The Moach and the Mage
Everyone knows each sorceress, wizard, mage, and magician has a familiar: a focal point and animated guide through which they channel their mystic abilities. Every famous Neopian magic-user has had a hidden companion, imbued with a special energy, that allows them to expend beyond their fair share of magic.
Some sorceresses, like Jhudora or Illusen, have great and powerful creatures as their magical foci, famous petpets aged for centuries that have conquered trial after trial alongside their faeries. Others, such as Kauvara, who took after her uncle Klum the magician, have familiars that have remained secret. Nevertheless, every magic user has had a helping hand, an assistant if you will, who protects and adds to the capabilities of their masters.
It was only a matter of time, once a young Neopet had begun their magical training, that they would need a companion to help them progress in their studies. Many would run to the Petpet Stall in Sakhmet or the Winter Petpet shop in Happy Valley to meet the dozens of petpets there, and find one which resonated with their magic. It was a coming-of-age ritual every spellcaster looked forward to.
Today was the day for one such mage, a young Kougra named Xander. He had been waiting for months, training at the Pirate Academy and receiving his abilities in Faerieland, and he knew that now was the time for him to gain a companion to continue his training alongside him.
Excitedly, he went to the first petpet shop he could find, Krawk Island Nippers. He dug through his pockets, looking for leftover dubloons, and excitedly stepped inside, smiling brightly at the shopkeeper. The older Kyrii grinned toothily at Xander, leaning forward on the counter.
“Have you come to find a companion, little one? Someone to share in your adventures, perhaps?” He gestured at the pens surrounding him, and the myriad of petpets within.
Xander nodded excitedly, clapping his paws together.
The Kyrii chuckled, and pulled out a blue stepstool from behind the counter, handing it to Xander. “Get a feel for the little ones, then. Don’t be shy, only a few of ‘em bite.”
Immediately climbing on the little stool, Xander began to peer into the pens, eyes widening as Weewoos, Blibbles, and a particularly curious Farnswap sniffed him curiously. He examined them closely in return, even going so far as to extend a bit of his magical essence to brush the small creatures, but felt no returning tug or feeling of “rightness”.
Not to be discouraged, Xander continued to examine the petpets in the rest of the shop as well, from tiny Krikkets to loud Mirgles, giving each one a moment, and a careful examination. However, even after an hour of meeting each and every petpet the Kyrii had in stock, Xander failed to feel a special connection with any of them.
“I’m sorry sir, but I don’t think any of these petpets are right for me,” Xander began, embarrassment coloring his voice. “I’ll have to visit you again another time, maybe.”
The Kyrii only smiled with a hint of sadness. “Not to worry laddie. Hurry off to Ye Olde Petpets next, they’re certain to have someone perfect for you.”
Xander left the shop in a hurry, giving the shopkeeper a respectful wave goodbye, already planning his journey to the next shop. Most of his classmates and peers at the Academy had already selected petpets, and the few remaining spellcasters without companions were now beginning to search more frantically, not wanting to be left behind in their training. Xander knew that many other Neopets chose not to gain petpets, and turn away from the spellcasting element of battling, but Xander wanted to be a wizard of the highest caliber, just as his family had always been.
And just as Xander knew he desired to become great wizard, he knew he needed a familiar to achieve his goals.
And so, the next day, Xander rushed off to Meridell, seeking another shopkeeper, hopefully this time to find the perfect familiar, so he could get back to his studies and cease to spend his nights wondering what might happen if he never found a companion.
The Ixi at the counter patiently humored Xander’s slow examination around the shop, handing him Symols and Karrens. Xander grimaced as he noted the price tag for the Turmacs, Mortogs, and Zebies, and privately was relieved when none of them resonated with his magic, but left the shop more worried than he had been when he entered, now beginning to question if he would be able to find a petpet for himself.
It will be fine, he told himself. I’ll find someone perfect for me. It just might take some time. With that in mind, he started off again, now planning to reach Neopia Central before the end of the day. He reached the store that evening, tired from his long walk, ready to fall into his bed.
Xander pushed open the door of the shop, wiping his muddy shoes on the welcome rug thoughtfully placed in the doorway. A Usul greeted him, cheerfully feeding the Kadoaties dinner.
“Welcome! What are you seeking? A friend, a companion? Perhaps both?” She busied herself with bowls of food and refilling water bowls as Xander cautiously began to look around, noting the number of petpets covering every inch of the humble shop.
“A…a companion for a mage, actually.” He mumbled, enthusiasm no longer present in his voice.
The Usul tittered kindly, handing him a Puppyblew to pet as he continued to survey the shop, reaching out with his magic once more. “Not to worry dear, I’m sure you’ll find a sweet little someone here— have you already been to a few other shops? You look exhausted, you poor thing.”
Xander shook his head, smiling as the Puppyblew licked his chin. “Only two other shops so far— I didn’t realize it would take so much searching. I thought I would find a petpet that connected with me right away.”
The Usul laughed, putting her hands on her hips. “Oh dear. It can take a while for some folks. I wouldn’t dwell on it; every magic user finds a familiar eventually. It’ll work out, just you wait.”
As his magic continued to reach out to each of the petpets, Xander sighed, finding not even the slightest tug of rightness towards any of the occupants of the shop. “Where do you think I should go next?” He questioned with an unhappy shrug, “I don’t think anyone here is right for me either.”
The Usul paused her work, propping a Warf on her hip. “I would try Faerieland Petpets, or maybe Spooky Petpets? They’ve both earned a good reputation with magic-users.”
Xander handed her the Puppyblew, giving it a last pat on the head, and set out for the fourth time to yet another shop. He spent the night at the Neolodge, knowing he had another long journey ahead of him, and woke the next morning with butterflies in his stomach. Nevertheless, he prepared his bags for the trip to the Haunted Woods, holding the Usul’s words close to his heart.
To his dismay, the day’s search again proved unfruitful. He continued this process several more times, visiting every corner of Neopia, even going so far as to charter a Virupets ferry to make sure that the mechanical petpets aboard Virupets station didn’t match his magical energy.
When he returned to Krawk Island after a long week of searching, he found that every one of his classmates had returned from their expeditions as well, all with companions. He was the only one left alone, and he returned to his room at the Academy that night with a heavy heart.
What’s wrong with me, he wondered, that I couldn’t find a single petpet that fit me? Am I not supposed to be a wizard? Am I doing something wrong?
Xander went through the motions of training, handing over his dubloons and listening to his instructors carefully as he practiced his stance and movements. He knew that he was following his dreams, training to be the most powerful mage in Neopia, but as he watched his peers leave the Academy, their own familiars toddling by their sides, he felt a deep sorrow he could not shake.
He made his way to the cove, found a quiet spot beside a palm tree, and began to quietly cry.
“I tried so hard to find a friend to come with me on my adventures! I walked across Terror Mountain and sweated into the deepest parts of Moltara, and still I didn’t find a single petpet that spoke to me!” He sobbed, utterly distraught.
He stayed there for a time, letting his sadness wash over him, watching the tide come in. When his tears had dried and there were no more to be shed, he stood, shaking his head.
“I guess I’ll just have to keep training. Someday I’ll find a companion. I have to.” And with that, he turned away from the beach, and began to march back to the academy.
He was still hardening his resolve when he walked face-first into the palm tree that had been sitting behind him, knocking his forehead quite hard. He fell on his back, rebounding from the impact, and the tree shook, a leaf falling on the ground in front of him.
Xander rubbed his head, groaning. “That hurt,” he whined. “I’m glad no one saw that.”
There was a quiet chittering from underneath the leaf that seemed to say otherwise, however. Xander, surprised and caught unawares, jumped away from the palm frond.
“Who’s there?” He questioned shakily.
The chittering continued, and Xander carefully lifted the palm frond, revealing a tiny Moach grooming itself.
“Well hi there, little guy, what were you doing on a palm tree?” The Moach gave no reply, peering up at Xander curiously. Xander shrugged, ready to set the palm frond back on top of the little creature, preparing to leave for the Academy, but stopped short, mind whirling.
“Hey…you don’t happen to be a familiar, are you?” He asked the tiny creature, hope coloring his voice. The Moach chirruped happily, bouncing closer to Xander.
Xander took a deep breath, allowing his magic to flow towards the Moach, and felt a small spark of electricity in return. The tiny creature’s own magical essence melded with Xander’s, and he immediately felt both soothed and focused, and easily released the connection.
“I’ve never heard of anyone having a Moach as a companion before,” he told the Moach happily, “I think that makes us special.”
Xander left, returning to the Academy and his studies, now with a familiar to aid him in his adventures around Neopia. Through trials, epic quests, and grand journeys to discover new worlds, the Mage and the Moach stayed together, until the end of their days.