The Brush He Thought He Never Wanted
Stumbles hesitated for a while. After all, this was a decision that would surely affect him in a great way. He had known about it for months, but he certainly wasn’t expecting this. He was expecting something much different. Something much more suitable for a Lupe of his gender....
“Isn’t it wonderful? No, you don't have to hide your happiness! I know how you feel,” Shelly said, breaking the silence from when she had first shown Stumbles the brush. She was holding out a Faerie Paint Brush, and Stumbles sat dumbstruck at the elegant brush. Surely Shelly knew that a Halloween Lupe of his caliber had a reputation? Maybe this was some kind of a sick joke. Surely she would be laughing any moment, and would then be pulling out a more suitable brush from behind her back. Surely she was just pulling his leg? He half hoped that his ridiculous fantasy was true, but in the back of his mind, he knew it wasn't.
He thought back. What have I done to deserve a punishment like this? He thought and thought, until finally he remembered something from the past that ultimately foreshadowed this event.
It had all started when he was first born. He was adopted by a very rich Neopian. Being so wealthy, he had quickly painted Stumbles Halloween. Stumbles liked being a Halloween Lupe, even though he wasn’t exactly tough. But then his previous owner grew tired of him, for whatever reason. He sent him straight away to the Pound, not even caring about Stumbles' feelings.
Stumbles was forced to stay there for a very long time. Forced to stay at the Pound for days, even. He managed to scrape what little food he could from the Soup Kitchen and the Money Tree, but even though he was healthy, it still seemed that no one wanted him. No one wanted him because Werelupes were thought to be dangerous. No one wanted him, that is, until the lovely woman who stood before him showed up.
With one look at him, she realized that he had a good heart, despite his rather rough exterior. When Stumbles had been adopted, Shelly promised him that she’d have him painted a special colour when she had saved up enough. And that special day when she finally had gotten the special paint brush was today.
“Let me guess, you’re speechless?” Shelly cried excitedly when Stumbles had not replied.
“It’s, er--, well,” the Lupe stuttered awkwardly.
Stumbles’ owner shrieked in excitement. “I’m so happy you liked it! For a second there, I was scared you didn’t like it, but then when I saw your face I knew that...”
She thinks that I want to be painted Faerie... she doesn’t realize that it will humiliate me in front of all of my friends! How could she possibly think that I would want to be painted that horrible colour? Stumbles thought to himself, only half listening to Shelly blabbing about “sacrificing everything for this” and “wanting to go to the Rainbow Pool right now.” He knew it was rude, and was taught better than to not listen when someone was talking, but the sudden anger had compelled him to.
“So, it’s off we go then, isn’t it? I'm so happy! I have finally gotten enough for this, and you can't even imagine what I had to go through to get this! Trust me, you are one lucky Lupe,” she said in excitement. Stumbles gave her a weak smile, and then trudged off with her from their humble Neopian Central home. Only because she was in front of him could Shelly not see his sad, apprehensive, and slightly angry face.
But wait, I need to backtrack. Just why am I angry anyway? I shouldn’t be angry. This is the girl who saved me when no one else would. She has cared for me, fed me, and played with me since I have been adopted. I owe her nothing but thanks for all she's done for me, the Lupe thought to himself. And he knew that the right decision was surely to follow her lead, despite his dislike towards the brush.
They walked for what seemed like hours, though it had only been a few minutes since they lived so close to the Rainbow Pool. Stumbles would occasionally look up to see Shelly smiling back at him. She couldn’t resist the temptation to look back at her most beloved pet; the pet she cherished more than any other possession.
As they got to the Rainbow Pool, Stumbles’ owner looked up. Faerieland was showing in the clear blue sky. The clouds holding Faerieland looked like puffy bits of cotton stuck together to form a big white plate.
“Oh, it’s so beautiful. I wish I could go there, but I have no way to get there at all,” she sighed.
Stumbles looked up too. Yes, there indeed was Faerieland, though all they could see was what looked like a giant cloud. He longed to see what it was like up there.
Shelly’s expression got a lot more cheery. “Now I get to paint you!” she cried, obviously unable to contain her excitement. And she was right, for they were right at the edge of the pool now.
The Lupe only vaguely remembered the process of painting from last time. His previous owner had painted him Halloween, and now the same thing was going to happen, except with a different outcome and a different brush. He remembered from last time his owner hastily painting away, not caring about the drips of paint dropping into the cold pool below. Now he felt the gentle strokes of Shelly, who had not wanted to waste a drop for Stumbles' sake.
Shelly painted away. Stumbles hadn’t yet realized that he was standing in the pool while she painted with expertise. She was humming to herself now, and Stumbles closed his eyes to the melodic tune. It was so soothing he was surprised he hadn’t fallen asleep.
“Tah-dah!” she cried in triumph after a short while.
Stumbles opened one eye. To his amazement, he didn’t even mind the way he looked. He then opened two very wide eyes. Actually, to his bewilderment, he liked it. He was a blue Lupe with Faerie wings. What was so bad about that? Nothing!
Best of all, the Lupe thought, now I can fly! Now I can...
And he suddenly had a brilliant idea. He finally had thought of a way to repay her for all the kindness she showed him and all the tolerance of his anger.
Shelly clapped for him. She was very excited, until it dawned on her it was time to go back home.
“Well, I guess it’s back home now,” Shelly said. She half-glanced over at Faerieland. And soon Stumbles thought of a gift he could give to her in exchange for her kindness.
“Stay where you are,” the Lupe said. He began to flap his wings, and soon he was only inches from Shelly’s head. She looked up at him in amazement. He put his feet underneath her arms, and started to fly towards what looked like a giant cloud. They both knew, however, that it was something much better than just a cloud. They were flying toward the home of the Faeries....