Saya looked at the small creature in front of her, so amazed that she forgot to blink. This was the first time in her entire life she had seen something like that. Strange. Weird. Unbelievable. Word flooded her mind but she just couldn’t find the right description for it.
It was supposed to be a pet.
Since Kaori shown Saya her new pet, which was an adorable newborn kitty, Saya had been constantly struck with jealousy. She has never had a pet in her life. Her father doesn’t forbid her to have one, but her older brother hates the noises and smells of animals. That alone could almost eliminate all candidates; dogs bark (sometimes unnecessarily) and smell, birds chirp and cats, well, cats hate showering so they’re pretty much smelly as dogs. Only hamsters didn’t make noise. The problem is Saya hates rats and anything rat-related. Hamsters are no more than a kind of rat. They might be cleaner, might have different color and might not live under the trench but they are still rats. Seeing Kaori’s kitty, Saya suddenly felt the urge to have one for herself. She couldn’t borrow Kaori’s pet forever.
That was why she went to a petshop.
She had searched on the Internet and found this shop. A Chinese shop called Count D’s petshop. Although Saya had never heard of it, this shop was rather popular. Its motto was to sell love, dreams and hopes. Strange. Saya wondered if she could find what she wanted here.
Intending to surprise her sister, Saya went there alone. From the first look, this shop wasn’t like any other petshops. It looked like some sort of Chinese temple she saw on TV. She wouldn’t recognize it if there weren’t the sign ‘Count D’s petshop’. Hoped this shop was legal.
Saya exhaled a deep breath and pushed the door open. A sweet, tempting scent greeted her senses. The scent of incense burning. How strange. This was not how she imagined a petshop would smell. Since a petshop is a place that stores many animals, the combination of several odors from food and waste should not be pleasant to the nose. She was even more confused when the owner welcomed her. Like the shop, Saya couldn’t t tell this person was actually a man if he didn’t speak. He was wearing a Chinese dress decorated with many colorful patterns that Saya often saw in Chinese drama. No, even in a drama Saya has never seen a dress as fabulous as this one. It is as if this outfit was made for a wealthy lady in Qing dynasty instead of a male petshop owner in modern day. Saya hardly meets any Chineses but she could not help but wonder whether all Chineses are like this man. He was blessed with pale, smooth skin, he probably does not go out much, and short, silky black hair that hides one of his eye from view. One could say he looks like a gorgeous lady in mid twenties. Though he greeted her with a polite smile, Saya somehow feel a chill creeping up her spine.
” Good morning, lady ! How may I help you ? ” Saya had assumed he was a foreigner but this man spoke Japanese very well.
” Uhm… I’m looking for a pet. I think you can help with that.”
” Ah, I see. To tell the truth, it was my grandfather, count D, that owns this shop. Since he has been traveling around the world looking for new kinds of animal, I’m in charge of this shop. This shop carries everything from domestic dogs and cats to wild beast which just barely make it past the Washington treaty, and all that fall in between. I’m sure that you’ll find what you need.
” Uhm, actually… I don’t know what I need. I mean, I want a pet that doesn’t make noise or smell, because my brother doesn’t like it. I also want a pet that I can hug and play with, so I don’t want a bird. Something’s cute like a puppy or a kitty. But they’re kind of noisy… ”
” I see. What you want may be hard to find at other shops but there’s nothing impossible at Count D’s shop. I think we can provide a suitable pet for you.” The young and beautiful owner assured her with another gentle smile.
” Really ? Thank you so much.”
” You needn’t to thank. It’s our job to satisfy the customer’s need. Do you want to come inside with me to take it ? ”
” No, thanks. I think I’ll wait outside. ”
” Then, enjoy the tea. This morning, I’ve just brought some cakes. They go well with the tea.”
” Uhm, thanks. Anyway, how should I address you ?”
” You can call me ‘D’ for short. Now, if you excuse me.”
D’s friendly attitude erased her uncomfortable feelings, which she had had when first entering the shop. While waiting for him, Saya enjoyed herself with the tea. However, after taking just one sip, she decided it wasn’t a good idea.
” Too sweet !! How much sugar did he put in ? A ton ? ”
He didn’t let her wait for long. After a few minutes, D went back with a big black box about the size of a fish tank. It really tickled her curiosity what was inside.
” Here you are. I believe this little one will suit your desire perfectly.
“Wait, don’t open it here ! ”
When Saya attempted to open the box, D immediately halted her.
” There’s a contract we have to make. This pet requires a special care. The shop won’t take any responsibility if you break the contract. ”
” I think I can do it. ”
” That’s good. The first point is, don’t let anyone but you sees him. ”
Saya’s intention to show her new pet to her sister and Kaori was shattered.
” Why is that ? ” She protested.
” He’s kind of shy. If he sees anyone but his own master, he’ll probably be scared. ”
” I got it. ” I’ll train him to be more sociable.
” Second, be sure you’re the first one he sees when you open the box. He’s like a birdie. He recognizes the first one he sees to be his master and he’ll obey you and only you. ”
” Uhm, I see. Anything else ? ”
” You can feed him any kind of food, except raw food. He’s extremely allergic to it. And that’s all. ”
” OK. May I ask you what kind of animal he is ? ”
” It’s a rare species. Chevalier. ”
” Chevalier ? I’ve never heard of it. ”
” That’s because it’s rare. I can assure you that he meets any of your requirements. Oh, almost forgot.” The young owner went to take a small box. ” It’s a toy for him. It’s free so don’t worry. ”
” Thanks. If there are any problems, may I return the pet ? ” Saya asked, while receiving the box of ‘toy’.
” If you aren’t sure about him, we can provide cooling-off period. Within a week, you can return him and get your full money back.”
” I’ll keep that in mind. Does he have a name ? ”
” He’s called Haji. But you can call him anything you like ? ”
Later, in the shop, when Saya had already gone home, a teenage boy in strange outfit and a little girl came out from deep inside.
” Count D, are you sure it’s a good idea to sell her our ‘Haji’ ? The boy with pink hair strange horns on his head spoke with a rather harsh voice. “An average girl to own our precious Haji ?”
” Ara… I don’t know. I just have a feeling that Haji will like her. She seems to be a nice girl. Besides, I don’t think any others would meet her requirements. Can’t sell you or Pon-chan to her, right, T-chan ? ” D patted the boy’s head teasingly.
” I’ll eat her ! ” T-chan growled while trying to avoid D’s hand.
” Count D, what should we do with the other one ? ” The little girl with blonde, curly hair spoke. She was the ‘Pon-chan’ Count D had mentioned.
” It’s a little hard ! He’s not as obedient as Haji .”
” We can’t let him sleep inside the box forever. ”
” I know. But he has to put up with that, until we find a master for him. ”
” Why don’t we sell her both of them ? ”
” Pon-chan, it’s not that easy. One Chevalier, one master. That’s the rule. You know how jealous they can be if they have to share one master’s love. ”
” They’ll kill each other. ” Pon-chan shuddered, remembering the last time two Chevaliers had been sold to the same master.
” We lost both of them.”
” That’s right. And the customer would never come to our shop again. ” To add dramatic effect, D ended with a sigh.
And that was how Saya got her new pet.
When she got home, no one was there. Her father had left the town a few days ago for business. Her brothers and sister were probably hanging out with their friends. No one would question her about the strange box she was carrying. Moreover, she could enjoy herself with the new pet.
” I wonder what a ‘Chevalier’ is ? ” Saya spoke to herself while carefully unwrapping the box. Her heart sped up a little bit as the last layer was gone.
” What is it ? ” Saya was shocked to see what was inside. This ‘pet’ wasn’t actually a pet. Despite fluffy dog ears and tail, he looks no difference from a normal boy. A boy who is ‘chibi-fied”. She has never seen something that strage in her life. Something that cute.
The young boy ( or pet ) was sleeping quietly. Saya couldn’t bring herself to wake him uo, so she just silently adored her pet. Yes, he was her pet. Like D said, he would obey her. A pet like this, a puppy or a kitty simply couldn’t compare. It was reasonable that she shouldn’t let anyone sees him. He was so cute that Saya only wanted to keep him for herself.
A few minutes after the box had been opened, her pet woke up. At first, he sat up and rubbed his eyes with his tiny hands. Then, he looked at her, his new master with big, watery, smokey-blue eyes.
” Master… ? ” The pet murmured with soft voice, which was like the voice of a boy who was afraid to meet a stranger.
So he can talk. That’s so cute !
” I’m Saya ! Your… uhm, master. ”
” Saya ? ” The boy slowly repeated what he heard.
” Yes, Saya. You’re Haji, right ? ”
He nodded. Still a little afraid.
” How old are you ? ”
He shook his head slightly.
” Uhm… that doesn’t matter. Call me Saya, OK ? This is your new home. ”
” Saya. New home. ”
The little boy went on tiptoe, examining his ‘home’ with curiosity. However, due to his size, which was slightly bigger than an infant, he couldn’t see much. So, Saya picked him up and showed him round her room.
” This is my bed. You can sleep here with me. That’s my bookshelf, next to my table. The bathroom is over there. This is your home, you can go anywhere you want, except that door. ” Saya pointed her finger at the front door.
” Hai.” Haji replied
” Good Haji ! ” Saya rewarded him with a kiss on both his cheeks and hugged him tightly to her bosom, which made Haji blush, without her notice.
” Oh, I’m so absent-minded. You must be very hungry now. ”
Note : As you have already noticed, the shop mentioned in this fic is Count D’s shop, in Matsuri Akino’s ‘Petshop of horrors’. For those who haven’t read this manga, this shop’s owner is Count D’s grandson, who is usually called ‘The Count’, ‘Count’ or ‘D’ for short. He looks very much like a young woman in mid twenties (though his real age is unknown ), clad in Chinese traditional outfit ( like Karl’s outfit, only more colorful ). He’s usually calm and soft-spoken, if he’s not extremely angry at someone or something. He likes tea and sweets and has a very bad habit of putting too much sugar in the tea.
The motto of this shop is to ‘sell love, dreams and hopes’. In this shop, there are normal pets like dogs or cats, as well as many legendary animals like dragons, unicorns… Every pets in this shop have human appearance, only they want to show the customer or not. D and a human child named Chris can see this form. It is revealed at the end of the first series that D is not a human.
When selling a pet, a customer often has to sign a contract with three major points, differed for every kind of pet. Breaking the contract will result in tragic consequences.
However, there’s a few ones that aren’t meant to sell. T-chan and Pon-chan are examples. T-chan is a totetsu, a carnivorous beast in ancient China. Despite that, his human form is a teenage boy with pink hair and goat-horns. His normal form is a combination of a small goat and a tiger. T-chan is rough and often asks D whether he could eat the customer or not. Pon-chan is raccoon appearing in a form of a little girl. She is much nicer than T-chan.
And this is Chibi-puppy Haji