My Sunday was going as normally as it usually does. I was sitting outside in my yard, wearing my adventurer’s hat as always. The sun warmed my purple and orange fur as I finished my latest book. I’m an avid reader. The book turned into a puff of red smoke as I finished the last sentence. I lay down and placed my hat over my face. Just as I was about to take a nap, the smell of freshly-made pancakes filled the air. I jumped up from my spot, grabbing my hat. A nap could wait, for it was pancake Sunday. It’s the only day of the week when my entire family was together. Pancake Sunday had been a tradition ever since Sinqua started playing Neopets.
I dashed into the kitchen, hoping I’m not too late. Stacks of pancakes piled high filled our kitchen table. I sat down eagerly in my seat and started grabbing pancakes off the nearby pile. My new sister Tuska looked cautiously at the chaos around her. I flashed a smile in her direction. She returned my smile and dug into the pancakes. She was growing accustomed to our slightly abnormal family. Syrup and butter were flying everywhere. Somehow, in the midst of all this excitement, I felt calm and relaxed.
I looked over at my mom, Sinqua. She looked frazzled but contented. Her special extra-fluffy-cinnamon-pancakes seemed to make everyone feel the same. As soon as it had started, it was over. We all helped clear away the dishes with our sticky hands. Soon you could hardly tell we just had a mini feeding frenzy.
I looked over my shoulder to see who’d called my name. Sinqua stood there, with flour smeared across her cheek. She didn’t bother to brush it off, though.
“Do you know what today is?” she asked slyly.
I racked my brains for the answer. All I came up with was Sunday.
“Pancake Sunday?” I guessed.
“Well, yeah, but besides the obvious,” she said with an exasperated sigh.
I thought hard. Nothing.
“I’ll give you a hint,” she said with a grin. “Four years ago, today, you were in the pound as a blue Lupe.”
“The day you started Neopets, and adopted me,” I answered automatically. It made sense now. I couldn’t imagine life without Sinqua. We’ve bonded over the four years she’s been here. I was her first pet.
“In celebration of our four years together,” Sinqua announced, “I thought, maybe, you’d like a new colour.”
My eyes widened in shock. I looked down at my split coat. Sinqua had worked so hard for it; she wanted me to have my own personality. Not just another blue Lupe named Jeran with a bunch of numbers after it. I nodded excitedly.
“Great!” she squealed, just as excited as me. “We’ll go look at the possible colours this afternoon.”
The morning dragged by slowly. I couldn’t get my excitement off my mind all day. The colour choices floated in my head. I looked at myself in the mirror. “This is the last time you’ll see yourself as a split Lupe,” I thought to myself. No more purple and orange. It would be weird with a new colour. I’ve been split for most of four years.
“It’s time to go!” Sinqua called to me.
My insides did a back flip. I re-adjusted my daring adventurer’s hat, and ran out my door.
“Are you ready?” she asked me, grabbing her purse.
My reply was confident. “Absolutely.”
The Rainbow Pool was amazing. There were pets everywhere wading in the rainbow waters. Their owners lovingly painted their paint brushes back and forth over them. I watched pets change before my eyes. One moment I saw a yellow Shoyru, the next he’s swimming through the water painted Maraquan. I even saw some double-paintings. A white Kacheek with the island clothing skipped away happily with her owner.
The pool wasn’t for me just yet; I still had to pick out my colour. As we walked past the Lenny colours, I knew we were close. There they were, all the glorious Lupe colours. Although we hadn’t discussed a price range, I knew I shouldn’t pick something like Royal or Maraquan. We picked through the colours carefully. Then, I found the perfect colour. Mutant. It looked so strong and commanding. Sinqua agreed it suited me. I wondered what a mutant paint brush looked like; I’ve never seen one before. It was off to the Trading Post.
The Trading Post wasn’t as amazing. There were people everywhere shouting what they wanted for their lots. I found Jhuidah, and she searched for a mutant paint brush.
“I could not find any lots fitting that description!” she told me when she returned.
I was crushed. My mutant dreams were slowly slipping away. Sinqua stood behind me trying to conceal her laughter. She didn’t such a good job.
“What’s so funny?” I asked gloomily.
“There’s no such thing as a mutant paint brush!” she gasped out between laughs.
I was perplexed. “Well, then how do I become mutant, Miss Smarty Pants?” I asked.
“A Lupe Transmogrification potion,” she said, searching one up.
“A what?” I asked.
The results flashed up. “That,” she said, pointing to an ugly little bottle.
“I have to drink that?” I gasped.
“We could always go and choose another colour,” Sinqua said hastily.
I thought about it. Should I just go and choose another colour? That potion didn’t look too appetizing. But then I thought of the results. I’m sure they’d be worth a few moments of discomfort.
“No, I’ll be fine,” I told her.
Sinqua placed an offer on one of the potions. “Now all we have to do is wait,” she said, turning to me.
I knew it’d be the hardest part.
Pancake Sunday was coming to a close, Sinqua still didn’t know if her offer had been accepted. I was so anxious for the news. I could hardly concentrate on anything. I tried reading my favorite book, but realized a few pages in that I hadn’t taken in a word of what I just read. I looked out my window. Kreludor was shining bright amongst the stars.
Just as I was climbing in my bed, I heard a knock on the front door. I peeked out my door. Sinqua opened the font door, but no one was there. She looked down and saw a package.
“Jeran!” she called up to me.
I raced down the stairs. Was this my new look? Sinqua ripped the letter of the box before she handed it to me. She read quickly as I tore the tape off the package. I opened the box. Bubble wrap. Lots of it. Sinqua helped pull the mounds of bubble wrap out of the package. There it was. My ugly little bottle. A grin spread across my face.
“I know it’s not a paint brush, but do you want to go to the Rainbow Pool anyways?” Sinqua inquired.
“Sure,” I said, fixing my hat. Yooyus were bouncing around in my stomach.
The Rainbow Pool was a lot less crowded at night. Kreludor glimmered on the pool’s surface. I uncorked the bottle. A foul scent escaped. I made a face.
“Here’s to four years of friendship!” I said before downing the contents in one gulp.
The liquid wasn’t like anything I’ve ever had. It was thick and slightly tasted like dirt. It burned my throat as I swallowed it. What happened after the potion was even more of a new sensation to me. My skin crawled as it changed colour. I was glad I was staying a Lupe. Changing species would’ve been a lot more painful.
Sinqua held me up. “Are you all right?” she asked caringly.
I looked up. My head was kind of foggy, but besides that I felt the same.
“I’m great!” I told her. “How do I look?”
The worry in her face vanished. “Quite handsome, actually,” she told me.
I stumbled over to the side of the pool and peered in. A mutant Lupe stared back at me.
“Whoa!” I exclaimed. “It worked.”
As I sat there admiring myself in the pool, I felt like something was missing. Something that was a part of me. I reached my hands up instinctively to fix my hat. All my hands grabbed was air. I got up to find my hat. To my relief, Sinqua held it in her hands.
“Thank you so much for my new colour, Mum,” I said, giving her a hug.
She smiled at me as she handed me my hat. “You deserved it.”
I placed my hat on my head as we turned to leave. It leapt off.
“What?” I thought aloud. I picked up my hat again and tried to put it on. It flew off my head.
“What’s wrong?” I asked Sinqua.
She pondered the question before answering slowly, “Mutants can’t wear most clothes; your hat must be one of them.”
I looked down at my faithful old hat. It was faded from the sun and had some holes in it from use. It was formed to my head. My normal Lupe head, that is. I bit my lip.
“I can survive without it,” I told Sinqua.
She grinned at me, and we walked home under the stars. Our friendship was going to last forever.