It was dawn. Dew sparkled on the neatly trimmed grass that lined the paths of Neopia Central. The lighting outside was pinkish and dim, distorting the colors of the Neopians who explored the shops so early. A green Lutari, whose fur was tinted dark sage in the sunrise, sat upon the doorstep of 414991 Bread Street. His head in his paws, he watched as busy Neopians, blessed with the ability of flight, soared over the Neohome toward their destinations.
The Lutari had been a lab pet. He had forever longed to have wings, which is why years ago he was morphed from a Lupe into a Korbat. He had agreed, though, that he would undertake lab treatment once Fang, the Shoyru that ran his family, could save up for a map. After dozens of zaps, he ended up in his current form. However, a part of his passion was left behind in his Korbat form. He needed flight. He longed for it. If he could have it, nothing else would matter...
The door creaked open behind him. Lazily, the Lutari turned his head and watched his adopted brother, a Lupe named Grodalen, slip out of the house and close the door. “Whatcha doin’, Yoshi?” he asked. He looked pale in the dawnlight, for his fur was already red.
The Lutari shrugged, his eyes rolling upward again to watch the sky brighten. It was unlike Yoshi to have so little energy, even so early in the day.
Gro frowned, sitting beside him and following his gaze upward. “Still wanting to fly, huh?”
Yoshi didn’t bother answering. Of course he was! Who wouldn’t?
“Tell you what...” Gro began, smiling when Yoshi glanced at him with interest. “I’ll make you something to cheer you up. You like cookies, no?”
Yoshi sighed and looked skyward again. That was a letdown... He shrugged. “Yeah, I guess.”
“Better get inside, then. Vael made some last night and there aren’t many left.” Grinning, the Lupe stood and trotted off toward the shops. Yoshi rolled his eyes and went inside.
When Gro returned, he had with him two big bags full of cogs and metal scraps and all sorts of springy, twisty things. He trotted straight to his room, answering no questions from anyone. Walking past his room, one could hear grinding and hissing and banging.
It wasn’t well known except for within the family, but Gro was a genius when it came to mechanics. He could build a clockwork toy from the simplest of components, or make a complex machine out of screws and bolts. When he locked himself in his room, everyone knew not to bother him.
At around noon Gro came down to grab one of the sandwiches that had been fixed for lunch. He looked frustrated and tired. Beads of sweat rolled down his forehead, which was wrinkled in deep thought. He carried the sandwich in his mouth and galloped back up to his bedroom.
It was 3 pm by the time he came down from his room. He had some odd contraption draped over his back. It was hard to tell from the angle it was lying at what exactly the contraption was, though it was clear that it was to be strapped to someone’s back. “Yoshi, c’mon outside!” the Lupe barked, struggling to open the front door and darting outside when finally he did.
Yoshi was slow to follow him. The Lutari gently closed the door behind him and wandered out into the front lawn, to where Gro was adjusting the straps on the contraption. “Here,” he said to Yoshi as he finished, “put it on!”
The contraption was heavy. Yoshi lifted it pretty easily with his lab-granted strength. He strapped it on with help from Gro, who held it up while he struggled with the straps. Then, Gro grabbed a pull cord on the contraption and two wings flashed out of it.
Yoshi’s expression brightened. “Does that mean...?” he started.
Gro nodded before he could finish. “All you have to do is yank that cord again and it’ll start up.”
Yoshi could hardly contain himself. He struggled to get a grip on the cord because he was shaking with excitement. When he did, he pulled it so hard, he almost fell over. A motor sounded up inside it and a cloud of exhaust was released. Then, the wings began to flap slowly. They got faster and faster until Gro finally said something.
“It’s ready!” Gro yelled over the sound of the motor. “Give yourself a running start!”
Yoshi nodded and crouched, preparing to dash across the lawn. He counted down from three in his head. His legs tensed. His ears pinned back. His arms flailed with determination (or clumsiness, whatever...). Before he knew it, he was running across the front lawn, his arms out as if he was already flying. “Jump!” he heard Gro yell. He took a flying leap and...
Yoshi skidded to a halt on his face in the grass, covered in dirt and debris. Gro shot over, helping him up when he reached the Lutari’s side. He winced, assessing the damage to the contraption. A wing was bent in half and a cog and a few springs had come loose. “Sorry, Yosh’... Looks like it needs more work.”
Yoshi brushed off, then sadly unhooked the straps on the contraption. He draped it over Gro’s back upon the Lupe’s request and the two headed inside. While Gro returned to his room, Yoshi went to the living room. Sitting on the straw sofa, he placed his head in his hands as they were that morning and let out a sigh.
The next morning, Gro came downstairs just as excited as ever. He had a shinier version of the contraption lying across his back. The wings appeared significantly bigger and the compartment with the motor in it was slightly larger. “Yoshi, get outside! Hurry!” he yelled.
Once again, Yoshi was slow to follow him out. When he made it to where Gro stood in the lawn, he put the contraption back on and buckled the straps tightly. He yanked the pull cord and listened as the motor started up. Gro gave him a signal when the wings were flapping fast enough. He dashed across the lawn and leapt when he had some momentum. When his feet left the ground, he clamped his eyes shut.
Seconds passed... He still hadn’t hit the ground. He opened his eyes and smiled with glee. He was flying! He yelled out with joy and swerved to head back toward Gro. “It works, it works!” he screamed as he passed the Lupe. His smile shrank a little. Gro was jumping up and down and calling to him. “What? WHAT?” Yoshi bellowed, unable to understand his friend from the distance. Gro was pointing at something ahead of the Lutari by then, so Yoshi faced forward.
CRUNCH! SNAP! THUD!!!
Yoshi landed on his back, wincing in pain and looking up at the tree he'd just crashed into. His back ached and his face stung with scratches. He stood up slowly, allowing Gro to help him once the Lupe was close enough to. “Oh, man, Yoshi...” Gro murmured as he eyed the contraption. “This might take some time to fix...”
Once again, Yoshi silently unhooked the straps and took the contraption off. He could see why it would take a lot of work when he was placing it on Gro’s back. The motor compartment had split and all sorts of pointy, springy, coggy things were sticking out. It kind of ticked quietly as they walked back into the Neohome, their tails dragging.
“I promise I’ll make it work, Yoshi,” Gro said, turning to head back to his room. Yoshi shrugged quietly and wandered silently into the living room again. He sat, this time in the Babaa armchair, and sighed. He rather wished he'd never promised to be a lab experiment...
It took over twenty-four hours of work, with little sleep, but Gro finally had the contraption fixed. He once again yelled for Yoshi to come outside, then dashed across the yard ahead of the Lutari. Yoshi’s progress across the lawn was slow and half-hearted. He didn’t seem much interested in this latest version of the contraption. He diligently strapped it on, though, when he reached the area Gro was, and quietly started the contraption up. “This time,” Gro said as the wings were building speed, “watch where you’re flying, okay?”
By then, he could tell when it would be ready. Before Gro could give him a signal, he ran across the grass, great chunks of earth ripping up with his momentum. He leapt, and again he was flying. His heart was heavy, though. Something would happen again... At first he frowned, flying in circles above the lawn. Slowly, a smile crept across his face. He was flying! He was flying and nothing was going wrong!
He waited just a little longer before yelling out again in glee. He could fly! He could FLY! He did a back flip in the air and flew some loops. He glanced down at Gro and waved. Then, flying in a corkscrew, he soared off into Neopia Central.
From the ground, Gro waved back, a grin across his face. Yoshi was happy now... Sighing contentedly, he headed back into the Neohome at 414991 Bread Street and returned to his room to clean up.