"Worthless," retorted Cybil nastily, giving her Neopet
a look of disgust.
Kuroudu, her dull-grey Shoyru, faced the floor
in shame. Her owner took no notice and continued on, "Why I ever kept you, I
don't know. I should have abandoned you months ago - who has seen such a helpless
pet as you? Stop looking at the ground like that. You're one lucky Neopet, so
stop spending your time sulking and practice getting some useful items from
the Snowager for once."
The Shoyru nodded. She headed back into the NeoHome,
not succeeding in ignoring the jeers and laughter from the neighbourhood youngsters.
"Loser," one said as Kuroudu passed by, teary-eyed,
"you can't even make your owner happy. How disappointing, grey-face."
Kuroudu made her way back to the building, which
was hardly a few paces away, and dragged herself up the steps and into the NeoHome.
She always loved being outside, especially in a sunny day like this. Unfortunately,
she only enjoyed it when nobody was around, which did not happen often.
The Shoyru had returned from a trip from the
Snowager, her pusillanimous wings frozen, not receiving anything. This was not
the first time Cybil, her owner, had spoken to her in that manner, nor was it
the foremost moment the neighbours had taunted her.
She expected her owner only kept her because
of her uniquely grey colour, but she was always mocked because of it. How she
wished she was shadow, blending into the darkness. Alas, this colour was for
the 'cool' Neopets, and she was not considered one of them.
Kuroudu sighed. Cybil opened the door and shut
it behind her, satisfied by Kuroudu's depressed mood after not being able to
fetch a single Negg from the Snowager for the twentieth time in a row.
"Out of a hundred times you've been there, you've
only managed to get a cheap scratchcard and a couple of useless rainbow guns,"
Cybil never failed to remind her Neopet coldly.
The rest of the day passed nearly as it always
did -- Kuroudu being locked inside her secluded room, Cybil chatting noisily
with her human friends downstairs, admiring their Neopets. The children-Neopets
outside played and chatted until it was dark, which was the time when all of
Cybil's friends flooded into the house. Kuroudu often listened to their loud
conversations from her room, and today there was an exciting topic.
"Did you know that a new person's moving in here?"
asked one of Cybil's closest and most obnoxious Neofriends. "I heard that it's
a boy. Maybe we could invite him to party with us. It'll be a blast."
"As long as he's not a nerd," Cybil replied promptly,
as the friends around her immediately agreed.
Kuroudu found herself rolling her eyes in revolt,
as her friends continued chatting. Something outside the window caught her attention,
as she got up from her seat and went to see what it was.
Outside, the wind was calmly blowing, whisking
the leaves of the trees below about. Kuroudu peeked out of the glass barrier
that kept her from the sweet outdoors; constantly reminding her that going outside
without her owner's permission would mean harsh punishment. Leaning toward the
glass intently, Kuroudu thought she saw an unfamiliar Neopet below.
Kuroudu opened the window to feel the brisk wind
brush against her. Almost feeling better already, she was about to close the
window when a Zafara climbed up a tree by her room and hopped toward the window
cheerily. The Zafara smiled.
"Hello," she greeted, grinning.
"H-hi," Kuroudu stammered in surprise, as the
Zafara made her way into the room and closed the window behind her afterward.
"Are you new here?"
"Yep!" the plushie Zafara said with a clear smile.
"My name is Azure and I just moved in. My owner said I could roam around and
make some friends, although I doubted that there would be anyone out at this
time. You looked really sad, so I decided to drop by."
Kuroudu turned away from Azure. "I'm Kuroudu
-- my owner's Neofriends are below, and I don't think she approves of plushie
Zafaras suddenly appearing in the house -- especially if they're here to see
me," Kuroudu added with a distraught sigh. "Your owner must be really nice --
I overheard them talking about some boy moving in..."
"That should be him, then," Azure said, helping
herself to a seat beside Kuroudu on her messy bed. "I'll make sure they don't
notice me before I leave; don't worry. I just wanted someone to talk to."
The grey Shoyru remained silent after this. She
was afraid that if they were in deep conversation, she would tell this strange
Zafara about her owner and all of her problems. But she couldn't help but to
trust Azure -- a glint in her eye showed much more than sympathy and warmth.
Kuroudu was about to turn away again, when Azure commented, "I really like your
grey colour. It's distinctively special -- I've never seen that colour before."
Kuroudu had trouble getting words out of her
mouth. This Zafara had said she liked her colour. The Shoyru rounded
up her courage and replied, "It's not as impressive as you being a plushie..."
"Plushie Zafaras are quite a bit more common
than your colour of Shoyrus," Azure insisted, "you're very much like a mix between
a shadow Shoyru and a silver one." Azure said this with such a hearty smile
that Kuroudu couldn't help but grin in return. She was glad to have this Zafara
as company, and before she knew it, she and Azure were playing games, doodling,
and talking to one another conversationally.
They were playing a game of Neopictionary, Azure
drawing a distinct Sloth ruler on a piece of scrap paper. She giggled, "It looks
like a stick dipped in a litre of dung." Kuroudu shook her head and said that
it looked very clear and answered correctly afterwards. The two played until
they heard Cybil's Neofriends stir from below.
"They're leaving soon," Kuroudu said, overtop
of Azure's hearty joke of, 'Chet Flash was here!'.
Immediately, Azure snapped back into attention.
"I'd better be leaving, then..."
"Do you have to?" Kuroudu asked in a very disappointed
"I do, or else you'll be in big trouble, Kuroudu,
but I promise I'll be back tomorrow."
With that, the Zafara opened the window and slipped
out of the NeoHome with ease. This left Kuroudu very depressed indeed, but she
kept in mind that Azure was going to return tomorrow, or so she had promised.
Kuroudu couldn't help but feel doubtful at this. It was the first time she had
been truly happy in her entire life, and she was not adapted to this new hope
in her life.
Later that evening, Cybil came up to check up
on Kuroudu. The Shoyru made sure that she looked very sad, and it was not very
hard to do so. It was a few hours of happiness against years of prison and labour
in this house. As Kuroudu slept that night, she remembered the one thing to
look up for when the sun set the next day.
The next evening, Kuroudu failed, yet again,
to return with anything from the Snowager. Her paws and wings were encased in
frozen ice, as she headed into her room, shivering.
"Haha, grey-face is an ugly weakling," mocked
one of the children from below, tossing pebbles at her window, "she can't even
dodge the Snowager's attacks. You've disappointed your owner again! She didn't
look very pleased at you, grey-face. Are you listening to me?"
"No," Kuroudu whispered under her breath, covering
her face with a hard, flat pillow. It felt more of a slab of rock than anything,
but she didn't care. It was one of the few things she could call hers, mainly
because her owner did not want to touch such a filthy object.
After a few minutes, the jeering voices from
below died down and nearly vanished. Another knocking noise came to the window,
although much softer than the sound of pebbles being tossed against glass. Kuroudu
looked up and saw Azure facing her, grinning widely. The Shoyru could hardly
believe her eyes, hurrying to the window and opening it excitedly.
"Kuroudu! Kuroudu! I really missed you," Azure
said, hugging Kuroudu in a friendly manner, "I wish I could come here earlier
everyday, but I was afraid you would get in trouble."
"Cybil -- my owner -- doesn't come to check my
room until noon," Kuroudu said exasperatedly, as Azure had not stopped clinging
onto her yet. "Don't you have other friends you could be with?"
"Oh, no," Azure said, her face darkening, "I
don't like Neopets like them. I'm not very good with crowds like my owner. He's
good at everything."
Soon, the two passed the conversation of their
owners and began playing games and chatting about random things again. Both
Azure and Kuroudu were giggling rather loudly by the end of it, although, fortunately,
not as loud as Cybil and her friends. Kuroudu was rather surprised not to hear
a male voice among them -- meaning that Azure's owner had not come to 'party
A few minutes later, Azure noticed Kuroudu's
cold paw and her frozen wings that had failed to melt over time. She said that
she would bring some potions tomorrow for her, and as quickly as their fun had
begun, it had ended again. Cybil's Neofriends were beginning to leave again,
Azure slipping out of the window quickly.
Cybil came to check on Kuroudu a few minutes
later, the Shoyru forced to screw up her face and turn her awkward smile into
a clear frown. Her owner approved of this and hurried out of the room.
The next day, when Azure came, they did the usual
playful games, although Kuroudu told her about all the problems she had at home
with Cybil. Azure was very comforting and soothing to everything she said, and
in a mere three days, they were already very close.
However, that night, when Azure went to leave
and Cybil had finished checking on Kuroudu, Azure popped in view of the window
"I'm sorry," she whispered, brandishing some
bottles in front of her, "I forgot to give you the potions."
Kuroudu looked at her, wide-eyed. "Cybil already
checked up on me. We could do this everyday! While she's asleep, she doesn't
notice a thing. We could continue chatting and playing games --"
That was exactly what they did until the sun
rose again, Kuroudu surprised that they had been together for so long already.
Azure went back outside, again promising to return.
Days passed, and saying to return everyday was
not the only thing Azure had promised to Kuroudu. They said they would be friends
forever no matter what, admitted that they cared for each other as best friends,
and that they would be together forever, no matter what came between them.
On the third week of Azure's visit, she had a
clear cut on her arm. Before Kuroudu asked what had happened, she found herself
sewing her friend up professionally. The Zafara thanked her earnestly and they
continued their regular conversations.
"What happened to your arm?" Kuroudu asked when
it was almost time for Azure to leave again and return after Cybil checked on
"You sewed it up," Azure said with a grin.
Azure sighed and looked outside the window. "It
was nothing, just a little scratch... I think I should go now. I'll see you
"Aren't you coming back after Cybil comes around?"
"I'm sorry, I just feel a little tired today,"
Azure admitted as she crossed the room and opened the window. "I'll see you
tomorrow, I promise. Friends forever," she said, and disappeared into the darkness
Kuroudu confessed to herself that her Zafara
friend had been acting very oddly, but the next day, Azure had returned to her
regular happy-go-lucky mood. This cheered Kuroudu up greatly. She was now able
to ignore the neighbour's taunts and jeers of laughter, and to avoid making
Cybil's words from seeping into her mind.
Before they knew it, a month of friendship had
already passed. Kuroudu had told Azure her deepest secrets and everything there
was to know about the Shoyru. Azure took this information in well, and said
that she would take all the sadness, stuff it in an empty potion window, and
toss it at one of the young Neopets that made fun of her outside.
"There really isn't as much to know about you
as you do me," Azure said, "except for the fact that you're my best friend in
all of Neopia, and nothing can come between us." Kuroudu nodded in agreement.
Nothing could get in their way, ever. She was sure of this now, understanding
hope and happiness, and using the knowledge well. She knew she was very fortunate
to have a great friend like Azure.
With the Zafara, nothing seemed to bother her
anymore. Even a few minutes with the Shoyru's friend seemed very precious, and
she made sure not to take the time for granted.
Five weeks after they had first met, Kuroudu
was forced to shop in Neopia Central with Cybil. Cybil was as pushy and nasty
as always, ordering her Neopet to carry the groceries. It came to no surprise
to the Shoyru when Cybil announced that the food was for her and her friends
only, but Kuroudu forced herself to frown. She could merely ask Azure for some
food that night.
On their way back, Kuroudu recognised a house
that must have been Azure's house. Her Zafara friend had described it exactly
as it appeared -- it was covered in red bricks with an oak door. The oak door
possessed a gnarled wooden handle, looking much alike to her fence surrounding
the property. There were a few flowers blooming in the front, with gleaming
glass windows over top of them.
"That must be the boy's house," mumbled Cybil.
"Did you know I met him a few weeks ago? He has a cute plushie Zafara, she is
so adorable and obedient..." Cybil trailed off, but then added, "unlike some
grey Shoyru I know."
Kuroudu found this information very surprising.
How could Cybil have visited him without her knowing? Then again, Cybil did
many things without Kuroudu knowing, always making a fool out of her Shoyru.
Kuroudu's musings were cut short, as she spotted
something that made her heart leap. Boxes were everywhere, moving vans driving
in front of the house, parking next to Cybil and Kuroudu, who was now struggling
with the pile of groceries as she gawked at the scene around her.
A plushie Zafara came from the backyard, looking
more gloomy than anything Kuroudu had ever seen. She hurried over to Azure,
ignoring Cybil's shouts of protests, and began questioning her friend frantically,
when Azure turned to her Shoyru friend, her eyes streaming with tears.
"I'm sorry, Kuroudu, I failed..." Azure cried.
Kuroudu couldn't say anything. She did not understand what was happening. "I
failed to please my owner, and he demanded that we moved again at once."
"But you can't!" argued Kuroudu. A teenage boy,
who Kuroudu presumed was Azure's owner, came stoutly out of the NeoHome and
beckoned Azure to follow him. "You can't! You said we would be together forever,
no matter what came between us. You said that, you promised. We both promised!"
"I'm sorry," Azure apologised again, her owner
now practically dragging her to a moving van.
"You can't leave! What about all those
things you said? Were they just lies? If you cared, why do you have to leave?"
Kuroudu demanded, Azure now in the passenger side of the moving buggy.
The buggy began to move, the boxes being packed
into the other buggies following after it.
"We'll meet again, I promise..."
The buggy drove away, Cybil now lecturing Kuroudu
with yells. But Kuroudu didn't care. Azure had promised that they would meet
again, and what came during that time that she waited for her did not seem to
matter to the Shoyru. Azure had promised, just like she did on the first fateful
day, and all Kuroudu could do was take her word for it and to wait for that
day to come.
To a constantly travelling, shoeless wanderer and to a Shoyru who has yet
to find her paradise.