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Petpet Name: Slapdash
Pet Name: Coblinton
Breed: Starry Babaa
As the Neopian world well knows, there is little use for a Babaa that can't do math, and it seems no Babaa could have been more cursed than a Starry Babaa named Slapdash. It's not that the little fellow was unacquainted with his numbers: he could count forward and backward as he so wished, and he'd always known what time of day it was by which numbers the hands of the clock were pointing to. However, when he tried to arrange the numbers into equations, he just couldn't make sense of any of it. To him, the numbers were just fine as they were -- why did they need to be multiplied and divided? It all seemed a bit cruel.
This number misfortune didn't exactly help him to excel in his job. Every night, the Babaa would bounce along in an endless line of Babaas, leaping over the fence in the clouds over Neopia Central to help lull the Neopets below to sleep. Floating just past the fence was a cluster of bubbles, each with its own math equation on the inside. As each Babaa would leap over the fence, they'd disappear out of the clouds, taking a bubble with them. Watching them, they made everything look so easy. Although, when it was Slapdash's turn to jump the fence, he would simply freeze in place, his eyes darting from one bubble to the other, too perplexed to make a move of any sort. On most occasions, the Babaas behind him would simply climb onto his back and continue the cycle, paying hardly any attention as he stayed frozen in place for the rest of the night. Unfortunately, though, in a few cases he would be knocked right out of the cloud by the Babaas behind him, sent plummeting down to the world below to fall into some unsuspecting Neopian's dream and scare the daylights (or, rather, nightlights) out of them.
This would turn out to be one of those nights. Just as Slapdash reached the fence, he froze in place and stared up at the bubbles with confusion. The next Babaa in line didn't notice that he'd stopped and bounced forward, colliding into him. Slapdash was only teetering helplessly over the edge of the cloud for a single second before he went tumbling down onto the houses below, disappearing into one of the chimneys. A shrill alarm sounded and there was a shriek of terror, and the little Babaa leapt out of the window of the house and went scrambling into the night.
Collecting himself just outside of Neopia Central on the edge of a clearing, he could still hear the conversation that followed the incident. As it turned out, the Neopian whose chimney he'd just dropped into didn't take kindly to the abrupt intrusion of their dreamland and had called one of the Defenders of Neopia to take care of it.
"I was sleeping just fine," the white Aisha complained, "until that one Babaa fell on me!"
Judge Hog nodded and looked across the clearing, catching sight of the tiny bundle of blue and yellow wool shivering in the grass. "I'll take care of him," he answered solemnly. The Moehog superhero then took flight and landed in the grass next to Slapdash, gathered the Babaa into his arms, and took flight once more.
Slapdash peered over the Neopet's arms, watching as Neopia Central grew smaller and smaller before disappearing behind the clouds. The two flew past the endless line of Babaas, still dutifully jumping over the fence while popping their math bubbles, and continued onward into the dark woods beyond the Marketplace.
Soon after, the Moehog landed nearby a graveyard and set the little Babaa down in the withered grass. "There's someone here I think you should meet," he told Slapdash before ascending into the darkness of the night sky.
Curious, the Babaa slipped under the iron fence and wandered into the graveyard, peering around at the many gravestones that seemed to tower above him. It didn't take long for the little Petpet to discover a rather unusual glow coming from the darkest reaches of the graveyard.
Perched atop the largest grave was the ghost of a Lupe with a long ethereal robe and heavy eyelids. As Slapdash approached, the ghost turned his head to eye him with an impassive stare. Only when the Babaa had seated himself directly beneath his feet did he begin to speak.
"So, I take it you are curious as to what I am doing here at this hour, overlooking this vast graveyard. Well, I have no use for those Babaas and their absurd mathematic fence hopping. After all, a ghost never sleeps."
The Babaa gazed up at him with wide, hopeful eyes. The Lupe then gestured for him to jump up to sit beside him, which he did. Silently, the Babaa curled up on the gravestone and peered up at him as the Lupe's cold, spectral paw ran gently across his woolly back.
"Furthermore," the ghost continued, "I no longer have a use for math. Just what would I count, the number of visitors I've had to my grave? There are few pastimes in the afterlife that would ever require such nonsense -- and it's just as well. I was never particularly fond of math, anyhow."
At that moment Slapdash might have wondered why the Defender of Neopia had brought him here, had the Ghost Lupe not raised his finger to signal that he was about to speak. "I've heard of you before. You're Slapdash, the Babaa who can't do math. The Defenders of Neopia have had their eyes on you for quite some time, as they have with me. We have a certain usefulness for each other that we don't have to the rest of Neopia. We have each other's company. So then, I ask this of you with the hope that you will agree: will you be my Petpet and come to visit me here in the graveyard?"
The Babaa smiled and baaed happily, burying his woolly head into the Lupe's robe.
The ghost Lupe smiled back at him ever-so-slightly as he moved the little creature to his lap, still stroking his wool with one paw."It is decided, then," he said. "You can trust that I will take good care of you, my friend. You know, I've always wanted someone to tell my stories to... the other undead creatures of this graveyard haven't made for the best listeners. In fact, perhaps I'd better start with how I wound up here to begin with..."
Slapdash closed his eyes and listened peacefully to the Lupe's voice. He'd finally found a purpose for himself and would never have to have another brush with math again. The Babaas who leapt the fence over Neopia every night would never know what they were missing.
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