Trade My Heart
“I’ll get it!”
Rogan looked up from where he was sitting on the floor, with a ball of string in hand that the young Lupe had been rolling on the floor for his Puppyblew to chase. The Puppyblew yipped and yapped, running to the front door and bouncing around Rogan’s owner’s feet as he waited to greet the visitor. Rogan slowly pushed himself up onto all fours and stretched. “Who is it?”
Trish opened the door and Rogan walked towards his owner, sitting beside his Puppyblew as he tilted his head slightly to the side to observe the newcomer at the door. Smiling sweetly, he stood up on his back legs, begging the visitor to pat him, but they didn’t even look at him. The Baby Lupe sat promptly back down again, looking very confused. This was odd. Very odd. People always patted him when they came around. So what was different about this person? And why was that funny looking Cybunny giving him a dirty look? It was only then that Rogan realised the visitor had a few pets with them. A Cybunny with wings, a rather handsome looking Uni, and a mean looking Darigan Lupe that was giving Rogan a nasty look.
Rogan whimpered quietly and backed up a few paces.
“Oh.” The visitor finally spoke, pushing passed Trish to step inside. “You have a gorgeous Draik. Draiks are my dream pet.”
The Draik rolled his eyes as he stopped in the doorway to the hallway where he had just entered from the living room. How many times had he heard that? He let out a small sigh. Neopians often said things like that about him; but he knew they were not really interested in him for who he was, but what. Many regarded such a rare species as nothing more than a ‘trophy pet’. It made them feel important to have one; but they didn’t really care about the pet, only that it made them look ‘rich’.
“Oh, Dante.” Trish turned to look at her Draik with a small fond smile. She had been Dante’s owner since the day he was born, and she had always treated him the same as the other pets in the neofamily. He wasn’t treated special because of what he was. “Yeah, I love him.”
“I’ll give you my Faerie Cybunny for him.”
This caused Trish to turn her attention sharply back at the owner. “What?” She glanced down at the Cybunny that was now starting to look very uneasy.
So that was why the Cybunny looked different to Rogan. The Baby Lupe gave the Cybunny a small nervous smile; but the Cybunny was too busy looking at her owner to notice. “You can’t be serious,” the Cybunny protested, giving her owner a pleading look as she reached up with a paw to tug on her owner’s pant leg.
“No thank you, I’m really not...”
But Trish’s words were cut short abruptly with the visitor’s. “My Lupe then. He comes with an aged Snowbunny.”
The Darigan Lupe let out a small growl, taking a step back as he narrowed his eyes on his owner. This was not the first neohome they had been to today. His owner had been to a few different people to try and find a ‘new pet’ in trade for one of them.
But this was nothing new to the Halloween Uni standing a little farther back than the others. He had only been with this owner for a few hours. His old owner had traded him for a Poogle. He shook his maned head and looked away, gazing over at a tree in the near distance. He didn’t want to know what was going to happen, and he would not have been surprised if his new owner would trade him off. He had already passed through the ownership of three different Neopians in the past few days.
“I’m not a trading card,” Dante said curtly, moving farther into the room, smoke puffing out of the Shadow Draik’s nostrils as he glanced between his owner and the visitor. “You aren’t considering this, are you?” he asked, astonished with the look of thought on Trish’s face. How could she be seriously considering this? “No. NO! You can’t!”
Rogan shook his head in disbelief. “No.” Dante had been Rogan’s best friend for... Well, since forever. “Please,” he begged, walking over to Trish and giving her a pleading look. She couldn’t let this new person take Dante away, Rogan thought. How would she know that he would be happy? How could he be happy, when he had always lived with them?
“Well, I...” Trish glanced over at the visitor who was giving Dante a greedy look, waiting for Trish’s decision.
“I’ll take good care of him,” the visitor said, a smile appearing on her face to try and make her look convincing.
“Are you saying I don’t?” Trish asked, looking rather annoyed.
“No, not at all. You’d be a wonderful owner for my Lupe.”
“And you aren’t a wonderful owner for your Lupe?” Dante interjected. Well, obviously, since she was so eager to get rid of him.
“Do we have a deal, or not?” the visitor asked, turning her attention back to Trish.
Trish looked around at her pets, feeling bad for even considering such a thing. She had never thought she would have considered it, but seeing the Darigan Lupe made her forget for a moment what she was doing. She had always loved Darigan Lupes, and had been thinking of saving up for one for a while. “I’m sorry, but I love my pets too much to trade them,” she said finally, shaking her head. “If I want a Darigan Lupe, I will work hard to get one myself.”
While Trish and the visitor spoke a few parting words, Rogan picked up his Puppyblew and carried him back to where the ball of string was. He didn’t feel like playing now, though. He had many mixed emotions stirring inside.
As the visitor left, Trish closed the door, turning to face her two pets. “I’m sorry, Dante,” she apologised, looking just as sorry as she sounded.
“I don’t forgive you.” Dante crossed his arms, giving Trish a level look. “I thought you were a good owner. I thought you didn’t think of me as anything less than a member of this neofamily. Now I realise I was wrong.” He put his clawed hand out for Rogan. “Come on, Rogan. Let’s go and play in my room. It’s too stuffy in here.”
Trish let out a small sigh as she watched her two pets leave the room. What had she been thinking? Dante and Rogan had been her pets since the beginning. They had many precious memories together. Some good and some bad. But no matter what, they had been a neofamily. Moving over to the couch she sat down, picking up the Neopian Times where she had it open to the trading section.
There was a time when trading was only items; but now times had changed. She glanced down at the black print that advertised different pets for ‘trade’, shaking her head.
Neopia was changing.