A Mutant's Best Friend
"Eek! A mutant, eew!” A faerie Usul shrieked, pointing at the Mutant Shoyru with an expression most foul. “So gross!”
The Shoyru didn’t react, continuing to read his book as he sat on the bench in the center of Neopia Central. The sound of the Rainbow Fountain echoed in his ears constantly as pets walked by and stared, pointing and gagging at his appearance. He had half a mind to bark back at them that being a mutant wasn’t that bad, and that they should keep to themselves if it was good for them. He knew that would only make it worse, though. He knew that they would just freak out and be even more afraid of mutants, further proving his point that mutants were blatantly picked on because of their appearance.
The faerie Usul timidly approached the Shoyru as he read his book, the Shoyru’s eyes slowly shifting over to her as she came into view. The Usul reached a paw up, poking at the Shoyru’s blemishes on his forehead and shivering. It was then that he had to draw the line. The Shoyru let out a warning growl, causing the Usul to back up a bit, before she continued poking the blemishes. Finally, the Shoyru stood up. “Would you stop that?!” He snapped, clenching his fist. “That’s not very funny to poke someone.”
The Usul gasped. “It talks! The rumors were a lie!”
The Shoyru was steaming now. What kind of rumors had been made up about mutants that they would be that ridiculous? Mutants that didn’t talk? Absurd.
He narrowed his eyes and walked away with his book in hand, while the onlookers continued to stare at him. He was so tired of being made a spectacle of. Mutants were so outcast these days it had grown to a frustrating point. Pets pointing and poking and prodding at his proportions… he couldn’t stand it anymore.
What was worse… when a pet was a mutant, everyone assumed that the mutant was friends with only other mutants. Pets assumed that they would only fit in with others just as hideous as them. He seethed with anger. He had to find some way to prove these pets wrong about mutants… something that would really knock their socks off.
But… how* * * * * * * * * *
“How about a petpet, Usauu?” A blue Kacheek suggested to the mutant Shoyru, the Kacheek sipping on his milkshake as he sat at the booth in the Food Shop. “Maybe find a petpet that not a whole lot of mutant pets have. One that will actually like you despite what you look like.”
The Shoyru frowned and looked unimpressed. “Didn’t have to be so blunt about that, Ness…”
Ness scratched his head in embarrassment. “Uh… sorry… I didn’t mean it like that.” He hoped that his words didn’t hurt the Shoyru’s feelings too badly. “I just meant that… uh…”
Usauu groaned. “Most petpets are scared of mutants unless they are mutant themselves. I know.”
Ness felt his face grow hot with shame. He hadn’t intended for that to sound so harsh to Usauu… He was just trying to help the mutant pet prove a point.
Usauu sighed, putting a hand under his chin. “It’s fine. I understand your point, but… I don’t think I’ll ever find a petpet like that.” Ness was completely correct. Most petpets that saw him were terrified of him and tried to run away. He didn’t think there was actually a petpet out there that would accept him for who he was, let alone have the courage to even approach him. The mutant Shoyru pushed away his food, suddenly losing his appetite. “I think I’m gonna go.” He placed a few neopoints on the table and hopped out of his seat, shuffling out the door and leaving the Kacheek sitting at the table.
Ness sighed sadly, stirring his shake lazily. “That didn’t go too well… Poor guy. There has to be something we can do for him…” The Kacheek wracked his brain, trying to think of any petpets that were not only fearless, but loyal too. None came to mind in the moment, and Ness found himself resting his chin on the table in frustration. He stuck his tongue out. “Ugh… I got nothing.”
“Child, do you seek a pet for your friend there?”
Ness lifted his head, his eyes meeting the gaze of Illusen, who was standing over his table with her wings tucked behind her back. “Illusen?” Ness replied in a surprised tone. “What are you doing here all the way in Neopia Central?”
She giggled. “Just a little trip I like to make now and then. I couldn’t help but overhear your conversation with that Shoyru there… it sounded like he was a little troubled. Is everything all right?”
Ness sighed heavily. “He’s just discouraged because of the fact that other pets treat him like he’s some sort of monster… when he’s really the opposite.” The Kacheek explained. “He’s smart and reads books all the time, and he wouldn’t hurt a Draphly. He’s a good guy, but pets that don’t know him continue to harass him and pick at him. It just makes him angry and frustrated…”
“So that is it…” She pondered. “I think I may have a solution to your problem… but whether or not it will work remains to be seen.” She motioned for him to follow her out the door. “Come with me. I’ll show you what I mean.”
Ness wondered what the earth faerie had in store for him and Usauu… * * * * * * * * * *
Night had just fallen upon Neopia Central, and Usauu was resting underneath the shade of a large tree on the outskirts of the marketplace. Here, he wouldn’t be bothered by any busybodies and onlookers that would just make fun of his appearance.
Usauu stared up at Kreludor high in the sky. It certainly was beautiful this time of year. The Mutant Shoyru wondered if he would ever be able to visit there someday. Maybe if he took a ship there he wouldn’t be bothered by any other pets… the majority of the pets on Neopia’s moon were Grundos, and they already looked strange enough on their own. Usauu would fit right in with the Grundos… he just needed a pair of fake antennae.
He nodded. That’s what he would do. Flee to Kreludor and rid himself of the judgmental pets that inhabited Neopia. The Shoyru stood up and brushed himself off, walking home in the darkness. He would pack any snacks or clothes or stationary he needed and then leave the night after. No one would even notice he was gone.
Just as he lifted his head back to the moon, a strange figure whizzed across the sky, moving so fast that Usauu would have sworn was a mirage. He rubbed his eyes and blinked a few times, still staring up at Kreludor to prove whether or not he was seeing things. He didn’t see the figure anymore, maybe it was just some trick or someone was flying a kite or something.
The mutant Shoyru brought his gaze back to the ground, his eyes meeting a small, mystical looking petpet hovering before him. It was purple and had a long, flowing tail that gave off a soft blue glow. His eyes widened with curiosity. What was this thing?
He wanted to reach a hand out to pet it, but resisted, pulling it back and placing both hands at his sides. No. This thing will just run if I try to pet it.
Yet the petpet was still there. It was staring at him intently… almost expectantly, even. It was as if it wanted the Shoyru to reach out to it. It gave a small nod and swirled around the Shoyru, curling its body around his neck and resting on his shoulders.
He didn’t know what to say at this point. This was what he had been looking for… but would it last? This petpet seemed comfortable enough with him already, but he didn’t even know what kind of petpet she was…
He decided not to question it, and for now, be content with this little gift he had been given. He had been given a friend… one that would stay with him through thick and thin. Now all he had to do was give her a name. As the Shoyru walked back to his home and opened the door, his mind was struck with an idea.
He nodded, gently scratching the petpet under the chin.
“Mira. I’ll call you Mira.” He whispered. “Welcome to the family.”