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Pet Name: Oraichi
In the rocky barren plains of the Tyrannian Plateau, a group of Tonus lay on the dusty ground, lapping up the sun. They nibbled on ferns from the jungle or enjoyed omelette freshly baked by the sun's rays and they chatted to each other about the latest concert to rock Tyrannia.
But one little Tonu did not lie bathing in the sun, nor did he nibble on ferns or chat with the others. "I'm bored," he muttered, shaking his dark green mane and watching as a few coarse hairs drifted slowly to the ground. "And I'm moulting! It's too hot!"
The other Tonus laughed. "Hot?? This isn't hot!!"
But Oraichi, the little green Tonu, merely grumbled and loped off towards the jungle in search of some shade. As he wandered, moaning to himself about the heat, he watched as other neopets came to climb the trees, picking fresh fruit from the branches, breaking them open and lapping up the delicious-looking cool juice within.
But Oraichi couldn't climb trees. He couldn't reach the fruit. And even when he lowered his head and charged at the trees with all his might, the only fruit he managed to knock down was coated in hard prickly skin. With no fingers or thumbs, he couldn't get them open, couldn't get to the delicious juice inside. Instead he had to make do with nibbling on the low growing ferns, frowning as he slowly chewed the tough leaves with his bony beak.
It wasn't fair, he decided, that some pets had fingers and he only had stubby little toenails, good only for walking on. And it wasn't fair that he couldn't reach the delicious food.
The other Tonus were confused and watched him from afar. They were happy eating the tasty ferns and lying around in the sun all day. They were happy with their fingerless feet. But Oraichi was not happy, and they didn't understand – whoever heard of a Tonu that wanted fingers?
On his never-ending quest for shade, Oraichi kept walking north. He walked right through the jungle. And when he reached the edge of the jungle, he just kept walking. The trees changed shape and colour – no longer filled with brightly coloured flowers and huge green leaves, their branches became thin and spindly, the leaves spiky like pins, their colour dark green and brown, but Oraichi didn't care and he kept walking north.
The ground underneath was becoming rocky again. Unlike Tyrannia, where the mountains were orange and sandy, these hills were dark grey and black, but Oraichi didn't care and he kept walking north.
The days went by and they got colder and colder. Clouds gathered above him and the skies cracked open letting loose sheets of freezing cold rain. It soaked through his mane, spiralled down his horn, and ran over his thick leathery hide. He felt cold and wet, but Oraichi didn't care and he kept walking north.
And soon the rain turned too cold; the droplets became light, fluffy flakes of white. What was this deliciously frosty, beautiful thing that poured from the sky? It covered the land around him like a blanket, turning everything in sight white. The sun glimmered off of the mountains like a million jewels. He licked up the cold, fresh snow, tingling his mouth, and laughing as it melted on his leathery tongue. Oraichi wished he could pick it up, but all he could do was leave one lonely line of Tonu footprints in his wake as he continued walking north.
He had been alone now for so long that when he first heard the laughter, he was sure that it was only the wind playing amongst the needle-like trees, but when he pushed through a snowy line of bushes, Oraichi's eyes grew wide and his beak fell open.
The valley was filled with little houses, snow on their roofs and chimneys with billowing white smoke. Pointy trees surrounded a frozen lake – like a sheet of mirror reflecting the sky, groups of laughing neopets skidding around on it, chasing after one another. And the lights! Oh, the lights! The whole place seemed to be aglow; warm orange light pouring out of a window here and a doorway there, strings of multi-coloured globes hung on the trees and over the doors and windows of the houses. Blue and yellow and red and green… Oraichi couldn't take it all in. It was beautiful, it really was… but Oraichi kept walking north.
Leaving the little town in the valley below, he headed up the mountainside, sometimes slipping on the icy path, but determined to see what lay at the top. Eventually, the path passed between two towering mountaintops, and Oraichi stopped again, his wide green eyes taking in the scene before him. A large building made entirely of snow dominated the skyline. More little houses nestled here and there, tucked low against the wind, snow covering their roofs and huge spikes of ice dripping from their porches. It was beautiful… beautiful and cold. Now, if only he could find something nice to eat besides snow! Oraichi's stomach rumbled.
"Are you lost?" came a voice from beside him. Oraichi turned and looked up. A girl stood in front of him, a snow-white Kougra on her right side and a light blue Hissi on her left. "You're a long way from Tyrannia!" The girl exclaimed. "Aren't you cold?"
"I… I like the cold," Oraichi replied, a little nervously, thinking about what the other Tonus would say back in Tyrannia.
The girl laughed, but it wasn't like the laughs of the Tonus… it was a good-natured laugh; a happy laugh. "Me too!" she replied with a smile. "They call me Ice and this is Soltivia and Liascha. We're just heading back for dinner. Would you like to join us?"
Oraichi's stomach rumbled again and with a nod, he followed the girl through the snow, along a winding path and up to a tall, thin building made of ice. Inside, he followed the girl through to the kitchen, settling down at the table with Soltivia and Liascha, watching enviously as the girl set about chopping and stirring.
"I wish I had fingers," Oraichi muttered, looking down at his stubby feet. "I don't like being a Tonu, you know."
"Oh?" said the girl, dishing up the dinner and bringing it to the table. With a concerned look, she watched Oraichi struggling to eat with his beak for a while and then, with a start, she jumped up. "I'll be right back!" she exclaimed, and dashed off, leaving Oraichi feeling rather confused. A few moments later, she came back with a bottle and a mirror.
"What's that?" asked Oraichi, eying the bottle suspiciously.
"It's a morphing potion," Ice replied, uncorking it. "Fingers for you if you want them…"
Oraichi nodded, his eyes wide.
"Are you sure?" Ice asked, hesitating.
"Definitely!" replied Oraichi without a moment's pause. "I've wanted fingers my whole life!"
With a smile, Ice lifted the bottle to Oraichi's beak and tipped the contents into his mouth. The liquid ran over his tongue and tingled its way down his throat. A strange warmth and a shiver passed over him. Looking down, Oraichi watched as his legs began to shift; his feet turning to paws, his leathery skin bursting out into black fur; the stubby toenails of his front feet turning into… could it be… yes! FINGERS!
Jumping up (and nearly falling over in the process as he tried to adjust to his new body), Oraichi grabbed the mirror and held it up to look at himself. He was a Kyrii! A skunk Kyrii with a huge mane of hair, dark brown eyes and a furry face… and fingers! Putting the mirror down, he threw himself at Ice, wrapping his arms around to hug her. Gently, she stroked the back of his head and neck. "You can stay here, if you like," she said softly, and Oraichi nodded. He had found his North.
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