xue lei

In former years I once travelled
on an excursion to the great sea;
For the sake of collecting the mani
I vowed in earnest to seek.

I went directly to the dragon palace,
to the place most secret and deep;
At the golden gates I broke off the lock—
the master's spirits all grieved!

No. 198 by Han-shan

Hello Rebecca, and welcome to my application for Xuelei, or Xue Lei, as I will be calling her. I just wanted to let you know in advance that I intend to paint her Maraquan should I be chosen to adopt her, and thus will be referring to her as such throughout ther application. I would also like to emphasize that I made this petpage application entirely of my own free will.

background

Full oft the riddle of the painful earth
Flash'd thro' her as she sat alone,
Yet not the less held she her solemn mirth,
And intellectual throne.

And so she throve and prosper'd: so three years
She prosper'd; on the fourth she fell,
Like Herod, when the shout was in his ears,
Struck thro' with pangs of hell.

The Palace of Art by Alfred Lord Tennyson

Xue Lei's character is loosely based upon the the Legend of Dragon Palace, as outlined below.

Japanese legend tells of Urashima Taro, a poor boy who one day rescued a sea turtle from a gang of children. The grateful turtle bore him on his back down to the fabulous palace of the Dragon King on the deep ocean floor. There he was feted as a hero by the beautiful Dragon Princess, forgetting for a while his humble home.

Eventually he yearned to visit his village once more. The princess gave him a small box to carry as a keepsake, and she made him promise never to open it lest he be unable to return to her. Curiosity got the better of him, however, and emerging from the waves he opened the box. In a flash, he turned into an ancient man with misty eyes and a flowing beard. Hobbling into his village, he realized to his horror that 100 years had passed in the mere weeks he had been in the palace and that no one he had ever known remained alive.

—Academy of Natural Sciences of Drexel University

I gave this summary to give you a brief understanding of the traditional folklore, but in reality I was more strongly influenced by the retelling of the story in the game Okami, in which the Dragon Palace's denizens are able to transform into dragons. So without further ado, I'll go ahead and begin the story...


Okami's concept art of Dragon Palace.

character

Xue Lei was born into a family of middle-ranking nobility in the Dragon Palace, and for the first three years of her life, she lived in relative luxury and happiness. On the fourth year, she was outside the palace near the surface of the ocean when she was caught in a monsoon that carried her to shore. Injured and disoriented, she was picked up by an elderly fisherman and his wife. The childless couple cared for her as their own, and when she turned seven years old they decided to move to the city. Up until this point, the mute child had had little trouble to adjusting to land; the landscape was one she was accustomed to in appearance, and other than the old couple, there were no other humans within fifty miles. The city, however, was a completely different story. It was full of people, and lights, and strange buildings. It's here that Xue Lei's adventures began.

Xue Lei is small for her age of seven years old, and although she is able to make certain noises, is generally unable to communicate verbally. This is true of most denizens of the Dragon Palace; while they can live easily out of water, speaking out of the water is beyond their capabilities. Xue Lei also possesses dragon "ears" where a human's ears would be. However, her left ear is slightly torn from the monsoon that ripped her from her original home.

In all other respects, Xue Lei is like any other child; she is inordinately curious, occasionally mischievous, and never tires of observing human activities. The result, of course, is that she lands in hot water on a fairly regular basis, either from being in places she shouldn't be or doing things she shouldn't.

about me

Hello there! My name is Solo. Offline, I recently graduated from college with a degree in Biology and am now working as a harvest lab technician in a large winery. I thoroughly enjoy my job; it involves a lot of lab work, weighing in grape trucks, and rescuing lizards in said grape trucks from being turned into juice. Incidentally, I'm not saying to not drink it, but that stuff ain't filtered until a few steps in, so you are definitely drinking some lizard-flavored beverages.

That aside, Neopets is a big part of my life. I'm a very solid player; I normally spend a minimum of a couple hours a day here, and often all day in between studying, cooking, cleaning and hanging out with friends. My main focus here is making characters; I love the process of brainstorming and developing a concept and creating the petpage out of it. In particular, I love making pet lookups and petpages, writing and drawing for my pets, collecting avatars, and lurking on the PC. I also spend a fair amount of time critiquing applications and petpages for people, as my way of giving back to the community. In addition, I spend a lot of time chatting with my friends. I've been so lucky in meeting incredibly cool and kind people here, a fact that I am extremely grateful for.

I especially love entering creative site contests such as the Beauty Contest (60x+), Art Gallery (5x), Random Contest (3x), Site Spotlight (2x), and the Neopian Times (9x). My goal is to also get into the Poetry Contest, Storytelling Contest, Pet Spotlight, and Petpet Spotlight (I entered before, but no luck as of yet!). I confess it, I'm addicted to trophies.

One thing that's a bit unusual about me is that I'm not really main account-based, as most people are. Oh, I'm always logged into my main account, and I refresh there every so often to check for neomails or site notifications, but my "self" is housed in my side accounts. Each account is themed according to its mood and occupants, and I typically dwell on the account that matches my temperament at the moment. I visit each account every day (usually several times a day), but the majority of the time I spend playing is usually on one account at a time.

Accounts:
side | side | main | side | side

plans

As far as plans for Xue Lei go, I have lots of them; I'm extremely active with my pets, whom I consider my little 'family' on Neopets. In the most basic sense, I love interacting with my pets, especially playing with them and reading them books. I recently got all my pets up to my previous goal of 150 intelligence, so my new goal is 300 intelligence.

First, I intend on eventually painting Xue Lei Maraquan, of course. I actually recently got a Fountain Faerie Quest, so I plan on using that to paint her. Second, Xue Lei would reside on my side account unwill; I have a ton of really nice closet items there that I know she'd really rock and additionally I just really feel like she'd match the bright purple-y theme there.

Customization



I really love customization; it's by far one of my favorite things to do with my pets. I have an extensive closet, so I typically change my pets' customizations every week or so, when I get tired of their current customization. So naturally, Xue Lei would be dressed up frequently; the above customizations would be her primary customizations because they pertain to her story. I chose items that I felt reflected the mood and setting of her story. In particular, the first customization looks much like I imagine Xue Lei's home in the Dragon Palace appears. The other customizations reflect her current setting in the human world.

What's more, I already have most of the items in the planned customizations above, as many of them overlap with my other pets' closets. I can easily trade for the items I do not have, as I trade Neocash items every now and then. However, ther handful of outfits won't be Xue Lei's only customizations. I love dressing up my pets in outfits that simply look pretty rather than matching the character, so Xue Lei would have many different and interesting customizations.


Battledome

I typically train my pets to 55 evens as a kind of default, but my long-term goal is to train everyone to 200 evens. While I plan to do so with Xue Lei as well, I would not be actually battling with her; I already have Lioru as my tank, and I would not want to risk Xue Lei in a two-player fight.


Writing & Art

I also want to write for Xue Lei. I really enjoy writing, and each of my pets has their own story and character in varying degrees of completeness. Although I initially intended for Xue Lei's tale to be a serious (and slightly dark) story, I eventually realized that I did not have neither the interest nor the willpower to construct such a heavy plot as is my usual M.O. Instead, Xue Lei's story will consist of many mini-stories of her learning how to live in the human world, and of her slowly losing her memories of her life in the Dragon Palace. I have also been playing with the idea of making very small watercolor comics of her adventures in the city. However, I can fully guarantee that in some way this plan will change; I fiddle around with my characters quite extensively before settling down. A few examples of my stories: Aldena, Alleria, and Devicloud.

And of course, art! As you might have guessed by the sketches spread throughout the application, I love creating art, and my pets are more often than not my muses. I draw and paint them quite often and any pieces I do of Xue Lei would be featured on her petpage. I especially love doing watercolor pieces for my pets, and I'd love to explore Xue Lei's character in that medium.


Me? Draw on health insurance forms? Never.

Pet Lookup

I give all my pets custom pet lookups to match their character, and Xue Lei's lookup would look very similar to those of my other pets: Abloom, Dionysia, and Origin.


Petpage

The application you see here would be the basis of her future petpage with the application portions removed. Making petpages is one of my favorite hobbies, and I'm hoping to be able to make a more customized layout in terms of coding and art. However, I have no doubt that her petpage would be revamped and revisited in the future; I don't believe it is truly possible to ever really "complete" a petpage. They can always be improved upon, redone, added to, and so forth. A few examples of my petpages: /~Avnitia, /~Rowen, and /~Mira.


Beauty Contest

I am also a huge fan of the Beauty Contest, and as a result my pets have been entered often. When I was still attending college, I would typically enter two of my pets every week during the school year. However, in the interest of full disclosure, I have not been very active in the BC lately due to a combination of a full-time work schedule and general lack of willpower, and I cannot promise that Xue Lei would be entered in the near future; however, it is very likely that she will be entered at least once or twice eventually. Here are some of my pets for whom I have won trophies in the past: Plaintive, Lioru, and Snakeroot.


Petpet & Petpetpet


I chose the Maraquan Ghostkerchief as Xue Lei's petpet mainly because I love how well they match, color-wise; I am also considering tying the petpet into her story somehow, but it will require more meditation. The Jermite is simply a reflection of my shameless love for Japanese rhinoceros beetles, which are very common in Japan as pets during the summer.


Promises

Above all, Xue Lei would be treasured here. My pets are unbelievably precious to me, and I have never, nor would I ever, trade an adopted pet away or do anything to dishonor the foster's wishes. I strongly believe in respecting the foster as well as the other applicants who wished to adopt the pet in question, so I promise you that Xue Lei would never be treated in any way less than she deserves.

With that, I think I've said all I needed to. Thank you very much for the opportunity; I truly appreciate it.

css, art, & writing by solo | please do not use without permission



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