Davan the blue Gelert walked into the newly opened neoschool and sighed. She took in a deep breath, basking in the scent of recently painted walls and new plasterboard. She already knew that today was going to be a great day.
For weeks, the opening of the school had been all anyone could talk about. Neopia Central had long been promised a school for its young neopets, but the town had never gotten around to building one. Thus, Davan and all the other young pets in the area had been fully homeschooled by their owners.
In the beginning most thought it was a rumor. "A neoschool?" they exclaimed upon hearing the news. "It can't be!" Ah, but they learned soon that it could be. Construction started almost as soon as the news was out, and within 6 months, a large building had been erected in the center of town, its outer walls gleaming with a pristine coat of white paint.
Letters were issued to the public that classes would commence on the eighteenth day in the Month of Hiding, a date every pet awaited eagerly. The school supplies store in town suddenly became busier than ever as pets and owners flocked in by the hundreds to snatch up notebooks, pencils, pens, and quiggle scissors. Due to this, the store's shelves were soon empty, and the store's owner had taken a long needed vacation to Mystery Island, where he could spend his newly-acquired fortune and live the good life.
Davan, on the other hand, did no relaxing immediately prior to her first day of school. She spent hours slaving over her times tables and spelling skills, eager to begin her school year at the top of her class. Finally, as the day approached, she went through her closet and tried to put together the perfect outfit to impress her new peers on the first day.
That day finally arrived, bringing with it heightened anxiety to owners everywhere, many of which had never spent so much time in a day away from their little ones. Ironically enough, all pets, especially the youngest ones, were perfectly fine, especially upon seeing all of the fascinating toys and art supplies in the classrooms. The older ones took the day in stride, attempting to make as big of an impression as possible on the new student body.
Davan quickly noticed some friends of hers gathering in the corner of the hallway, chatting, and went to join them. Before she could fight her way through the nearly uncontrollable crowd, however, the bell rang to begin the day. After she checked her schedule, she headed in the direction of her first class, grammar. Along the way she passed by the art classroom, where the teacher, a blue Lupe, was conversing with a sinister-looking green Zafara. She couldn't hear what they were talking about due to the noise level in the hallway, so she continued past without another thought.
Her classroom soon came up at the end of the hallway, and she entered, a smile on her face. Unfortunately, the smile quickly faded as she laid eyes on the teacher, a red Pteri wearing a very grim expression on her face.
"Welcome, class," she said, her voice completely void of any hint of excitement or kindness. "My name is Mrs. Owen, and I will be attempting to teach you about the wonders of our language and its grammar this year. That is, if you can manage to actually keep up with the lessons." She paused to glance over at a group of female Usuls in the corner. "Probably very few of you will appreciate the material taught in this course, but for those that do, you'll find this class to be very rewarding. Now, take out a clean sheet of paper and a pencil." She turned around to write something on the blackboard at the front of the class.
Davan watched as the hands of two students instantly went into the air. Mrs. Owen took a second to glance over her shoulder at the class. A frown crossed her face at the sight of the hands and the two students' clear desks and exclaimed, "Don't tell me that you two came unprepared for class! I'm afraid I must send the both of you out into the hallway. I cannot compensate for my students' lack of preparedness."
Davan suddenly felt her heart sink. So much for the good day that she had been anticipating. The minute hand on the clock suddenly slowed down tremendously as Davan began watching the clock, waiting for the end of class to come. Eventually, the final bell did sound, signifying the end of the period. Gathering her supplies together, Davan left Mrs. Owen's room and walked to her next class, art.
Being that the class was only a couple of doors down from where she had just been, she arrived early. The blue Lupe was sitting at a messy desk in the corner, working on some sort of drawing. As she entered, the green Zafara she had seen earlier exited, carrying a large potion set. He seemed to be in such a large hurry to leave the room that he nearly bumped into her on his way out. Regardless, he paid no attention to her, making her wonder if he had actually seen her at all.
Mrs. Owen and the art teacher seemed to be polar opposites. A stark contrast to the greeting she received in the last class, the Lupe exclaimed warmly, "Welcome! I'm Mr. Lupid. Please take a seat wherever you'd like. As soon as the other students get here, we'll begin."
The smile Davan had lost last period suddenly reappeared in full force. This was more like what she had been expecting out of neoschool. She chose a seat at a square table at one side of the room and waited for a few minutes while her peers filtered in and took seats. A friend of hers, a yellow Quiggle, sat in a seat to her left, and they chatted about their experiences during first period.
Mr. Lupid rose from his desk as the room became filled and went to stand at the front of the room. He gave an introduction, then passed out sets of fingerpaints to all the tables. "Today," he said, handing out supplies, "we will be fingerpainting. Some of you might not consider fingerpainting to be a high art form, but every artist has to start somewhere, right?" Several pets nodded. "Also, as you create your masterpieces today, don't be afraid to get messy. Everyone can wash their hands, paws, talons, or claws after class, along with any other body part that might have paint on it." He snuck a glance over at a pet that had already managed to knock over the paints and was covered in them. As the teacher and student made eye contact, the student's unsettled expression vanished.
"Isn't this great?" Davan asked her friend, pulling a container of blue paint closer to her paper.
"Yeah!" the friend responded, adding a smear of red paint to her masterpiece. Davan glanced into the blue paint, about to do the same thing to her own paper. She went to put her paw into the paint but stopped, suddenly seeing a glimmer in the paint.
"What was that?" she mumbled, looking closer.
"Hmm?" responded the Quiggle, not looking up from her artwork.
"Nothing," Davan said, dismissing it. She returned to her painting. A second glance at the blue paint, however, made her certain that she hadn't been seeing things. The paint in the container was moving. "Hey, Ella," she said, nudging her friend.
"Did you see that? That thing the paint just did?"
"What thing the paint just did?" asked Ella, clearly confused.
"Never mind," Davan said, dismissing the subject for the second time in five minutes.
The end of the period soon came, and Davan left to continue her first day of school. Most of the rest of her day was surprising normal after the bizarre first two classes she had had. At the end of the day, she stopped by her locker to get her jacket and drop off her books. Surprisingly, by the time she got there, the hallway was completely empty. She hadn't thought she was particularly late getting to her locker, but perhaps she had spent more time chatting with her friends than she had thought.
"14-38-42," she said to herself, doing the combination for her locker. Everything was silent as she opened her locker.
"What's that?" she wondered aloud, peering from around the locker door. She glanced over just in time to see something escape around the corner of two intersecting hallways. Curious, she walked in the direction of the noise to get a better look. Once she peered around the corner, she couldn't believe her eyes.
Congregating in the middle of the hallway was a group of paint blobs shaped as neopets. How is this possible? she wondered. Is there going to be a school play I haven't heard about yet? Are these pets just having a dress rehearsal?
Adding the icing to the cake was the sinister Zafara, who was standing off to the side of the scene. He had a perplexed look on his face and quickly pulled a magic wand out of a pocket in his clothing.
He mumbled something, and with a flick of his wrist, the blobs were gone. "Never again," he said, shaking his head, "will I ever allow my beginning students to practice their potion-making with paint. Never!" At this point, he turned away and walked in the opposite direction.
Davan did similarly. Back at her locker, she collected her things and left through the school's front doors to embark on her short walk home. She now knew that she was in for a very interesting year of school.