You Don't Know What You've Got 'Till It's Gone
Grien was waiting at the door of his NeoHome for Owner.
Owner, a kindly human, had promised that she would come home with an electric
blue paint brush for him today. The Grarrl looked at his skin. He was Checkered,
a horrid look for a vicious, ferocious creature. This was due to a little incident
with the Lab Ray. Grien sighed. Owner was good to him, and to his sister, Libby,
a baby Jetsam. Their NeoHome was filled with fine furniture. Here was a robo Acara,
there a tiger couch, a tiger bed. In the bathroom was a cloud toilet, a cloud
sink, a rug of the same type. In Libby's room, a bubble playpen and an orange
Kougra print sofa for Owner to cuddle her Neopet on; in Grien's, curvy book shelves
brimming with enjoyable books, and on his fungus ball print desk were pet spotlight
and book award trophies, along with many others.
The Grarrl's thoughts returned to Owner. It
grew late, 7 pm NST to be precise. Grien had already put Libby to sleep in her
playpen, covering her with her prized blanket. Tapping his foot impatiently,
he gazed down the tree-covered path of Safari Lane. Looking up, he saw a dull
colored Lenny swooping over the trees, apparently looking for someone. When
he noticed Grien, he plunged from the skies towards the ground.
"Neomessage for Grien the checkered Grarrl,
from Owner!" the Lenny squawked accurately. Grien winced. He hated the term
"Checkered". Patterned, he thought to himself. I hate being patterned!
He glanced somewhat thoroughly at the bird.
He wore a blue uniform, with a lapel near his heart that read Neomessage Deliverers.
This Lenny was a plain color, yellow. Not to mention he was ugly. Grien searched
for the right word. He decided on mutated.
The Neopet in uniform cleared his throat with
irritation. Taking the message, Grien carefully opened it.
My dearest Grien,
I have sad news. I promised you an electric
blue paint brush by the end of today, yet you shall not receive it. Today I
made a difficult decision.
I have decided to leave the world of Neopia.
Greater challenges await me in another world, another time.
Today is my last night in Neopia. I love
little of it anymore, all those things I used to love--games, feeding and playing
with you and Libby, exploring-are no longer worth it. There are no challenges,
no enjoyment, only boredom. They are but silly aspects of a foolish life I once
So tonight, by the time the sun disappears
over the horizon, I will be gone. And so will you and Libby. Everything I worked
for, my NeoHome, my shop, all of my Neopoints, shall vanish. Every single petty
little thing in Neopia that was once mine will be gone.
I'm unhappy it had to be this cruel way.
But I must escape this trivial, petty life of mine. I say I built it for myself,
yet it was nothing. Naught.
I am sorry I failed you. Do not hope that
I shall return, for I shall not. More awaits me in another place, unlike this.
I am leaving, breaking these bonds of childhood that held me down for so many
years. I love you, yet I must leave.
"Sir?" the Lenny squawked. "A reply?"
Grien shook his head miserably, tears pouring
down his cheeks. He took the message, and went to seek refuge in his room.
Flames crackled. The living room of Owner's NeoHome was warm, as the letter
Grien received burned over the fire. Libby sat it Grien's lap, weeping uncontrollably.
Even though she was young, Libby understood perfectly what was going on. Owner
had thoughtlessly abandoned them.
"What are we gonna do, big brother?" Libby inquired,
but even her adorable baby lisp couldn't bring even the slightest of grins to
her brother's face.
The Grarrl shook his head sorrowfully. He didn't
want Libby here for this, but once she had heard him crying, she instantly became
worried. There was no sleep for anyone when Libby was worried.
"Lib, we can't do anything!" he responded,
a vaguely angry edge to his voice. Now he bellowed furiously, "That's right!
We can't do anything, Libby! Nothing! Our gentle, affectionate, owner deserted
us! And you know what she's gonna do?!"
By now, as you can imagine, the poor, frightened
Baby Jetsam was cowering in fear on the end of the Kauvara Sofa, trying to hide
herself from her brother's livid wrath with a silky blue pillow.
Finally, Grien got a hand on himself. Even though
half of Owner's knickknacks were broken into pieces. He practically collapsed
on the comfy couch, and scooted over to lay his head on Libby.
The girl-Jetsam was still quavering a tiny bit,
but she let her elder sibling lay his head on her. Then, miraculously, Lib giggled.
Grien let out a broad smile. Laying his hand on Libby's tailfin, he said, "I'm
sorry Lib. I'm your big brother, and nothing-and don't forget this, now-will
ever change that special, unique relationship and bond that we have.
Now, since we are bro and sis, do you really, truly want me to tell you the
truth? You probably don't wanna know," he sighed. "I sure wish I didn't."
Libby took a deep breath, obviously bracing
herself, and nodded. Placing his sister on his lap, he whispered gradually in
her ear, "Did anyone ever tell you about the 'Land of Delete'?"
Unscrewing her fearless little face, she wailed
Shaking his big Checkered head unhappily, he
continued, "I shouldn't have told you. I should've tried and protected you,
like a real big brother would," Choking back his own tears, Grien continued.
"But I wanted you to know the truth. I didn't want you to go through your last
hours, unknowing, blind, as Owner would have let you. You don't deserve that.
No one does, no matter how young or old. But Libby, remember, we will always
be brother and sister, no matter what. No matter where we go, no matter what
we do, we'll always have that brother-sister bond."
"In a little while Owner will go to the Central
Neopian Database, the CND, and request that we, her NeoHome, her Neopoints,
everything related to her Neopian life, will disappear completely from
Neopia. And we will be mere figments of the imagination, as though we never
existed. I'm sorry."
Years later, a mature, tall teenager strode
down the paths of Mystery Island, throwing a glance here and there. Unlike most
others who came to Neopia for a first time, this one didn't stand out as much.
Yet this was not the girl, Yolanda's, first
time in the land of Neopia, nonetheless Mystery Isle. Years ago, she had lived
here, with two pets. As she tramped down Safari Lane, something made her stop
dead in her tracks.
The place where her old house had been was gone.
Kneeling down on the grass where a place she had adored once had stood, she
searched for a trace that something had previously lived here. After a few minutes
searching, she unearthed a blue pacifier. Staring in horror at it, she began
to moan and sob.
"What have I done?" she cried. A voice in her
head said, you don't know what you've got 'till it's gone.