Miyuko carefully took out a flute from her caramel leather
bag, the ocean breeze whipping her fur back as she stood up, facing the boundless,
crystal-blue ocean. Shadow, her black Anubis, settled himself down on the sand,
gazing at Miyuko with those wise and watchful eyes of his. Trinity had whittled
and given this Eastern flute to her on her birthday. She had even taught Miyuko
how to play wonderful and soothing music with it.
To Miyuko, it was a very special gift as she
loved to play this flute and would always practice whenever she had the time.
It also helped to calm her down whenever she had problems that always seemed
as though they couldn’t be solved at all.
Placing the flute near her lips, she started
to play a haunting melody that seemed to harmonize with the gentle murmur of
the waves, pouring all her heart and soul into her playing. Each sharp, sweet
note lingered in the air before it got swept away, forever lost, into the dancing
wind. After the last, long quavering note, Miyuko slowly lowered the flute from
She had just moved to Mystery Island a few days
ago and today, she was going to go to the Neoschool here for the very first
time. Although she was very sad at having to leave her friends behind, she loved
living here at Mystery Island, especially when she could go to the beach anytime
she wanted to.
Glancing at her watch, Miyuko decided that it
was time to go and get ready for Neoschool. Gazing one last time at the beautiful
sunset and the salmon-pink clouds that dotted the sky, Miyuko stuffed her flute
back into her leather bag and left rather reluctantly, the rich sand shaping
to fit her footsteps and Shadow’s paw prints … …
For about the hundredth time in the morning,
Miyuko went over to her full-length mirror and stared it for a long time, wondering
if the silk kimono, Trinity, her owner, had made her wear, was acceptable in
order to be regarded as a normal Neopet and not some kind of freak.
Staring back at her from the mirror was a tall,
slim Usul with an oval face and a coffee, porcelain-like complexion speckled
with white island markings that set off her lustrous, sparkling large almond-shaped
dark eyes to perfection. Miyuko adjusted the plain jade hoop earring (Trinity
had replaced it, claiming that the wooden hoop earring looked terrible on her
and besides the jade earring enhanced her Eastern look) she wore on her right
ear and the flowers that adorned her collar fur nervously.
Being an Island Usul didn’t help at all, and
in fact, it seemed to contrast sharply with her kimono and made her look just
plain strange. The kimono also brought out her Eastern look, which Miyuko knew
would not mix well with other Neopets as it was very strange. Miyuko moaned
miserably when she heard Trinity calling her down for breakfast.
“If only Trinity would let me wear that lavender
cashmere sweater and denim jeans I just bought yesterday at Mystery Island shopping
mall!” Miyuko grumbled angrily, as she slowly trudged downstairs.
“Eat your green pepper omelette, dear,” Trinity
said, pushing a plate that held at least two slices of green pepper omelett
towards Miyuko when she sat down rather grumpily.
Trying not to groan with disgust, Miyuko forced herself to finish the same
omelette she always had to eat every morning with much success. Then, with her
mouth still full of omelette, she mumbled some inaudible words before pushing
away the plate, grabbing her backpack and heading for the door.
As Miyuko was the only Neopet Trinity had, she
had to walk to school by herself, and although Miyuko felt very lonely, she
was used to this familiar feeling ever since she was created. The walk to Mystery
Island Junior High School was short and uneventful as Miyuko didn’t really know
anyone, and she was always busy checking the map to check that she was in the
Arriving at a large, tastefully bland building
made from bamboo, Miyuko subconsciously started running a paw through her fur.
Wishing that she had brought a comb, Miyuko cautiously entered the threshold
of the school building. She knew that Neopets were staring at her while some
others were nudging their friends and whispering and pointing at her.
Miyuko felt her cheeks burn with embarrassment,
but she never broke her long and easy stride as she hurried into the building.
She realized that everywhere she went, the chattering and laughing always ceased
and were replaced by amazed stares and whispering and pointing.
Miyuko forced herself to stay calm and not panic
as she searched for the locker number the principal of the school had given
to her when Trinity had first brought her here to sign up.
It took Miyuko quite a long time before she finally
found her assigned locker. Gratefully thanking Fyora, she quickly dialed the
combination to open her locker and shoved the books she didn’t need at the moment
inside just as the bell rang.
Shifting her backpack to her other shoulder,
Miyuko pulled out a scrap of paper on which she had written down the place where
all her subject classrooms were located.
“Number 32, in the West wing, second floor …”
Miyuko muttered feverishly as she ran up two levels to her Math classroom.
By the time she reached the classroom in question,
she was told that her Math classroom was another two floors up. Panting heavily,
an almost-ready-to-break-down Miyuko sprinted all the way up another two levels
and soon found her Math classroom.
“Hello, Miyuko! You can call me Miss Hoff. I’ll
be your form teacher for the rest of this year,” a tall, willowy blue Uni introduced
herself, smiling kindly at Miyuko as she stumbled into the room. “Class, this
is Miyuko, our new classmate! She has just moved from Neopia Central and I hope
you’ll make her feel welcome here! Now, who would be kind enough to guide her
around for the rest of the day?”
Utter silence. Miyuko stared at her new classmates
blankly, somehow feeling that they weren’t a really friendly bunch judging from
the sullen looks on each and every one of their faces.
“Now, what’s the matter with you, class?” Miss
Hoff exclaimed in a sharp voice as she looked indignantly at her group of students.
“Okay, if you guys aren’t going to say anything, then I’m just going to have
to choose… hmm… what about you, Lilac?”
A rather cross-looking Island Gelert commented
in a loud and not altogether very happy voice, “Oh all right then! But she sure
looks odd to me! I mean, what’s she trying to do, wearing a kimono on a day
when there’s no special occasion? All Usuls sure are strange, always trying
to look original but in the end, the result is terrible!”
At this, the entire classroom shook with laughter,
and Miyuko blushed furiously, feeling extremely hurt and angry by Lilac’s rude
“Silence!” Miss Hoff screeched, slamming her
hoof against the desk.
The whole class fell silent at once.
“Lilac, do be careful when you make remarks!
Engage the clutch to your brain first before putting your mouth in gear!” Miss
Hoff said sharply, glaring at the grumpy Island Gelert.
“Yeah, yeah … whatever,” Lilac mumbled, rolling
her eyes in a clear indication that she wasn’t going to heed Miss Hoff’s advice.
“Miyuko, you can go and sit next to Deep-Sea
over there,” Miss Hoff continued in a kinder tone as she turned towards Miyuko.
Miyuko shuffled to sit down next to the extremely
quiet male fire Usul who was probably the only one not painted Island and also
hadn’t laughed at Miyuko.
“Okay, as I was saying, you need to divide thirty-nine
first as you are actually finding the total amount of Snorkles…” Miss Hoff droned
on for a few minutes and although Miyuko liked her a lot, she couldn’t help
feeling extremely sleepy when she heard Miss Hoff’s voice continually talking.
It was like a non-stop talking machine and had a hypnotic effect on her.
Miyuko glanced around at her other classmates
and noticed that they were all falling asleep too. Lilac was already snoring
away and was even drooling on the table. Only a few others like her partner,
Deep-sea, were still sitting there and listening intently to every word Miss
Hoff was saying.
“So therefore, when you subtract twenty from
thirty-nine, you’ll get the amount for one unit and then when you multiply by
five, you get the answer… is that understood? Class? Class?”
Snores only greeted her and save for some who
were still trying their best to be awake, the others had fallen asleep.
“Constant vigilance!” Miss Hoff shrieked, slamming
her hoof against the table again. That woke most Neopets up but not Lilac, who
was still in a deep slumber and was now muttering inaudible words in her sleep.
It was extraordinary how Miss Hoff could look
like an extremely angry Skeith when she was boiling mad. Marching over to Lilac,
she rapped her hoof onto Lilac’s head three times before Lilac finally woke
“Huh? Wha … who … ow, my head!” Lilac complained
as she rubbed her head gingerly. “All right, who hit me?” she asked out loud
angrily, not really noticing the eerie silence that had suddenly come over the
classroom. “Wait till I find out who is that person! Why I’ll bash that person
up so badly until…”
“The person that you were about to bash up so
badly would be me, Miss Lilac!” Miss Hoff hissed furiously. There was a dangerous
glint dancing in her eyes as she slowly spoke every word. “And now because of
you, we have wasted precious time! For that, you will have detention for one
entire week!” If there was one thing Miss Hoff hated most, it was pupils sleeping
in class when she was busy teaching. “Ungrateful, disgraceful and unmannerly!”
she would always mutter furiously before launching into a full-length tirade
on how ungrateful Neopets always liked to sleep in her class and not appreciating
her hard work.
However, she seemed to be in a real rush today,
and after meting out the punishment to Lilac, she went straight back to teaching
“Now, where was I?” the class groaned silently
as Miss Hoff began droning about fractions and division again.
Miyuko sat by herself at an empty table, munching slowly on the fresh sushi
rolls and fortune cookies Trinity had packed in her lunch bag and staring at
groups of Neopets chattering happily away, wishing that she belonged to one
Lilac, who was supposed to be her guide around
the school, had somehow disappeared. Not that Miyuko minded though as Lilac
struck her as some kind of Neopet who only liked to give and get into trouble.
Just then, there was a sudden plonk as Deep-sea
placed his tray down on her table and said, smiling shyly, “Is it okay if I
sit here? All the tables are occupied …”
“Yeah, sure,” Miyuko muttered as she chewed thoughtfully
on a piece of Fortune Cookie.
“Whoa, you eat aquatic food, too?” Deep-sea
exclaimed in surprise and interest when he saw Miyuko’s food.
“And to think somebody was so quiet just now!”
Miyuko joked, smiling amusedly at Deep-sea
“Was I? I thought that we weren’t supposed to
say anything during lesson!” Deep-sea said, looking rather indignant at being
“Whatever … you struck me as a kind of quiet
guy though,” Miyuko shrugged and swallowing her Fortune Cookie, she reached
to take a slice of fresh sushi roll when she noticed that there was somebody
standing there beside her. It was Lilac, the Island Gelert and she looked extremely
reluctant and grumpy.
“Miss. Hoff told me to be your guide around
the school … which means having to follow you around and helping you find where
are your classes in case you have problems …” she mumbled in a very unhappy
voice. “This is pathetic! Having to follow a Usul all around the school … bah!
I have better things to do! Besides, it’s not like she’s a baby!” she added
under her breath.
Miyuko heard her muttered remark but knew that
it was best to keep quiet and pretended not to hear what Lilac had just said.
“You needn’t follow me around if you don’t want
to … I can figure out myself, thanks,” Miyuko said in a clear but stiff voice
as she stared at Lilac coldly.
“Heh … well, happy finding, Odd Usul!” Lilac
sneered, returning Miyuko’s cold stare with a look of immense dislike.
Deep-sea looked rather afraid during the exchange
between Miyuko and Lilac and seemed to be staring into space, as Miyuko bit
off part of her sushi roll furiously. Both were all lost in their own thoughts
and didn’t talk to each other after that until the lunch break ended, and everybody
headed back to their classrooms.
“So how was school?” it was the first question that Trinity asked Miyuko the
minute she got home.
“Terrible …” Miyuko sighed sadly before trudging
upstairs to retreat in her bedroom.
Trinity looked slightly worried but put Miyuko’s
depression down as temporary.
“She’ll gradually get used to this,” she told
herself, as she thoughtfully folded a paper Poogle and gazed at the ceiling,
her mind wandering away to other problems like paying the bills on time.
Little did she expect the events that were about
to unfold to happen at all.
To be continued …