Don't Jump Into the Volcano!
"How do you think you become magma-painted?" Piyo the Shoyru asked his best friend, Mori the Xweetok.
Piyo was blue and Mori was red, rather plain colors in comparison to something like magma or pirate. Neither of them knew much about fancy colors, as they were still young Neopets, and not very experienced about the inner workings of Neopia. Their Owner had given them snacks and sent them to play Tombola, though all they ended up getting was a silly bottle of sand.
Piyo and Mori decided to stay a little longer, though, since the sunsets on Mystery Island were beautiful, and they had come at just the right time. They sat on the sandy shores of the southern beach by the wharf, watching the sun paint the sky orange and red, much like the magma paint they were talking about.
Mori sniffed. "Easy! You jump in the Volcano in Tyrannia."
Piyo nearly choked on the Blue Fuzzy Negg he was snacking on. "What? You can't just jump into a volcano!"
"How else do you get covered in magma and awesome-looking?" Mori frowned.
Piyo smacked his forehead. Mori was really nice and strong, but she could be so slow sometimes.
"A paintbrush, duh."
Mori laughed. "How can a paintbrush have magma on it? Paintbrushes are wood! The magma would burn the paintbrush! All that would be left is ashes. That's the most ridiculous thing I've ever heard."
"Well, so is your idea about jumping into a volcano!"
"Maybe it's a fire faerie thing," Mori mused. "Maybe the fire faerie blesses you, or something. That sounds less painful than a volcano and less silly than a paintbrush on fire."
"Yeah, I guess. Faeries are pretty magical. They can do anything. But all I know is magma is dangerous," Piyo said. "It would make everything really hard, wouldn't it? How could I sleep in a bed if I was covered in magma? I'd burn it right up!"
"Owner would have to get you a stone bed. Or a really sturdy metal bed!"
"I'd melt that too!"
"Maybe an ice bed!"
"I'd melt that like butter!"
"Yeah, but you'd be totally unstoppable in the Battledome!" Mori smiled. "That weirdo Chia Clown wouldn't know what hit him! Just one punch from you and his butt would be barbecue!"
"But, what about my toys? My favorite Ixi puppet? If I touched my toys they would turn into ashes!" Piyo frowned, his eyes watering. "And I'd never be able to touch that delicious Strawberry Jelly I like so much, anymore! I couldn't eat it at all! And Owner wouldn't be able to brush me, since I'd burn the hairbrushes up! She probably wouldn't even be able to read to me. If I got too close to the book, it'd burn to a crisp!"
Mori patted Piyo's back. He could be such a crybaby sometimes, but Mori looked out for him like a protective older sister.
"Hey, it's okay. Let's walk a little farther and calm down."
Mori and Piyo stood up and walked the length of the beach. The sky was slowly turning darker, a pale lavender gave way to a deep purple-velvet color. Little Walein petpets swam in schools in the ocean, leaping out happily and crashing back into the water below. They did flips and breaches, and Piyo and Mori stopped to admire them before walking on. A few Maraquan citizens poked their head above the water to watch the beautiful sunset. Piyo and Mori waved to them, and they waved back.
"It's hard," Piyo said. "Being a plain color. Nobody really pays attention to you. They think you're not worth talking to or looking at."
"Tell me about it," Mori sighed. "But even so, I really like my red color. I'd be sad to see it go."
"If you were magma, you'd be red all over!"
Mori laughed. "That's true, huh? Maybe it wouldn't be so bad. I'd want something cooler than magma, though. Like ghost paint! Then I could be scary and cool at the same time!"
Piyo thought long and hard, and stuffed the rest of the Negg in his mouth. He chewed well and swallowed before saying;
"But, if we got painted, what about Owner?"
"What about her?" Mori cocked her head.
"If we were painted magma or ghost, we wouldn't be able to hug Owner anymore."
Mori went silent and solemn. Piyo's eyes began watering again, and he sniffed loudly.
"I-I don't want to be magma if it means I won't get anymore hugs. I would hurt her, and burn her. I don't want that at all!"
Jhuidah the Island Faerie was gathering seashells on the shore for her latest recipe. She spotted Piyo and Mori, and overheard their conversation. They were such silly Neopets, always hugely worried about some small issue that wasn't really an issue at all. She put on her best smile and walked over.
"Hello Mori, Piyo. It's a lovely evening out, isn't it?"
"Yes!" Mori smiled. Piyo sniffed louder, and Jhuidah kneeled down to the Neopet's eye level and wiped his small tears away with a handkerchief.
"There there, little Piyo. What seems to be troubling you, sweetheart?"
"Is it true, Jhuidah?" Piyo asked. "I-Is it t-true if I get painted magma, I won't be able to hug Owner anymore? Or eat my favorite foods? Or sleep in my favorite bed?"
Jhuidah laughed, the sound melodious. She pulled Piyo in for a hug, and patted his head in a comforting manner.
"Oh my, no wonder you look so sad. But shed no more tears, you may still hug and eat your favorite foods, even if you're painted magma."
"I can?" Piyo looked up.
"He can?" Mori was startled.
"Of course! Didn't you know? Perhaps you are too young to know this, but all paint is magical. When an owner paints a Neopet, it is a sign of love. No matter type of paint it is, the Neopet will never be harmed by it, and it will never restrict or change a Neopet's daily life. Magma paint is not truly magma - it is love!"
"So that means -" Piyo smiled. Jhuidah nodded.
"Yes. You'll be just fine. You will be able to hug your Owner, no matter what paint your Owner chooses for you."
Mori and Piyo looked at each other sheepishly and suddenly felt very silly for worrying so much about absolutely nothing. Jhuidah took both their hands in hers and together they walked the rest of the way down the beach. Soon they came back to her merrily bubbling cauldron. Jhuidah put the seashells in her pot and stirred a few times, and Piyo and Mori watched her work with wide, eager eyes.
"Do you think I'll get painted one day?" Piyo asked Jhuidah, looking down at his plain blue skin.
"Of course! Your owner is saving up right to buy you the perfect love-filled paint. It's a big decision, so give her some time." Jhuidah said.
"Me too, me too!" Mori cried. "I wanna be painted too! Maybe ghost! I wanna walk through walls and scare people!"
Mori ran over to a palm tree and hid behind it, jumping out and yelling 'boo!' at a passing Crabby petpet. The Crabby squeaked, and began blowing little bubbles out of fright. Jhuidah laughed heartily.
"You will be painted one day! Patience, sweethearts. All in good time. And until then, promise me there'll be no crying, and definitely no jumping in volcanoes, alright?"
Piyo and Mori looked at each, and started laughing.