Vision in Sight
Today's story all started on a typical Wednesday morning, as these things often do. Our protagonist, Thoguh the Tyrannian JubJub, was once again stumbling through his morning routine. Thoguh was "blessed" with extremely thick, dark eyebrows, leaving his vision blocked for the most part. "Why did I have to get my mother's eyebrows?" he muttered under his breath, as he attempted to secure the bone in the tuft of fur atop his head. His hairstyling skills left something to be desired, but he did manage to keep the bone in. "Does this look aligned to you?" Thoguh asked as he turned to his petpet, Mercutio the Pile of Soot. The petpet quickly blinked his eyes in approval before remembering that his furry owner could not see him, at which point he let out an audible squeak. "I guess I'll take your word for it," Thoguh chuckled to himself as he headed for the door. It seemed a bit of a strange match, in a way – a pet unable to see, and a petpet unable to do much more than blink and squeak when prompted. They were quite a pair, Thoguh and Mercutio, until everything changed on that boring, typical Wednesday morning.
As Thoguh left the house, he stumbled along the paths of Neopia Central. He felt a strange sense of loneliness, more so than usual, although he wasn't entirely sure why. As he went about his errands – picking up toothpaste, buying his owner a new mirror to replace the one he accidentally smashed with his bone – he realized the root of the earlier feeling: he had left Mercutio at home. His petpet was generally so quiet, seeing as he is a Pile of Soot, which, when combined with Thoguh's lack of vision, led to him leaving his beloved petpet home alone for several hours. He felt a pang of worry hit his stomach as he realized that his window was left open – seeing as Mercutio was entirely made of soot, he wasn't particularly wind-resistant.
Unsure of exactly where he was, Thoguh stumbled his way through the cobbled streets on the Neopian Marketplace. With his brain as frazzled as it was, he was unsure of exactly which direction he was headed and how he would get home. Unsure, that is, until his nose was filled with the scent of Starberry Soup – his favourite! Now he knew he was within spitting – or, apparently, smelling – distance of the Soup Kitchen and, more importantly, the aid of the kind soup faerie. Thoguh grunted in despair, hoping the Soup Faerie would be able to assist him.
"Thoguh?! Is that you?" the long-haired faerie questioned, stepping out from behind the large soup pot, "Is something wrong?"
Thoguh's mind was racing, almost irritated that she would ask such a stupid question, until he realized that she had no way of knowing that he had completely neglected his only companion.
"I left Mercutio at home when I went to run errands, and I left my window open. I haven't the foggiest clue how to get home, and I need to make it back before the wind picks up. Is there anyway you can help me?"
"Well," she began, considering her options, "I'm unable to leave the Soup Kitchen unattended, but I do have an idea."
Before Thoguh could ask, the faerie began untying the red and white scarf tied around her head.
"Maybe I could..." she began, trailing off. "Maybe I could keep your eyebrows out of your eyes using my scarf, allowing you to find your way home without my help? You do have some idea of where you live, yes?"
Thoguh considered this idea, realizing that he did not know what his house looked like, apart from the green siding and white door. He decided it was worth a shot and responded, "Of course I do! That's a wonderful idea, I'm sure I'll be able to make it home in no time if I'm able to see!"
The faerie was slightly put-off by the generally stoic Thoguh's enthusiasm, but she obliged. She managed to successfully tie the scarf in such a way that Thoguh's large, bushy eyebrows were pushed away, revealing his deep green eyes. He smiled approvingly with his single tooth, and went on his way after thanking the kind faerie for her assistance.
Thoguh was equal parts confused and mesmerised by the area surrounding him as he stepped away from the Soup Kitchen. The only time Thoguh had ever seen it was on the rare occasion when it was extremely windy, leaving his eyebrows blown out of his face, and he was generally more concerned with keeping Mercutio in one piece during those times. He wandered away from the cobblestone path, finding himself in the Neopian Bazaar. Before he could take another step, he was pounced on by the owner of the shop standing before him – The Grooming Parlour.
"Oh my good golly gumdrops! What is that ATROCIOUS scarf doing on your head?! It's doing absolutely nothing for your complexion!" the Usul shrieked, clearly horrified by Thoguh's fashion crime.
Taken aback, Thoguh replied, "What?! I don't mean to be rude but I really do need to get home, if you could ple-"
"You are NOT going anywhere with that on your head. Come into my shop, I'm sure I can find you something much more flattering!"
Before Thoguh could say anything, he was being yanked into the rows of beauty products, unsure if he would come out alive. As he eyed the shelves, the silence was broken by another of the Usul's shrieks.
"This Seaweed Bow is PEEEEERFECT! I was going to keep it for myself, but you clearly need it. I was always taught to help the less fortunate, so I guess this will save me a trip to that dreaded money tree! Now, do you want to burn the scarf, or shall I?"
Not giving Thoguh much of a choice, she immediately tied the bow around Thoguh's head, the same way the scarf had been tied. She turned the bow facing the back, saying something about maintaining his masculinity. Thoguh handed the Usul the Soup Faerie's scarf and quickly exited the shop with a wave, trying to avoid any other potential grooming.
As he continued through the bazaar, Thoguh say the sign leading to the main shops – Neopia Central. Figuring that was a safe bet, he followed the sign and eventually stood before the Neolodge. He figured this would be the easiest place to get directions, although he still was not entirely sure where he needed to be directed. He pushed open the door of the large building, and walked toward the desk.
He heard a voice, seemingly coming from under the desk: "Welcome to the Grand Neopian Neolodge!"
"Hi – my name is Th-"
"Welcome to the Grand Neopian Neolodge!"
"Thank you, but I ju-"
"Welcome to the Grand Neopian Neolodge!"
After having his ears filled with the shrill voice of what seemed to be a recording for the third time, Thoguh gave up. Gave up, that is, until he saw the map hung up behind the front desk. With his new found sight he was able to read the map and see that one of the many paths leading through the forest surrounding Neopia Central led to a cluster of houses. "It's worth a shot," he mumbled to himself, noting which path to take. He went to exit the lodge, but not before shooting a menacing look at the desk – as the Usul said, he needed to maintain his masculinity.
With his newfound destination in mind, Thoguh began making his way through the woods. According to the map, there were houses in the area found at the end of the path third from the left, if one was standing under the arc of the Rainbow Pool. Clear as mud. He took the designated path, and was glad to see that he had in fact found civilization. He knew he was looking for a green house with a white door and a large window open. That narrowed it down considerably, as it seemed that most of the houses were white or beige in colour.
Of course, Thoguh is not the luckiest JubJub in the world – he soon came upon two identical houses, both with green siding and a large, white door placed next to an open window. Taking a leap of faith, Thoguh chose the left house.
He stormed through the thankfully unlocked door and rushed toward the window. What he saw made his stomach churn... or rather, what he didn't see. He didn't see anything – not a speck of Mercutio was to be found. Tears began to well up in Thoguh's large, green eyes when he heard something he didn't think he would ever hear again: a quiet squeak.