Reflections in the Night
Within the glittering expanse of midnight, a small figure stood in her soft purple pajamas, thinking.
The stars swept slowly overhead in a hushed, celestial whisper.
Alone in the darkened yard, Yinna reflected on how far she and her family had come. She touched her smooth orange face; she felt her long Grundo ears. A quiet joy gradually filled her from within – the joy of small miracles.
At the very beginning, in the days of innocence, she had been a yellow Wocky, a haughty, spoiled, lone Neopet, careless in her individual enjoyments. Then along came Blippita, her little sister, and Yoofyoof, her little brother. They were so childish and so annoyingly adorable. Blippita had a way of flapping her green Shoyru wings, squealing delightedly in the wind. Yoofyoof had a way of wandering dreamily in the garden, his bright Kacheek eyes drinking in the world. Yinna cherished and tolerated them both, but felt lost at the same time. She had two new siblings, she was changing, and she didn’t know who she wanted to become. She could no longer recline on her cushions, leaning securely against her rich Wocky tail. Her world wasn’t secure anymore – she struggled to find a new identity.
So she took the journey that countless other adolescent Neopets had taken – across the wildest mystery terrains of Neopia, into the glinting heart of the Secret Laboratory. There, she went through countless zaps, countless blinding flashes that revolutionized her experience of Neopia. She learned what it was like to swim as a Kiko, with her round finlike appendages stirring the cool waters. She learned what it was like to fly as a Shoyru, sweeping and curving around the magnificent skies. But she never felt completely comfortable – always she tried on new identities, and always she changed her mind.
Until one day she marched forth from the laboratory as a Grundo and saw Dr. Sloth’s minions polluting the world. A strange rage grew within her, a force that she had never known before. Perhaps it was her natural protectiveness of things she loved. Perhaps it was her Battledome training, coupled with stat changes from zaps, that was now sharpened for a real purpose. Or perhaps it was a new feeling that came with being a Grundo – an intuitive need for revenge against the dark lord.
Whatever it was, Yinna launched herself into the Battledome more fiercely and more decisively than she’d done so in a very long time. The miniature robots and the blows poured down upon her, but she deflected them all. She was strong, she was determined, she was Yinna.
When Sloth and his minions were finally defeated, Yinna could not be happier. She knew, at last, that this was the physical form she could gladly accept. Grundos were very special Neopets – brought into being by Dr. Sloth’s plans, yet somehow managing to create their own destinies. They had never completely integrated into Neopian society, but they had accepted themselves and continued to conquer. Yinna was proud to join the Grundo species.
In that time, Blippita and Yoofyoof had also grown. Blippita still enjoyed traversing the skies, but she had acquired a new flamboyant confidence in her Draik form. She no longer landed awkwardly or felt helpless in the face of strong wind. She could fly, she could dance, and she had learned to enjoy herself without fear. She was beginning to experiment with makeup, and had recently taken to wearing a glittery tiara. In fact, Yinna was afraid, her little sister had started to strut, the same way she once had. But it was an adorable, attention-seeking kind of strut, and Yinna knew that with time the young Draik would outgrow it.
Yoofyoof, on the other paw, had developed a quiet assurance ever since he became a Krawk. He no longer felt the need to wander off to dangerous places to sort out his thoughts, or to hide away from his peers. He could now wear his physical form with confidence, and explore intellectual realms by the sheer power of his creative mind. He got along better with everybody, and although his gaze still sometimes drifted off into the distance, he always came back, with a half-shy smile. On Yinna’s latest birthday, he’d presented her with a brilliant portrait. Yinna knew by the detailed brushstrokes and carefully chosen colours that he had worked on it with real skill and care.
Yes... they had all come a very long way indeed.
Yinna hugged herself, shivering slightly in the chilly night air. She felt... older, and wiser. She could laugh, easily now, at the foolish yellow Wocky that she had once been, and at the selfish mistakes that she had once made. A long time ago, she tossed new books back at her owner, complaining of boredom; she teased little Yoofyoof for being a coward; she curled up on her cushions and sulked all evening. Now her heart was imbued with a greater understanding. She saw abandoned Neopets crying in the Pound, and she felt deeply grateful for what she had.
“Yinna?” a familiar voice called to her from the Neohome. The Grundo turned and saw her owner Yoyote running toward her, footsteps echoing in the dimness. “Yinna, why are you out here all alone at this hour? You’ll catch cold!”
“Please, Yoyote, can we adopt more Neopets?” said Yinna, running to embrace her owner. “I’ve been thinking about all the journeys I’ve come through, and about my little brother and sister. I wish... I wish other Neopets could have the same awesome opportunities I’ve had.”
“I was just going to ask you about that,” said Yoyote, surprised. “Remember how jealous you were in the first weeks after Blippita and Yoofyoof’s arrival? I was afraid you wouldn’t be able to stand more siblings after them.”
“I’ve changed, Yoyote,” said Yinna. “I’m not selfish anymore. I want to make up, in some small way, for the bossy and thoughtless things I did in the past. If we could enlarge our family, I’ll contribute so much love, you’ll see...”
Yoyote gave her a warm hug. “I’m glad, Yinna. We’ll talk it over with Blippita and Yoofyoof – they’re still young, remember, and they might feel jealous and uncertain. But I’m confident that we can make room for more Neopets over time. We’ll have room in our house, and, I hope, in our hearts.”
“If we do get more Neopets, I’ll treat all of them with respect,” the little Grundo promised solemnly.
“I know you will.”
The two figures stood for a moment in the night and watched the brilliance of the sky. Then Yoyote tugged gently at her Neopet.
“Come on in now, Yinna,” she said. “Time to go back to bed. I’ll make you a mug of hot Borovan, if you like. It’ll help you regain some warmth and ease into your dreams. Step quietly – Blippita and Yoofyoof are still sleeping.”
Yinna nodded. And, gently, she walked back to the cosy Neohome, leaving her sorrows out in the darkness. She had many tomorrows to look forward to, when she would lead other young Neopets into their new identities. She needed to remain open, positive, and caring, as warm as the mug of Borovan that her owner was giving to her.
She smiled into her reflection.