From the moment I saw her, I knew Sugar was going to be different.
The fact she was the littlest of the Duas was no matter. It didn’t matter that she was the runt.
Sugar glowed. Sugar always had this amazing capability to shine, and cause everything around her to glimmer too. It wasn’t only because she was a brilliant yellow. It was because, even for a petpet, she smiled with the intelligence of the smartest Neopet.
Yet, despite all that, there was one important fact that set her apart even farther.
Shortly after we got her, she chewed a hole. Clear through the wall.
As I stared through my new window, I thought that both her stomach and teeth were made of steel.
This is the tale of my best friend.
I was sitting at a table, singing to myself at the top of my lungs.
Suddenly, I had a genius idea.
I thought it was time for Sugar to get a nice paint color change.
Now, don’t blame me for what follows. I was merely a baby Neopet at the time.
I reached for my art set. Then, I began to paint. It was a beautiful portrait of my Dua.
Except it kind of WAS my Dua.
She sat entirely still, letting me finish my masterpiece. Then her tiny pink tongue stuck out, and she smiled up at me.
My owner came outside, wearing light colored clothing.
Sugar ran over... and began to shake the paint off.
Let’s just leave it at the fact there aren’t spotted Duas. And I probably inspired that.
It was another summer later. I called her name, and she ran. Her run was sort of a bizarre gallop. She looked like a cross between a Snowbunny... and a Kau. So, as she was running across the grass, a goodhearted summer scheme came to mind.
My pudgy Zafara paws, still the paws of a young child, stroked Sugar’s head, but it didn’t matter. She would have been beyond happy, even if I hadn’t acknowledged her.
I walked up to the top of our kiddie slide. We had positioned the slide right near our Neohome pool, and it was a brilliant summer day. The Beekadoodles were fluttering, the Buzz were... buzzing... and I wanted to dive right in.
But soon the world was filled with splashing.
Sugar didn’t like the slide that much.
Apparently she had, in her absolute unwavering desperation to be right at my side, followed me up. And then tried to follow me down.
At least she could swim.
Yet... Sugar never went up another set of stairs again.
Every time I’d tell her to go upstairs, I could see the gears in her mind turning. And then a panic would spread across her face.
I can’t go up there! There’s got to be a slide on the other side...
My owner’s daughter Jenny – I guess that’s what humans call their kids – was over visiting with a friend one time. I think she kind of thought the fact her dad was caring for Neopets was kind of dorky, but I didn’t mind. It was nice having people around the house. And seeing as she was older than me, I regarded her as very cool.
She and her friend Erin were tanning on a towel by the pool. It was another summer day, a year or two later, and it was unbearably warm.
Sugar, unable to take the heat, looked both ways. She wanted to make sure my owner was nowhere in sight, seeing as he always scolded her for diving right into the pool and clogging it all up with her messy yellow fur.
Sugar’s brilliant brown eyes glowed mischievously as she looked around. And then she bolted into the cold water.
She swam around in the dorkiest manner, happily beaming from ear to ear.
Then an idea came to mind.
Suddenly, her smile got wider.
She climbed out of the pool, and quietly walked over to Jenny and Erin.
Then she began to shake.
She shook her little heart out, wildly flailing and spraying water EVERYWHERE.
The squeals and shrieks of two human girls pierced the air, and without a second thought, they bolted into our house.
Sugar, content with her success, spread herself out across both of their towels.
My owner prized his grapefruit tree in his garden.
I don’t know why. I remembered thinking, as a young yellow Zafara, that the grapefruits tasted absolutely HORRIBLE. I would run towards the kitchen with every bite, hoping that I’d find an entire bag of sugar calling my name.
Yet my owner still felt compelled to promote his ‘delicious’ grapefruit. He’d give them to the neighbors. He’d give them to our friends and family... and worst of all, he’d give them to me. I’d grimace every time he mentioned them.
But his pride would not allow him to admit that there was just something wrong with that tree. I’d say gross; he’d enthusiastically say “DELICIOUS!” I’d make no effort to cover up the fact they tasted horrible, while he’d be trying to mask a grimace with a smile. Otherwise, all of the plants in our yard were fantastic. But I think he didn’t want to admit that maybe some plant was out of his control. I tried to get him to admit that he hated the grapefruit, but he wouldn’t say a thing.
The final test came through Sugar.
Sugar ate anything. I pointed out that she ate through a wall in an earlier story, but that was just the appetizer. She ate doorknobs off of my Usuki playhouse. She ate rotten tomatoes, and Banan peels. She ate all of the gross foods, and begged for more...
Her experience with the grapefruit was priceless.
One little bite. She reached down and bit it, thinking it was a tennis ball or a toy.
Suddenly, her droopy Dua lips puckered up. Terror seeped into her eyes, and she began to run in frantic circles.
Making the most ridiculous face I have ever seen on any creature, she ran. She ran far, far away, seeking shelter wherever there WASN’T grapefruit.
The Dua who would eat anything wouldn’t eat the grapefruit?
My owner didn’t brag about his grapefruit so much anymore.
I always took her on little walks around the neighborhood. I’d have her purple leash in my hands, and she’d lead the way.
However, this usually turned into an extremely long task, seeing as Sugar had to smell ALL the flowers. Whoever made up the saying ‘stop to smell the roses’ must have not known Sugar. Because Sugar didn’t only stop for roses. She stopped for weeds, dung, trees, and people.
Many times I would also try to ride my scooter while taking her on a walk. This usually resulted in me face planting into a tree, seeing as the mailbox across the street suddenly became the center of Sugar’s focus...
One day I was walking her with my owner. Loudly, my owner proclaimed, “Look both ways before you cross! You’ll never know when someone’s riding their bike at full speed and...”
The rest of my owner’s words were cut off.
I saw Sugar, trained enough to remain off of her leash, walking in front of me.
Without any warning, she calmly looked to the left. She looked to the right.
And then she kept on walking.
Whoever disputed the intelligence of petpets never met Sugar.
I was pwned by a Dua.
We’d take her to Neopia Central a lot, too.
There was just enough open space for her to run. But just enough fountains and ponds for her to run around.
Well... that was what we had thought.
Instead, she took off running right at the Rainbow Fountain.
I almost forgot to let go of the leash.
As hundreds of Neopians are gaping, and I’m teetering on the edge of falling in... Sugar popped her head out of the water and grinned, her ridiculous Dua lips flapping as she breathed in and out. She did some strange sort of doggy paddle as she waded in circles. (Her eyes darted from left to right as she made sure there weren’t any Mallards in sight. Strangely, she was terrified of Mallards.)
I guess she just wanted to take advantage of the water that was there.
If you left anything out on the table, she’d run and get it. But she wouldn’t just steal the food.
She’d neatly unwrap the food, take the food, and then leave the wrapper. Just to taunt you, I think.
If we took her to Petpet Park, she’d gape at her surroundings in horror. Every breath of hers seemed to ask, “What am I doing here? I’m not a petpet!”
Sugar was a Dua, but she was more than just my petpet.
She was intelligent. I would cry, my fist clenched due to some childhood injustice, and she’d sit there, her brilliant brown eyes shining up at me. She’d smile faintly, and then I’d just have to smile along with her. She brought an unbelievable amount of calmness to everyone around her... while still causing chaos with her pranks.
She had a stomach of steel. While this irritated my owner from time to time – ever wonder where exactly all those broken toys in Neopia came from? – it added to her character. She’d scheme her way into getting food... and she’d never lie when she thought something tasted gross.
She put up with all of my stupid ideas and mistakes. And she’d follow me, right at my feet, even when she knew it was a dumb idea. She’d do anything to make my owner and me smile, and she was quite good at it. She was contagious; a simple glance at her brightened the world.
Her determination to love everyone unconditionally shimmered through her every step. It shimmered through every bit of goofy drool, through every dorky grin. It shone when she had to admire everything around her, taking a few extra hours walking around the block. There was nobody she disliked, and she loved us so much, she wouldn’t even leave the yard.
She was beautiful.
You’ve probably been wondering why I’ve been talking in past tense this entire time.
But the fact is, there are ghost petpets. And Sugar became one.
She taught me to be patient towards the ones I love.
She taught me that there’s intelligence in everyone, from the tiniest of petpetpets to the oddest of Duas.
She taught me to scheme. Not in the malicious way, but in the goodhearted way. The happy way. The way that makes everyone look back and laugh a few years later.
She taught my owner not to brag so much.
She taught me to always listen to directions.
But out of all these things... she always lived every moment in bliss.
And she was the happiest creature I’ve ever met.
She was as radiant as the sun, tolerant of everyone just because of who they were. She loved everyone simply because she saw past their paint colors and Secondhand Shoppe clothes. She saw past the exterior, and saw some form of goodness in every person’s heart.
For that, I am glad she has been my best friend.
Even though I can’t see her anymore, she will continue to shine. She will continue to shine to the world.
But this time, I will glow for her.