To the world you may be one person, but to one person you may be the world.
Super Aisha glanced down from his tower. A pink Acara was cowering on the ground, horrorstruck at the green spider-like monster creeping towards her. "Someone, please help!"
"I’ll save you, fair maiden!" cried Super Aisha. "Never fear, Super Aisha is here!"
He swooped down, knocking the Spider Grundo aside before-
"Sarah! Are you listening? What did I just say?"
A white Aisha jumped in his seat, blushing furiously. "Um," he said stupidly, racking his brain for any ideas on what to say.
The teacher sighed. "Sarah, you’ve got to pay more attention! I was just explaining to the class about the Quadratic Formula. Perhaps you could teach it better than me?"
Sarah blushed. "Um, the- the number, um, it’s, um... I don’t know, Mrs. Roberts."
The teacher rolled her eyes and tore a pink slip off a pad of paper. "Detention again, Sarah. Tomorrow, please try a little harder to focus."
The bell rang as Sarah trudged between the rows of desks to Mrs. Roberts. She handed him the detention notice and pointed wordlessly out the door. Sarah dragged his feet down the hall towards classroom 142 and his third detention this week. As he walked, he kicked himself for daydreaming again. "Stupid, stupid, stupid," he muttered. "What’s Mom going to say when I come home late again?"
He walked into the room. Mr. Jenkins, today’s detention monitor, didn’t even glance up when Sarah slouched in and dropped into a seat. Sarah laid his head on the desk and thought about what he was going to do. Was it his fault that he had always wanted to be a hero? Of course, there was no chance of that ever happening. Sarah was a bookworm, wore glasses, and was the opposite of athletic. Heroes needed to be strong and brave- how would Sarah ever have a chance at being the savior of Neopia? He glanced up and looked at the clock. It was half past three- only thirty minutes to go.
Sarah ran a hand through his shaggy black hair and stared dazedly out the window. A green Wocky was pressed against the window, sobbing as the Pant Devil stole her bike. This was his chance! Sarah jumped out of his seat and raced toward the window, oblivious to Mr. Jenkins yelling at him. He threw open the window and jumped through. Unfortunately, he landed in a prickly bush. Sarah cried out in pain and managed to stand up, though as soon as he did, he tripped over a rock and fell flat on his face. Judge Hog appeared out of nowhere and put the Pant Devil in handcuffs so fast, he didn’t notice until it was too late. "I’ve got you now, devil!" boomed Judge Hog. "Your lawbreaking ways are over!"
A Neovision reporter came racing up and shoved his microphone into Judge Hog’s face. "Any comments on this rescue? Why do you continue to save everyone in need?"
Judge Hog gave a huge, heroic smile. "Well, Andy, I’m just doing my job."
Sarah sat up, wincing. He attempted to wipe the mud off his clothes, but only succeeded in smearing it more. He walked resignedly around the cluster of fangirls and reporters now surrounding Judge Hog and limped home.
His mother glanced up as soon as he walked into the kitchen. Her pale, freckled face was distorted by a frown. "Sarah!" she exclaimed. "Where on earth have you been? What happened?"
Sarah sighed. "I got sent to detention for daydreaming again. While I was there, the Pant Devil attacked a little girl. I tried to help, but I fell in a thorn bush and landed in a mud puddle."
His mother winced at the sight of the scratches running up and down his arms. "Come on, sweetheart, we’ll get you cleaned up."
They trooped up the stairs to the bathroom, where Sarah’s mom cleaned his hurts with antiseptic. She then put bandages on the worst of the cuts before standing up and brushing Sarah’s black hair out of his gray eyes. "Sarah, I know you want to be a hero, but you’ve got to be more careful."
"I know, Mom."
She smiled and kissed Sarah’s cheek. "That’s my boy. Come on downstairs, and I’ll get you a snack."
Sarah watched as his mother headed back down the stairs, her brown curls bobbing up and down with each step. He smiled at her retreating form. She was a really great mom, but Sarah wondered sometimes why she had given him a girl name. Too bad he couldn’t change it. Shrugging resignedly, he followed her down the stairs.
Two of his sisters, Chichi and Blacky, were working together on homework. Blacky, at twelve, was only two years younger than Sarah, but little Chichi was only seven. She grinned up at her only brother as he walked in. "Hi, Sarah! I’ve wondered where you were. I’m sorry you got hurt."
Sarah smiled. "It’s okay. The cuts don’t hurt that bad. They’ll get better soon."
"I hope they get better super-duper fast. I’m sad when you’re hurt. Oops!"
Chichi had dropped her pencil. Laughing, Blacky bent over to retrieve it. "Chichi, you’re such a butterfingers."
Sarah turned at the sound of baby talk. His mom was walking in, holding Cherry, the baby. She held out her tiny arms towards Sarah, and he lifted her out of his mom’s arms. His mother smiled gratefully and said, "Kids, turn on the news, will you? I want to listen while I make dinner."
Blacky pressed the button and the news came on. The first story was about Sloth’s disappearance, but the second was about Judge Hog. "Oh, no," muttered Sarah. "Not this one, please not this one!"
A smiling, overzealous blue Quiggle appeared on the screen. "Hello, folks, Andy Jonson here with today’s local news. Another Pant Devil attack was again stopped by Judge Hog today. Mr. Hog," he said, turning to the hero. "Any comments on the rescue? Why do you continue to save everyone in need?"
Nobody bothered to listen to his answer. Instead, they all watched, horrified, as a white Aisha, scowling, limped away from the scene. Chichi grabbed the remote and turned to Sarah. She turned and whispered, "Sarah, why didn’t you say?"
Sarah lost it. "Because I’m not a hero! I tried to save the girl, but I’m just too pathetic, okay? I’m too weak, too clumsy, too... un-super!"
He stomped off to his room, leaving his silenced family behind. Why did he have to be the loser of the family? Blacky was an actress, Chichi was a genius, Cherry was the most adorable Xweetok in Neopia, and his mom was a leader in their neighborhood. Why was he so ordinary? Why couldn’t he be special, too?
Sarah threw himself on his bed, his face burning with anger. He stayed there the rest of the night, ignoring his mother calling for him to come have spaghetti. He would stay here, wasting away, at least until he had to go to school. Good thing it was a Friday. He’d have two whole days alone, waiting to die.
He stayed there all Saturday, but on Sunday afternoon, he heard sobbing. Sarah heaved himself up off the bed and opened the door a crack. Instantly Chichi threw herself onto him. "Sarah, she’s gone! She’s gone and I don’t know what to dooooo!"
Sarah’s eyes widened in panic. "Who? Blacky? Cherry? Mom?"
"Nooo, worse! My super-special limited edition Hula Girl Usuki is missing!"
Sarah sighed with relief. "Well, that’s okay then. I’ll help you find it."
Chichi looked up to him, her tear-filled blue eyes wide. "Really?" she sniffed.
Nodding, Sarah motioned for her to follow him downstairs. She obliged, and once the reached the den, he asked, "Now, where did you last have her?"
"The last time I had Miss Luki was at the playground yesterday afternoooon! She’s been taken, Sarah, help meeeeeeeeeeeee!"
Sarah rumpled his hair. "All right, calm down, we can go see if she’s still there. Follow me."
They stepped outside and began walking the short distance to the park. Chichi, still sniffling, clung to Sarah’s hand. He glanced down and gave her a half smile. "Don’t worry, we’ll find Miss Luki. She’s probably sitting there waiting for you to get her."
The pair walked through the gates of the playground and began searching for the doll. Chichi called, "Miss Luki, where are you?"
Sarah laughed. For a genius, Chichi sure could be dumb. But she was little, so she didn’t really understand that dolls don’t usually talk. He began circling the park, looking hard for the edge of a green skirt or a purple flower. Just as Sarah completed his third loop, he spotted something red underneath the slide. He trooped over to it and bent down to see Miss Luki in perfect condition, save for a bit of dirt in her hair. "Chichi!" Sarah called excitedly. "I’ve found her! She’s okay!"
Chichi came racing over. "Oh, Miss Luki," she cried. "I’ve been looking for you!"
She squeezed the little doll close to her and gazed up at her brother with adoring eyes. "Oh, Sarah, you’re my hero!"
Smiling, Sarah scooped her up. He tousled her blond curls and whispered, "I’m just doing my job."