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Neopia's Fill in the Blank News Source | 16th day of Swimming, Yr 26
The Neopian Times Week 103 > Short Stories > Balthazar is a Rotten Baby-Sitter

Balthazar is a Rotten Baby-Sitter

by fatesprite

Kinamii the blue Gelert sat by the pond in her water garden, swishing her blue paw lazily in the cool water. She took another bite out of her chocolate Gelert and cast her eyes down at the book she was reading, Sakhmet Petpets. Giving a small sigh of satisfaction, Kina, as she liked to be called, looked at the picture of an Apis with hopeful eyes. Her owner, Fate, had promised to buy her one eventually. Normally Kina became depressed when she saw this picture, since it seemed an Apis was a long time away. Now, though, she felt completely happy and content. She had done absolutely nothing except read and eat chocolate by her water garden all day long, and judging by the clouds on the horizon, there would be rain tonight. The blue Gelert loved rain. Kina let out another small sigh of content and closed her eyes. Perfect.

     Her ears pricked up as she heard a rustling noise from the trees above. Kina's eyes snapped open and her head whipped upwards, and she saw a yellow Zafara perched precariously on a branch overhead, aiming a slingshot right at Kina's muzzle. Discovered and startled, the Zafara gave a small yelp and fell. Through Kina's eyes, it looked like slow motion as the yellow blur fell through the air, straight down to the pool below. She hit the water with a dull splash. Kina just sat and watched as the Zafara stood up in the shallow water and sloshed to shore, then stood on the firm ground, dripping water. She grinned a sheepish grin.

     "Uh... Fate wants us -- in the house. Time for dinner."

     Kina glared at her for a few seconds, then forced her face into a painful smile.

     "C-Coming, Sis." The Zafara turned towards to house on the top of the hill and dashed up to it with eye-blurring speed.

     Kina sighed with frustration and started walking up the hill. When she and her owner had brought Lohiah the Zafara home from the Create-a-Pet Center, She had seemed absolutely adorable and completely harmless. But the bigger she got the more Kina realized that Lohi was not in the least bit harmless. She was a menace! Ever since she had made herself that stupid slingshot she had been terrorizing the neighborhood, not to mention Kina herself. But Kina had made up her mind; she would absolutely not get sucked into the old, "Oldest pet has rivalry with annoying younger pet" story. It was too cliché.

     So Kina had done everything in her power to be nice to the annoying little terror in hopes of forming a friendship. And Lohi had been pretty friendly herself. But she still shot Kina with pebbles from her slingshot every chance she got, showed up late for dinner all the time, hogged the TV, used the neighborhood petpets for target practice, and raided the pantry secretly by night. She didn't seem to be annoying Kina intentionally, but all the little things that Lohi did still got on Kina's nerves.

     The Gelert reached the door to her NeoHome and opened it, walking through the rooms until she reached the dining room. Fate and Lohi were already sitting down as the table. There was a pan of tomato sauce and a large pot full of spaghetti resting in the center of square table. Kina sat down and served herself a steaming plateful. Dinner in the fatesprite household usually included a conversation. Tonight was no different. Fate opened the conversation with her usual question.

     "So... what did you guys do today?"

     Kina shrugged. "Nothing. And I mean nothing. Just sat by the water garden. Ate chocolate. Read Sakhmet Petpets again."

     "I spied on that grumpy old Kau. You know, the one who lives down the street. He has a Doglefox. A Tyrannian one." Lohi glared at Fate. She wanted a Doglefox as much as Kina wanted an Apis. She didn't seem ashamed that she had been spying on someone. Fate opened her mouth, as though to reprimand her, then decided against it. Instead she looked down at her plate. After a while, she spoke.

     "I have a surprise for you guys. Mind you," she looked at Kina "it took a big chunk out of your silver paint brush fund. But I think you'll like it. Wait here." Lohi and Kina exchanged glances as Fate walked in the direction of her room. After a few seconds, Fate called out in a muffled voice. "Close you eyes!" Lohi rolled her eyes at Kina before shutting them. Kina shut her own, but she wasn't totally blind. Her sensitive ears picked up her owner's footsteps on the floor. The footsteps came closer, then there were what sounded like claws scrabbling around on the tabletop. Kina was smart. She put two and two together... but it couldn't be...

     "Alright, open them!"

     Kina opened her eyes. A yellow Doglefox and an Apis were playing on the table. She squealed and reached for the Apis, but Lohi actually jumped in front of her, up on the table, grabbing the Doglefox and jumping down onto the floor, where she began to examine it. But the Gelert didn't care. Here was her dream petpet! She reached again towards the cute Apis before her and gently picked her up. Holding her at eye level, she looked at the hump, the eyes, and the feet. Everything about her was perfectly adorable! Kina immediately started casting around her mind for ideas. Lohi's demanding voice cut through her elated thoughts.

     "What's the catch?"

     Kina's heart sank. A catch. There had to be one. Petpets were extremely expensive, especially Doglefoxes. That wouldn't be NP that Fate would just throw away on a whim.

     "No catch," Fate insisted. Her eye was twitching, a sure sign she was lying. Both Lohi and Kina glared at her until she finally said "Okay, Okay. My dad's having his birthday party tonight and I have to leave you guys until morning. I've hired a baby-sitter... and he's not really... that nice. But his price was right, so..." she trailed off miserably. "I was hoping that you guys could just play with the petpets and not, you know, terrorize him." (Lohi's face cracked into demonic grin) Kina was worried. From the description, this guy didn't seem too good.

     "Who is it?" she asked. Fate avoided her eyes and continued talking.

     "He should be here any minute --"

     "Who is it?"

     "As soon as he's here I'm gonna log off-"

     "Fate. Who is it?!!"

     The doorbell rang. Fate ran to answer it, Lohi and Kina trailing a hair behind her, and their petpets right behind them. Fate opened the door. In stepped a creature that Kina had only seen once before -- in the Gallery of Evil. Kina shuddered.

     Balthazar stepped through the doorway.

     Kina stared. Lohi stared. Balthazar stared. Fate wrung her hands. "Um... I'd better get going. Places to be." With that and one last, worried glance at Lohi, Fate stepped out the door.

     Balthazar's massive form made its way into the Lounge without a word. Kina and Lohi followed. When they found him, Balthazar was fluffing pillows and sitting in Lohi's chair. Overcoming her short time as a mute, Lohi protested, "No way are you sitting in my chair, you big hunk of fluff!" Balthazar gave a grunt, got up and stood In the middle of the room. He faced the two small pets in front of him.

     "You little pip-squeaks had better get one thing straight right now. I didn't want this job." He growled "I have no desire to be here playing kindergarten with you brats. But your owner got all scary on me and threatened to stick toothpicks up my nose if I didn't. She couldn't find anyone else. So here I am. Here you are. You will behave. You," he pointed to Kina, "sit on that blue beanbag. That's your spot. You will not move for the rest of the night until you go to bed. And you, miss yellow, sit on the rug. That is your spot. You will not move from that spot. If you don't cooperate, I will eat your petpets. Don't test me, because I will, I assure you." He eyed Kina's Apis, who promptly hid herself behind Kina, long legs shaking. Balthazar then sat back down in Lohi's chair and began watching TV.

     "I'm gonna kill Fate when she gets back..." Kina murmured to Lohi.

     "Yeah... anyway, you need to give your petpet a name."

     "Oh? Yours already has one?"

     "Sure does!" Lohi proclaimed proudly. "Say hello to Fari the yellow Doglefox!" Kina hid a snort of laughter. What a stupid name! She didn't say anything, because Lohi still had her slingshot.

     The Gelert studied her petpet "Got it," she said. "Her name is Lasha, because she has such long eyelashes, see?"

     "That's a dumb name."

     "Who are you to judge?" Kina replied, annoyed. "Anyway, I'm gonna play with her, and see if I can't entertain myself."

     They both played with their petpets for about 40 minutes before they got bored. Still afraid of Balthazar's threat about the petpets, they sat in their "spots" for another 10 minutes before Lohi snapped. She placed Fari in Kina's paws, whispering "Guard her with your life. I'm goin' in." Cautiously, she got up off the rug and crept over to where Balthazar was sitting. He didn't notice; he was engrossed in the TV program he was watching. (Something on the NeoHome shopping channel) She cleared her throat quietly. When he didn't respond, she poked his paw. "Hey," she said. "I'm bored. Talk to me."

     "About what?" he grunted.

     "I don't know. Something. Anything." They both stared each other down for a minute. Then Lohi spoke.

     "I kicked your tail in Extreme Herder."

     "Did you?"

     "Uh-huh. You never even touched my petpets... and you smell funny."

     "I do not!"

     "Yes you do." She wrinkled her tiny nose. "Really bad." Kina covered her eyes in horror. Her sister was not insulting a Lupe from the Gallery of Evil. This was just a horrible dream. She would wake up any moment.

     Meanwhile, Lohi's conversation with Balthazar was still going strong. Well, strong on one side of the conversation, anyway.

     "Did you ever consider wearing a hat?" she inquired.

     "You are the living plague," the Lupe groaned and closed his eyes as he slumped back into his chair. Kina felt sorry for the poor thing. She trotted over and patted his paw sympathetically.

     "It's alright. You should try living with her," she crooned. One of his eyes popped open.

     "You have my undying sympathy, Gelert."

     She pouted. "My name's Kina, thank you very much. And you better not start calling her 'Zafara'. Her name's Lohiah, Lohi to you. Anyway, if you want her to shut it, then you have to play a game with her."

     "Like what?"

     "She likes to play 'Cheat!' a lot."

     "Cheat it is then. Someone go get a pack of cards." Lohi happily scampered down the hall.

     Taking advantage of her absence, Kina whispered to Balthazar, "She's got a slingshot. Be warned." He nodded. Lohi ran back, holding a deck of cards with fuzzle print on the backs. She looked positively delighted.

     "I'm gonna beat you, Fuzzy," she stated loudly.

     And so they sat down on the rug and started to play. Lohi was right. She won the game, and the next game, and the one after that. Finally, Balthazar couldn't stand it anymore, and demanded that they play something else. Kina pointed out that it was bedtime, and they should be getting upstairs. Mentally thanking Fyora, Balthazar herded them both upstairs. Lohi refused to go unless she was carried. So He lifted her onto his back and walked up the stairs. They both were escorted to their bedrooms, and (unwillingly on Balthazar's part) were tucked into their beds. He softy padded down the stairs, picked up the now slumbering petpets, and put them in the pantry, because he didn't know what else to do with them. When he finally slumped down in Lohi's chair again, he found that he was exhausted. His eyes slowly closed.

     The first pebble hit him right on the nose.

     Balthazar was lurched into wakefulness. Looking wildly around, he suddenly realized that there was a weight on his stomach.

     "You!" he cried, glaring at Lohi. She was perched lightly on in stomach, aiming her slingshot at his face.

     "You have a big tummy. You shouldn't eat so many sweets," She chided, lowering her slingshot. Balthazar took the lowered weapon as his opportunity. He grabbed her roughly by the tail and held her in mid-air.

     Shaking her slightly, her roared in her face, "YOU'RE SUPPOSED TO BE IN BED!" flecks of spit flew into Lohi's face and for once she was silent. "I am going to carry you up to your room," he growled. "If you leave it for one second at any time, I will not only eat your petpet, I will eat you. That is a promise." Taking her stunned silence for a yes, he stomped halfway up the stairs, and then remembered that Kina was still sleeping, and tip-pawed the rest of the way. Upon reaching the doorway to her room, the Lupe gave her one last warning growl, opened the white door and flung her unceremoniously inside.

     Finally, time to relax, he thought when he was in the lounge once more. His last thoughts before drifting off to sleep were ....I wouldn't really eat those kids... or their petpets. I have to work on that empty threat thing...

     Someone was poking him. Slightly annoyed that anyone could possibly be disturbing his sleep, he gave a small growl. Opening His eyes, he saw the owner (what was her name? Fate?) was poking his paw. It must be morning. Eager to get out if there, he started walking towards the front door. "How were they?" Fate whispered, walking alongside him. He stopped in front of the door and faced her.

     "Angels. They were perfect angels. Don't ever hire me again." Without another word he stalked out through the front door.

The End

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