Likes: Vestari, Extinelo, sweets, running, soft things, and plushies.
Dislikes: Pain, sharp objects, cold, water, and math.
Gilrose's stomach howled with pain. He was so hungry, he thought he could eat anything. He hadn't had even a sniff of food for two days. The last thing he could remember eating was half a bagel he'd found in the park trash can. He didn't even get to finish it before his pursuers had found him and begun the chase. His pursuers were a large group of horrible neopets- their leader being a huge darigan gelert by the name of Lance. He wore a black leather jacket, a black spiked collar, torn black jeans, and spiked black boots. He was the one that anyone would call if they needed somebody to be... 'Taken Care of' or 'out of the picture.' He was NOT a friendly guy. His group was no better. A huge bunch of dirty thugs who thought their jobs as fun, no matter horrible they were. No matter who they hurt- an innocent bystander or otherwise. It was a shock that the chia police hadn't come after them yet. They'd probably been bribed.
That group was a large chunk of Gilrose's problems, but there were other concerns as well. He had no family or home. Nowhere to go and nobody to go to. Nobody who cared about him. Nobody who would give a meepit if he had anything to eat that day, or a place to stay that night. He was only a pup- he didn't know where to turn but to take what he needed. He didn't like stealing, but he didn't like the idea of starvation, either. He took only what was absolutely necessary, and only if he couldn't find it in the trash first. The trash was gross, but it had food in it, sometimes. And in the park, he could sometimes find a little spot to crawl into for the night- under a tangle of roots beneath a hollow tree, an abandoned burrow of some sort, or if he was lucky an abandoned hunting cabin, further out into the hills of the park. Those were his favorites because they were the driest, and sometimes had soft beds to lie on for the night. But he could never stay in one for very long, or else Lance would find him.
But today, he couldn't find any food in the garbage cans. He had to get something. He had to use his last resort- stealing. A crime. Something that took away from others. A bad deed. He hated stealing, but he had no choice if he wanted to keep from going hungry.
Quietly, Gilrose slipped out from behind the corner of the Neopia Central Bakery. Warm, delicious scents flooded out the doors and windows, drawing many neopets to the displays lined up with treats. Carefully, he slipped in with the crowd and looked for whatever was smallest and closest to the door, which happened to be a quarter of a loaf of sourdough bread, which the baker was using to make sandwiches. Mmmm... thought Gilrose guiltily. When he was sure nobody was looking, he made his move. He leaped up, grabbed the bread, and as silently as possible, he landed and ran out the door. STOP HIM! a voice sounded from be hind him, STOP THE ROTTEN LITTLE THEIF!
Heart pounding, Gilrose rounded one corner. Then another. He risked a glance back, only to find Lance and six of his followers close behind. His bread was slowing him down, but he couldn't drop it. He'd trip over it with his forelegs, and Lance would catch him. He rounded one last corner only to find nowhere to go. A new fence had been put up recently- it couldn't have been less than eight feet tall. Far too high to jump, and with no paw grips to climb. By now Lance and his men had blocked off the only exit, and were closing in.
What's the matter, Lance taunted cruelly, Did the puppy run out of places to hide? Gilrose squeezed himself into a corner, wishing he could just vanish, or squeeze into a crack and get away. But no. It was too late. Lance seized him by the scruff of his neck, and held him down as his men tied him up. ay attempt to escape now would be futile. Gilrose gave up and went limp, awaiting whatever decisive blow Lance had to give.
Please, Lance, make it quick. He begged. Quick? Now why would I make it quick when making the pain last is more amusing? Turning to his group, he added, Take him back to the headquarters, boys. I'm sure he's tired from all that running- what do you say we draw him a bath? Gilrose shrank fearfully as two of the followers- a skeith and a garrl- grabbed either side of his tied up little body and began carrying him away. Then, he fainted.
When Gilrose awoke, the world looked funny. Everything was upside down! Or, rather, he thought, looking at himself dangling by a rope, still tied up, He was upside down. Over a large tank of water. Now with his mouth covered by a thick, white scarf. Not good, not good! This is definitely not looking good...
It's about time you woke up, sleeping beauty. It was Lance speaking. Of course. We've been waiting for you to wake up- it's more enjoyable to watch when you're awake. Looking franticly around, Gilrose tried to find something-anything-that could possibly help him. But nothing was around. And he was tied up, dangling upside down over a deep tank of water. He was doomed.
Time for a swim, Pup. Cut the rope, Boys! The garrl who had helped carry him in stepped forward with a pair of scissors and snipped the rope that kept him out of the water. Desperately, Gilrose took one last deep breath before plunging head first into the water. It was freezing. The shock alone almost made him let go of the precious air in his lungs. Someone, please- help me! He sank deeper into the tank. Unable to swim upwards toward the air, or turn around and see light for one last time in his tiny, cold tank, darkness started overtaking his sight. His lungs begged for air. His muscles grew more and more tired. Then, the darkness won. Gilrose released his breath, and sank to the bottom. A moment later, Lance had his men drain the tank and remove the limp body.
The next thing Gilrose knew, he was outside the horrible building with two gleaming red eyes starting straight into his. Hey, wake up! Please, don't give up yet! You're too young for me to take you away. Gilrose was confused, cold, and wet. His muscles were very sore. He tried to sit up, but went into a spasm of coughing and had to lie back down. As his vision got better, he realized the eyes belonged to a muscular young darigan lupe. Who are you...? Where am I?The darigan lupe let out a huge sigh of relief. Thank Fyora you're okay. That darned gelert is always hurting others, and making me come back here time after time to take them away. Gilrose was now utterly lost. He had no idea who this was or why he cared about Lance or him so much. Who are you? He repeated his question. The lupe's ears dropped and he looked away. My name is Extinelo. Gilrose froze. Extinelo? You mean...The Grim Reaper...? The lupe nodded. Does that mean I'm... Extinelo cut him off. No, no! He reassured the cold little pup. I stopped your breathing quickly, and made your pulse undetectable. Then I waited for Lance to dump you out, and now here you are. I revived you, and now I have to get that last bit of water out of you, and warm you up. With that, Extinelo lifted Gilrose, and took to the air with his strong, dark wings.
When he landed, they were outside of a splendid palace in the lost desert, surrounded by a huge oasis that stretched miles in any direction, full of small homes and shops. Where are we? He asked in astonishment. Extinelo looked down and smiled. My home. I'm the ruler of my own land, alongside Vestari. You'll meet her very shortly. I'm sure She'll love to have you stay for dinner. By the looks of it, you could use a good meal and a warm bed. The reminder of warmth and food made Gilrose feel cold and hungry again. He wasn't as cold as he was, since Extinelo had held him close to his warm, furry chest on the way, but his paws and ears were still freezing, and he was still cold enough to shiver. He recalled not even being able to eat his bread- he'd dropped it in the corner when Lance had seized him.
His thoughts were interrupted as Extinelo landed and set Gilrose down to open the doors of the castle. A large draik in amour glanced at Extinelo and asked, Lance was after him, wasn't he? Extinelo nodded. Tried to drown the poor kid. But I wasn't having any of it- Lance has it coming one of these days. When I come for him, I'm going to be glad. He then lifted up Gilrose and stepped into the splendid room that was on the other side of the door. The carpets were regal red and gold, the curtains royal purples and the furniture royal blues. A white marble stairway wound it's way upstairs from the middle of the room. To the left was a door where decedent aromas wafted from, causing his mouth to water and his stomach to growl.
Vestari! There's a special someone I'd like you to meet down here, when you can! A moment passed and a small, elegant lady, made her way down the stairs to get the two lupes. It was a kougra, dressed in a long pastel pink gown with a pastel blue bow on it, and wearing a shimmering gem encrusted gold crown on top of her head of shoulder length, reddish golden hair.
Extinelo, you're back! The plushie kougra threw her arms around the darigan lupe in a warm hug, which he happily returned. Looking at the bundle Extinelo held, she added, And who might this little darling be? Oh my, he's freezing! I'll fetch him a warm towel, and some hot chocolate and cookies right away! Vestari whisked off into the room where warm scents drifted out of, leaving Extinelo to examine Gilrose.
What's you name, dear? Asked Vestari upon her return. Gilrose shifted shyly and answered, I'm Gilrose, but you can call me whatever you want. You wouldn't let Lance get me again, would you? Vestari straightened up and allowed her claws to slide out. If he comes anywhere near you or this land, he'll be taken care of. Don't you worry, you're safe here. We'll all do whatever we can to protect you from that dirt bag. She retracted her claws and let out a sigh. I suppose I should introduce myself. If you havn't already guessed, my name is Vestari. But you can call me Stari, if you'd like. Or, think of any nickname! And in case he hasn't introduced himself to you, that's Extinelo. But don't worry, he won't hurt you! He saved you from Lance.
Extinelo spoke. I told him. I think we ought to keep him- even if it's just for a couple days. Maybe we could find him a home? I don't think he has anywhere to go... Gilrose looked down. I don't. But you don't have to let me stay if you don't want! I don't want to impose... Vestari broke in, shaking her head. Oh, don't say that! You're not imposing. You are welcome to stay here. We should have a couple of empty rooms up stairs, and if you don't want to spend the night alone you are more than welcome to stay with me. Extinelo jumped in. He could stay with me, too, if he'd prefer. Think of it as a sleepover.
A faerie xweetok fluttered down the stairs, and whispered into Vestari's ear. The kougra grinned and announced, There's a room empty in the same hall as ours, on the top floor. I shall have a bed prepared for him immediately. While that's being taken care of, let's get something warm into his stomach! With that Gilrose was whisked to a fluffy royal blue chair, where a silver tray full of cookies was set in front of him, and next to him on a small table a hot chocolate was placed. Thank you... I don't know what to say! You're so kind to me... Nobody else has ever cared so much for me! His three new friends looked at him with pity. There was a long silence, until Vestari quietly broke it. Surely you must know somebody who loves you, dear? Gilrose looked away and shook his head. Nobody. I'm just a rotten little thief...
Extinelo bristled and objected, But that's not your fault! I'm always having to follow you, because the end is always near for you, and you only steal when you're going to starve if you don't! His sudden rage scared Gilrose, and he shrank away with a whimper. Then Extinelo calmed down. It's not your fault, kid. You don't want to steal... you have no choice. That's the difference between you and criminals like Lance. You don't want to hurt anybody. Lance strives to hurt everybody. You are good, Gilrose. Remember that, always. With that, Vestari shooed Extinelo away and helped Gilrose find his room while she sent up maids to make the bed.
When Vestari had taken Gilrose to his destination, she stopped and opened the door. Inside was an enormous, royal blue canopy bed with regal red and purple pillows and a gold trim. The carpet and chair matched, and on the wall was a fireplace. Vestari nudged Gilrose in and started on the fire while he got comfortable. You need some pajamas, Gilrose. I'll sew them for you this afternoon, and give them to you this evening. While I'm at it, I'll make you a quilt to keep you warm, wherever life takes you. Gilrose smiled and wagged his tail. Thank you.
Over the next few days, Gilrose adjusted to life in the castle. It still seemed amazingly huge, but at least he knew his way around to the bathroom and the breakfast table and his room. He also adjusted to having food that wasn't days apart. Life was good. Better than it had ever been. Vestari had kept her promise and sewn him lovely pajamas and a warm, luxurious quilt. She'd also begun on a collection of plushies for him. Gilrose was even strong enough to tag along occasionally with Extinelo on his morning walks, and learn some basic stitches from Vestari in case he ever tore any of the new toys she'd swen for him.
But the fun didn't end there. Everyone grew more and more used to Gilrose's presence, and would stop to chat. The chefs would speak to him about what was for the next meal, and sneak him extra treats. The maids would go out of their way to make sure there was always a fire going before bedtime, and Vestari with a new bedtime story each night. Extinelo would take him to the park when he wasn't off being the Grim Reaper. Espectroe would take him on tours around the palace whenever she could. Gilrose grew happier and more content by the day, and started to look up to everybody more and more. Not just with respect, but with friendship. With Vestari and Extinelo, it was more like they were his parents. He loved them. The loved him back, he suspected.
One morning, his suspicions were confirmed. An excited maid- a faerie xweetok by the name of Ellenore- whisked up to his room and told him his presence was requested by Extinelo and Vestari. She flew him down the steps so fast it made him yelp with surprise. When he got there, his three friends eyes were shining hopefully. Gilrose, there's something we'd like to ask you, Vestari began. We've been talking things over, and we came to an important decision concerning you... Extinelo continued. Vestari finished in an excited rush. We'd like you to join the family! We have the papers here, if you'll stay with us! Warmth spread through Gilrose until he thought he'd burst. He sprang into Vestari's arms and wagged his tail. Yes! Thank you so much! They all participated in a group hug. The papers were quickly signed and confirmed. He was part of the family now. And he loved it.
Word spread all across Neopia of the new member of the royal family. Eventually, it even spread to Lance, who was outraged to discover this. HE BECAME WHAT?! He snarled as his follower finished the message and handed him the morning paper, which Lance immediately crumpled up and threw into he fire. I thought we'd finished the little rat off weeks ago! There's no way he was alive- we all saw him drown! He fumed. We have to get him. He can't escape us. It's personal now. That pup's days are numbered.
A plot was devised to lure Gilrose away from the safety of his new home and into the clutches of Lance. They'd use an undercover member of the group to lure him into the woods, where a trap would await. They'd keep him quiet, and Lance would finish him off by taking him to Mystery Island and tossing him in the volcano in the middle of the night. Then there was no way for Extinelo to save him again. Lance couldn't think of any way his plot could fail.
The next day, it was put into action. The undercover agent lured Gilrose into the woods by telling him Vestari needed help. Then they ambushed him, tied him up, and flew him to mystery island where they awaited nightfall in the jungle.
Night fell. The horrible group dragged the pup up the mountain and handed him over to Lance, who was awaiting him eagerly. Thought you'd escaped, had you, Pup? Gilrose trembled with fear. Nobody escapes Lance! With that the darigan gelert lifted Gilrose quickly and leapt toward the volcano to throw him in. But he'd misjudged. He leaped over too far, and was now heading down towards the lava. quickly spreading his wings, he scrambled up into the air and looked down, panting. Now...He stammered,Where...where were we? Oh yes. I was about to drop you in, like s- A ferocious snarl cut him off as Extinelo dove out of the sky and crashed into Lance's back. Lance, losing his grip on Gilrose, dropped down to the rim of the volcano and began fighting it out with Extinelo. Gilrose drew closer and closer to the lava with each second. Then, something caught him. It was Vestari! She'd flew over the magma on the back of the Draik guard Gilrose had first seen when Extinelo led him into the palace for the first time! She had saved him, and was now using her claws to slash away the ropes that bound him.
Extinelo, who'd glanced up from the fight to see Vestari save Gilrose, turned his attention back to his battle with Lance. You rotten scumbag, he snarled, How dare you take pleasure in the pain and destruction of others?! Lance growled and aimed a blow at Extinelo's muzzle. Simple- I take pleasure in the looks on their faces! the battle progressed. Gilrose looked on in horror as he saw that Lance could actually have a chance of winning. He'd pushed Exinelo down, and was now leaping towards him-sure to send Extinelo into the magma if something wasn't done fast. Without thinking, the little pup leaped off of the Draik's back and onto Lance's, stopping him in his tracks. RUNT! How dare you touch me! Lance slashed his claws across the back of Gilrose's head, causing agony to shoot through his whole body. The wound tingled for a moment, and Gil felt moisture on his shoulders. Then everything went dark like when he was in the tank of water.
Vestari's horrified scream sounded along with Extinelo's enraged howl. Lance's throat was seized in Extinelo's jaws. Extinelo reared up and flung Lance into the volcano, slashing both of Lance's wings to shreds as he did so. Within seconds, the battle was over. Lance was gone in the molten, unforgiving lava and had been fried. The gang retreated. Extinelo rushed over to the small limp figure that was Gilrose. You made it once, and you can make it again... get up. Come on, Gilrose, get up! I can't lose you! Vestari whimpered and started to cry on his shoulder. Ellenore ran to the Pup's side to check his pulse. He's still alive- he'll pull through if we all help. So the royal family did their best to swallow their fear as the carried Gil back home for treatment.
Days later, Gilrose finally regained consciousness. The first faces he saw were those of Extinelo and Vestari. The ones who loved him. His…Parents. My head hurts...What happened? Where's Lance? Vestari started to explain. Lance hit you on the head, and you were unconscious for a couple days. Extinelo added, And I pushed lance into the volcano. He's gone now, and he won't be able to hurt you ever again. So now you're safe. Now you can stay with us without worry. Now you can be around us all the time, with no bad pets chasing you. You can be home now. With us. That was one of the greatest things Gilrose had ever heard. Home...
Gilrose is quite comfortable in his new life. He has a family that cares about his well being. He gets three square meals a day, plus snacks and seconds. Gilrose has built up lean muscle, and he might just be the fastest little lupe you've ever seen! Extinelo has helped him learn to swim, and given him a charm that allows him to breathe under water for periods of time, just in case he needs to. Still, Gil isn't much of a fan of water ever since Lance dunked him into that tank and attempted to drown him.
Though Gilrose is much more comfortable now, he is still haunted by images of his past, especially in his dreams. Images of Lance, and curling up in a soggy box in the rain, and himself collapsing from hunger flash through his nightmares. It's not only memories that haunt him, though. Sometimes his mind tortures him with images of Lance raking his claws down Vestari's side, or Extinelo walking right up to him and growling, We don't want you anymore, Gilrose. You aren't loved. Those are the worst ones, because they seem to rip his heart in half. They make him wake up screaming with tears streaming down his cheeks and pooling on the pillow.
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