She liked rocks. The cool grey reflected her grey Krawk skin and made her invisible. She quite liked being invisible sometimes when things got to be too much.
A sigh escaped her lips. Well, it was not so much of a sigh as a snort, fast air blowing through her nostrils, and she shuddered in disgust. Ladylike behavior seemed so far beyond her reach. Ami got up slowly and hunched forward like she usually did. Her back could not stay straight. It seemed no matter how much she pursed her lips and closed her eyes, her shoulders would just hunch right back over again. It was painful looking so different. Up against the plushies and faeries and babies, pets that she saw everywhere in comparison, she began to think she was ugly. Catching a glimpse of her face in a pool of water suspended on the rock, she shuddered in disgust once more. Pulling at her eyes to make them wider and pushing her nose to make it smaller made no difference in the way she looked.
Sighing, she stepped down off the rock. They were much better when there were no pools of water. "Carefully, carefully," she thought to her self. "Tread, tread." Stomp, stomp was all she heard. Nothing was right. Pathetic dinosaur. She felt locked inside a cage with bars reaching up into the sky and mirrors dotting the ceiling. Whenever complacency settled in, all she had to do was look around to remind herself of her faults. Faults she couldn't begin to get rid of if she tried. No amount of shampoo could cut the grease from her hair, no amount of eye drops could remove the red from her eyes. She was incorrigible.
Ami always took a path through the woods on her way home. The whistling of the trees hummed in her head and the pitter patter of the animals running through the leaves on the ground perked her interest. They were so wild and free.
Suddenly, out of the corner of her eye, she spotted a shaking pile of leaves. Intrigued, Ami stopped and looked. The trembling grew worse, until finally it erupted into a grey furry creature with big red eyes and a long bushy tail. The foreign creature surveyed Ami with a questioning look and then grinned. It wasn't so much a grin as a turning up of his sad little month. The little furry entity rushed towards Ami, who remained still, perplexed.
The grey creatures stood in stark contrast to the green of the grass and the blue of the sky. Gingerly, Ami offered a paw in friendship. The little grey animal squeaked in excitement and nuzzled the offered hand.
"I'm going to call you Maellie," Ami said and lifted up the corners of her own month into a smile.
It was nice to have a friend. The fact that they didn't speak the same language didn't even matter to Ami. Maellie, who as she learned later on was a grey Faellie, was perfect.
Ami had never had many friends. She used to think that it was because she looked different, but over time she began to realize that it was something far less her fault: quite a few neopets were stupid! They didn't read or discuss Neopian events, such as the takeover of Sloth; they mainly pruned and complained about drama. Maellie was different, though. Maellie was inquisitive and sweet. Everything Ami could want in a friend.
Night was falling and the sky became a melody of colours all dancing for only them. Thoughts wandered and emotions unveiled themselves. To the darkness Ami started talking about life and her fear of never being able to love. She discussed at length her desire to be a good neopet, and her intense loneliness that made her scared of rejection.
"My walls are built up, Maellie," she murmured. "I hope someday someone can break them." Maellie rubbed herself against Ami in comfort and understanding. Their grey figures blended in and out of trees and bushes as they walked through the forest in silence. Red eyes, black hair, grey skin in the dark of night and the two became one in the magic that is invisibility.
Out of the corner of her eye Ami spotted a flash of colour and... were those fins? A sudden gust of wind and Ami felt a body land next to her.
"Look at her, Karl. I've never seen anyone like her before," she heard a baby-ish voice say.
Ami turned around with a grimace to see who was making fun of her now. The outline of a colourful Faerie Pteri ready to take flight with a Baby Hissi on their back stood out against the dark night sky.
To Ami's surprise, the Hissi slithered off of the back of the Pteri and inched towards her, his little hands extended.
"Hi - I'm Kivier," he said.
The Pteri appeared by his side and peered curiously at Ami "What are you looking so sad for on a beautiful night like this?" he asked.
"Why wouldn't I look sad with neopets flying around gawking at me all the time," Ami snapped.
Kivier looked up at Ami, his eyes clouded with puzzlement. "I would be happy if I had people admiring my looks..."
Ami was stunned. The word admiring hadn't been associated with her for as long as she could remember. She shook her head and hoisted up her shoulders. "Why are they paying attention to me?" she thought.
As if reading her mind, Karl said, "You look like a thinker! Do you mind me asking where you come from?"
Ami thought for a second. "I'm not sure," she said. "Far, far away and from a time long, long ago. I have lived longer than both you and you combined." Ami nodded at Karl and Kivier. "I have seen lands being created and destroyed and then recreated and throughout it all I haven't found a family of my own. I have loved friends in the past, only to be cast aside. I have created beauty in the past, only to have it destroyed. This is why I'm grey. One day I just thought, 'Well, if they are going to leave me like this, I might as well be grey,' and it happened as if through magic. I don't regret my decision; I never will. I just sometimes wish I could stop feeling so despondent."
Karl reached over and gave Ami a pat on the back. "Don't give up," he said. "It's when we give up all hope that we truly stop existing, in a way."
Ami nodded thoughtfully. That made sense to her.
"You're quiet, you know that?" Karl continued. "I like that. Why don't you come and meet the rest of our family?"
Maellie jumped up onto Ami's shoulder and nuzzled against her cheek and that's when Ami knew that this was where she belonged.
Ami nodded, the corners of her mouth pulled up into a smile for the second time that day and took Kivier's newly outstretched hand.
Looking around at her newfound friends, Ami realized something. Caressing her sloped back and running her fingers through her greasy hair, she thought, "Maybe I can give this a chance one more time. And maybe there is no harm in looking different. Maybe sometimes it is just the most unique beauty in the world."