Come dance with the Wanderers... Circulation: 99,729,623 Issue: 198 | 8th day of Swimming, Y7
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by kizule


I watched with increased apprehension as we approached the place. Don't get me wrong, I'd do anything for my master, even this. It is kind of fun, in a strange way, but fun nonetheless. The battles hurt, and they hurt badly. Master couldn't even get me healed after them for fear the Human would find out. She could have healed me, but she hated this place. Even more than I do. That's why we came at night.

      I levitated closer to the Master, who was entering the place. He was mumbling something about "increased admission price," whatever that is. He counted out the Neopoints and laid them on the counter. His new paint and my new paint matched; there was no doubt who owned me. The Darigan Mynci at the counter raised his eyes and looked up at the Master.

      "And will you be betting tonight, fine sir? The odds are over there." He gestured to a list on the side of the counter. My Master knew just what he wanted, and whatever "the odds" were, he ignored them.

      "250 Neopoints on Sunrise." I looked up from trying to read "the odds" at the sound of my name. Did the Master want me to do something for him? I made a ghastly moaning noise to get his attention. Master swatted me back with his paw.

      "Wha? Sunrise? You sure? Saffron is the favorite, you know. It's a known fact the Krawks are harder trainers than Yurbles. But who I am to argue with you; if you want to waste your Neopoints, that's fine." He wrote something down in a black notebook, but I couldn't see what it was from my vantage point. Master growled softly.

      "Who are you indeed." It was so low that I believe I was the only one to hear it.

      Master walked away from the Mynci with me in tow. I almost lost him in the crowd, but his color was a dead giveaway. I have never seen a Neopet that looks like Master. I have seen others of his color, but never another Grey Yurble. Anyway, I could spot Master from across the room. Being able to go over the other Humans and Neopets in the room helped, too.

      Master walked towards a door. A hulking Darigan Skeith blocked Master's way. I growled menacingly. Master glared at me briefly. I was so ashamed (I had upset the Master!) that I turned into a puff of smoke. Before he could leave without me, I turned back to normal.

      Master was showing a card hanging around his neck to the Skeith. The Skeith seemed to be talking to Master. I moved closer to hear what he was saying.

      "See, I was supposed ta only let in a Shadow Yurble, an' you are no Shadow Yurble." He folded his arms and smiled smugly, happy with himself. Master sighed.

      "Look, I'm the same person you were supposed to let in. The Lab Ray just zapped me, again. I have this same problem every time the lab changes my color. Look, see that 'Bottons444,' that's me. You can check my pass. The picture is outdated, but that's 'cause of the lab." The Skeith took a look at the pass, but didn't complain. He grumbled and let Master and me pass.

      We walked (or in may case, floated) down a long passage. With every step my Master took I was filled with more and more dread. I had been down this passage so many times that I had lost count. My eyes glowed purple as we got closer and closer to the dome. Then, we were there.

      Master told me to get ready, and I made a load moaning noise. This was the worst part. Just waiting here, knowing that once again I would feel an enormous amount of pain. It's just horrible. But I would do anything for Master.

      Then suddenly, it was time. I watched in horror as a Brown Krawk on the opposite side of the field pushed an Angelpuss out on to it. Then I was there. I don't quite remember how I got there, but there I was, out in the middle of the field.

      The Angelpuss ("Saffron," I believe her name was), blocked, but we both had the same instinct, and I blocked too. Cautiously, I hit her hard with a body blow, only to be thrown back against the wall. I heard Master shouting at me.

      "I know this is a tough opponent. You've just got to be tougher!" I got back to my feet and charged straight at Saffron, trying to get a head shot past her defenses. It amounted to the same result.

     I heard Saffron's Master (I believe his name was "Jekari," but I'm not so sure...) telling Saffron something about practice and remembering, but I didn't quite catch what was said.

      This time I blocked but so did Saffron. Getting impatient, I tried to give her a Head Shot, and succeeded! She seemed not to be as weak as I was at this point, but I had finally affected her! I tried the same tactic, only to be beaten down by Saffron's Body Blow. Then I heard the Krawk shout something.

      "You've got to be kidding me! Smacking this Black Baby Fireball around is hardly worth our time. Who else wants a match?" I groaned. It wasn't worth his time, was it? Saffron was just too good. There was no way I was ever going to beat Saffron. I blocked her next attack, I wasn't even watching for what it was. I blocked one last time before I ran out of energy. I looked up tentatively, she was blocking too!

      I gathered up my courage and attacked with a Body Blow. I was thrown backwards and hit the side of the stadium. I ran at her as if to land a Head Shot, but turned it into a Body blow at the last minute. I hit her over and over again with Body Blows and Head Shots. Soon, I had gotten her to lower health than me, but it was exhausting.

      "You'll learn, sooner or later! Every time you attack, you're left wide open for a counterattack. You've GOT to start keeping your guard up!" That was Jekari; I hoped to Adam at that point that Saffron would not take heart in the Krawk's words.

      I quickly blocked her next attack.

      "What's going on out there? That Black Baby Fireball is running circles around you!"

      And countered it with a Head Shot.

      "I've never seen an onslaught like this! There's got to be a way of neutralizing such a powerful attack..."

      I blocked a futile attempt to hurt me, and dealt a Head Shot. Saffron was gasping for breath, but I couldn't stop myself, I used a Body Blow.

      "Oh my! I can't believe Sunrise has been able to land such a wide array of body attacks! You'd better land some shots and get 'em off you..."

      Crazed now, I'll admit it; I attacked with a Head Shot.

      "Usually, Saffron's quickness makes opponents look like they're moving in slow motion. You should be proud of your effort today, win or lose..."

      I stopped in the middle of a Body Blow. What? The Brown Krawk did not care whether or not Saffron won? I glanced at an impatient Master. Would he do that for me? I looked at the cowering Saffron. It didn't matter whether she won or lost. But it mattered to Bottons, didn't it? "Why should I fight for a M- Bottons that only uses me for battling and betting?" I thought to myself.

      But it was too late to lose, by my estimate; Saffron was down to under 20 health. I pitied her, but dealt the finishing blow. All it took was a Head Shot.

      Bottons collected his 250 Neopoints and took me home. We sneaked in through the window to his room. The Human - Kizule - was a petpet doctor and would not stand for any petpet cruelty. She would freak if she found out that Bottons had been forcing me to fight for him.

      And you know what? I will never fight again. It may be too late to save Saffron, but you won't catch me hurting another living creature.


     And from now on, I'm my own master.

The End

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