Chapter 4: Where's the happy ending?

When Dral came to, she had a SPLITTING headache. Moaning , she dragged herself out of bed and shuffled over to the window. She peeked out of the curtains, only to raise her hand to block the bright sunlight from reaching her eyes. She moaned again and started to turn away from the window. She stopped in mid-turn and shoved the binds apart violently. Ignoring the pain to her head, she stared down into the backyard of the house. Her house. The house that now seemed to have a gelert as a member. The self-same gelert who was now playing catch with Mom and Ginger.

Dral froze for about three heartbeats. Then she whirled around and stomped out of her room and down the hall to the backdoor. Making sure to slam the door, she continued stomping over to the threesome who were happily playing catch. She watched as Ginger caught a ball with his mouth and proceed to chew and swallow it. Mom laughed and grabbed another ball from the bucket at her feet. The gelert started to spin in circles as he waited for Mom to throw the ball. With a small glance down at the green figure, Mom wound up and threw the ball as hard as she could over Ginger's head and across the field that bordered their yard. With a happy bark, the gelert dashed off after it. A shiny new collar and tag glistened in the sun as he ran. Dral came to a stop behind Mom and folded her arms angrily across her chest.

Almost as if reading Dral's mind, Mom stopped and turned around. Making eye contact with her very upset pet, Mom mimicked Dral's folded arms. "Well?" said Mom, "Ask your question..."

"Why do we have a gelert?" started Dral. "I thought you weren't going to adopt another pet!" Dral was starting to get worked up. It wasn't that she or any of the other pets were lacking in anything, but it was already crowded and Dral was tired of fighting for space.

Mom sighed. "I didn't think I was going to adopt any for some time either." She paused. "This one is different, after saving him I started to talk to him and..."

Dral interupted. "Gee whiz Mom! If you start adopting every pet you guys save, there won't be any room left for me!" Dral was crying again.

"Ah." said Mom, "Now I understand" Stooping down, she crouched eye to eye with her second pet. "There will always be enough room for you in both the house and my heart." Reaching out, she hugged Dral as tightly as possible. Dral froze a minute and then relaxed slightly. Sniffling, Dral nodded her head so Mom would know it was okay to let go. "Besides," Mom said as she stood up, "I figured he would be the perfect brother for you" With her eyes dancing, Mom turned away from Dral to look out at Ginger and the field the gelert ran through.

Dral looked puzzled. "Why do you say that?"

Mom laughed. "Because you are the nosiest pet I ever knew, and with Emerald's gifts, there won't be any secret you can't find."

"Emerald?" Dral said slowly "That's a pretty name... HEY!!!" Dral jerked herself upward as high as she could. "Wadda ya mean, nosy??"

Mom laughed harder. "C'mon Dral, you know it's true. You are only happy when you get to sniff around and find out what someone's secrets are. When you grow up you will either be a detective in the Police Guild or a roving reporter for the Neopian Times." Mom waved off at Ginger. "For instance, you do know were Ginger stashes all the neggs he finds right?"

"The chest under his bed and under the loose floorboard in his bathroom" Ginger said without missing a beat. "But that doesn't mean I am nosy" She "hrupmphed" to herself and looked off across the field. "So is Emerald his whole name, or does he have more."

Mom laughed to herself. She figured this would be how this conversation would go. "Emerald_Star_Chaser" she said. "That's his whole name."

"Okay," said Dral. "So.....what's his story...." she said off-handedly. She tried to not look interested, but was failing.

Mom chuckled to herself before answering. "He ran off from his owner as soon as he was put on the ground. Says he caught the sniff of treasure and just HAD to find it. He never saw his owner again."

Dral frowned to herself. What kind of pet would run away from the hand that would feed it? "Okay." she said, more to herself than to Mom. "Sooooo...what is keeping him from running away from you?" She looked up at Mom.

"I told him he would get to look for treasure to his hearts content." she replied, "so long as he wore his collar at all times." Holding up her hand, she revealed a small device that went "blip" occasionally. "Of course," she went on "he doesn't know how high-tech our happy little household is." Waggling her hand, she gave Dral a knowing look.

"You bugged him?!" Dral was shocked.

"It's for his own good." Mom replied. "You know how curious all new pets are. This way I can make sure he has no more run-ins with things that are way over his head." She put the device in her pocket.

Mulling all this over, Dral sighed to herself. Leave it to Mom to outthink even the smartest pet. "Okay." she sighed again. "What do we do now?"

"That's up to you to decide." Mom turned towards the house. "I thought you could take him to the marketplace tomorrow to look for a petpet or something." She started back home. "Besides, I know how much you love being the older sister now that Ashtah is in recovery." Mom smiled at Dral. Dral smiled right back.

"Ya." Dral stretched her paws and yawned. "I know Ashtah will be home soon. I better get in all the big sis time I can before she takes it back over." And with that, Dral followed her owner back into the house. Tomorrow was going to be a busy day.

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