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The Secret Lives of Invisible Pets


by katzam

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If you’ve ever seen someone on the Neoboards who seems to have nothing more than an empty box beside the name of their active Neopet, then you’ve come across an invisible pet! With the right background, and maybe a few wearable trinkets, they can look rather striking, and since and Invisible Paint Brush is only 300,000 NP, with a little saving you could have your very own invisible pet! However, it’s just possible that when you paint your pet, a little more goes on than you had first expected…

This theory first struck me when I noticed an odd little clause in the NC mall: “Wearable NC items cannot be applied to unconverted Neopets or the following painted Neopet body types: Maraquan, mutant, baby, invisible, and fruit and vegetable Chias, unless specified in item details.” That’s right, invisible pets can’t wear wearable items. Now, if that paintbrush had just turned their body invisible, they should still be able to wear clothing. I’m not suggesting that anything bad happens to pets painted invisible, but I am suggesting that they are no longer confined to their spot on their lookup.

“But if they aren’t on their lookup, where are they?” I hear you cry. Worry not, as in this article I will lay down a few theories about the secret lives of these absent pets, and begin to unearth the grand reasons why invisible pets exist in Neopia at all.

Part 1: where are those pets?

There are two answers to this question: a short one and a long one. The short answer is “we have no way of knowing”, which is true. We can’t see invisible pets (and since they can’t wear clothing we can’t even see that), so trying to track one down would be all but impossible. However, that’s hardly a satisfying answer, and I believe I have a much better one. An invisible pet can go wherever they choose and do whatever they want. They could sneak into the chocolate factory and help themselves to some fresh, tasty sweets and nobody would know. They could visit your Neofriends’ pets and host a tea party while nobody is watching. What the invisible paint brush grants a pet isn’t just invisibility – it’s freedom. Most pets have to stay I one place all day, with their owners, because if they went missing there would be panic. Invisible pets don’t have that worry, so they can be anywhere on the site at any given time. It is my belief that many of them spend a lot of time at home on their lookups anyway, because that’s where they are comfortable, but they are never forced to stay there, which is the big difference.

Part 2: the origins of invisible pets.

The invisible paintbrush was released on May 10th, 2000 (that’s the 10th day of Hunting, Y12 in Neopian terms), so technically that’s when invisible pets originated. Since then, they have been obtained by one of three methods:

  1. Painting a pet with an Invisible Paint Brush.
  2. Zapping your pet at the Secret Laboratory so they change colour.
  3. Prior to April 2014, a random event could turn your pet invisible.

What has never been addressed is why you would turn a pet invisible. Why was the colour introduced at all? For years Invisible was one of the least popular colours for a pet, and even now only a few people keep invisible pets as a permanent feature of their account, so it wasn’t popular demand. My theory is that there was a task for them, which required a number of Neopets who could move unseen across the site. Therein lies the great conspiracy of the invisible pets. At any time, day or night, they can receive a message – invisible of course, written in invisible ink – which summons them to a secret place. They then receive a mission. It may be as simple as checking that the wishing well isn’t too full with loose Neopoints, or they may be tasked with watching over Dr Sloth to ensure his evil plans aren’t too evil. In effect, the invisible pets keep everything in Neopia running smoothly, and all without anybody noticing them.

Part 3: but where’s the proof?

It’s true that a great deal of this theory is based on speculation, but I shall summarise the facts which lead me towards it here, in the hope of exposing the secrets of the hidden pets on the site.

  1. The clothing situation:

    As I mentioned earlier, invisible pets cannot wear clothing from the NC mall. However, in the past certain invisible pets have been able to wear clothing items like cloaks and hats which added to the spookiness of not being able to see them. This change says to me that something is different about invisible pets now – more precisely that they are no longer here to wear the pretty outfits you might pick out for them.

  2. Responses to user activities:

    If you play with your invisible pet, or feed/groom them, you will get a response from them just like any pet. However, you never see their expression change, and they can only give a small number of spoken responses. This could be easily duplicated by a clever pet who wanted to be out of the picture while you were ‘interacting’ with them, so cannot prove that a pet is present, and therefore shows that it is entirely possible for an invisible pet to be at the opposite side on Neopia.

  3. No maintenance:

    Have you ever seen a maintenance worker in Neopia? Think about it, there is nobody walking around in high-vis jackets making sure things work smoothly, and yet the water is clean, the buildings are always well built, and there are very few day-to-day disasters. It is impossible for this level of peace to exist without any maintenance, but we can’t see the maintenance occurring, so invisible pets seem to be the only reasonable explanation.

Part 4: invisible heroes!

If my theory stands, then invisible pets are constantly working hard to protect us. Which it is always possible for one or two to go rogue and start tricking other Neopets, the majority must be doing more than their fair share to help others. Although there was a great mystery hiding their actions from the general public, the secret was not a dark or frightening one. Invisible pets aren’t the sly creatures they could have been, but rather the unseen, underappreciated heroes of Neopia. Remember that next time you see an empty Neopet box, or a background with no pet in front of it. They are out there, doing their bit to brighten your day.

 
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