Zur’s Zombie Roomate:Part Three
Noon eventually turned to evening, and the time for Ex’s dinner party had arrived. Her bicycle gang arrived all at once around the time that Ex had finished straightening everything up.
The gang consisted of mostly Elderly pets, but there were a few of different colors, as well. There was an Elderlygirl Aisha (the one that had bruised Zur by whacking him in the head with her cane), an Elderlygirl Ixi, an Elderlygirl Eyrie, an Elderlyboy Grarrl, and an Elderlyboy Cybunny. The non-elderly pets consisted of a Pink Poogle and a Grey Zafara. All of them were clad in leather and all of them parked their bikes like ametuers.
Zur and Bejimin stayed locked in Zur’s room, where Virag was going through one of Zur’s many buckets of toys and trying to figure out their purpose. Bejimin was peering through a crack in the door, doing her best to discretely spy on the dinner party in their dining room. “Well, Ex’s party has started. We need a way to entertain ourselves, until they leave.” She gently shut the door and walked over to her brother, keeping an eye on Virag on the other side of the room. “Maybe Virag will tell us some stories from his life, if we ask nicely. That will buy the time.” She shoved her hands into the pockets of her hoodie in hopeful anticipation, but Zur shook his head. “I don’t think he likes talking about his life. Every time he brings it up he gets angry or upset, so maybe we should leave him be until he actually wants to talk about it.” He also looked over at Virag in wonder and curiosity.
Suddenly, there was a smell.
It was a meaty, mouthwatering smell that slapped everyone in the face.
While at the Crumpetmonger, Bejimin had bought a delicious Steak and Kidney Pie for Ex to serve to her guests, and it seemed that it had just been taken out of the bag that it was in.
“Uuuuuurggg?” Bejimin and Zur both looked back at Virag, who had smelled the meaty delicacy and had gotten to his feet. His lips dripped with slobber and he outstretched his arms in front of himself. “Wwwwwwaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaannnnnttttt… Wwwwwwwaaaaannnnnttttt…”
Their stomachs dropped. Zur bolted over to him and tried to hold him back. “No, no, no, Virag! We have to stay in here! If Ex and her friends see you, we’ll all get a handful of their wrath!” He jumped behind him and bit his coattail to hold him back, but Virag pulled until his coat ripped and Zur went toppling back. When he continued forward, Bejimin tried to block the door, only for him to pull her aside and get out, anyways. There was nothing on him mind at that moment besides eating whatever was producing that smell.
Ex and her gang were sitting at the table, drinking NeoCola and laughing about the stories of their past. Nobody noticed that a drooling zombie was dragging his feet over to the table. Bejimin and Zur, however, both managed to grab him and do their best to hold him back. “Virag! Stop! Please! You’re going to get caught!” Bejimin whispered to her teeth and grabbed hold of the elongated ears on top of his head. “Please! Just go back to Zur’s room and-”
Before anyone had time to blink, everything went wrong. Virag tripped on a Petpet toy in the middle of the room and fell, causing the elongated ears to stretch in Bejimin’s hands. The next thing they knew, Virag’s head had popped off and landed right into the Steak and Kidney Pie in the middle of the table.
Pie was everywhere, and screams rang through the house. The entire gang (besides Ex, of course) shot out the door and leapt onto their bicycles before taking off into the rain from whence they came.
Zur and Bejimin silently watched Virag search for his head until Ex turned around to face them. She was fuming. “GET HIM OUT OF MY HOUSE, NOW!” she screamed, her visage turning a bright red tone and her ears almost able to shoot steam. “I NEVER WANT TO SEE HIM, AGAIN!”
The two looked at each other, holding in tears, and nodded. Bejimin grabbed Virag’s coat and led him out the door while Zur grabbed his head off of the table and followed.
After that, the two stood in the rain with solemn, guilty looks on their faces and not letting a single word pass through their lips for what felt like an eternity.
“I’ve… I’ve never heard her yell like that,” Bejimin mumbled, breaking the silence as Zur placed Virag’s head back on his body like an extremely strange hat. “I feel terrible. She was looking forward to that party and we ruined it. Not to mention, now we can’t let Virag stay with us, anymore.” She sighed and pulled up her hood to shield her head from the downpour. “What do we do, now?”
Zur tried to shake the rain water off of his back, but more replaced it as the rain continued to fall. He glanced at Virag, who was staring at the two and didn’t seem to know what was going on. One minute his head was on the table, the next they were in the rain again. “What do you say, Virag? Where do you want to go?” Zur asked him.
With a twitch, the Aisha slowly pulled himself to his feet. “Hhhhh… Ooooooooommmmeee…” he grunted and started walking into the rain. Bejimin and Zur panicked a bit and ran after him. “Wait for us!” they yelled simultaneously.
Virag took them through the desert and right back to the Haunted Woods, where Zur had found him. He led them through twisted trees and winded trailed until they came to the Gypsy Camp near the edge of the wood. Slipping past them, he went down the familiar road until they saw a faint light at the end of the tunnel of trees. It got closer and closer, bringing hope into the hearts of the two living Neopets behind him, until it arrived in front of them.
They were in Neovia, the brightest spot in the Woods and Virag’s home from when he was alive.
“Woah! I’ve never been to Neovia, before!” Zur yipped and took in the amazing sights and smells of the once-cursed town. Bejimin cocked her head at him and raised an eyebrow. “Really? You’ve never been? I come here all the time!” It’s a nice little place, if you can survive the Haunted Woods, itself.” She smiled a bit, but he smile melted away when she noticed something missing. She still stood in her spot. Her Mutant Gnorbu brother was still sightseeing next to her. However, there was not a towering shadow in front of them like there was, before.
Then it hit her.
Virag was gone.
“Zur! Where’d he go!?” she panicked, shooting her head back and forth to catch sight of the Aisha. “We can’t let the townspeople see a zombie! They might attack him! We need to make sure he’s okay!” She ran off in search of him, not even turning to Zur to make sure he was following, which he wasn’t.
“Let me know when you find him!” he called, hoping that she could hear. “I’m going to… take care of something.”
He looked down the street before him and took a deep breath. “Okay, Zur. You may be alone in the Haunted Woods, but you are fine.” As bravely as he could, he started clopping down the path. “Let’s go find some backstory on Virag Kigyo.”
Zur headed down the road for a good five minutes, getting directions from passing strangers and taking a moment to sightsee. Eventually, he arrived in front of a small building. It was decorated with a red and white striped canopy that was placed over a shop window with the most beautiful and stylish outfits in all of Neovia. At the very front was a red sign with a shirt on it, marked with the words “Prigpants & Swolty, Tailors”.
“This must be the place,” he mumbled and pushed the door open with his nose.
A golden bell knocked against the door as soon as it was opened. The inside was very dark, devoid of any lighting besides a few candles on the front counter and the moonlight bleeding through the window. “Hello?” Zur called as he stepped inside and made his way to the counter. He heard a voice respond to him from a room in the back. “I’ll be there in a second!” they called.
A few moments later, a tall, fine Yellow Lenny with a top hand and a monocle strutted out with his beak held high. “Ah, sorry to keep you waiting. My partner and I are designing a new style of pants. Now what can I do for…”
The Lenny looked around, shutting up when he didn’t see anyone at his eye level.
“Um, down here!”
He looked down at Zur, who was a mere child to his size (and an oddity to the eye, being a Mutant). “Oh, my apologies! I didn’t see you there!” He leaned down and adjusted his monicle. “Aren’t you an interesting little Gnorbu! Well, my name is Prigpants. Is there anything that my partner and I can do for you?” the Lenny asked. Zur noticed his anticipated expression and felt a little bit nervous. Virag didn’t like talking about Prigpants and Swolty. What if they didn’t want to talk about Virag?
Well, he had to take a chance. His curiosity was eating him to the bone.
“I actually had a few questions for you and your associate concerning someone that you… might have known.” He looked at his hooves, avoiding eye contact. Prigpants kept his friendly demeanor. “Really? What’s his name?” he asked.
Zur swallowed hard and looked back up at him.
“V-Virag Kigyo. I believe h-he used to be your boss…”
The Lenny’s smile melted like butter. His eyes widened and he now bore a more worried look. “You… You knew Mr. Kigyo?” he asked almost guiltily. Zur bit his bottom lip and awkwardly swayed his body. “I-I guess you could say that.”
Prigpants stood up straighter. “Give me one moment,” he said almost soullessly and made his way to the back room, once again.
Zur got up on his back legs and put his hooves on the counter to get a taller view. He could hear the tailors talking. He couldn’t tell what they were saying, but they sounded extremely worrisome. It took a good five minutes for Prigpants to stick his head out the door. “Come on back, son. We’ll answer your questions to the best of our abilities,” he mumbled. Zur quickly got back onto all four legs and followed the Lenny into the room.
This room seemed much brighter than the entrance, as it was their place of work. There was all kinds of clothes and cloth all around, and each one was fantastic to Zur’s eyes.
On the other end of the room stood Swolty, a heavy-set Purple Mynci with a pencil on his ear and a tape measure around his neck. He immediately bent down to Zur. “Hello. I’m Swolty. It’s very nice to meet you.” His smile seemed mask-like. “It sure is a privilege for you to be back here. Why not have a seat and let us know what’s on your mind?”
Swolty pulled a small stool over and Zur quickly climbed on top of it. “Okay, I guess I’ll start by asking who he is. How did you know him?” he bleated.
Prigpants and Swolty glanced at each other, then Prigpants spoke up. “Mr. Kigyo was our boss, before we inherited the shop from him. He was a great, easy-going guy that never did anything unless it was for the good of us or the shop.” He shoved his feathered fingers into his pockets. “He was a family guy. He loved ‘em more than anything. Then…” He went silent, and Swolty felt the need to finish his sentence. “Then that Krawk came to town and began distributing those potions.”
Zur kept hidden his excitement for discovering that Virag really WAS part of the Tale of Woe in order to keep a professional demeanor. “What happened to him?” he asked.
This time, Swolty spoke up. He appeared to be almost on the verge of tears. “Well, it was our fault.” He covered his face in shame, leaving Prigpants to be the one to tell the story.
“It was at the outbreak; when the potions began showing off their dark side effects and the mutated Neovians were turning on each other. Swolty and I were over at Virag’s house to have dinner with him and his family when it happened. We were some of the few that had not taken a single sip of the potion, so they fought to break the door down to take their anger out on us. We held back the door while Virag instructed his family to escape through the cellar while we held them back. When they were gone, they broke down the door and grabbed hold of Virag.”
Swolty interrupted. “We were cowards! Virag shouted our names and cried for help but we ran!” He sniffled, letting out some pitiful sobs. “As I said before, it was completely our fault.”
“Guilt eats us, to this day.” The Lenny ruffled his feathers and refused to let a tear fall. He patted his coworker on the back. “If only he was still here so we could apologize to him.” He then raised an eyebrow at Zur, who was quietly listening and not making a sound. “Why do you want to know about him, anyways?” he inquired. Zur squirmed in his seat. Should he tell them? Would they be mortified by the idea of their old boss being a zombie? Would they even believe him?
Once again, Zur decided to take the risk. “Well…” he began. “…believe it or not, he’s been staying with us. He’s a friend of ours.”
Prigpants and Swolty perked up and stared at the Gnorbu. “What are you talking about?” they asked at the same time. Zur let out a sigh. “Virag is a zombie. I found him near the Deserted Fairground.” He noticed a more offensive look of shock on their faces. Clearly they thought that this was a sick joke then neither of them found funny.
Zur stood up on the stool. “He told me that his name was Virag Kigyo! He used to be a Green Aisha, he used to be a tailor, and he used to be your boss!” He drooped his ears against the sides of his head. “He missed his family very much, too,” Zur added. The associates looked at each other, then silently nodded. “I suppose it’s too absurd to be a prank,” Swolty mumbled. Prigpants nodded in agreement.
“If you truly know him… If he is truly a friend of yours… Is there any way we could see him again and give him a formal apology?”
Zur smiled. “I’m sure that I could do that!” he yipped ecstatically. “In the meantime, do you know where he used to live or where his family is?”
The Purple Mynci cocked his head towards a window on the side wall. There was a old, stylized house right next to their shop. “His family lives in there: just his kids, their mother and their Petpets.” The two seemed to shudder a little. “However, I’m not sure what you’ve heard about that Jetsam, but she is far from pleasant. You’d best be careful,” Prigpants warned. Zur nodded. “I will. Thank you so much for everything you’ve shared!” he called and bolted out the door before the tailors could even ask his name. He couldn’t help it. He was far too excited to meet Virag’s family.
To be continued…