The Perfect Colour
Jatalle was idly flopped down beside the Rainbow Pool, watching the scene before her. Owners and their pets strolled into the shimmering waters and a few minutes later the pets hopped out in new and vibrant colours. It was fun to watch, but she felt a bit left out. She had been painted Island a while ago now, and the Aisha loved her colour but was well aware that she was no longer a part of the painting excitement. Time to settle down and enjoy being herself. But that was difficult! After her family’s move to Terror Mountain earlier in the year, Jatalle had yet to meet anyone and was finding herself spending her days lolling around in Neopia Central being bored.
She jumped as a voice came suddenly. “Hello!” came a friendly greeting from behind her. Surprised, she turned around. There was no-one there. Jatalle felt silly. Probably someone was meeting a friend here, and she had just embarrassed herself by thinking the call was for her.
Then someone tapped her on the shoulder. She spun around again, still seeing no-one.
“Err...” she began. But the voice, coming from to her left, answered.
“Yes, people don’t often understand. I’m invisible, you see! My name’s Vilmori, nice to meet you!” The voice was friendly, and sounded quite excited. Jatalle was a little bit confused. Sure, it was nice meeting someone new, but the whole brief encounter with the invisible pet was a bit strange. She struggled to find something to say to Vilmori.
“Um.... nice to meet you as well, I’m Jatalle...” she began, but was cut off almost immediately.
“It’s so great to meet new friends!” Vilmori continued in a tone of voice suggesting he didn’t meet new pets all that often. “I’m a bit lost actually!”
Jatalle clung to this bit of the conversation. “Oh dear, that won’t do. Did you lose your owner, or did he... lose you?”
“A bit of both” came the voice. “He is an awesome owner, obviously. I’m a Draik, actually. Invisible, of course, so he’d never even think of losing me or anything. He spent millions and millions getting me and painting me, and then there was this sudden random event, and I got lost!”
Jatalle hid a smile, but felt a bit sorry for her new friend. “Well, Vilmori, let’s go looking for him. He can’t be far away, I’m sure.”
The two pets started to search, and ended up looking for hours. Jatalle was surprised to find how fun it was, although Vilmori didn’t appear to be helping all that much. He found it much more interesting to play hide and seek, jumping out at her and yelling to try and shock her. This was incredibly easy for him, and at any one time Jatalle wasn’t too sure where he was.
Eventually the sun began to drop, and Jatalle decided it was time to go home for dinner. Vilmori’s owner wasn’t found yet, although she had been treated to several more anecdotes regarding how amazing and great he was from the invisible pet. He now padded along beside her, sounding tired and upset. Jatalle was a bit worried about him, and invited him to her home for dinner.
“Sure! Thanks so much! Where do you live?” came the voice immediately.
“Up on Terror Mountain, you’ll love it there if you haven’t been yet! All the snow!” she replied.
The padding sound stopped. “Oh, it is late! I’m going to pop back to my house and rest for a bit,” Vilmori said.
“Won’t your owner be in the house? We never looked there!” Jatalle called, exasperated.
“Uh, maybe! Well, see you tomorrow perhaps” came a fading voice.
The next day, Jatalle woke up and immediately thought of Vilmori. Had he found his mislaid owner at his home? She left the house and made her way down to Neopia Central, her Island clothes contrasting the white sparkles of the Mountain.
When she arrived at the Rainbow Pool, she glanced around for her friend before realizing that would not be much use. She sat and waited instead.
After ten minutes, there was a tap on her shoulder, and she looked around to find no-one there. She smiled. There was a vague thumping sound on a nearby rock. “Was your owner there last night?” she queried, but the thumping stopped and it seemed to her that there was a sad silence from the air beside her. “Well, time to go and find him!” she declared resolutely, leaping up.
Vilmori sighed, and then finally spoke. “I’ve been thinking about that, and I feed bad.” Jatalle slowly sat back down, looking confused. “I lied,” he continued, “I never lost my owner. He pounded me.”
“I’m so sorry!” Jatalle sighed, trying to imagine what this must have felt like. “But... how are you wandering around then?”
“Well, I’m invisible. I got hit by that random event, and my owner suddenly decided he couldn’t deal with an invisible pet instead of the... Draik he was used to. So he took me to the pound. But I just could not bear to go inside. I ran in a few steps, and then ran out quickly, before Dr Death slammed the door. I snuck back there yesterday to grab food and sleep in a corner. My owner didn’t want me anymore. There’s no point looking for him. I hate being invisible. It ruined my life.”
Jatalle listened in silence, and couldn’t think of what to say. She felt sorry for the lively pet she had come to be friends with during the search the day before. Suddenly, she had an idea.
“Listen, Vilmori, I have to go back for lunch now. But I’ll meet you here in an hour or so?”
There was a quiet noise that sounded like a sigh of agreement. Jatalle rushed home.
In an hour, she was back. Vilmori tapped her on the shoulder, and she turned to face him.
“Great news! I asked my owner, and she said she’d be happy to adopt you! And she said she’ll paint you as well! Can’t afford anything expensive of course, but...”
She was bowled over as Vilmori leapt at her, and hugged her. There was a distinctive sound in the air beside her, as something moved through it very quickly. She grinned, but he fell silent a moment later.
“Er, I’m glad, I really am. But, er... I lied about something else as well... I’m not sure you’d like me to join the family.”
Jatalle grinned. “I know you’re not a Draik, if that’s what you’re about to say.”
There was a gasp from the air beside her. “How did you know? I pretended so well! Will your owner still want me?!”
“There are no invisible Draiks! Plus, you wagged your tail quite a bit,” she cried triumphantly, “and of course my owner will!”
It seemed only a few moments until Jatalle was flopped down by the side of the Rainbow Pool once more, watching the pets. Or rather, one pet in particular. There was a gap in the water as if a bit of concentrated air passed through it, as Vilmori walked into the pool. Suddenly, streaks of colour rushed up his legs from the water, encircling him as a shape finally appeared.
Jatalle grinned, and thought she’d never seen such a concentrated expression of pure joy as the one now on the face of the green Lupe bounding happily towards her.