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Petpet Name: Turpentine
Pet Name: schroyer322
Breed: Darigan Quetzal
Rain poured from the sky in buckets, drenching everything under the cloud's thick umbrella. Nothing was spared from the torrential downpour, not even the plants on the ground normally sheltered by the thick tree canopies.
A lone Petpet slithered through the ghastly weather, shivering and soaked to the bone. His flame-coloured feather crest was heavy with rain and drooped behind his head like a melting crown. His blood-red and black scales were glistening with water, as were his emerald green eyes. Except the water in his eyes were tears, not rain. Behind him, wherever he had touched the road, an inky black streak was mixed with the clear water.
Cast off, unwanted, the unnamed Petpet had a tale to tell, if only he could find someone to listen. The story of one afflicted by a rogue dark faerie has been heard many a time, but never one as awful as this.
The Quetzal had once been an untamed, uncaged free Petpet. No gates could lock him in, no ropes nor chains could tie him down... until the fateful day of the encounter, at least.
A dark faerie had found him, was intrigued by his powerful skills of elusion, and roped him with enchanted bonds upon sight. Unable to break free for the first time in his life, he was subject to the cruelest of treatment by his wicked captor. Her reasons remained unknown to him, and would have made little difference if he'd had the knowledge anyway.
Memories of his entrapment elude him. They were too horrifying for his mind to contain effectively. But the feelings persisted. Oh, the torture of recalling it was too much alone for him to bear. The seemingly endless suffering -- all caused by that vile faerie's magic and repeated shocks from an illegal copy of the Petpet Lab Ray.
The final zap and dose of magic had ended his containment. The Lab Ray had transformed his colour to Darigan, which had at first thrilled the faerie. But the magic she endowed in hopes of turning the Quetzal evil -- to ooze evil, specifically -- had an undesired outcome. His scales, from that day on, would drip an inky black substance. Disgusted, she turned him out, literally threw him out the door.
It is at this moment that we join him. Hoping for any sign of civilisation, of shelter, the Quetzal trudged on until a light appeared in the distance. With a burst of energy and renewed hope, the Petpet sped up, the light approaching faster and faster.
It materialised into an Altadorian marble house. The light source had been the windows, golden rays of lamplight staining the gray sky a dusty yellow. An additional sliver of light poured from the door frame, which was cracked open by no more than an inch. Talking Neopets could be heard inside.
Squeezing his slim body through the crack, he felt the rain stop as a roof slid over his head. A creaking sound issued from the door hinges as it moved slightly from his entrance.
The hum of buzzed conversation from within the house ceased. Footsteps approached as the Quetzal shivered, eyes closed as rain mixed with tiny amounts of black liquid dripped from them. Too exhausted to fight or flee, he remained silent and did not move.
"It's a Quetzal!" a feminine voice exclaimed. "And a Darigan one, too. You don't see those every day."
Opening one eye, he saw a speckled Poogle girl. She was wearing a painter's smock and holding a brush, her hands coated in various colours of paint. On a couch nearby sat a Halloween Hissi and a starry Gelert. A Koi was seated at the kitchen table, which was covered in a massive sheet of white paper dotted with small, colourful paintings. He was the strangest colour that the Quetzal had ever witnessed. Unable to name it, the only comparison he could make was that of a purple cheese wedge. But that didn't quite fit -- in no way did he smell of cheese. He smelled like... soap. Soap and water.
The Poogle gasped, and picked up the soaked Petpet. "Ty, he's bleeding!"
Instantly, the other three residents were on their feet and rushed to examine what they thought was an injured Petpet. The Gelert named Ty frowned and stroked a single red scale. His finger came up with a streak of black. "It's not blood," he said and sniffed it. "More like ink. But it doesn't smell like ink either..."
"Whatever it is, it ruined my fur," the cross Poogle huffed, washing her now black hands in the sink. "I come over to visit just when a filthy Quetzal wanders in the house. Ty, you'd better wash your paw."
"Now, now, be kind, Melly," the Gelert admonished. "It's not his fault. This looks like magic -- black magic to me. See how it disappears without the use of soap and water?" He pointed to the ground.
Indeed, the puddle on the carpet was vanishing before their very eyes. Even the black stuff on Ty's paw and Melly's hands was starting to disappear.
The Halloween Hissi was speechless. "Amazing," he managed to say. The Koi had yet to say a word, although his face was lit up by a sunny smile, eyes bright with excitement.
Melly screamed, making everyone jump. "Look! Look at my painting!"
The Poogle's masterpiece was next to the Koi's on the massive sheet of paper. Some of the black substance oozing from his scales had dripped on her picture of a mountainside, and left spots of white where it dissolved.
"I get it..." the Koi murmured. "It's paint thinner!"
The Hissi looked puzzled. "But why would he ooze paint thinner? That seems too random to be logical."
"It's the work of black magic," Ty explained. "Black magic is undesirable because it is unpredictable. I've seen many things like this happen in my magical career. It most often occurs with various characters that have come into contact with some nefarious being. Obviously, this Petpet has crossed someone I'd rather not meet in a dark alley and was cursed."
Melly Ha-RUMPHed. "That isn't an excuse to ruin my painting. I was almost finished, too!"
The strange Koi grabbed a towel and dabbed at the remaining water and thinner. "Well, mess or not, I like him," he announced.
Ty smiled. "You want to keep him, Roy?"
"But you're a sponge pet!" Melly exclaimed. "You'll just soak it up!"
So that's his colour, thought the Quetzal, sponge. Why didn't he think of it before?
"So?" Roy replied, his fin drenched in black, "even paint thinner has its uses." So saying, he dabbed his fin against the centre of his painting, which was a meaningless rainbow whirl of colours. In seconds, the exact outline of his fin appeared. "I think I'll keep him."
Ty nodded, pleased. The Hissi returned to his book. Melly sighed, and picked up her brush again. "Fine, but I'm not cleaning up his mess," she relented.
The Quetzal stared at the Koi with huge eyes. Roy chuckled and patted his feathery head. This strange Neopet had given him the one thing that could change his life: a true friend.
"All that's left is to name you. How about... Turpentine? I think that's a paint thinner, but I can't be sure. Oh well -- it's fitting, I like it."
The Quetzal nodded. He liked it too.
Even the strangest story of fate can have a happy ending.
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