A Uni Bedtime Story
It was bedtime. As I curled up in the bed next to BG, my owner, I didn’t really feel tired. Normally I would fall asleep quickly, but tonight, I just couldn’t sleep. After a few minutes of tossing and turning, keeping BG awake, I turned to look at him.
“BG?” I asked.
“What?” he replied.
“Can you tell me a story?”
BG seemed mighty surprised at my request. I’d never asked for a bedtime story before.
“I’m not a good storyteller...” he said.
“I know you’re the taciturn type,” I cut him off. “But you’re very creative. Couldn’t you think of something? I just can’t sleep.”
BG was quiet for a long moment.
“Please, BG?” I pleaded. “Just once, for me?”
I tried to look as cute as I could, which wasn’t hard, since I’m a royal girl Uni. BG finally gave in.
“Give me a minute here, and I’ll give it a shot,” he sighed.
I lay down again, wondering what he would think of. After a few moments, he seemed to get an idea.
“OK, I’ve got one,” he told me.
A very long time ago, there was a young royal girl Uni, just like you. She didn’t have an owner, but that suited her just fine. She lived in a part of the forest around Brightvale that was infused with faerie magic. Because of that, she didn’t need an owner or a family; the forest provided for her. She spent her days running, playing, and flying, but she had a problem.
She was bored. Running, playing, and flying were fun, but she wanted to do something else. She wanted something new to do. You could say that she wanted to count for something.
One morning, as the Uni was galloping along, she found a family of Xweetoks scurrying through the trees, gathering nuts.
“Hello!” the Uni called to the Xweetoks. “You look so busy. I’m kind of bored with nothing to do. What you’re doing looks like fun.”
“It’s not,” replied a male Xweetok, clearly the head of the family. “We’d love to scamper around and have fun, but if we don’t get enough nuts gathered before the winter comes, we’ll starve. It’s endless work. You wouldn’t enjoy it if you had to do it.”
The Uni was confused.
“You’re doing all that work, and you’re also bored?” she asked.
“Exactly,” replied a much younger Xweetok.
The Uni wandered off, wondering what this meant. A short distance later she found something new: a small herd of Chombies. She had never seen this herd before.
“Hello!” she called to the Chombies. “Are you new around here? Do you need some help finding things? I know this forest very well.”
“We won’t be staying for long,” replied an elderly female Chomby. “We’re just looking for food. The grass here is delicious, as I’m sure you know, but there isn’t enough to support all of us. We’ll be leaving in a few weeks.”
Again, this puzzled the Uni.
“Don’t you have a permanent home?” she asked.
“No,” responded the elderly Chomby. “We migrate all the time, following the sun and our food.”
“It must be nice to travel and see Neopia,” the Uni commented.
“If we had the time to sightsee, then I bet it would be,” the Chomby answered. “Yet we have to keep eating and moving, moving and eating, and we can’t afford the time to poke around and see what’s out there.”
The Uni was greatly confused now, and also a bit depressed. She headed down to one of the streams to get a drink, still thinking about what the Xweetoks and Chombies had said.
The Uni had never visited this stream before. On the bank was a small shelter made of sticks and mud, clearly belonging to a family of Lutaris. One Lutari was busily slapping more mud onto the shelter. The Uni watched him as she drank from the stream.
“Hello!” the Uni called to the Lutari. “Having a home must be so nice. I wish I had one.”
“Be happy you don’t,” the Lutari replied. “It can be so hard keeping it from falling apart, especially with all the rain we get here. Every time the stream floods, we have to rebuild.”
“Couldn’t you build farther from the stream?” the Uni asked.
“We could, but then it would be a pain to get all this mud to the new house,” the Lutari said. “Even if we did move, we’d still have to keep up the constant work of keeping it clean, keeping it intact, and generally keeping everything ‘right,’ if you will. It’s so dull...”
The Uni was greatly saddened now. As she walked away from the stream, she thought about all that she had seen. No one seemed happy with their lot in life.
A short distance into the forest, the Uni found a small clearing. Countless wild Cheery Blossoms were growing there. They were absolutely gorgeous.
“Oh, you’re all so pretty!” the Uni said, stopping to look.
“That’s so sweet of you, little Uni,” replied one of the flowers.
“But, isn’t it dull just standing around doing nothing?” the Uni asked.
“Dull?” answered another flower. “Not at all. We see things that Neopets miss in their constant rush of hurrying around. The sun is different every day, for example.”
“The wind blows differently every day,” added another Cheery Blossom. “Its gentle touch is invigorating yet calming all at once.”
“And the things we can learn just by listening to the pulse of the forest...” noted another flower, bobbing in the breeze.
“But...” said the Uni, even more puzzled than ever, “Don’t you wish you had something to do?”
“We DO have something to do,” chorused several Cheery Blossoms. “We just exist, and make Neopia a prettier place while we do so. That is happiness in itself.”
The Uni said goodbye to the Cheery Blossoms and headed back into the forest, still sad, depressed, and confused. Why did the flowers seem so content with doing nothing, while the Neopets seemed so unhappy with their constant activities?
A few hours passed as the Uni wandered. She began to get thirsty, so she sought out a pretty pool of water. As she drank, she felt that she just had to cry.
“I just don’t get it,” she said sadly. “The Neopets who have things to do are not happy, but the Cheery Blossoms, with nothing to do, are quite content. What does it mean? Where can I find the answer?”
“Look here,” said a voice from the water.
The Uni looked down, trying to see who had spoken to her. At first, all she saw was her reflection.
“Did you just speak to me?” she asked it, knowing full well that this was impossible.
At that, a Uniocto popped its head out of the water.
“Yes, I did,” it said, revealing itself as a male Petpet. “I heard you wondering. Let me tell you something. The Cheery Blossoms mentioned that their task was just to exist. The Neopets you met mentioned that their task was to survive. And they spend all their time trying to survive.”
“It’s like they need help,” the Uni remarked. “We could all learn from the Cheery Blossoms.”
“That’s the idea,” replied the Uniocto. “Those Neopets are so rushed with the process of living. If they knew that they can afford to take some time and just ‘be,’ then life wouldn’t be so dull to them. Yet they insist on rushing to and fro, desperate to survive.”
“I noticed that they were all doing their survival tasks by themselves,” the Uni noted after a moment. “Do you think they should be working together?”
“What do YOU think?” asked the Uniocto.
“Well, Lutaris can’t climb trees very well,” the Uni began. “Xweetoks probably wouldn’t be keen on getting muddy, and neither Lutaris nor Xweetoks can make more grass grow to feed the Chombies.”
“Yet there is someone who can help all three of them,” the Uniocto prompted.
The Uni thought, and she thought, and she thought some more.
“Why... it’s me!” she cried after a while.
The Uniocto smiled, but said nothing.
“I can fly through the trees and gather nuts for the Xweetoks!” the Uni sang out.
The Uniocto smiled a little more broadly.
“While I’m at it, I can break off some branches for the Lutaris!” the Uni went on, her voice rising with excitement.
The Uniocto smiled wider.
“Maybe... just maybe...” the Uni squealed. “If the Xweetoks and the Lutaris complete their tasks, we can all work together to find other sources of food for the Chombies! Then they wouldn’t have to migrate!”
The Uniocto was smiling his happiest smile. The Uni finally understood!
The Uni was overwhelmed with happiness. Not only could she help the other Neopets with their tasks, she could also keep herself busy, and not feel bored anymore.
She lowered her head and nuzzled the Uniocto.
“Thank you so much!” she cried, sobbing tears of joy.
“You figured it all out yourself,” the Uniocto replied.
The Uni reared and pawed the air in joy, then turned and darted into the trees.
“Sorry to run off like this, but I have to get busy!” she called over her shoulder to the Uniocto.
The Uniocto just smiled.
“What a nice story,” I sighed happily, finally feeling tired. “But how did that Uni fare?”
BG smiled at me, his eyes twinkling.
“Figure it out yourself,” he said, petting me before lying down again.
I didn’t need to. I knew that the story would have a happy ending. And I actually learned something new from that story. But at the moment, I was ready for bed.
“Goodnight, BG,” I murmured, nestling close to him.
“Goodnight,” he replied. “Pleasant dreams.”
And that was exactly what I had.