Hwinnie of the Deep
"I'll be back at 3:00," Faith called over her shoulder. "Be good, you guys, ok?"
"We will," Anyrrie droned from behind her book, Mystery Of The Kougra Paw. She sighed as the lock clicked.
"What else is there to do?" Chhaya had been fed and watered, my room was clean, or at least cobweb free, and I sat doodling idly while my Batterfly sat happily on my head, snoozing. I looked down in surprise and saw I had drawn a furry creature with wings and antennae, paws, legs, and a fluffy tail. What a contrast to my JubJub features; I'm basically a ball of fur with feet. Why did I have to be a JubJub?
"Well, maybe she just means well..." There was a sad whimper behind me, which I could trace to a blue Lupe with sad yellow eyes that made anybody want to say, "Aww," when looking him directly in the face. I freaked a little, thinking he had read my mind, than realized he was talking about being a good little Neopet. What happened to the phrase, 'when the cat's away, the mice will play'? I thought to myself. Not like Faith was a cat, though; she was really nice.
"Oh, Silk, don't worry, it's okay-" I said, turning. I saw a flicker of green flame and glowing red eyes-
I screamed, startling Ani and causing her to drop her book, and making Chhaya fly off, twittering angrily. Yrriya, Ani's Leeble, nearly fell out of her bowl, sloshing water everywhere, and Loveless the enchanted Ghoti zoomed around the ceiling at frightening speeds. "Darn it, Silk, when will you stop wearing that mask!?"
He pulled it off and stared at me sadly. "Are you mad at me, Hwinnie?"
SilkCreamtail had been created with the mind of an innocent toddler, and it had stayed that way ever since. He wasn't troublesome, but he had that face you just can't deny. Faith was going to paint him baby to match his personality, a sweet baby Lupe. The only issue was he made strong emotional attachments to inanimate objects... like his mask. And it had to be the Monstrous Flaming Mask.
I sighed. How could I say yes to those pleading eyes? "I guess not," I murmured, and his face broke into a smile. I walked to my room and collapsed into a Comfy Pumpkin Bean Bag, and closed my eyes...
I was swooping through the air on a pair, no, three pairs of green tinged wings, the wind rushing through my fur. My vision was crystal clear, and I could hear the Fleafs bustling around many miles below. I was the creature in my drawing, doing flips and loops. Then I lost my wings, became a JubJub, fell down, down, down...
I woke up with a jolt, and Chhaya flew off of my head (again). What time was it? I ran into the living room to check. 3:15. Where were Silk and Ani? And where was Faith?
That's when I noticed a piece of paper on the floor. I read the address, chanting words to myself. My body glowed with a greenish hue, and Chhaya had just passed me my Yew Wand when I disappeared and reappeared with Chhaya in the middle of... the Games Room? Faith never played games. What was she doing?
I wandered through the games, searching for my owner. Finally, I spotted her.
"Faith? What are you doing?"
"Oh, hey, Hwinnie," she said, distracted. "I'm just playing this great game called Jubble Bubble, you see, the Maraquan JubJubs can't swim very well, and, uh..."
Um, hello, they're Maraquan, aren't they supposed to be able to swim? I stared as they hit the ground, helpless in water, a symbol of weakness.
"No, wait, Hwinnie, it's not like that! Hwinnie!"
I murmured words and transported back home.
How could she make fun of JubJubs like that? I mean, it was common knowledge we were constantly the center of ridicule, with our small bodies and a somewhat limited amount of limbs, but was she part of that group of bullies? My head spun and I felt dizzy from all the thoughts spinning around in my head. They were wild, crazy, as thoughts are when angry or in panic, but there was a constant, recurring thought: Did she love me? Was I simply to be traded away for some other pet, sent to some person I'd never known?
I knew I couldn't stay.
I searched. I plotted. And by the time Faith got home, I was standing at the door, a big grin plastered to my face, clutching tickets to Mystery Island.
"Hwinnie? I'm so sorry, I didn't mean-"
I held up my hand. "It's okay, Faith. In fact, let's go on a cruise."
"This is nice." Faith smiled, grooming my yellow fur. We were on the deck, breathing in the salty air, feeling sea spray wet on our faces and watching the sun set, bathing the ship in a warm, orangey glow. The light painted a landscape of soft coral clouds, deep pink blending into golden poppy surrounding a lemon colored sun.
"Yeah," I said, distracted. My bag was packed and waterproof, thanks to one of my spells. But, what was missing? Oh, right, I'd forgotten to bribe the captain! "Oh, uh, I have to, um..." I stammered, searching for an excuse in the surroundings. Sun, clouds, water! "Uh... use the bathroom." I ran to our cabin and took my bag, which contained all of my allowance. Sneaking through the boat, I found the intimidating little Yurble. Whispering to him, I passed him some neopoints, and he nodded. Great. All I had to do was wait.
Nighttime. Perfect. I rose quietly, exiting our cabin. The door shut softly. I tiptoed down the aisle, my feet making barely any sound. The door to the deck was unlocked. And I didn't have to look down into the dark waters below to know that we were passing Maraqua.
I murmured words, pointing my wand at myself. I glowed with a dull white light, and I didn't need to breathe. I put my wand in my enchanted bag, walking to the edge of the deck. But somebody was already there.
"How did you know?" I asked her.
The blue Uni shrugged. "It was easy. You've been acting odd since you found Faith in the games room. The fake smile? And a cruise? Really? I also saw you coming back from the captain's quarters. Why did you want to talk to him? Then he suddenly said we'd be at Maraqua at nightfall, even though it wasn't on course. And I saw you enchanting your bag."
I looked at her desperately. "Ani, I have to do this. Please."
My sister shook her head. "It'll only hurt you. It was just a game, Hwinnie, can't you understand? She loves you. And- HWINNIE!!"
The boat gave a sudden lurch. Losing my balance, I fell, my bag snagging on the railing. And I plunged into the deep.
The cold enveloped me, numbing my feet and chilling me to the bone, and I was sinking, sinking, sinking beneath the waves, helpless, like in a game, hoping somebody would come and catch me. Only this was real.
I sank, deeper and deeper into the forbidding darkness. My lungs were burning, and I knew my spell was wearing off. I couldn't breathe, but- was that Maraqua? I fought the coldness and kicked hard. I can make it, I can make it, I thought, kicking furiously. But my feet were too weak, and I saw black.
Beeping. Lights. White. Blue. Blue everywhere. What? Where? Why?
A Maraquan Gelert in a nurse uniform swam to my bed. Wait- was I underwater?
"Why, hello, sunshine," she said cheerily.
"Hwinnie!!" I was immediately tackled by Faith, Silk and Ani.
"I thought I lost you," Faith whispered, tears streaming freely down her cheeks.
"It's fine. But-" I crossed my arms-er, feet- and said firmly, "I want to be a Faerie Xweetok."