New Beginnings~ Starting Off The Adventure~ Part 1
The wind gently whistled by, pulling small brown hair wisps of the brown haired girl's ponytail. Her grip tightened on the newbie back strap digging into her shoulder, never letting her gaze wander from the sight of a rundown blue cottage. This was to be her new home.
The twelve year old girl let out the tired, long sigh she had been holding in since the walk here. She was a newbie, just starting out her new adventure in Neopia. Heather studied the peeling siding, the bare patches on the cottage that needed new spots of paint, and the weeds which seemed to choke life out of the overgrown lawn. She let out another sigh, walking up the stone path to the front door.
“I can't believe that stupid Chia real estate agent told me this cottage was supposed to be 'a lovely, quaint little home set back a bit in a small clearing in the woods. The trees keep you nice and cool on a hot summer day. I'm sure your going to love it.' Well, I'm not appreciating this stupid mess this house is. What a rip off!” she finished grumbling, stepping into the living room.
Dust covered everything with a fine coat, dirt lay thick between floorboards, and spyder webs formed in every corner. The only furniture in the room was two dusty wooden chairs. The kitchen was right by the living room. Heather could only roll her eyes as she pulled out a broom, mop, and a bucket of cleaning supplies from the closet by the front door. She got right to work, slopping down wooden floorboards, wiping off surfaces, and scrubbing the kitchen tiles until their white and green surfaces shone.
Heather noticed during her four hours of cleaning two tiny bedrooms, each side by side, down at the end of the hallway. Each had a small bed, a dresser, and a night table with a lamp on top. The only differences she could find was the color theme. One room was different shades of green, and the other one was a light navy blue. Heather also saw the other room across from the green room. She smiled at the sight of a wide bed with cozy blue and green checkered covers. The warm, plump pillows looked so inviting, and all she wanted to sink into their plump white depths, fall asleep and never wake up. But she knew she could not. Their was still much work to do, and she wanted to visit the town she passed on her way here.
“The sign said Neopia Central. What a weird name for a town. I need to get some food and clothes, so I guess I can go and explore around town. I just hope I don't get lost,” Heather thought, setting the brooms handle against the small side table by the front door. She went to open the closet when her front toe jammed on the side table's leg.
“Ow, Ow, Ow! You stupid, dumb table!! Ow, ow!” she hollered, hobbling around on one foot and giving the table dirty looks. It took a little while to calm down enough to notice the drawer. She stopped hobbling when she noticed the golden handle. Curiously, she opened the side table's drawer, wondering what was inside. In it, there lay a small book with a dark green covering, and bold blue lettering title.
“The Complete Guide To All Neopet Species,” Heather read aloud, sliding down the wooden floor. She flipped opened to page one.
“Are you new? Completely at a loss as to what a Neopet is? If you are, then this is the guide for you! Neopets are the creatures that inhabit the planet Neopia. They can be born from other Neopets or be created from humans, called owners. Owners go to a special place in Neopia called 'Create-A-Pet' to make their new companions. This guide shows you the four basic colors they come in, the rarity of the pet, how to make one, and so much more! Just flip over to the next page, and we'll begin with our first pet, the Acara.”
Heather spent the next two hours studying the book's pages, seeing all the different species there were to create. She saw Korbats, Scorchios, Gnorbu, Myncies, and all the others, but the one that made her stop and pay attention was a cute, red Usul. Heather immediately fell in love with its adorable red headband and big, fluffy tail. Heather thought about what it would be like to have one. She shook her head at the thought.
“I can't own one! I'm still cleaning up and repairing my home. I don't have enough time; I don't what I'm thinking, I-” Heather muttered, trying to get this absurd idea off her mind. But the more she dwelled on it, the more convinced she became. No excuse she tried to come up with could change her mind now. Heather sighed, still staring at the Usul's picture, knowing she was definitely going to have one.
“I wonder where this place even is. I guess I can ask someone where to create a Neopet while I'm in town. But first, I need breakfast,” Heather said to herself, walking into the kitchen and peeking in the cupboards. She made herself a bowl of cereal and ate it quickly, swallowing down the blue and yellow puffs. Heather grabbed her bag of neopoints, stuffed the guide in her pockets, checked a wobbly table leg, and headed out.
Heather arrived near Neopia Central's entrance about twenty minutes later. She wiped sweat off her forehead, tired from walking on the twisting road. The mid-afternoon sun was high up in the clouds, and Neopia Central was its usual busy self. Too bad Heather wasn't prepared when she got closer look.
Noises, colors, and activity came in from every direction. Different shops lay everywhere, with crowds of Neopets milling around in the middle of the busy center, calling greetings to one another, running to and fro. Heather stood still, gaping on all that was happening around her. She gripped a nearby tree, trying not to fall over from confusion and dizziness.
“I would have come more prepared if I'd known it was this crazy. How can so may people be in one small area? Uhhh, I think I'm going to be sick.” Heather tightened her grip on the tree, trying not to fall over. She was about to collapse when a brown skinned girl, wearing a yellow shirt and jeans, appeared on the road, laughing and talking with two Blumaroos. Heather gave a weak call out to them.
“Excuse me, but would you mind coming over here for just a moment? I need a little help,” Heather called, still clutching the tree. The girl and her pets, noticing her state, rushed over, and helped her onto a bench. The girl pulled a water bottle out of her brown knapsack and thrust it in Heather's hand.
“Drink it. You look like your about to pass out,” the girl demanded.
The cool, refreshing liquid helped her to think clearly. She smiled gratefully at the girl after she was done, and handed back the empty bottle.
“Thanks. I really needed that.”
The girl smiled warmly at her. “You're welcome. It's a good thing we found you in time, or you might have been there all day. My name's Massie by the way, and those two back there are Leah and Troy.” The red and yellow Blumaroos smiled and waved back.
Heather shook Massie's extended hand, and introduced herself. She explained she was a newbie, and was a little unsure about what everything was or even where the shops were in town. Massie gave her another warm smile, and offered to show her around town.
“My pets and I needed to go to the Bazaar anyways to pick up some groceries, and a toy for Leah. We'd love if you came along,” Massie offered, getting off the bench and standing by her pets.
“Yeah, we could even get some smoothies. It sure is hot out today,” Troy replied, wiping sweat off his yellow-furred brow.
“I'd like that,” Heather replied, a huge grin spreading across her face. “I'd like that a lot.”
They went back on the road and straight into the busy streets.
Massie dragged Heather from store to store, explaining about Neopoints and how to earn them, what games were easy or hard, which shops had the better deals, and many other things about Neopian life Heather tried to cram in her brain. She was having a hard time keeping up with Massie's fast pace, and had almost lost her in the crowded town center a few times. She knew to follow the bobbing hair braids and the brown knapsack every time she got lost.
“Where are we going?” Heather panted, catching up with Massie for what felt like the hundredth time.
Massie stopped and pointed at a huge, wooden sign ringed in blue.
“We're at the Neopian Bazaar. There's more shops I wanted to show you down here, and Troy wants to get smoothies. I'm sure you're going to love all the different thing to do down here. Maybe we can stop by Hubert's Hotdog's later, and get a bite to eat.”
“I want to go buy some clothes at Nifty Thrifty first, and then go to the Toy Shop after. Can't we just skip the hotdogs?” Leah whined, brushing dust off her black shorts.
“We'll get your toy later; for now, we're just walking around the Bazaar, and introducing Heather to all the fun and unique places this city has to offer. Now quit whining, and let's go.” With that, Massie grabbed both Leah and Heather's wrists, dragging them down to the Smoothie shop. After each picked out the flavor they wanted, they headed back on the path and proceeded to lazily stroll between shops.
Heather was idly drinking her Small Apple Cinnamon Smoothie, when The Complete Neopets Guide slipped from her pocket and fell to the ground. The loud thump made Massie turn around and pick up the book. She studied its dark green covering, wrinkling her nose when she saw its title.
“You must have found the guide TNT leaves for newbies. Please don't tell me you're going to rush off and create a Neopet you won't be able to take care of. I hate how the guide doesn't explain how hard it is to raise one, and how much responsibility is needed. Heather, learn about Neopia and and save up some neopoints before you do anything you are not prepared for. You're still to new to be raising a Neopet,” Massie said, putting her hand on her hips and giving Heather a “Don't you do anything stupid” look. This, for some odd reason, angered Heather greatly. She glared at Massie, and told her she had no right to tell her what she could or couldn't do, and that she of course she could take care of one little Usul, and if she would just point her to the right direction to the Create-A-Pet area, she would be on her way. Massie only shook her head.
“Fine. Go ahead and make one, see how hard it is. To get there, you need to take a right past Nifty Thrifty, a clothes store, and you'll see a path leading into the woods. Keep following the trail until you come across a big hill. That's how you get to the Create-A-Pet area. Have fun raising an Usul. I bet you won't keep her long.” With that, Massie grabbed her two pets wrists, spun on her heels, and walked away. Heather gave her one last dirty look before heading off in the direction of Nifty Thrifty.
“She's going to love this outfit,” Heather thought, walking along the path leading to the gigantic green hill. She stopped when she reached its massive base, gazing up with wonder at the wooden sign reading Create-A-Neopet. Heather gripped the plastic bag with the perfect outfit she searched for in Nifty Thrifty racks. Heather had picked out a green shirt, skirt, and shoes, with a matching green head band. She had been walking on the path for about thirty minutes, and had finally arrived at the big hill's base.
“I can't wait to show Massie how wrong she was. I'm going to be a great owner,” Heather thought smugly, starting the long trek up. All smug thoughts disappeared as a slow, tinkling sensation, washed over the girl's body. She started to break into particles, there was a blinding white light, and Heather reappeared on a green, grassy bank, near a tall purple-blue machine.
“Ugghh, I forgot about the dimension part. Should've paid better attention when I was reading.”
Her guide had mentioned briefly the Create-A-Pet area being in a dimension so that everyone around Neopia could access it. She shook her head and gazed around at the deserted landscape, with not a person in sight. Her gaze wandered over the clanking and beeping machine with flashing colored buttons. Implanted near the buttons was a screen showing all the different Neopets to create. A ray gun with a tiny platform underneath was attached to the side. Heather cautiously crept up to the screen, clicking on the Usul's picture, which enlarged. An excited grin split across her face as she picked out the color, stats, and name. She named her Esther, and did not even mind the e not being capitalized or the extra numbers or underscore attached. It was her Usul, and she was proud of it.
Heather clicked on the create button and pulled the lever. The ray attached to the side of the machine came to life, clanking and buzzing and shaking as green frizzly light shot down onto the gray platform, shaping a Pteri-like egg. The ray gun quit sputtering once the egg was in full form. The egg swayed back and forth until it gave a huge Crack!, and out from its contents emerged a beautiful green Usul.
Esther slowly gazed up at the tall brown haired girl, a huge grinning spreading across her face. She let out a giggle when she saw Heather's wide-eyed expression.
“Your face is so silly, Mommy! Why are you looking at me like that? It's me, Esther,” the little Usul chirped, giving the now freaked out girl a big smile. Heather quickly shook her head, shocked at the Usul calling her Mommy.
“No, no, I'm not your Mommy! Why would you think this? I'm your owner, not your mom!” the girl said, kneeling down to Esther's height, rubbing her Usul's head.
“Call me Heather. Now let's get this cute little outfit I got for you on and then we can stop by the Food Store to pick up dinner. Okay?” She didn't give Esther time to object as she helped her put on the shirt and skirt, tie up the laces of her shoes, and slip on the headband. She took a firm grip of the Usuls hand as they walked out to broad daylight.
“Wow!! What's that? Is that grass? Cool, grass! I saw that before! What is this place? It's Neopia Central, isn't it? Ooooooh, that must be the sun!!”
Esther gazed at everything going on around her with the immense curiosity of a newly created pet, her eyes widening at the Neopets who ran around or walked by, at the tall buildings of shops, and new scenery all around her. Esther was staring at the great yellow ball in the sky and trying to get her mom to notice. Her endless excitement was starting to tire Heather out and get on her nerves. The little Usul had been chattering on and on since they walked to Neopia Central, and the endless energy she seemed to have was not stopping anytime soon. Esther also refused to quit calling her, and Heather gave up after twenty minutes of trying to convince the stubborn Usul to call her Heather. The girl quickly hurried along, explaining what the shops were for, and what this place was. They finally reached the path that led to the tiny cottage.
Esther ran inside as soon as Heather unlocked the door. She ran around the house, exploring every room and corner, diving under furniture to see what lay underneath, and asking endless questions of the tired girl. Heather finally had enough of the Usul's energy, and made her sit in a chair at the kitchen table and settle down.
“Esther, please quit asking me questions about stuff I'm not sure of or what everything is. It's getting annoying. Now it's time to calm down and eat our dinner.” Heather let out in one tired breath as she set down a plate of spaghetti and a glass of Kau milk for Esther.
The little Usul squirmed in her seat, trying to fight back her boundless energy and all the questions on the tip of her tongue. But despite her best efforts, she just couldn't help asking one more thing.
“Mommy, Mommy, I wanna visit Neopia Central again, can we go back again, whatcha stirring over on the stove, can I have some more sau-?”
Heather slammed down the wooden spoon she was using to stir spaghetti, turned towards Esther, and rubbing her throbbing head, started to yell. She was tired from her ordeal with Massie and she certainly didn't want to put up with Esther's endless energy any longer.
“SHUT UP!! SHUT UP!! GOSH, IS THIS ALL YOU'RE EVER GOING TO DO? ASKING THESE STUPID QUESTIONS ALL DAY WHILE DRIVING ME CRAZY WITH YOUR CONSTANT CHATTERING? I'VE NEVER BEEN MORE ANNOYED IN MY ENTIRE LIFE! I THOUGHT HAVING AN USUL WOULD BE FUN AND EXCITING, BUT YOU'RE JUST A PAIN AND A BURDEN! I WISH I NEVER CREATED YOU!” Heather stopped her yelling in horror, when she realized what words it had come out of her mouth. She immediately felt the guilt washing over when she saw Esther's huge round orb eyes bubble over with tears. The little Usul, weeping, sprang out of her chair, knocking over the glass of milk, and fled the room. Heather sank down to the ground, her head buried deep in her hands. What had she just done?
Later that night, after cleaning the milk off the chair and putting away their dinner, Heather snuck quietly into the green bedroom that Esther chose to sleep in. She softly sat down on the bed, careful not to disturb the sleeping Usul. Her tiny body rose with each short snort she gave off, and the sheets rose up and down in a steady rhythm. Esther's small, delicate sleep state made her appear more angelic than she already was. Heather couldn't believe she yelled at such a precious five-year old girl. Leaning down and giving her a good night kiss, Heather saw the apology note Esther left for her on the night stand, scribbled in big, squiggly purple crayon on yellow construction paper. Her throat grew tighter as she read the childish letters saying “I'm Sorry.” She wiped away a few escaping tears as she stroked her Usul's head.
“You have nothing to be sorry for, my little one, for it's all my fault. It doesn't matter what I thought of you or how annoying you were being. I should've controlled my temper better. I'm sorry for saying those nasty things to you.”
“It's okay, Mommy; I forgive you. Sorry for being an annoying burden,” Esther replied groggily, smiling up at Heather's tear streaked face. Esther let out a little yawn and flopped back onto her pillow.
Heather smiled back, still rubbing her Usul's head. “You'll never be a burden to me, because I love you too much. Now go back to sleep.”
“Okay, Mommy,” came Esther's pillow faced muffled reply.
Heather slowly got off the bed and headed towards the door. She glanced back one more time at the sleeping Usul,pausing in the lightened doorway.
“I never regret making you. I just thought you should know. Good night.”
Heather slowly closed the door to Esther's room, and leaned against the door frame. Despite Esther's annoying and hyper personality quirks, Heather now knew how much she loved her crazy, constantly moving Usul. She couldn't have asked for a better Neopet.