The First Color in an Unusual Place
The sun poured in from the small window, and Wihlo was up faster than you could say ‘Evil Sloth!’. “Today is the day!” she screeched loudly, a wide grin spreading across her adorable Xweetok face. Her owner had promised to take her shopping with one million neopoints for her to do with whatever she wished! It was to celebrate their third month together. She could get anything: books, wearables, usuki dolls, paint brushes. Paint brushes was her goal, though! Being blue was so plain, so boring; she wanted an exciting fur color! Her friends always bragged about their colors, and it was her turn for a change. Some of her friends even had a different color every week. Wihlo, on the other hand, had been blue ever since she could remember. She scurried around her messy room and tripped towards the stares. She proceeded to run excitedly down the stairs where her owner waited with a smile on her face. “You’re here already?!!”
“Yep, I’m so excited!” her owner cried with the same enthusiasm that was dripping off Wihlo. She was dressed up in a scarf and blue jacket. “So where should we stop first? Booktastic Book Shop? Usuki Land? Unis Clothing?” They slipped out the door together, her owner's flashy purse clutched at her owner's side. It held such a glamour to Wihlo, especially because it was to be used by her today.
“Rainbow Pool!” Wihlo said, her eyes alight. She had never been there, but had heard it was magical. Streams of different colors and, most importantly, it showed all the different brushes you could purchase from the Trading Post. “But don’t you need to pick up a book for Fantesha before? She is so perfectionist about her book a day goal.” Wihlo sighed dreamily. She aspired to be like her sister, but no book had yet to catch her eye or proved any use but a chair to her.
“Oh yes, I almost forgot! How thoughtful of you.”
They entered the worn book store and a futuristic orange Grundo greeted them. “Welcome!” he said merrily to them, a smile creeping across his sticky face. “What may I do you for?” His yellow eyes sparked, and he popped out from behind the counter. He was always here, he must live here! He was the smartest Grundo in Neopia! Always burying his little face in a book. He had read all the booktastic ones and was now reading the others. It was a perfect job for him.
“Hello, Bernard!” greeted her owner, sliding a list in to his hand. “I'm just looking for a book Fantesha hasn’t read yet. Got any in stock that aren’t on that list?” she inquired politely.
While they chatted, Wihlo slunk around the store looking on the shelves curiously at the books.
Kreludan Sundaes, The Threat Outside, Space Exploration... all these books she had seen her sister read before. She sighed, twisting around to look at her owner wondering if she was ready to go yet. Then... a lime green book caught her eye. “Get Organised Stay Organised?” she said out loud, her eyes growing big. She recalled her messy room, her messy organizer, her messy everything! Immediately, she grabbed the book from its shelf and ran towards her owner. “This one! I want this one!”
Her owner looked down at the book; she was already at the cash register purchasing a book for Fantesha. She let out a giggle and retrieved the book from Wihlo’s grasp. “Get Organised Stay Organised, hm... that seems to be exactly what you need, but wouldn’t you rather save your money for your paint brush? It’s hard work saving for a paint brush. I’m not even sure you will find one for one million neopoints.”
Wihlo’s head dropped. She really wanted the book, but a new color... Her owner was right, though. “Can you save the book?” she asked Bernard with large puppyblew like eyes. "Please?"
“Well, we don’t usually do that sort of thing...” he began with a troubled sigh, then his eyes fell upon her. Her eyes grew big and sad. “But I guess for you we can. One day, that’s it! No longer. Books go fast around here, and that’s how I make my business. Don’t let anyone hear about this either.” He quickly typed in the amount of Fantesha’s book, and her owner paid.
“Thank you!” they said in unison and left the store. Next stop: Rainbow Fountain! Even the name sent shivers of joy down Wihlo’s back. She had been waiting for this forever.
They could hear the streams from around the bend, and when they approached it was such a magical sight! An actual rainbow ended upon the pool! She didn’t even know a rainbow could end. “Is that rainbow real?” asked Wihlo, clutching on to her owners hand and emphasizing the last word. She couldn’t hide the enthusiasm pouring off her.
Her owner chuckled. “Of course! As real as magic.” They approached and spotted a couple neopets handing paint brushes over in a line to be painted. They all looked ecstatic. Then her eyes ran across the brush section. Wihlo skipped towards it and looked at all the brushes laid out, sparkling in the sun light.
“Rainbow! Cloud! Skunk! Starry! All of these are so pretty. How am I ever going to choose?” Her paws ran across each paint brush in delight. She wanted to be skunk and faerie and plushie! Then her eyes fell upon an island one. “What about Island? Can I be that? Can I be Island and Cloud?”
“No, you can only be one. Island costs a fortune! Around four million at the trading post at the moment, and if the prices goes anywhere it will be up.” Her owner took a seat and popped open a book, becoming disinterested in the paint brushes. She had been here before with Wihlo's sisters; they each could just pick one color.
Wihlo sighed unhappily. She wanted to try out all the colors. Why must they be so expensive? Out of nowhere someone grasped her shoulder. She let out a screech and twisted around on her heels, ready to attack.
“Stop! It’s just me!” laughed a familiar voice. It was Mandy the Blumaroo from the Academy. “I’m just stopping by to ogle at the paint brushes and decide on my next color, not like it’s me who get to decide.” Her eyes traveled to the brushes, and she stuffed her hands in her pocket. She was always a different color. She had been Darigan, island, ice, and purple since she had met her.
“Your owner must be rich!” said Wihlo enviously, remembering all the colors.
“Not at all. I’m living at a cockroach hotel. Why on earth would you think I’m rich?” asked Mandy. “Not that I’m complaining; that hotel isn’t as bad as they say, and my owner is super nice. No need to be rich in a land like Neopia."
“But you’re always a different color? How on earth can you afford such a luxury? Do you know how expensive paint brushes are these days?” Wihlo cried, crossing her arms. She had only found out from her owner the other day and wasn't sure anyone else knew. Maybe Mandy's owner had kept it from her?
“Oh, silly! I don’t paint myself! I zap myself.”
Wihlo’s face looked empty, not comprehending what zapping meant or entailed.
“You know, zapping...? Like I go to the Laboratory and some ray fires down and zaps me. It was really scary at first, but the scientist actually knows more of what he’s doing than he lets on.” She smiled, looking fond of the memory. Her attention snapped back to Wihlo’s still questioning face. “Has your owner taught you nothing?”
“Ok, zapping? Can you show me how this is done and how you don’t need a paint brush to change your entire look?” said Wihlo in disbelief. A tall tale, thought Wihlo to herself.
“You don’t believe me? Argh. Well, I can’t just show you, Wihlo! It’s not that simple. You’ve got to buy or find the laboratory map pieces. Finding all the pieces takes years or a lot of messy people! Buying is simple, though; it can be found at the Trading Post. The actual map is pretty expensive, but the result is totally worth it. Every day you go visit the mad scientist, and he points this large thing at you and BAM! You get zapped. All types of things can happen; your species can change, your stats can go up and down, and, of course, your color will remain fickle.” She smiled a knowing smile, her ego inflating now that she knew something that her peer did not. "It can take a while to get a color change."
“That sounds risky,” said Wihlo, switching weight on her feet. Her eyes shifted from side to side. She was never so fond of risks. She wouldn't even go to the Haunted Woods!
“Well, duh! That’s the fun! Anyways, I’ve got to run! You burned up all my time with your chatter.”
“I’ll catch you later!” Mandy ran off, not letting Wihlo get another word in.
“Laboratory map?” asked Wihlo looking at her owner.
“Oh yes, well, I have one of those already actually, but I never thought you would be interested. It is risky, and well... I know you don’t like that.” Her owner sniffed and went back to reading as if Wihlo wouldn’t even think about it for a second.
“Oh come on! Give me more credit than that! I want to try it,” said Wihlo leaving her arms crossed.
They entered the small, dark looking building and were greeted by a crazy looking scientist. His eyes swirled dementedly, and his grey hair looked fried to the point that it was sticking straight up. "Welcome," he said with a certain menace that sent chills down Wihlo's spine. She looked up at her owner who didn't look scared at all. "I'm working on a new experiment, a ray that will give any pet super powers and great strength. Of course it's not finished yet, but if you are willing to take the risk, then I may let you have a go."
Wihlo gulped, wondering why she had taken up this challenge and wanting to be home under her warm covers in her neohome. She looked over at the large, foreboding ray. A Korbat fluttered to a new resting place. Her owner looked skeptically down at Wihlo, not believing she would actually do it. Squeezing her eyes shut, Wihlo focused on the good that would come. A new color? Possibly. A million neopoints she could spend on books and dolls! She could finally find out how to organize her home. She opened her eyes. She was ready...
She walked warily under the ray. A surprising evil laugh fell from the scientist's lips and a large ray jutted down upon her. A shock was sent through her body, and all the hair on her body prickled up. A second later it was over.
A gasp escaped her owner's mouth. "Oh my Sloth! You... you..."
Wihlo's eyes grew wide. "What? What am I? Am I dead?" Then she realized how silly that must have sounded; she couldn't die. "Where's a mirror? Hand me a mirror!" she screeched angrily. A mirror was quickly handed to her from the scientist, who was still grinning evilly. What had he done? thought Wihlo in fear. She squeezed her eyes shut, holding the mirror in her hands. She was now afraid to look. What could it be? Her species in to what? A Quiggle? She shivered at the thought. She never got along with Quiggles... She opened one eye. It looked as if she was still Xweetok, another eye popped open. "Oh my Sloth, I'm island!" Her fur was a perfect tan color and her face was painted the white islandy color. "This is sooo cool!"
The scientist looked disappointed. "No super strength?" He frowned. "Get out my lab! Come back tomorrow."
Wihlo smiled gratefully and left happily with her owner. "Now I can go buy that book and that doll... and I can't believe I'm island! My color is worth millions upon millions of neopoints!" She was about to screech with excitement.
"I can't believe you turned Island on your first zap! Can't wait to see what tomorrow brings from the lab!"
"Tomorrow?" questioned Wihlo. "No, no, no it will be quite a while before I visit that place again. I'm so glad I did, though."
"He really does need to change his entry line, and his hope for super strength. He's tried it a billion times on so many neopets, and every time he changes it, the color or stats change. No super strength."
"Well, he can hope!" said Wihlo happily. "I mean, I never thought I could have different colors or becoming island for free! Let alone by a scary scientist, but it happened! Sometimes dreams really come true."
"So true!" said her owner merrily.
Wihlo sighed in delight. Who ever knew one would get such a happy ending from such a creepy place.