The best way to describe Shard's personality was as if a spardel was given its food in a bowl made of glass. The clumsy petpet would shatter it into..
Ignoring the pun, the petpet would either not eat or hurt itself trying to.
Give that spardel the intelligence of an evil mastermind, and the petpet will get its owner to sift through the glass for its food no matter how painful the job is...
In a world of purple, Shard was just a Carmariller. Not a blue spiky petpet of destruction like she hoped, but a simple brown and yellow Faerie apprentice to any Neopet she'd one day be assigned to.
That thought drove her mad.
Why? Why was she cursed to such a feeble, insignificant body? A prediction of the Faeries that she'd be a threat otherwise? Or just dumb luck?
The only petpets who mattered were her family, though they weren't ideal. Teasing her unmenacing appearance, calling her 'Normie'. They were simply brutes as opposed to her personality, sharp as a glass shard and just as dangerous.
They lived on a small island above Meridell, Darigan Citadel the petpet's family called it. Petpet Battles were always around the corner, free training and entertainment. There weren't any Petpet shops so Shard was free of the responsibility of having a Neopet owner.
That was until she fell.
It was a quick flash consisting of a rock hitting her wing (thrown by one of her unruly brothers), but off her humble island to a hill in the medieval land.
From there it was shouts of "Faerie!" "It be a Faerie thing alright." "Send it back to the cloud land."
Shard went from the despairing island to the whimsical Faerieland within a day.
She hated it.
Not the separation, not the anxiety of all these young pets judging her skill, not even the dainty annoying petpets in her cage, but the nerve of the Neopets who sent her here and are trying to sell her! Forcing her to put on a show and impress whoever pulls out their Neopoints.
A Usul stumbled in with her human caretaker. Not being a previously owned petpet, Shard vaguely knew about caretakers. They fed and assisted their beloved Neopets until they left, only to return an hour or day later to resume the process. Pampering up their loved Neopets to be perfect, then Neopets mimicking with their own petpets.
The Usul grabbed a bag holding a thousand Neopoints and handed it to the Faerie running the store before her eyes rested on Shard.
Oh no. She hasn't, no she couldn't have bought me-
The Usul picked up the Carmariller and walked out of the store with her owner giving her a pat on the tail. "Good job Dar!" The girl smiled and the Usul hugged her new petpet tightly.
Shard already hated her new role.
Her new Neopet owner lived in Faerieland, so now Shard was forced to spend time here. Five seconds into this role and she hated it. Two seconds better than expected.
"H-hi?" The Usul stuttered out when they were alone in her room. Shard groaned. "Hello." she whispered though in her voice it was more of a squeak. She was a bit rusty on Faerie magic, not sure if the Usul could hear her words correctly. It might of came out as just a high pitched squeak, completely unintelligible nonsense to the cowardly Neopet. But the Usul seemed to nod as if she heard the right word.
"I'm Darknetta, y-you can call me Dar." She whispered, her paw petting a wing. "What's your name?" "Shard," Came out in the next squeak though her owner whispering it back. "Shard, Shard, Shard." The Usul busted out in a grin. "What a perfect name!"
Five minutes into this new job and she despised her Neopet owner.
Better position than she thought she'd be in.
Dar's stomach grumbled a bit and she walked out of her room, with Shard hugged tight. With the Carmariller's weak structure and the Usul's surprising grip it seemed Shard wouldn't be escaping anytime soon.
The human caretaker was happily feeding her first Neopet, a green Kacheek named Daniel, a fair share of food. The caretaker had went through a Neopoint struggle recently and someone had to go without food for a day. The brave pet who volunteered was the second eldest of his three siblings, the Kacheek.
The oldest sibling, an Aisha recently adopted from the pound, was in the Neolodge getting every loose tie from her life with her previous caretaker straightened out so Shard was informed by Dar that the Carmariller wouldn't be seeing much of the fourth member of the humble family yet.
The sibling second to Daniel was a Xweetok named Melodiv. She was bubbly to her Usul sister, a wide grin on her simple features and an energetic Yullie on her shoulders. This charade, this measly, insignificant act was presumably to hide her true personality from the new Carmariller: Arrogant. This defining trait was shown in the constant bragging done at the mealtime. She smirked while chewing her omelette, as if she knew what was about to happen next. The all-knowing grin that didn't know as much as it thought it did most of the time.
This was not one of those times.
The caretaker had ran out of food. The brunette human apologized immensely and promised to send Daniel out to buy more for her starving Neopet companion and Darknetta just smiled.
Because in a situation like this there was nothing else to do, no rebelling against the injustice, no tantrums of the absurdity. The Usul smiled and waited for her brother to grab his petpet before she put Shard in the same bag with a Spyder belonging to Daniel.
Shard already hated how things worked around here and it had only been an hour. She expected it though.
The Spyder peeked in the small holes in the fabric, squeaking a bit at Daniel's rough, jarring movements. Shard snickered at the scared thing.
"Hey what's so funny?" The Spyder's voice was quiet, yet his words refined and completely dignified. Shard didn't care. "Scaredy Spyder." He scoffed politely. "I don't wish to start off badly with you, I've already made enemies with Heartcatcher." "Is that the Yullie?" The Spyder nodded and Shard rolled her eyes. "The petpet's apple doesn't fall far from that arrogant tree."
The other petpet smiled fully, showing his tiny fangs. "Hehe, c'mon don't talk like that. Sure Melodiv is a bit annoying, but she cares!" "Sure she does." The Spyder held out a thin leg. "My name's Minimalist, yours?" "Shard. Pleased to meet you."
For the first time that day, she didn't hate a member of her new family. It was a refreshing moment.
Daniel was opening his bag and Minimalist crawled out and onto Daniel's shoulder. Shard flew out, a perfect escape route! These slow Neopets would never catch her!
A sharp pain from her wing, still not fully healed, stopped her. She crashed into her Usul owner's ear and clung on. Dar smiled, thinking it being an affectionate hug. She then walked with her brother into Neopia Central, the Food Shop awaited.
The chia running the shop turned them down. The last customer bought a lot of food and it'd be a while till they restocked. Darknetta whimpered as she walked out, her stomach aching. Daniel pat her on the back as they walked on over to the Money Tree.
Shard learned the Money Tree was just as vicious as a petpet battle she'd seen at Darigan Citadel. The pulling, the pushing, lungs screaming as someone nabbed what they wanted.
In total the two Neopets only got a poisonous jelly, a smelly jelly, and a tchea fruit. Darknetta ate the fruit but threw away the jelly, her stomach barely satisfied.
At home, it was a dull experience. The Xweetok was doing a couple errands for the caretaker, the Kacheek was reading a couple books. Shard's Usul was taking a nap, and the petpets were all with the caretaker. Shard wouldn't of cared for the others if it wasn't for the obnoxious clicks of the keyboard keys. She peeked into the spare room with curiosity.
Minimalist was typing up a couple words the caretaker was saying, Heartcatcher on the side proofreading. The caretaker saw the Carmariller out of the corner of her brown eyes and gestured the petpet over.
Shard fluttered over, her wing only aching a little. She flew up higher to hang out on the desk. Minimalist smiled at her while Heartcatcher paid no attention to the Spyder's friend. Minimalist chatted while his thin legs worked. The caretaker was writing a short story for the Neopian Times.
The paper was finished two minutes after Shard arrived and the caretaker pulled it out with a smile and showed it to the petpets, mentioning how it was not quite done yet.
Shard first noticed the pen name. 'Ribbon'. At least she had a name to put with the benevolent face of her Neopet's caretaker.
The second thing she saw was the content. Her name popped out a couple times despite this being her first day here. The words described a scenario; a wacky story about a Carmariller lost from its home tries to survive her new family while simultaneously despising every moment there.
Minimalist and Heartcatcher seemed content with the work of 'fiction' and left to go to sleep with their Neopet owners. Shard held the paper in her small hands as it dawned on her.
"This was today."
The caretaker smiled, lifting her Usul's petpet down with a grin. "Someone has to write the news." She whispered cryptically and returned to her work, alone.
Shard flew up to her Neopet owner's head and curled around an ear with a sigh. Being stuck here was now her life it seemed. Might as well get used to it, she thought unaware of her Usul shaking in her sleep.
Dar hated the darkness ironically. Nightmares crawling out of the void, and tonight was not an exception. A shadowy figure, clothed in a purple glow, stared at her with its yellow, evil eyes. The Usul quivered as it loomed closer and closer. The shadows growing ever near, closer and closer-
She jolted up with a squeak, shocking the Carmariller wrapped around her ear. "What was that about?" Shard half shouted in surprise.
Darknetta calmed down slightly, looking down. "N-nightmare." Shard sighed and pet the spot on her Usul's head right between her ears.
"You get too frightened, you submit too easily." Dar nodded sadly. "I can help." Shard whispered softly. The Usul's eyes widened, her shaking voice asking "How?"
The next day the caretaker showed her Neopets and their petpets the story. The Yullie and Spyder were proud at contributing to what they thought was fiction.
"Hey Shard," 'Ribbon' began with a smirk, "Have any suggestions?" The petpet shook her head. "It's perfect, almost like its real." None of Neopets or petpets knew why Shard giggled, not even the Carmariller's Usul.
That same night Darknetta had the same nightmare. Yet it seemed tamer, despite being roughly the same. The main difference of this dream was that a blue, spiky Carmariller was curled around the wraith Usul's ear, petting her Neopet owner's head.
At the time the yellow Usul thought it to be a sign of hope, a cute reworking of a fear into something charming.
She thought that as long as Shard was with her, everything would get better.
If only she learned that the shadows weren't the thing to be afraid of.
Maybe it would've turned out better.