“Narona! Narona!” A baby Lupe skittered my shop. “Narona!” He ran behind the counter and threw himself under the cushion I had started keeping back there for him. He had formed an attachment to me ever since I made the mistake of giving him a free chocolate coin. He visited me whenever his owner was shopping. He was the first friend I had made since becoming a shopkeeper (See “How I got a Shopkeeper”). He didn't seem bothered by the fact that I was a dark faerie.
“What is it, Frezi?” I asked as I continued to write price tags.
“There's monsters everywhere! Neopia's been taken over! We're all going to die!”
I looked around the small store that I was shopkeeper for. I didn't see anything to warrant such hysterics. “I don't see anything.”
He crawled out from his hiding place long enough to point out of the window. “There's one now!” He dashed back under his pillow.
I looked where his small paw pointed. A mutant Aisha was walking by. “That's just a mutant, Frezi.”
“Mutant?” He peeped out.
“It's a type of color that pets can be, just like Island or Royal or Shadow.”
“But they're everywhere. I haven't see one before today. I bet they're plotting something.”
I rolled my eyes and was about to reply when I spotted a Mutant Lupe walking towards my shop. “Planning something, huh? Let's see.”
“Good Morning, Narona.” The Lupe waved a sharp claw at me. He picked up a codestone and handed over the required neopoints. “Business doing alright?” he asked.
“Just fine.” I took the neopoints and added them to the box. “I'll see you tomorrow.”
“Happy Mutant Day!” he called as he walked out.
I turned to my hidden friend. “They must be planning to buy all the codestones in all the stores so no one can train and they all become easy prey!”
He jumped out. “Really?”
“No.” I sighed as I wrote the transfer in the log book. “Frezi, Mutants act just like anyone else; they just look different. The reason that you've seen so many today is because it's Mutant Day today.”
“Mutant pets that stay at home finally have a day to be in the spotlight. Their difference is celebrated.”
“But.” He shuffled his paws. “They look so creepy and mean!”
I put my head in my hands; he wasn't going to get over this creepy thing easily.
“Alright, here.” I flew over to where the books were being sold and pulled out one. “This is a story about a pet who was turned into a mutant. Let's read it and then see what you think.”
Frezi loved reading. He would usually bring me some book he had bought and force me to read it to him. “Sure!” He crawled out from underneath his cushion and sat on top of it.
I opened the book. “It all started four years ago... ”
It all started a four years ago, that's when I was made, Kisa_rago. I was a blue Lenny, and rather pretty at that. My owner, Zack was the nicest boy you could hope to have as an owner. I also had two brothers and a sister. They were made before me. One brother was a royal Kougra and the other was an Island JubJub. My sister was a Faerie Peophin. I was the only basic color pet. But Zack said I was perfect the way I was. He didn't train me to be a battler, the Kougra was the Battledome pet. He would take all of us around Neopia equally; he didn't leave anyone out. I loved to read, so when we would go out, he would buy me a book. My teachers at school would say how smart I was and tell me there were great things in store for me. Then one day, about a year ago my owner started a new hobby, avatar collecting. He would come home with strange new things for us to eat; I had to eat the Snorkle Snout because no one else would. He bought us new petpets like snowbunnies and brought us toys to play with. It was fun to experience these new things, but our owner wasn't playing with us anymore. He stopped bringing books back for me. He said that he needed the money for the avatar hunt. After a while only the most expensive avatars were left. He would play games for hours, then hang around the trading post to haggle for loaned items. Then one day he came home holding a bottle.
“Kisa! You'll never guess what! Sloth appeared and handed me this!”
He showed me the bottle. It was green and red and black and had tentacles hanging off of it. It looked gross.
“It's a Kau transmogrification potion!”
“Oh.” I examined the bottle. “I've never seen a mutant Kau.”
“Neither have I. But this means I can get the mutant avatar!”
I started to get nervous at that point. I wasn't stupid, so I knew that if he had to make one of his pets drink that slimy goo that it would be me, the only unpainted pet in the family. I began to walk away. “That's nice.”
Zack looked at the bottle then at me. “Wait a sec.”
“I was thinking about how I haven't painted you yet and I want to make you something special.”
I knew what was coming.
“And so, if you drank this, you would be really special, I mean, I haven't even seen one of these around!”
He held out the potion. “Please?”
I hesitated. He could force me to, and it would be nice to be special, but not that kind of special. But I didn't want to upset Zack, he had always been nice to me. He gave me a home; I owed it to him.
I slowly took the potion and uncorked it. A foul odor curled up from the bottle neck. I took a deep breath, closed my eyes and drank the potion.
“Wait, wait!” Frezi waved his little paws.
“She wanted to be a mutant? Why would anyone want to be a mutant?”
“Weren't you listening? She didn't want to, but she wanted to make her owner happy.” I handed him a pumpkin cookie. “Shove this in your mouth and be quiet.”
It was a weird feeling to suddenly lose my feathers and beak. Several tentacles came out of my mouth and two twisted horns grew out of my head. “Uggg.” I groaned. My voice sounded muddy and deep.
“Ahhh! Zack took a reactive step backwards. “That's hideo... ” He swallowed his worlds. “Different.”
I tried to move, but I wasn't used to my hooves or new tail. I tripped and fell on my face.
“Well, this will take adjusting to,” Zack said as he looked me over.
After a week of being a mutant, I was tired of it. But Zack didn't have the money to turn me into a Lenny again or even a plain Kau. The other pets stayed their distance from me. I tried to tell them that I was the same person in a different body. They would smile, say they knew that, then turn around and leave quickly. Zack stopped taking me out around Neopia. He said that I might hurt myself with my new feet, but I knew he didn't want anyone to see me. My teachers at my school stopped praising me and didn't give me extra tutoring time like they use to. They always had an excuse. I was lonely.
I decided one day that I had enough of hiding inside all the time and went for a walk when Zack was away so he couldn't tell me to get back inside. I lived in Meridell so I went for walk in the meadow that bordered our neighborhood. I sighed as I looked at the flowers around me. They were so pretty. I sat down and picked one.
I sat up quickly. Suddenly there was someone in the meadow with me. It was a beautiful royal Kau! I tried to make myself invisible.
“Is someone there?” she asked.
It was then that I noticed that she was looking into the distance and that she was waving a staff in front of her. She was blind!
“I know I heard someone.”
I cleared my throat. “H..h..hi.”
She looked in my direction. “Ah! So there was someone!” She made her way towards me. She held out a hoof when she judged that she was close enough. “I'm Penita.”
I shook it tentatively. “I'm Kisa.”
She smiled at me. “That's a lovely name. What type of pet are you? I felt a hoof.”
I hesitated. “A Kau.”
She perked up. “Really! That's so cool!”
I sighed. I might as well tell her; she would find out eventually by tripping over one of my tentacles. “I'm a mutant.”
She cocked her head to the side. “Really? I've never met a mutant Kau before. So do you live in Meridell?”
I was so shocked I almost didn't reply. She had passed right over the mutant thing while that was the deal breaker for most people. A wave of warmness spread through me. She didn't care!
“Yeah, I live right across from the meadow.”
We talked and talked for hours until I noticed it was dark. “Oh! The sun's setting, I should get back home,” I told my new friend.
Penita giggled. “Sorry. I couldn't tell it was getting darker.”
“Do you need help getting home?”
“Nope. I'll be fine.” She stood up. “You want to meet here tomorrow same time?”
I smiled. “I would like that.”
She felt for my hoof and squeezed it. “Me too.”
I skipped home as well as I could. I had met someone who liked me for me! She saw who I was inside because she couldn't see me outside! It lightened my heart. I was so happy that I didn't see the pet before I ran into him. “Oh! I'm sorry!” I helped him up.
He avoided my eyes as he hurried up and would have bolted if I didn't have a hold on his paws. “It's nothing.”
“Wait!” I looked closer at him. “You're a mutant Mynci!”
His head drooped. “Yeah, now let me go.”
“I'm a mutant Kau!”
His head whipped up. “You are!” He smiled. “Sorry, I'm just so used to people screaming and running when I appear and I don't come out unless it's night and I try to avoid people altogether.”
“What's that?” I motioned to the basket in his hand.
“This?” He pulled out a cupcake. “I love to bake. I was taking this to the pound. They're the only people that accept my food. Everyone else thinks that it's contaminated. Here try one.”
I took the offered cupcake. “This is amazing!”
I licked the cream off my hoof. “Hey, what are you doing tomorrow?”
“I have someone you need to meet. Can you come to the meadow there at about nine?”
He hesitated, then smiled. “Sure.”
I waved goodbye as I went home. Maybe I could get use to this mutant thing, and maybe help others who were like me.
“The End.” I snapped the book closed. “So.” I looked at Frezi. “What do you think about mutants now?”
He shifted his feet and looked guiltily at his feet. “Maybe I judged too quickly.”
I nodded and stretched out my wings. “So now what are you going to do now?”
He was about to answer when he spotted something outside the window and suddenly scrambled out of the shop. I flew to the window to see what had caused his hasty departure. He ran up to a mutant Peophin who was carrying a sack full of food.
“Can I help you with that?” he asked her.
The Peophin looked surprised, then pleased. She handed the bag to him. “That's very nice of you, thank you!”
I smiled with satisfaction as he trotted next to her and chatted away.
“Narona?” Kanuah, the store owner's Lupe, poked his head around the doorpost. “How's business?”
He looked outside. “Did I see Frezi helping a mutant? I thought he was terrified of them.”
I waved the book. “I read him a story.”
He took the book and flipped it open. “This book is blank.”
I smiled innocently and nibbled on a cookie. “Imagine that.”