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Green Kougra, Up for Adoption!

by harsan_09


You are strolling down the streets of Neopia Central one day when a brightly-colored piece of paper taped to a trashcan catches your eye: "Green Kougra, Up for Adoption!" it reads, and in smaller letters underneath, "Name: Arribon -- See Harsan, 320779 Market Square." "Hmm," you muse, "I wouldn't mind another pet, and I do love Kougras," so off you go to find Market Square and your (hopefully) future Kougra.

     Three-two-oh-seven-seven-six... three-two-oh-seven-seven-seven... You count the houses until you find number 320779. The house is very small, and it looks a bit shabby. It is made of what appears to be cardboard, and the paint on the bright red door is peeling badly. "Maybe this owner can't afford to feed all her pets," you think. Feeling very sure of yourself, you take a deep breath and walk up to the door.

     Knock, knock, knock. You hear noises through the thin wall of the house: scampering feet and a cry of "I got it!", and then the door is opened slowly to reveal a young Kougra. He peers at you suspiciously.

     "Hello," he greets you politely, stepping outside and closing the door behind him. "May I help you?"

     "Yes, as a matter of fact, you can. I was wondering if Harsan was there?"

     When you speak his owner's name, Arribon narrows his eyes suspiciously -- eyes that are almost as green as his vibrant fur. "You want to adopt me, don't you?"

     "Yes!" You give him a big smile. "How did you know?"

     "Because you said Arr-San's name weirdly," he answers matter-of-factly. "You must have read it on one of those posters."

     Arr-San? Oh, Harsan! You had been pronouncing it Hair-Sun. "I'm sorry," you say, and mean it. "But I really must speak to her."

     The young pet's eyes darken for a half second, clouded by fear -- or is it anger? You can't tell, and you're beginning to worry about the first impression you might be making on him. But before you can say anything else, whatever it was has disappeared. He smiles broadly, but it doesn't reach his eyes.

     "Well, I'm here. You can talk to me." You open your mouth to protest, but he cuts you off. "No, please talk to me. If you want to adopt me, you should know that Harsan cares a lot about my opinions, and I have a say in this matter too!" Arribon puts his chin up and faces you defiantly. You have to admit, you are impressed at how coolly he is handling this situation. You remember other pets you have applied for that threw temper-tantrums when their owners mentioned giving them away. Perhaps Arribon is older than you had first thought.

     "We-ell..." You consider it. You have to be somewhere in an hour, but you can stay and talk to Arribon for a while. "Okay, I have time to talk to you for a while." He sits down on the doorstep, and you follow suit. "So, uh, Arribon, do you have a nickname?"

     "No, please just call me Arribon."

     "Okay, sure thing." There is an awkward silence. "How old are you?"

     He sighs. "Thirteen--" You had been guessing ten or eleven "--but I was kind of thinking that I could do the talking." You nod and shrug.

     "Can I tell you a story?" You nod again. "Well, this story is about a Kougra named... umm... Arganon."

     "Arganon?" You ask. 'Arganon' sounds suspiciously like 'Arribon'.

     "Yes." Arribon glares at you. "Arganon lived with a great owner, who he loved. He had twin brothers named Azi and Ashke -- Kougras -- and a Kacheek sister named Kat who was his best friend. But one day his owner took all of her pets to a big, concrete building that smelled weird inside. There were a lot of other pets there, and they all looked quite miserable. Arganon watched as his owner gave a mean-looking Techo some Neopoints, and then she told Arganon and his siblings that this was their new home. She left without saying goodbye." Arribon turns his emerald eyes on you, as if to drive his point home.

     "Arganon must not have had a very nice owner," you comment, but Arribon ignores you.

     "Arganon's brothers both get adopted, and he is left with Kat. They keep each other company for a while, until Kat gets adopted. Then Arganon is left alone, and he never sees any of his siblings again." Arribon stares off into space for a moment, and a distant, longing look passes over his face.

     "So he was alone," you prompt, jerking Arribon back to the present.

     "Right..." He tries to remember where he was in the story. "Right, he's left alone. He gets adopted and dumped back in the pound the next morning -- actually, that happens three times, and once he stays for a few weeks before getting returned to the pound. And finally, someone comes into the building who he recognizes -- it is his old owner."

     "Arribon -- I mean, Arganon," you interrupt, "must have been pretty mad at that owner, huh?" Arribon glares at you.

     "No, not really. He was really happy to see someone he knew and loved, and he had never really been mad at her for leaving him. She didn't have much money." You shrug and nod for him to continue. "Anyway, Harsan -- I mean, his first owner -- was surprised that Arganon was still in the pound. She and her sister had started an adoption agency, and she had been looking for pets to foster. She took Arganon home with her. He stayed with the three other pets in the agency and his owner took care of him."

     "Then what?" you ask.

     "Then his first owner found him a new owner and she dropped him back in the pound for the new owner to pick up. But the new owner never came. Instead, Arganon was adopted by a Kougra collector. This owner was nice to him, but she didn't pay much attention to her pets. Eventually, she decided that she couldn't afford the Darigan paint brush she had been planning to paint him with, and she dumped him back into the pound... again."

     You sigh sympathetically. "There are so many unreliable pet owners in Neopia who just don't care about their pets," you comment. "I don't understand it! I love all of my pets very much." Arribon give you a sidelong glance.

     "Right. As I was saying," he continues, and you glance at your watch. You have been talking to the Kougra for fifteen minutes, and you haven't even met this Harsan yet. "The next time Arganon's first owner came to the pound looking for foster pets, she saw him there again. She cried, because she still loved him and nobody else cared about him. She took Arganon again, but this time not to the adoption agency. She took him into her house. By that time she had two new pets, Jubillieee the Flotsam and Seshesta the Xweetok. Arganon got along really well with them and they considered him part of the family." After a moment's pause, he adds, "He was part of the family." You wait for him to say something else, but he doesn't.

     "And then what happened?" you ask.

     "Nothing. That's the end." Arribon turns his striped face to you. "I'm not up for adoption; it was all a misunderstanding."

     You glance at him skeptically. Somehow, you don't believe that the poster you saw was a mistake. Just then, someone from inside the house calls, "Arribon, where are you?" Arribon jumps up and runs inside.

     "Coming, Harsan," he calls, and to you he says, "I have to go," and slams the door in your face.

     "Wait!" you cry, and the door opens a crack.

     "Thank you for coming, have a nice day," Arribon adds hastily before slamming the door again. You hesitate at the door for a moment, wondering if you should knock and ask for Harsan, but you remember the story of "Arganon". You turn around and walk down the steps leading up the house. As you are leaving, you see someone approaching the little house, waving one of the adoption advertisements in one hand.

     "Excuse me," the stranger asks you, "but is this the home of Hair-sun and Arribon the Kougra?"

     "Uhh..." After a moment's pause, you say, "Yes. But it's all a misunderstanding. Arribon isn't really up for adoption." And, whistling, you continue on your way.

The End

If you are reading this, then Whoo-hoo! My second publication!

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