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Pet Name: snowbloom48
I stomped in the door to our Neohome with a load of books in hand. One of them glowed slightly. Absent-mindedly brushing the Kreludan moon dust from my the hem of my t-shirt, I unceremoniously dumped the books on the table and walked over to the fridge.
There, pinned to the door (along with NT comic clippings, random art, and Snowbloom's last training report card) was a tattered shopping list of Booktastic books. Most of the titles had been crossed off. There were only two remaining, two elusive titles sitting in the middle of the list. I pulled down the list, set it on the counter and began making myself a cup of hot borovan.
Over at the table, two large, long-legged Poogles padded silently in from the lounge room. There was the quiet sound of deep rumbling purrs as they nosed around, whuffing the pockets of my jacket for leftover crumbs of Kreludan snacks.
Then he smelled it. Snowbloom the snowbeast Poogle; the page-chewing, book-mangling, fang-enabled Poogle smelled the sweet scent of Book.
His furry white body tensed as he caught the slightly musty, dusty smell of pages and the acrid scent of the ink. Lifting his toothy muzzle into the air, he inhaled deeply to locate where this enticing aroma was coming from. There. On the table. Not one, but TWO Booktastic books. After casting a quick glance around, he crossed the floor in a blink (who knew something so big could move so silently?). Now he stood at muzzle-level with the table, and then stretched out his neck, mouth open: straining to reach the books in his jaws, all 4 feet firmly planted on the floor.
Reach... stretch... SUCCESS!! Snowbloom's left fang hooked a corner of the spine of the top book and he slid the books across the table victoriously.
Forgetting all semblance of stealthiness, Snowbloom began to growl happily and he gripped the books in his forepaws and tore at the pages; luxuriating at the texture of the crisp pages and the way they crumpled to ruin in his jaws. He grasped a mouthful of book and whipped his head viciously from side to side as bits of pages flew in all directions. Dropping the first mangled book to the floor he pounced on the second Booktastic book with the same eagerness, ruined pages flying in all directions under his enthusiastic attack.
And this is where I walked back in...
to find my precious new books now a destroyed mess of paper, and my equally precious Snowbloom still wreaking destruction on their remains. "Snowbloom!" I gasped. He froze in mid head-shake, joyful fang-filled grin disappearing from around the wad of book in his teeth. He opened his eyes that had been closed for the pure joy of book-destruction, and looked at me guiltily. His entire expression read guilt. He knew he wasn't supposed to chew books, but he just couldn't help himself.
He looked down at the piles of crumpled pages strewn all over the floor, at the ink, at the shapes the little symbols made. He remembered how I'd tried to teach him how the patterns of little shapes could make a word that meant something...
All of a sudden: poof! The remains of the books disappeared in a cloud of purple smoke!
Snowbloom had read the books. These last, precious Booktastic books of our collection had been MOSTLY chewed, but just a tiny bit "read." We both hesitated for a second, then I opened up my arms and he leapt into them, knocking me to the floor as we hugged each other for joy.
The next day, we walked to the Booktastic book high-score table and looked, and there he was. He received his badge, and no-one was the wiser. Snowbloom may have eaten almost all of the books needed to get onto the scoreboard, but we both glowed with pride that he read just a little bit of those last two.
And the best part?
There wasn't so much of a scrap of shredded paper of the mess Snowbloom made of the books to clean up, because they had all vanished in a puff of smoke.
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