Stand behind yer sheriff Circulation: 119,338,143 Issue: 240 | 19th day of Hunting, Y8
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A New Friendship


by brenicaevf333

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The sun was shining, the sky was blue, and the sweet aroma of spring flowers was everywhere. Neopets in different colors and sizes chatted and wandered through the streets, pressing their paws and noses against the windows of stores and deciding if they wanted to buy what was displayed there. Neopia Central was abuzz with activities and happiness.

      Cleyluna sighed angrily and glanced around at all the other pets, intent and busy with their own activities. No one seemed to notice she was there, standing in the middle of the colorful moving crowd of fur, scales and feathers.

      The yellow Xweetok sighed for the second time, bent down, and picked up her Petpet, Elroy, out of the way of moving hooves and paws. The plushie Mazzew jumped slightly from the sudden movement, turned, and relaxed once he realized that it was only his owner.

      "I don't want you getting squashed," Cleyluna muttered at the wide-eyed Mazzew. "You're the only one here to keep me company."

      Elroy tilted his head to one side and uttered a tiny, sympathetic peep.

      "Yeah, well, thanks for trying to make me feel better." She managed a weak smile, but a few seconds later it quickly faded away. Her owner had sent her to buy some food, and, tending to get mad and frustrated easily nowadays, the Xweetok wasn't having the most pleasant time getting through the large crowd of shoppers, which explained why she was feeling grumpy.

      But there was something else... something that was still happening since three weeks ago. Anyone who knew Cleyluna would have known that usually she was filled with joy, kindness and laughter. But now, everything was different. She no longer felt joyful, kind, or even felt like laughing. And that was the problem. When the days went by without the Xweetok even giggling once, she got more and more angry and even further away from the possibility of even smiling.

      "Oh!" Cleyluna let out a cry of surprise as a passerby shoved into her shoulder, nearly causing her to fall on her face. Catching her footing and clutching Elroy to her chest, who was panting heavily with fear from the near accident, she glared at the Neopet who had rudely bumped into them.

      "Hey! Watch where you're going!"

      But the Neopet hadn't heard her. He just kept going as if nothing had happened, arms swinging rhythmically at his sides.

      "What?" Cleyluna couldn't believe what she was seeing. The pet that had rudely bumped into her looked nothing like anyone there. As he walked through the swarming crowd effortlessly, others who were busy with their own doing stopped and looked over at the stranger. Soon the loud chattering of the crowd softened into low murmurs.

      Cleyluna gazed at the Neopet, observing his appearance. Green fur that was rather shaggy, a long, equally shaggy tail that reminded Cleyluna of an Usul's tail, blunt ears that twitched every so often, claws that looked similar to a Bori's...

      The Xweetok gasped. She remembered that a while back, her owner had brought her to Terror Mountain for a visit, and there she had seen a strange Neopet selling ice cream from an ice cream cart. Mr. Chipper was his name, and he looked just like the stranger that was now getting farther and farther away.

      "Hey! Wait!" Cleyluna made sure Elroy was safely in her paws and stumbled through the crowd to get to the stranger, who again seemed to not have heard her. She had to know what he was, where he had come from, and his name...

      "Excuse me..." The Xweetok slowly plowed through the crowd, ignoring the annoyed mumbles. Compared to the stranger going through the crowd, she had the speed of a Slorg.

      When she finally got out of the crowd, she saw that the stranger was entering the Bazaar.

      "Hello?" Cleyluna carefully set Elroy on the ground and waved a questioning paw in the air. "Hey! Hello! I want to talk to you!"

      But the odd pet went on, not giving the slightest indication that he had heard her.

      "Weird." Shaking her head, she gently lifted up Elroy again and ran after him, knowing that he was oblivious to the noise she was making.

      The stranger never hesitated and never stopped to rest. He just kept going and going as if he were a wind-up toy that was wound up to the limit.

      Finally, just as Cleyluna was about to decide that following him in the first place was pointless, for the first time, the stranger stopped in front of the doors of the Toy Shop. He stood there for a minute, scratching his head, and then disappeared inside.

      "He actually stopped. Wow," Cleyluna muttered with disgust. She was beginning to feel a bit angry. Why hadn't he heard her when she had called to him? Couldn't he hear? And why hadn't he noticed that he had rudely bumped into her?

      Those questions just made the urge to meet him stronger. Patting Elroy on the head, she grasped the handle of the door and pulled.

      A silver bell tinkled cheerfully overhead. Cleyluna stood still, letting the door shut back into place.

      She gazed around the store. It was brightly lit, and the floor was a red and white-checkered pattern. There were rows and rows of shelves, filled with all kinds of toys from plushies to action figures. The counter where the toys would be purchased was also red, and the shopkeeper, a Lupe, greeted her with a wave and a smile.

      Cleyluna nodded politely, then continued into the store. She couldn't see the stranger anywhere. Setting Elroy down, she casually walked over to the first aisle and peered in. No one.

      Elroy was enjoying himself. All the toys seemed appealing and fun to play with. As he followed Cleyluna, he couldn't help but sniff at every plushie and paw at every basketball.

      Suddenly, something caught his eye. It was lying a foot away from him. Nose twitching, he scampered over to the object and picked it up. It was a price tag.

      Cleyluna peered into the sixth aisle. The shelves were filled with newly stocked faerie dolls. The place was teeming with eager, squealing girl Neopets, grabbing every faerie doll they first laid their eyes on. Of course the stranger wasn't there.

      The Xweetok was about to go on to the next aisle when she suddenly felt that something was wrong. Heart pounding, she turned around.

      Elroy had disappeared.

      ***

      Meanwhile, somewhere in the store, Elroy passed aisles filled with action figures and pull toys, holding the price tag in one tiny paw. He figured that the price tag could be a new edition to his collection of "goods" he kept under his Petpet bed back at home, so he was feeling rather proud.

      Finally, he came to the aisle he had wanted to go to: the plushie aisle. After all, he considered plushies his friends because of his paint job.

      As he entered the aisle though, a pang of guilt went through the Petpet. He had left his owner, and he knew he shouldn't have done that. But following her was kind of boring. He wanted to play with the toys. His owner seemed to just be peering in the aisles and not taking the time to play. Who wouldn't want to play with cool toys? So he took the situation in his own paws.

      The bottom shelf was low enough for him to climb on, so he scanned it for any plushie he found to be appealing. Finally, he saw it: a cute Mootix plushie.

      Hastily, he approached the plushie, sniffed it curiously, and climbed onto the shelf. He made himself comfortable by snuggling into the soft fabric of the plushie and within a minute he was in a very deep sleep, the price tag hanging loosely in one of his paws.

      Suddenly, somebody walked into the aisle. Somebody with blunt ears, Bori like claws and a shaggy, Usul like tail. He looked through the plushies on the higher shelves and frowned. There was nothing he liked there.

      Mumbling under his breath, the stranger glanced at the bottom shelf. His eyes widened with glee. There, by a Mootix plushie was a Mazzew plushie!! He had seen those before but never had enough neopoints to buy one. But now that he was here with all his hard-earned savings, maybe he could finally be able to own one!

      As if he were handling a fragile negg, the stranger bent down and lifted the plushie off the shelf. He furrowed his eyebrows in confusion. The plushie looked different. It wasn't purple like the other Mazzew plushies he had seen.

      But another thought came to him. He figured that if it was a different color, maybe it was limited edition! Good thing too, since he had gotten the last one. There weren't any other ones like this.

      "Boy, I'm lucky today!" He beamed. He glanced at the price tag and beamed again. 500 NP only, for a limited edition plushie! He could hardly believe it.

      Delighted, the stranger held on to the plushie and proudly walked to the counter to buy.

      ***

      Cleyluna was distraught. She rushed throughout the store, shoving aside toys from their shelves and letting them clatter to the floor, not caring if the shopkeeper got mad at her.

      "He has to be here! I'm sure he's hiding behind some toys. He's just playing a game of hide and seek! I... I..." But the reality had begun to sink in.

      Elroy was gone.

      Breathing heavily, the panicked Xweetok stopped midway from shoving aside a few pull toys and felt tears begin to trickle down her cheeks.

      Sobbing quietly, she slowly made her way to the shopkeeper, who was busily reading a copy of the Neopian Times. Maybe she had seen Elroy.

      "Excuse me."

      The shopkeeper looked up, smiled, and put away what she was reading. "Hello. What's wrong?"

      "I... I was wondering..." Cleyluna's teary eyes wandered over to the exit. Her mouth dropped open at what she saw.

      The stranger had just exited the shop. His shaggy tail was all she had seen before the door shut with a soft click.

      "Oh, never mind!" she said to the puzzled shopkeeper. Immediately, the Xweetok dashed over to the door, grasped the handle, threw it open, and bolted outside. Maybe the stranger had seen Elroy, and that would also be the chance to ask him the other questions she had wanted to ask!

      Heart racing, Cleyluna watched the stranger as he walked rather joyfully away. He was holding something in his Bori like paws, and it looked just like...

      Elroy!!

      "HEY!" Instantly angry, the Xweetok let go of the door and bolted toward the stranger, who, for once, had actually heard her.

      "GIVE ME BACK MY PETPET!!" she screamed. She roughly grabbed his arm and snatched Elroy out of his paw. The Mazzew squeaked in alarm, rudely awakened.

      "What are you doing?!" he shrieked, attempting to grab Elroy back several times but missing every time. Cleyluna dodged his paws as easily as a Snowbunny. "I bought that plushie!"

      "HE'S NOT A PLUSHIE!" Cleyluna snapped. "HE'S A REAL LIVE MAZZEW, ONLY HIS PAINT JOB MAKES HIM LOOK LIKE A PLUSHIE! HE'S MY PETPET!"

      The stranger looked startled. He put his paws out in front of him as a shield. "Okay, I understand. I'm sorry! I'm really sorry! I thought he was a real plushie!"

      Cleyluna's anger faded. She stared at the stranger. He was innocent. He hadn't meant to steal Elroy.

      She then thought back at how nasty she had been a few seconds ago. What was she becoming? She had never yelled so fiercely at someone before, especially a stranger.

      She looked down at Elroy. Yawning, he stretched his arms over his head, the price tag still dangling from his paw.

      "A price tag?" Cleyluna glanced at the stranger. "What... ?"

      "He was on a shelf," the stranger said. "I thought he was a limited edition plushie because he was a different color than the other Mazzew plushies I've seen.

      "Anyway, the price tag said 500 NP. I was surprised. I'd thought a limited edition plushie would be much more expensive. So, I didn't want to miss an opportunity like that and that's how I bought him."

      He whistled with amazement and stared at Elroy, who was blinking with confusion.

      "I think he was asleep, because he didn't even stir when I picked him up. Probably what also fooled me into thinking he was a real plushie."

      "Oh... he... he's a pretty deep sleeper," Cleyluna replied.

      Suddenly, the stranger's eyes narrowed. "Why was he on the shelf, anyway? Weren't you watching him?"

      "I thought he was right behind me!" Cleyluna's voice began to rise, but she took a deep breath and managed to calm down. "You see, I was in that crowd where the main shops were, and you rammed into me. I thought that was really rude, especially since it seemed you didn't notice! So anyway..."

      The stranger smiled sheepishly. "Oh... for ramming into you, I'm terribly sorry. I tend to get oblivious to the things around me once in a while."

      "That answers my first question," Cleyluna muttered under her breath. "So as I was saying, I followed you to ask you some questions. When you entered the Toy Shop, that's when the whole mess started. I was looking for you, and I guess I wasn't watching Elroy... so he wandered off. And that's when he happened to get into your paws."

      There was an awkward moment of silence.

      "So, what questions did you want to ask me?" the stranger asked. Cleyluna was slightly startled by his voice. It had been so quiet a minute before.

      "Well..." She looked at him from the top of his head to his feet. "What... are you anyway?"

      "Why, I'm a Lutari!"

      "A what?"

      "A Lutari!" He straightened up proudly. "My species just arrived here, so I'm new."

      Cleyluna's eyes widened. "Where did you come from?"

      "I just arrived here from Krawk Island."

      "So your species originated from there?"

      "Um... well... it's a long story..."

      "What's your name?"

      "Wylan."

      Cleyluna smiled and shook her paw with his. "I'm Cleyluna."

      Then something happened. As the Xweetok shook paws with the Lutari, she felt herself change... back to normal. Her anger faded completely, and the corners of her mouth twitched into a happy smile: the first true smile in three weeks.

      Then she broke out laughing. It had begun to sink in. All that anger that had been with her for three weeks... all she needed was a new friend.

      And she had found one.

The End

 
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