From the start, she had been destined to do everything wrong.
Everything she touched shattered. Exploded. Melted. An item even mysteriously vanished once. The other Novas in her class muttered about her being unable to do anything at all, and over time she believed them.
The fact she was unable to shine didn’t help any.
Novas are known to sparkle, to light up the night sky. To twirl around in the sunset, to let the gentle breeze carry them far. Twinkling and glittering are what Novas do best, and there has never been a nova who was unable to glisten.
Well, that was until Allayna first swooped through the sky.
Usually when a new Nova came into Neopia, people were friendly and excited. Prepared to help them with anything. Allayna had been greeted with a blank stare or a snobbish moment of disregard, depending on how the passerby was feeling. This was already her second month in Neopia, and only two other twinkling creatures had taken pity on the Nova who couldn’t do anything right, the worthless being.
“Our next project will be to create a presentation or some piece of artwork proving the importance of lighting up the night sky, and showing how we help Neopia.” Mrs. Cole beamed at the class until she reached Allayna’s crestfallen eyes. “Oh... right. I can talk to you after class about your project, Allayna.”
Allayna sighed. “Mrs. Cole, I could do this project. And I have to catch the cloud after school.”
Mrs. Cole’s once beaming face was now a frown, confused and disappointed at the Nova who couldn’t sparkle. “Okay then, Allayna. Disregard what I said. Anyway, about the project... since we’re running out of time to cover all the standards, it’s due tomorrow. Therefore I don’t expect anything fancy...”
Allayna’s mind began to wander, seeing as none of what her teacher was saying could ever apply to her in any way.
Cara noted her friend’s dejected expression, and quickly jabbed her in the side with a slip of paper.
“Hey-” Allayna remembered she was in class, and quieted herself by grabbing the piece of paper Cara was holding. She quietly opened it.
This project is boring. Want to come over to mine and Rudo’s house to decide what we should do?
Allayna nodded slightly, appreciating her friends’ care and concern.
We’ll find something we can all work on together. Rudo nodded as Allayna read his note silently, trying to avoid catching the teacher’s expression. Then Rudo smiled as Allayna looked at the picture on the back of the note, a picture of Mrs. Cole snarling with wacky hair.
“Allayna and Rudo... do you have something to share with the class?” Mrs. Cole stared at them with irritated coal black eyes, apparently trying to pierce them by simply staring.
Right then the bell rang, saving them from embarrassment and detention.
“Dismissed.” Mrs. Cole sighed and hovered out of the classroom.
However, the usual bullies were waiting for the light-less nova, and as soon as the teacher hovered out of the room, they closed in around the tiny creature.
“What do you want today?” Allayna found her voice quiver as she knocked a pencil box off of the teacher’s desk. She didn’t bother to pick it up, seeing as she was surrounded and all the pencils had flown in opposite directions.
“Ahh, look at the clumsy little Nova. She couldn’t even escape from us without a broken leg if she wanted to!” The leader of the group smiled through slightly pointed teeth. “We want nothing more than free entertainment. Have fun missing the cloud, seeing as that’s the only way for you to get home.”
Allayna’s eyes widened as the bullies grew closer and closer. She closed her eyes, breathed in deeply, and then...
“Hey, you get back here!!!”
It was a wild chase throughout the school hallways, draining all of Allayna’s strength. She occasionally crashed into a few open lockers, nearly missed crashing into the janitor, and dropped her homework more then once...
The cloud. Allayna came to a stop as soon as she reached the fresh air outdoors. The familiar moving object that took her and her friends home from school each day was not there waiting for her, and had instead left her behind.
A rush of voices erupted from behind her, wind and malevolent sparkles stinging her back...
“Gosh Allayna, that looks pretty bad...” Rudo stared at Allayna as she wearily stepped through the hole in the cloud to Rudo’s home.
Allayna tried to fake a smile to reassure her friends everything was alright, but it did not work. After all, she was badly bruised and a half hour late.
“Sorry I’m late...”
Cara shook her head. “I’m sorry about the bullies... I tried to get the cloud driver to wait...”
“Did any of you come up with any ideas?” Allayna changed the subject, trying to pretend she wasn’t in pain and wasn’t having a bad day. Her Nova-tip brushed against a weak spot in Rudo’s cloud and made a hole. “I’ll... I’ll fix that...” A pained look of desperation spread across Allayna’s face.
“Don’t worry about it.” Rudo shook his head quietly.
“We’ve got no ideas.” Cara sighed.
“You know, maybe we should go near the ground for inspiration. See just how some of the people down there react to us, and use that in our project.”
“The ground, Rudo?” Allayna stared in disbelief. “We aren’t supposed to go there, remember? Stay in the sky, rule #1?”
“It can’t hurt, can it? Anyway, we’re supposed to ‘prove the importance of being really bright, and show how we help Neopia’ or something like that. If you want, we won’t even go to the ground. Just fly by to see if there’s anything nova-inspired.”
Cara smiled slightly at Rudo’s suggestion, seeing as she was always one for adventure. “I’m in.”
“But... but... but...” Allayna began to think up excuses, trying to imagine all that could go wrong.
“Trust us, Allayna.” Rudo looked at Allayna, and his bright green eyes silenced her.
Worry. Allayna’s face was pale as she slowly crept from the sky.
“Come on! It’s a lot better when you let yourself zoom throughout the night!” Cara shouted from feet away, the wind blowing her sparkles and causing her to truly fly.
Allayna stayed her pace, refusing to fall from the sky, as her friends sparkled greater then they would have at home.
“Logo. Why can’t I think of something that looks nice?” The young Neopet groaned while pacing with a notepad. “Mommy needs this logo for work, for the site. Although I probably won’t get credit for creating it...”
He looked at her neighbor’s house. His wheelbarrow. His owner’s bedroom window.
He looked up in the night sky.
Her eyes widened as she saw three creatures falling from nowhere, an answer to her problem.
His pencil began furiously scribbling around the text that simply read ‘Neopets’, the text he was supposed to be helping his staff member owner decorate.
“The smallest one is closest to me. The middle one is going to be in the middle of course. And the largest one...” He looked up at the sky, pity welling inside of him for the nova who couldn’t sparkle. “The largest one is farthest away, although something about her stands out the most.”
The Chia stared at the notepad, studying his creation. Three tiny stars surrounded the word 'Neopets', adding the final finishing touch it needed.
He looked back up at the sky, watching the sparkle-less Nova begin to rise carefully back to the clouds.
Poor little creature...
As the Novas began to soar, the largest one began to catch speed. With a sudden burst of happiness, it began to twirl, spin, pirouette...
A tiny stream of sparkles followed the Nova, basking her in warmth.
The Chia stared in awe, his eyes moving from his drawing of the Neopets logo we are all familiar with, and then moving back to the newly shining nova...
Allayna had decided to abandon her worry and fear, and was now twirling through the sky.
She could feel the sparkles. They warmed her. They brought her happiness and acceptance, two things she had never felt before. Perhaps they had been the two things she had been lacking all along, the two things that prevented the sparkles in the first place...
Her friends stared in awe as she closed her eyes. Allayna was forgetting the world, forgetting the history project, forgetting the bullies who wanted to wish her harm, and not noticing a staff member joining her pet directly below...