Story of an Unattractive Quiggle
"I don't know, Quig. Are you sure this is okay?" she asked. "I don't want you to feel like I am abandoning you... It's just that my gallery is very important to me. We both know you hate any food that doesn't squirm or ooze."
I sighed, watching my owner tap her leg with impatience. She didn't mean to make me feel guilty. But she did.
"Really, Jen, it's fine. I can wait at the park. It's much better than stepping foot in that thing you call a food store." I shuddered at the thought of anything, Fyora forbid, organic.
I watched her skip into the Health Food store with a brand-new bag of neopoints, making sure to smile in her direction until she was inside the building and out of sight. Once the coast was clear, I let out a big sigh and wiped the drool from my mouth.
It wasn't her fault that she had hobbies; everybody does. Well, except me. I guess that's what makes me different. Not just different from everybody else, but different from who I used to be. It seemed like forever ago, the day of the accident, but I still found my thoughts wandering in that direction, remembering every detail perfectly.
"Quig! Quiggabyte! Where in Neopia are you? I have a surprise!" I could hear Jen yelling from the kitchen and smiled at the sound of her voice. We were best friends then, and I knew her so well that I could hear the excitement in her voice, as well as something else--fear? No, Jen was never scared.
I stepped away from the bathroom mirror, but not before taking one last glance at my now-polished-to-a-shine self. A grin appeared on my face. Some Neopets thought that I was girly, spending so much time on myself, but Jen told me that it was okay to be proud of my looks. I was the shiniest (not to mention cutest) Robot Quiggle around, and did everything to keep it that way. When I reached the kitchen, Jen had something small in her arms. It had four legs and--oh, no.
"Surprise!" She beamed, showing off what looked to me like the smallest Gnorbu in all of Neopia. "It's your new brother!"
I couldn't find any words to say. What I saw horrified me. Not that I was looking at something hideous, mind you. It was because what I saw was completely not hideous. He was petite and pink, with a heart-shaped mark on his side.
In other words, he was adorable. It was clear that Jen thought so too, judging by the way she cooed at him.
I did my best not to cringe. It pained me to think that I wasn't the only Neopet in her life. We had always been best friends who spent every moment together. We never needed anybody else.
So why did we need someone now? Especially that someone. He was my worst nightmare, someone who would take Jen's attention away from me.
But it was too late. Jen explained that she found Him (what a strange name) walking alone amongst the large crowd in Neopia Central. He had walked up to her to ask where the Soup Kitchen was, as he was very hungry. Jen couldn't resist his charm and immediately walked Him to his destination. It was during their walk that she discovered that he was ownerless, and on his own.
"...I just had to adopt him, Quig! I didn't think you would mind, since you're such a caring Neopet. This is our family now!" She beamed at me. "Now, while I show Him around, you can put the groceries away. I bought plenty of carrots, since I know that they're your favorite, as well as a gift for you." I perked up a bit at hearing the word 'gift', but couldn't help sighing when Jen instructed, "But no looking in my bag. I want to give it to you personally."
I dutifully began to remove the groceries from their bag and place them in the cupboards when I smelled something coming from Jen's purse. It was a curious smell, one that reminded me of the space station I visited when I was just a young Quiggle that was just adopted by Jen. I couldn't help but take a peek (self control was something I had never really worked on) and my eyes widened at what I saw.
I had only been to the Healing Springs a few times, but I could recognize a potion when I saw one. The one that Jen had was purple, with some sort of claws sticking out the bottom. I took it out of her bag, careful not to drop it, and removed the cork from the top of the bottle. Almost immediately, foul-smelling steam poured out of the bottle, as if it was desperate to escape itself.
I covered my nose and tried not to feel disappointed. Was this the gift Jen wanted to give me? Maybe she didn't know me as well as I thought she did. After all, she thought that I wouldn't mind having a little brother.
But it was from Jen. She wasn't perfect, but she always tried, and that was the important part. I decided that it would mean a lot to her if I tried too, so I mustered up the courage and I put the bottle to my lips and counted to three. I drank that whole potion.
Suddenly, something inside of me was wrong. I could feel my stomach bubbling and my face was softening. Every part of my body felt like it was heating up, and pain shot through my limbs. I grabbed searched through Jen's other things, hoping for a way to rectify the situation. That was when I saw it. It was a plushie of a Robot Quiggle, with my name sewed into it. That had to be the gift that she bought me. What had I just done?
I couldn't help but be miserable. I had wasted Jen's special potion after ignoring her request. I had to be the worst friend ever. I felt something wet on my face, and it took me a second to realize that it wasn't tears. It was coming from my mouth.
Drool. I became disgusted with myself. Only babies drooled, I thought, as I wiped the offending substance from my chin.
But something wasn't right. My chin wasn't the cold, hard steel that I had polished earlier. It was soft and covered in bumps. My hands weren't even what they had been just a few minutes ago. I rushed to the nearest mirror and...
I started to cry. That had been the worst day of my life. Becoming a mutant was no picnic, it seemed. Not only was my exterior unattractive, my personality was too. I started to lose interest in life's cute things, as well as anything that wasn't dark, spooky, or gross. Jen and I no longer had anything in common.
Jen. She hadn't gotten mad, although I can recall the disappointment on her face. She couldn't believe I drank her transmogrification potion. She had gotten it directly from Sloth, and had been so excited at her good luck. Our relationship changed that day, and a wall grew between us. Nothing was ever the same.
I pushed away those thoughts; thinking about them wasn't going to fix the situation, and I had to fix the situation. It had been a year since the accident, a very tough year. Jen and I drifted apart, and that seemed to push her closer to Him. I was trapped in my mutant body, but not for long.
I dug through my backpack for my solution. Where did it go? It was just here yester—oh. There it is. I gripped it as best I could with my claws and walked toward the Rainbow Pool, my heart racing like never before. When I got there, I held up my prize and examined it. A Baby Paint Brush.
It had been easy enough to sneak out of my Neohome and make Neopoints every day. Jen was too distracted by Him to even notice I was gone. I played every game there was, even if it felt more like work than play. I had a mission, and there was no way I would back out. I needed this paint brush more than anything.
It would fix things. It would make me cute and interesting again. Jen would be my friend once more. Him and I would finally have something in common. Painting myself was the only thing I could do. I closed my eyes and sighed again, this time out of relief. I held the paint brush close to my skin and...
I opened my eyes. Him? Had he been following me the whole time? Why was he trying to stop me from doing this?
“I don't understand why you dislike your color so much,” he continued. “I would give anything to be mutant!”
I let out a sarcastic laugh. “Sure you would,” I replied. “You would just love to be ugly and hated like me.”
“What makes you think that you are either of those things? Your color makes you unique! I've never seen anything like it. And Jen and I both love you very much. Can't you see that? It's been very hard to talk to you this past year. Jen says it wasn't always like this.”
I looked at Him quizzically. He couldn't possibly mean what he said. Then again... I had been miserable over the past year, and so very lonely. Was it because I made myself feel bad? Had I pushed everyone away? Here I was, thinking that nobody was on my side, when I had been distancing myself from the two people who were always there to talk to. My family.
I took another look at Him, then the paint brush in my hands. It suddenly felt heavy, like a terrible burden I was carrying with me. Why was I so concerned about being cute anyway? I was purple, my favorite color! And my claws were very useful. They allowed me to tear apart anything that I had no use for anymore.
For example, this paint brush. With one swipe of my claws, it fell to pieces. I smiled at Him, cleared my throat, and started telling him about me. Because of my selfish actions, it had been a year since he joined our family, and I sill barely knew him. We had a lot of catching up to do.