I am Aqua: Part Seven
The ray hit me with a familiar tingle, sending exhilaration racing through my veins. Beaming, I turned to Pet and asked what happened. My voice was no longer deep anymore- I was a girl again! Whooping for joy, I tackled the lab ray scientist, clinging to him as he babbled about how crazy young people were these days. Pet dragged me away as I looked up gratefully at the Scorchio who fled in terror of being attacked by another one of my super hugs.
The next day I lost two levels and went down to three. As I felt a bit of strength weaken me, I shrugged. I didn’t care; I wasn’t the battler type. Each visit, I held a tiny sliver of hope that I would finally become a rare color and finally find a true home. I knew that when that time would come, departing from my foster family would hurt just as much as leaving Dolphinoras.
As I took the Uni carriage home with Pet, I thought of how my life had changed. Ellen was gone, for good, and I wasn’t even a green Peophin. My new petpet, Oopsy, wasn’t even Oopsy anymore. He kept changing shapes and names at the petpet lab. Dolphinoras made the bad parts of my life more bearable. Pet and her neopets were my new family... for now. I was sure eventually my life would alter again, when I would find a true home.
We arrived home and I walked in. When you take a closer look at things, realization hits you like a boulder. I had already told them thank you, I trusted them and I gave them everything I could. But... what could I do more? Sighing, I looked around the home. Lucky was lounging on the couch, bobbing her head to the beat of a Yes Boy Ice Cream track playing. Star had his nose in a book (not unusual) and his twin was playing with her petpet- Sir Dominic Jellyton the Jelly meepit. At first I was deathly afraid of it, but that fear dissolved when Pet told me he was labbed- like me.
Reeses and Pet were talking casually as she came back from the kitchen, holding a tray of steaming biscuits. Everyone stopped what they were doing for a moment to gather their biscuits and murmur a thanks, then resumed their business. A tear started to appear, but I fake-sneezed, covering my face enough to wipe it away before it could’ve been said.
“Bless you,” they all said simultaneously, and my heart beat quickened.
They loved me...
I spoke slowly and carefully, testing out my boy voice. The lab had yet again turned me into a boy. Pet looked at me sympathetically, but I told her I knew the lab would return me to normal soon. At least I hoped- gender changes were common, right? I was bound to become a girl again and have an interest in shopping again.
I’m clutching my necklace so hard- I hate being a boy.
I’m still a boy.
That mean ray turned me into a green Scorchio!! GREEN, GREEN, GREEN! I am switching species- yet my color stays the same!! WHY?!? My head hit the floor as I collapsed in annoyance. Pet brought me home as I moped on my new change. I didn’t care really, but I still wanted to be a girl. It’s sickening when you get a whole new identity in just two days (gosh, I was a green girl Shoyru; now I’m a green boy Scorchio).
Will my bad luck ever lift??
Apparently not anytime soon...
And tomorrow was school.
I hate my life sometimes.
“Aqua, it’s very annoying for you to keep changing species right now!” the angry red Kau growled. “And it’s annoying when you keep changing genders also!”
The whole class burst into a quiet laughing state and a kid in the front row covered his face and banged the desk with his paws, laughing.
I felt myself blush. “Um... sorry, Mr. Channel...” I said meekly in my boy voice and closed my eyes tightly as a couple kids snickered.
Lucky patted my hand. “The problem with Science class is that they put in kids from every grade. Just ignore them,” she whispered and gave me a reassuring pat.
The grumpy storm cloudy Kau let out an annoyed snort. “Lucky, Aqua! I understand your sibling relation, but that is no excuse for talking in class!” His black eyes narrowed into tiny slits. “Detention for both of you.”
Both of our faces wore a mask of absolute horror and despair. I felt my hopes of getting on Mr. Channel’s good side slipping away like a fish in a river. The urge to scream in frustration came over me, but I bit my lip down and kept silent, angrily swiping the detention slip from the mean old teacher, causing him to boil down on me.
A wad of paper slapped my head, but somehow escaped Mr. Channel’s notice. I spun around to face a sneering orange Kougra. He whispered to read the note. Bristling at the bossiness of his voice and that horrible sneer, I silently unfolded the note. But at the slightest crinkle noise, Mr. Channel’s eyes flared towards me and in a split second he swiped it from my hand and looked at it, nostrils flaring.
“Is this some kind of horrible JOKE?” he rumbled, and shoved the note in my face. “We do not pass notes in class- and were you trying to kid around passing EMPTY NOTES??”
I sank down in my seat. “He-he...” But I didn’t know that Kougra’s name.
”He-he what??” the teacher snarled fiercely.
I spun around, fingers pointed at the orange Kougra. “He did it! Mr. Channel, he passed it!”
“You mean Thomas?” Mr. Channel asked, his face turning a deeper shade of red. “That young Kougra is our top student! He would never do such a thing!”
I bit my lip to keep back a string of insults. “B-But...”
“Detention again, Miss Aqua!”
I moaned as he walked away, slumping down in my seat. Great, I had just made an enemy out of my teacher and a Kougra. I was doomed. My old school wasn’t like this... if a teacher was mean, Ellen told me to imagine them in underwear. But with Mr. Channel... Yuck.
I hate school so much- and to think life was getting better.
I glided through the water. I was a blue Nimmo now- a good change since I kept changing species but still held my green color. Sure, I couldn’t swim as fast as I could as when I was a Peophin with a large, powerful tail, but at least I could breathe underwater without choking. I dived beneath the surface and used my long arms and legs.
I was so flexible! And for once I wasn’t one of the shortest kids in the class. As a Peophin, I was average sized, but because I was a water neopet I usually dragged myself around making me short as I kind of stood on my stomach. As a Scorchio and Shoyru, I was still kind of short. The only thing I disliked about my new form was that I had lost my ability to fly. Pet told me she would buy me some wings like the ones Lucky, Reeses, Star and Flame wore.
As I swam through the sea water, I felt my necklace moving around and floating in the current. My arms powerfully pushed forward and I kept swimming. Then I kicked myself up. Taking a breath I looked around, smiling. This was where Ellen took my frequently- both of us loved the beach. Pet also loved it. I paddled to shore and took a towel. Pet trusted me enough for me to go out alone.
Drying myself, then wrapping it around my thin body, I walked home. My constantly-changing petpet, Oopsy, was now a pile of soot. He never eats in front of me, but when I put down food and walk away, it is gone when I return. Eh, the bizarreness of the world. Just another thing to wonder about... I shoved open the front door, greeting everyone. Pet handed me a box of Petpet food along with Oopsy’s food bowl which looked as if she had washed it.
“Thanks,” I said, and I walked over to Oopsy.
Kneeling, I placed the bowl down. Oopsy slithered over to it, eyes looking up at me. He patiently waited as I poured the food into the bowl. As I walked away, I heard him scooting closer to the food. I glanced up at the clock; it was almost six. Pet was making steamed fish and green vegetables in oyster sauce for dinner. Star was reading out the recipe instructions and helping her. Everyone else was either in the living room, upstairs or doing something else.
Star turned the page of the cooking book. “Flip the fish’s two pieces on both sides so it can evenly cook.”
“Can I help?” I asked. I seemed to be much more capable of things now that I had longer arms and legs.
Without looking at me, Pet nodded. “Okay, help make the vegetables. Star, can you help her?”
“Alright.” Star passed me a different cook book opened to a recipe entitled ‘Green Vegetable Delight with Oyster Sauce’.
I took out the frozen green vegetables from the fridge and cut them up, slowly using the knife and my fingers to break them apart. The fresh, juicy leaves glittered as the kitchen light shone on them after I cleaned them thoroughly. Soon, the smell of sauce and fish filled the air as Pet applied the flavoring and stuff. The fish settled to fully cook, and she took the vegetables from me.
I smiled; this ‘foster’ life was pretty much becoming a ‘regularly permanent’ life.
“If life was bland and life was blue,
Why should it matter... ?
Cause I don’t have you!
And the birds shall call,
And I shall jump!
For you I will freefall!
You’re the center of my heart,
If you left with you you’d take...
A very important part...”
I sang to the beat of the new Chomby and the Fungus Balls’ song. The pencil tapped to the beat as I sat in my room, music blasting. Reeses came in, very irritable, and told me to be quiet. Someone was grumpy, jeez. I toned it down and resumed tapping my pencil. A blank paper stretched before me, daunting and annoying. The walls of my room were bare; I had told Pet I wanted to decorate it with my art and stories like Star had.
“I was just making my room, me,” he had told me.
I gripped the pencil; I needed inspiration! Feeling defeated, I moaned and rested my head on my hands. My room was pretty much like me- except the walls of course. Lucky’s room’s walls were covered in glossy posters of famous pop stars and a family photo or two. Sighing, I thought about my life, searching for any hint of inspiration. Placing the pencil tip down onto the smooth sheet, I began to draw. Not really having anything in mind, I randomly drew a Peophin sketch in the corner. It wore a baby bib.
I moved on another patch of blankness and filled it in, this time drawing the A necklace that was at my neck this very moment. I absent-mindedly moved on to another section of the paper, drawing Star and Pet cooking. I continued. Oopsy as a pile of soot, me as a green Shoyru, angry old Mr. Channel and Dolphinoras all flowed out of the pencil.
Placing the pencil down, I looked at my product. The whole paper was bursting with memories of my past. It was completely filled- except a gap was in the middle. Instinctively I grabbed the pencil and drew. Ellen’s face and my whole foster family spilled onto the sheet. I held the paper up to the light. The details were perfect- well, not perfect. I wasn’t that great an artist, but I was still proud. I carefully placed my masterpiece down then lumbered down the stairs.
“Hey, Pet, do you have any colored pencils?” I asked her hopefully. “I want to color in a picture I just drew.”
Pet nodded, scooping some of the hot fish onto a plate to cool. “Star has a whole giant box of them; you can ask him.”
I hurried upstairs and knocked on Star’s door. He opened it, and I saw a large canvas stretched across the floor where a bed, desk, dresser and closet did not occupy. Star’s eyes widened as he saw it was me and slammed the door. Confused, I knocked again. He didn’t answer until after two minutes.
“Hey, Aqua! Sorry, I had to clean that up just in case you wanted to come in,” he said casually, too casually.
I raised an eyebrow suspiciously. “Oh, really...?” I shook my head. “Never mind; can I borrow some colored pencils?”
Nodding, Star leaned over to his desk and picked them up. “Here you go- try not to lose any.”
I took the container and said quick thanks. Star shut the door in my face. I was suspicious- why was he acting so tense. Then I saw Flame who was walking down the hall. In her hands was a box. Seeing me, her eyes widened and she slammed the closet door open. Shoving the box inside, she shut it closed and beamed at me. Saying hello, I quickly walked to my room. Flame told me not to open the closet- weird. But even though curiosity was eating me up, I ignored it.
The next day, I went to the lab. A weird feeling was in me- the sixth sense type. Shrugging it off, I stepped onto the large red X painted across a platform. The ray powered up, yellow sparks of electricity shooting around, and zapped me. My whole skin tingled extra weirdly and when I got up- I was fire. Eyes wide, I turned to Pet. Her hands were clasped together in front of her and her eyes were happy.
”Does this mean...” I whispered in awe, still staring at my sooty-colored skin and fiery legs.
Pet’s eyes were glistening with tears. “You’re the longest-kept foster, Aqua... And today you’ll be getting a home...”
My heart seemed to stop beating. This was what I always wanted- to finally get a home. So many things have changed. Yet... Pet and everyone was like a true family to me. But if I stayed, all the other pets in the Pound wouldn’t get a chance. I smiled; it was time. First, though, I had to do some things. Pet took me home.
I still had some unfinished business to do.
When I got home, Star, Flame, Lucky and Reeses screamed. I looked around; a large banner stretched across the room- I recognized it as the one Star had been painting the other day. The words ‘Happy 1 Month Anniversary, Aqua!’ were painted on it in brilliant shades of blues and greens and purples with glitter. There was a small picture pasted in the corner. I squinted. It was a family photo- one Pet had taken of us while she took us to the Chocolate Factory.
Tears dripped down my face. “T-Thank you...” I murmured, but I looked down at my body.
Star’s face dropped. “You got zapped a rare color...”
“...Which means...” Lucky trailed off, looking at me sadly.
Pet hugged me and I went upstairs to bring what I needed with me. I picked up my old bag and my new one- Pet said I could take anything that I used and was bought especially for me. My A necklace glinted on the window sill, the sun filtering upon it. Tears flowed and I gripped it. Because of Pet, I was able to fix it. My colored in picture was on the desk- I folded it up and shoved it in my pocket. As I packed everything including my notebook, photo album and jacket, I saw something that made me freeze. I frowned; why was there a door knob there?
A seemingly slightly hidden door jumped out at me. It was the same color as the walls- it was weird how I didn’t notice it until now. Reaching out, I opened it as it wasn’t locked. It was a hall... Both sides of the narrow hallway were covered in photos of smiling pets I had never seen before. They were all either painted or limited edition. It started at the very end of the hall which just stopped at a room. On the wall, on a plaque, were the words: ‘Here is the hall of fosters, a hall of memories, forever remembered, forever in history...’
The photo frames had names beneath it. I read them all, eyes widening. This was the hall of all the fosters Pet had fostered? Then I noticed an empty photo frame with my name painted on it... Soon I was going to be part of Pet’s past. I smiled, tears flowing freely. Because of her, I was able to forget about my pain for a little. Because of Dolphinoras, I was able to bear Pound life.
“So, you’ve found the hidden hallway.”
I froze. “P-Pet...?”
“Hi,” she said casually. “Do you want your picture on that wall?”
“Come,” Pet responded and I followed her numbly. “You can bring your bag now- everyone wants to say their last good byes and things...”
I heard her sniffle.
She headed downstairs while I gathered my bags. I noticed the trading card the faerie gave me when I first came here and my A necklace... Blinking, I grabbed a piece of paper and scribbled a quick note. Then I yanked the picture from my pocket and unfolded it, trying to take away the creases before placing it beside the necklace and trading card. I slung my old backpack onto my back and held my new one in my arms containing some clothes. I went downstairs, leaving a treasure most important to me behind...
I looked up at the Pound building. A month ago I had stood outside of here- newly adopted and just downright scared of Pet. But that was then; this was now. Pet had just taken my picture and her pets had said their farewells. I would miss them all- I knew I would. But I wouldn’t even get to go to a cage. Dr. Death would take me and then someone would pick me up... Pet brought me inside.
“Hey, doctor,” she said. “This is Aqua- she got zapped fire. I’d like to find her a new home.”
Dr. Death nodded. “Yeah, sure, here...” he said gruffly, pushing some forms towards Pet.
I knew many thought Dr. Death was some horrible person that takes abandoned pets and performs experiments on them. Well, those rumors are as real as Sloth entering the beauty contest wearing a dress that his mother passed down to him. He may be gruff and tough on the outside, but he was one of the kindest people deep down inside. Pet gave me a last hug, tears glistening on the corners of her dark eyes.
“Good-bye, Aqua. I hope you find a good home...” she whispered and Dr. Death took my hand.
I blinked, crying. “Good-bye...” I murmured...
Then I walked on, plunging into my new life...
Pet fit the new photo snugly into the photograph labeled AQUA_1919191919. She missed her very much- but at least Aqua was in a good home. She walked out of the room and into the foster room. It was in the middle of being cleaned- the bed sheets were in the washing machine and the pillow case needed to be replaced... Then she noticed a sparkling glittering object on the window sill.
“What’s this...?” she murmured, picking up the object.
Then her eyes widened. “Aqua...”
In her hand, glittering magnificently, was the A necklace, sitting on top of the trading card. Pet clutched it tightly, and went to her own room. She opened up a small drawer in her desk and placed it in carefully along with the trading card. Going back to the room, she also noticed a small note in place of her foster’s items. Pet picked it up and read it.
To my loving family that cared for me so much,
Thank you for all that you’ve done. I’m most likely gone by now- into my new and hopefully wondrous life. Oopsy and I are probably enjoying our life right now. Thanks again, all of you, for saving me from a horrible time. Ellen left me with a hole in my heart- and all of you filled it in. Thank you again and again... I love you all...
Your foster, ~Aqua_1919191919
Reeses’s eyes began to water and she clutched the note. But then she looked down to see a bright, colorful picture with, at the center, a family portrait and a young, beaming, red-haired girl.
Author's Note: Hey, it’s Reeses! Yeah, some call me Pet- some call me Reeses. ^^ If this would actually got in, then I’d be dancing right now. *shifty eyes* did it?? Anyways, Aqua was my foster whom I adopted from the Pound. While searching it recently after adopting her, I came across Dolphinoras who I couldn’t adopt. The one kind person who adopted Dolphinoras- thank you for doing something good! During her time labbed, Aqua actually did turn into all those things. For the time being, I hope you’ve enjoyed this story. I admit I did use a starter green paintbrush on Lucky when she was a green Xweetok because I believed it would turn her sparkly. Ah well, we all have our newbie stories! To the person who has adopted Aqua, I thank you for that. Please take good care of her! If you’re not a newbie and you’re smart enough to know Neopets well- remember: ‘A pet is not just for Christmas or any other birthday- a pet is for life!’ Please understand that, unlike me, who took no heed of that sentence when I was a newbie... Thanks for reading! ~reeses_pet