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Neopia's Fill in the Blank News Source | 21st day of Swimming, Yr 26
The Neopian Times Week 8 > Short Stories > Gold on the Inside

Gold on the Inside

by starlite91

"Wake up, wake up, wake up!"

Zailora squinted. "Oh...Chilliun, go away!"

Chilliun, the rather annoying Faerie Chia continued to bounce on Zailora's bed. "Geeeeet uuuuup!" she shouted. "Mommy's not going to take us shopping 'til you get up!"

Zailora groaned and slowly crept out of her bead. She had a rough night last night. The last thing she needed was her annoying little Chia sister jumping up and down on her bed. With an angry face, she thought, why can't I have my own room? Larosa does. She glanced at her sister, now thankfully off her bed, and silently growled at the sight of her wings. Those beautiful wings could have been hers if Shoyrus were allowed to be painted Faerie...

Zailora groomed her blue fur with her green brush while her Chia sister flew down the stairs to breakfast. "Zai!" Her owner's voice sounded. "Aren't you coming to breakfast?"

"Yeah, mom! Just a sec!" Zailora called back. She looked in her mirror which she shared with Chiliun. There she was...a plain blue Shoyru. She sighed. Chiliun was Faerie, Larosa was Fire...why couldn't she be an interesting colour? Again she sighed and thought to herself, "I could be just as pretty as Larosa or as cute as Chilliun if I weren't plain old blue." She glumly walked down the stairs.

"So, guys, excited about the dance?" Zailora's owner, Kristen, asked. Larosa, Zailora, or Zai's older fire Lupe sister, and Chiliun nodded feverishly. Zai nodded glumly.

"Chillie, you're not even going to the dance!" Kristen said, placing her hand on her hip and staring at Chiliun.

"Mom..." Zailora started. "Can I be painted gold?"

"Zailora, you're already a fine colour."

"No! Blue is NOT a fine colour! It's nothing like Fire or Faerie! Why do they..." Zailora cocked her head towards her sisters. "...get to be good colours and I don't?"

"Zailora, you know perfectly well your younger sister was painted Faerie with the Rainbow Fountain because she got good grades in her school, and your older sister was given a paint brush by Claw! I'm sorry, Zai, but I just can't waste money on another paint brush."

"But NeoPets at school make fun of me, saying you don't have enough Neopoints to get me a paint brush!"

"Zai, honey, you know they're wrong."

Zai took a huge bite of her NeoCrunch cereal. It was no use fighting her owner--she always lost. She'd have to suffer another day being blue.

***

"Okay, you guys, you each get 500 NP to spend. Zai, Rosa, spend it on stuff for the dance!" They were in the Market Place, ready to go shopping. The three sisters thanked their mother and ran off to different stores. Zai found a beauty store...one she'd never seen before. She browsed the shelves...there was so many things to choose from; she'd never be able to decide. She decided to go for a red look. She bought pink blush, red nail varnish, dark red lipstick and Peophin fragrant soap. She turned holding the four items, and there was Abellva. She was a Faerie Kyrii, and a quite beautiful one at that. At school, Abellva was the most popular by far. At the sight of Zai, she laughed out loud.

"What's so funny?" Zai asked

Controlling her laughter, Abellva said, "Zailo...Zailora...you...you're buying...red... have you no idea that red's out of season?" She laughed again. Zailora noticed Abellva was carrying gold eyeshadow, gold lipstick, tan blush and perfume. She guessed gold was the new "In-season" colour. Zai rolled her eyes, and sarcastically said, "Oh, Abellva, excuse me for being so 'Out-of-fashion'. I'll try harder next time to see what the colour of the month is." She raised her Shoyru wings and quickly rushed to the counter and plopped her things down, grabbing sky blue eyeshadow on the way.

When Zailora was finished, she had very little Neopoints left. She had bought grooming supplies, a beautiful blue gown, glitter (for applying to her wings and eyes), and a red Kyrii plushie (Used for pretending it was Abellva and ripping its head off). She met her sisters and her owner at a table at Hubert's Hot-dog Stand. Larosa was applying midnight blue eyeshadow to her eyes while Chilliun was showing Kristen all of the things she got.

"Let's go!" Zai shouted. "I want to get a good night's sleep before the dance!" She was thankful that Chilliun was too young to go to the dance. The entire evening would be ruined for her if she went. In fact, the entire evening would be ruined for her if Ember didn't dance with her. Ember was a very popular Shoyru at school, and a heartbreaker in most people's cases. It would be a nightmare if she saw Abellva and Ember dancing together! She'd be destroyed, right then and there.

As they got home, Zailora immediately jumped into bed. She didn't even bother eating dinner...she had way too much on her mind. She eventually went to sleep thinking about what it would be like being a colour other than blue.

***

Zai woke up, hopped out of bed and skipped to the bathroom. She grabbed her toothbrush, put toothpaste on it and--

She saw herself in the mirror. She dropped her toothbrush and gaped at her reflection. Her fur...it wasn't blue...it was gold! Her fur was a beautiful golden colour! She couldn't believe it! Yelling, she ran down the stairs, grabbed an apple and uttered "Bye mom!" before skipping out the door. She couldn't wait to show off her fur at school! She waited at the bus stop, and when the bus finally came, everyone backed away from her as she entered. What was wrong with everybody? She wasn't Abellva or anyone. She took a seat in the back, and Abellva sat down next to her. Wait...something was wrong. Abellva, queen of the school, was sitting next to her, Zailora, a nobody. "Hey, Zai!" Abellva said.

"Erm..." Zai started. "Abellva, do you realise who you're sitting next to?"

Abellva bit her lip and said, "Oh! I'm so sorry! I should have known you didn't want me sitting next to you!" And Abellva backed away. Something is horribly wrong here, Zailora thought. Abellva wasn't being sarcastic or anything! She then saw her good friend, Cheeky the spotted Kacheek, walk past. She waved, and Cheeky stopped in her tracks.

"Cheeky, I'm over here! Come sit next to me!" Zailora shouted to her.

Zailora thought Cheeky was going to faint. Cheeky slowly pointed to herself, saying, "M-me?"

"Yes, you! Cheeky, don't act so surprised."

Cheeky slowly sat down next to Zai, slightly shivering.

"Cheeky, what are you wearing to the dance?"

"I...uh...um...why are you...asking me? Of all NeoPets?"

"Duh, Cheeky, you're my best friend!"

"I am?" Cheeky said, dumbfounded. She then smiled. "You really think so?"

Cheeky wasn't the only one who was dumbfounded. Zailora simply stared. Cheeky had been her best friend since...forever! The bus came to a stop and Cheeky and Zai got off.

Zai froze at what she just saw...it was Ember! Looking at her! He was walking up to her!

"So, Zai, we're still on for the dance tonight, right?"

Zai just stood there, mouth open, staring at the Fire Shoyru who had just said they were going to the dance together. But something wasn't right...she didn't remember making a date with him...what was going on?

"Right?" Ember said.

Zailora was not about to give up a date with Ember, no matter how creepy it was. "Oh! Oh, yeah," she said.

As she walked down the school hallways, Zailora noticed NeoPets were following her. Even Abellva was! She couldn't believe it...she was popular! She eventually pulled Cheeky aside when the bell rang. "Cheeky," she said, "How long have NeoPets been doing that?"

"Doing what?"

"Following me around!"

"Oh!" Cheeky said. "Well, since I can remember." Either Cheeky had a very bad memory, or she was living like Abellva, and had been! Or...at least how Abellva used to be. Now she was queen.

As the day passed, Zai basically taught herself to be popular. She always sat up straight, she started rumors, stuck up her nose to just about everyone, and even looked down on Abellva.

Then came the dance. She dressed in a slender gown, different from the beautiful blue one she had bought the day before...and applied gold make-up. When she got to the dance, she noticed all of the girls were whispering to each other when she passed. She finally came to Ember. She noticed a look of jealousy in Abellva's eyes as she waltzed over to him. She took his hand, and--

"Get up! Zai get up!" It was Chiliun's voice. Zailora groaned and looked at her alarm clock. 8:30, May 21st. But...yesterday was May 21st! Yesterday was the dance! She hesitantly looked down at her fur...blue. It was all a dream. She wasn't popular, she wasn't pretty, she wasn't gold.

"Zailora!" Chilliun yelled slowly as if Zai was deaf or something. "Please get out of your bed!"

"I can hear you!" Zailora yelled back. She walked to the kitchen, thinking that it wasn't possible the dream was real, the dance was on a weekend, and she went to school that day. She slowly ate her omelette. "Mom, I'm gonna go to the Market Place." She lied. "I'm meeting Cheeky there to get some Pizza from Pizzaroo."

"Okay, hun!" Kristen said. "Be back by three so you can start getting ready."

"Kay." Zai walked out the door.

As she sat down in front of Pizzaroo, she saw Ember and Abellva together. Abellva popped a piece of pizza into Ember's mouth, and he chewed it happily.

Zailora wasn't able to stand to see any more, so she left quickly. She walked around the marketplace and Neopian Bazaar for hours, and when she finally came home, it was 4:30.

"Have a good time?" Kristen asked.

"Mm-hmm." Zai replied glumly.

"Good...because you only have an hour and a half left to get ready!"

Only? That was still a lot of time. As she was getting ready, she kept sighing and moping around, knowing this would be the worst dance ever. All she would do is sit in the chairs, drinking punch, swaying to the music and watching Abellva and Ember dance together. And she couldn't ruin her reputation by not showing up to one stupid dance.

Ugh.

***

Zai stepped out of the car and Larosa immediately hopped over to meet Claw. Zai shook her head at the sight.

"Mommy, pleeeeeeeeaaaassse can I go to the dance?"

"Chilliun, I told you, not until you go to your sisters' school."

Zai turned to the commotion in the car...her sister and mother debating. Of course mom would win. She slowly turned around and walked into the building, looking at her feet the whole time. She remembered that Ember might, after all, want to dance with her. She put a smile on her blue face and continued to stride elegantly into the building. She walked through the doors, heard music playing, saw NeoPets dancing, and NeoPets sitting, and some even singing! Her eyes turned to a male fire Shoyru...Ember...sitting alone, moving his foot to the beat of the music. And Abellva wasn't with him! This was her chance! She walked very quickly to him.

"Uh...hi, Ember..."

"Oh, hi, Zora." Ember said without even looking at her.

He almost got her name right! Or maybe it was even a pet name!

"Er, Ember, want to..."

"Gotta go, there's my date." And Ember walked off to meet his date, who turned out to be Abellva.

Zai was completely steamed. She felt her fur turn from blue to red, and her eyes were squinted, she felt like screaming. Pouting, she plopped herself down on a chair and took a cup of punch.

Cheeky walked over to her. "Something wrong, Zai?"

"Nothing." Zai poured herself some more punch without looking, and Cheeky noticed that she hadn't missed a drop.

"Ember trouble, right?"

"You don't know the half of it. If you don't mind, I'd like to be alone."

"Okay," Cheeky said, and waltzed over to her date, a yellow Koi.

Zai's face relaxed in her thinking, and she jumped when she felt a tap on her shoulder. She looked up, and it was a Shoyru! It was Ember! She jumped up in her excitement and saw it wasn't Ember, but another Fire Shoyru she recognised as FieryFlyer.

"Want to--" he started, but before he could finish, Zailora bit her lip and rushed out of the back door, crying hysterically.

She sat on the floor in the back, realising she was nothing special, nothing at all, because she was blue. It wasn't fair! Why couldn't her mom just be kind and withdraw a few Neopoints to buy her a paint brush!? Well, maybe not a few, but she had enough!

In her sobbing, an Earth Faerie heard her. She floated in front of her for quite a while before Zai noticed her, and when she did, she said, "What do you want?"

The Earth Faerie, grinning softly, said, "I've come to help you."

"Help me? Help me with what?"

"Zailora, you have always been coloured gold on the inside. I think it's time your true colour showed." And with a wave of her hand, the Earth Faerie transformed Zailora's blue fur into a shimmering gold! Zai's face immediately brightened. She dried her eyes and marched back to the dance. Ember obviously noticed her, because when she entered, he saw him look at her, talk to Abellva about something, and Abellva crossed her arms and turned away from him. He grinned and walked toward Zai. Just like in her dream!

"Hey, want to dance?" Ember asked.

Zailora realised something. Something she could only have realised if this whole thing had happened- the dream, the gold fur, Ember walking up to her.

"First of all," She said, "What's my name?"

"Um, Zoralo."

Zai rolled her eyes and turned her back on him, walking to FieryFlyer. "Fiery," she said, "Why did you want to dance with me?"

"Zailora! You're gold! How did that happen?" he asked.

"First answer me. Why did you want to dance with me? I was only a plain old blue Shoyru!"

"Zailora, I wanted to dance with you because you're you! It doesn't matter to me whether you're blue or gold or desert, or whatever! I want to dance with Zailora, not any old painted Shoyru"

Zailora thought that was the sweetest thing she ever heard. She grabbed his hand, pulling him to the dance floor. She noticed Ember was looking at them jealously. She giggled, and was pleased to know he no longer had a date.


Epilogue: The moral of the story is that painted pets are not anymore special than the red, blue, yellow and green pets, the painted ones only are treated to something special, getting a flashier new look. Well, things turned out pretty well for Zailora and FieryFlyer. Abellva got demoted to average when a Faerie Peophin came to school. The Faerie Peophin was much nicer than Abellva, and didn't choose friends like she did and thus became most popular. She was actually good friends with Cheeky and Zailora, but the pair stayed best friends. And Ember? I don't know, that's for you to decide.

The End

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