It was a sunny Spring day in Neopia Central, and Tdyans’
pets were taking full advantage of it. Rooruon the mutant Cybunny lay in the
front yard of their Neopia Central home, wiggling his large toes happily in
the damp grass and enjoying the feel of the warm breeze that ruffled his dark
fur. He sighed contentedly and looked around at his three brothers. MaxKanine
the green Lupe was tending to his flower garden, pruning his prized rowzez and
watering the thirsty Mordongos. Achilles81 the cloud Gelert was stretched out
in a lounge chair, basking in the sun and reading the latest issue of the Neopian
Times. Moeioe the Faerie Moehog was, as was often the case, practicing his flying
techniques. He and his Faerie Hornsby Gil swooped around the yard, performing
and re-performing Moeioe’s latest trick—a triple loop-da-loop. Rooruon’s crimson
eyes fell on them the longest.
The mutant Cybunny’s attention was suddenly diverted
when Achilles flipped quickly to the front page of the paper, rustling the pages
loudly. The Gelert stared at the date on the front page for a few moments with
a thoughtful expression. Finally, his long ears twitched upward and he turned
his attention to Rooruon, who stared back in curiosity. “Hey Roory... I think
it’s your birthday in a couple of days!”
“Oh,” Rooruon said.
Max leaned over Achilles’ shoulder to look at
the date on the newspaper, almost forgetting the watering can in his paw until
a few drops of water sprinkled onto his brother’s head and the Gelert glared
up at him. Max smiled apologetically. “He’s right! Your first birthday, and
we nearly forgot. There’ll be a cake to bake… and party snacks… and…”
“Birthday!” Moeioe exclaimed excitedly, swooping
down to the ground before Rooruon. “Wow, what do you want for your birthday,
Rooruon considered for a moment. “Hmmm... maybe...
a nice carrot,” he said with a hopeful smile.
“A carrot?” Moeioe asked incredulously. “Rooruon,
you can’t ask for a carrot.”
“Why not?” Rooruon asked, puzzled.
“Because Tdyans will buy you a carrot any time
Rooruon nodded. “You’re right. Then maybe...
two carrots? Or three?”
Moeioe rolled his eyes. “No, Roory. You have
to ask for something special.”
“Oh,” Rooruon replied, but he couldn‘t think
of anything. He’d thought that two or three carrots was pretty special.
Moeioe sighed. It was clear that he’d have to
think of the perfect present on his own. As he sat and thought, Rooruon’s attention
wandered to Gil, who was playfully fluttering about Moeioe’s head. Moeioe looked
up at his Faerie Hornsby and then back down at Rooruon’s transfixed eyes. “I’ve
Rooruon’s eyes snapped back down to Moeioe at
the exclamation. “Got what?”
“I know exactly what to give you for your birthday,
Roory! I’m going to teach you how to fly.” The Moehog smiled proudly, waiting
for his brother’s response.
Rooruon looked uncertain, but it was impossible
for him to contain the slight gleam that lit up his eyes at the idea. He hesitated,
and then cautiously said, “But… how are you going to teach me to fly, Moeioe?
I don’t have any wings.”
“Hmmm,” Moeioe said, putting a hoof to his chin
and squinting his eyes in thought. “Well, maybe we could paint you Faerie. Then
you’d have wings!”
Rooruon’s large nose wrinkled in distaste as
he pictured his dark-gray skin, long tail, and floppy ears replaced with lavender
fur, a powder puff tail, and frilly Faerie wings. “No,” he said, “I think that’s
just not me.”
“I guess you’re right,” Moeioe sighed. “Well…
maybe you can use your ears like wings, remember?” Rooruon rolled his eyes back
and turned his head slightly to look at one of his long, floppy ears. “They
sure are big enough. Can you flap them?”
Rooruon shut his eyes tight and concentrated
with all his might. His big floppy ears twitched. He opened one eye and stared
at his ear, then shut it tight again and concentrated even harder. His ears…
flapped! Once… then twice… and then again!
Rooruon opened his eyes as his long ears flapped
slowly up and down. “Moeioe, look! I’m flapping my ears—just like wings!”
Moeioe squinted, the tip of his tongue sticking
out the side of his mouth as he eyed Rooruon critically. “Hmmm… Yeah, I think
Rooruon stopped flapping and let his ears fall
back down. “What now?”
“Now you have to get off the ground”
“How do I do that?”
“Well,” Moeioe said, pausing for a moment. He
didn’t usually have to think about how to fly any more—it just came naturally.
“You just… take a running start, like this.” He backed up a few steps and then
trotted forward. “And then you jump up into the air, like this.” He hopped upward.
“And flap your wings!” Instead of landing back on the ground, he rose higher
as his light Faerie wings flapped gently. The little Moehog did one gentle flip
through the air and then landed back down beside Rooruon. “Okay, you try,” he
Rooruon backed up a few steps, narrowed his eyes
in concentration, bounced awkwardly forward, hopped up a few inches into the
air, flapping his big ears with all his might, and… fell. He flopped down onto
the ground, big-blue-nose-first, and then laid there for a few moments, trying
to figure out just why he wasn’t up in the sky doing flips. Moeioe stared down
at him, wondering the same.
“What are you guys doing?”
Rooruon and Moeioe looked up to see Achilles
and Max standing over them, looking perplexed.
“Uh, we’re just playing a game,” Moeioe replied.
Achilles scratched his head. “Sure is a strange-looking
“Well,” Max said, “we’re heading inside to plan
the birthday party. You two… play carefully.”
The two older pets turned and headed toward the
house. Once they were inside, Moeioe gave a sigh of relief. “Phew, good.”
“Good?” Rooruon asked, with his nose still buried
in the ground.
“I don’t think they’d like it if they saw what
we’re going to do next,” Moeioe said matter-of-factly, helping Rooruon up off
of the ground.
Rooruon looked worried.
“Moeioe?” Rooruon asked as he wobbled around, stretching one forepaw upward
and trying desperately to get a hold of one of the tree branches.
“Yes?” Moeioe grunted from below, shoving upward
as Rooruon’s tail flopped in front of his eyes. Gil was hovering a few feet
away, surveying the scene with curiosity: his owner Moeioe standing on the ground
and struggling to push his bulky brother up into the heart fruit tree that stood
in their front yard.
“Why are we doing this again?” Rooruon asked,
finally grasping onto one of the tree’s branches and pulling himself up onto
it with visible effort. He panted and clung tightly to the wobbly branch as
Moeioe fluttered up to land beside him.
“Because,” the Moehog said, “you just need to
start from higher up. That way, you’ll have more time before you hit the ground,
and that means more time for you to figure out how to fly instead.”
“Oh,” Rooruon said.
“Okay, so all you have to do is just jump and
flap—like you did before. Okay?” Rooruon nodded uncertainly; the branch nodded
much more confidently beneath him. “So, jump!” Moeioe cried, leaping from the
branch and landing in the air in front of the Rooruon as if a giant invisible
hand had caught him and held him there.
Rooruon didn’t move. “Come on, Roory,” Moeioe
coaxed. “Jump and flap!” Finally, the Cybunny slowly unwrapped his paws from
around the tree limb, wobbled around trying to keep his balance for a few moments,
and then, sprung ungracefully away from the tree. He shut his eyes, stuck his
front paws out, and flapped his ears as hard as he could, waiting to soar up
into the sky. But instead he tumbled nose over tail down to the ground with
a resounding thud, and several shaken heart fruits came tumbling after, splattering
on his head.
Moeioe landed down beside his brother and helped
him up from the ground. He sighed, “I just don’t know what we’re doing wrong,
Rooruon. There has to be some way for you to fly.”
Rooruon, wiping the dripping heart fruit juice
away from his eyes, began to open his mouth to say something, but before he
could, Achilles opened the front door and called out, “Come on in, guys. Dinner’s
ready.” Rooruon and Moeioe filed toward the house obediently.
“Don’t worry, Roory,” Moeioe whispered to him
just before they went inside. “I’ll figure something out, I promise.”
As the four pets sat at the breakfast table the next morning, Moeioe leaned
over to Rooruon, who was still happily munching down his carrot and pea omelette.
“Hey Roory, I came up with a plan last night. Follow my lead.”
Before Rooruon could say anything in return,
Moeioe got up from the table. “Come on, Rooruon.”
Achilles looked over his paper at them. “What
are you to going to do today?”
“We’re going to the park,” Moeioe announced.
“Oh, that sounds like fun,” Max said from the
stove, still absorbed in his cooking even though everyone had already been fed.
Achilles, on the other hand, eyed them curiously for another moment, but finally
he shrugged and returned to reading about the latest Chet Flash sighting, leaving
Moeioe and Rooruon to go on their way.
Once outside, Moeioe turned left, heading toward
the docks. “Moeioe, the park is this way,” Rooruon said, pointing to the right
Moeioe rolled his eyes at his brother. “We’re
not really going to the park, Rooruon. Now, come on. We’ve got to catch the
morning boat to Tyrannia!” And with that he went running down the street, his
little hooves clattering rhythmically against the pavement.
“Tyrannia?!” Rooruon called, running after him
as fast as his large, cumbersome feet could carry him.
“I figured it out,” Moeioe said as he and Rooruon walked through the Tyrannian
plateau, receiving strange looks and muttered “Ugg”s from the rather shaggy
inhabitants. “We had the right idea with the tree, but it just wasn’t high enough.”
“Not—“ Rooruon gulped, “high enough?” It was
then that he noticed what he and Moeioe were headed toward: the huge cliff that
towered over the plateau. “Moeioe?”
“Don’t worry, Roory,” Moeioe replied to the
worried tone in his brother’s voice. “This time my plan is perfect.”
Rooruon’s tongue lolled out of his mouth and his ears drooped in exhaustion
as he and Moeioe finally reached the top of the cliff. “That—“ he panted, “was—a
"Well, don’t worry,” Moeioe said chipperly.
“You won’t have to climb back down.” Somehow, that didn’t seem to make Rooruon
feel any better.
Moeioe went to stand at the edge of the cliff
and look over the side, tapping his foot impatiently while he waited for his
brother to catch his breath. When it became apparent that he’d be waiting for
a while, he began to almost carelessly step off the cliff, flitting around lightly
a few times, landing for a few seconds, and then taking off again. Rooruon watched
him intently before finally, cautiously, he approached the edge of the cliff.
Seeing that Rooruon was finally ready, Moeioe
landed quickly back down beside him and launched into his explanation. “See,
this is perfect, Rooruon. You get a running start, like in the yard back home.”
He nodded behind them at the wide, open cliff top. “And look how high up we
“Yes… high up.”
“With that much space between you and the ground,
you’ll have plenty of time to figure out how to fly!” Moeioe proclaimed, looking
Rooruon looked down at the ground far below again.
“Oh,” he said, although that was certainly not what he was thinking.
“Okay, Roory,” Moeioe interrupted his thoughts,
“go for it!”
One look at his brother’s face and Rooruon knew
that Moeioe would eventually convince him to go through with it one way or another.
He may as well get it over with. Slowly, he backed up step by lumbering step,
feeling a little better with each step that he put between himself and the cliff’s
edge… until Moeioe called out, “Okay, stop there!”
Rooruon gulped loudly. “Go!” Moeioe cried. The
mutant Cybunny hesitated for a moment, steeled himself, and then charged forward,
hopping clumsily at his top speed toward the cliff’s edge with a determined
expression set on his chubby face. As he neared the edge of the cliff and found
himself looking down at the ground that opened up below, though, his confidence
suddenly faltered and he struggled to come to a halt. But as he slid toward
the edge, still trying to slow himself, Moeioe reached out from the side and
gave him a quick helpful kick, shouting, “And takeoff!”
Rooruon went flying off the cliff and into the
air. He twirled confusedly through the strong Tyrannian winds for a few moments
before he was able to stabilize himself and get his bearings… at which point
he realized that the ground was getting closer and closer! “Flap your ears,
Roory!” he faintly heard Moeioe call out to him from high above. Trying to tamp
down his panic, he screwed his eyes shut, stuck out his paws, and concentrated
on flapping his ears with all his might. But at the rate that he was falling
downward, his ears couldn’t even seem to flap down—they were permanently blown
straight up above his head, while Rooruon was still headed in a decidedly opposite
Suddenly, Rooruon felt a quick tug on his whole
body. He opened his eyes slowly one after the other to see that he was no longer
falling down at a rapid rate, but floating slowly along. “I—I’m flying!” he
exclaimed. “I’m really flying!”
“No,” a voice grunted from above him. Rooruon
looked up in confusion to see Moeioe flying above him, holding him up by his
ears with a great deal of effort. “You’re falling—just slower.” Slowly, Moeioe
lowered Rooruon toward the ground. Rooruon swung through the air in his brother’s
grasp, feeling the breeze ruffle through his fur, watching the Airaxes that
fluttered by them, and gazing down at the ground as the figures below grew larger
and larger. Finally, they reached the bottom, and this time it was Moeioe who
was gasping for breath and needed to rest before they continued on.
After their little aerial display, the two pets
were getting even more strange looks from the Tyrannians walking by than they
had before. Finally, Moeioe sighed. “Come on, Rooruon, let’s go home.” He hung
his head and headed toward the Tyrannian docks so that they could catch the
boat back to Neopia Central. Rooruon tried his best to get his brother to talk,
but for every conversation that he tried to start, Moeioe would just nod or
shake his head, and eventually, the mutant Cybunny gave up.
A large extra carroty cake fresh out of the oven waited patiently at the kitchen
table in the NeoHome of Tdyans’ pets, while in the living room, Rooruon sat,
surrounded by friends and family, not to mention boxes and wrapping paper and
presents—most of them carrots, which suited him just fine. But there was one
gift—and one family member—missing.
Rooruon turned to look when his owner came down
the stairs, not followed by a little Faerie Moehog as he’d been hoping, but
carrying a small package. “I’m sorry, Roory,” Tdyans said, “but he won’t come
down no matter what I say. I don’t know what’s wrong.” Rooruon sighed in disappointment.
“Well, he asked me to give you this anyway.” Tdyans set the package in front
of the mutant Cybunny. He hesitated and then tore it carefully open with one
of his large claws. His mouth fell open a little when he saw what was inside,
and as the others leaned in, they saw that nestled inside of the box was a pair
of silver wings—Lenny Wing Guards.
“I know you can’t use them,” a voice said, and
everyone looked up to see Moeioe standing on the stairs, shuffling his hooves
and looking miserable. “I’m sorry I couldn’t get you real wings, Rooruon. I’m
sorry I couldn’t keep my promise and teach you how to fly.”
“But Moeioe,” Rooruon said, “you did
teach me how to fly!”
Moeioe took a few more steps down the stairs,
peering around the banister curiously. “What?”
Rooruon wiggled his nose—a sure sign that he
was deep in thought—for a moment, and then said, “Well, Moeioe, why do you howl
and bark and pretend to be a Lupe sometimes?”
Moeioe took a few more steps into the living
room and looked at his older brother, Max, who wagged his tail encouragingly.
“Because… I like Lupes!”
“Why don’t you become a Lupe then?” Rooruon
“Well… because I like being a Moehog. Lupes
are great and all, but I wouldn’t want to stop being what I am…. That’s why
I just pretend,” Moeioe replied.
“Exactly,” Rooruon replied with a proud smile.
“You use your imagination to be a Lupe, because you wouldn’t want to really
be something you’re not. I use my imagination to fly, because, well, I’LL never
be a Faerie or a Pteri or anything like that. I’m just… me, and me is pretty
earthbound, I’m starting to think—“ Moeioe actually chuckled a little at that,
and Rooruon continued. “But thanks to you, I know what it’s like to be up there
in the sky now, and I can imagine it any time I want. You taught me to fly,
“Wow,” Moeioe said with a smile. “I really did.”
Achilles nudged Rooruon, saying with brotherly
pride, “You know, Rooruon, you can be pretty wise when you really put your mind
“Yeah,” Max agreed. “Got any more pearls of
wisdom for us, Roory?”
Rooruon paused, wiggled his nose, and thought
of the very wisest thing to say that he could: “Let’s eat!” The partygoers burst
into laughter, but in the end, they all wholeheartedly agreed.
It was another fine Spring day, and Rooruon lay in the cool grass beneath the
heart fruit tree, watching Moeioe and Gil as they whirled through the air above.
He closed his eyes, and he was up there with them, his ears flapping gracefully
as he wended his way about over the rooftops and trees. A delighted smile curved
across his face as he felt the breeze rustle gently through his fur. This was
Rooruon in flight.
Author’s Note: Rooruon was created on April 2, 2002 and joined our family
(and became a mutant Cybunny) when he was found in the pound about a month later.
Happy birthday, Roory, and happy flights.