Glowing as bright as it possibly could, a full moon shone
down upon the large, dark forest. A lone Shadow Lupe raced through the forest,
dodging trees and branches as he did so. The Lupe hopped onto a large, sharp rock,
jutting out of the ground before him. He looked up into the sky to stare at the
moon, his eyes twinkling as the brightness of the moon reflected in them.
The Lupe raised a paw a few inches off the ground
and lifted his head up. He closed his eyes as he howled proudly at the moon,
his tail shaking from side to side. Suddenly, he heard a faint voice in the
"Wake up…" said a faint voice from afar.
The Lupe spun around, only to find a few leaves
blowing in the wind. The Lupe moved into a crouching position, its tail swaying
from side to side. Suddenly, an earthquake began! The rock the Lupe stood upon
cracked in half. The ground beneath him shook dangerously as trees snapped in
half and fell to the ground. A faerie Meepit flew past the Lupe, and then it
started to snow.
"What in the world is going on?!" the Lupe exclaimed,
clinging to the rock as the earthquake got more and more dangerous.
"WAKE UP!" exclaimed a voice that seemed
to be very close.
A yellow Lupe suddenly hopped out of a chair
and fell backwards onto the linoleum floor below him.
"What the… where am I?" said the Lupe.
"You fell asleep," said a white Grundo.
The Lupe got up off the ground and stood on
all fours. His name was Max. Max was a young, yellow Lupe. For as long as he
could remember, Max has always dreamed of becoming a shadow Lupe. Unfortunately,
his family was poor, and could barely even afford food.
"How could I have fallen asleep, Jinova?" the
Lupe asked the Grundo. "I had 6 cans of Neocola…"
"…which you didn't pay for," Jinova finished
up Max's sentence, winking at him.
Max sighed as gave Jinova the 20 NP he had been
carrying around all day. She gladly took it out of his hand and smiled. Max
and Jinova were the best of friends. They've known one another almost their
whole lives, even though Jinova was a few years older than him and had a job.
"Eh, I'm feeling nice," Jinova said, handing
Max a can of Neocola, "this one's on the house,"
Max simply stared at the can, "You know what
I'd really like to be "on the house","
He sighed as he turned his head to look at the
polished, sparkling shadow paint brush. It was sitting on a red velvet cushion
inside of a glass box, calling out Max's name.
"I don't think so," Jinova said, walking up
to the paint brush and standing in front of it, "if this paint brush suddenly
disappeared, my boss'll be wondering where the 300,000 NP for it went."
"Tell him the Pant Devil stole it!" Max suggested.
"And the odds of the Pant Devil stealing a shadow
paint brush out of all the junk I have stashed in this joint are what?" Jinova
Jinova enjoyed teasing him. Unfortunately, she
went a little too far, sometimes.
Max sighed. He walked up to the glass box containing
the Paint Brush and placed his paw on the glass.
"If I could just touch it…" Max said miserably,
"…then maybe I would know what it feels like right before you fulfill your dream…"
Jinova grabbed a broom from close by and started
to sweep up the floor. "Max," she said, "it's just a colour. The colour doesn't
make any difference at all. Don't you understand? It's not about what you look
like on the outside, but what you look like on the INSIDE."
"Stop acting like my Mum," Max ordered.
Jinova walked up to Max and handed him a chain
of keys. Max stared at them in a confused manner. "Uh…" he started.
"Look," Jinova said, "I've gotta get home and
finish washing dishes. You're my friend, so I trust you. But, just to make sure,
do you promise to lock up when you leave?"
Max blinked, "How do you know I won't just leave
Jinova placed her hands on her hips, "Because,
you'll be staring at that blasted paint brush all night long."
"Well, I promise," Max told her.
Jinova smiled as she pushed open the glass doors
at the front of the store and made her way all the way to her NeoHome.
And now, Max was all alone. All alone with the
shadow paint brush. He couldn't believe it. Beads of sweat raced down his forehead
as he stared at the paint brush.
"Well," Max said to himself, "maybe it won't
hurt if I just hold the paint brush. That can't do much harm, can it?"
He took the chain of keys Jinova had handed
him and stuck one of the keys into the keyhole placed on the paint brush's glass
box. There was a click, and at that point, Max knew that the paint brush was
within his grasp.
He lifted up the glass box and stared at the
shadow paint brush that lay on the cushion before him. He picked it up and stared
"One day," Max started to talk to the inanimate
object, "you'll be mine."
Max looked around the store. Nobody was there.
The sun was beginning to set, and it was almost night.
"And maybe, that day is today," Max said, staring
wide-eyed at the paint brush, "…no! I can't do that! I'll get Jinova fired!"
"Well, maybe I can… sort of… "un-paint" myself
if I don't like the colour?" Max asked himself, "I'll try it!"
Max tucked the paint brush under his arm. He
locked the glass box back up, and then exited the store. There was one problem:
he locked the box up, but didn't lock the store up.
Max rushed through Neopia Central until he stood
before the Rainbow Pool itself. A red Draik stood with a paint brush behind
its back. Max stopped in his tracks and watched it step into the pool with the
paint brush, and later emerge a gorgeous faerie Draik.
Max watched the Draik fly away in awe. "Wait
a second," he said, "why didn't the Draik take its faerie paint brush with it?
Max looked down into the Rainbow Pool and stared
at his reflection. He saw a sweaty yellow Lupe, both scared and excited at the
same time. Max held the shadow paint brush in his right paw and stared at it.
"This is it… the moment of truth,"
Max stuck his right leg into Rainbow Pool. A
sudden rush of warmth and comfort blanketed his leg.
"It's like a spa!" Max said.
He hopped into the Rainbow Pool, keeping the
Shadow Paint Brush in right paw and holding it above the Pool's surface. Max,
still a yellow Lupe, lifted his head above the pool's water and sighed a sigh
"I could lounge around in this pool all day
long…" Max said, "…oh! I totally forgot what I came here for!"
Max looked around to make sure nobody saw him,
especially Jinova. He then dove under the water, this time taking the paint
brush with him. The water wasn't warm this time. As Max spread the ice-cold
Shadow-coloured paint across his body, he felt alone… alone and defeated. It
was if he had been frozen then and there.
Gasping for breath, Max found himself lying
on the grass beside the Rainbow Pool. There was no sign of the paint brush,
and there was a bit of a yellow trickle of water floating around the Rainbow
"What---happened?!" Max exclaimed in between
He began to rise up off the ground when he noticed
his paw wasn't yellow. Max put both of his paws in front of his face to find
they were black. He rushed over to look at his reflection in the waters of the
Rainbow Pool, and found that he was no longer a yellow Lupe. Max was a Shadow
"Oh my gosh!" he exclaimed, "I can't believe
it! Now, I have to get home before I'm caught. Hmm… where's that shadow paint
Max looked around the area for the shadow paint
brush, unaware that paint brushes disappear after they are used.
"Paint brush? Here boy! Come on boy, where are
you? Paint brush?!" Max desperately called out to the paint brush.
He simply HAD to get that paint brush back.
Jinova would get fired if the paint brush was stolen!
Max spent fifteen long minutes looking for the
Paint Brush. He flopped onto the ground and sighed. "It's gone…" he whispered.
Suddenly, the sun began to rise. Max continued
to sit on the cold, hard ground, and then looked up to stare at the rising sun.
"Oh my gosh! I have to get home!" Max exclaimed.
The Neomail lay in the corner of the room, opposite
the corner Max was huddled in. It was the worst thing Max had ever read. And
it would probably be the last.
You didn't lock up the store. You promised you
would. Someone broke into the store and stole the Shadow Paint Brush. My boss
fired me, and now I have no job. I have no more Neopoints to support myself,
so I had to sell my Neohome. I can barely even write this without crying. But
Max, I forgive you. You're my best friend. And it is possible for friends to
make mistakes sometimes. I might not be able to visit you anymore, unfortunately.
I have barely enough NP to put bread on the table. Well, I'll hopefully talk
to you sometime soon.