Judging a Neopet by their Colour
I suppose you thought only plain, unpainted neopets ended up in the pound. I guess you think that just because someone is painted an unusual colour, it means that they'll always be wanted around. I'm here to tell you that sometimes life has another plan. Sometimes, even those of us painted all pretty and unique end up in that awful place.
I was once a Darigan Cybunny. Fierce and frightening. With glowing eyes and sharp black talons and teeth. At first I loved it. But then matching neopets came into fashion, and I didn't exactly fit in. I had three sisters, all of them painted in pretty, feminine colours. My owner at the time said that they couldn't afford to paint me again, and besides, I was a male neopet, and would always be different. She shipped me off to the pound.
The friendly Uni in charge of adoptions said I wouldn't be there for very long. Poor Neopians would jump at the chance to have a painted neopet. Why, I might not even be in here a single night. She put me with a group of other painted pets at the front, right near the adoptions counter.
She was mostly right you know. All the other neopets with me that day were gone by lunchtime the following day. More came, and went almost as quickly. Painted pets were a hot commodity. But I wasn't. Owners came in, looked at me, and quickly moved on. I was just too fierce, too scary and too different.
'I'm sorry,' said the Uni. 'I really didn't think that you'd still be here. But we mostly get new Neopians in here, and I'm afraid that you frighten most of them. Maybe you could try talking to a few of them? Once they get to know you, I'm sure they'll love you.' She smiled at me sadly and moved on.
I tried to follow her advice, really I did. I practiced friendly greetings, and asked the Uni to keep me up with what was happening in the world. I saw a Neopian and her Yurble were looking me over, and decided to give it a go. Walking up to them, I coughed and cleared my throat. The Yurble jumped, and disappeared behind his owner. 'Nasty little thing, aren't you?' she snapped. 'Scaring other neopets just for the fun of it.' They stormed off, leaving me alone again.
This routine became a daily occurrence for me. I would try to approach a Neopian, but my appearance would put them off. Eventually I was moved further back into the pound. People were complaining that they didn't want to have to pass me just to see the other pets.
That was where she found me. I was in the corner, trying the blunt my claws and spikes on the stone of the wall. I thought that maybe I wouldn't be as scary that way, or maybe even be mistaken for a purple Cybunny. I could sense someone watching me, but I ignored them and kept running my claws done the wall.
'You know, that really is an awful sound. Are you trying to keep people away?' I would have ignored this comment, but something in the tone made me turn. This Neopian sounded curious, not snarky. I looked at the new arrivals. This Neopian leant against the wall beside her, with her baby Xweetok nestled on her shoulder. Both watched me unblinkingly. They could never be interested in me, I thought. I turned away again.
'That purple is amazing, don't you think? And I haven't seen a coat that shiny before now either.' I didn't know what the lady was talking about. Her neopet was a creamy colour, and there certainly wasn't anything beautiful in this awful place. 'Are you talking about me?' I asked her. 'Well, of course I mean you,' she laughed, 'I don't see anyone else here.' 'But I'm ugly and scary. No one thinks anything nice about me'.
Suddenly, the Xweetok on her shoulder jumped down to sit near me. She peered at me and made a weird chirping noise. 'Can't you see I don't have anything to play with you?! Go find someone else to entertain you!' I almost snarled it. I was so upset, and these people were here teasing me. I expected her to run away, but the Xweetok just approached me, and sat down right next to me. To my surprise, I felt her tail curl around my front paw.
'You of all neopets should know that appearances are not always what they appear.' The Neopian was watching me with level eyes. 'She may look like a baby, but it is only because she was zapped by Boochi. She is older than you are, and has read more books than my other two pets combined.' I tuned my gaze back to the baby Xweetok. Looking at her, I could tell her owner told the truth. This baby met my stare with level and kind eyes. Very deliberately she nodded at me, and smiled.
'I'm sorry,' I said to both of them. 'You're right. And I should know better than that. But why have you come to see me?' I gazed at the floor again, suddenly feeling shy and trying not to appear hopeful. 'I have come because I was looking for you. I overheard a group of people talking about their recent trip to the pound. They mentioned strange noises coming from further back in the pound. Scared them something shocking apparently.' She appeared to be trying not to laugh. 'Suffice to say, I was curious as to what exactly they were talking about. I would love to tell them that they were scared of a harmless little Cybunny.'
I smiled at this likeable stranger in spite of myself. I could imagine the type of Neopians she was talking about. I had met my fair share of them in my time there. Through the window I could see the sun beginning to set. The Xweetok at my feet chirped at her owner, and glanced out the window as well. Plainly, it was time to go.
My fears were confirmed moments later. 'You're right, we had better be off. Otherwise your sister will try her hand at cooking again, and I always prefer to be on hand when she does that.' The Xweetok butted my paw with her head and jumped back up to her perch on the stranger. Smiling at me again, they stranger started heading back the way she came. I watched them go sadly. I could only hope that they would be back, but I seriously doubted it. I wished that they hadn't come to see me. Knowing that there were some people who didn't care what I looked like only made it hurt all the more when they left.
'I do hope you weren't planning on staying there.'
It's been years since I was taken from that dreadful place. I still think about it though, and I still visit the pets in there from time to time. It's still the same old story. I've been painted cloud since, and given fancy clothes to wear. I was glad to be rid of the Darigan colours.... But I can't help but wonder if the people I see in the street would be as friendly if I still was. So next time you see a neopet that looks a little bit scary, why don't you wait and see what happens instead of running away.
Disclaimer: Unless it is the Nightsteed or Snowager or something. Then you should run away.