Just One Friend
Llynia looked around at all the toys scattered everywhere around the room. The Purple Korbat Plushie she had gotten for her first birthday when it was super exclusive was now outdated. Llynia had every single pet plushie, including every color. Llynia reached over to pick up the King Altador Usuki Doll, and gently stroked it. The Sentient Tombstone Plushie was hidden away behind all the other plushies, because Llynia was always scared of it, even though it cost her owner a lot of money.
“LLYNIA!” a scream arose from downstairs. Llynia snapped her head back up, and cocked her head, tilting her long pink Aisha ears toward the door. “PRESENT!”
Usually, Llynia sprang to her feet, darting out the door to get a new Plushie, or whatever her rich owner had decided to get her. But, today, Llynia felt sluggish and slow, and didn’t feel like having to fake a smile and pretend to be happy. Llynia dragged herself down the stairs, and before she reached the bottom, she stretched her mouth into a big smile, outstretched her arms, and ran to her owner.
“Here you go!” her owner said, handing her the box. “I got it for a good deal, too!”
Llynia ripped open the present, wishing she was anywhere but there. “All About Plushie Acaras. A book?”
“720 thousand neopoints; it’s usually 750, but I beat them down.” Her owner’s smile was so big, Llynia gave a feeble one in return. “Well, head on upstairs and read it. I don’t want to waste it. By the way, what do you want for your birthday?”
“It’s not for two months.” Llynia frowned. Her owner shrugged, still waiting for an answer. “How about a paint brush? Pink is so overrated. How about I become Plushie, like this Acara on the book?”
“Sure thing, honey.” Her owner smiled and went to the kitchen. Llynia sighed, and went back into her cluttered room. She suddenly looked at the book, starting to hate it. She threw it into the piles of Chomby and Acara Plushies, and then went over and threw all her doubles of the Cybunny Plushies onto it. She crossed her arms and scowled at the book. She trotted over to her bed and clutched her favorite Plushie. It was the first Plushie her owner ever got her, before she became rich and bought everything. It was a Blue Aisha Plushie, worth about 1 Neopoint. But Llynia had never cared about the value. All of the other things her owner hadn’t gotten her out of her heart. She had gotten them so that if Llynia ever had anyone over, she could boast about things. The Blue Aisha Plushie was the one her owner got her out of love, telling her how much she cared.
Llynia sighed, and clutched the Blue Aisha Plushie to her chest. She hugged it until she heard the familiar blow of air that sounded like another hole had been made. She had so many holes in the Plushie from it being squeezed to death. Sure enough, it had come out of the ear, and a little bit of stuffing fell out. Llynia caught the stuffing and shoved it in her pillow, as she always did. The stuffing counted as a little bit of her heart being chipped away again and again.
A small tear slivered down her face, and she quickly wiped it away, angry with herself for letting herself weep. She gently put the Aisha Plushie back down next to her pillow. It was the only one she ever let on her bed. None of the others mattered to her at all. Without the Plushie, she had nothing, she would just be a hollow shell, and her owner wouldn’t ever notice. Suddenly, her owner barged in, and Llynia jumped, clearing her face, and quickly grabbing the new Cybunny Plushie her owner had gotten her two days ago.
“Oh, you like that dumb old thing?” her owner asked, narrowing her eyes on the Cybunny plushie. “Oh my! What is THAT? Why aren’t any of the others on the bed? That thing... wasn’t it the first one I got you? That was years ago!”
“Oh, I know,” Llynia said, without turning around. She knew her owner was talking about the Blue Aisha Plushie. “It stays there because it was the first of my collection.”
“Do you have a Blue Marbleman Plushie?”
“Yes, you got that for me on my second birthday; it was the eighteenth present I opened,” Llynia answered.
“How do you know that?” her owner rolled her eyes and shrugged. “Yeah, well, Anne has it, and said it was super rare. It obviously must not be.”
Her owner left quickly, and Llynia sighed. She remembered every single time she got a Plushie, because every time a piece of stuffing would come out of the Blue Aisha Plushie. Llynia grabbed the Smugglers Cove Pirate Plushie, which had cost 10 million, and heaved a great sigh. Every time someone came over, the Plushie came up, and her owner would make Llynia get the Plushie, but then say, ‘wait, let’s all go,’ just to show everyone all the Plushies she had. And Llynia hated it; she hated the way her owner would brag about the Plushies. Her owner used to boast about Llynia, even though all her owner had ever given her was an Aisha Plushie and Llynia was a regular blue Aisha, with terrible Battledome statistics and a low intelligence level. Now, her intelligence and statistics were incredible, though she never fought, but her owner didn’t care about her anymore.
“Hey, Llynia, look at this!” her owner suddenly called. Llynia went to the room where her owner was calling, dragging her feet. Her owner had her nose pressed her against the window, and Llynia looked out. “A new family! Look, there’s a... OH MY GOSH. It’s a MUTANT KACHEEK.”
Her owner quickly averted her eyes as if the thing was too hideous to look at. Llynia didn’t even look outside. Just another Neopet that would ignore her, just another Neopet that wouldn’t realize she was there. Llynia never was social, and didn’t have any friends. She once did, before everything happened. Her name was Ellie, and she was a blue Acara. They were the best of friends until Ellie’s owner got super rich selling stocks, and she turned into a brat. Llynia vowed never to turn to something like that, but she'd never had a friend since then. Llynia walked back to her room, and picked up the Aisha, and another piece of stuffing popped through, in the face, this time. Llynia knew the face was a bigger chunk, because she never thought of Ellie, and somehow this Mutant Kacheek added to it, because she knew that she would never be a friend with it.
As Llynia fell asleep, all she could think about was what present her owner would bring, and how she could perfect her smile, seeing as it was limp and pathetic now. Llynia sighed, and went back to a dreamless sleep as every night went.
The next morning, Llynia headed outside for the fresh air, and to see a glimpse of the new Kacheek. And she did. The Kacheek was outside, and started to walk to her slowly. Llynia almost backed off as she saw how... hideous the Mutant Kacheek was. The Kacheek’s brain seemed to be enlarged, and imprinted on the skull. Some parts were pink, and some were a teal like the rest of the body. The Kacheek’s eyes were black with orange pupils, and the teeth were vicious and sharp.
“Hi,” the Kacheek said shyly. The Kacheek would have looked innocent if it weren’t for the immensely-sized fangs that went over the Kacheek’s chin.
“H-hey.” Llynia tried to attempt a smile, but after it failed, she gave up. “So, what’s your name?”
“I’m Kaylana,” the Kacheek said. She smiled and Llynia tried to relax, though her eyes always went to those big fangs on the sides of Kaylana’s face.
“Llynia,” she replied. “So, how’d you become Mutant?”
“Transmogrification potion,” Kaylana said. “I don’t know why. She doesn’t even notice me anymore.”
Without asking, Llynia knew that it was the owner Kaylana was talking about. Llynia smiled, and patted Kaylana on the shoulder. “I know how you feel. You want to come over? You’re my first fr—I mean, visitor, in years.”
“Okay,” Kaylana replied in a small voice. “You’re the first person after I changed to invite me over.”
Llynia walked her to the house, and as soon as they got there, her owner blocked the doorway.
“What are you doing with that?” her owner practically spat. Llynia charged past her, dragging Kaylana with her. “Where are you GOING?”
“This is Kaylana!” Llynia screamed, then dragged Kaylana into the room. She tried to get rid of her owner’s livid face out of her mind. She turned around, and pressed her back against the door, as if her owner would break the door. Llynia smiled. “Safe.”
“Wow,” Kaylana said, looking at all the Plushies in Llynia’s room. “My owner never buys me anything.”
“My owner buys me everything, but she just cares about neopoints.” Llynia sighed, then picked up her Aisha Plushie. “This is the only thing I care about.”
“It’s all matted and old,” Kaylana said, and gently poked the Plushie. “Why would you keep that?”
“It’s the first Plushie she ever got me. Back when she cared,” Llynia said. “You can take all these Plushies if you want. In fact, take this.”
Llynia pushed the Smugglers Cove Pirate Plushie into her hands. Kaylana’s jaw fell open, revealing many pointed teeth.
“This is worth millions!” Kaylana said, stroking the Plushie.
“I don’t care about how much it costs,” Llynia repeated. “You know, you’re my first friend in years.”
“Same,” Kaylana said, and then she smiled, but her eyes looked distant as she stared at the Smugglers Cove Pirate Plushie. “I haven’t even said the word ‘friends’ in years. Friend. I like that.”
Llynia smiled, and after Kaylana left (her owner rudely called her back), Llynia looked at her cluttered room, and sat on her bed, picking up the Plushie, and setting it on her lap.
“Friend,” Llynia whispered, trying out the word. A soft, mysterious smile grew on Llynia’s mouth.
Then, slowly, Llynia grasped a tiny piece of stuffing from inside her pillow, and put it back into the Blue Aisha Plushie.