Head in the Clouds
A velvet shape swooped down between the drifting clouds, her delicate faerie dusted wings flexing to ride the currents of the gentle winds. From Neopia Central, it seemed to be a clear, cloudless day awash with deep hues of cerulean; from above, the view would be far more colorful, and far more fluffy. Neopia's customary flock of clouds would float up to Faerieland, doubling and enriching the plump pink billows. This was Tru's favorite type of day.
She tucked in her wings and dove towards the emerald land below, chirping at waving passerby with a spirited "Hello!" A smile spread across her face; her sky-colored eyes sparkled with an indescribable light from within. She looped back towards Faerie City and landed, skidding to a stop and rolling in the downiness. She then decided to head for her Neohome.
As soon as she arrived, she sensed something was wrong.
Her baby Gelert brother, who was in truth an excitable bundle of energy, glanced up at her as she entered the Neohome. His eyes were as wide as marbles. His lip quivered, begging to break the news. He always wanted to say the most important things.
"We-can't-live-in-Faerieland-anymore," Bram said in a quick burst, then looked relieved and exhausted.
For Tru the sky was never the same again.
Tru was waiting anxiously outside of the Faerie Foods shop. She leaned on the lavender wall and cast searching glances around occasionally. Customers walked in and out of the shop, carrying bags of delicious cuisine. Although her exterior demeanor remained cool and calm, inside she was a hotspring of excitement. She could hardly contain her joy when her best friend Margery had responded to her neomail minutes after the faerie Poogle had asked her to go shopping. This was the first time they had seen each other since the move; a week ago, they would have been inseparable.
The faerie Kyrii rounded the corner into Tru's view. She was walking alongside a Koi Tru had never seen before. She was wearing a different ribbon-yellow instead of green--and she had streaks of pale baby blue streaming down her blush mane. A faint cloud of chocolate perfume surrounded her--when did she wear that? Margery hated chocolate--and suddenly the thought struck Tru that she looked like a completely different Neopet. After she bid goodbye to her friend, she spotted Tru and cried out in joy. All of Tru's worries vanished as they hugged.
"Oh my gosh!" Margery bubbled. "I like haven't seen you in ages! What's it like in Neopia Central?"
"Horrible. This is so unfair," Tru repeated for the millionth time. "You can’t even fly in Neopia Central; Neopets walk there."
"Nothing like shopping to cure the blues! Got your allowance?"
"Don't leave the Neohome without it," Tru chimed in their usual fashion.
They laughed and walked into the Faerie Foods shop, ready to sample heavenly pastries and take guesses at what exactly was in Jhudoras Wrap.
It had been a week and a day since the fateful move. Or, as Tru termed the event, the Thing that had Officially Ruined her Life. She glanced outside the window, watching Neopets stroll the picturesque sidewalks by perfectly manicured Neohome lawns. Children skipped rope and sparked water balloon fights, and there was no shortage of white patio tables occupied by neighbors sipping lemonade under shade-giving umbrellas. There were neither charmed Faeries secretly flitting around the corner nor the echoing boom of the Poogle Races announcements every hour. She couldn’t hear the crystal clear trickling of the Healing Springs, or the sky-shaking thunderbolt of Jhudora’s temper. The green hills lacked life and magic.
The Poogle bounded over to her little brother and began to reminisce. "Wasn't Faerieland the greatest? Don't you remember, Bram? Don't you remember visiting the Wheel of Excitement and then tripping over the Pant Devil and running away and getting lost and..."
"You know there’s a PIZZERIA in Neopia Central?" the Gelert broke in, licking his lips.
"Yes," Tru acknowledged impatiently. Pizza, along with the other countless multitudes of oddities the Central had to offer. She just couldn‘t get used to this place. "But-"
"You can just walk out the door, go to the shop, and buy lots of different types of pizza!!" He paused for a moment. Pizza was his new favorite food, and once he got started talking about food it was difficult to get a word in edgewise. "You look like you need some pizza. Uhh. What were you talking about?"
"Nothing," the Poogle mumbled.
Hey, let's get together again! Meet me at Faerie Petpets tomorrow? ~Tru. Date sent: Now
Hey, are you busy? No neomail from you yet. ~Tru. Date Sent: One day ago
Did you get my last neomail? ~Tru. Date sent: Six days ago
Am I nagging you? Please respond. No answer in 2 weeks. ~Tru. Date sent: 14 days ago
The Poogle's brow furrowed in anxiety. She had been elated to find a Neomail in her inbox from Margery and eagerly awaited the visit, but it had been three weeks since she had seen or heard from her friend. She cleared away the thought that slowly seeped into her mind. Tru's confidence waned as the thought came back like a boomerang. Was Tru being inconsiderate? Maybe Margery didn't want to be bothered.
When the Kyrii appeared, her shoulders relaxed slightly. She was wearing her yellow ribbon, and the streaks had disappeared from her hair. She wore her favorite fluffy pink parka, which she often described as the perfect Terror Mountain skiing outfit. The Poogle waved to her friend, and she waved back.
"Hey Tru! How's Neopia Central life treating you?"
"Alright I guess. But it's not the same." She felt a question linger uncomfortably in the air and decided to push, test, examine it. It was as if she was playing around too much with an unhealed scab. "I noticed you haven't responded to my Neomails in a while..."
"Yeah, sorry about that. I've been a bit busy. But here I am!" She grinned. Tru smiled in relief.
"Wanna go shopping next weekend?"
"Uhm, well, I don't know. I sort of already made plans..."
Tru's face fell. The two Neopets looked at the ground, not knowing what to do with their paws or words.
"Okay. Just let me know. Whenever," the Poogle offered.
Tru stole a glance at the Kyrii's wrist. Ever since they were children, they were the best of friends. They had made best-friend-forever bracelets for each other- circlets of multicolored glass beads with a charm of the other Neopet in the center. Was the bracelet there? The Poogle couldn't see. It was covered up by the Kyrii's jacket. Was that intentional? Was it proper to ask for it back?
Things were changing. And Tru didn't like it one bit.
Somehow, the wind didn't ruffle her wings as softly as it used to, and the clouds weren't as puffy as she thought they once were. She zoomed and zipped and dived among the clouds, feeling the air rush by her in a great exhilaration. But something was missing. She was a Neopia Central Poogle now, and favorite Faerieland haunts became indulgences to occasionally visit.
In the middle of her flight, she felt a presence behind her. She quickly spun around and looked behind her shoulder, but she saw nothing. She plodded on and continued to glance behind her, but it never appeared. Soon she doubted its existence and believed it to be a figment of her own imagination. Banking her wings, she skidded hard to a stop on the grass and made for her Neohome.
She opened her Neohome door, then froze. She decided to seize this particular moment to see her follower, as its presence was stronger than ever now.
It was a Cirrus! There were no clouds to hide it now. She suddenly smiled and entered the Neohome, gesturing it in as a welcome.
Behind her, Bram appeared and hovered over her shoulder. "What's that?" He pointed to the white petpet. "It looks like a piece of popcorn.”
"A Cirrus. My petpet," corrected Tru.
"We-ell, is that thing staying with us?" asked the Gelert suspiciously.
"Yes," she said. "Yes."
"As long as it doesn't disturb my petpet." Bram bounded over to hug his plushie Angelpuss so tightly that the petpet grimaced. Its seams bulged, until the Gelert released his vice grip. "It's cute," he told her.
"Thanks," Tru said, smiling.
It was a sunny day, the type of weather marked by refreshing winds and the cloudless sky. Neopoint coins glinted in the sunlight- five hundred, five hundred and one, five hundred and two. The Poogle was counting how much money she had for a day of shopping for supplies for her petpet. Whenever she saw her Cirrus, she was reminded of Faerieland, filling a lingering ache.
Another Neopet joined her on the green park bench. Tru glanced up and saw a blue Ixi with mousy glasses wearing a Meowclops backpack. She recalled seeing the Neopet around school and in a few of her classes, but never actually getting around to talking to her.
"Hey, you're Tru, right? The new kid?" asked the Ixi brightly.
"Seems as if I haven't shaken the nickname yet," she answered wryly.
"I guess not. But it's not such a bad thing. Hi, I'm Wendy from Neoschool. I've seen you eat lunch with a couple of kids but nothing too routine." The blue Ixi looked past her, for her attention was caught by the Cirrus floating next to her.
"Aww, what a sweetie! I have a Buzzer, and I consider him one of my best friends. He sure buzzes a lot though. It gets annoying sometimes. My mom always complains about the noise he makes at night." She made a face, then paused long enough for her eyes to light up with an idea. "Oh, I know! We should get them over for a playdate sometime."
"I'd love that," Tru answered happily. Maybe, she decided, Neopia Central was friendlier than it seemed.
"Oh, what's its name?"