Ezanna, a Krawk of gleaming black and white scales,
sighed sadly to himself as he stared wistfully out his NeoHome’s window at nothing
in particular, his reptilian face propped up on his claws. Ezanna was uncharacteristically
depressed, and it didn’t take a genius to notice. His sister, an ebony-furred
Gelert called Shelleylou, could sense that something was wrong with her scaly
brother. Not that she cared. Shelly was the kind of Pet who looked out for herself
and no one else, unless a reward of some sort was in order.
Even so, she had always felt a sort of special
connection with Ezanna. Maybe it was the fact that he was older and more mature
than her other two brothers, or maybe it was the certainty that he had proved
time and time again to be a faithful lackey. But either way, the Gelert couldn’t
help but think that maybe it was her duty to comfort him.
She gingerly approached the dismayed Krawk and
tapped him on the shoulder, seating herself across from him and curling her
lithe tail around her ashy forepaws.
"Come on Ez. Tell me what’s up; you’ve never
been this quiet before," she began, offering Ezanna an outlet for explanation.
The Krawk heaved another great sigh.
"Shelly, am I a Krawk?" he asked. Shelly just
stared at him. Ezanna tried again. "I mean, when you look at me… What do you
see?" he inquired. The Gelert titled her head to the side and peered at him
from her flashing, emerald green eyes.
"I see a skunk Krawk who’s making a lousy attempt
to sound insightful," she finally replied. Ezanna dismissed her comments with
a wave of his claw.
"No, you’re wrong. When I look at myself, like,
in a mirror, I just see a Zafara, pretending to be a Krawk." His eyes hardened.
"I’m not a real Krawk. I was born a Zafara, and then transformed into a Krawk.
It’s like wearing a Halloween costume all year long."
Shelly rolled her eyes. "You look like a Krawk
to me, Ez."
Ezanna shook his head. "You’re looking at me,
but you aren’t seeing me." He stood up. "I know what I have to do to escape
this slump." Ezanna turned back to his skeptical sister. "I’m going on a journey
of self discovery, and I’m not coming back until I find my inner Krawk." Shelly
raised a brow.
"And what should I tell Sunny?" she asked. Ezanna
grabbed his coat off the hook on the door and pulled it over his shoulders.
"Tell her to put my dinner in the fridge if
I’m not back by then." He squared his shoulders and flexed his claws.
"When I come back, I’ll be a Krawk!" Ezanna
proclaimed. Shelly threw up her paws in frustration.
"You’re already a Krawk, dingbat!" she howled.
But she was too late; her ill-fated brother had already left.
Ezanna grinned as he strode down the dusty path leading from his NeoHome,
just happy to be out of the house and into Neopia. It was a brisk, spring day.
The clouds above were a swirling myriad of grays and whites, though none dark
enough to begin a rainstorm. Ezanna figured that the easiest way to get connect
with his wild self would be to get back in touch with nature, like a real Krawk.
Uncaring as to where he was heading, Ezanna continued on his way, walking obliviously
into an uncharted forest.
It wasn’t until it started getting dark that
Ezanna began to get just a wee bit scared. He slowed his pace, padding silently
through the woods, before coming to a complete stop entirely. He shuddered as
an icy wind picked up, chilling him to the bone. Ezanna sighed, plopping down
on a nearby rock.
"What am I doing here?" he wistfully asked,
rolling his eyes to the tree-shrouded sky as though he would find the answer
there. "This whole quest was stupid. I’m going home." The Krawk stood and turned
to hurry out of the forest, but sudden movements in the darkened bushes made
him freeze. Ezanna stood rooted to the spot, not daring to breathe lest he betray
his position, though his heart felt as though it was pounding loud enough to
do so anyway.
He narrowed his eyes and focused on the rustling
foliage, trying to determine exactly where his attacker was located. Suddenly,
all movement within the forest stopped. Everything was silent for a few, precious
moments, before it was shattered by a horrible bloodcurdling cry as a gargantuan
Poogle came leaping out the bushes, gnashing its ferocious fangs and snarling
viciously. Ezanna gasped, took a step backwards, and stumbled on a protruding
tree root. He crashed down to the forest floor, scooting himself back over the
beds of fallen pine needles in a vain attempt to escape the Poogle’s gnashing
jaws. The Krawk whimpered and he crouched down, curling into a ball and shielding
his face with his claws. Ezanna shuddered as he felt the advancing Poogle’s
rank breath seething against his scaly hide…
Shelly sighed irritably as she stared out her NeoHome’s window, snout resting
on her ashy black paws, which were propped up on the windowsill as she waited
impatiently for Ezanna to return. The Gelert’s rope-like tail thrashed against
the richly carpeted floor in frustration. Ezanna had been gone for almost two
hours now. How long did it take to discover your inner Neopet, anyway? Shelly
snorted. Obviously, she didn’t give a Juppie about Ezanna’s welfare… But she
couldn’t help but feel a little bit worried. If Sunny came home and found Ezanna
missing, then there was no doubt in the Gelert’s mind that she would be blamed.
Shelly made up her mind right there and then. She would go out, find Ezanna,
hit him over the head for being so dense, and drag him home whether he liked
it or not. There! Problem solved.
Not bothering to grab a coat as her thick fur
provided enough insulation on even the coldest of days, Shelly sauntered out
the door, lowering her nose to the ground and sniffing around for traces of
her brother. It didn’t take long before she found some Krawk tracks in the ground,
which were still slightly damp from the heavy rainfall that had occurred the
previous night. The Gelert smiled smugly. Her superior sense of smell had never
failed to triumph over even the toughest situations.
Following the broad trail of prints, Shelly
trotted jauntily into the woods, ready to retrieve her brother.
Ezanna could feel the icy cold sweat trickling down his scales as he stared
the beast, the vivacious wild Poogle, straight in its ferocious, blood-flecked
eyes. The Krawk closed his eyes for what he figured would be the last time,
expecting to feel some sort of pain, but there was none. Cautiously, he gingerly
opened one hazel eye before finally realizing that the Poogle was gone. Ezanna
peered around the forested glade, searching for his savior. Finally he laid
eyes on a Krawk, the most magnificent one that he had ever encountered.
Her scales were a brilliant sea blue hue, as
his had once been before being painted with a skunk brush. Her eyes, enchanting
pools of liquid gold, seemed to glimmer with unmatched power… and, as it seemed,
compassion. Somehow, and without any violence, she had managed to drive the
Poogle away. Ezanna struggled to his feet, which suddenly felt as though they
were made of lead. The mysterious Krawk offered her claws to help him up.
"Ezanna," she began, her voice sounding like
a bell, a northern wind, and the crashing of the surf against a rock face all
in one. "I know why you have come here. You don’t believe that you are a true
Krawk." Ezanna was astonished.
"How did you know my name?" he inquired, reptilian
features shining with wonderment. The Krawk tossed her well-kept powder blue
"It is unimportant. I know many things. Many
things about many Krawks." She turned back to Ezanna, her rippling golden orbs
flashing with an unseen ferocity.
"Why you have been so depressed lately, Ezanna?
You believe yourself to not be a Krawk. You feel as though you do not possess
the spirit of one, rather than that of a Zafara. What makes a Krawk? You own
all parts of a Krawk in your anatomy. Scales, claws, a ragged mane, jutting
fangs. What is there to complain about?" she asked. Ezanna shrugged, unsure
of his once powerful argument.
"I don’t know…" he admitted shamefully. "I was
always taught that it was our passions and feelings that determined who we were.
But I suppose that… what’s on the outside does have some influence."
She nodded, "Yes, Ezanna. You are a Krawk. You
will always possess the spirit of a Zafara, and nothing can change that, but
you are most certainly a Krawk."
Ezanna grinned, "So then I was right! All this
time, it really is what’s on the outside that counts!" The Krawk proclaimed.
"What’re you talking about, Ezanna?" a hard,
unyielding voice interjected. Ezanna whirled around, only to have his gaze met
with Shelly’s. The Gelert stalked stonily up to the Krawk and grabbed his arm.
"Come on," she grunted as she tugged him towards
the exit of the forest. "Let’s go." Ezanna frowned.
"But… the Krawk lady! Where’d she go?" Ezanna
snapped his head around in all directions, combing the forest with his eyes
for the strange Krawk, but to no avail. Like the faint kiss of winter on a warm
summer’s day, she was gone.