Actions and Words
Author’s note: This is the story of how I first met my Neopet, told from her point of view. She asked me to write this down for her, since she is too young to write long stories. I believe that she added some parts to it, to make it sound better, but I really can’t tell for sure. I’m just the writer here; she’s the storyteller. So here’s a record of the events that occurred before and after I adopted her.
This part of my story began in the Pound, just like many other Neopets.
I had been left there, hungry and sad, by my first owner. It was a tremendous blow to me, as I thought I had done everything right. I wanted to blame my first owner for this, but somehow I wound up blaming myself, and I really mean blaming myself. I thought I was worthless, and that I should just stay in the Pound, that no one would ever be able to love me. You know, the typical stuff we think when we’ve been dealt a bad hand by fate.
I lost track of how long I was in the Pound. I wanted to be adopted, but I didn’t truly believe I would be. I had one advantage over many other Neopets in the Pound: my first owner had named me well. But that was a disadvantage too, as I was passed over by those who adopted other pets to take to the lab ray before giving them a home. And I wasn’t painted: I was just a female green Uni, one of the most common species on Neopia. So there I was, slowly giving in to despair and self-depreciation. My wings weakened until they could no longer support me. My hooves and horn tarnished, and my fur began to stay dirty no matter what I did to stay clean. So I pretty much gave up.
Then one day, something happened. It was fairly early in the morning, but I was wide awake as the adoption Uni entered the room, an adult human male following her. When I glanced at him, I saw that he wore a full-length grey cloak that left only his hands and head uncovered. He was also older than most Neopian humans, but still young. But what stood out for me were his eyes. Blue. Sharp. Clear. Piercing. It was as if he could see into the very soul of a Neopet. As he looked around the room, he seemed to be studying everything, and everyone, he saw.
I looked away, thinking to myself that he wouldn’t be interested in a “girly” pet like me. That was my biggest mistake, as I didn’t see his gaze coming to rest on me, not once, but twice, before he approached my cage. I can only imagine what he saw in me with those piercing blue eyes. I had my back to him, crying quietly, when I heard him speak. It was only three words, but it changed my life.
“She’s the one,” he said.
“Was he referring to me?” I thought to myself.
Then I thought, “No, he can’t be.”
Then I heard the familiar sound of a cage door opening, and it sounded like mine. I turned my head and saw that it was mine. The adoption Uni stepped back as that human looked at me, and this time I met his gaze. I wanted to tear myself away at first, as those eyes seemed to bore into me, reading my thoughts. But I couldn’t do that. For several seconds we stared at each other, before I finally got up and hopped out of my cage. I looked up at my new owner, realizing that he wasn’t the tallest person I’d ever seen, but he had an aura of mystery around him. There was something about him that I just couldn’t identify. Frankly, I wasn’t sure what I was getting into, but I knew that since he was adopting me, he had seen something in me.
As soon as we left the Pound, the sunlight blinded me. I hadn’t seen the sun in a long time. I closed my eyes and stopped, but I felt my new owner slide his arms under me and pick me up. His grip was strong, yet quite gentle. As I lay my head against his chest, I heard his breathing: slow, deep, and rhythmic. He then draped a section of his cloak across his shoulder, shading me. I lay still, with my eyes closed, trying to think of something to say to him. But all that came to mind was to ask what his name was.
I opened my eyes and looked up into his face. Again, I was tempted to look away when his eyes met mine. Such a powerful gaze! His eyes were the same color as mine, but much more vivid. Was I dreaming? Was this human just an illusion? He seemed so... unreal. I felt speechless as I stared up at him. But finally I forced myself to speak.
“What should I call you?” I asked him.
“I’ve gone by many names in my life,” he replied. “Just call me BG for now. It’s the shortest name I use.”
He spoke with a sense of power that matched his gaze, but it was quite clear to me that he wasn’t much of a talker. He also came across as secretive, like he was holding something back. His actions spoke much louder than his words. But his use of the words “for now” made me nervous. And when I get nervous, I start to ask a lot of questions.
“You’ll take good care of me, right?” I asked him. “You’ll be my friend? You won’t abandon me? I... I can trust you?”
I can only imagine what was going through his mind. I was afraid that I was demanding too much from him already. I worried that he would turn around and take me back to the Pound; other pets had suffered similar fates during my stay. It took a lot of effort on my part to calm down and stop asking questions. Then, to my surprise, BG rubbed my head right between my ears.
“Don’t worry,” he reassured me. But that was all he said.
I felt much more relaxed because of that rub on the head. How did BG know that I loved to be petted there? He kept walking, and I lay my head against his chest again. After a short walk he stopped next to a parked space fighter. I had never seen a human using a two-man Virtupets space fighter before.
“I... liberated... this from the Space Station,” BG said. “It makes getting around Neopia easier.”
If BG had struck against Dr. Sloth and stolen one of his experimental fighters, then he was clearly a person with a sense of justice. I liked that right away.
He climbed into the cockpit and set me down in the co-pilot seat beside him. I looked out the forward windscreen as the fighter took off. I liked flying, as most Unis do, but I had never been in a flying machine before. It was actually quite fun, and I began to relax. Maybe BG would be the perfect owner for me. We already had some things in common.
As we left Neopia Central behind, I reflected on my time in the Pound. While I was happy to be free again, I still wasn’t sure if I was dreaming or not. And I also wondered if BG would keep me if I did something wrong. That was how I got abandoned in the first place.
“I’m not dreaming... am I?” I asked BG.
He took one hand off the fighter’s control stick and held it out to me. I sniffed at it, and then licked it once. It wasn’t a dream. BG did exist, and he had adopted me. Were my troubles over, at long last? I hoped so, but I still wasn’t sure.
I was silent for some time as BG piloted the fighter over Neopia Central, then across Kiko Lake. We were heading south, but I had no idea where. The suspense was getting to me.
“Where are we going?” I asked BG.
“The Lost Desert,” he replied, maneuvering the fighter gracefully around a flock of Pteris.
“I’ve never been there before... what’s it like?”
“Hot, dry, somewhat desolate... your typical desert.”
“Do you have a house there? Or are you planning on building one?”
“It’s already built. It’s the largest one on the street. You’ll be happy there.”
After some time of flying, BG brought the fighter in low to skim the sand dunes of The Lost Desert. He flew past a few small houses that showed clear signs of not being inhabited. Then, a larger brick Neohome appeared right in front of us. It wasn’t a mansion, but as I looked at it, I realized that BG was right about its size.
“That’s it, right?” I asked.
“It is,” my new owner responded.
He landed the fighter and we climbed out. This time I was actually able to walk alongside him as he took me inside.
“I can tell that you’re hungry,” BG said.
I nodded timidly.
My owner led me to the kitchen and opened the icebox.
“Do you want anything in particular?” he asked.
I looked into the icebox and selected a bag of carrots.
“I haven’t had these in... however long it has been,” I remarked.
“When you’re done, come find me,” he told me. “I’ll get you cleaned up.”
I ate quickly, because I didn’t want to remain messy any longer than I had to. BG’s idea of “cleaning up” involved a warm bubble bath, a thorough brushing, and some hoof and horn polish. It felt good to be clean again.
It took me only a few days to settle in with BG. His house was a good size for the two of us, and I felt like a princess there, as I had everything I could ever want. There were plenty of toys, there was always some kind of food around, and there were lots of grooming products I could use at any time. Since BG’s bed was for two people, he even let me share it with him. My owner didn’t say much, but that was his style. Every now and then, if he was sitting down to rest, I’d go over to him, put my front hooves on his knees, and we’d stare into each other’s eyes. His gaze always had the same emotions in it: lots of love, an abundance of warmth, and a touch of concern. I hoped he saw the same in my eyes, along with my incredible gratitude. But I wasn’t perfectly happy. My old habit of blaming myself had distorted my sense of worth. I now felt like I didn’t deserve all this wonderful care. And that led to me doing something incredibly stupid.
One afternoon, perhaps two weeks after I was adopted, BG was out of the house running an errand. I had made up my mind that though he was a wonderful owner, I didn’t deserve his love. So I took one last look around his home (I just couldn’t call it mine), sneaked out the door, and ran. I ran non-stop for the rest of the day, half-blinded by my tears. I knew that I couldn’t go back now; I had slighted BG terribly. And I was heartbroken because of it. But I kept telling myself that this was how it had to be. As the sun went down I found a cluster of bushes around an oasis. After a long drink, I curled up under the bushes and cried myself to sleep.
I dreamed that BG had found me, and was staring into my eyes, silently asking for an explanation. Even in my dream, his gaze was incredible. What made my dream worse was that he appeared angry. I had never seen him angry, so my imagination filled in for reality, adding to my sadness and fear. The dream was so realistic, so vivid, that I forced myself awake to escape it.
The night sky was filled with stars. Since I was well away from the lights of Neopia Central, I could see them clearly. I gazed up at them for some time before I noticed one of them was moving. A meteor? The Space Station? I couldn’t tell what it was. Then I saw it suddenly change course and head in my general direction. Ordinary meteors didn’t do that. I listened intently, trying to see if it was making a sound. To my shock, I heard the rumbling of a powerful engine. Then I noticed that what I thought was a star was the floodlight on the nose of... a two-man Virtupets space fighter.
I began to panic, realizing that somehow, in some way, I had been found. I watched the fighter land about twenty feet from my hiding place. A familiar human climbed out and walked straight over to me, but then he stopped. He didn’t move or make a sound; he just stood over my hiding place like a statue. The sun was just starting to cast its rays over the horizon, so I couldn’t see him very well. I held perfectly still, trying to avoid being detected, but BG simply pulled one of the bushes out of the ground and there I was, vulnerable. I shut my eyes, curled up to look as small as I could, and began to cry again. He had found me after all. I was certain that he would take me back to the Pound and abandon me. Why had I been so stupid? He loved me. And I had repaid that love by running away. It was too much to bear.
BG said nothing, but I felt his hand running gently through my mane. His touch conveyed a sense of love, something I was now quite familiar with. I stopped crying after a few minutes and gazed up at him. His eyes seemed to glow in the dim light, and they were as piercing as always, but they didn’t have the same emotions as usual. Instead, I saw puzzlement, hurt, and worry there. Amazingly, he didn’t seem angry. I couldn’t speak to him, believing that if I did, I would doom myself. I merely waited for him to ask me what I had done, and why I had done it.
But BG didn’t ask. Instead, he stood up and began to walk slowly back to his fighter, without giving me even a backwards glance. I didn’t know what to think of that. At first, I thought that he was letting me go on running, but a moment later that thought was pushed aside as I realized what was truly going on. He was giving me a choice: go with him, back to a life of joy and love, or continue to run from my past. He hadn’t even tried to influence my decision. I lay there, trying to make up my mind, before I saw that he was almost back to his fighter. As he opened its cockpit windscreen, I knew I couldn’t hesitate anymore.
“Wait!” I cried, getting up and running after him.
BG stopped and turned as I ran up to him. I couldn’t hold back any longer, and I poured out my soul to him. All the pain of the past, all the self-depreciation I had done, even my fear that I wasn’t worthy of him, it all came out in a torrent. He was quiet and still as I spoke, and I suddenly felt extremely scared. I leaned against his legs, trying not to cry anymore, but inwardly I felt cleansed. He picked me up and cradled me, and I risked looking up at him once more. His eyes now held a more familiar series of emotions. There was joy, there was love, there was warmth, and there was relief. There was no anger or hostility in that gaze of his. I pressed my ear against his chest, listening to his heartbeat and his breathing. I closed my eyes and felt the warmth and strength of his embrace. He was meant to be my owner. I was worthy of him.
BG spoke at last, and his voice carried no hint of judgment or anger.
“The soul is weak and easily damaged,” he said. “But it is also resilient. I have always known that you didn’t feel worthy, but I didn’t know that it was because of your past. Now, let it go. Don’t be so hard on yourself anymore. You have a home now, and a friend who loves you. You are worthy, by virtue of your decision to come with me once more.”
Those were the most words I had ever heard out of BG at one time. He set me down on the hood of the fighter, and I climbed into the cockpit with him. As the ship took off, I didn’t feel like I was riding in a machine. I felt like I was riding a wave of joy and love, one that would lead me to my true home, and my new life. A home and a life where I could begin anew, without the fear and pain of my past. I finally felt truly happy, and free of my burdens. I would not run away again. I would remain with my owner.
Since that time, nearly a year has passed. Now I’m a royal girl Uni, which was one of my greatest dreams. A lot of other things have changed too, including my very personality. I’m no longer a typical female Uni, but a tomboy. Yet one thing that hasn’t changed is how thankful I am for my owner. We still keep our habit of staring into each other’s eyes on occasion. I’ve grown used to the strength and clarity of his gaze, and have learned how to read his emotions. Yet there’s never anything different to read in his eyes. He loves me, and I love him.
I’m a very lucky Uni.
I found the perfect place for me.
And I love it.