The Day I Met Boochi
It was a normal day in Neopia. Mom visited us early that morning, popping into our Neohome with a smile. "Hey, guys! Time to go fishing!"
Mom loves to take us fishing, though we mostly get junk. She seems unusually happy about junk these days, but she hasn't said why. Anyway, while I don't enjoy fishing like my brothers, I do enjoy going out to the fishing hole with Mom.
Every day, Mom visits us, makes sure we're well, and then picks a new pet to go with her around Neopia as she goes through her day. She loves us all (even if we aren't all painted), and she rotates who spends the day with her. That day, she made her last stop to the fishing hole with me. I was so happy. It was my day to spend with Mom.
I could spend the day showing off my beautiful Maraquan self to all of Neopia. I was the envy of all Unis. Maraquan is, hooves down, the BEST color Unis can be painted. I smiled in all windows and mirrors, flipping my fin at any who disdained my grace.
Mom did some restocking and played some games, but she mainly chatted on the Neoboards. I'm used to the pirate crew, and I waved at my usual pet friends and stayed patiently by my mom's side, getting a little bored. I mean, how many times can you talk about the possibility of war?
Then one of Mom's friends got a Faerie Quest. Mom tapped me, and we made our way over to the Shop Wizard to look up the item. Mom was focused on searching, so she didn't see it happen. But I did.
He walked by while Mom refreshed her search, trying to get the best deal for her friend. He smiled at me and lifted his ray gun, too quick for me to move. I saw a blinding pink light.
Then I felt myself shrinking. My beautiful Maraquan fin faded. I had hind legs again. I looked down, horrified to find my Maraquan scales had disappeared. I was now PINK all over. I was way too small. I was now a baby.
Mom ran back to the Neoboards and posted her search results, oblivious to my panic. Baby? I was now a baby? NO! I had been Mom's beautiful Maraquan Uni for years! I loved my look. She loved my look. She called me her mermaid, though I never understood why. Now, in one idle moment, I was reduced to a BABY. I was not a baby. I was eight years old!
I started crying. Mom turned around. "Alysa, what's – ?" She never finished her sentence. A look of horror came over my mom's face. "Boochi?"
I nodded. Mom rushed to my side, picked me up, and we both cried.
"It's okay," she soothed after a few moments of us both bawling. "I'll fix it. I'll get you another paint brush. Colleen doesn't need that paint brush yet. I'll fix it."
I was happy. I would be beautiful soon. I nuzzled my nose under her chin. Mom turned to the boards, still holding me. Mom cried more virtual tears as she told her friends that I'd had an unfortunate meeting with Boochi.
Mom's friends were sympathetic. Their pets were sympathetic, too, but also terrified. As if by touching me, they would be zapped from their current glory to another child. "Sorry, Alysa," several murmured as they huddled behind their owners.
"Dad, can we go home? My brother wanted the spend the day with you."
"No! Not Boochi! Mom, we HAVE to go home!"
Mom kept on holding me. She eventually took a seat and pet me. More friends expressed sympathy. More pets were terrified.
Mom held me close as she stood up. I could walk, still, but I didn't want to. I was too depressed. I no longer felt right in my water background and my glittering treasure chest in my current state. I was okay with Mom holding me.
She walked over to the Trading Post and calmly searched for Maraquan Paint Brushes. "Eleven million!?"
I bowed my head. Mom had grabbed my first Maraquan Paint Brush for two million. She'd hollered over the price back then, too. Now, years later, the price had skyrocketed. Mom loved me, but she wasn't going to empty her bank account if she didn't have to.
"Oh, good. These two don't have a price." Mom sent me down and sent out two neomails, asking for a price range. She got two answers quickly. Mom wasn't happy with either of them.
"If I ASKED YOU what the price was, and you refused to say, WHY is my offer that would leave me with three mil in the bank not worth a second glance?" She sighed in frustration. "You OBVIOUSLY have a price range in mind that you're willing to accept. THAT'S what I was asking!"
I wasn't too disturbed by this response. Mom gets this way when she's on the Trading Post. She moved on to the second neomail. "Someone's bid nine million, Alysa." She sent off another neomail. And another. And another. The price kept rising. Finally, Mom walked away from her keyboard, sat next to me, and pulled me into her lap.
"Sorry, Alysa... but I can't buy you a paint brush today."
She pet me and went on. "I've spent years saving, Alysa. And I can't afford to blow everything on a paint brush. Do you remember when I started saving?"
I nodded. Mom was a miser about everything back then. She obsessively saved every Neopoint spilled in front of her, refused to buy cheap things for her friends, played games constantly, and considered any purchase over 1000 expensive. Doing Illusen Quests made Mom nervous. But she did them for the honey potions. She sold them and stuck the profits in the bank.
Things relaxed when she made her first million. But she waited until she had extra in the bank before buying my paint brush before. She was going to have to do the same now.
"Mom? Do I have to stay like this?"
"No. Absolutely not. Your sister has some Uni clothes in her closet from the time the lab ray made her a Uni. We can use those."
"But I'm a baby, Mom. I can't wear anything." I cried again.
Mom carried me back to the Shop Wizard and looked up something else. Within a few minutes, she'd purchased a blue paint brush. We went to the Rainbow Pool.
I stepped in the magical waters as Mom painted me from horn to hoof with the blue paint brush. Then the change happened. I shot back up to my original height. My mane grew back out. I was relieved. I was no longer a baby. But when I looked back at what was supposed to be my background, I was appalled. "Mom! This doesn't fit me anymore!"
She sighed. "I know. We'll fix it." Time to head home.
We rushed back to Colleen's room. Thankfully, my sister Colleen was busy watching my brothers Neo and Rich play Cellblock. Mom pushed old pet clothing out of the way as she went through Colleen's closet. Colleen's been a product of the lab for years. She's been just about everything, I think.
Mom pulled out some Uni Clothes. "Desert Gear!"
"Mom! I'm not a Desert Uni! I'm a beautiful Maraquan princess!"
"Do you want to stay like that, Alysa?"
I looked down. It had been a long time since I was just blue. No fins. No scales. Just a normal Uni. All the pets wore clothes now. I never really did because I was painted right after the fad started. "Fine. I'll try it."
After we changed my background to just grass and tossed the cape back into the closet, Mom pulled out something else. "Here. I got you this a long time ago. Before I realized you couldn't wear it." The shiny gold necklace made me feel better. But looking down at my white cuffs and my stray earring, I was unimpressed.
"It's not the same, Mom!"
"No, it's not. I'm sorry. As soon as I earn some more, I'll buy you a new paint brush. Okay?"
I sighed. "All right."
"Come on. My friends are still curious about you. I want to ask them how you look."
"Mom, I look ridiculous! Nothing matches! Metal wings? Blue fur?"
"I don't have any other clothes for you, Alysa! Do you want to have this or nothing?"
I sighed. "Fine. I'll go like this. But I'm not happy."
"Me, either. Ugh. Boochi."
"Can I borrow Neo's sword in case I see him again?"
When we went back to the boards, Mom admitted to her friends I didn't look very good at the moment. She was making plans to buy me clothes when one of her friends stepped up and handed her a very valuable gift. A Royal Paint Brush. Mom made sure the friend wanted to do it, and even admitted she could buy one herself. But the friend was insistent. Mom took the paint brush, and we went back to the Rainbow Pool. I slipped out of the Desert clothes and walked back into the magical waters.
I enjoyed this transformation much better. I was already the same height, so I watched in fascination as my fur changed from blue to pink. Admittedly, it reminded me of being a baby, but I didn't shrink. Then came the clothes. A hat and billowing scarf over my horn. A flowery cape appeared on my shoulders and flowed down my back. I felt something appear on my tail. I turned around. It was a red bow. I think I cried in thankfulness.
After more recommendations from her friends, Mom got me a new background and pulled something out of her Safety Deposit Box that made me smile - a spinning negg with a gold Uni inside.
We went back home and looked through Colleen's Desert clothes and tried them in combination with my Royal clothes, deciding which combination to use. We finally settled on me keeping the earring. Mom said it reminded her of a pirate. I just liked having an earring.
After that, Mom called my brothers and sister together, showing off my new look and explaining our encounter with Boochi. After telling us she would be saving for a bit to finance my new paint brush because Colleen's ultimate color needs to come once she changes to the right species, she told us another disappointing thing. Neo and I would be confined to the house except for short trips. She would not risk either of us to Boochi again.
Mom promised to bring home treats for us and still do special things with us. "But I don't want to go through this again. Neo, you're happy being Tyrannian with pirate clothes. And after today with Alysa, I don't think either one of us will be happy if Boochi strikes again. So, I'm sorry, but neither one of you will be coming with me anymore. You'll be safe as long as you don't go with me as we explore."
Colleen and Rich were happy, since it meant more time with Mom. They didn't care about Boochi. Rich says he wants to try the lab after Colleen finishes. Mom isn't sure.
But after what I went through, I will gladly stay in my Neohome for the rest of my days if I can keep my beautiful colors intact.
It has been a month since my abrupt transformation. Going from a Maraquan beauty to a merely pretty Royal has been tough. Neo teased me about it so bad, Mom threatened to take him to the lab one day instead of Colleen. Neo apologized and cleaned his room for a solid week after that.
But as time has passed, I have accepted my new color. And I'm almost a little thankful to Boochi. Mom hasn't paid me a whole lot of attention since I was painted Maraquan. But because I was zapped, I know she still loves me enough to hold me and cry. She loves me enough to empty her bank account so I'll be the color I want to be. She also loves my brother and sisters enough to have enough saved up for emergencies after I'm painted again.
Some days, I want to stay a Royal Girl forever. I am a pretty princess, at least. I enjoy my red carpet background and my little musical carousel negg. I still like standing in front of mirrors and trying on clothes. Being customizable again means I have a new hobby!
Mom brings home all her restocking treasures and lets me and Colleen try on all the clothes she's picked up. We always get first dibs. I haven't found anything I like yet. But I am thankful that Mom cares about me.
Boochi has also made me feel a bit more sympathetic for my sister Colleen. Now I know what it feels like to get an unexpected change! At least I don't have to hide in a Moach Costume some days.
Mom is still saving up, but we're both getting attached to my new color. I might stay Royal or get painted something else that will make me beautiful or better than pretty.
Did I mention I'm thankful I'm staying indoors these days? And I now enjoy fishing. Go figure!
So, that was the day I met Boochi. To all Neopets that venture outside their Neohome on a daily basis – BEWARE!
Still saving! Visit my shop! :)