My Plushie Eyrie
My story starts one evening when I noticed I was fading... But no, I suppose I should start right at the beginning. My name is Ploushy and I am a plushie Eyrie. It wasn't always that way, however. Once upon a time I was created as a green Eyrie.
I came into the world, blinking, unsure of everything around me. I was put quickly at ease, however, by the gentle, loving arms of the girl who embraced me, telling me that she was my owner and that I was to come and live with her.
Her house was small, her means modest, but we were happy. We dreamed of many things, not the least of which was turning me into a plushie. It was what she wanted most, and I wanted it too. She worked hard playing games to earn neopoints, and I did everything I could around the house so that she wouldn't have to.
But as has happened to so many forgotten pets, my girl began to grow up. She spent less time with me and more time with her friends. Soon she stopped playing games in favour of shopping trips. Eventually our goals had been forgotten and she packed up her things, going off to a place called College and leaving me alone in the house.
I won't bore you with the details of how hard it was to be without any owner. The days of waiting for her return soon turned into weeks. The weeks eventually turned into months, and those turned into years. Although I was green on the outside I was a plushie at heart and the most important thing, to a plushie, is make someone happy. I had no one to make happy; I was miserable. My girl had abandoned me.
I was able to live for a long time off of the savings that my girl had left behind, my dream of being a true plushie growing more and more distant with every meal. Eventually, however, the savings all but ran out, and I was forced to start making trips to the Soup Kitchen. I tried going to the Pound in hopes of being adopted into a new home but since I still technically had an owner they would not accept me.
Life became a blur of sadness. When I went to the Soup Kitchen I kept my head down and didn't look around me. I couldn't bear to see other pets being loved by their owners. I simply got my soup and left.
The visit of a fire faerie did little to spur me out of my slump. Once, I would have been ecstatic. But when she fluttered down into my path as I was heading back from the Soup Kitchen, her little arms outstretched and bearing a shadow paint brush, I could only think her gift ironic. She insisted that I take it, that it was to lift my spirits. I thought instead that it would cause me to look as gloomy as I felt. I had become nothing more than a shadow in some girl's memory, if even that. How fitting, therefore, that I become a shadow to everyone around me. I took the paint brush to the Rainbow Pool.
As I waited behind a long line of excited pets clinging to their respective paint brushes, I began to look around. It wasn't something I'd done in a long time. Things were different, things had changed.
My turn came and I stepped forward, dipping my paint brush into the magical waters before lifting it over my face, my arms, my wings. The shadowy colour of the brush swept over me and with it a new outlook on things. I didn't want to stay home anymore, pining after an owner that would not return. What I would do instead, I didn't know, but it was time to move on. As my tail turned to black and the paint brush disintegrated, I stepped aside and looked around. Maybe it was time to find out just how much things had changed.
The thing that stood out to me the most, as I slipped silently through Neopia Central, was the clothing everyone wore. I remembered when a simple hat or collar had been the common fashion. Now every pet was decked out from head to paw in every manner of clothing I could imagine and more besides. Much of it was bright and sparkly and clearly quite new. I found myself feeling glad for my shadow colour, which allowed me to move along unnoticed. I felt that I would have looked quite conspicuous otherwise.
I went to the clothing store, thinking I might find something to wear there. I did, and felt much more comfortable when I was properly dressed in a shirt, trousers and jacket. However, they were not the sparkly variety of clothing I had seen everyone else in. As I paid for my new clothes I had to ask the Uni shopkeeper about it.
"Oh, those," she murmured, a hint of spite in her previously chipper voice. "Those are from the mall, you buy them with neocash." She seemed to be afraid that I might start buying clothing there next for she rushed onward. "They're really not all they're cracked up to be. I mean sure they last forever and yes they're eye catching and I suppose they always look good, but they're also gaudy and bright and everyone has the same things. There isn't any uniqueness. Old fashioned neopoint clothing is still the best way to go."
I felt so out of touch. I didn't bother to tell her that I didn't know where the mall was, that I hadn't even known there was a mall. Nor did I tell her that I hadn't the faintest idea what neocash was. I simply took my change, thanked her, and left.
It was shaping up to be a strange evening. Neopia was no longer as I remembered it. How could it have changed so much in only a few years? And how could I have missed all these changes, just by keeping my head down when I walked?
I went to the Games Room. I wanted to find some of my owner's favourite games. I wasn't sure why I went but I suppose I must have been entertaining the faint hope that maybe she would be there, that maybe she'd have missed the fun of it and come back. But her favourite games were gone. Or, if they were still there, I couldn't find them. The Games Room had changed from a little arcade into a bright, bustling metropolis that stunned me as I walked through, half blinded by all the lights and deafened by the music and laughter. I didn't recognize most of the games.
Feeling ever more cut off from everyone and everything around me, I made my way to the trading boards. I lingered outside the Pound, observing with confusion the crowd of people who surged upon the building in a sort of frenzy. I had come with the hope that my new colour might make me more attractive to someone and that I might find a new home. However, no one paid me the slightest bit of attention.
Unable to figure out what had stirred that large a group of owners into such a panic I finally slipped out of my hiding place and approached a woman who stood a little back from the crowd, tapping her on the shoulder to get her attention. "Excuse me, miss. What is happening here?"
"Silly Eyrie, don't you know? Where is your owner?"
I hesitated, unsure of what my owner had to do with her ability to answer my question. But she didn't seem as though she would answer mine until I answered hers. "She left."
"A long, long time ago..."
The woman smiled brightly at me. "Lucky for you then that the purge is happening! Maybe you'll be purged too!"
Purged? I had no idea what that meant. Before I could ask the lady was swept away by the tide of frantic owners.
I retreated, lingering in the background, watching the people. I didn't know what purging meant; it sounded a little frightening. Was it something that was happening to pets, to owners? I wished I knew. Would it happen to me? The lady made it sound like a good thing, but I wasn't so sure.
The crowd continued to buzz about, and I continued to watch them, not noticing at first that something about me had started to change. I didn't realize it until I finally turned and left, meaning to go home. The sun had set, it was dark. I was blending in with the night very well with my new colour, too well in fact.
I stopped and lifted my paw. I could see right through it. My eyes widened in alarm and a yelp escaped me. Not knowing what else to do I took off at a run, trying to get home. My legs were starting to fail me. I tripped on the doorstep to my house and lay still, unable to move my limbs. As I watched, the house became as see-through as my body. It faded into opaqueness and then, in a split second, vanished entirely, leaving an empty lot where everything I had ever known had stood only moments before,
As for me, I continued to dim, turning into a true shadow. I wanted to cry out for help but I had no voice left. There was nothing I could do but weep silently for my owner as I faded into oblivion.
I came into the world, blinking, unsure of everything around me. I was unsure even of myself. Was I real? I had memories, faint, lingering like shadows in the back of my mind. A house, an owner... vanishing. Where was I?
"Hello there." I lifted my head and stared. A girl stood over me, smiling broadly. "I got you!" She had blonde hair and green eyes. She wasn't my owner. Was she? What did she mean she'd gotten me? Where had she gotten me from? Where had I been?
Perhaps she noticed my bewilderment for she laughed. "You poor thing, you must be so confused. Do you remember who you are?"
I had to think about it. "Ploushy," I said finally.
She nodded happily. "That's right! What a good name for a plushie. That's what you'll be someday, a plushie!"
A twinge of fear twisted my heart. I'd heard those words before. I'd heard them from my last owner, the one who had abandoned me. I remembered being abandoned. "Someday?" I asked weakly.
"Yes, someday. Come on, let's get you home. I have to go back to watching names."
The girl led me to her house. I had an awkward time following. I hadn't noticed until I'd started walking and heard a clomping noise that I was no longer an Eyrie. I was a Uni now, a green Uni, and I wasn't used to hooves yet.
The house was a nice one, simple but pretty. I expected to be invited inside, but I wasn't. She led me to a smaller, single story house behind the first; her side account. I was showed in to a little, sparsely furnished room and then left alone.
I sat down on my new bed and listened to the silence. My mind was drifting through memories of my old owner as they came back to me. She'd abandoned me, it was true. But I remembered how it had felt when I'd first gone home with her, how she'd cuddled me and we'd dreamed together. Hot tears welled up in my eyes and spilled down my face. I wanted to be cuddled. I wanted to be loved. I wanted to have someone I could make happy. I wanted to be a plushie.
My new owner was very nice. She kept me and the three other pets who lived in her side account well fed and I had new clothes. But I didn't have her attention and I didn't have her love. She never cuddled me and she never painted me plushie. For the most part I was left to my own devices, and I found myself nearly as sad as I remembered being after my last owner had abandoned me.
Still, I was grateful, at least, to have an owner. And I wasn't prepared for the afternoon when that changed.
I was sitting in a chair, reading a book, when she came in. There was a wide smile on her face as she sat down on my bed, leading forward to talk to me. "Ploushy, I need to tell you about someone."
I set my book aside and leaned forward to listen.
"There is a good friend of mine who worked very hard to get a pet with a name she wanted, a dream name. Only, the owner was very unkind and backed out of their deal at the last minute. She's very sad now, but I think you might be able to cheer her up. You see, she's dreaming of a plushie Eyrie with a great name. Your name isn't bad, and I've been so terrible about painting you myself. I think you might be perfect for each other!"
A cold dread filled me. Another new owner was the last thing I wanted. At least here I had an owner who wasn't going to leave me, even if she didn't give me any attention. I was afraid of someone new, someone worse. Someone who might abandon me again. Purging had been frightening the first time; I didn't think I could handle going through it again. But what could I say, no?
"Great! Come on then, get your things and we'll go see her right away. I already told her I was bringing you to meet her."
I thought about what my owner had said as I followed her from the little house and down the street. This new girl, she'd been trying for a specific name. That meant I would be second choice, a settlement – if she even wanted me at all.
My owner led me to a park near the Rainbow Pool. I looked around at the different owners out with their pets, having picnics or playing ball. I wanted to leave. Instead I was dragged along toward a bench, my stringy tail drooping.
There was a girl seated alone on the bench, her legs crossed neatly, reading a book. She had brown hair which had been pulled up and brown eyes which glanced up and fixed upon me immediately. A pencil was tucked behind one ear.
"There you are! I'd like you to meet Ploushy. Ploushy, this is Jay."
Something about Jay sparked my interest, something in her face, her eyes. She'd been hurt too. Maybe I was second choice, but I could no longer bring myself to feel upset about it. I felt sorry for her. I wanted to make it better.
"Hello," I said, trying to smile. But I was used to having a beak and smiling as a Uni felt strange.
Jay smiled, her mouth twitching upward in amusement as she knelt down to be at my level. "How would you like to be a plushie Eyrie?"
I would have liked it very much, but every previous owner had promised me the same thing. "When?" I asked.
There was a bag that had been sitting at Jay's feet. She pulled it over and opened it just enough to let me see inside. My breath caught in my throat. Inside lay an Eyrie morphing potion and a plushie paint brush.
"How about right now?"
I stared at Jay, then at my owner. My owner smiled at me, perceiving, I supposed, the question on my face. "Jay writes for the Neopian Times, the brush was her end of the year bonus. She wants to use it on you, Ploushy. If that's what you want..."
I didn't hesitate, I nodded, my green mane flying in my face as I bounced my head up and down.
My owner – no, previous owner – laughed. "Alright then, Jay, he's all yours!"
Jay pulled her bag up onto her shoulder and set her hand on my shoulder. "Come on Ploushy." Her words were calm, but her face was glowing. She was as excited as I was.
We went together to the Rainbow Pool and this time I did not have to paint myself. I drank the potion Jay gave me and then closed my eyes, cringing slightly against the strange sensation of morphing. I felt the soft, fluffy brush passing over my new feathers, dripping with water from the rainbow pool.
Then I felt gentle, loving arms embracing me. Jay's voice spoke excitedly, telling me I was hers now and that I would come and live with her forever. I opened my eyes. Jay was grinning from ear to ear, beaming at me. I looked in her eyes. They weren't so sad anymore. She was happy, I had made her happy. I grinned back and snuggled into her arms, loving the way my fabric stretched and my stuffing squished as she held me tighter and danced around with me, making us both laugh.
As promised, Jay took me home. As we approached the front door I felt a momentary twinge of fear, wondering if this was all too good to be true. But it wasn't. Jay carried me up to her room, settling me down on the end of her bed. This was to be my new home, she told me. And I was happy with that. I was too far behind to catch up with the goings on in the outside world and, frankly, I couldn't be bothered. I was much happier to be settled on the end of her bed, playing with her plushie collection when she wasn't around and snuggling up to her when she was.
The purge was undoubtedly the most horrible thing I've ever been through. But everything, purge included, was worth it to end up where I am now: a plushie Eyrie, sitting on the edge of my owner's bed and supporting her head as she scribbles away at some new story for the Neopian Times.
"I think you're going to like this story," she mumbles, writing in the last couple of sentences. I lean forward to see what the story is. I can't help but to smile, pulling the neat stitches in my soft beak upward. The story is mine.
A shout of thanks to the girl who allowed me to adopt Ploushy into my family, you know who you are!