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Neopia's Fill in the Blank News Source | 24th day of Gathering, Yr 23
The Neopian Times Week 11 > Short Stories > Trouble...

Trouble...

by Bounce89

"Arghhh!" GearGirl34 screamed, dangling a pair of chewed sneakers in front of Trouble's face. "Look what you did! I told you specifically to stay away from my BRAND NEW running shoes! Now I won't be able to participate in the cross-country marathon." Trouble watched as GearGirl34 slumped sadly on to the couch. A lone tear rolled down her cheek.

Trouble was a Lupe puppy, painted with the skunk paintbrush. He was bright, happy and curious, while very intelligent for his age. But, he managed to get into a lot of trouble. His original owner had abandoned him in the Neopian pound, because somehow he had broken a rare Crystal Negg in a valuable collection. GearGirl34, a kindhearted NeoPet owner, then adopted Trouble.

Caring for Trouble required a generous amount of patience and time. Fortunately, GearGirl34 had both. But since the "big race" was coming up, GearGirl34 had been spending less time with Trouble and more time practicing. This was getting to be too much for Trouble. He needed someone to play with, so he began destroying GearGirl34's things in order to get her attention. Chewing the tennis shoes, though, was an accident.

GearGirl34's face was tear-streaked and forlorn. Her eyes, downcast, stared at the once beautiful pair of track shoes. She sobbed quietly, so Trouble would not hear. But Trouble did hear, and felt very ashamed. He crawled in to GearGirl34's lap awkwardly, sporting an innocent face. Then, he reached up and licked her chin. GearGirl34 smiled shyly.

"Sorry I got so upset, Trouble. It's just that this race was going to be a big boost for my career as a runner." She stroked Trouble silently.

Trouble put his black paw on her chest and said, "You mean is going to be a big boost for your running career." He gave her a sly glance and stalked out of the room.

Trouble had a long journey ahead of him. The first thing he did was break open his Kung-Fu Techo piggy bank, and retrieve his life savings which added up to a total of 255 Neopoints. Satisfied with the amount, Trouble began to pack. He found a large canvas book bag and filled it with the essentials: a Fuzzle, a M*YNCI T-shirt, three organic apples, a holiday slush, a book, a bundle of Faerie Bubbles and a wallet containing his NP. He grabbed his PetPet, Echo the Bloop, and was off.

The hike was treacherous, but Trouble was able to make it to Ice Caves. There, he tried to steal an item from the Snowager. The Snowager pelted him with icy blasts twice, but the third time he was successful. He had accomplished the task of taking a genuine Million-Degree Sword, and auctioned it off for 4,000 NP. Next, he made his way to the Lost Desert.

The Lost Desert was all the way across the Neopian territory. To get there, Trouble had to pay 50 NP to ride on a ferry. It took a day to reach his destination. When he got there, Trouble headed for Coltzan's Shrine. King Coltzan granted Trouble and Echo one hundred and seven Neopoints. Trouble greedily added this amount to his wallet. Then, they visited the Fruit Machine. Sadly, they did not win anything, but refused to give up. The duo put their skills to the test in Swarm. The instructor, Barnum, gave Trouble a thorough lesson about it, handed him a helmet and muttered, "It's time." Trouble got in to the tank and ended up with a fairly high score. (470 to be exact!)

The last stop was Faerieland, where the two decided to give the Faerie Caves game a go. In the end, it was Echo who found the way out to complete the level. They got 6,893 NP for selling the Faerie Caves T-shirts they earned. Finally, they had a total of over 10,00 NP. They had reached their goal.

You may be wondering, what was their goal? To purchase a pair of BRAND NEW, even better running shoes for GearGirl34.

***

Trouble and Echo returned home late at night. GearGirl34 had already gone to bed, and was currently in a deep slumber. Trouble sneaked (it's a word, look it up in the dictionary!) in to GearGirl34's room quietly. He placed the BRAND NEW shoes on her bed, along with a sleeveless shirt, jogging shorts and a lightweight jacket. Then, he slithered in to bed.

The next morning, Trouble awoke to the sound of heavy applause. The television volume was turned on full blast, and a photo of GearGirl34 flashed across the screen. "And this year's cross-country marathon champion is GearGirl34!" an announcer screeched.

As if on cue, Echo came running in Trouble's bedroom. "Trouble! Trouble, can you believe it? She won! GearGirl34 actually WON!" Echo embraced Trouble excitedly.

Dazed, Trouble rubbed his eyes. "What? What are you talking about?"

Echo shrieked with delight. "The race! GearGirl34 came in first place!"

"You've got to be kidding!" Memories of the journey for the tennis shoes all flooded back to Trouble. He licked his chops happily.

By now, Echo was bouncing around the room singing, "No, no, it's all true! GearGirl won 'cause of the shoe!" Trouble joined him in the song.

An hour later, a winded GearGirl34 burst into the NeoHome. She was suffocated at once by the tremendous hugs from Trouble and Echo. Laughing, she said, "Thanks, guys! I could never have done it without you. Those track shoes were spectacular." She scratched Trouble behind the ears.

Trouble smiled. He liked the look of the medal hanging around GearGirl34's neck. It was shimmering gold with the words '2001 Marathon Champ' engraved in cursive lettering. But the most rewarding thing was GearGirl34's face. The feelings of pride and tearful victory were combined in to one, displayed in her milk brown eyes. Trouble jumped in the air joyfully. His happiness knew no bounds.

"All right, you two. That's enough," GearGirl34 prodded. "Trouble, may I speak to you privately?" Echo mouthed 'Good luck' and retreated to the living room.

Trouble crawled in to GearGirl34's lap. "What do you want to tell me?" he asked.

GearGirl34 grinned. "First of all, I wanted to thank you for those wonderful shoes! They were very comfortable and I know you went through a lot of trouble to get them."

"Trouble's the name, trouble's game," Trouble giggled. GearGirl34 hushed him.

"Trouble…I know you've been bugging me for the past week to get my attention. Since Echo doesn't seem to be enough company for you, I've come to a decision."

The black Lupe looked expectantly at his owner.

"You are getting a new sibling."

Trouble stared in to space for half a second and then jumped on the bed, twisting and shouting. GearGirl34 caught him in a big hug. "Now, if you behave yourself, we'll go to the pound tomorrow and see what we can find. Deal?"

As he nodded enthusiastically, Trouble said, "Thank you, GearGirl34. Thank you so much." Tears sprung to his eyes, and he gave a watery smile before scampering outdoors to tell Echo the good news.

***

The next morning, GearGirl34's NeoHome was transformed from a calm, happy environment to a chaotic, off-the-wall scene! Echo and Trouble chattered through breakfast, and talked all of playtime. Questions such as, "What colour? What gender? What type?" bombarded GearGirl34 the whole day. At last she just answered with a sigh, "It's completely up to Trouble, as long as the price is under 100 NP." Trouble whooped for joy, and then scurried off to his room.

When the time was right, GearGirl34 loaded Trouble and Echo in to her bicycle basket along with her overflowing purse. It took less than ten minutes to reach Neopian Pound, the trio's destination. When they got there, an unpleasant looking Lenny was standing in front of the pound entrance. He had on a tattered bow tie, some ripped up pants and his once yellow feathers were now a muddy brown, rustled by the wind. A cardboard box with a leather strap was slung carelessly around his neck. GearGirl34 guided Trouble and Echo toward the back entrance, keeping her distance.

The group burst in to the pound with great expectations. They were sure they were going to find the ideal, perfect pet without any trouble at all. (Hmm... isn't it strange? The word 'trouble' keeps reoccurring in this story. Interesting.) Trouble browsed on one side of the pound, while Echo raced through the other. At every cage, Trouble thought the next one would be his dream sibling--a Faerie Kyrii. But at every cage, Trouble received the same--sad eyes, peering out from a devastated face. He never did find his dream sibling.

The discouraged family headed outside. Without thinking, they exited out the main door and came face to face with the dirty Lenny. He put on a crooked smile and said, "Why, hello there."

GearGirl34 faked a grin. "Hi…"

"You folks look like you could use a nice baby Bruce. I have a few in this here basket that you could take a peek at. It's 50 NP per Bruce," the Lenny said, patting his cardboard box.

GearGirl34 grimaced, but Trouble rushed over to the Elena's side. He gazed down in to the box.

Inside there were five Bruces, tumbling and wrestling with each other. Trouble reached in and hoisted up the biggest one, a mint green male with a purple bow. "What's this one's name?" Trouble asked curiously.

"Pineby," came the reply.

GearGirl34 tapped Trouble on the shoulder. "Um, Trouble…don't you think we should be going now?"

Trouble just shrugged and picked up a deep blue one with an orange bow. "And this is…?" he wondered.

"NeoBlue55."

Trouble was instantly hooked. "GearGirl34!" he said, indicating NeoBlue55, "Can this be my new sibling?"

GearGirl34 was shocked in to silence. "Well, uh, I-I, um…Are you, uh, sure that you want NeoBlue55?" she said at last.

Trouble and Echo's heads bounded up and down in unison. "Yes!"

"Well, all right," GearGirl34 agreed, retrieving 50 NP from her purse. "We'll take NeoBlue55."

The Lenny gave them a genuine smile from the heart. "NeoBlue55 always was my favorite." As he handled the money, tears rose to his eyes.

Trouble and NeoBlue55 were at least five years apart in age, but the skunk Lupe could care less. They were meant for each other. The newly related brothers rode home in GearGirl34's bike basket, hand in hand the whole way.


Epilogue

To this day, NeoBlue55 and Trouble are still brothers and best friends. They spend endless hours exploring, playing and talking together. Echo is also their playmate, along with Verde, NeoBlue55's PetPet. As you might say it, they lived happily ever after.

GearGirl34 went on to win track championships and become famous. Her name was in all the headlines, her picture published in newspapers everywhere. Soon the family had moved in to an even bigger NeoHome, complete with a swimming pool and tennis court. Later, GearGirl34 started the Giver's Guild, a guild that helped donate food to the less fortunate and find homes for stray Neopets. She, too, lived happily ever after.

The End

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