the Zafara.
“What about that, huh? Dark Pit got you that thing. You didn’t even bother to go out and get a petpet yourself. Someone gave it to you.” Jarnk crossed his arms and narrowed his eyes, leaning against the door of the house.
“That’s different, Jarnk. Bartholomew is an expensive petpet, and Dark Pit is the one who handles the finances. He doesn’t let anyone get a kind of petpet like this. Heck, he doesn’t let anyone in the house have more than a five-thousand Neopoint allowance every week. He says if we did we’d be broke as dung and we’d have to live at the Rubbish Dump.”
“Well based on your purchase history I can see why…”
“Hey, that Rainbow Carrot was ONE TIME! The pet that sold it to me told me it had magical healing properties!”
“It cost us 1 million Neopoints, Pit. The only thing that food was good for was your Gourmet Food counter. Not to mention the fact that you brought that thing into the Battledome and made a fool of yourself when you tried to heal yourself with it.”
Pit groaned and rolled his eyes. “Isn’t there somewhere you need to be? We could go on all day about my past purchases and get nowhere.”
Jarnk shivered as he opened the door of the house, letting the cold winds and winter flurries into the warm home. “Yeah. I’ll be back later, I might be a couple of hours. It’s a bit of a walk to the Altador Carriage Transport to Neopia Central.”
Pit’s ears perked up. “You’re not buying a petpet from Altador? The petpet shop is just a short walk away.”
Jarnk flashed a grin at the Zafara. “I have something else in mind. I have to get to the Neopian Marketplace to buy one of these bad boys.”
Pit focused back on the crossword puzzle in his lap. “All right, if you say so… If you get back late just don’t wake anyone up.”
“Can do.” Jarnk winked and threw a thumbs up in the Zafara’s direction. “I’ll be back later!”
It wasn’t until late afternoon that Jarnk returned home carrying a large box with holes in it. It obviously contained the petpet that he had purchased from the Marketplace, and everyone that was around eyed it curiously as Jarnk slammed the box on the kitchen table. “Hey, chumps! I finally got myself a petpet! Ready to see the petpet that out-does the rest?” Jarnk gloated, flipping up his collar on his long coat in an attempt to look cool.
Dark Pit, who had been sitting at the kitchen table, grit his teeth at the pirate Xweetok’s attitude, half tempted to swipe the box off the table. He wasn’t that cruel though. “Cut it out, you lunk, and just tell us.”
Jarnk snorted angrily and flung the top of the box across the room in haste, eager to un-box his petpet as quickly as possible. “Alright, here he is!” the pirate Xweetok held up his petpet proudly, allowing for everyone to gaze upon its’ amazingness.
When he was taken out of the box, however, the only sounds uttered from the other Neopets in the room were roaring laughter. It was a Blue Angelpuss. It looked unimpressed at being shown off and slumped in its’ new owner’s arms.
“That’s your new petpet?” Pit snickered. “That thing’s not intimidating! That thing is fluffy and adorable! All other pets are going to do when they see your petpet is laugh at you!”
Jarnk smirked. “He may not be intimidating now, but I’m going to teach him the ways of a pirate. Then he can help me on my treasure hunting!”
“Shouldn’t you have painted him pirate after buying him, then?” Dark Pit remarked, not even looking at the Xweetok.
“Shut up.” Jarnk frowned. “Anyway. If he’s gonna be living under this roof, he has to get along with you and the other petpets around here, so treat him well, understood? If you don’t you’ll have to answer to me.”
“Whatever.” Dark Pit turned the page of the newspaper he was reading, and Pit continued to pet his Meowclops on the chair in the corner.
The rest of the Neopets went about their business, while Jarnk set the blue Angelpuss down on the couch next to Pit’s chair. “Here, let your petpets get acquainted, featherboy.”
Bartholomew quickly jumped off the chair where Pit was sitting and made his way over to the couch where the blue Angelpuss sat. The Meowclops began mewling at the Angelpuss. “Hey, so you’re the new petpet, are you? You’re gonna like it here. Our Neopet owners give us lots of food and treats, and there’s these petpet beds upstairs that are super soft. I think your owner has already gotten you one.”
The Angelpuss didn’t say anything but started to clean his paws with his tongue. There was no acknowledgement from him whatsoever that Bartholomew was even there.
“Huh. Maybe he can’t hear me…” Bartholomew mumbled, laying down and crossing his paws over each other.
“I can hear fine, you dunce.” The Angelpuss growled. “Get out of my face.”
“Are you stupid? I’m the new top cat around here. You’re nothing more than some dumpster diving scraggly petpet that your owner dragged off the streets.”
“Uh… excuse me?” Bartholomew stood up on the couch. “That’s not true. I was bought at the Mystery Island Trading Post.”
“For how much, a thousand neopoints because they were so desperate to get rid of you?”
“Hey, price doesn’t matter!” He hissed. “What’s your problem anyway?”
The blue Angelpuss stood up calmly, brushing past the white Meowclops with a smug look on his face. “Listen, kitty. It’s like I said, I’m the new top cat around here. You’re going to give me three-quarters of your food every day, I get to use your litterbox and sleep in your bed whenever I want, and I get free access to all of your toys and climbing towers.”
“What the- no! I’m not doing that!” Bartholomew bared his teeth at the Angelpuss. “What makes you think you can do that?”
The Angelpuss grinned. “So simple-minded. You’ll be doing this from now on because if you don’t, you’ll get on my bad side.” The Angelpuss unsheathed a claw and raised it towards Bartholomew’s chin. “You don’t want to see what will happen if you get on my bad side.”
Bartholomew gulped. He didn’t want to think about the consequences of getting on this petpet’s bad side… but he also didn’t want to give up his food or privileges either. The White Meowclops slowly nodded, and the Angelpuss put his claws away.
“Good then. Starting now those rules are in place. You better not forget ‘em.”
“Purloin! Get over here!” the blue Angelpuss’ owner called him over, freeing the White Meowclops from the other petpets’ prescience.
Bartholomew sighed in relief, frowning at the possibilities that the future weeks held. “This is going to be a nightmare…”
“What is THIS?” Purloin peeked around the corner at the Meowclops eating his food out of his food dish. “Remember what I said yesterday?”
Bartholomew bit his lip and lowered his ears, stepping away from his food bowl. He was already starving, but he had barely gotten two bites of his food before the Angelpuss interrupted. Bartholomew’s stomach growled loudly in response. “Hrrmm…” He mumbled quietly.
“Don’t worry, alley cat. I’m sure you can find some scraps in the garbage can.”
Bartholomew hopped up on the countertop, searching it for any sort of leftover food. Generally the petpets weren’t allowed to eat scraps off the owners’ plates, but… if Purloin was going to be this harsh about the “ground rules” he placed, he wouldn’t have much of a choice. After a minute or two of searching, the Meowclops managed to find a small plate of muffins sitting on the counter. One of them was half-eaten… perhaps no one was eating it.
Bartholomew slyly grabbed the muffin and edged himself into a corner of the kitchen where no one would see him. He scarfed down the muffin and licked his lips. It was more filling than he expected it to be, and he found himself getting full after just a few bites of the pastry.
“Hey, where’s my muffin gone?”
Bartholomew froze at the sound of his owner’s voice. If he found out that he was stealing food, surely he’d be angry…
It wasn’t long before the Meowclops was discovered snacking on the muffin, when Purloin stepped behind him and meowed loudly. Pit lifted Purloin out of the way and picked up Bartholomew and the half-eaten muffin. “Bartholomew, what are you doing? It’s not like you to take food that isn’t your own.”
Bartholomew mewled and rubbed his head against Pit’s neck. Hopefully his owner would forgive him for this mishap…
“Well, it doesn’t matter. I wasn’t going to finish that muffin anyway.” Pit scratched his Meowclops’ belly. “Come on, you want to come with me into town today? I’m going to pick up some goodies for dinner.”
“Mew!” Bartholomew mewed in response. He only wished that his owner could understand what he was saying so that he could tell the Zafara about the mess that he was in…
The Zafara carried the Meowclops out of the house on his shoulder, and Bartholomew glanced back only to feel the icy, piercing gaze of Purloin staring at him. Bartholomew gulped and turned back to focus on their destination. He was going to have a good time with his owner, he had to put the thoughts of Purloin aside for now.
Over the next couple of days, things only got worse. Purloin had essentially stolen everything that belonged to Bartholomew; his food, his bed, his privacy… Every day things seemed to get increasingly worse. Pit had to scold him every day for stealing food, and had bought a small kennel to keep Bartholomew in when he was bad. It seemed like the one place that the white Meowclops could get away from the blue Angelpuss’ terrible reign, but every time he was put in the kennel Purloin only taunted him. He would run his paws across the bars and make terrible remarks to him, telling him how he was such a “bad kitty” for stealing food, and that this was his house now. Bartholomew was growing tired of all this and considered running away from the home. He didn’t really have any place to go, but if this was how he was going to be treated daily, he couldn’t take it anymore. He had to get out.
The next morning before anyone had even woke up, even Purloin, Bartholomew slipped out an open window and ran through the streets of Altador, not looking back towards his former home. He could feel tears welling up in his eye, sad that he had to leave the owner that had once cared about him so much. The Meowclops hid behind a garbage bin behind one of the shops, hanging his head low and lowering his ears. Bartholomew looked at himself in a broken mirror on the ground in front of him. His fur was dirty and matted from digging in the trash all the time at home, and his build had become thin and frail. He sighed. He had to live the life of an alley petpet now, just like Purloin said.
Bartholomew curled up in a soggy old box behind the large building, settling down to sleep. Just as he did so, a small bug crawled in beside him. He didn’t really like bugs, but this bug already seemed to take a shine to him. Its thorax crackled with tiny electric shocks, and he lit up the whole box. The light was somewhat comforting in the dark place, and Bartholomew decided that he would let the little bug stay for now. What did his owner say that these things were? Petpetpets? He couldn’t remember. This one was blue and lit up. Whatever petpetpet he was, he liked it.
The Meowclops carefully pulled the tiny bug in close and closed his eye, falling asleep quickly. He was exhausted…
The day time came and went quickly, allowing for Bartholomew to get some much needed rest. Unfortunately there was no food for him to eat, but at this point, he wasn’t concerned. Perhaps some kind Neopian would come along and give him something to eat.
Bartholomew opened his eye and stretched, taking care not to step on his little petpetpet friend. Bumbles, he had decided to call him, stood up and hopped on the Meowclops’ head. The White Meowclops stumbled out of the box and raised his ears towards the sky. “Sunset… I’ll need to find something to eat soon. If I don’t, I’ll be starving tomorrow morning…”
Bartholomew swiftly ran through the streets of Altador, grabbing every little scrap of food that he could and brought it back to the alley. He had gathered various scraps of meat, bread crumbs, pastries, and cheeses. He hoped that he could find just as much tomorrow, but for now, this would do.
For days, Bartholomew did the same thing, sleeping during the day and gathering as much food as he could at night. He was surprised at just how much Altadorians threw away, but it was enough to keep him going every day. He continued to stay in the soggy old box that he had found the first night he was out alone, and he had named the little petpetpet that he found Buzzy. That day, Bartholomew had gained quite a haul of food, and he was ready to chow down on all that he had acquired. Just as he was about to take a bite though, he was interrupted by a small voice.
“U-Um… excuse me there… Do you have any to spare?”
The white Meowclops sat up, looking in the direction of the voice. A blue Angelpuss, looking extremely similar to Purloin, stood in the alley. This Angelpuss had a very different disposition though, and looked very timid compared to Purloin. Bartholomew hesitated for a second, not wanting to give up any of the food he had gathered, but at the same time, this Angelpuss looked just as starving as he was. Bartholomew pushed a small piece of bread towards the blue Angelpuss and scooted away slightly. Whether or not this Angelpuss had ill intent was unknown to him, but he didn’t want to take that risk.
The Angelpuss looked incredibly grateful but said nothing as she sat down next to the box that Bartholomew sat in. “Thank you…” She sighed heavily, munching down on the bread and quickly devouring it all. “I’m sorry to have imposed… I don’t have anywhere else to go. Food is so hard to come by when the streets of Altador are so clean…”
Bartholomew nodded. “Got that right…” He mumbled. “How come you don’t have a neohome? An Angelpuss like you usually would have a Neopet to go home to.”
The Angelpuss shook her head. “Well… I was supposed to be taken to my new home a few days ago… but…” She rubbed her paws together awkwardly, trailing off and biting her lip.
“But… what?” Bartholomew suddenly perked up, his Bumbluz friend hopping on top of his head.
She frowned and rubbed her stomach with her paws. “Something happened when I was on the way home. My new owner and I were attacked. Some kind of shadow appeared out of the bushes and knocked away the box that I was inside of. It knocked me away and I fell out of the box… I tried to get back inside the box, but before I knew it, there was another petpet inside of it! It swiped at me and knocked me away from the box so that I couldn’t get back inside, and then my new owner walked away with the wrong petpet!”
Bartholomew’s eye widened. “Gee, that sounds awful…” He couldn’t help but feel pity for the Angelpuss. The Meowclops suddenly perked up. “Wait, what kind of Neopet was it that was taking you home? Do you remember?”
She sniffled, wiping her wet nose. “He… he was a Pirate Xweetok I think…”
Bartholomew turned away and let out a growl. “That rotten…” He looked the Angelpuss directly in the eyes. “I think I know where your owner went. We can’t go right now… but when dawn comes, I’ll take you there. Understand?”
The Angelpuss looked a little confused, but nodded. “O-okay…”
Bartholomew was just about to settle down for a rest when he realized something. “Oh, I didn’t even ask you… Do you have a name yet?”
She nodded her head. “M-My owner was supposed to name me Purrly…”
Bartholomew smiled. “I like it.”
“This is the place. Stay quiet.” Bartholomew whispered, creeping around the side of the home. He hoped that his suspicions were correct about this… or he would land himself and his new friend in a heap of trouble. The Meowclops perked his ears up, scanning the area for any sounds of movement within the house. It didn’t sound like anyone was awake, but they still had to be cautious. “Come on, here.” Bartholomew carefully hopped up onto the open window sill where he had escaped so many days before.
Purrly followed suit, covering her small halo floating above her head so that the light emanating from it wouldn’t give away their location. They didn’t’ want to alert anyone that they were there until they for sure confirmed Bartholomew’s suspicions. Bartholomew slowly pushed open the door of one of the rooms, eyeing it curiously to find what he had been looking for. Within moments, he spotted Purloin, the spoiled rotten kitty that had kicked him out of his own home. The Angelpuss had grown quite fat from eating both he and Bartholomew’s food, it seemed.
The Meowclops motioned for Purrly to wait behind the door, and avoid being seen. He didn’t want her getting hurt. Bartholomew crept over to Purloin, who was laying lazily in Bartholomew’s bed, then batted him in the face with his paw. Purloin awoke with a start, hissing and raising the fur on his back.
“You!” He spat. “I thought I got rid of you!”
“You can’t drive me from my own home, you sorry excuse for a feline.”
Purloin sat himself up, letting out a huff of air before weakly swatting at the Meowclops. Bartholomew stepped back, giving himself enough space between he and Purloin. The Angelpuss could barely move around with how large he had gotten from eating too much.
Purloin charged at Bartholomew at full force, knocking the breath out of the Meowclops as he slammed into the dresser behind him. Bartholomew shook himself off, only to have Purloin jump right on top of him and pin him to the floor. The Angelpuss’ weight was nothing to sneeze at, and he could barely move underneath the fat cat.
Bartholomew let out a long, loud mewl that echoed throughout the house. He squirmed and writhed underneath the weight of the large Angelpuss, struggling to even move.
“Give it up, you’ll never beat me! This is MY home now, not yours! You’re done here!”
“What’s going on here?”
A familiar voice caused the two felines to pause. In the doorway stood Pit and Jarnk, with the Pirate Xweetok holding Purrly in his arms. Bartholomew shrieked at the sight of Pit, who looked equally as shocked to see his precious petpet again. “Bartholomew!” Pit removed Purloin from on top of Bartholomew, holding his Meowclops tightly in his arms. “I thought I’d never see you again, buddy!”
Jarnk narrowed his eyes angrily at the rotund Angelpuss laying on the floor. He meowed menacingly at the four of them, hissing and waving his paws weakly. “Hmph. I thought something seemed fishy about a certain Angelpuss. Little imposter. You’re probably someone else’s petpet who steals food from other petpets, and then you end up like this.” Jarnk carefully set Purrly down on the couch, giving her a gentle pat on the head before picking up Purloin. “I think it’s about time we get you back to where you belong, so OUR petpets can come back to where they belong.”
“Mrrrooowwww…” Purloin hissed at Jarnk, swiping at him as the Xweetok picked him up.
“Where are you going to take him?” Pit asked, sitting next to Purrly and petting her along with Bartholomew.
Jarnk sighed. “Well, I think I’m going to take this guy to the PPL in the morning, see if they know of anyone who’s missing a blue Angelpuss. If no one claims him in a couple days, I’ll take him to the trading post and give him to an owner who wants him.”
“Meeeeooooowwww!!!” Purloin wailed, baring his teeth at Jarnk.
“You shush! You’re the one that got our petpets into this mess!”
Pit rubbed his eyes. “Jarnk, just put the Angelpuss in the kennel we bought and go back to bed… I’ll take care of the petpets and their food. I’ll sleep later.”
The Xweetok groaned. “Fine… ‘night.”
Jarnk walked down the hall out of sight while Pit picked up the two petpets. “Alright you two… let’s get you both some well-deserved meals. I’ll even use the special petpet food I bring out for special occasions. Sound good?”
Bartholomew and Purrly mewled happily in response, sprinting towards the kitchen and waiting eagerly at their respective bowls. Purrly smiled at the Meowclops. “Thanks.” She mewed.
“No problem.” He grinned back. Bartholomew was tired and hungry, and it had been a long few weeks, but above all, one emotion stuck out in his mind.
He was glad to be back home where he belonged.