Where I Belong
In loving memory of a former lab pet, who I will always remember and try to find.
The night we adopted Casyly was a strange night indeed.
It was a rather gloomy day in Neopia Central. My mom took me to the pound to adopt a new lab pet that we thought would get a new home in a matter of time. We found Casyly in a matter of minutes.
The red Ogrin that I saw was kind of sad to look at when we first got her. She barely said a word at all when we opened her cage, but she finally spoke when she got into the chariot. She didn't say much, though. She just said four words before drifting off to sleep:
"My name is Casyly."
I held her paw as we flew to Faerieland. "My name is Paige, in case you wake up. It's nice to meet you."
When we got back home, like most pets we bring back home, she gawked at her new residence-- a bright pink castle in Faerieland. However, she didn't calmly walk up the bridge to get over the pond. Instead, she jumped into the pond and splashed around like a newly-painted Maraquan pet.
"This place is awesome," Casyly squealed over the sound of the splashing water.
I'll admit that Casyly was a bit strange, but I liked her immediately. Like me, she was an up-and-coming battle pet. Casyly and I had pretend sword fights, wrestled, and even hung out in the workout room together. She was also the most hyper Ogrin that I had ever met. She ran around the house with me the moment she knew her way around our home. She didn't even mind going to the lab ray! Her first zap, she gained two levels. The second time, however, changed the entire family's view of the lab ray forever.
The second day we had her, Casyly and I were hanging out in the workout room when I heard the "lab ray call."
"Casyly! Let's go to the Lab," I heard Mom called to the kitchen.
As Casyly went towards the kitchen, I asked, "Could I come with you?"
"Of course you can, Paige!" Casyly smiled at me. "The more, the merrier!"
So Mom, Casyly, and I went to that mysterious isle near Krawk Island and stood before the infamous ray.
When we reached that island and entered the lab, Casyly walked toward the door to enter the ray room like a warrior walking into battle. Before Casyly could walk in, Mom said, "Wait."
I was stunned. Mom had never told a pet to not go into the Ray Room.
Mom stood in silence for a moment and began to speak words that made me smile wider than I ever had before. "Casyly, if this zap doesn't do much or turns you into a faerie, would you like to join our family? I have a vacation home in Brightvale that you could stay in. We would love to have you in our family."
Casyly smiled. "Of course I would! Thank you, thank you, thank you!" She then proceeded to pounce on Mom and give her a huge hug.
"You're the nicest faerie that I've ever met," Casyly whispered into Mom's ear. After she uttered those words, Casyly walked into the Ray Room with a wonderful glimmer in her eye.
After a second or two, we heard a cackle followed by a loud ZAP! Since Mom and I didn't hear any cries or squeals, we just assumed that nothing happened. However, when Casyly walked out of the Lab Room, we found out why we didn't hear anything: Casyly was too stunned to say anything.
Through that door walked a Wraith Ogrin.
Mom gulped. "Casyly, is that you?"
Casyly nodded. "Yes, Mom. It is me."
Casyly seemed so different. Her voice, which was once full of life and energy, turned into a wispy, almost sickly-sounding voice. Her eyes and mouth were permanently stuck in the "angry" position. Mom tried to pet Casyly's fur, but her hand went right though Casyly's head. Mom then tried to hug her, but she may as well have been hugging smoke. It seemed like she was a purple and black ghost.
Mom looked at the floor and then back at Casyly. "We'll figure this out. Really, we will." Mom then summoned a long purple dress and a matching cloak. "Put this on. We're going home."
Going back to Faerieland with Casyly was the most nerve-racking thing that I have ever done. It's one thing to bring a Wraith into Faerieland when your owner is human, but bringing in a Wraith as a faerie is a huge faux pas. If she got caught, she could be banned from Faerieland or stripped of her powers.
When we got home, my sisters were too stunned for words. And, believe me, if Roseanne is speechless, there is definitely a problem.
The rest of the night at my house was eerily silent. All I could do was sit in Casyly's room while trying to calm her down. It seemed like any positive energy she once had was replaced with tears, if you can even call Wraith tears actual tears. The room just filled with purple and black smoke until she finally fell into an uneasy slumber.
When her mind finally entered a restful state, I laid down my head and fell asleep next to her.
When I woke up a few hours later, I lifted my head and saw that Casyly was gone. I saw a fresh track of smoke that went out her door and followed it. I found Casyly in the back yard, and she looked like she was about to run.
"Casyly!" I ran after her. "Where are you going?"
Casyly put down her hood. In the moonlight, it seemed like she was almost solidified. "Paige, I am a Wraith. I can't stay here. This is definitely not where I belong. Don't you see that?"
I shook my head. "No. Casyly, no. You've become my best friend. You can't go! All of us care about you."
Casyly made a noise. I couldn't quite tell if it was a grunt or a sigh. "I know all of these things. But I would hate for Mom to get in trouble." Casyly looked over her shoulder. "There's only one place in Neopia where I might be accepted." She pointed to the menacing forest that was on the border of Faerieland.
"No! Casyly, you can't go to the Haunted Woods. Not by yourself! I don't know what would happen to you or if you were safe or-"
"Come with me," Casyly said. With her new voice, it almost sounded like an order.
"You heard me! Paige, I know you like adventure. I've seen how excited you get when you read an adventure book or when Mom says that you're heading off to the Battle dome." Casyly took my hand and, with no luck, tried to grip it. "We could have the grandest adventure all: to live in the Haunted Woods. What do you say?"
I looked at Casyly and looked back at the castle. What was I supposed to choose? Would I go with my best friend or my family?
I felt myself begin to tear up. "Casyly, don't make me choose. Please, stay. We'll figure something out, I promise.
Casyly shook her head. "I'm sorry, Paige. I just can't stay here." Casyly put her hood back up and ran toward a place where most faeries dare not trod.
I will always look for her. In a matter of just two days, Casyly became my best friend. Even if I have to go alone to find her, I will regain the one neopet that I could actually understand. I will do anything to find my family, even if I have to leave where I belong.