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The Return of Barclay


by pippin_me

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If you're by some chance wanting a happy little story about how I turned my life around, then you might want to close this page; there's an X in the top corner, press it. If you want another sad but depressingly true story then don't click the X. Some of you may have encountered me already, if not in my first tale then surely somewhere around Neopia.

     My name is Barclay; do you know who I am yet? I guess you've forgotten; it's been so long since my first story was published. I guess I should remind you who I am, so that you can leave while you still have the chance. As I said before, my name is Barclay, but nobody calls me that anymore. It is forgotten; I have a much more menacing name now...

     *DRAMATIC LIGHTS*

     *DRAMATIC MUSIC*

     Okay that's enough fooling around; my name as I'm most commonly known by is The Shadow Usul. I guess by know there is nobody left to read my tale but I'll tell it anyway, if by some chance I have opened the heart of some Neopian citizen. Like that's going to happen.

     I better get on with my tale...

     This is a story about my return to being Barclay...

     It wasn't long after I left my final home (the end of my first tale) that I realised I could try to become the Usul I once was. It was then for the first time since I left my lonely burrow underneath the bushes that I decided to return to see what treasures remained of my once gigantic hoard (you may remember the Neopian citizens stealing what was once stolen in my first tale).

     I couldn't move freely in daylight but instead wandered the lonely streets at night, cloaked and hidden in a shadowy blanket of darkness. The burrow was now barren and deserted, the entrance scuffled and ruined where larger Neopians had forced their way inside. My past home was bare where once the walls had been stacked high with rare artefacts and items; tears welled in my yellowy eyes as I saw the destruction humans had brought upon the world we lived in. Not many Neopets can remember a time in Neopia before the humans came, and if they do remember they forget that it was for the worse that they arrived and not for the better. We used to live in harmony and peace, nobody needed money, and we shared, until of course we became a tourist attraction...

     Anyway back to the story...

     My beautiful home had been destroyed and my hopes of being reinstated as Barclay dashed, I remember when I used to be bullied and how they'd made me give up hope about my recovery but now I was determined...

     My dark paws scrabbled in the tiny crevices of the earth in my deserted burrow, lifting the dry earth from the ground as I was so desperate to find just one item that could help me. Just one item of worth would be all I needed to save me; it was either fate or coincidence that helped me then; I was scratching frantically at the dirt by the doorway when the burrow collapsed upon me. I was frightened as the earth buried me, its cold dry compact mixture pressing heavily down upon my body; it was black in the claustrophobic space but my eyes were accustomed to darkness and I began to dig my way upwards, fearing I would never reach the surface.

     I was almost at the surface when suddenly I saw something out of the corner of my eye, a protruding, wooden, smooth surface in the dirt. I knew instantly that it was an item from my hoard but I couldn't quite recognise what it could be. My paw reached out upwards, sliding across the wooden surface to reach a firm grasp before I pulled it to reveal...

     A Rainbow Paint Brush.

     I was saved.

     My life as an outcast could end, nobody would suspect a happy little rainbow Usul named Barclay to be a shadow-lurking thief. I almost cried as I reached the surface, my paws pulling me from the dry earth. It was time to get painted.

     The night sky was ink black with streaks of navy blue floating almost dreamily across the blanket of darkness. With the rainbow paint brush clutched tightly to my chest I bounded back down the dirt paths and back to Neopia Central. It was silent in the heart of town, the occasional late shopper rushing home laden with shopping bags, the rare light still turned on in the happy Neohomes. My heart was pounding in my chest; to think, there would never be another shadow Usul, I am the first and last of my kind. It would soon be over...

     The Rainbow Pool was always closed and guarded during the night time, due to a few unsuccessful attempts from Dr Sloth to turn all Neopets into mutated versions of themselves. A few guards however couldn't stop me; I'm too dark and too sneaky. I crept underneath a bush and crawled closed to the floor. My yellow eyes were darting from side to side as I worked out how to put my plan into operation; I knew I had to swab myself with the paintbrush before bathing myself in the pool. That posed a problem, I couldn't just stand there while the guards were patrolling and I couldn't jump in the pool either; they would surely hear me.

     I clutched the paintbrush even tighter to my chest but then gasped as I noticed the brown and rainbow stain across my chest where the paint brush had been resting. Then I realised...

     Swabbing myself with the brush I then discarded the useless dull item. I crept across the tiled surrounding to the pool and climbed the heavy steps. I wandered around the edge of the pool, being careful to be quiet and also balanced; I couldn't fall into the pool. At the opposite end of the pool was a rainbow coloured waterfall which would mask my tiny body falling into the water with its huge crashing waves.

     One... Two... . Three...

     I plopped into the water almost pathetically, but the rainbow coloured water swirled around my head almost dancing around the pool. My fur was permanently stained the beautiful rainbow colour, my eyes returning to the huge Usul form, big and beautiful. I splashed my way to the edge of the pool where I clambered out and onto the tiles where I shook myself dry and wandered back to the bushes. For once I didn't have to creep around Neopia. People and pets smiled at me and said hello and then I met Violet.

     She adopted me, and I told her my past, starting from the beginning, but she already knew because she had read my tale in the Neopian Times and searched to adopt me ever since. Those were the best two weeks of my life...

     Until...

     One morning I awoke as usual, had breakfast as usual and got ready to go into town but as I put my bow in my hair I saw a glint of black fur in my otherwise flawless colour. By that evening my eyes were yellowing and my mane was becoming purple. I cried in anguish as I saw my beautiful colour drain from my body to reveal my true form, that of the Shadow Usul.

     But when I looked in the mirror, for the first time in weeks I saw myself staring back; I saw me. I left again and realised I was happy with myself the way I was; I had a more exciting life than any other pet I know. "You can't catch me, I'm the Shadow Usul," I screeched in the middle of Neopia Central. As the mobs began to chase me I felt a feeling of adrenaline and smiled. I was happy to be me!

The End

Author's Note: It's been a whole year since my last story in the NT about Barclay. I hope to be back writing now. Neomail comments!

 
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