A Pile of Soot with Eyes in a Christmas Hat
The thick snow got to our knees as we almost reached the Terror Mountain. I mean... not that we have knees, so it actually got somewhere near our bellies (Y’know, Kacheeks are not known for being that tall). The rocky terrain underneath us had disappeared long ago under the thick layer of snow. My little brother, Samrin, the blue Kacheek, had a wide smile plastered on his face as he held his blue Kacheek plushie in one hand while the other held my own. We were heading to the Toy Repair Shop (yes, you guessed right) to repair the plushie. What a waste of time, really... I could be out with my friends Christmas shopping, but oh, no, our owner had to say, “Samrin is too little to go through all those dangerous places; you should go with him, Banana.” And since our brother was sick with NeoBlues... I was stuck with my little brother.
As I told you, my dear reader, the little blue Kacheek didn’t seem troubled at all, even after the harsh walk. But cold is cold, and he was only wearing a Christmas hat. He never was a big fan of clothes, unlike me. Anyway, even though he seemed more than glad to be where we were, he was shivering with cold, and his usually pink nose looked redder than usual.
I rolled my eyes. “Here, Rudolph...” I said, ruffling his short blue hair as I wrapped my brown scarf around his neck.
He smiled gratefully up at me before asking. “Are we almost there?”
“Uh...” I scratched the back of my hair. I never have been really good for directions, actually. ”Yeah, I think so.”
“We’re not lost again, are we, Ban?” he said, furrowing his eyebrows. “Like the time we went to Altador? You said you knew the way!”
“And I did!” I huffed indignantly. “It was only that blue Draik that gave us wrong directions...”
He rolled his eyes, much like I did just a few seconds ago. Oh, jeesh, little brothers...
Samrin’s eyes suddenly gleamed with joy and his cheeks flushed pink. “Look, Ban, we reached Happy Valley already!” he said, running towards where the small igloos and shops were starting to appear.
“Yeah, now we only have to go through the Ice Caves...” I muttered under my breath before I ran to catch up with him.
He was already heading up the rocky path that took one to the Ice Caves.
“Sam, don’t you wanna rest for a bit? I mean, we’ve walking for ages... we could stop for a slushie, maybe? Or an ice cream?” I said, glancing hopefully towards the Slushie Shop.
“But...” He glanced down at his torn plushie.
“C’mon, the Toy Repair Shop is not gonna disappear...” I said as I dragged him towards the small igloo-shop.
I paid for a Sniddberry Slushie for him, and a Bubble Gum one for me, and we sat near there, drinking our Slushies even in the cold as we looked around the Happy Valley.
There was a big queue starting from the ‘Advent Calendar’, to ‘Wintery Petpets’. It was December, and everybody wanted their free gifts. I mean, even us, but today we had a different mission in hands.
A ghost Mynci, a purple Shoyru, a Christmas Kougra, a baby Blumaroo... it seemed half of Neopia was there... Well, kind of a quarter... maybe an eighth...
“Can we go explore?” Samrin asked with a grin.
“What do you wanna explore?” I groaned. “We were here just yesterday!”
He stayed silent for a bit. “Can I go, then?”
My Slushie was halfway finished and I still had the hopes of buying an ice cream... maybe taking a look at Wintery Petpets...
“Alright, you go, don’t get lost. Remember, if someone wants to steal your money... well, just let them, you really have no option... but look for me afterwards, alright?”
“Uh-huh.” He nodded and ran off towards the giant queue of neopets. I sat there enough time to notice he was already chattering animatedly with a Darigan Lupe. I tell you, he is weird...
I slurped my Slushie louder, and headed down to Wintery Petpets. Upon entering, I noticed there were barely any neopets there. Surely, most were waiting to be given their daily prize. But that meant there were also more petpets without the usual crowd fighting to buy a petpet at the cheapest price possible.
Inside the cages, a small abominable snowball gurgled contently, a polarchuck yawned lazily and went back to sleep, and a powtry and a raindorf played together. A small, snow white snowbunny was being bought by a wealthy Neopian.
I sighed. Lucky, he was. It is weird to find a snowbunny, and weirder even those who can afford it. But I still loved my little plushie yullie, who had stayed at home.
I went out again, seeing as there was nothing I really wanted to buy. I was just heading towards the Ice Cream Cart when Samrin ran up to me with a worried look on his face, tears daring to fall.
“What’s wrong, Sam?” I asked immediately. “Balthazar? Sloth? A faerie quest?!”
“No!” He shook his head repeatedly, ears bouncing. “Worse than that! Come, quickly!”
Internally I wonder what was wrong and went from the most logical possibility to the most far-fetched one as he took me behind the Advent Calendar little shop... or whatever you call it.
“Look!” he yelled.
I glanced down where he was pointing and saw... a pile of soot? Wearing a Christmas hat?
“Huh?” I said, plainly puzzled.
“No, I don’t get it!” I shook my head. The pile of soot looked up to me and glared.
“Someone abandoned him!” Samrin said, pointing at the people coming out with one of their daily gifts. Most wore a puzzled, amused, or bored look at the gift they were giving out. A pile of soot. In a Christmas hat.
“Well, surely, who would want this?” I frowned at the petpet.
Samrin and the pile of soot both glared at me, as the first one picked the later up with some difficulties. The pile of soot shook of the snow from itself and continued glaring.
“We want this. It’s our new petpet. And his name’s Poof.”
I thought of my plushie yullie, Johnny, warm and safe back at home, in all his cute colors and big wide eyes and cuddly interior and all. Then I looked at the pile of soot with eyes in a Christmas hat that my brother suddenly seemed to love.
“Do we have any option?” I said doubtfully.
“’Course we don’t!” Samrin said happily. He always gets what he wants, no matter what. It’s just this weird ability he has. No wonder why he’s so spoiled. “Now, let’s walk back home.”
“And your plushie...?” I wondered.
“Oh.” He suddenly remembered, taking off his hat where he had placed his plushie. “I guess... I don’t really need it anymore.” He shrugged. “Here you go, Poof.” He handed the plushie to his new pile of soot, who instead of holding it only got it full of soot and just looked at it, puzzled. He reminded me too much of our owner when she first got the blue Kacheek... staring at the fuzzy thing with those loving, caring, maniac eyes... Scary.
I sighed and placed my arm around his shoulders as we headed down again, Poof doing... whatever sound a pile of soot does... happily in my brother’s arms.
“You sure you don’t prefer a snowbunny?”