The Shenkuu Zodiac
Shenkuu is still a relatively, newly-discovered kingdom, and each day something wonderful and exciting is learned about this exotic locale: customs, foods, remedies, and Bonju’s cooking pot.
On a recent trip I met with Linae, a pink Kougra, and she told me, in greeting: “The Year of the Kougra was exciting, but the Year of the Cybunny is going quite well. I have a feeling it will be even better!”
“Year of the Kougra? Cybunny?” I had asked. “What does that all mean?”
That is when Linae had me sit down for a game of Kou-Jong. After playing several games - it’s addicting - I learned about the Shenkuu Zodiac. Linae told me that a Neopian born in a certain year would eventually have the same traits as the Year of the particular Neopet, according to the Tale of the Outcast - which goes as thus:
The Great Moon Emperor’s birthday was coming up and he wished to invite all Neopians of his region to a party. Naturally a gift was to be given to the Moon Emperor, yet a certain Xweetok and his best friend - an Aisha - happened to buy the same exact present: a Gold Mote.
Turquoise, the Xweetok, felt his gift was special and unique, and when he learned Jade, the Aisha, had also bought one, he was embarrassed and appalled.
“I cannot allow the Moon Emperor to see my gift as a copy,” moaned the Xweetok. “I would be a laughingstock!”
But how could he get to the party first to present his gift to the Moon Emperor? As an Aisha, Jade was fast; she’d probably reach the Night Palace before ANYONE did!
“I need to be there FIRST,” Turquoise told himself, “for what if there are others who bear Gold Motes?” And so the Xweetok devised a plan: The celebrations would start Awakening Day 7, all Turquoise had to do was say the Moon Emperor decided to change the date to Awakening Day 8 and the Aisha would surely be the last guest.
“That’s strange,” Jade said when her friend told her the news. “Are you SURE it was changed to Awakening Day 8?”
“Oh, yes, which means you can rest ALL day tomorrow,” Turquoise slyly said.
“Great! I was out working today from morning ‘til night and I’m TIRED. I COULD sleep all day tomorrow. Thank you, Turquoise.”
And so, Awakening Day 7 came and Shenkuu was alive with many kinds of Neopians bearing all different manner of gifts - from delicious foods to beautiful weapons, magic potions to rare books. While Jade, the Aisha slept, Turquoise the Xweetok hurried along to the Night Palace with everyone else.
“Ack! Garnet the Kau is in the lead!” the Xweetok noticed, “he’ll get there before me!” He dashed between guests and leaped onto the Kau’s back. No one, not even Garnet, knew the Xweetok was there, for the Kau’s gift was a cloud of Faerie Fog, which floated all around Garnet.
When the palace gates came into view, the Xweetok jumped off and was the very first to enter.
The Kau came second - who was a little puzzled because he thought HE was the first - then the Kougra, Cybunny, Draik, Hissi, Uni, Ixi, Mynci, Lenny, Gelert, Moehog... etc. And the poor Aisha WAS the last to arrive - when, not only was the party almost over, but also the Moon Emperor dismissed Jade, for he detested getting doubles when it came to gifts. Jade was thrown out of the Night Palace AND from the Zodiac, for the Moon Emperor declared that the first twelve to enter the Night Palace would be greatly honored with a year dedicated to each one - and so the Shenkuu Zodiac was born.
Here is a list of each Shenkuu Zodiac member, their personality traits, as well as their Year(s) and the Gift they gave - which Linae says ALSO contributes to a Neopian’s ultimate personality:
The Xweetok: charismatic, hard worker, a bit cunning, proud, and obsessive - like Lilian Fairweather and her love of botany.
Years: 1936, 1948, 1960, 1972, 1984, 1996, 2008, 2020, 2032.
Gift: a Gold Mote.
Meaning behind the gift: a Xweetok can be soft (kind) or hard (harsh) at the same time.
The Kau: a born leader, tough, wise, dependable, calm, and mystical - like Kauvara and her talent in magic.
Years: 1937, 1949, 1961, 1973, 1985, 1997, 2009, 2021, 2033.
Gift: Faerie Fog.
Meaning behind gift: a Kau can be flighty, but also organized.
The Kougra: a good second-in-command, bold, strong, sincere, peace-loving, and an adventurer - like Jake the Explorer.
Years: 1938, 1950, 1962, 1974, 1986, 1998, 2010, 2022, 2034.
Gift: a Biyako.
Meaning behind the gift: a Kougra can be there... yet nowhere.
The Cybunny: gets bored easily, scatterbrained, bold, energetic, artistic, kind, self-assured - like Cylara and Princess Lunara.
Years: 1939, 1951, 1963, 1975, 1987, 1999, 2011, 2023, 2035.
Gift: a Golden Water Lily Bowl.
Meaning behind the gift: a Cybunny can be elegant, but also a bit goofy.
The Draik: a leader, brave, exotic, pioneering, loyal, dignified, and powerful - like the many knights of Meridell.
Years: 1940, 1952, 1964, 1976, 1988, 2000, 2012, 2024, 2036.
Gift: a Golden Draik Boomerang.
Meaning behind the gift: a Draik can be beautiful but deadly.
The Hissi: smooth-talker, mind-reader, graceful, ambitious, deep-thinker, and hypnotic - like Hissis of the Lost Desert.
Years: 1941, 1953, 1965, 1977, 1989, 2001, 2013, 2025, 2037.
Gift: a Jade Staff.
Meaning behind the gift: a Hissi can be a fighter and a defender.
The Uni: a bit vain at times, selfish, sophisticated, popular, smart, quick-witted, and loyal - like the Nightsteed and his undying friendship with Prince Jazan.
Years: 1942, 1954, 1966, 1978, 1990, 2002, 2014, 2026, 2038.
Gift: White Lotus Glitter Lotion.
Meaning behind the gift: a Uni can be gentle but firm.
The Ixi: caring, thoughtful, quick-thinker, shy, can be a bit negative, determined - like Princess Nabile and Sophie the Swamp Witch.
Years: 1943, 1955, 1967, 1979, 1991, 2003, 2015, 2027, 2039.
Gift: an Arcane Bow.
Meaning behind the gift: an Ixi can be as old as time (wise) or as young as Spring (naïve).
The Mynci: a trickster, agile, flexible, puzzle-solver, motivator, inventor - like Master Vex who created the game Cellblock.
Years: 1944, 1956, 1968, 1980, 1992, 2004, 2016, 2028, 2040.
Gift: Sparkling Bonbori Hammers.
Meaning behind the gift: a Mynci can be playful and menacing at the same time.
The Lenny: well-mannered, wise, unpredictable, alert, responsible, and zealous - like Finneus or the Conundrum Wizard.
Years: 1945, 1957, 1969, 1981, 1993, 2005, 2017, 2029, 2041.
Gift: a Scroll Potion.
Meaning behind the gift: a Lenny can be loved by all, yet also resented.
The Gelert: loyal, protective, misunderstood, attractive, smart, idealistic - like Kanrik or the current Emperor of Shenkuu.
Years: 1946, 1958, 1970, 1982, 1994, 2006, 2018, 2030, 2042.
Gift: a Moon Dust Scroll.
Meaning behind the gift: a Gelert can be tough or fragile.
The Moehog: stubborn, gallant, honest, patient, trusting, and has a strong sense of justice - like Judge Hog and his feats of heroism.
Years: 1947, 1959, 1971, 1983, 1995, 2007, 2019, 2031, 2043.
Gift: a bowl of Negg Noodles.
Meaning behind the gift: a Moehog can be hot (irate) or cold (indifferent) to many circumstances.
And finally, The Aisha: the Outcast, the Forgotten - like poor Caylis who was exiled.
“Come, share in my despair.”
Giving the first Twelve to Arrive a Year was only the beginning, however; they were also given a month. Whatever month you were born in, that month’s Zodiac Neopet rules over your relationship with others and is called the Inner Neopet:
The Kau, Garnet, was given the first month of our new year, Sleeping.
The Kougra, Amethyst, was given the month of Awakening.
The Cybunny, Aqua, was given the month of Running.
The Draik, Diamond, was given the month of Eating.
The Hissi, Emerald, was given the month of Hunting.
The Uni, Pearl, was given the month of Relaxing.
The Ixi, Ruby, was given the month of Swimming.
The Mynci, Peridot, was given the month of Hiding.
The Lenny, Sapphire, was given the month of Gathering.
The Gelert, Opal, was given the month of Collecting.
The Moehog, Topaz, was given the month of Storing.
And the Xweetok, Turquoise, was given the last month of our year, Celebrating, for the Moon Emperor learned of his deceit.
And if that wasn’t enough, the Zodiac Twelve were allowed to rule over two hours each new day, where their traits shone the greatest. This is called a Secret Neopet (determined by what hour you were born at) and is believed to be an individual Neopian’s true disposition:
Xweetok: 11 p.m. to 1 a.m.
Kau: 1 a.m. to 3 a.m.
Kougra: 3 a.m. to 5 a.m.
Cybunny: 5 a.m. to 7 a.m.
Draik: 7 a.m. to 9 a.m.
Hissi: 9 a.m. to 11 a.m.
Uni: 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.
Ixi: 1 p.m. to 3 p.m.
Mynci: 3 p.m. to 5 p.m.
Lenny: 5 p.m. to 7 p.m.
Gelert: 7 p.m. to 9 p.m.
Moehog: 9 p.m. to 11 p.m.
Interesting enough, though Jade didn’t get a ruling year, hour, or a month, the green stone that is her name became Shenkuu’s precious jewel; perhaps this was to make up for Turquoise’s actions. Linae tells me that no one really knows the truth behind it.
If you would like to see what Year YOU are, just remember that Shenkuu’s years start with the Lunar Festival, which was first celebrated in the Month of Awakening Day 7.
I’m an Ixi as well as a Moehog! (I can’t tell you my Secret Neopet sign, that‘s a SECRET.) What are you...?