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Petpet Name: Ed
Pet Name: Mindlurk
Breed: Ghost Gremble
“I don’t know. He just started following me around one day.”
Mindlurk paused in sipping his pumpkin spice coffee to peek at the petpet floating over his shoulder.
“Just started following you?” cipherd hissed. “Do you know what that thing [i]is[/i]? It’s a gremble,” he said, without waiting for a response.
“So?” Mindlurk said, ignoring his friend’s incredulous look and absentmindedly buttering his chocolate scone.
“So!” cipherd leaned in over the table, glancing around the pastry shop. “They’re bad omens!”
Mindlurk scoffed. “He doesn’t seem so bad.” He peeked over his shoulder once more. The ghost gremble was floating serenely a few inches behind him, its tiny red eyes raking excitedly over the Elephante’s face. “See? He’s smiling.”
Mindlurk squinted. “At least... I think he’s smiling.”
“Everyone is staring,” cipherd pointed out.
He was right. Mindlurk looked up to notice that most of the patrons in The Crumpetmonger’s were giving the duo furtive looks from the corner of their eyes. Some of them skirted their table entirely, and a harassed looking Aisha actually left the store without buying anything, only staying long enough to shoot a terrified look in their direction.
“Have you been feeling okay?” cipherd inquired, his facial expression quite serious. “Have you had any brushes with death or unlucky occurrences?”
“Now that you mention it,” Mindlurk said, allowing his eyes to widen dramatically. “I did stub my toe on the kitchen table this morning.”
“This is serious,” cipherd whispered. “These things are no joke. My friend’s brother’s grandmother had a gremble and she was the unluckiest person you’ll ever meet. She lost over two million neopoints in the stock market in just one day. What do you think about that?”
“I think she must have been horrible at investing,” Mindlurk replied through a mouthful of scone. He ripped off a tiny piece of his pastry and offered it to the gremble, but the petpet ignored the food and continued to stare eagerly at Mindlurk’s face. “He doesn’t eat much.”
“Laugh all you want,” cipherd continued, “but I’d avoid the thing if I were you. I mean, look at it. It just [i]looks[/i] evil.”
Mindlurk rolled his eyes. “You, a malevolent sentient Poogle, are judging another for being “too evil” looking?”
“Touche,” cipherd muttered. His vanilla bean latte sat unforgotten in front of him. The small beady eyes of the gremble seemed to bore into him from behind his friend’s back. “How did you even come across it?”
“Well,” said Mindlurk thoughtfully. “Last week, I made a trip into the Haunted Woods to go visit Edna and do a little questing for her-”
“You should give up on that already. She’ll never give you her avatar.”
“One can dream. Anyway,” Mindlurk continued, taking a sip of coffee. “I stayed a little longer than intended and figured I’d try and take a shortcut through the woods back to Neovia, only I got a little lost. It was getting so dark, I could barely see my trunk in front of my face.” He paused to reach out towards the gremble who seemed to nuzzle his hand affectionately.
“All of sudden, there he was. Nearly scared me out of my skin...but then, Ed lead me straight back towards the path. He sort of...just kept following me home.”
“Ed?!” cipherd choked, spitting scone crumbs on the table. “You named it?”
The gremble seemed to glow from behind Mindlurk, vibrating from the excitement of hearing his name.
“He seemed kind of...lonely out there,” Mindlurk said, patting Ed upon the head. “He’s quiet, and doesn’t destroy any of the furniture. I think he’s kind of cool looking. Plus, he scares Mrs. Patterson next door so she’s stopped letting her Spardel do his business on my lawn.”
“Still. A [i]gremble[/i]? Why don’t you get yourself a nice Ghostkerchief or Meowclops?”
Another peek. Two read eyes met his. “Yeah, maybe,” Mindlurk said.
“Gremble’s are nothing but bad fortune,” cipherd said, nodding. “Here’s what you need to do. On your way home, go back by the Haunted Woods and lose it. It probably does better in the wild anyway.”
Mindlurk swallowed his last bite of scone and drained his cup of coffee. “I have to get going.”
The two friends embraced as they usually did after their weekly breakfast at the Cumpetmonger’s and parted ways; cipherd headed towards the center of the city, while Mindlurk veered towards his apartment on the outskirts of town.
Many of the citizens on the streets gave the neopet and his petpet a wide berth and avoided making any eye contact.
“Is it true?” Mindlurk asked aloud as he walked. “Are you a bad omen or just misunderstood?”
The gremble, his hair waving eccentrically in the wind, merely gave (what Mindlurk deduced to be) a very crooked and lopsided smile. His small red eyes darted frantically and he seemed to dance from foot to foot in the air.
The wind picked up, and Mindlurk could see the trees of the Haunted Woods swaying in the distance.
“Come on, let’s go home,” he finally said, turning his back to the wood. The Elephante pulled up his collar towards the wind and began to walk, the gremble floating at his side.
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