Where Neopets Come From
It was a chilly Shenkuu morning, almost time for lunch. Two of my neopets had left home for a day of training, leaving me with Cursair, my curious Halloween Shoyru.
I stoked the fireplace and settled into my seat with a copy of the Neopian Times. Barely a minute had passed when the question came.
"Hey Fling? Where did I come from?"
The cosy, cluttered living room of our neohome suddenly became much less comfortable. It's a question that most young neopets ask once they get to a certain stage: for Cursair it was somewhere between the 'midnight fridge raider' and the 'Yes Boy Ice Cream wannabe' stages.
"You're from the Haunted Woods, of course," I said to the little Halloween Shoyru. He narrowed his eyes suspiciously.
"Well, I already know that! I mean where did I come from before I was Halloween? Where did all the other blue Shoyrus come from?"
I surveyed him over the top of my Neopian Times, cringing a little inside. He was sprawled on the floor by the fireplace, playing with his favourite old Meepit plushie - definitely not the most mature of Shoyrus. Was he ready yet? Could he handle the truth? Maybe I could still worm my way out of the question.
"Did you read your new Mynci book yet?" I said, in a feeble attempt to distract him.
"I think I must have come from somewhere way up high, with lots of good weather for flying," he continued, before scrunching his face up into a thoughtful frown. I could almost hear cogs whirring inside his head. "I think I must be from Faerieland," he finally concluded, sitting up.
Now as much as I would have liked to leave it at that, I couldn't have him going around thinking that he was a faerie. It could only lead to another embarrassing, hare-brained incident, like the time he convinced himself he was a celebrity and tried to publish his own FAQ.
"You're not from Faerieland, Cursair," I told him, thinking quickly. "But there's a special, secret faerie who -"
"Boring! I've already heard that story! There's no such thing as the Stork Faerie," he declared, brandishing his pointy trident for extra effect.
There was no point in arguing, with him in that inquisitive mood. If I didn’t tell him, he’d just ask every other person and pet in Neopia until somebody gave him an answer that he liked. I sighed in defeat. "Fine, just let me get a few things and I'll take you to where you came from."
Whooping with glee, he leapt up and began to jig around the room. There's nothing Cursair loves more than exploring, and to him this looked like it was shaping up to be quite a good adventure. I gathered a few neopoints and packed some snacks for the trip, while Cursair watched nosily. "We're not going far," I explained. "Just to Neopia Central."
We arrived to find Neopia Central packed with shoppers. A rowdy mass of neopets was crowded beneath the money tree, waiting for gifts to drop from its branches and into their outstretched hands. We passed by the petpet shop and were nearly mobbed by a flock of bleating Babaas.
“Should’ve known better than to come here in the middle of lunch time,” I muttered to myself. Cursair looked at me expectantly. “It’s just through here,” I told him, shouldering my way through the crowd towards a plain, ordinary white building.
“This is it?” he asked, looking doubtfully about.
“Yes, this is the Create-A-Neopet centre. Want to take a look inside?”
We opened the unremarkable-looking door to find ourselves in a perfectly average, everyday office. There were several desks against the wall; at one of these desks sat a small girl. I could hear Cursair stifling a yawn. This was hardly the type of adventure he’d had in mind when we left Shenkuu.
“Look over here, Cursair. There’s a new owner sitting over there. See those papers she’s got? She’s written down exactly what kind of neopet she wants.”
“Why? What d’you mean?” he asked, puzzled.
“I mean name, species, colour, behaviour, everything! Even which type of stats the new pet will have. When she turns those papers in, she will have a pet that is exactly how she wants it.”
“So... that means you decided to make me a blue Shoyru?”
“Yes,” I answered slowly, not sure where this question was going.
“Well, I wanted to be a Flotsam.”
“Why on earth would you want to be a Flotsam?” I asked, now the puzzled one. “They’re always getting chased around by Jetsams. And they can’t fly. You love flying!”
“Then I want to be a Jetsam. They can swim, and I can’t.”
“Well, that’s what morphing potions are for,” I responded, trying to think of a distraction while he tried to hold me accountable for his lack of fins. Fortunately the new owner walked past with a brand new Eyrie, and Cursair distracted himself with several more questions.
“Where do the new neopets come from? Are there lots of Eyries in that room? Where do they keep the blue Shoyrus? I want to try and see,” he said, picking up a pencil from one of the empty desks. I quickly snatched the papers from him before he could start filling them out.
“You can’t create a neopet, Cursair, you are a neopet!”
He sighed, a frown wrinkling his forehead. This was hardly the exciting experience that he’d been expecting; in fact it was thoroughly ordinary.
“I don’t remember any of this, Fling. Where are the neopets before they are created?”
“They aren’t anywhere, Cursair. They don’t exist.”
At this, his eyebrows raised up so far that they disappeared under the hem of his Halloween costume. “But HOW? They must come from somewhere! They can’t just pop out of nowhere! How do they get here?”
I took a moment to ponder this. “Well, I guess it’s just magic.”
A knowing look grew on his face. “So I am from Faerieland, then!”
“No, Cursair, it’s not special faerie magic. It’s just the ordinary kind that every owner knows how to do,” I explained, exasperated.
“Ohhh, like how owners can magically teleport from Shenkuu to Neopia Central so quickly. Well, why didn’t you just say that in the first place?” he exclaimed, shaking his head at me. “Silly Fling, we didn’t even have to come all this way. Oh, it’s lunchtime already. We might as well go and get something to eat. Look at that interestingly-shaped shop!” he hinted heavily, pointed towards Pizzaroo.
“Yes, the health food shop has got a very unusual shape,” I joked weakly. He rolled his eyes at me.
“Not THAT shop. You know me, Fling. I hate eating beans.”
“Yes, of course I know you,” I answered. “After all, I created you exactly the way you are, didn’t I?”
He ignored this last comment. Perhaps he still hadn’t forgiven me for not making him a Flotsam. “Can we get Chilli Cheese flavour from Pizzaroo? Please?”
“Of course, any flavour you like, Cursair. As long as it doesn’t have seafood on it.”
“I already know that you don’t like seafood, Fling. I think I know you more than you know me.”
A few minutes later we were seated at our table with a Chilli Cheese pizza on its way. Barely a minute had passed when the question came.
“Hey Fling? Where did you come from?”
I surveyed him over the top of the menu I had been reading. Was he ready yet? Could he handle the truth? There was a long silence. It wasn’t really a matter of whether he could handle it; it was more a matter of whether I could handle it.
“Can I answer that question tomorrow?”
He grinned, knowing exactly what I was up to. “Sure, but you have to remember to tell me tomorrow.”
I grinned back, knowing that I was in the clear. Cursair always forgot that sort of thing. I created him that way, after all.