Fourth Period. Neopian History. I sat at my desk, propping
up my head with my paws. I imagine my cheeks were squished up, considering I
could no longer see out of my right eye. Our teacher, a rather heavy-set Lenny
(Have you ever seen a heavy Lenny? It's actually a pretty funny picture. They're
usually paper-thin...) by the name of Mr. Deagle was droning on about something
I should probably be taking notes on. Ah, I'd just borrow them from Andromoda
I suppose I should introduce myself before I
go any further. My name is Brenen, I'm a silver Shoyru. One of the older pets
in Neopia, as well. I think it's the human equivalent of a teenager, but I'm
not sure. I've got three sisters, all three of which are in my history class.
Astromic, now a red Kyrii and the family lab rat, was sitting in the back of
class, so I couldn't see her, but knowing her she was probably checking to see
her hair looks all right. Icering, a rainbow Acara, was also at the back and
probably shooting spitballs at the pet unlucky enough to be sitting in front
of her. Andromoda sat at her desk near the front, furiously scribbling notes
on whatever it was Mr. Deagle was talking about.
Andromoda was probably the only pet in the entire
class paying attention; our minds were elsewhere, drifting to Meridell, Darigan
and the war between them... the war that was supposed to start today. We were
all anxious to get home and, as Icering had put it, "Kick some Darigan butt!"
"Attention, teachers, students," the P.A. crackled
over Mr. Deagle. Every pet in the class sat bolt upright, and even Felicity,
a Cybunny and the most popular girl in our school, stopped applying lipstick
to listen. I smirked. I don't think she realised it, but her lips were now half
their usual pink colour, and half sparkly, cherry red. I turned my attention
back to the loudspeaker as it continued.
"Well, as you know, there's been quite a bit
of tension in Neopia the past few weeks, and I--" the principal's voice was
cut off by a 'thump' and someone in the background yelling "GET TO THE POINT,
ALREADY!" There was some general grumbling, and giggles from the class, but
the principal soon resumed. "The war has begun. Your owners have requested that
you be dismissed early to go to recruit for the side your owner chooses and
Icering threw her paws in the air at this.
"WHOO! Go Meridell! DARIGAN IS GOING DOWN!" she
screamed. There was a general murmur of agreement among her classmates, but
Mr. Deagle clicked his tongue and tapped the pointer on his desk.
"Icering, don't speak out of turn." Before she
could open her mouth to protest, the principal resumed.
"We ask that all Students now be dismissed from
class. There WILL be school tomorrow--" a unanimous moan and an "AWW, MAN!"
from Icering and some of her friends "--But we will be having early dismissals
until the war is over. That is all. Please leave the school in an orderly--"
But that was about all we heard, as the students
threw their paws in the air, giving a loud whoop before jumping over desks and
pets alike to get to the door. I waited calmly at my desk, shoving my books
in my bag and waiting until the classroom was more or less clear before leaving.
Astromic waited with me--she also wanted to avoid the stampede, lest she break
a nail or something equally ridiculous. Astromic was like that.
When I got outside, Andromoda was waiting on
the steps for Astromic and me. "Where's Ice?" I asked, after a casual wave of
my paw. Andromoda tossed her head in Icering's general direction. She was with
a couple of her friends, trying out Mic's skateboard. Mic was a shadowed Acara...
one Ice had a crush on. But she'd graciously inform us that if any of us ever
told him that, she'd personally bite our heads off. I ran down the steps of
the school, over to Icering.
"C'mon, Ice," I said, "We're gonna be late and
have to wait FOREVER in the Meridell recruits line..." Icering tossed me a dirty
look, but jumped off the board and handed it back to Mic.
"Thanks," he said, "See you tomorrow?"
"You bet," Ice responded with a nod, "Bring your
shield, 'kay?" Mic nodded, and smiled at her, then put down the board and skated
off down the street.
"When you're done DROOLING..." I said, quietly.
Icering grabbed my paw and was already dragging me off towards our house.
"C'MON! We gotta go kick some evil Darigan behind!"
We got home shortly after that, all four of us, and unceremoniously burst
through the door and into the living room. Cutie, our owner, was stretched out
on the white sofa with the news on. Upon seeing us, she flicked off the TV and
"To the recruitment tents!" Icering declared,
a single paw in the air. Cutie grinned. "I went while you were at school."
Way to go. Save US the trouble of waiting in
line. Geez, I love her...
"My Shield!" Icering screamed, "GIMMEGIMMEGIMME!"
Cutie laughed, ruffling Ice's hair, before wandering upstairs and returning
with something clasped in her hands. She deposited the shields on the table
and walked away. I scampered over to the table, a large grin plastered all over
my face. The grin soon disappeared, though, when I spotted the shields.
"These... are Darigan Shields..." I said, face
faulting. "We're...we're fighting for DARIGAN?!" screamed Icering, outraged.
Astromic wrinkled her nose up. "They're ugly!"
she said in a rather whiny tone.
"Not to mention evil..." added Andromoda, rolling
her eyes. Cutie frowned.
"They're not evil."
"No," said Icering, her voice dripping sarcasm,
"It's just that their interior decorator is related to Dr. Sloth..." Cutie folded
her arms across her chest. She didn't really look angry, though.
"The orb IS theirs, you guys."
"No, it's not!" screamed Icering, "Meridell is
using it! They NEED it! Haven't you been watching the news?! Don't you see what
it was like?!" Ding Ding Ding. Score one for the Acara.
"I'm not fighting for Darigan," she said stubbornly.
"Then don't. I never said any of you had to fight.
I just support them."
"Well I don't!" Icering exclaimed, before turning
on her heel and stomping up the stairs to her room. Astromic followed, and then
slowly Andromoda turned away and walked upstairs as well. Cutie looked at me
pleadingly for a moment or two, then flopped on the sofa and flicked the TV
back on. I watched her for a moment, then turned and walked upstairs.
Honestly, though. How could she have chosen to
side with Darigan? They were the BAD GUYS! I mean, you only needed to take one
look at Meridell, then at Darigan to know what side was good and evil. So what
was she trying to prove? Was this just another of her oddball quirky things,
like her affinity with Dark Faeries and that kind of thing? But she hadn't liked
Sloth, not at all... Hmm. I still don't get it. Meridell was the OBVIOUS choice,
and I wanted to fight with THEM!
After throwing a rubber bouncy ball against my
wall for about a half an hour and thinking, not to mention Icering listening
to her "music" (It sounded like a lot of drums, guitars, and pets screaming
into microphones to me. But hey, it was better than Astromic's M*YNCI CD....)
I sighed, and got up off my bed. I walked downstairs. Cutie was still on the
couch. I prodded her foot gently to get her attention.
"Can we go to the Battledome?" She flicked off
the TV again and looked at me. "Thought you wanted to fight for Meridell?" She
asked. I nodded. "I do. But points for Darigan are better than no points at
all." She sighed and got to her feet. Walking to the foot of the stairs, she
paused to grab her long, black jacket from the closet and then cupped her hands
to her mouth, calling upstairs.
"M'takin' Brenen to the Battledome! Don't burn
the house down!" There was a pause, then,
"Whatever," came the shouted reply from Icering,
who then proceeded to crank the volume on her stereo up. Cutie turned to me.
"Got your stuff?" I nodded. She grabbed her keys
and walked out the door, holding it open for me. I walked through, sighing softly
as she shut the door behind me and locked it.
Nine Morrises down. I took one look at the line-up for another fight and shook
"Ready to go?" Cutie asked. I nodded. That had
certainly helped to let off some steam, though I'd much rather have been fighting
those Darigan PetPets...
"We'll stop by Faerieland on the way home. Visit
the springs and the wheel of excitement. How does that sound?" I nodded, silently.
Knowing Cutie, we'd also be dropping in on Thalia, one of her eccentric Dark
Faerie friends. But whatever. I jammed my hands in my pockets, continuing along
my way while staring at the ground.
We got to the springs, and the Water Faerie there
(Her name was Callisto) smiled at us and waved. Cutie and she were on good terms,
what with Cutie being a Water Elemental. "Come for a bit of healing?" She said
with a smile. Cutie nodded, and Callisto looked at me. Seeing the Darigan shield
pinned to my lapel, she frowned.
"Oh..." she said, sort of coldly, "You're supporting
"Yep," said Cutie promptly. Callisto frowned.
"I don't usually heal Darigan warriors, but since
you're a friend..."
Hah, I thought as she begin to cast a spell,
Even the Faeries are against us. And probably everybody at school would be too.
I walked into school the next morning, my shield in my back pocket. I couldn't
help but notice the red and blue of the Meridell shields most of my peers wore.
Boy, did I feel like the odd pet out. I survived the first two periods without
being asked anything about the war. Astromic and Andromoda were acting as though
nothing was happening, Icering sat in her desk and sulked, still completely
enraged, and I was trying to play it cool. Probably failing miserably, but hey,
that's beside the point.
At lunch, I grabbed my lunch bag from my locker
and scurried off to the cafeteria. Toltecoa wasn't there that day, so I decided
to just sit with Icering and her friends. It wasn't long before Mic flopped
down in a seat between Ice and me. "So where's your shield?" he asked Ice, proudly
displaying his own Meridell one. Icering snarled at no one in particular and
answered in a rather irate tone,
"I didn't bring it." Mic blinked.
"Why not?" she growled.
"Because my OWNER decided to be her STUPID WEIRDO
SELF and SIGN US UP WITH DARIGAN!" she literally screamed. The cafeteria fell
silent. Everyone had heard her. I moaned and slammed my head down on the table.
A few of the Grarrls and mutant pets applauded, but most pets turned to their
neighbour and started whispering.
"Eeeew!" I heard the familiar high-pitched squeal
of Felicity. "You guys sided with those slimy grease balls?!" she asked. I heard
Astromic stammer a reply, something about her have nothing to do with it. I
moaned loudly and stood up, walking outside to go and be alone. It felt just
like walking the scaffold, pets turning to look at me and whispering to each
other behind their paws. Geez, why don't you all just say it to my face?!
I stormed outside, and walked around to behind
the school in the field. I flopped down on the grass and folded my arms across
my chest. Why did she have to go and choose to side with THEM?! Now everyone
would think I was weird or something... Or dark or evil or siding with Dr. Sloth...
eugh... How could Cutie DO this to me?!
"Brennie?" a voice curiously called. I jumped
and looked around, to see Aphorio walking towards me. She was a silver Grundo,
the pet of Cutie's friend Merc.
"Hi Aph," I said dully. She flopped down next
"What's wrong?" she asked.
"Cutie sided with Darigan," I said, staring at
my feet and sulking.
There was an awkward silence.
"...Oh. Merc was gonna, but she chose Meridell."
That was it. "EVERYONE chose Meridell, Aph!!
But no, SHE had to go and be weird and pick Darigan, and Now I'M suffering because
of it! It's not FAIR!" Aphorio awkwardly patted my back, but I shrugged her
off. I didn't want any sympathy.
"M'sorry, Bren." Or pity, come to think of it.
I stood and jammed my hands in my pockets.
"Where're you going?" she asked curiously.
"Away," I said simply and walked off.
"Suit yourself," said Aph with a shrug and continued
munching on her sandwich.
A few weeks had passed since the battle started. We'd since stopped going to
the Battledome. Heck, we didn't really go anywhere, but Cutie usually left to
go help out at the Darigan infirmary while the rest of us stayed at home. Things
weren't much better at school; We were the vast minority. Some really patriotic
kid had even picked a fight with Icering. She'd promptly started clawing his
eyes out, but he was far stronger than her. Mic had showed up and taken him
down, earning himself a solid two months of detention, but he said he didn't
mind. Only thing that was different was that more or less none of us were talking
to Cutie, except for when we absolutely had to. She didn't really seem to care,
My attitude on Darigan really hadn't changed.
Or at least until that day. I was sitting on the couch, watching the Neopian
news, when a report about Darigan came on. I watched, intrigued, as the news
reporter went on. "And it seems, ladies and gentlemen, that King Skarl actually
did STEAL the orb from Lord Darigan; Literally. Perhaps its our dear Meridellian
king that has wronged Lord Darigan. The 'Staffers' advise you not to be so hasty
when choosing sides." I flicked off the TV, and wondered where the term "staffers"
came from. All I knew is that "staffers" were more or less in control of everything.
Dismissing the thought, I jumped off the couch,
a grin spreading across my face. We were on the right side after all! Haha!
I ran off to go tell Icering, bounding up the stairs... And bumping smack into
Cutie. She blinked and looked down at me. "Where're you going in such a hurry?"
she asked. I looked up at her and blinked.
She HAD picked the right side, I realised The
orb had been Darigan's to begin with, not Meridell. They had stolen it. But
then again, she hadn't known that to begin with. She stared at me, but I held
my tongue. I don't think I had yet forgiven her for the torment the pets at
school had put me through. She eventually shrugged and brushed past me, walking
downstairs. I watched her leave, but said nothing and ran up the stairs to tell
"I don't care," she said after I told her the
news. I blinked.
"What's that mean?"
"Just what it sounds like," She said coldly,
"Meridell is still the good side, anyone with half a brain knows that, Bren."
"But," I started, then sighed. I shook my head
and left. I knew how stubborn she was, there was really no point. ...Besides...
Maybe she was right...
The next day, as I watched the morning news, I almost choked on my mouthful
of super-sugary-chocolate-coated Neoflakes. They were giving you... A chance
to change sides? That meant...
"WEGOTTAJOINWITHMERIDELLCUTIE YOU GOTTA CHAAANGE!"
Ice screamed as Cutie walked into the room, still half asleep.
"...Nyeh?" Was all she said, save some incomprehensible
noises that certainly weren't Neopian. Eventually, she managed to decipher what
Icering was trying to say.
"You really wanna switch sides?" said Cutie.
Icering nodded vigorously. Cutie sighed.
"Well, I guess..."
"NO!" I yelled, cutting her off. Everyone turned
to look at me. "Cutie was right! King Skarl stole the orb, it belongs to Lord
"Brenen..." said Cutie softly. Icering opened
her mouth to say something, but I caught her,
"No! It's not their fault they look like that,
they used to be just like Meridell! THEY'RE the ones that are right, and I'm
siding with Lord Darigan!" I screamed. I grabbed my coat and schoolbag and ran
out the door, leaving them standing there with mouths agape.
When I got to school, the first thing I noticed was the significant amount
of people who had already jumped ship--from Meridell to Darigan. I also noticed
a lot less people were tossing me dirty looks in the halls. But I didn't really
care, from the people glaring or the people smiling. I just wanted to get to
I waited outside for class to start, Icering
and the others standing a few feet away from me and giving me the cold shoulder.
"Ice!" I heard someone call. I turned to see
Mic, running towards her and waving one paw in the air.
"Look Ice," he said, "My owner changed sides
to Darigan!" Her jaw dropped.
"Tha-that's... GREAT!" she said. I tossed her
a look that could kill and then turned, but not before I was certain she'd seen
it. I just couldn't believe her, sometimes...
When the bell rang, I hurriedly stood, grabbed my bag and shuffled outside.
I was eager to get home and grab a bite to eat,
maybe see what Cutie had gotten from the advent calendar.
"Bren!" came a voice. I turned around to see
Icering running towards me.
"What?" I snapped, still bitter from earlier.
"Uh... I'm... Sorry. About earlier. You were
right," she said, "I guess things aren't always black and white. Forgive?"
"Of course." Ice grinned.
"Good. And guess what?! Mic thought that the
Darigan guys were good this whole time! I could just DIE!"
"Mm," I said, continuing on my way home, "You
sound like Astromic."
"Take that back!"
"Nuh-uh! You gotta catch me first!" I responded,
laughing and breaking into a run.