NSOD: The Beginning
This tale could not be told without acknowledgement to draigar145, the person who started it all, and made this story a possibility. Thank you, Drai. And thanks to everyone else, past and present, for helping to make all of this possible, as well.
My name is UnaRae, and I am a Koi. I'm a very well dressed Koi, too. The secrets to customisation aren't always as secretive as many Neopians might think. My owner and I certainly learned about that, ourselves, not very long ago!
It all began not very long after my owner came home from her wanderings one day, about a year or so ago. She had a paint brush, and it was for me! We went to the Rainbow Pool, and she gave me the paint brush and told me to make a good use of it. We didn't have as many Neopoints then as we do now, so to get a paint brush in those days was a big deal.
"Oh, you look great!" Luann, my owner, said to me, once I was newly painted. I looked at myself in the mirror she handed me. I had just been painted Cloud. I admired myself, yet I wasn't certain I liked the effect. I wasn't as certain about the clothes Luann had bought for me, either. We went home for supper, then we took a final walk before calling it a night.
As we were walking down the streets of Neopia Central, like always, I saw a crowd of people gathering around another person, who was standing next to a rather dignified Kougra. It was a girl who stood there, speaking to the crowd, and handing out flyers, written on green notebook paper. Luann accepted a flyer and began to read it, and then the girl addressed the crowd once again, her Kougra looking even more dignified.
"Neopian's School of Design is made for people who need some extra help learning to customise their pets," she said. "I'm interested in helping others who are struggling to find the best possible outfits for their pets, and this is why NSOD is here. If any of you are interested, please enroll today. Classes are set to start in two weeks from now. Professor Kougra and I are looking forward to being of service to any and all Neopians in learning the ropes to creating amazing fashions!"
Luann looked at me, then at my three brothers, Zadar, Ccaenine, and Weeto. "Well, which one of you would like to sign up with this NSOD thing?" I raised a brow at her. Zadar let out a snort, and Weeto and Ccaenine looked skeptical. Luann sighed, then excused herself and went over to the girl and signed the enrollment sheet. I looked at my brothers, then we all looked at Luann as she came back with a smile on her face. She looked right at me, and I knew it had been decided. I tried not to groan as we headed for home.
The next two weeks were spent in shopping for new clothes for me. I didn't mind too much about getting nice new things to wear, but I wasn't as certain about this NSOD place. It was going to be held in a nice Neohome in Faerieland. On the first day, Luann took me to my first day at the Neopian's School of Design, and never in all my life will I forget it. I remember the outfit Luann had selected for me. I was wearing a purple hoopskirt with a simple white shirt and a capelet and hat of a matching shade of lavender.
I looked around at some of the other students. I noticed a fluffy yellow JubJub, who was wearing a khaki skirt, pretty yellow hairbow, and she held a balloon with one huge foot. Next to her was a Disco Quiggle, dressed as some sort of mad scientist. He seemed a bit crazy, but otherwise, I liked him. Then, I saw another Koi, like myself! He was orange in colour, and was wearing a white shirt and black bowtie, and he carried a towel in one fist. The door opened, and Luann gave me a hug and said she would be back later on.
Inside, we were greeted by Professor Kougra, smartly attired in black pants, vest, and bowler hat. His owner stood next to him, and she was very kind. She told me where to go, and very shortly afterward, I found myself in a makeshift class-room with about ten other pets, I'd say. The Disco Quiggle was in my class, telling funny jokes. I found out his name was Celebgwath, and he was a sort of helper for Dr. Sloth, so he claimed.
The day was pretty good to start off. When the teacher called my name, I stood up and showed him my outfit. I could tell something was wrong, but whatever it was, I had no idea. At the end of that first day, we all took home a comments sheet from the teacher, based on our outfits. Luann looked at me when she read my report for the day, then she looked a bit grim, and sat down at the table. She read the report, and I finally realised what was wrong. My Cloud colour was at fault! Luann sighed, then she stood up and put her hat on her head.
I must pause here and explain that Luann is a really wonderful owner. She never likes to see any of us, my brothers and me, sad, hungry, or sick. She is absolutely wonderful, but she is also determined at times. After reading the report for the first day, she became driven, more than ever, to correct the simple mistakes she had been making in the past. That's why I found myself taken down to the Rainbow Pool to be repainted, from Cloud to Striped. I also found myself getting even more new clothes for the remainder of that first week.
My second day at NSOD was different. I came to school wearing a lovely garden tea dress with matching pink gloves and some sort of wig on my head. My report was much improved by the end of that day, and at the end of that week, I found out I had been promoted to the next grade for the following week. It was a wonderful moment, particularly for my owner. Celebgwath had also been promoted, as had about half the others in my class.
And so the weeks went on. Luann and I worked very hard to keep my grades up to par. All too soon, there were student eliminations, and it was becoming even more real that customisation was, indeed, an art form. Some of the students who were eliminated re-applied, and so they were at the bottom of the pole once again. I made many friends at NSOD, including Celebgwath, and an Elephante who went by the name of El. Before too much longer, it came down to the final week for the very first batch of students who had survived the elimination process. Of the original forty students, there were only five or six from that very first group remaining who had made it to the fifth grade class.
On my first day of class for that final week, Luann brought out from the closet a dress of black satin and lace, trimmed with purple satin on the collar, and ribbons of black on the sleeves, and told me that this week had to be my finest ever. I had never worn that dress before, and it fit me wonderfully. A hat trimmed with Faerie Lenny feathers and a coffin clutch accompanied this dress, and Luann took me to NSOD for what could be my final week.
This outfit was very impressive to the Pirate Lutari who sat at the desk at the front of the room. This was Mozgalom, my final teacher for NSOD. He was very efficient, and studied everyone with a critical eye. He wrote out his comment cards, and I accepted mine with a shaking fin. I took it home to Luann, who was also not calm when she read it. My brothers gathered close to hear what my teacher had to say about my outfit. It was a huge moment for me.
Nevertheless, an even more important moment came at the end of the week, when everyone gathered in the hall to hear the results from Professor Kougra, who had a list in one paw. On that list were the names of the three pets who were to be the very first graduates of NSOD. Everyone waited with bated breath.
"Our first graduating class consists of Sartyl the Kacheek, UnaRae the Koi, and Celebgwath the Quiggle, Very well done to all of you." Following the announcement, there was a general cheer for those of us who were graduating from NSOD that week. I was certainly proud when I was handed my certificate, which had been well deserved. After supper that evening, I took Luann aside and spoke with her, and she listened to everything on my mind with interest. She and I returned to NSOD the next day and spoke with Professor Kougra and his owner about an idea that had formed somewhere along the journey I had taken for the last few weeks.
And so, the very next week, it came about that I became a teacher at the Neopian's School of Design, myself. It was the beginning of something new for me, and along the way, I would meet many wonderful new friends and have other adventures. However, I think all of these stories will wait for another time.