Trina was a Faerie Aisha. She had blue skin, purple wings that ended in slender delicate tips, hazel eyes and a flat nose always buried in some book. But Trina was not happy. And it was all because she was born as a Faerie Aisha.
When all the other Aishas in, oh, the entirety of the galaxy were born, they didn't have wings. Maybe four eyes and four ears if you counted Mutants and Aliens, but no Neopet needed wings. There were the Eyrie Flyers that would transport Neopets to all over the world for chump change. Faeries came to Neopets instead of the other way around. Even Faerieland had become grounded. Plus, there was this invention called stairs. Soaring through the air was fun, Trina'd secretly admit, but she always felt her wings were a big EXILE ME sign. No other Neopet at Neoschool was stuck with wings. Oh, what she wouldn't give to be wingless!
At her Neoschool, the big popular posse of Aisha girls would always tease her about her wings. They had the latest expensive fashions and re-painted themselves every month, around the same time new fashion trends were rolled out. It was rumoured that their parents were almost as rich as Nigel, Chia and stockmarket extraordinaire. Or possibly even Fyora.
"Just look at her. Those wings don't even GO with anything. They're like limp baloney! I'd die before I'd cut slits in my outfit to fit those ugly things," Lily said, flipping her perfectly combed twin braids over her shoulder. Not a blonde hair was out of place. "In fact, I'd replace them! Hide them or something!"
"Even a BASIC color would look better!" Belle added, laughing. The girls broke into a chorus of giggles.
Trina slumped down in her seat and propped her book upright to hide her face. She begged silently for a random event. Strike me with lightning now, please.
It wasn't as if Trina hadn't tried to accidentally get rid of her wings. She'd seen Jhudora for a possible solution, but she was burned- literally. Then she'd visited Sophie, the wondrous witch who happened to like turning Neopets into newts if she was in a bad mood. She'd struck out on both counts.
It also didn't help her image that Trina was a little bit of a bookworm. She was so nerdy, she was sure it was a disease or curse or something. Edna's fleshy and green curses couldn't compare to the curse of being a geek princess. She knew a little about everything and always had trivia on hand to supply. She knew about petpet biology and courgette farming and had memorized the entire Neopian Encyclopedia series covers to covers.
She easily could have bought a basic paint brush to clear up her troubles, but her parents would be so disappointed in her. They'd often told her that there was no such thing as normal. Besides the fact that they told her this explicitly: We'd be so disappointed in you, honey, if you lost your unique wings. They'd even given her a copy of Everyday Smiles for her to read. She'd initially dismissed it but eventually gave in. She was getting smarter with every book, after all.
After Neoschool one day, Trina, as usual, cozied up in her study with a favorite title: Raking Techniques. After she finished the book (there were only so many raking techniques), she decided to head to the Neopian Library for more books. The library was three stories tall. It had deep golden oak bookshelves that achieved such heights such that they rivaled Faerieland's towers. The exterior itself was constructed of white marble, something of an influence from the re-discovery of beautiful Altadorian architecture.
Good things always happened at the library. It was always nice and quiet, and the place had a coffee shop that served lukewarm cups of borovan. Trina liked hers with a puffy top of whipped cream. She was also hoping that the newest edition of Splatter or Splotch? was out. Reputedly it also added the stain to the conundrum.
She headed to the long, imposing HELP DESK table. A yellow Tonu, slightly on the older side, looked up from the notebook he was writing in, peering at her through his moon-shaped glasses.
"Hi there! I'd like to know what the decimal number for the newest edition of Splatter or Splotch? is, please."
"Please hold on for a second." He looked beneath his desk and emerged with a long, yellowed scroll in his hoof. He unrolled the scroll and said aloud, "Splatter or Splotch?, latest edition." Writing slowly appeared on the once-blank scroll, as if it were written in reverse-invisible ink. "Ah, Z80317041. There you go. Thankfully, this scroll is enchanted by Faerie magic. We used to have stacks of books organized in alphabetical order. Good old days. Make sure you write it down... hmm, the Z-level is 2 or 3 stories above our lobby level. There's a sliding ladder at every section to help you climb up, can't miss it."
"Thanks, Mister! Don't worry about it. I can fly there."
"Alright. Just... just don't knock any books off the shelves. Young Neopets and their antics," he said, shaking his head. He turned to look down at his notebook and continued his work.
Trina flapped her wings a couple of times to get a sense of the air flow, then took off. She instantly felt buoyed up and as light as a feather. Once her head almost touched the star-pointed ceiling, she sighted the Z-8 section far to her left. Angling her wings slightly, she glided over and banked her wings to hover in midair. She began scanning the multicoloured titles with spines in various textures- fresh off the press, roughly handled, waterlogged and possibly moldy. "Z80317041 should be around here somewhere," Trina muttered to herself. "Z80317039...Z80317040...ah! Z80317041!" She pulled the book from the shelf and tucked it into the crook of her arm.
"Excuse me!" called a voice from below. Trina glanced down to see a distant green Blumaroo figure.
"Can I help you?" she called back.
"Could you get a copy of Splatter or Splotch? It's right by where you are."
"Hey, I have one too!" Trina exclaimed. "Hold on, I'll get another copy." She pulled another book from the shelf and wedged it against the first. Then she let up her wings and gently sank to the ground, beating her wings occasionally to avoid free-falling. Once she landed, she handed the green Blumaroo the book.
"Thanks. Useful that you can fly, huh? I never understood why bookshelves were so tall. It's like, I feel bad for whoever stocks those things. Y'know?" the Neopet laughed.
"I think they have this ladder thing. You know, like stairs," Trina answered. Suddenly she got a far-off look in her eyes.
"True. Hey, wanna take a seat with us?" the Blumaroo said. She motioned to the round circular table where a blue Yurble was deeply engrossed in a book.
"No thanks, I'm moping," Trina said.
"Mope with us," the Blumaroo egged. "We're studying for History class. We'd be around your grade... like Grade 6, right? And you like odd books too. That means you're cool. I'm Sama."
"Trina. And take me to this Neopian world where I'm cool, please." She rolled her eyes.
The Blumaroo laughed. "Join the club. So me and Axil here- oh, Axil-"
The blue Yurble looked up from his book and smiled. "That's me."
"Axil, Trina. Trina, Axil. Axil and me are studying ancient Sakhmet scarabug-catching techniques for history class... and we love it."
Trina grinned and took a seat. Lucky for her, she had just the right bit of trivia to supply. As she started swapping studying techniques with Sama and Axil, she began to think. Maybe there was something that couldn't be learned from books. Although Trina had always wanted to fit in, with a little searching, friendship and an open heart, she started believing that she could find her way.