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One of Us

by heart_of_night


Minka, a Faerie Gelert, sat in her bedroom grooming her coat. It was a pale blue color, which matched her wings perfectly. She was a very vain Neopet, concerned only with how she looked and how much better she was than everyone else. Her owner, Nightsong, was just as vain as she was, and looked down on those with modest homes or unpainted pets. To them, unpainted meant unworthy.

      Setting down her gold brush, Minka called her Faellie, Frora, over to her and went downstairs for breakfast. Nightsong was already down there, setting a large stack of Faerie cakes on the table in front of her. Smiling at her beautiful Neopet, she greeted her.

      "Good morning, Minka. Did you sleep well last night?"

      Minka nodded, piling her plate with food.

      "Oh yes! I dreamed that you were the ruler of Neopia, and I was the prettiest Neopet in the world!"

      Nightsong smiled and shook her head.

      "You already are the most beautiful in the world, Minka. Everybody who's anybody knows that."

      Minka continued eating, as her owner described what they would be doing that day.

      "I thought we would go down to Usukiland and get you those new Faerie Usuki dolls that just came out. Then maybe we will go to the Grooming Parlor, and after that we'll go visit Faerieland for some shopping. How does that sound?"

      "Oh goody! When are we going?"

      "As soon as you finish your breakfast, we can le-"

      Nightsong never got to finish her sentence, for Minka was already out of her seat and halfway out the door. Shaking her head, she got her coat, several large bags of Neopoints, and followed her Gelert outside. Locking the door behind her, she called Minka back to her.

      "Wait up, sweetie, and stay close. You know what kind of normal pets hang around Neopia Central. We don't want the prettiest Gelert in the world to run into any of them, would we?"

      Minka fluttered back over to her owner, shaking her head vigorously. Ever since she was a pup, Nightsong had warned her about normal pets. They were lowly and common, and if they saw such a beautiful painted pet that they might try to take revenge on her. After all, they were incredibly jealous of any who were better than themselves. Staying close to her owner's side, she followed her down the lane and towards the bustling hub that was Neopia Central.

      Making their way through the streets of the marketplace, Minka held her head high and stretched out her wings. She made sure that everyone around saw what a beautiful Faerie pet she was, and that they all knew how lucky they were that she had decided to come down here. And sure enough, all who saw her cast admiring looks at her, and murmured to their companions at the sight of the lovely Gelert. All but a few, that is.

      "Miss, Miss, have you any spare Neopoints? Help some poor Neopets out."

      A small group of bedraggled Neopets huddled near the base of the Money Tree were the ones who were crying out. There were four of them: a Darigan Aisha and Kougra, and a Mutant Lupe with a tiny cub huddled next to her. As they reached out towards Minka, she shrank back in disgust. Nightsong glared at them as she shepherded her Gelert safely away. As they walked away, she remarked just loud enough for them to hear.

      "Isn't it pathetic how the police let mangy riffraff like that just loiter around and harass shoppers? No wonder they don't have any owners, they're too rude and ugly!"

      The mother Lupe comforted her pup who had begun to whimper, ignoring Minka's comment. Her two companions, however, glared evilly at the retreating figures. The Aisha pawed the ground angrily, her voice a sinister hiss. The Kougra placed a reassuring paw on her back, watching the Gelert through narrowed eyes.

      "Be patient, Nassska. We will fix that sssnobbisssh brat all in good time."

      He patted a small tattered pouch that was wrapped around his waist, grinning evilly.

      "Very sssoon, in fact…"

      * * * *

      Minka ran inside happily, carrying a large shopping bag from Usukiland. Nightsong had just bought her each of the new Faerie Usuki dolls- the last ones in stock, actually. And a new shipment would not be coming in until tomorrow. She couldn't contain a gleeful laugh. She, Minka, was the first Neopet in her neighborhood to own all of them and no one could do anything about it! She ran upstairs to her bedroom to play, as Nightsong slumped wearily into a squashy armchair. Perhaps she would be able to get a nap in before it was time to start dinner.

      Upstairs in her room, Minka was acting out her version of the encounter with the poor Neopets. Nightshade was her Fyora doll, she was the Air Faerie doll, and her Von Kougra, Mutant Aisha, and Mutant Lupe dolls were the other Neopets. Gleefully, she made the disfigured pets back away in fear from herself and Nightshade, until Fyora herself came and banished them away forever. Unbeknownst to her, she had another audience besides her dolls. A pair of burning red eyes watched her balefully from the spreading branches of an oak tree outside her window. Nasska, the Darigan Aisha from the marketplace, silently jumped down from her perch and landed on the ground next to her friend, the Darigan Kougra.

      "The nerve of that ssstuck-up brat. If you could only ssssee what she'ssss playing up there with thosssse dollssss of herssss…"

      Torpid, the Kougra, bared his sharp fangs in an eerie grin.

      "Patience, Nasska. We will have our revenge tonight. Ssshe will sssoon learn what it'ssss like to be dissssfigured like ussss."

      The two turned and slunk off into the trees nearby, concealing themselves in the bushes. There, they watched…and waited.

      * * * * * *

      Later that night, Minka stretched out on the floor of her living room, coloring one of her Faerie pictures. Nightsong reclined in her chair, reading the latest issue of the Neopian times. All was silent in the house, save for the rustle of the wind through the trees. As Nightsong turned the pages of her newspaper, a picture of a Christmas Faellie caught her eye.

      "Oh, Minka! Before I forget, could you go out and get Frora? I let her outside a few minutes ago, and I'm sure she'd like to come back in. It's getting pretty cold out there."

      "All right, Mama, I'll go get her."

      Minka opened up the door and stepped outside. She shivered slightly as a cool breeze ruffled her fur and tugged at her wings. Moving timidly off of the porch, she looked out over the darkened yard, not noticing that the porch light had mysteriously turned itself off. Rubbing her paws together, she peered into the shadows.

      "Frora! Here girl, it's time to come in! Frora?"

      Without warning, the Faellie shot out of a bush and hurtled past Minka towards the house. Her eyes were wide with fear, and she was clearly panicking. She zipped through the Petpet door and shut it, locking the door behind her. Minka watched her go, puzzled at her Faellie's behavior.

      "Frora, what on Neopia has gotten into yo-"

      Her words were cut off as something sprang at her from behind the bushes and knocked her to the ground. A watery patch of moonlight shone from behind the clouds, illuminating her assailants. It was the Darigan Aisha and Kougra from that afternoon in the Marketplace. The Kougra was pinning her down, and the Aisha was holding something in its paw. Both had evil smirks on their faces.

      "Well well well, if it issssn't little misss perfect. Sssso you think you're better than usss, hmm? Why, you don't even know what it'ssss like to be ussss. To be sssscorned, hated, and passssed over jusssst becaussse of how you look. But that'ssss all about to change, issssn't it, Nasska?"

      "Yesss, it mossst certainly isss. Open wide, now!"

      Nasska pried Minka's mouth open with one paw, while Torpid took the flask from her paw. Minka's eyes widened in fear as she saw the streaks along the sides. It was a Morphing Potion- a Mutant Potion, to be exact. Jamming the bottle into her mouth, Torpid tilted it up as Nasska pinched her nose shut. This forced Minka to swallow, and tears leaked from her eyes as the sickening potion oozed down her throat…

      Nightsong got up at the sound of scratching on the door, shaking her head. That'll be Minka. She must've been playing Kacheek Seek with Frora and gave up. Opening the door, the smile on her face swiftly transformed into one of shock. A horrified scream tore from her throat at the sight of the hideous Mutant Kougra sitting in front of her. She almost slammed the door on it, until it spoke in a hoarse voice.

      "Mama, it's me…Minka. Don't you recognize me?"

      Nightsong gaped in horror at what was once her beautiful Faerie Gelert. Her eyes narrowed in disgust, and the cold sneer that was usually reserved for beggars and lowly Neopians tugged at her lips.

      "You are not my Neopet. My Minka is a beautiful Faerie Gelert, not some freakish Mutant Kougra. You are not welcome here."

      She slammed the door firmly shut as Minka's eyes welled up with tears. Her owner, the only one whose love she had known, had rejected her because of what she looked like. She had never realized how hurtful and painful that was. Turning, she fled into the night, tears pouring down her face. As she ran, a heartbroken howl of sadness welled up in her chest and burst forth. She could hear voices following her, laughing and mocking her. Wealthy pets and owners, the same ones she and Nightsong had once socialized with, jeered and glared hatefully at her. But all she saw and heard were Nasska and Torpid, smirking evilly at her.

      "Now you know. Now you're an outcast as well…

     …now you're one of us."

The End

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