Nat kicked the dust on the road with his red Kougra paw
so that a hazy cloud engulfed his body. His life was like this dust. People used
to need dust, when it was dirt. They would need it in their gardens, to grow flowers
and plants. Now, it is simply there. It exists, but no one cares for it. Just
Nat's life hadn't used to be like this. He had
had friends and a loving owner. He had lived in a nice Neohome with plenty of
food and no need to worry. All that had changed the day his owner left.
"It's something I have
to do," he had said. "I still care about you and Lilly, but I can't be here
for you guys anymore." With that, he had left. After Josh had left, Nat's life
had started falling apart. Their Neopoints had run out, and the family was evicted
from their Neohome. Nat and his sister began to live by the Money Tree to try
and get a few Neopoints or some food. Then Nat's sister had decided to take
matters into her own paws.
Nat shook his head roughly and kicked up more
dust. He didn't want to think about Lilly right now. He just got sad when he
was thinking about his gentle yellow Acara sister. Not that he could be happy
considering what he was about to do. He wouldn't think about that either. He
still had a few minutes before he arrived there, and he would spend that time
thinking of happy things. Before he could search his mind for a happy thought,
he was suddenly caught in a whirlwind of feathers and claws. A passing Eyrie
had bumped into him and sent him sprawling.
"Hey! Watch where you're going!" Nat called
after the white Eyrie that was hurrying away. The Eyrie turned around, looking
utterly taken aback.
"Excuse me? Oh, did I bump into you?" the Eyrie
said in a surprised voice. He quickly ran back to Nat and reached out a paw
to help him up.
"Yeah, you did." Nat glowered up at the Eyrie
and ignored the outstretched paw as he stood up. The other pet did not look
offended at Nat's refusal of help.
"Well, young man, I'm quite sorry about that.
Sometimes I get so occupied with my work, I simply forget about the important
things in life, like looking where you're going. By the way, my name's Leo.
Well, Gulyleo to be exact, but my owner's the only person who calls me that.
It's too much of a mouthful for everyday use, but my mother insists on it because
apparently I was named after some great Eyrie. Quite brilliant, he was. It was
he who developed the theory that asparagus has taken over Adam and is trying
to rule Neopia. Quite interesting, really." Nat stared at Leo. The large white
Eyrie spoke amazingly fast with a strange accent. He barely knew Nat, and yet
it seemed like he was pouring out his life story.
"Well, boy, are you going to tell me your name
or just stand there with your mouth wide open all day? Why is your mouth open,
anyways? Are you trying to catch Buzzers in it or something? That's unhealthy,
you know, for both you and the Buzzer."
Nat quickly closed his mouth and said, "Nat.
My name's Nat." Leo smiled.
"Well, Nat, where are
you going? Could I offer you assistance in your travels?" Nat scowled. He didn't
need help. He could to where he was going just fine by himself.
"No. I can manage fine on my own," Nat said in
a cold tone. Leo shook his head at the Kougra.
"No, no, no! You don't seem to understand. I
asked two questions, not one. First I asked where you were going. Then I asked
if I could help you get there." Leo smiled questioningly at Nat to see if he
understood. Nat sighed and rolled his eyes.
In an exasperated tone he said, "I'm going to
the Pound. I don't want your help." The Eyrie shook his head once more.
"You may not want me to assist you, but perhaps
you need me to assist you. Besides, I'm going to the Pound myself. That's my
work, you see. I talk to the abandoned pets and write down their stories. I
hope to publish a book someday. Now, Nat, I know where you are going, but I
do not know why you are going there. So, why are you going to the Pound?" Leo
quickly took out a ratty notebook. His eyes glimmered with anticipation at Nat's
possible story. Nat's eyes narrowed.
"I don't want to talk about it." His voice was
harsh, and he immediately turned towards the Pound and began walking. However,
Leo would not give up that quickly. He walked with Nat to the Pound, repeatedly
trying to get the young Kougra to give up his story. Nat refused each time.
Finally, they reached the Pound.
After glancing up at the large white building,
Nat said, "Will you finally leave me alone? I don't want to talk about Lilly!"
Nat flinched as his sister's name came out of his mouth. Despite his refusals,
Nat had finally told Leo why he was at the Pound. It was all about Lilly. Nat
gulped as the memories came unbidden to his mind. He seemed to forget about
Leo and the Pound as he fell back in his memories to the time when she had gone.
He had woken up that morning under the Money
Tree as usual. When he didn't see his sister curled up on her patch of grass,
Nat had assumed that she had just gone to get some free omelette. At about midday,
he started getting worried. It wasn't like Lilly to take so long on a short
trip to Tyrannia. Nat then inspected her patch of grass to see if maybe she
had left a note or something explaining where she was. His search was successful
when he saw a scrap of paper sticking out from under a stick. He read the note
in a shocked state.
First of all, I want to apologize. I never meant to hurt you. I only want
what is best for our family. I am leaving. Please don't be angry. I will go
to the Pound, and once I have found an owner, I will come back for you. You
can live with me and my new owner, and we can be happy again. I know I probably
should have talked to you before I left, but I thought that you would try and
stop me. You always wanted to wait for Josh to come back. Let's face it, Josh
may have not put us in the Pound, but he abandoned us in all ways but that.
Ever since he left a year ago, we haven't seen or heard from him at all. We're
on our own. I wanted to find a new owner so that we can be a family again and
have a home. I love you, and you will always be my brother. No matter what,
I will come back for you.
Nat had been frantic after reading the note.
Lilly, going to the Pound? It was too dangerous. Nat had immediately gone to
the Pound to look for her, but the Pound Uni wouldn't let him through. She said
that only owners looking for pets to adopt or pets that were being abandoned
could see the other pets. Nat had given up and decided to wait for Lilly instead.
He hadn't seen her in six months. Nat shook his head as he returned to the present.
Leo was staring at him as if he was expecting Nat to say something.
Nat blinked and said, "I'm sorry, did you ask
me something?" Leo chuckled.
"Zoned out there, eh? Not to worry, I do it all
the time. I just asked who Lilly was." Nat flinched at the personal question.
He twisted his mouth around, trying to decide whether or not to answer.
Finally, he said, "She was- No, is my sister.
She left, six months ago." Nat felt the pain of her departure as if she had
left only yesterday. Leo frowned.
"So why are you going to the Pound? Don't you want
to find her? I bet she misses you just as much as you miss her. You should look
for her." Nat's face suddenly twisted in rage. The red Kougra glared up at Leo
"What do you think I've been doing for the past
six months? Of course I want to find her! But the thing is, I'm not going to!
She's lost to me, just like my owner. Just like myself." With that, Nat turned
away and ran back to the Money Tree. He didn't really want to go to the Pound.
He didn't want to be inspected by various owners who decided that he wasn't
good enough because he wasn't painted a rare color. All he wanted was his sister.
Nat curled up on his small patch of grass in the shelter of the Money Tree and
sobbed himself to sleep. The next day, Nat just sat by the Money Tree, not even
asking for donations. As he stared at his paws, crying and feeling miserable,
he heard a voice. A voice that sounded vaguely familiar.
"Boy, why are you crying?" the voice asked. Nat
swallowed his tears.
"Because I am alone." The voice laughed. The
laugh was like raindrops pitter patting on the window.
"Boy, you are not alone. I am right here." Nat
slowly looked up and saw her. He reached out to touch her arm, as if she might
be a mirage. She was no mirage. She was Lilly, the beautiful sister whom he
had missed sorely. Behind her stood Leo, watching the Acara he had hired as
his assistant six months ago. Next to Leo was his owner who had adopted Lilly
after getting to know what a charming person she was. But all that Nat cared
about was Lilly. His tears disappeared, and he began to smile. His smile turned
into a laugh as he hugged his sister and danced with joy. He could never have
his original family back, but maybe, just maybe, Nat would find a new family
with Lilly, Leo, and Leo's owner. And, best of all, he could never be alone
anymore because through finding Lilly, Nat had found himself once more. He kicked
up the dust on the road and finally saw it sparkle in the golden sun.