Where Have All The Mutants Gone?
The Altador Cup. Just the mention of this exciting competition is enough to send shivers of excitement down most pets' spines... especially at this time of year. Nevermind whether you're from Maraqua, the Lost Desert, Haunted Woods, Kreludor, Altador, or anywhere else, it's the most exciting sports event in all Neopia! But not for all pets, as an investigative reporter found while trawling the streets of Neopia Central. Indeed, many pets are unhappy--and not just because of the noise. It seems that mutant supporters this year were few and far between, and we hit the streets to find out why.
"I'm not interested. It's not like there are many mutants I can cheer for." So said one very disgruntled mutant Gelert. "I mean, all the other pets get tons of representation. Even the really rare ones! Where's ours?" A good question indeed! Where are the mutants among the ranks of our esteemed athletes? Surely one would expect to see several, at least among the ranks of the Virtupets and Haunted Woods teams. True, there's Weldar Xupenfarb, the sturdy Virtupets defender. But that's not enough, according to one source.
"He's wonderful, yes, but mutant Grundos have poor press because of Dr. Sloth's invasions....and the Virtupets team just isn't very... good." The source, who wanted to remain anonymous, explained. "It's not fair to the rest of us to live under Sloth's shadow all our lives. We're Neopets, too. Why, I can imagine that somewhere there must be a strong four-armed Krawk just waiting for the chance to play!" The Dr. Sloth in question, of course, is the infamous Dr. Frank Sloth who introduced mutant pets into Neopia via several sinister potions that transform otherwise normal pets into frightening forms. He has not been seen in many years, however, and some suggest that he has gone the way of the Monocerous.
We approached one huge Krawk, known only as Yorua, to try and get her opinion about Dr. Frank Sloth--alas, she was not in the mood to talk to us. In fact, she was so unhappy with us that she grabbed our interviewer, that is to say, me, by the torso and ranted incomprehensibly for several minutes before attempting to eat me--and let me tell you, I have never in my life seen such frightening teeth... or smelled such terrible breath. Fortunately, several concerned citizens stepped in to help and I got away just in the nick of time--though slightly worse for the wear. The life of a reporter is never easy! (Remember that next time you complain about what's in the news!) I've been assured that personalities like hers are the exception rather than the rule... and many of the mutants we met on our journey to uncover the truth were quite amicable indeed.
One charming young mutant Zafara named Qenu seemed eager to set us straight. "I don't think I've ever hurt anyone!" Standing in sharp contrast to the hungry Krawk, Qenu was energetic and bright--indeed, it seemed hard to believe that such a scary tail could be attached to such a smiling face. "Thank you for asking me, though, it's very flattering!"
Another Zafara thinks it's part of a media conspiracy to forget the mutant pets.
"When's the last time you saw a mutant do something important?" asks Emiliot, a scaly mutant Zafara who lives all the way in Virtupets, apparently because he grew tired of gravity. He claimed to be a mad scientist... we aren't sure about the scientist part, but he seemed mad enough to us! "Oh, yes, I mean you had that Haunted Woods thing where that Gelert found Neovia... but he became a mutant after being tricked. When's the last time you saw Mutants portrayed as being smart? Eh? Eh? And why are all the other mutants crazy and mean? You think that's coincidence? Oh, no, no! Why, I tell you..." At that point we were obliged to leave, as we had many places left to go, but I'm sure his story would have been very... er... interesting.
All of the above statements ignore the presence of something very important--the Mutant Yooyu. This unpredictable and often dangerous petpet-turned-ball is a valuable (and sometimes dangerous) part of the game. Of all the Yooyus that serve in Yooyuball, the Mutant is the second most dangerous, followed only by the exploding robot Yooyu. Of course, one of the mutants we interviewed had something to say about that, too.
"That's just it--we never get to be seen as something other than dangerous or scary." This statement came from a mutant Grarrl the interviewer met at the bookshop. "I have spikes, yes, but I like to get hugged, too! I'm a nice guy! Why can't there be a positive role model for young mutants instead of all this crazy stuff?"
We spoke to a representative for the Altador Cup, who called such claims "ridiculous."
"The players for the Cup are chosen for their skill, not their colour or species. There are no nefarious plots involved."
A nearby fan agreed. "The Altador Cup is the place for the best teams, no matter what they look like! Besides," she added (quite without being asked, I might add), "if you want to make a name for yourself, you can always write a book."
Earlier in the year, there was a mass rally of mutants outside the Usukicon location, where they protested the common perceptions of "cute" and demanded the release of a mutant Usuki doll. When their demands were not met, many mutants boycotted the dolls, opting for the less popular Quiguki dolls instead. Most locals called the stunt "silly." Mutants all over have been challenging their "scary" status of late, though, and this attitude towards the games has not surprised Neopia, although most that we interviewed dismissed the Mutants' claims of conspiracy.
"They'll settle down around Mutant Day," scoffed a Scorchio. "They always do."
But the disgruntled mutants disagree. "This is serious," declared a Shoyru before turning to leave. "We can't just let it go."