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The White Meowclops: Part Two


by auntfalcor

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Part II

"So, anything interesting in the Times?" Rubio asked as he entered the kitchen decked in his gardening clothes.

      "I'm just reading the advertisements right now." It was the following day, and Auryn was eating his breakfast (a carrot and pea omelette with orange juice) while finishing the previous day's newspaper. Needless to say, the Meowclops had fled from its position under the bed and was nowhere to be found. "…Let's see, there's a buy-one get-one free sale on canned peaches, an ad for Battledome equipment, an 'If you've seen this petpet please come to such-and-such street' post, a garage sale over on Aisha Avenue, and another one of those 'Do you have room in your heart for another pet' pound advertisements."

      Rubio frowned. "How mundane. I think I'd rather stick to the comic section myself, thank you. Do you have to go to work today?"

      "No, it's Saturday, and plus the Neopian Diplomatic Agency is currently overstaffed." Auryn's job was to ensure good relations between Neopian Central and other regions by functioning as a "passive negotiator" (i.e. lots of busy work and legal mumbo-jumbo) but lately Neopia had been in a state of peacetime. Good relations were abundant, and demand for Auryn's type of work had fallen.

      "So, what did Franz want with you last night?" Auryn asked curiously.

      "Oh that… he just wanted to borrow some Neopoints for food. He was too proud to ask in front of his brothers though… you know how it is."

     Rubio put down his cup of coffee. "Anyway, I've got some gardening to do, so I'll be out back if you need me." With that, Rubio was gone.

      Auryn finished his omelette and continued to read for awhile. He thought to himself. Why did Franz not have enough Neopoints for food? There were omelettes given out free every day, and if Tyrannia was too far then there was always the soup kitchen. And where was he living anyway? Franz had never been overly social, but until recently he had still come home for the nights. Auryn sighed. There were so many questions he had, and there wasn't much chance of getting an answer to any of them.

      Auryn put down the paper, too distracted to continue perusing its pages. Instead, he decided to take a trip to the National Neopian. After all, it would be wise to deposit his wages for the week, less he wanted a visit from the tax beast.

      Auryn left the house, thankful that he hadn't run into Patches all morning. The Pirate Scorchio wasn't the worst Neopet out there, but nevertheless every time Auryn ran into him it seemed to put him in a foul mood. Something about Patches just rubbed Auryn the wrong way, and Auryn knew Patches thought the same thing about him. The two Neopets were the antithesis of each other; Auryn was quite, refined, and professional, whereas Patches was loud, rough, and pugnacious. The two brothers couldn't have been more different had they tried.

      As he made his way to main street, Auryn_2000 couldn't help but feel a little regretful of his choice of paint. One of the downsides to being Royal was the fact that he had to stand up perfectly straight (as opposed to slightly hunching) and wear clothing and confining boots. It just didn't seem natural for a Zafara to do either, but he had wanted to look more professional.

     Despite this, it was a warm and sunny day in Neopian Central, and Auryn couldn't help but be cheerful. He passed by Bracknell Road and Chia Close, receiving many how-do-you-do's, some of them accompanied by slightly astonished or envious looks, from the local residents. It wasn't surprising; after all, most Royals lived in or near faerie palace, or at the very least Brightvale. Auryn was one of the more fortunate Neopets; not only was he painted an extremely expensive color, but he had a great job, an owner that cared for him, and of course there was Imp.

     Imp? Why had he thought about her? As his co-worker they were acquaintances, maybe even friends, but there wasn't a whole lot else to speak of. Though they had worked together for a year, only recently had they started eating lunches together, and Auryn suspected that it may just have been because Imp's other friend she used to eat with was away on an extended business trip. Always a workaholic, Auryn had never found time to make many friends, and never a best friend. As Auryn continued onto Rainbow Lane, he wondered what it would be like to have one.

     His thoughts were soon interrupted by the sounds of a frantic blue Ixi in the street, yelling the word "Sammy" over and over again, while her owner stood beside her, unsuccessfully trying to calm her down. Worried, Auryn rushed over to them, wanting to see if he could be of any assistance.

     The young Ixi cried, "It's my Mallard! He… he's gone! I woke up t-today and he w-was GONE! What i-if he ran away from me… what if he doesn't like me anymore!!?" With this she erupted into a fit of bawling.

     Turning to Auryn, her owner explained, "Please, I know this may sound trivial, but her petpet is all that she has… I'm not the richest person in the world, but I when I saved up enough to buy her a petpet for her birthday you can't imagine how happy she was. If you hear anything…"

     "I'll do my best," Auryn replied. Yeah, as if he could be of much help. Auryn reached in his side-pack and pulled out a bag of Neopoints from his earnings. "Here, take this. It's not much, only about 5,000 Neopoints, but I hope it can be of some help." The owner looked ready to refuse, but Auryn dropped it by her feet before she could say anything.

     "Check the petpet pound to see if anyone found it and turned it in, and if nothing comes up go to the Chia police immediately." The owner frowned and nodded, still looking shamefully at the bag of Neopoints, but not intent on arguing. Auryn left her and the still-crying Ixi, unable to do anything more.

     Auryn thought about it. Petpets usually didn't just run away on their own. Hadn't he seen a lost petpet ad in the paper earlier this morning? What was going on here?

     Auryn arrived at the National Neopian about twenty minutes after he had initially left home, and to his dismay there were many Neopets already waiting in line, so it took another twenty minutes before it was his turn.

     "How can I help you Sir?" The Lenny at the front desk inquired.

     Auryn withdrew the remaining bags from his side-pack and set them on the counter. "I'd like to deposit these in account #753082 please. I've got identification if you need it."

     The Lenny frowned, "I'm sorry. There was a Neomail sent out last week, all storage account numbers have been reset. I'll have to do a manual search for it… the name it's registered under, please?"

     "It would be under the owner name of 'Rubio'," Auryn said. "If not then you can try the Neopet name 'Auryn_2000,' but I'm almost certain that it's 'Rubio.'" And why wouldn't it be? It was a family account, so it would only make sense if it were under his owner's name. Rubio was the one to handle most of the assets anyway; in fact, Auryn usually only visited once a week most of the time.

     The Lenny left for the storage rooms, and after quite a while returned, carrying two separate keycards in hand. Well, wing.

     "There were two accounts under the owner name of Rubio, a shared one and a private one. Only the person the private account is registered under is allowed to alter assets in that account, so I assume you will be wanting to deposit in the shared?"

     Auryn was stunned. Had she just said that there were two accounts? Rubio had never said anything about having a private account. Why would he want one? There was no reason for him to distrust Auryn or Franz , the two Neopets who had access to the shared account.

     "Um… yeah, just put the Neopoints in the shared then." Auryn showed her his Neopian Central ID card and waited until the Neopoints were out of his sight, then rushed out of the building as fast as he could. He had to talk to Rubio right away; something wasn't right.

     *****

     "Calm down, Auryn. It's not what you think," Rubio said to the increasingly frustrated Zafara.

     About five minutes ago Auryn had asked Rubio about his private bank account, and the conversation that followed this initial query consisted mainly of Rubio insisting that it was his private business and Auryn demanding to know anyway. Needless to say, Auryn was not about to let him off the hook so easily.

     "Not what I think? Rubio, I don't even have a clue what I should think. Will you please just give me some sort of explanation?" Auryn gripped a couch pillow with clenched fists, tempted to launch it at his owner. It was just after two-thirty, and the fact that Auryn still hadn't eaten lunch did not help his mood.

     Rubio frowned, and then finally relented. "Auryn, look, I really didn't want you to get involved in this, but if you won't trust me enough to know that I have my reasons, I'll tell you - but you must keep this to yourself, okay?" Auryn considered for a second, then gave a small nod of his head.

     Rubio continued, "Remember how I told you that I gave Neopoints to Franz yesterday? I didn't want to tell you this, but I have suspected for some time that Franz has a gambling addiction, and is wasting our income on Roo island. Last night I gave him some Neopoints and offered to help him get a job, but he refused."

     Auryn was surprised. "So how does all this explain why you have a private account?"

     Rubio explained, "Franz has access to our shared account, and I worry that he may be slipping out Neopoints to satisfy his addiction. The bank's financial records confirm that Neopoints have been taken out at times when I wasn't there. I wanted to be mature about it, so instead of getting upset, I started my own account."

     Auryn took a moment to absorb the information and found it unsatisfactory. "So how does your private account even help?" He inquired. "I always deposit my Neopoints into the shared, so doesn't he still have access to mine?"

     Rubio was expecting this question and said, "Sometimes in the early morning I sneak out to the National Neopian and transfer the Neopoints you deposit in the shared account into my private one. If you recall, I accidentally let it slip that I was there yesterday morning when I was trying to capture the Meowclops."

     Now that Auryn could recall, he had wondered about why his owner had said he'd been to the bank yesterday morning. "Well Rubio, I still don't see why you decided to keep it from me. I wouldn't have made a big deal out of it."

     Rubio replied, "I know you wouldn't have, but like I said, it was a personal problem."

     Auryn felt a little guilty about overreacting. "Sorry about giving you such a hard time about it. I'm going to go get some lunch, maybe that will put me in a better mood."

     Both owner and pet left the living room intent on getting something to eat, oblivious to the Pirate Scorchio that had been hiding behind the couch throughout the duration of their conversation.

     That night Auryn did not sleep well. Throughout his sleep he felt as if he heard the pleading cry of a Meowclops, and though in his dreams he followed it, the sound would only get softer and softer until gradually it faded away into the darkness.

To be continued...

 
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» The White Meowclops: Part One
» The White Meowclops



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