Chet Flash wuz here Circulation: 189,738,557 Issue: 559 | 23rd day of Hiding, Y14
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by jarm9


She moves with off-balanced grace; her eyes bloodshot, her teeth a disgrace. With blue tie-dye fur and claws on her fingers and toes, she walks, hums, and smiles.

     Her teeth form an unintentionally menacing smile.

     Some small pets catch it. They don't mind, though. They wave back at her, smiling equally bright.

     She walks for a bit through Neopia Central, coming into the bazaar. She passes shops upon shops as she holds onto her allowance, until she comes upon her destination: Usukiland.

     Aatuzo the Kyrii walks into the shop with a big smile plastered on her face, the familiar jingle of the bell welcoming her. Usukis upon Usukis surrounded her, making her feel at peace.

     She walks in freely, on her own accord, and looks for her shopkeeper friend amongst the few others sitting around. A few of them wave at her, say hi, and as usual she responds brightly back.

     She comes upon an unfamiliar little blue Usul with a uniform on, back facing her as she examined some merchandise, and she asks her, "Have you seen Lalu, the shopkeeper?"

     "She just went to grab some more playsets, Miss," the Usul says cheerily. She turns around, and continues. "She'll be back in a momeeee—AAAH! MUTANT!"

     The cry gets a few confused head turns, followed by a few scoffs as they went back to their play. Aatuzo blinks a bit, lips pursing.

     "...Um. Yes," she says, a little dumbly. This must be a new kid in town. "Problem?"

     "MUTANT!" the Usul cries again, playsets now on the floor. She was chewing her paws in anxiety. "Lalu! Lalu, come quick!"

     "I'm coming, Squirt, I'm coming..." the blue Blumaroo says, walking out from the storeroom. "What's the hubbub, huh?"

     "Mutant!" the Usul hisses, pointing all too not indiscreetly at Aatuzo. Lalu only smiles.

     "Lil' A!"

     Aatuzo smiles wide, sharp teeth showing. "Lalu!"

     The Usul looks appalled. "That's Lil' A? You said she was a Kyrii!"

     "And?" Lalu asks. "She is a Kyrii."

     "No, that's a mutant! What's she doing here?"

     "Playday, duh. What else?"

     Aatuzo tries to ignore the Usul and talks with Lalu instead. "I got my allowance—still got that Radiant Red Head Usuki Hair Set?"

     "Yup! Got it right here, in fact," Lalu says, pulling at a package in her arms. She holds it out for her. "Right here! Around a hundred neopoints, I'd bet."

     "And I got a thousand for my allowance this time!" she replies, delighted. "Any recommendations?"

     "I'd say the Blonde Pigtails Usuki Hair Set, or maybe the Little Angel Usuki set—!"

     "Laluuuuu!" the Usul whines, clinging to Lalu's dress. "What are you doing?"

     The Blumaroo gazes at her. "Recommending items for our dear friend-customer, of course."

     "But Lalu—!"

     "I can come back later, if that's not a problem?" Aatuzo tries, cheery as always. There is a faint hint of doubt in her voice though. Lalu's head shoots back to her.

     "Oh! Where are my manners—Lil' A, meet my new sister, Squirteli." She motions to the Usul with her moderately free hand. "I call her Squirt for short, though. Fits nicely, doesn't it?"

     Well, she is short, but everyone is short compared to Aatuzo. Squirt just a little more so.

     She doesn't say this out loud, of course. Instead, she smiles, and greets her happily. "Hi, Squirt, I'm Aatzuo. I take it Lalu's told you about me?"

     The Usul doesn't respond, still clinging to Lalu. A frightful look graces her features.

     Aatuzo's smile falters some, but only because she remembers how sharp her teeth look.

     It's then that she sees her brother, Jaws, a red Jetsam, rush into the store—him? In Usukiland? Something's up—with a worried look on his face. "Aatuzo!" he cries, catching sight of her. "Aatuzo, Mama says come home—something about Creo's wings being stuck in a tree and you being the only one tall enough to grab him."

     "Oh! Okay—sorry, gotta run, an Eyrie stuck in a tree is never a good thing." She bids her friends farewell and exits the shop, one thing on her mind as she walks speedily with her brother:

     She is a mutant, and she is proud.


     Aatuzo, the gentle spirit, can get almost anyone to like her. She managed with her neighbors no problem, so one little Usul should be a piece of cake.

     Whenever she comes to Usukiland, and whenever she sees Squirt there, she tries to talk with her and offer to play with Usuki dolls with her. After those attempts failed, she realizes Squirt may be scared of her size.

     So she starts sitting a lot when in the store. Lalu questions this at first, but soon lets it be when Aatuzo tells her of her plan.

     That attempt fails too. This Squirt is a tough one, then. Time for Aatuzo to bust out the big friend-making-plans.

     She tries to relate to Squirt, like how they were both adopted from the pound into the loving families they have now.

     This also failed. If anything it made Squirt tear up and cry at being reminded of the pound. Poor girl.

     So she tries bringing her a present. What more could a girl want than a new Usuki doll? Turns out Squirt wasn't so fond of handouts, saying that taking it meant she was a sissy and she was not a sissy. Hm.

     It's around then that Aatuzo realizes, maybe, not everyone has to like her.

     Besides, she is a mutant, and she is proud, and that is all that should really matter.


     Aatuzo leaves her alone as best she can after that. If she wants to talk, she'll talk. Aatuzo falls back into her regular routine when coming to Usukiland, which she knows still isn't enough for her Usuki-crazed needs, and things go mostly back to normal.

     Lalu gives her a big hug one day, though, out of the blue, and Aatuzo has to stop and ask why.

     "Oh Lil' A, don't be modest! I know what you did for Squirt."

     All the attempts at friendship that failed, you mean? Of course, she doesn't say this aloud. Instead she voices, "No clue, sorry. Care to enlighten me?"

     The blue Blumaroo is jumpy and excited. "You know, of course, that Squirt didn't really like Mutants, right? Duh. Well, today I saw her giving a little mutant Kiko an Usuki doll! Turns out it was the Kiko's first! And I had to think, wow, what'd make Squirt change her mind like that? 'Cause when she's set on stuff she's set on stuff, and you know what? I thought of how hard you tried to be friends with her, and I was like 'duh! It must have had an effect on her! That Aatuzo sure is a miracle worker!'"

     Miracle worker? That's a new one. She's been Aatuzo, Lil' A, Big Heart, sometimes even Girlie and Gentle Giant, but Miracle worker was a new one.

     Before Lalu can say any more, Squirt walks in the shop. Giddy, the Blumaroo hops behind the counter to help someone pick out a doll for his sister's birthday. Aatuzo looks at Squirt, who has a new air around her.

     She looks at Aatuzo. Aatuzo looks at her. "Hey," she says, with a hint of cheeriness.

     Aatuzo smiles wide, but not too wide. "Hey!"

     "...Can I see your Usuki doll collection some time? Lalu says it's pretty cool."

     This surprises her, but lessens her smile none. "Sure! You free tomorrow?"

     "I guess. Around Eight?"

     "Cool! Meet here for convenience?"


     As Squirt toddles away to get her uniform on, Aatuzo watches and the smiles won't stop. She walks out of the shop later on in one of the greatest moods she's ever been in.

     Aatuzo, Lil' A, Big Heart, Girlie, Gentle Giant, Miracle worker.

     She's herself, and that's all there is to be.

The End

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