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Petpet Name: Ciel
Pet Name: Fabao666
You can feel a tint of magic in the air as you step into the clearing. The surroundings (mostly the tall, dull trees of the Haunted Woods) are bleak and drab with growing frost. In the center is a little camp that is made cheery by a blazing fire. As you approach, a Darigan Hissi greets you warmly.
"Fantastic, you made it! Here, have a cup of coffee while I go and finish up the potion you wanted: it'll be done in half a minute or so."
You sip the offered drink contentedly. Nothing's as good as hot coffee on a chilly winter's night. "Is it not done yet, Fabao?"
"There were... setbacks," the Hissi replies levelly as he gives the black pot in the flames a final pinch of sea salt. With a ladle, Fabao scoops up a good portion and pours it into a glass phial. "I was forced to remake the entire batch after Ciel dropped a pitcher of gummy rat essence into the mixture."
"And who might this Ciel be?"
You stir the contents of your coffee with a little spoon and then jump with a squawk. A tiny head had bobs up from the brown contents, emitting a tiny squeak of protest. The cup, which you have hurriedly thrown in your astonishment, sails neatly through the air before being caught by the Hissi with a practiced wing. Fabao extends the cup toward you, giving you a better look at the offending thing in your drink that warranted your disgust.
"This, my dear friend, is Ciel the Belonthiss, my Petpet."
You eye the slimy thing warily. "Does this happen very often?"
"Nearly every time when visitors come by,” he replies, almost fondly. "The only time he skips it is when I serve Borovan. I'm still not quite sure why, since I myself have quite the affinity for it."
At the word "borovan," the little Petpet gives a squeal of mock horror, and then promptly falls, draping over the rim of the cup dramatically. Fabao wrinkles his nose. "Always the drama queen," he mutters, settling the cup down on the grass beside him.
Well, you can't really blame the little guy. Who in their right minds would consume chocolate contaminated by that foul vegetable, asparagus, anyway? "So, what does he like to drink, then?"
"Just about anything else, particularly coffee. He simply adores it." Ciel perks up at the mention of coffee, and looks around eagerly as though he can sense more of the hearty drink nearby.
You look at the refreshment that had been served to you previously, and then stare at the Darigan Hissi accusingly. He gives you a shrug.
"Can't help it. I've finished up all my other stock of beverages, unless you want plain water."
"No, that's alright." Despite everything, you find yourself getting more curious about the little creature. "Did he come from Maraqua?"
Ciel gives you a scandalised look that would have made one think that you had trampled his favourite toy and left it in the rain. Fabao just laughed.
"No, he hails from the mystical lands of Shenkuu. Just because a Petpet has fins doesn't mean it comes from the sea! Do you see Neopians saying Flouds come from Maraqua?"
"No... but aren't Flouds pink and puffy?"
"Never mind. In any case, I got him as a present from a pair of wandering travelers."
You examine Ciel thoughtfully. All of a sudden, you snap your fingers in recognition. "Ah, the Belonthiss! I saw them in the news last year, when they were just released!"
The duo seems pleased that you know of the Petpet species. Ciel even does a sort of happy underwater jig in the coffee.
Something suddenly catches your eye. "Are Belonthisses always so small?"
At that Fabao cracks a smile, as Ciel arches proudly. "Normal Belonthisses are admittedly much larger. Ciel got caught up in some spell, you see, and as a result, he obtained the ability to change size at will. Ah, he's a troublemaker from the start. As a matter of fact, I still remember the time when he crossed my companion..."
The Hissi settles back, and Ciel leans into the coffee, both ready to indulge in another round of storytelling.
Well, that won't do. The Haunted Woods are well known for their mysterious and dangerous inhabitants. While the potion brewer and his pet might be happy with camping out in the woods at night, you really should be going -- you've already broken curfew as it is.
"I wish I had time for your tale, but it'd be best for me to leave while the moon is still bright. Thank you for your hospitality," you quickly say, getting up to shake hands with the Hissi (or, in his case, wings). "I daresay that we'll meet again soon."
"My pleasure. Just run back if you encounter any problems with the potion. Sometimes I have doubts about how it'll turn out, seeing that Ciel meddles about with whatever I concoct." He glares at the Belonthiss in the coffee cup, who is wearing a deceptively innocent expression.
Fabao sighs with exasperation. "Well, fare thee well, and may you make it back home safely." From his seat in the coffee cup, the little Belonthiss gives you a solemn salute of farewell.
As it was, you make it about halfway through the woods before the potion blows up in your face.
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