The Gobbler's Egg
The lake was a quiet, peaceful place. Situated at the edge of a thick, leafy forest, with the glowing lights of the city in the distance. Perry, a stray Gobbler, had lived here for a while now, feasting on nuts, berries and roots from the trees and fish from the lake. By now autumn had arrived, and the forest was a sea of red, brown and gold. Perry was hungry for fish, but when it came to the lake's edge he found something else instead.
A large, solitary egg.
Perry ducked into the shrubbery, nervously glancing around for the egg's mother. He was only small, after all, and the last thing he wanted was to be attacked by a protective Neopian mother. But time ticked by and nobody appeared. Perry braced himself and then flung himself into the open.
Cautiously he approached the egg. Pressing against the sturdy shell, faint noises could be heard from within. There was a baby in this egg - a baby that would not survive if left on its own. Perry looked around again and then hastily assembled some twigs and leaves to make a nest. When the mother still failed to show he flapped his stubby wings and settled himself on top of the egg.
There and then Perry decided that he would care for this egg. He would make sure the baby was okay. They would get through the coming winter together. ***
The days passed and the weather grew chill. Perry had realized that leaving the egg in the open would be a very bad idea indeed and so, scratching at the hardening soil at the base of one of the trees, he'd dug out a nook for the egg to rest in, along with the nesting material he'd gathered.
He didn't want to admit it, but Perry was worried. This egg was bigger than him. The warmth provided by his body could hardly be enough. But as he leaned against the egg and listened to the faint breathing of the baby within, he tried to assure himself that things would be fine.
And then he heard the growling.
Something moved in the nearby shrubs, the fading leaves rustling ominously. Perry moved in front of the egg, his heart racing, muscles tense as he waited to see what was coming. As the beast emerged, he saw the claws first, sharp and silver. Bright red eyes, purple skin, black spines running down the creature's back. And a mouth full of powerful teeth.
A hungry, mean looking Drackonack.
Perry's eyes widened in fear. The Drackonack snarled in warning, stepping closer. It wanted that egg, and if Perry was going to get in the way then it would just have him too. But Perry had made a promise to the egg - a silent vow of protection. So he dropped down onto all fours in front of it, talons bared. If the Drackonack wanted a fight, then Perry would give it one.
Perhaps sensing this, the purple Petpet lunged forward, growling and snapping it's monstrous jaws. Perry let out a cry that sounded more fearful than angry and jumped at it, landing on its back and sinking his talons into its skin.
The Drackonack howled in pain, raising its head and wildly swinging about in an effort to throw Perry off. Perry tried desperately to cling on, but his talons slipped free and he crashed into the dirt. Before he could pick himself up the Drackonack was on him, claws swiping through his soft brown feathers.
Perry shrieked and thrust his beak forward, catching the Drackonack on its chin. It rolled off him and Perry quickly began pecking at its stomach before it could recover. The Drackonack attempted to bite him, but although Perry was smaller he was also much faster. The two Petpets tumbled across the ground in a flurry of teeth, claws and talons, each trying to get the upper hand on the other.
The Drackonack managed to swipe at Perry's face. Perry managed to strike back with a blow to the Drackonack's stubby tail.
Eventually, wounded and exhausted, the Drackonack turned and fled back into the forest, perhaps deciding that the egg was simply not worth the effort. Breathing hard, Perry staggered over to the egg and dropped down in front of it, curling his injured body around it. He was tired and hurt, but he was victorious.***
Food was growing scarce.
Perry sat perched on top of the egg, trying vainly to ignore the rumbling of his hungry tummy. His body still ached from the fight with the Drackonack (he had a few patches missing feathers entirely) and he was growing cold, but he knew if he went in search of food then the egg would become colder still. And that would be bad news.
It placed Perry in a difficult situation. If he didn't get food then he was putting himself at risk. But if he did get food then he'd be putting the egg at risk.
Thankfully, hope was about to arrive.
Meryln, an earth faerie, was making her way through the woods, having made a last look for mushrooms before winter truly set in. As she walked by the tree where Perry had set up his nest, she caught sight of the little Gobbler and her heart went out to him.
"Poor little thing! Don't you have a home?" She asked softly.
Perry looked up at her, too tired to fight, but he made a low, threatening sound in the back of his throat. Meryln shook her head.
"Oh, no! Please don't be afraid! I mean you no harm!"
She knelt down and smiled warmly at him, holding out one dainty hand. Perry cautiously leaned forward and examined it, his eyes wary. Meryln tentatively reached out and stroked his head, her touch warm and comforting. Perry began to relax.
"Let me take you to my house", said Meryln. "I'll make sure you and your egg are warm and safe throughout the winter".
Perry clucked softly. He liked the sound of that very much.***
Autumn gradually gave way to winter. The weather grew bitterly cold, but Perry was nice and warm on his pillow in Meryln's cosy little house. The egg sat swathed in a nest of blankets, and the whole room was filled with warmth from the flickering embers of the fireplace. Perry slept soundly, his stomach full, thinking what great fortune it had been for the faerie to find him.
A soft cracking noise drew him from his dreams.
Perry yawned and blinked open his eyes, which automatically settled on the egg, like they always did whenever he awoke. His expression had been sleepy, but when he saw the egg he snapped awake, eyes widening. Thin cracks had formed on the shell. Inside, something was tapping away.
The baby was hatching!
Perry scurried over to the egg, clucking in excitement. The noise attracted Meryln, who had been baking cookies in the kitchen. She peeked into the room and let out a little gasp.
"Oh wow!" She exclaimed, hurrying over. She grinned at Perry. "This is so exciting!"
Perry hardly needed to be told that. Bits of the shell were falling away now, revealing a small body covered in blue downy feathers. A tiny beak and large dark eyes, stubby little wings and two unsteady feet.
It was a baby Pteri.
"Mama!" It squawked, eyes on Perry.
And Perry had never been so happy in his life.