The Making of Commander Garoo
Nobody knew how Commander Garoo had come to be Sloth's second hand man, with a strong loathing towards Neopia and its inhabitants. At least, no-one other than Sloth and Garoo. Many wondered, drawing up backstories which lead to him becoming the cold, capricious Blumaroo he had become; others simply presumed he had been born with a cold heart. Sometimes, there were bets placed, but winnings were never claimed because no-one ever learnt how.
No-one ever knew how Garoo had started off as a fairly happy, kind Blumaroo, content with his life, not really seeking to change anything. Everything was fine, and fine was a lot better than what some Neopets had, so Garoo was perfectly fine with everything being fine. It didn't bother him much when his owner neglected basic duties – sure, he slept a little sadder and a little hungrier each night, but at least he had a roof over his head, and some toys to play with, and some food in his belly.
At least he wasn't living in the Pound.
Garoo learnt how to turn a blind eye when he saw other Neopets getting painted, or playing with toys more than him. "Jealousy is a bitter thing," he told himself. "Jealousy can corrupt, and so I must not be jealous." It was there, though, that the jealousy inside him began to blossom.
A week later, he was flicking through the Neopian Times, when an article caught his eye. Something about the rise of a Chia, a dangerous one, apparently seeking domination of Neopia. For a fleeting moment, Garoo allowed himself to wonder what that would feel like – to have the entirety of Neopia at your knees. To have all the paint brushes just a word away. To have all the food you could possibly eat. To have all the toys you could possibly play with.
To make your owner proud.
Garoo never felt guilt over the idea that had blossomed in his head – he allowed it to become his own little fantasy: to hope for and to imagine, but never to happen. After all, what was he but a young Blumaroo?
The seed was planted in his mind now, and it encouraged the flowering of hatred and anger and jealousy; all the emotions he refused to let himself feel before. There was still a part of Garoo that argued back, his conscience reprimanding him over feeling envy when he was far better off than most Neopets. He had a home and some food and some toys. It wasn't much, but it was more than nothing.
Until it wasn't.
Until his owner left 250 neopoints on the counter, and didn't even look back.
Left behind bars, Garoo lived the first few days of Pound life in denial. Surely this was just some nasty joke, maybe some kind of twisted punishment for his fantasy of ruling Neopia. He lived with hope that his owner would come back in a few days, and cry and hug him and apologize for how bad an owner they'd been. That maybe, they'd go home, and Garoo would have so many new toys waiting for him, and his owner would paint him.
Then came the numb, emotionless stage. Garoo had accepted it. This wasn't a joke. He wasn't going home in a few days. There weren't piles of toys waiting for him – not that he could bring himself to care about toys anymore. The Blumaroo refused to cry, though, or show any emotion. He wasn't weak, and emotions were meaningless anyway. What could emotions possibly do now? They couldn't turn back the clock, to when he was younger and naive and happy playing with a plushie. They couldn't unlock the cage he was sat in. They couldn't do anything, except make this whole ordeal harder.
After a while – Garoo had long ago lost track of days and weeks – the first slither of emotion crawled its way back into his life. It wasn't sadness, or longing. It was a corrupted, twisted jealousy. Anger came next, as he watched pet after pet get adopted out from behind steel bars. Why did they deserve loving homes? What made them any better than him?
The bitterness evolved the longer he stayed, turning into contempt and hatred, till he could stand to be trapped there no more. Day and night, only two things occupied his mind – how to escape, and how to turn his fantasy into a reality. He no longer desired to dominate so to make his owner proud. No, Garoo wanted Neopia at his feet now for revenge. He wanted every single one of the Neopets living on this world to feel how he felt at his low point – unwanted, undeserved, and desperate.
Garoo bided his time, waiting till the daily exercise session, when they were all let out to stretch their legs and maintain their health. He knew exactly how to play it all out – the Blumaroo had figured out the security shifts, and which of the guards was the weak link. He'd ran over the scenario countless times in his head, had solutions to every possible outcome, and all that was left was to implement it.
It wasn't hard: wait, overpower, run. Garoo knew he had no more than 5 minutes before someone came across the unconscious security guard and realized he was missing – his face would likely end up in the Neopian Times at some point. Not many escaped the Pound, and when they did, it was considered noteworthy news. "It's a start," he thought to himself, legs beginning to ache. "It'll get my name out, I'll be considered dangerous. Fear is a good start."
He ran until he couldn't run anymore, collapsing onto his back in a field. Garoo didn't know where he was, and he didn't care, either. It didn't matter to him, as long as he was away from the Pound. He paid little heed to everything around him. He didn't care.
Garoo did, however, pay heed to the vaguely familiar figure walking towards him. He couldn't pinpoint where he'd seen the cloaked Neopet before, but that didn't seem to bother him.
"You just broke out of the Pound," it – he – stated.
"Who are you?" Garoo noted the thread of suspicion in his voice. Interesting.
"Sloth." He was green, and quite bulky, and- Oh.
The Chia out of the newspaper. The one who'd tried to take over the world. "Did you succeed?" Garoo asked, adding as an afterthought, "In taking over the world, I mean?"
He paused, noticing the grimace on the Chia's face. "I could help you, you know. I hate this place. I loathe it."
Sloth squinted at him. "What's in it for you?"
"Revenge." One word summed up all of his emotions, and all of his memories, and everything that drove him in asking to join this dangerous – and likely mad – Chia.
Sloth nodded, and for a moment, he felt sympathy. Behind the anger and the jealousy in the Blumaroo's eyes were emotional scars that would never heal. A backstory which could create one of the deadliest members of his force, under Sloth's careful guidance. He took the young Blumaroo under his wing, and raised into him into one of the most feared Neopets in Neopia. Sloth vowed to help Garoo exact the revenge he so desired to.
It was a proud day for them both when Garoo earned the title of Commander.
Nobody knew that sometimes, Commander Garoo wondered if his owner was finally proud of him now.