Sometimes the Moon Shines the Brightest
Luna gazed down into the pond lined with stones, thinking about nothing in particular, letting her mind wander. She extended a silver Kougra paw and swirled the water around, her eyes unfocused and dreamy. Clouds passed across the sun, giving her relief from the mid-day heat. She was imagining the pool as chocolate, dark chocolate, and cherry flavored rocks lined this imaginary reservoir.
A gold Kougra came up behind her, his shadow falling on Luna. Luna snapped back to reality, and whirled around to stare at the other Kougra. “Oh, it’s just you, Sol.”
Sol smirked. “Well, who did you think it was? The Easter Cybunny?”
Luna rolled her eyes. She was sick and tired of her twin brother’s stupid jokes. “Whatever.” Luna said dryly. Despite the fact that Sol and Luna were twins, they had absolutely nothing in common. Sol was endlessly happy and cheerful or so everyone thought. Luna was serious and had a bad attitude. Sol was laid-back. Luna was quick-tempered and jumpy. Sol was popular. Luna was... antisocial. Sol loved company. Luna was a loner. Sol was an artist. Luna was a writer. Sol liked the Neopian Philharmonic. Luna liked the Twisted Roses. They were even painted opposing colors: gold and silver. Luna wondered how they could be twins, let alone the same species. Luna pushed Sol into the pond. “The Easter Cybunny indeed,” she said.
Sol surfaced, gasping for breath, and Luna laughed. “Sol, you have a lily pad on your head.” Sol quickly checked, and Luna laughed at his stupidity, and walked off. Luna didn’t know where she was going, so she eventually found herself in her room. She saw the familiar scene painted on her walls picturing a forest soaked in moonlight, with stars and a full moon overhead. She saw the old bookshelves full to bursting with well-thumbed books, some of which she wrote herself, with titles like Thorns, Grey Day, and Beyond the Stars. She flopped down on her bed, whose covers looked like midnight with dozens of stars sprinkled across it. I hate Sol, she thought. Everyone likes him, and they react to me like they’re talking to the Darkest Faerie.
Luna heard a small knock on her door. She went over to it, opened it, and saw a tiny baby Kougra standing there.
“Hi, Wuna,” she said.
Luna picked the baby Kougra up. “Hi, Sky.”
“How wong will it be untiw I get painted?”
Luna smiled. It was the family custom to paint each pet the day he or she turned ten.
Sky smiled, and Luna smiled wider, secretly overjoyed that her sister preferred her over Sol. Sky gets more like me every day, Luna thought. Luna led Sky over to the bookcases and selected Sky’s favorite: Stars and Shadows, one Luna wrote herself, about a starry Xweetok named Cary and a shadow Xweetok named Leila, and how they settle their differences after a long battle and become friends.
When Luna finished, Sky said, “Wead me anothew book.” Luna pulled another book off the shelf, Why Light Faeries are Evil, and read it to her.
“Why can’t you and Sow be like Cawy and Weiwa, and be fwiends?” Sky asked with an innocent expression on her face, after Luna read her the book.
Luna sighed. “Things aren’t always like they are in stories, Sky.”
Sky nodded, and left. Yeah, Luna thought bitterly. Sol and I wouldn’t be friends even if we were in a kids' story. Luna picked up another book, Darigan, which she wrote after Stars and Shadows, and started to read. Suddenly, she was a Darigan Kougra, flying high above Neopia, speeding through moon-soaked clouds, without a care in the world.
Then, a faerie Kougra appeared, and in her brother’s voice, said, “You cannot escape... I am light... you are darkness... we can never coexist... I will destroy you...”
Luna suddenly felt a feeling she had only felt once before, in a dream. It clutched her heart like an icy, clawed hand, and proceeded to scratch and tug on it. It was pure, heart-stopping dread.
The faerie Kougra had a nasty expression on his face. “You can not escape. I will find you, Darkling.” The faerie Kougra whose voice was Sol’s grabbed her, growled menacingly, and started shaking her.
“Luna... Luna... Wuna...”
Luna snapped awake to see Sky shaking her awake. “Wuna!”
“I’m awake, Sky. What time is it?” Sky looked out the window.
“Mowning.” Luna followed Sky’s gaze.
“So it is.”
Sky grinned. “Guess what?” Luna couldn’t help but smile back.
“What?” Sky jumped up and down. “Today’s the day we go and pick out my new paint bwush!” Luna stretched and got up.
“So it is.”
Sky laughed. “You said that twice!” Luna took Sky’s paw.
“Come on, then. Let’s go see if Sol the Booger Brain is awake.”
Sky giggled. “Sow is a Boogew Bwain, Sow is a Boogew Bwain!” Sky sang. Luna lead Sky downstairs where Sol and their owner, Celeste, were sitting. Sky pointed a finger at Sol. “You’we a Boogew Bwain!”
Celeste laughed, and said, “Let’s go, and pick out your paint brush. Come on, Booger Brain.” Sol scowled, and they went to Neopia Central, and Sky turned down an Island, Plushie, and Rainbow paint brush.
“I want to be painted Sky!” said Sky.
Celeste shook her head. “There’s Cloud, and Starry, that’s the closest thing to sky, but I guess there’s also Shadow.” Sol immediately started to try and convince Sky to choose cloud.
“The Sun is in the cloud, Sky. We can be closer! And anyway, Cloud looks better on Kougras anyway.”
Luna snorted, and thought, He only wants her on his side. He doesn’t really want to be closer to her.
Sky shook her head. “I wanna be Shadow.”
Luna smiled and sighed with relief. Good. She saw through his pathetic plot... I hope.
Celeste nodded. “Fine. Shadow it is.” Celeste went inside the shop, bought the paint brush, and led Sky to the Rainbow Pool. Sky hopped in, and Celeste gave the paint brush to Luna, because Sky had said years ago that she wanted to be painted by Luna and no one else. Luna started gently covering Sky’s coat with shadow paint, and five minutes later, Sky emerged a shadow Kougra.
“Whoa, Cool! I love this color!” Sky said. “And, I don’t talk like a baby anymore!” Sky grinned. “Rock, Ruki, Rope, Rickshaw, Rune, Railroad, Race, Booger Brain!”
Sol scowled, and whispered into Sky’s ear, “You’ve chosen the night, like your freak sister, Luna. I hope you’re happy. And I am not a Booger Brain!”
Sky stuck out her tongue at Sol, and said, “I am happy, Booger Brain.”
Luna glared at Sol. “Can’t you let her be happy for five minutes with her decision?”
Sol smirked. “You should talk. I’m happier than you; you almost never smile.”
Luna snarled. “So? You can’t leave anyone alone until everything’s your way!”
Sol stomped on Luna’s foot, scowled, and walked off.
Sky looked confused. “So this is the real Sol? I’ve known him for ten years, and he’s never acted like this. And by the way, why does everyone look at Sol like he’s King Altador himself, and they look at you like Lord Kass? That‘s not the way things should be.”
Luna shook her head. “Sky, not every light is warm and sunny. There are dark lights. That doesn’t mean we’re bad or evil, just... different. People may not understand yet, but they will. And I think Sol was only nice to you because he wanted you on his side, a minion of sorts, I guess.”
Sky looked Luna in the eye. “Are you a dark light?”
Luna nodded. “I suppose so. Know this. I’m neither good nor evil, yet. I simply am. I just hope I can do something good for Neopia someday.”
Sky nodded. “It’s strange, but since I’ve been shadow, I feel smarter, and more serious. It’s like I just came out of this really thick fog. Weird.”
Luna nodded. “I remember something like that. I think it has something to do with being baby. I hope Celeste leaves the next pet its basic color.”
Sky agreed. “By the way, what was your basic color?”
“I was blue, and Sol was red, before she painted us baby. I hated it. So horrifyingly cute... I‘m sweating even thinking about it!” Luna shuddered.
Sky took Luna’s paw. “I hate Sol.”
Luna shook her head for no reason at all. “I hate him too.” Sky smiled. Sometimes having another person say that they hate something can make you feel a little better. Luna squeezed Sky’s paw. “ We’ll figure this out. In the meantime, we can throw dung piles at Sol the Booger Brain.”
Sky nodded thoughtfully. “Then I guess we have to find out what happens together, then.” And Luna couldn’t help but agree. So under the rising full moon, cool wind in their face and paw in paw, they continued home.