Something Worth Staying For
“I hate Maraqua!” yelled Verguenza the Baby Cybunny, after slamming her coral Neohome door shut and throwing her Blue Cybunny Backpack to the floor, which proceeded to spew pencils and paper. With a groan, she kneeled down and began retrieving her items. With angry tears stinging her eyes, she took a series of breaths to control herself.
“Guen, will you please tell me what is bothering you?” said Aquarmira, sighing. The Maraquan Gelert placed her bookmark into her copy of Maraquan Kau Poetry and turned her attention to her little sister.
“YOU wouldn’t understand, Aqua,” snapped Guen. “YOU are Maraquan.”
“Well, what does that have to do with the problem?” asked Aqua, her face scrunching in confusion.
“Aghh, see?” Guen replied before snatching her backpack and running up the stairs. She flung herself down onto her bed and sighed into the pillow, staring at the wall and counting the books on the bookshelf to ease her mind.
Guen turned at the sound of a knock on her door. “Guen? Can I come in?”
“Sure, Vel.” Guen sighed.
The door opened to reveal Guen’s other sister, a Baby Draik. Velare walked over to her bed and used the footstool to climb up and lay down beside her sister.
“Aqua told me something was bothering you,” stated Vel, getting straight to the point.
Guen sighed. She’d noticed she had been doing that a lot lately and quickly blamed it on her hatred of Maraqua. “I hate Maraqua,” she whispered.
“Why? What’s wrong, Guen?”
“I don’t fit in!” she exclaimed, jumping up and pacing around her room. She walked a few circles around her Baby Kougra Plushie and Blue Cybunny Plushie before kicking her Blue Bouncy Ball in frustration. “Aqua is Maraquan, you are a baby but can still swim just fine, and I’m just out of place. I can barely swim and basically all of the other pets here can. No one wants to wait around for me; they all just flash ahead of me while I’m stuck awkwardly walking through the water,” she said, her voice trembling towards the end. “I have no friends...” she said quietly.
“That’s not true!” said Velare. “You’ve got us.”
Guen sighed. “I just want to be alone now, please.”
While on her way home from school, Verguenza decided to stop in a clearing that she’d found previously for some much needed swimming practice.
“I’m going to go for a walk.”
“Oh, do you want some company?” asked Velare.
“No thanks, I just need some time to think,” Guen replied, shyly kicking a stray piece of purple coral ahead. The sisters watched it crash and shatter against a rock into many different pieces. Guen sighed.
“Alright, I’ll see you at home and I’ll let Laura know,” said Velare with a hint of worry in her voice. She quickly swam ahead, waving good-bye to her sister.
Guen continued walking, pondering, when she had first realized that she felt so alone and unwanted. She supposed that she never noticed before because even though she didn’t have many friends of her own, she was constantly surrounded by her sisters and their friends. She had always been included, but never felt like she had her own place.
When she reached the clearing, she took a moment to appreciate the beauty of it. She had to admit that through her hatred of Maraqua shone her appreciation of its beauty. The dark blue of the ground contrasted beautifully with the bright purple and pink of the coral and the lime green of the seaweed which swayed slowly with every movement of the water. The clearing was in the shape of an ellipse and was the perfect place to practice laps.
Verguenza took a deep breath and started her work out. She ran around the clearing as quickly as possible for as long as she could until her lungs felt as if they would burst from the effort. After a rest, she picked up two large pieces of coral that looked equal in mass and started lifting them like makeshift dumbbells. She could only bear a few repetitions before the weight was too much for her. She dropped the coral and with a sob plopped down onto the ground and let out all of the suppressed emotions that she had kept bottled up inside of her. When her sobs began to subside and only little streams of glistening tears ran down her face, she heard it. She instantly stopped crying and whipped her head in the direction of the sound. Peering through the seaweed, she tried to make out who or what had made the noise.
“He – Hello?” she stammered. “Who’s there?”
The only sound she heard was the whispering of the seaweed. She slowly stood up and started backing out of the clearing when the anonymous creature answered.
“I’m sorry to scare you. Please don’t worry!”
Guen froze. She couldn’t believe what she was hearing, the voice sounded... little. It was the only way she could describe it. It was soft, quiet, and sounded an awful lot like a baby’s voice. Curiosity forced her onwards and she took a tentative step towards the disembodied voice.
She cleared her throat. “Come out!” she demanded. She shook her head, losing all her severity. She wasn’t a demanding person. “I mean... please?”
She was surprised to actually hear rustling and was even more shocked to see what emerged. She gasped as she stared into the crystal blue eyes of nothing else but a Baby Cybunny! She couldn’t comprehend that she was not the only baby Cybunny in this prison called Maraqua which she also had the misfortune to call her home.
“Wh-Who are you!?”
“Hi, I’m Fiamenta. My owner and I just moved here a few days ago and I was just out exploring the area. I’m sorry I didn’t mean to spy on you,” said the mysterious Cybunny while digging her foot into the ground and blushing from embarrassment at being caught.
“It’s alright. My name is Verguenza, but everyone calls me Guen. It’s very nice to meet you,” replied Guen with a smile. She couldn’t wipe the smile off her face and she desperately hoped that this Cybunny would want to be her friend. Before her eyes flashed scenes of them together, browsing the Collectable Sea Shells store and pointing out their favorite colored shells, dressing up in fancy clothes and dining grandly at Kelp, and giggling as the Yoakies stuck to the tank at Maraquan Petpets.
“Are you ok?” asked Fiamenta quietly. “I’m just wondering why you were crying.”
Guen stopped smiling and tucked a tuft of her cotton colored hair behind her ear nervously. She found courage deep within herself to answer because she knew Fiamenta would be sympathetic as they seemed to be in the same situation; Verguenza had no friends and Fiamenta just recently moved here.
“Well... I don’t have any friends around here. I can’t swim well so Maraqua isn’t one of my favorite places,” she admitted, her cheeks blushing furiously.
Fiamenta walked forward and placed a comforting hand on Guen’s shoulder. “Well, you won’t have to worry about that anymore now, will you?” she said with a huge smile.
When Verguenza walked through the door to her neohome, she quietly shut the door and turned around to see her family seated at the kitchen table. They were staring right at her, so it was obvious that they had just finished talking about her. The smile slid from her face as she looked from one expression to the next. When she reached Velare with her gaze, the Baby Draik gave her a small encouraging smile.
“What’s going on?” Guen asked curiously. Her stomach churned with nervousness. When her owner Laura patted the seat of the Water Faerie Chair next to her, Guen crossed the kitchen floor and hopped up onto the chair.
“We’ve all been talking,” said Laura while gesturing to Aqua and Vel, “and we’ve decided that it’s not worth living here if we all aren’t happy.” She smiled, pushing her golden bangs out of her face. “We can afford to move to any other part of Neopia we want, so we will hold a family discussion to decide where we will go to next.”
Aqua placed a paw on top of Guen’s and squeezed lightly. “Anything to make sure you are happy, sis.”
“Yes, of course,” said Velare, nodding her head in agreement with Aqua.
Guen’s eyes filled with tears of happiness. “Thank you, I really appreciate it guys!” She giggled a little. “I don’t think it will be necessary, though. I made a friend today,” she said smiling happily.
The room was filled with the chatter of her family members and Guen couldn’t help but smile giddily at them and laugh at their enthusiasm.
“Well, her name is Fiamenta, and she is a Baby Cybunny. She is something worth staying for and I think this could be the start of a beautiful friendship.”