Muscles rippled along his pelt, tense and ready. His mouth snarled, revealing glistening white teeth as sharp as a Jetsam’s. His claws gripped the ground impatiently, his tail lashing in frustration. He stayed in the shadows at the end of the Battledome, ready to surprise his next opponent. The shadows became him.
He was Shadow.
The doors opened wide, and a blue Techo stepped confidently inside. The arena was large, surrounded by stands on all sides. A large board was on either side of the stadium, displaying the hastily written stats of the battlers. The Shadow Neopet glanced up at the Techo’s stats and grinned in satisfaction. Two levels ahead, with amazing strength. But not a challenge. Their defense was average, and their speed was slow. Surprising, for he’d always thought of Techos as fast.
The Techo looked up at his opponent’s stats and smirked. Only level 59. Soon, however, the battle started, and the Techo was unnerved. He was apparently alone.
Suddenly he was knocked forcefully backwards as a Shadow Kougra leapt at his unprotected back from behind. The Techo stumbled and turned around, only to watch his opponent vanish before his eyes.
The Shadow Kougra melted into the shadows, becoming one with the darkness. A few more surprise leaps, and it was over.
“And Kelln, the Shadow Kougra, remains the undefeated champion of the Battledome for today!” a voice announced, the crowd in the stands going wild.
Kelln materialized out of the shadows and bowed to his fans, enthralled with their applause. He stalked towards the entrance, flicking the bruised Techo with his tail and causing him to wince.
Kelln had not been touched.
The Shadow Kougra walked home in the night. Neopia Central’s shadows cloaking him. He considered himself a special Shadow, for his fur was pure black. Even his eyes were as dark as night.
Kelln was the Battledome champion. He had come in recently and remained victorious for all of his battles.
He hadn’t lost yet.
Now, he headed to the forest surrounding the city, to entertain himself. He loved to catch unsuspecting Weewoos, only to test his invisibility. Afterwards, he would release the petpet, unharmed, back into the forest.
His ears swiveled to the low, mournful hoot of a Weewoo. He quickly pinpointed the position and prowled forward. He reached the base of a tree, looking up and catching a glimpse of a golden plumage.
Kelln began to climb slowly up the trunk, digging his claws in deep, scoring fresh claw marks on the ancient tree.
He scrabbled quietly onto the branch, and slowly crept up behind the unsuspecting petpet. He sheathed his claws and silently padded closer. Then, he pounced! The Weewoo’s muffled hoot sounded from beneath the Shadow Kougra’s large paws.
Kelln smiled in triumph.
Slowly, he opened his paws to reveal a frightened Weewoo, shivering in terror. Kelln’s face softened in compassion, and he slowly caressed the petpet with his tail. The Weewoo stopped shaking, and Kelln gently released it. It fluttered off into the forest as the black cat crept back down the tree.
“Kelln, breakfast!” A loud call sounded up the stairs to Kelln’s room, rousing him from sleep. The Kougra hopped out of his Neohome’s bed and stretched, yawning and blinking away sleep.
“Coming!” he called drowsily as he made his way down the steps. He walked into the kitchen and inhaled deeply, wrinkling his nose in disgust. “Jelly?!? We’re eating Jelly for breakfast?”
His owner, Fox, turned around and explained, “You know that because we just painted your sister Disco, we can’t afford much.”
“What about Omelettes?”
“The Giant Omelette has been eaten completely today, and there is none left. I had to go out and buy the cheapest Jellies that I could find.”
Kelln sighed and sat down at the empty table. He was always the first down because he avoided sleeping late in case he disrupted his set sleeping times, and he worried that it might stop him from going to sleep that night until later.
Two Kougras raced into the room, panting and out of breath. One of them, the Disco one, called out, “Sorry, Mom! We overslept!” She scooted to the table, quickly followed by a Purple Kougra.
Fox gently scolded the two of them. “Ellie, Elliot, how many times have I told you not to be late?”
Elliot, the Purple Kougra, grinned lopsidedly. “Thiry eight times to be precise!”
His twin sister, Ellie, the Disco Kougra, giggled at his remark. Fox just smiled at the pair and set down a plate of Jelly in front of each. Ellie received a Lemon Jelly and Elliot got a Strawberry Jelly. They both began to eat ravenously.
Kelln looked expectantly at Fox as she came and set a Jelly in front of him. He stared at it, repulsed at the idea of eating it. He gently poked the Glowing Jelly with his claw. “I have to eat this?”
Fox whispered in his large ear, “I’m sorry. But I couldn’t find any other nice Jellies. Besides, they’re a lot younger than you. You can handle it.”
Kelln sighed and gently placed a morsel of the Glowing Jelly in his mouth, chewing slowly. He nearly gagged, but he managed to choke it down and finish the Jelly.
Fox cleaned up the plates as Ellie and Elliot dashed out the door to the park. Kelln padded up to his room. Every fourth day he rested from his three days in the Battledome. He curled up and went to sleep.
Kelln awoke, feeling... different. He padded downstairs for supper, after having slept for most of the day.
“The twins have already eaten,” said Fox as he entered the room. “Here, I managed to get some Omelette tonight.”
Kelln ate hungrily and pulled away from the table with a slight grumble coming from his stomach. Fox turned to him and said sympathetically, “I know, we’re all hungry. I’m sorry.”
Suddenly, she peered intently at Kelln. “Are you alright? You look a little green.”
The Kougra looked confused and replied, “I feel fine.”
Fox still looked worried. “Maybe you should go outside and get some fresh air.”
Kelln still looked puzzled, but he walked obediently out of the front door, padding to the forest.
He decided that a little bit of Weewoo catching might calm his nerves, and he prowled through the forest until he spotted the plain feathers of a rare White Weewoo. He crawled up the tree with practiced ease. But with one step of his paws, the Weewoo turned and hooted in alarm before retreating deeper into the forest.
Kelln stopped, puzzled. The Weewoo had seen him. He had always been invisible in the darkness, yet the Weewoo had seen him.
The Weewoo had seen him!
Kelln looked around, noticing a faint glow. That’s it! Someone must have been pranking him by sticking a lantern nearby. He looked side to side and saw nothing. Then, he looked down and found where the glow was coming from. His paws. His paws were glowing. He quickly looked himself over. He was glowing.
He was Glowing.
Panicked, Kelln raced into the depths of the forest. He soon stopped, out of breath, by a large tree in the heart of the woods. His beautiful black fur, gone. He was Shadow no longer. The broken Kougra simply wept. He was desolate and lonely, and the thing that had made him invisible, his sleek dark fur, was gone. His pride and joy. He was a Glowing Kougra. It must have been the Jelly. Stupid Jelly. He knew he’d never eat another one again. He could no longer be the Battledome champion. His ability to blend with shadows was gone.
Kelln awoke to the forest’s dawn chorus. The memory of last night’s events hit him like a thunderbolt, and he nearly crumpled to the ground in despair. However, he remained strong and shook away his fears. He would not let this ruin his life. He was Glowing, and he was powerless to stop it.
Kelln suddenly remembered the worry he must have caused Fox, Ellie, and Elliot, and he raced to Neopia Central. But as he exited the forest, he stopped and turned a different way than his Neohome.
Kelln soon found himself standing outside of the Battledome, and he waited for a challenger. An opponent was not long in coming. It was the blue Techo he had defeated two days earlier. The Techo had come for revenge, still smarting after his last defeat.
The two squared off, and the battle began. Kelln soon found himself sliding towards the shadows, and he stopped his approach, reminding himself that the shadows, who had formerly been his friends, would now only make him more visible.
Kelln still had his lightning speed and experience, and he led the Techo on a merry dance towards the center of the arena. The Techo had only hit him once, but it amounted to more damage than his several nips that he had given to his opponent.
Kelln was losing.
He’d never lost before. By hiding in the shadows he wasn’t perceptible to his opponents. But now... he was out in the open. Throughout the battle, he unconsciously avoided the center of the arena, where the sunlight shone down the brightest. It still frightened him, because he had, until recently, been most exposed in it.
The Techo put on a burst of speed, driving Kelln towards the center, which he’d noticed the Kougra had been avoiding.
Kelln stumbled backwards into the center and flinched as the glow warmed his pelt. Then, a strange thing happened.
The Techo fell back, shielding his eyes with one hand, and Kelln looked on in confusion. He soon noticed an intense light, and he realized that it was the sunlight shining on his new green fur, making the glow flare in bright bursts. He also realized that the glow did not seem to hurt his eyes as it did to the Techo.
Kelln quickly took advantage of this, and ended the battle, quickly defeating the blinded Techo. The Glowing Kougra smiled. Maybe this wasn’t so bad. He might just grow to like his new ability.
Kelln slowly entered the door to his Neohome. Fox, Ellie, and Elliot gasped when they saw his new color.
“Where have you been?” Fox asked.
“What happened to you?” Ellie cried out.
“You’re Glowing!” Elliot exclaimed.
Kelln smiled, his eyes twinkling. “You’re absolutely right,” he said. “I’m glowing... with pride!”
Thanks for reading this; I hope you’ve enjoyed it! I’m still a beginner in the Neopian Times, but it is great to know that some people enjoy my stories! Thanks for reading!