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Petpet Name: Shirley
Pet Name: Phitzgeruld
Breed: Darigan Vacana
The Vacana gazed aimlessly out onto the streets from its pedestal in the Petpet store, shifting uncomfortably as its fur grazed against the chilled stone. It watched as Neopets trudged by through the thick, new-fallen snow, some even pressing their faces up to the window, eyes sparkling with delight and so close that the Vacana could make out the intricate patterns of their lashes and the pale, rosy red colour of their cheeks before their owners dragged them away.
A young green Gnorbu emerged as he walked around the corner with his owner, his eyes like the others' -- curious and fidgety -- and his behaviour like the others' -- scrambling up against the store window, breath leaving an imprint on the glass. But this owner patiently stayed by her pet's side as the Gnorbu's gaze became locked on the Vacana.
The Vacana stared back. The Neopet blinked, and then smiled faintly, before looking up, expectantly inquisitive, at his owner with pleading eyes. The owner hesitated, before slowly taking out a bundle of Neopoints from her knapsack. The Gnorbu began to shake excitedly and grabbed the Neopoints, bolting inside.
The Vacana made not a movement before hearing the chime of the bells attached to the door. They seemed to sing a different song today, a more cheerful one. The Petpet twitched his ears slightly.
The Gnorbu had made his way over to the Vacana's display, and the owner followed, shaking their head in amusement. The young Neopet bloomed into a wide grin, then held out a biscuit to the Vacana. The Petpet instinctively devoured the treat hastily, then nuzzled the Neopet's palm. The Gnorbu released a fit of giggles.
The owner motioned over the shopkeeper. "How much is this Petpet?" she cooed, pointing to the Vacana. The shopkeeper, a red Nimmo, turned his head, wiping his hands on his uniform and looking up at the ceiling in an attempt to rack his mind.
"That would be... 13,000 Neopoints on the nose," the Nimmo proclaimed. "Are you interested in making a purchase?" The Gnorbu looked down at the sack of Neopoints in his hooves. Only 10,000. He frowned, then looked back up at his owner.
She sighed, before taking out the extra payment.
"Yes, please," she decided, and then followed the shopkeeper to the cashier. Before you could say "Fyora!" the Gnorbu was already at the checkout, bouncing up and down, cuddling the Vacana in his arms.
Meanwhile, the Vacana was on its own mission: sniffing out more biscuits from within the folds of the Gnorbu's winter coat. The owner couldn't help but chuckle, handing over the Neopoints.
"Thank you, ma'am," the Nimmo said on cue, and the owner, the Gnorbu, and its new Petpet, walked out the door. The bells sounded again. This time, they seemed to be singing, "Goodbye..."
The Gnorbu was silent, stroking his new Petpet, as the Vacana stared right back at him: their new game. Soon, he burst out, "I looked through the Petpet Puddle book."
His owner looked up from where she was endeavouring away at the weekly conundrum.
When she didn't say anything, he went on. "I want to paint my Petpet Darigan."
"Phitzgeruld, you do know, if we do this, then we would have to start over saving up for your Cloud Paint Brush," she said slowly, crossing her legs. They had decided to save up so that they would have enough Neopoints to get by on after any big purchase.
"I know," Phitzgeruld said, smiling. "I'm willing to take that chance." The Vacana had wandered off, trying to open the nearby cupboard, where the scent of biscuits was strong.
Phitzgeruld and his owner managed to scrape together 120,000 Neopoints from the bank, their pockets, and in between the couch cushions (you wouldn't believe what you could find in there) and a Christmas Paint Brush from their Safety Deposit Box for a fair trade at the Trading Post.
"Here you are," hummed the seller happily.
They carried the Vacana to the Petpet Puddle, where the owner handed the brand-new Petpet paint brush off to Phitzgeruld.
"Here goes," he squealed, and with that all it took was a few professional strokes with his hand, gently flicking his wrist with precision. The young Neopet was surely determined. At last, they stood back to view the masterpiece of a Petpet. The Darigan Vacana ran into Phitzgeruld's arms, this time, not for the biscuit, but for the young master himself.
"I think I shall name him Shirley..." Phitzgeruld spoke distantly, submerged in cuddling with his Petpet.
His owner tried hard to stifle her laughter. "I'm pretty sure that's a girl's name -- oh, well, I'll let you be unique, in the way that you are." She stepped back to watch her pet, and his own, the both creative and independent together, but one. She had never seen her Gnorbu happier. Oh, what the power of cuddling and a couple biscuits can do for you!
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