Pirates, Lab Rays and Mallards: The Time I Ran Away
Have you ever had one of those days? You know, where all of Neopia seems like a horrible place and all you want is to be painted Grey and have an excuse for all of the depression that’s welling up inside of you? I’m sure you have, at some point. Most people have. And if you haven’t, then I congratulate you on your very cheery, if somewhat unrealistic, outlook on life.
In any case, I’m not here to lecture you about the reality of life. My name is Apaullo; I’m here to tell you the story of The Time I Ran Away.
Well, I’m here to tell my owner to tell you the story of The Time I Ran Away. But alas, I digress.
It all began one dreary afternoon sometime in the Month of Gathering. My owner, whom we shall call Dreamer, was chatting away with her best friend, whom we shall call Monkey. Usually, I don’t like listening to them blather on and on about nothing in particular, but this particular time I didn’t care. It might have been because Monkey had recently acquired a beautiful female blue Lupe named Baillyn, but I doubt it.
Anyway, I was sitting calmly next to Dreamer, flicking my tail in a very stately way when I heard Monkey mention that she had just gotten the final piece of the Lab Map. She’d been trying ever since she adopted her first pet to get the Lab Map, and she had finally managed to do it.
As Dreamer was congratulating her, however, I looked up and saw this look in her eyes. Dreamer had been living in Neopia much longer than Monkey, and had been trying to get the Lab Map before Monkey even joined. The look I saw in her eyes told me that much sooner than later, Dreamer would have the final pieces of the Lab Map in her possession.
At this point in time, we skip ahead a few months to the Month of Sleeping. Monkey’s pets have already gotten quite a few very good changes, sprinkled here and there with not-so-good changes. One of the best changes she got was when Baillyn got changed to Faerie—Dreamer really started collecting neopoints like mad after that one. Jealousy spawns greatness, I suppose—although, I always thought it was the other way around.
In any case, about halfway through the Month of Sleeping, Dreamer finally managed to get all nine pieces. I, of course, assumed that I would be the first lab rat of the family—I was the pet with the best name, after all. And Lupes can get painted much better colors than Peophins (which is what Aqua was at the time) or Pteris (which is what Leeannuh was and is at the time of this writing).
Besides, I deserved it much more—Blue Lupes look so much plainer than Blue Peophins or Red Pteris, after all.
Imagine my surprise when Dreamer announced that Aqua would be the first official lab rat. Leeannuh, who I honestly think is more of a Dreamer than my owner, really didn’t care at all. She merely nodded and went on eating her oatmeal.
Aqua cared very much, possibly even more so than I. She looked up at Dreamer in horror after this announcement, demanding a change of Dreamer’s mind.
“Me? Why do you want me, of all pets, to be the lab rat?”
Dreamer smiled, obviously having expected a reaction along these lines. “You were my first pet, Aqua. I’ve wanted you to be painted for so long, way before I adopted either Annuh or Paul. Don’t you want to be first?”
Personally, I thought this was a horrible excuse. I didn’t even see how that had to do with anything. And I hate it when she refers to me as ‘Paul’. Aqua was obviously thinking along the same lines.
“Well, what does that have to do with the price of Neggs in Happy Valley?” she cried, looking to both Leeannuh and me at the same time for support. Leeannuh, of course, was oblivious to the world, but I gladly jumped in, ready to give my two neopoints to the conversation. Unfortunately for me, though, my perfectly planned speech somehow shifted into a whiny complaint.
“Why does she get to go first? Just because she’s older doesn’t mean she should get to be zapped before Annuh and me.” Good Fyora, I was actually pouting. I don’t believe I’d ever done that before that point. I didn’t like it, and Dreamer very obviously didn’t, either.
“Apaullo! What is my number one rule in this household?” Dreamer asked, suddenly very serious and snappish. She had quite a temper.
“Um... don’t leave the oven on longer than you need to?” I was flirting with danger, I was, and danger wasn’t playing very hard to get, as I soon realized.
“NO! My number one rule is no whining! Now, would you like to know why you don’t get to be zapped first, my dear?”
It really was scary how fast she could go from angry to sweet and cheery. I hesitantly nodded, waiting for the catch.
“The reason you won’t be getting zapped first is because I have now begun saving up for a Baby Paint Brush.”
“I don’t see where you’re going with this. We still have the Lab Map pieces, don’t w—?”
“It’s a Baby Paint Brush for you.”
This is a twist that not even Leeannuh could have seen. We all stared at Dreamer with our mouths agape for a moment. I was the first to recover, and it wasn’t a very pretty picture. I cursed in the name of Sloth and I threatened to give all of our neopoints to the Money Tree and I even said I would work for Jhudora.
To make a long story short, my retorts didn’t work.
I packed my bags as soon as I was sent to my room.
It was time to try and make it on my own.
Two weeks later, it was painfully obvious that I didn’t have what it took to make it on my own. I had everything planned out when I left; I even left a cheery note telling Dreamer where I went. It went something like this:
By the time you read this, I will already be on my way to Fyora-knows-where.
Give my Plushie collection to Leeannuh, and I still must insist that you tell nobody of that particular collection.
Give Aqua my Fyora lamp. Don’t tell anybody about that, either. Also, give her my best wishes that she won’t end up some horrible color like mutant or something.
I know this comes at a bad time for you, but I really must try and make this on my own.
After that, I had slowly but surely made my way from our home on Roo Island to Neopia Central. I stayed there for about a week or so, living mainly off of Soup Kitchen food and getting money from the Money Tree to stay the night in the NeoLodge. There were days that I couldn’t get any money at all, so the Uni at the pound let me stay there for the night. It was horrible, but the Uni became my closest confidant and friend. She was the one who gave me the advice to make my way to some other part of Neopia to seek work there—all decent jobs in Neopia Central were already taken or soon would be.
From then on, I saved all my money I received from the Money Tree and slept exclusively in the pound. I even volunteered there for a couple hours a day. I also got another new friend from the Money Tree, a Mallard I named Mavis.
After about three weeks, I finally had enough money for passage out of Neopia Central. I said my goodbyes to the Uni (who insisted that I just call her Uni) and collected the few ragged food items I had, picked Mavis up from her spot near the other petpets, and made my way to the docks.
It seemed that a rather large inflation in ship tickets had happened since I last checked. The only ticket I could afford was one to Krawk Island. This was really, really bad. I was allergic to all the filth that Krawk Island had. I knew this, because Dreamer took us on a vacation there one time, and I spent the whole time in bed at the inn. I sadly made my way back to Neopia Central once more.
Just when I was about to re-enter the pound, I heard somebody screaming my name. I turned just in time to see a Rainbow Pteri soaring towards me. That was odd. I didn’t know any Rainbow Pteris. When she—or rather, he, was closely followed by Dreamer, I realized it had to be Leeannuh. We had a very, erm, emotional reunion in front of the pound, and I very quickly agreed to go home, Mavis in tow.
I soon found out that Aqua had been changed into a Yellow Koi. She had wanted to be a Pirate Poogle—I guess she actually liked the filth of Krawk Island—but she agreed to stay a Koi for a while so that Leeannuh could be zapped. I get the feeling Aqua really didn’t mind, as long as she was limited edition. She can be so full of herself sometimes. Especially now that her stats are way better than mine. It’s really not fair at all, considering I’m the boy.
Although, I guess I’m not the only boy anymore. One thing I didn’t realize was that the Lab Ray could change your gender. Leeannuh—or should I say, Lee—got quite a few gender changes before she—he was zapped Rainbow. Now Dreamer is frantically zapping him, trying to get him back to his female preferences.
I’ve decided I don’t really want to be zapped anymore. I mean, don’t get me wrong. I still don’t want to be painted Baby. But I also don’t want to be a girl. Or Snot. Or Pink.
It might be cool to be Grey, though.
You never know.
Author’s Note: All mentions of colors/genders of my pets and plans to paint them different colors are the same as they were at the time I wrote this story. I am zapping my pets, however, so it may be different if and when this is published.
I will mention, however, that Lee is back to being a girl, and is a lovely shade of Disco. She enjoys the bright colors very much and tells me that she wishes to stay that way. - ;D