A Rainy Day At The Zoo
Rain pitter-pattered against the roof of the home in Neopia Central. Sulza, the Red Aisha, stared at the drizzling rain. It had been raining all morning, and finally Sulza called to her owner:
"Lina, I'm bored!"
Lina looked up from the book she was reading, a made-up tale about a Gnorbu prince, and smiled at her young pet.
"Bored? Why no, Sulza, you couldn't be!"
"But I am!" Sulza huffed, going over to sit next to her owner. "I want to do something. I don't want to be cooped up in our house all day."
"No one says you have to," Lina reasoned. Suddenly, she closed her book, exclaiming, "I know! Let's go to the zoo!"
"The zoo?" Sulza repeated. "But... it's raining."
"Rainy days are the best ones to go to the zoo. Come on." Lina stood and shrugged on a rain jacket. "I'll help you get your rain boots on."
"Are you sure?" Sulza asked skeptically. "Why would you want to go to the zoo on a day like today?"
Lina merely smiled and gestured for Sulza to hurry up. It was one of those rare days were they were the only two home: something nearly unheard of in the large family. A perfect time for some one-on-one Neopet-Owner bonding.
After making sure Sulza's yellow rain boots were on securely, Lina grabbed an umbrella and the pair headed out the door and towards the zoo. It was a pleasant rain, a warm, drizzling rain, and Lina enjoyed the walk from their neohome.
A friendly-looking Blue Moehog sat in a wooden booth at the front of the zoo, smiling a large tusked smile when he saw them.
"Two, please," Lina asked, handing him one hundred neopoints.
"There you go," the Moehog replied, giving her two tickets for the Neopian Zoo. "Great day for a trip to the zoo."
Lina winked at him and pulled Sulza in.
"Where do you want to go first?" Lina asked.
"Well..." Sulza began. "I guess I'd like to see the Triffins, but there's usually a line."
"Not today!" Lina predicted. She marched confidentially towards the Triffin enclosure and Sulza followed, expecting to see a crowd of owners and Neopets. Instead, they had a perfect view.
"Wow!" Sulza gasped as the three-eyed Triffins played with beach balls and did somersaults. She laughed, and Lina snapped a few pictures. The Triffins didn't seem to mind the rain either, judging by the way they frolicked. Some of them were even swimming in their pool.
The reptile house wasn't crowded either, and Sulza was able to see every cage as Carmas and Magtiles lazed under heated lamps and stuck to the tops of their enclosures.
"Look!" Lina said. "This Carma is changing colors!"
They watched the lizard-like petpet change from forest-green to teal to hot pink.
"It looks like a Disco," Sulza giggled. The petpet rolled its eyes at them and changed back to normal-green.
"Aw. I kinda liked the pink color," Sulza said. The petpet blinked and turned pink again, much to Sulza's delight.
After the reptile house, Lina and Sulza wandered through the light rain towards the petting zoo. "Zebies!" Sulza squealed when she saw her favorite species of petpet; she herself had a Cloud Zebie at home. Zebies, Nuks, and Hoovles all stayed under the pavilion, where it was dry.
Sulza sat on a picnic table as the petpets urged her to pet them and jumped and played around her. Two Nuks head-butted each other, bleating and playing. A Kougra zoo-keeper appeared then with bottles of milk for the babies.
"Would you like to help me feed them?" the Green Kougra offered Sulza.
"Yes, please!" Sulza said. She and Lina both accepted a bottle of milk and fed two happy-looking Hoovles.
"You're lucky it's a rainy day," the zoo-keeper told them. "Normally, they would be scattered all over the enclosure playing and chasing each other. It's rare that they all stay close like this."
"Do you usually let people feed them?" Lina asked.
"Sometimes," the Kougra replied. "But not usually. Only when there aren't too many people around." He smiled when Sulza's Hoovle finished the bottle. "You're good at bottle-feeding."
"Thanks!" Sulza said. "I had to bottle-feed my own petpet."
"You should think about getting a job here," the zoo-keeper said.
"That'd be so cool!" Sulza answered. "Maybe I will."
After all the baby petpets had their lunch, Lina and Sulza themselves were hungry. They made their way towards the food court, and again, there was no line.
"Two slices of pizza and two lemonades please," Lina asked.
"I want mine with pepperoni!" Sulza piped up. The Ruki working at the food stand made their order and accepted their neopoints with a smile, and Lina and Sulza went to find a seat.
"All the benches are wet," Sulza complained.
"Don't worry. I know a trick to fix that," Lina said, sitting down anyway.
"You'll see. Afterwards, you won't mind," Lina said with a glint in her eye. Curious, Sulza sat down on the wet bench and they ate their pizza together.
"Ugh, my backside is wet," Sulza said when they finally did stand back up. "What was the trick?"
"Come over here," Lina beckoned. Sulza did, and then Lina jumped with all her might.
"Agh!" Sulza screamed, giggling as a wave of water hit her. "No fair! Now all of me is wet!"
"Yup!" Lina said. Laughing, Sulza jumped in the puddle next to her, sending a wave of water her way.
"Ha! Now you're all wet too!"
Giggling and dripping, the pair continued to walk around the zoo while the light drain drizzled down. They saw the Tralbaks sleeping underneath trees, snuggled close together. Both of them gasped when one of the trees moved; it wasn't a tree after all, but a Fir!
"I think that one's a Fir too!" Lina said, pointing to the huge pine tree near the back.
"No, I think that's just a normal tree," Sulza replied, squinting to get a better view. "But that one's definitely a Fir! I just saw it move. There! Look, see? It definitely moved!"
Near the back of the zoo, a huge pool held Wherfys that swam underneath the water, playing with seashells and balls. Then they climbed back onto the beach and rolled in the sand. They made chirping sounds and waved their tiny paws at Lina and Sulza.
"You see how everything is brighter when it rains?" Lina said. "The water brings out the colors in the trees and the stones."
"Yeah," Sulza said, looking at the stone pathway. Normally, it would just look gray, but today, it was an array of blues, reds, and greens. Sulza thought they looked like jewels. She picked one up a purple stone to keep as a momento.
"And it smells good too," Sulza said, sniffing the air. It smelled refreshing and clean, like leaves and grass and nature.
"Yes, it does," Lina agreed, smiling.
Their final stop was the enclosure where Faellies perched on tree branches and chattered to each other, rain drops sliding off of their cotton-like fur. They jumped around and played with the dangling colored bells before running through a hole that led them towards their inside enclosure.
"Look!" Lina pointed out. "That one's a Spring Faellie, like Vineti's new petpet."
"Oh yeah," Sulza said; the pink Faellie with the flowers was the last one to chase after its friends.
They were just nearing the gate again, and Sulza leaned her head back and let the rain drops touch her face.
"Aw man," Sulza said when, moments later, the sun peaked out behind the clouds and the rain stopped.
Lina laughed. "Enjoying the rain, Sulza?"
"I was," Sulza said. "But now it's stopped."
"It's alright," Lina soothed. "Look."
She pointed at a beautiful rainbow, with pink, yellow, and blue hues, that arched across the Neopian sky.
"Wow," Sulza said.
Lina smiled. "Are you ready to go home?"
"Yup!" Sulza said happily. "But... one more thing."
"Yes, Sulza?" Lina asked.
"Can we go to the zoo the next time it rains?"