A giant meepit sat on on the notice board where news was announced each day. Instead of a list of items the shopkeepers had started to sell that day, an ominous message was scrawled.
"YOU ARE NOT PREPARED." The meepit sat, blinking at any passerby. And any time it was asked a question, it would point to the note. The Neopians were scared. What could it mean? Was the meepit invasion going to start? Was Sloth back? They all had all sorts of questions, but all they knew was that whatever it was, they were not prepared for it.
The message was right. The next day, Neopians from all over woke up feeling strange. As they went outside their neohomes to see what was the matter, they found everything had been rearranged. But the strangest part of them all, was that many neopets found themselves capable of wearing clothing. Some, though, could not, and their owners had to decide: did they want their pet to wear clothing, or did they want their pet to look the way they had looked before? Some owners chose to "convert" their pets, while others let their pets stay "unconverted". The magnitude of their decision would not be felt for many years.
. . .
A Plushie Scorchio sat on a shelf, covered in dust. Her owner had chosen not to convert her on that day, seven years before. Before that day, her owner had played with her every day, and in every way possible. But afterward, her owner became scared. She didn't want to lose her Unconverted pet. She had sent the Scorchio to a side room, to be seen but not heard from, or played with.
The Scorchio would sometimes see her owner looking through the window, smiling, and then returning to the four pets she had chosen to play with. The other pets always looked happy, and wore the most fashionable clothing. The Scorchio wanted to be a part of that, but because she was Unconverted, she was forever kept on this shelf.
. . .
The owner entered the room. It was time to make sure her favorite pet was fed. She always had wanted to keep her Scorchio out, but every now and then, something bad happened and some people's Unconverted pets ended up becoming Converted. She wanted to avoid that happening, so she had moved her Scorchio away from any possible danger.
She looked up to the shelf.
"Hey, it's feeding day," she called. The Scorchio looked at her the way she had since Conversion day, but said in the most miserable voice:
"Why don't you just paint me grey if you're going to leave me like this!"
The owner was taken aback.
"I couldn't possibly paint you, and you know it," she said. "If I did, you wouldn't be Unconverted anymore."
"At least then you could play with me again!" The Plushie Scorchio did her best to turn her back to her owner. It was hard, though, since her limbs were full of fluff.
Suddenly, something strange began to happen. As the Scorchio struggled to turn herself around, focusing every bit on how jealous she was of the other pets, she noticed that it was getting slightly easier to move. It got easier and easier, but she was growing heavier at the same time. The shelf collapsed.
The owner gasped. Instead of her Unconverted pet, laying on the ground was a normal, Converted, Blue Scorchio. How could this have happened? Hadn't it been made impossible for such things to happen? This had to be a mistake. She left the room and grabbed some pen and paper. She had to tell TNT about this and get it fixed!
. . .
When the Scorchio became fully aware of her surroundings, she was shocked. She was Blue! But, she was Converted. Would that mean her owner would let her back in? Would things return to how they had been? She opened the door to the main room. The other four pets were crowded around her owner, who was hastily writing something on a piece of paper.
One of the other neopets spotted her and gave her the stink eye.
"You had everything!" he shouted at her. "You didn't have to worry about braving the Snowager each day, or fighting to bring home neopoints. All you had to worry about is looking pretty and you would get food! You were always the favorite. Why did you have to go and upset our owner? I hope something terrible happens to you!"
She felt like an intruder, and couldn't say anything in response. But she didn't understand why the other pet felt that way. Wasn't it great to be with the owner? And she was the favorite? You could hardly tell, when her owner didn't pay any attention to her at all!
. . .
The owner sent out the letter she was writing, and a few days later, got a response. In the meantime, the Scorchio still felt ignored. Despite the fact that there was nothing preventing it, her owner did not let her try on clothes. The other pets did their best to act like she was Invisible, rather than Blue. All except that one, who would glare at her whenever they were in the same room. Eventually, she wandered back to the old dusty room. Clearly, she did not belong with the rest.
A few days later, the Scorchio woke up feeling oddly stiff. She moved herself to the closest mirror, and saw that she was a Plushie again. And again Unconverted. Why? She had thought once Converted, you could never become Unconverted again. Had it all been a dream?
Her owner came into the room.
"You're back to normal!" she exclaimed, suddenly hugging the Scorchio. "I told TNT what happened, and they turned you back. You weren't supposed to be able to turn Blue like that. I'm so glad it all worked out!" No, it hadn't worked out. Things would return to how they were, and there would be no escape. The Scorchio had to do something!
"But you're going to ignore me again, aren't you?" She didn't look directly at her owner as she said this.
"Why do you think I ignore you?" Her owner sounded genuinely confused.
"You never play with me. You let all the other pets go on adventures, and allow them to wear cool clothing, and paint them new colours, and do all sorts of cool things. You never even talk to me unless you're coming to give me food." If she had been capable of crying in her current state, should would have been. She hoped her owner would notice. The owner brought the Scorchio out of the hug to look directly into her eyes.
"You really feel that way?" she asked. The Scorchio nodded. "I'm sorry," she said. "What is it that you want? Do you want to be Converted?" The Scorchio shook her head.
"I want to explore the world, try new foods, play new games, and do new things. If you want me to be Unconverted, that's fine, but don't ignore me!" Her owner looked thoughtful for a moment, and then left the room. Did she say something wrong?
. . .
The next day, her owner came back, this time escorting the neopet who had been so rude to the Scorchio before.
"Now, you are going to stay in here for a while, while she gets a turn, alright?" The neopet pouted, but nodded. The owner turned to her Scorchio. "Come on out, I have a surprise for you!"
The Scorchio followed her owner out, and found two paint brushes waiting on the table: one she didn't recognize, covered in black cloth like it belonged in the Secret Ninja Training School; and one that she did know, a Plushie Paint Brush.
"I know you said you didn't care, but I could see that you want to be like the rest, so here, you'll get painted with both brushes," her owner said.
"But won't the second brush negate the first?" the Scorchio asked.
"You'll see what happens." Her owner smiled.
. . .
The Scorchio dipped the paint brush she learned would turn her Stealthy into the Rainbow Pool. She jumped in, and instantly her limbs became stronger again. She came out covered in wraps, with a dark coloration underneath. She carefully dipped the second paint brush into the pool and jumped in again. As she came out, she noticed that her limbs were made of fluff again, but she could move much more easily than she had before. She was still covered in the clothing her previous paint job gave her.
"See what I mean?" her owner asked. The Scorchio nodded, smiling. She finally felt like she was important again. And she looked pretty cool now, too.
Inspired by a certain discussion on the boards, and my personal reasons behind converting most of my pets originally.