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- Today's Petpet Spotlight -



Petpet Name: Signal
Owner: caitdango
Pet Name: Amurei
Breed: Crokabek


About Signal:
A lot of Neopets like to talk about how their Petpet has some deep connection with them; about how "destiny" or "fate" brought them together and how special their bond is and how they'll be together forever, blah, blah, blah. That's nice and all, but not every Neopian is so lucky. Some of us are stuck with whatever life decides to toss us -- there isn't always an instant connection, and choosing a Petpet isn't always love at first sight.

I found Signal in a trash heap.

Okay, okay, let's back up a bit. Signal is my Crokabek. He's loud, not very bright, and he molts everywhere. He's not painted anything special, and he wasn't given to me by anyone important. Like I said, I found him in a trash heap.

What was I doing rooting around in the trash, you ask? Well, let me set one thing straight -- I'm a thief. Not always, but when the thieving is good, that's how I make my living. Unfortunately, in Meridell, the thieving is rarely good, so I tend to slide by on scavenging when my travels take me to that part of Neopia.

Anyway, I was elbow-deep in the Rubbish Dump looking for anything that might be of value when I saw him. He was about fifteen feet away from me, picking at some rotting berries from the Pick Your Own orchard up the road. He was squawking up a storm, picking and pulling at the berries and messily eating his fill. Not only was it disgusting to watch, but all of the racket was giving me a headache, as well.

I did the only thing I could think of to shut the bird up -- I threw something at it. The Crokabek let out a loud caw and fluttered away from the offending projectile for a moment before landing atop it and pecking at it. Apparently, what I'd thrown was a rock-hard piece of old bread. You've got to love that Meridell home cooking.

Not interested in putting any real effort into getting the dumb Petpet to go away, I resumed my digging until I was finally convinced that there was no elusive treasure to be found among the trash heaps. Signal crowed the whole time, until a mixture of his racket and my boredom drove me away. Night was falling anyway, and I had heard from a reliable source that there were a few loose stones in Meridell Castle's wall. I intended to check it out -- after all, a castle with such a fat king living in it must have had some good food to be found. Plus, you know, that Skarl is a real stickler with his tax collection. I was certain he had an entire vault full of Neopoints.

It wasn't hard to find the stones my contact told me about -- they were right where he said they were. Breaking in was easy enough, too, and once I was within the castle's corridors, all I had to do was avoid detection long enough to find the pantry and the vaults. Knowing Skarl, they would probably be fairly close together.

As I crept through the dimly lit halls, however, I could have sworn that I kept hearing rustling nearby. It caused me to stop and hide many times, only to realize after a time that no patrolling guard was nearby. Thoroughly stumped, I continued to play on the cautious side -- until I happened to glance over my shoulder just in time to see a Crokabek land on the floor behind me, scuffling on the stone floors as it pecked up tiny crumbs of dirt from my boots.

Realizing that this stupid bird could easily start its racket and alert the guards, I tried to shoo it away. Annoyingly, it fluttered into the air only for a moment before landing and continuing its feasting on whatever food particles were trapped in my dirt trail. I continued shooing at it, hoping that it would get the idea and buzz off.

Suddenly, it perked up and let out a loud "caw." A wave of panic flooded over me, and I reached in an attempt to grab the bird and hold its beak shut. I heard footsteps just around the corner, though, and had to conceal myself before I could catch it.

A pair of guards turned the corner, spears in hand. One was a skinny Ogrin, and the other was a burly Scorchio. The Crokabek just stood in the center of the hallway and looked at them, head cocked to the side.

"What's this?" the Ogrin said, motioning slightly to the Petpet. "Looks like another Crokabek got inside."

"Leave it," the Scorchio said, striding past. "It'll find its way out an open door eventually."

The two continued their patrol, and once they were out of sight (and earshot), I slipped out of my hiding place once more. The Crokabek just sat there and looked at me, cocking its head to the other side.

"Stupid bird, you almost got me caught!" I hissed before continuing toward where I was certain the kitchens should be.

The bird continued to follow me, cawing several more times during my trek. Each time it did, someone happened to round the corner seconds later, until I finally figured out that it must be trying to warn me or something. Each time it crowed, I concealed myself, and before long I found myself faced by the kitchen's dry storage area, nose to nose with the finest cheeses and breads that Meridell had to offer. Licking my lips, I began to gather what I could into my sack, tearing at a piece of only slightly stale bread all the while.

The Crokabek clacked its beak at me and fluttered up to my shoulder, helping itself to my piece of bread. I frowned at it, but realizing that without its signals I probably would have been caught by the guards, I let it eat its share.

Being the relatively uncreative Draik that I am, I named him Signal, and in the years since then he's become an invaluable partner to me in my heists. All he asks in return for his service is a bit of food, which is easy enough to provide. Although he's still a wild Petpet and I doubt he'll be with me forever, for now, I'm proud to call him my partner in crime.





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