Invisible Paint Brushes rock Circulation: 98,662,396 Issue: 167 | 19th day of Storing, Y6
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by violinoutoftune


Christine, a red Chia, walked through the kingdom of Brightvale, past the various shops selling anything from ornate windows to battle supplies. After passing the Berry shop, she crossed over the wooden bridge into the neighboring kingdom of Meridell. She continued trotting down the road and walked past Ultimate Bullseye and the sleeping Turmaculus before coming up on Meri Acres Farm. It was then she stopped by the fence of the Potato Counter's field and her eyes searched around for a moment or two. When she didn't see the person she was looking for, she walked over to where a blue Lupe sat on a log, deeply involved in reading the latest copy of the Neopian Times.

      "Do you mind if I sit down?" she asked him.

      He looked up, a bit annoyed, but nodded to her anyway, only to retreat again behind the newspaper. Christine collapsed on the makeshift bench. She really needed to work out more. That little walk had just about killed her.

      "Ya okay?" the Lupe asked, folding up his paper and placing it on his lap.

      "Oh, I'm fine," said Christine. "Why?"

      "Well, ya were just breathin' really heavy an' all, I didn't know if ya were gonna pass out or somethin'."

      Christine smiled.

      "No, I'll be okay," she said. "I'm just not used to so much physical exertion."


      Their eyes trailed off to pets counting potatoes as fast as they could. The Lupe chuckled and then turned to Christine and extended a paw.

      "Ted," he said. They shook.


      "So yeah, I saw ya walkin' over here real fast an' lookin' 'round. Ya waitin' fer someone?

      "My owner. She's over shopping in Neopia Central, but I really wanted to go see what all the fuss was with this Wheel of Knowledge, so we split up and decided to meet back here." Christine laughed. "If I had known I would be the one waiting for her, I wouldn't of tried getting here so fast. You know, a Chia's legs weren't built for speed."

      Ted was going to say "What legs?", but used his better judgment and decided against it.

      "Are you waiting for someone too?" Christine asked.

      "Yeah, my owner," replied the Lupe. "He's out shoppin' too."

      "So… what did ya get from that there wheel?" Ted asked.

      "A Brightvale Berry," the Chia said. "You know, that wheel is just a big money waster."

      "Yep. An' the only thing those berries are good fer is eatin'!"

      "Yes!" Christine exclaimed, and licked her lips.

      "It was some pretty good eatin' then, huh?" the Lupe smirked.

      "Well, not as good as a yummy, luscious, mouth-watering chocolate cake; but a nice snack though."

      They watched as a Gelert got angry with the Potato Counter Kacheek for saying he miscounted the spuds. He pushed the little farmer down and then stole one of the potatoes and ran off. No one even tried to stop him or help the Kacheek up. Christine sighed.

      "Neopia's so different nowadays."

      "I know what ya mean," Ted said. "Neopia was always a very happy place. Pets got along well with other pets. But now more an' more Neopians aren't satisfied. There are so many greedy ones out there, an' nobody's doin' anythin' 'bout it. Neopians are gettin' away with things more. It's greed an' selfishness."

      "Of course, there are a lot more Neopians, then say, a year ago," Christine said.

      "Yeah, with ya there. We now have Yurbles an' Rukis. Oh, yep! An' Boris too!"

      "And a whole new world to explore with perhaps a dark secret behind it! Brightvale!"

      "Yep, Brightvale; but don't ferget 'bout the discovery of Kreludor, too!"

      "Oh, and there was that war against Lord Kass, and all that talk about Dr. Sloth returning; but I guess we're safe from him, at least for now."

      "Yeah, an' how 'bout the Neopian Times?" Ted asked.

      "Oh, I haven't read that thing in ages!"

      The Lupe handed her his copy. She looked it over.

      "Wow… it's sure… different," the Chia said. "Much different since the last time I looked at it."

      Ted nodded.

      "They've changed the colors an' gave it a much fresher look. That there's an improvement."

      "Yes," Christine said, "but I don't see any of the authors that use to write for it. How I loved their work. It's sad to see them gone."

      She gave the paper back to Ted.

      "Oh Neopia's changed so much!" she sighed. "I wish it was still back in the olden days, when Neopia was a smaller, but brighter place."

      "Sure. But there must be some good things 'bout changes."

      "I suppose…"

      "Yep. Just think of all the stuff we have now that we didn't have then."

      "Hmm…" Christine thought. "Well, we have some great heroes. Like Hannah! She's amazing. A great role-model."

      "Yeah… she's awesome."

      "But there's also so many things we've lost," the Chia said. "Like the games! Oh, I absolutely loved Techo Says! I was the Champion two months in a row!"

      "Uh-huh. I miss Omelette Defender."

      "Oh! I remember that one!" Christine exclaimed. "And all the other ones too. Some of them required a little more physical exertion than others, but they were all mighty fun. Maybe that's why I've gained so much weight since those games disappeared."

      "Well, remember, we can still play 'em now in the Game Graveyard over in the Haunted Woods. An' there are plenty of new games that could get ya exercise too."

      "Yes, I guess. But some of the changes have really been unnecessary."

      "Like what?"

      "Like more Battledome stuff. I mean, who uses all those things? They have weapons, and shields, and potions, and scrolls. And motes! What's a mote, anyway?"

      "Heh, heh. I think some of the paint brushes have been pretty lame. Like Strawberry! Who wants to go 'round lookin' like a big berry? Or anything edible, fer that there matter!"


      They looked on as a little Bori started whining to his owner to let him play Potato Counter. The owner shuffled him along saying it was a waste of time.

      "It's like Neopians are just so busy nowadays," Christine said. "So concerned about getting ahead that they forget how to play. How to have fun. Forget about rolling on the grass and watching the clouds go by. They're too busy with gaining more neopoints; gaining prominence. They're too busy with winning. But in life there is no winning. At least, no winning against each other. Because if you're winning against others, you're losing against yourself. You're losing the things that make life worthwhile. You're losing happiness and peace. You're losing yourself. That's what most Neopians are doing. They're losing themselves in their greed and ambition. They just have to wake up and smell the dung and accept that they stink. They need to win against themselves."

      Christine sighed.

      "But no one's doing that in today's Neopia. That's why the old days were better. Things were simpler then. That's why change is bad."

      "Maybe," Ted said, "but perhaps if ya focus on the good change and not the bad change, things aren't so gloomy anymore." Ted looked down at the newspaper on his lap. "We have to at least give this Neopia and these Neopians a chance. If we don't give 'em a chance, how will we know they can change fer the better?"

      He looked up at Christine and continued:

      "Neopia will never be just the same as it was a year, a month, or even a day ago. But that doesn't mean it can never be just as good. It's all how ya look at change. Perspective is everything. An' I think that Neopians will wake up and smell the dung and discover that they need to win themselves back. But you're always going to have the arrogant ones. The ones that don't want to change; don't want to win themselves. Ya can't focus on these. Ya can't let one little glob of dung ruin your yummy, luscious, mouth-waterin' cake."

      The Chia put a hand on the Lupe's shoulder.

      "You're right, Ted," she said. "You're right."

      They just stared at each other for the longest time. Then Christine laughed.

      "What is it?" Ted asked.

      "I just realized how funny this must look!" Christine said. Ted gave her a confused glance. "You know, Lupes eating Chias? That old joke?"


      They laughed.

      "Hey, Ted!"


      Both the owners had arrived at the same time, each with a shopping bag in one hand.

      "Hey! What did ya get me?" Ted asked his owner. The boy handed him the bag.

      "Wow! Ya got me a mote! Cool! Oooh! I wanna try this thing out!" The Lupe started skipping up the street with his owner not far behind. "Bye, Christine!" Ted called back. "Neomail me sometime!"

      The Chia called out to say she would, and laughed.

      "Who was that?" her owner asked her.

      "Oh, just somebody I met. We had a nice conversation. You know, not everyone in Neopia is weird and greedy."

      Her owner giggled.

      "I got something for you, too!"


     A few hours later, Christine stood in front of her bedroom mirror, admiring the reflection of a scrumptious-looking, though a bit overweight, Thornberry Chia.

      "Yes," she whispered to herself, "maybe change isn't so bad after all."

The End

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