The said she was the biggest Usuki collector of all Neopia. I had my doubts; I am a skeptical person. I am not a fan of Usukis either. As a Blumaroo, I would rather collect springy things, since they match myself better. My little sister Bonnie, she loves Usukis a lot, and I wanted to check the said biggest Usuki collection to give her my impressions, since children were not allowed.
“Children are uncontrollable”, said Sally, the Usuki collector, when I entered the door. I asked her why wasn’t my sister allowed but I was. “I was afraid they could do a Pant Devil thing and steal my dolls, or even break them. Donny doesn’t want to see my face any longer.”
She laughed and directed me to the first of her packed rooms.
“You will be surprised”, she said, unlocking one of the five door locks. “I don’t think you have ever seen something like this in your entire life”
That room made me believe she actually had the biggest collection Neopia has ever seen. That room was packed with dolls – bottom to top, left to right – rows and rows of shelves completely full with Usuki dolls. Incredibly rare dolls, that would make my sister give anything to have one of those. All imaginable sets, clothing, broken and fixed dolls, new and old, colorful or black and white.
“What? Are you impressed?”, Sally said, giggling. Her easiness made me realize how much she loved what she was doing. She was a collector for life. That was her job: she was nothing more but the owner of the biggest Usuki collection Neopia has ever seen. “We haven’t even started yet!”
After the tour, she gave me her address and asked me to send her a Neomail anytime I thought we should discuss about Usukis. I went home mesmerized, and talked to my sister for hours and hours about Usukis. I talked to her about Sally and how friendly she was. My sister was also mesmerized.
The next day, I went to Usukiland at the Neopian Bazaar. The big Usuki at the top welcomed me warmly, and the flowery store was just like I imagined from seeing Sally’s pictures. I decided to make my first trip alone, without my sister, otherwise she would go crazy and want every single doll. I just had enough neopoints for one.
A sweet bouncing Blumaroo came my way. “Welcome to Usukiland, fellow Neopian! How can I help you?”
I spent a bunch of minutes talking to her about dolls and what I actually needed. She told me about the new ones and the oldest she had. She warned me that Donny disliked fixing Usukis, so I should buy a new one with no defects. She told me about the boxes and the clothing sets, about the makeup line and the rarest dolls she had in stock. She gave me a tour around the store and spoke to me about the many years she was there selling dolls.
“I am very used to collectors, but they usually seem to know what they want. I like you because of your thirst of learning. You remind me of young Sally when she first got here.”
She blinked to me and gave me the doll I had just bought.
My trips to Usukiland were happening more and more often. Every time I had a few Neopoints, I would go there and buy a doll. I stacked them in my shelves, and soon they weren’t enough. I kept in touch with Sally and neomailed her every time I was uneasy about a trade, a new acquisition or just when I needed advice. I wore Usuki merchandise all the time, I covered my bedroom in Usuki wallpaper, my furniture had Usukis all over.
Soon I had a new life goal: I needed – no, I must – to have the biggest Usuki collection of all Neopia. Bigger than Sally’s collection. Bigger than the Usukiland stock. Bigger than anything that has ever existed.
The beginning wasn’t so easy. I had to deal with a lot of comments. I became close friends to the Usukiland shopkeeper. Soon I wasn’t able to fully reach my monthly Usuki buying goals since money was starting to become short, as the dolls were getting more expensive. I then started trading, and it went well for a few months.
I didn’t realize the changes that were happening with my entire life: I was too focused on buying and trading Usukis. My collection was my life, my obsession, the reason I woke up every day. My sister became a second part of my life; I barely spoke to her for months. She was always there, playing with my collection of dolls, and I kept her apart, kicking her out of the rooms I have stored the Usukis. I couldn’t let her touch my collection, even the broken Usukis. Soon I understood Sally’s statement: children are uncontrollable. And as my sister was a child…
A few months later, Sally began to ignore my Neomails. She has replied neither my comments, nor my requests. I soon understood she was tired of me and saw me as a threat, and I realized I was annoying her somehow, and that only gave me strength. My collection was growing so big that the most important collector of Neopia was annoyed by it!
I was happy with what I was achieving. Journalists started to visit my collection and started stating that it was the second biggest Usuki collection in Neopia. But I didn’t want to be the second – nobody does. I wanted to be the first.
Then Usukiland has launched an announcement. They would, in a week, make an auction of the rarest Usuki that was ever produced: the Emerald Princess Usuki. There was only one of that in Neopia, and it would be mine. I had it clear on my mind; I needed that doll so badly! It would make my collection not the biggest, but the best. I would have the best collection in Neopia.
When I arrived at the Usukiland shop, I tried to find Sally. I wanted to know why she hasn’t replied me in months, but I haven’t seen her anywhere. I found that strange, because why would she miss the auction of the most important Usuki doll in the entire world of Neopia? That didn’t make much sense to me, but I was so focused on winning that auction that I stopped caring and started bidding.
Me and a strange collector, that I have never seen before, not even on the Neopian Usuki Collectors meetings, were fighting bet to bet. She was a short girl, didn’t say much, just throwing her board on the air and raising the price. And she raised and raised and soon I wasn’t able to follow her bids.
“One… two… three… sold to the lady on the front row!”
She didn’t look excited or happy with her acquisition. She just looked at me dead in the eyes, grinned, said “I am done now” without making a sound, and walked away.
Something on her lack of feelings hat caught my attention, and I followed her. She was carrying the Usuki box and was talking to another girl. They looked like they knew each other, were laughing and chatting like old friends.
“I wish you were there to see his face”, said the strange buyer. “I couldn’t say a word rather than ‘I am done now’”.
That caught me. I recognized the voice.
“Bonnie?”, I said. Both girls turned my way. Bonnie stared at me, and she was smiling. Like, not a normal smile; a pretty evil one. And next to her? Sally, the Usuki collector! “What is going on here?”
“You caught me, brother”, said Bonnie. She handed the Usuki box to Sally, who greeted and nodded her head. Both were looking at me like I had done something very wrong. “You must have thought… why Sally wasn’t sending you letters anymore? I have the answers. I started getting them. I read them and replied. Sally quickly realized she was not talking to you… so I told her my story.”
“She needed you”, Sally said, carrying the box with all care. “She needed you and what have you done? Turned your back to her. You cared more about your Usukis then about your sister! She is a child!”
And I realized what had happened. Sally and Bonnie had teamed up against me. Bonnie had told Sally how I haven’t given her attention the past months, so they decided that, if I had taken away what was most important to my sister, they would do that to me, and they didn’t even had to think too much to realize what was, at that moment, most important for me.
I went home and felt devastated. My sister, blood of my blood, had done such thing with me. I sat on my Usuki bed and started to think about what happened. And then I realized: I had been an awful brother. My sister had only me, and I failed with her. I started this all because I cared about her and wanted her to know how was the biggest collection of Usukis, which she could not see because of child restrictions. My way of trying to please her became my illness.
I took a look around, at all the Usuki things in my bedroom and rooms across the hallway, and felt disgusted. I put all Usukis down of the shelves. I teared down my Usuki wallpaper. I threw away my Usuki sheets and curtains.
As I sat tired on my bed, I saw my sister looking at me from the door. She had a smile on her face.
“I see you did a pretty good job”, she said while staring at me ripped wallpaper.
“Are you happy?”, I asked, tears of anger and failure rolling down my eyes.
“I can’t say I am. I am just happy we can be a family again. I love you, my brother”, she replied, coming all the way to hug me.
As she hasn’t already crushed my heart, she did it twice for two different reasons. And to be honest? I felt relieved and happy for the first time in months.
The next week, I went to make another visit, this time with my sister. She said she was the biggest Negg collector of all Neopia. I had my doubts; I am a skeptical person.