Part of the Magical Pet Shop collaboration I worked on with Terri.
Zeelo finds himself in some rather menacing company after applying at the shop.
Magical Pet Shop: Zeelo
Story by CalexTheNeko
Art by Terri the Dragon
Character Owned By Zeelo
“Hey! Wake up!” A voice hissed somewhere above Zeelo. Zeelo paid it no mind. He was quite comfortable where he was napping. And it was so warm too. He had never had such a pleasant night’s sleep in his life. And it’s not like he recognized the voice of who was interrupting him. So, it probably wasn’t that important.
“I SAID WAKE UP!” This time there was a prodding against Zeelo’s backside as someone impatiently poked him with the toe of a rather heavy boot. “You call yourself a minion?”
“S-sir, he’s still rather young…” A second higher pitched voice spoke. “Maybe you should let him rest. If you want him to grow up big and strong!”
“… Maybe…” This seemed to give the first voice pause as they considered the idea. And it seemed like Zeelo might get to go back to blissful sleep. Except… What were they talking about? It didn’t make a lot of sense.
And… Who were they? Zeelo didn’t recognize their voices at all… Wait, what were strangers doing in his bedroom? The realization that something was very wrong managed to rouse Zeelo from his sleep. However, as he took sigh of his surroundings and the other two people in the room it would take him a few minutes to realize he was awake.
He wasn’t in his bed… Or even in his room. Instead, it appeared that he had been sleeping on top of a modest pile of gold coins, gemstones, scepters and medallions. It was rather strange… They didn’t exactly look comfortable to sleep on… And yet Zeelo had been having such a nice nap. As for the room that contained them… Well perhaps room was being a bit generous. It was more like a cave… A cave someone had attempted to dress up a little bit, with skull shaped torches hung on the wall, crimson banners dangling from the ceiling and straw matting thrown over most of the floor. There was a big heavy door at the back of the cave… It was painted bright red and looked far too large for any normal person to use… And that was about it. It seemed a little… Gaudy.
And then there were the people inside the cave with Zeelo. And it was hard to say which of them was weirder. One was big and booming, probably the one that had prodded Zeelo with a boot. This person was covered head to toe in black colored metal armor. That certainly explained why the boot had felt so heavy. The armor contained what Zeelo considered a rather unnecessary number of spikes, almost making it look like it was intended to copy the shape of a porcupine or something. Whoever was inside the armor was completely hidden from view… Not one piece of their body was visible beyond the frame of metal. The visor was even closed on their helmet, hiding their face. The only thing that was too visible was a pair of glowing red dots that Zeelo assumed were his eyes.
As for the other… They were much smaller… Though still seemed to be bigger than Zeelo. They looked pretty scrawny though, and had green skin, a hooked nose, pointed ears and their only garment was a dirty scrap of cloth tied around their waste and something on their head that might have been a hat… But could have just as easily been a pigeon that had taken to roosting there and yet to be discovered.
“Rawr?” Zeelo made a squeaky noise as he tried to ask what was happening. That was weird. Why were words so hard suddenly?
“He has awoken!” The armored one gave a shout. “YES! RISE MY MIGHTY BEAST! RISE AND DEVOUR THE WORLD!”
“Lord Avarice… He’s…. A little small to be devouring the world. I remind you, that you were the one who insisted on buying such a young one. To save money sir.” The green skinned figure looked annoyed.
“QUIET BRIE!” The armored one who was apparently named Avarice boomed. “Do you think we had the money for a fully adult dragon?”
“It’s… It’s Dee sir, not Brie. I’m not a cheese.” Lee gave a sigh. “And we are literally in your treasure hoard full of gems and gold.”
“I’m afraid the treasure hoard is off limits.” Avarice crossed his arms. “I needed a dragon to protect my treasure hoard! I can’t possibly have the dragon protect the hoard if I spent the hoard on it!”
“But then why even…” Lee just threw his hands up in the air.
Zeelo just stared at the two as they went back and forth. Who were these idiots? And why were they referring to him as a beast… or a dragon. He slowly tried to rise to his feet to give them a piece of his mind, but found the process difficult. He couldn’t seem to get up off four legs… What was wrong with him. He looked down at himself and…
“RAAAAAAAAAAAAAAWR!” Zeelo let out a panicked yelp He wasn’t Zeelo! Well, obviously he was Zeelo but he wasn’t the him he remembered! His entire body was covered in thick brown fur now and he had a long thick tail! And then he seemed to be stuck walking on four legs… Four legs that each ended in a paw with short claws. What was going on!? He tried to stand up on two legs again, like a proper human. As he did, he began to flap his wings rapidly trying to balance himself. Wait… He had wings!? Zeelo craned his head around to see the pair of light brown and white feathered wings coming from his back. He let out another yelp and fell over landing on his back. “Raaaawr!”
“… My dragon is defective.” Avarice huffed. “Lee take it back. And demand my money back AND a better dragon for the inconvenience!”
“Again… It’s Dee sir.” Dee gave a heavy sigh. “And I don’t think he’s defective. He’s just a cub. He needs time to grow.”
“Raaaaawr…” Zeelo was lowly piecing together what was going on. He was some kind of monstrous beast! But… They had called him a dragon? Yet he had fur? He thought most dragons had scales… Then again, he didn’t actually know dragons were real until just now. No… That wasn’t right. He had met a dragon once… Yes, now that he was awake he was starting to remember! It was the pet shop!
Zeelo had visited a new pet shop that opened up, it had been looking to fill several positions… But then he had encountered one of the pets out of their cage! Or at least thought he had! It had been a small orange kitten, and it started talking excitedly when it saw him looking at one of the job postings… And then someone else showed up… Claimed to be the shop owner along with the kitten. It had been… A dragon! That was right! A dragon covered in white fluffy fur! The two had then said a lot of things… Zeelo couldn’t really remember what. He had been so stunned by this two’s existence he had just been nodding along completely unaware of what was actually going on… Then the kitten had grabbed his arm and started tugging him towards one of the kennels and… That was it. He couldn’t remember anything after that before waking up here.
And now he was a fluffy dragon too now… Except… He looked at the enormous armored man and then at the green skinned figure. They were both a lot bigger than him. They were easily big enough to pick him up with one hand if they wanted to… If Zeelo was a dragon he wasn’t a very big one. If he assumed the green skinned one was roughly the same size as a human… Then right now Zeelo had to be somewhere close to the size of a squirrel.
“R-rawr!” Zeelo squeaked unsure of what to do. The green one had called him a cub earlier… Did that mean he was some kind of baby dragon or something? But… he had been an adult! Then again, he had also been a human so maybe that wasn’t the strange thing to focus on… But… Where was he now? And why was he here? He really wished he could have remembered what those two people at the shop had said! And… Was he really a dragon? He had the wings! And the tail! And as he felt his head with his paws discovered he had horns as well… What else did dragons do.
Breathed fire! That was right!
Zeelo tried blowing outward. He managed to make a whistling sound as a little bit of air came out.
“What is that defective dragon doing now?” Avarice demanded.
“I really don’t know sir but again he’s not defective, just very young.” Dee insisted.
“RAAAWR!” Zeelo tried to breathe hotter air, just coming from the back of his throat. There was just a hissing noise this time, and still no fire. He pawed at the ground for a moment and then tried sneering as he exhaled. This only made him sneeze. Zeelo wrinkled his snout and growled. Then he took a deep breath and tried to exhale hard as if he was blowing air up from his stomach. This time a small stream of fire erupted from his muzzle. Zeelo’s eyes grew wide in disbelief that he had actually done that.
“Bee I take it back… We can keep the dragon.” Avarice began to wring his hands. “And soon we shall use him to set the entire world on fire! AHHHHHHHHH HA HA HA HA HAAAAAAAAAAAA!”
“Again it’s Dee.” Dee gave a heavy sigh. “And with that size a flame you’ll probably have a hard time lighting up anything bigger than a pipe.”
“First a pipe… AND THEN THE WORLD!” Avarice cackled.
“Sir but… You know what… Never mind.” Dee visibly slumped.
“There won’t be anyone in the entire world that can oppose us now!” Avarice let out another bought of laughter as he lunged forward and lifted Zeelo off the ground.
“Rawr!” Zeelo squeaked with indignation. Avarice’s metal gauntlets were cold as ice! He began to squirm, trying to wriggle out of the tin wearing tyrant’s grasp.
“Yes! Look at him! Such fighting spirit!” Avarice billowed. “I can see now! This is a beast that hungers for combat!”
“I’m pretty sure he just wants you to put him down.” Dee spoke barely more than a whisper.
“RAAAAAAAAAAAAAAWR!” Zeelo gave a shout and coughed up a small fireball directly onto Avarice’s face… Or at least the part of his helmet that covered said face. It didn’t do much.
“A killer instinct! I love it!” Avarice dropped Zeelo, much to the small dragon’s surprise. He managed to land safely on all fours, almost like a cat, his eyes wide open. “You did well bringing me this one Vee! I might even consider a promotion from minion!”
“Again it’s Dee…” The goblin…. Well Zeelo didn’t actually know if he was a goblin, but that was what he was going to think of him as from now on. The goblin seemed to be at his wit’s end. “And you were the one that-“ But before finishing the sentence paused and looked thoughtful. “Does this promotion come with actual pay… And maybe benefits?”
“Such greed! You want to be paid!? What gives you the spunk to demand such a thing?” Avarice’s attention turned away from Zeelo.
“Well…” Dee looked at Zeelo and then at Avarice. He swallowed nervously, then straightened up his back and looked straight at the armored fiend. “I am literally working for the physical incarnation of mortal greed! When you consider that, really failing to display certain vices would just be a lack of professional courtesy at this point.”
“I see…” Avarice turned and knelt down next to Zeelo. The brown furred dragon backed away nervously, clearly not comfortable around… whatever Avarice was. “Very well! I can respect that… Though it goes against my nature… I’ll give you one gold coin every ten years! My final offer!”
“A whole gold coin sir?” Dee’s voice was completely flat. It was clear he was unimpressed. “Wow… You must really think highly of me.”
“Don’t let it go to your head!” Avarice roared. “For… You have been promoted from minion to dragon tamer! And I fully expect you to have this dragon in fighting shape by the time he reaches adulthood! We have kingdoms to conquer! And now… I bid you adieu! For I must return to the depths of my lair.”
“Sir I’m your number one minion.” Dee interrupted. “I’m your only minion actually. I live in the lair to. You’re not actually leaving me.”
“… I think I would have noticed something like that. Avarice protested.
“My bedroom is literally right next to yours…” Dee rubbed his face miserably.
“I thought that was some kind of utility closet…” Avarice seemed genuinely shocked.
“Who do you think prepares your meals and does the dishes?” Dee rolled his eyes.
“I assumed dishes did themselves…” And then Avarice was shouting as fire leaped up around him. “FOR EVEN INANIMATE OBJECTS FEAR TO INVOKE THE WRATH OF AVARICE!” The sudden shouting and flames made Zeelo jump back a full foot in shock.
“… And I’m the one who reads you your bedtime stories.” Dee had a smug look as he spoke this one.
“I… I have no idea what you’re talking about!” Avarice’s flamed died down as his voice became much more meek. “But… I have… important evil overlord things to do! And… You need to work on the dragon! So… Good day!” With that Avarice quickly worked his way to the enormous red door. The door opened on its own as he approached as he ran through without another word.
“Well I guess that’s that… It’s just you and me now huh?” Dee looked down at the dragon.
“Rawr?” Zeelo backed away from the goblin. He didn’t know if he had ever been this confused in his life. The truth was… After he had breathed fire, he realized being a dragon like this might be kind of fun… If this had happened under any other circumstances after he got over the shock he might have even enjoyed himself. But… In this case… These two people pretty clearly had nefarious schemes for him.
“Relax we’re not going to actually do anything.” Dee shrugged and slumped against a cave wall. “I’m not sure if you caught on… But the boss is kind of an idiot.”
“… Rawr?” Zeelo tilted his head and looked at the goblin curiously.
“And the fact you understand what I’m saying enough to react with it pretty much already proves you’re smarter than him.” Dee gave a mirthless laugh. “The guy… He’s some kind of demon. He actually is the physical incarnation of all mortal greed. The problem is… Well… Most mortals are pretty stupid… Especially the greedy ones… And so… All of that dumb idiotic self serving pride from all of them gets formed into one person and…” Dee gestured towards the door. “I give him a week top before he forgets why he even bought a dragon.”
“Raaaaawr?” Zeelo looked at Dee then looked towards the cave entrance. If that was the case he was wondering if he could run away, just escape from this predicament.
“Relax, it’s not so bad.” Dee grinned wickedly. “Sure, the pay and benefits are terrible on paper but…” He looked nervously over at the door as if worried Avarice might show up. “He’s terrible with inventory. Off the record, I’ve skimmed enough of his funds off the top from his various half finished plans to fund an entire nation. Sent it back home. Just… Do you know how many kids a goblin has?” So he was a goblin! “I have thirty-seven kids… And I’ve paid for all of them to go through college and bought their first house for them running this racket.”
“Raaaaaaaawr.” Zeelo narrowed his eyes and stared at the goblin. The fact that the guy was stealing money didn’t exactly raise the young dragon’s opinion of him.
“What? He’s not going to use it! It’s a victimless crime!” Dee through up his hands.
“RAAAAAAAAAAAWR!” Zeelo objected as he climbed on top of a pile of gold coins.
“Okay, so there’s one victim! But it’s the literal physical incarnation of all greed!” Dee banged his head against the cave wall. “Why am I being shamed by a baby dragon!?”
“Rawr!” Zeelo stuck his tongue out.
“Look, at the very least, at least I keep him out of trouble!” Dee insisted. “If I didn’t act as a middleman for all his dumb schemes well… He wouldn’t actually take over the world. He’s just… So, so dumb. That’s never happening. But he would have likely hurt people! I keep his evil schemes harmless and keep him in his lair! I think I deserve something for that!”
“R…. rawr…” Zeelo considered this… He was still pretty sure what the goblin was doing was wrong… But if that Avarice guy really was a demon… Maybe it was for the greater good.
“Besides you’re not exactly getting it bad yourself. From what I understand, dragons love a hoard of treasure… And you get to sleep in one every night now!” Dee pointed at the gems.
“Rawr?” Zeelo looked down at the coins beneath his paws. Now that he thought about it… These had been what he had been curled up in when he had been having such a wonderful nap. Did gold actually make the best mattress? Or was that just some weird dragon physiology thing. “Raaaawr!” Zeelo laid down atop the coins and just gave the best judgmental stare he could to Dee. At least it was reassuring to know he wouldn’t actually have to be used in any evil plan… Assuming Dee was telling the truth. Zeelo glanced nervously at the red door again.
“Eh? You still nervous about Avarice?” Dee laughed. “I told you, he’ll have forgotten why he got you in a few days. Probably wind up as a spoiled house pet at worst… Besides… Even if he didn’t forget… It can take centuries for a dragon to reach adolescence.”
“RAWR!?” Zeelo’s mouth hung open. He was going to be this little for centuries! That was…. Actually kind of exciting. He wrapped his tail around himself and smiled. Perhaps… He should try to make the best of this. He didn’t really know where he was yet… So maybe running away was not the best option. But… If Dee was right and he really was going to just wind up a spoiled house pet…
Well… A few centuries of living as someone’s pet and having his every need taken care of before he hit adulthood would be more than enough time to learn about this world and what he wanted to do! Yes… Zeelo supposed he could deal with this for the time being. Considering he was literally in a cave, it wasn’t as if he couldn’t just walk out if he ever changed his mind.
“Raaaaawr!” Zeelo burrowed down into the pile of gold coins, enjoying the sensation of being surrounded by them as he prepared for another nap.
“Well glad you’ve decided you’re happy.” Dee then glanced back at the red door again and grimaced. “I should… Probably go find Avarice’s teddy for him. If I don’t he’ll be up all night and we’ll hear about it tomorrow.” With that the goblin turned to leave, and Zeelo was left alone to nap in peace.