Conformity: The Bane of My Existence
If there is one thing I’m entirely positive of, it’s this: Romaline always gets what she wants.
Now, my Peophin wants a lot of things. She wants the best books and the best toys. She wants the best foods and the best home. And hey, I’ll admit, she gets it all, as long as it’s within my budget. Now, there is one exception to this: a new paint job. That, my dear friend, is something that she’ll never get. Ever.
When Romaline was created, there was no doubt that she was and still is gorgeous. Peophins are known for their natural beauty, but I figured that painting her would give Romaline a little bit more flair than the average Peophin. On that day, she was painted into a Tyrannian Peophin with the aid of a Tyrannian Paint Brush. Now, a lot of people told me that it was not the best idea. My friends have always believed that a pet’s color molds that pet’s personality. I for one certainly didn't (and still don't) believe in that, and I disagreed greatly with them. One of them replied, “Well, at least you’re not painting Romaline into a Snow Peophin. We all know how that would turn out.” They all nodded their heads in agreement while I sighed heavily.
Fact of the matter is, Romaline will not be visiting the Rainbow Pool anytime soon. She’s entirely perfect the way she is. She doesn’t need to be morphed into a Cybunny or painted with a Lost Desert Paint Brush. No matter how many times Romaline begs, she is not going to be painted again.
“Moooooom,” Romaline sings in her soprano voice, fluttering into the room with an air of excitement. She flips her deep red mane back, revealing a sly smile and a twinkle in her eyes. It used to be that her excitement and enthusiasm was contagious, but after all this time, I’ve learned better. Romaline’s enthusiasm means only one thing: she desires something that only I could give her. I hope that it’s not about some paint brush again.
I lower my copy of the Neopian Times, folding it neatly as the Tyrannian Peophin begins to ramble on about prizes, contests, and Meepits. It takes a while for the words and their meanings to register, but when they do, I spring up from my chair and point an accusing finger at her. “Romaline Lustre, as long as I am your mother, there will be nothing concerning contests that involve Meepit prizes in this household!”
Romaline stares at me, dumbfounded. “What are you talking about? I just asked if I can hang out at Natalia’s neohome for a while.”
“Oh,” I say, just as equally confused as she is. “Well then, that’ll be fi-- wait a minute. Natalia? Natalia, the Royal Acara who walks her petpet Intesteen around our neighborhood without a leash?!” I shudder, thinking of the slime that would be splattered all over my prized garden gnomes in the front yard on a weekly basis. Let me tell you, that goop is definitely not from the well-trained Slorg next door.
Romaline groans, rubbing her temple with her hoof as if I am the one giving her an Achy Head day in and day out. “Mom, Natalia’s Intesteen isn’t just some common Intesteen. Marsupia is a Faerie Intesteen,” she states matter-of-factly, as if it changes the fact that the petpet is still monstrous looking. “Besides,” she says, “it’s not like her petpet is worse than the Slorg next door. Uck.”
I stare at her, mortified. “I eat Intesteens like that for breakfast,” I mutter. Seriously. Have you ever tried the Baked Intesteen? Not the most pleasant tasting dish out there, but it clears up your sinuses faster than you can say Remarkable Restoratives. Romaline sighs, but before she can say anything else, I ask her, “Why do you want to hang out with Natalia anyway? Just last week you called her an incompetent fool who wouldn’t know a good book even if King Hagan chucked it right at her.”
The Peophin looks at me with nothing but a straight face and states very powerfully, “I have my reasons.” I raise an eyebrow at that, but nonetheless let her leave the house. Whatever it is that she has planned, I don’t really care, as long as the destruction of Marsupia the Faerie Intesteen is involved.
As soon as Romaline left for Natalia’s, I myself ran out to do a few tasks of my own. Now, as the sky begins to darken, I quickly scamper home in desperation. I'm longing to reach my sanctuary before some Mutant Kadoatie decides to strike. After all, aiding Sophie in concocting her creepy stew is not an easy job, so you can expect that the pay is absolutely brilliant. I certainly can't afford to lose it.
Upon entering my household, I sigh with relief, glad that the paranoia is past me. I lock the door while smiling happily to myself, yet as I turn around, I find myself jumping ten feet into the air out of shock. I'm pretty sure my head hit the ceiling. I'm also pretty sure that there was goopy slime on that ceiling.
"Hi, Mom!" Romaline greets me ecstatically, picking up something that looks akin to a Baked Intesteen, only it's most certainly not baked. Oh... oh my. Ugh. Oh no. I queasily slap my hand over my mouth as Romaline beams at me, totally oblivious to the look of horror plastered on my face. The Peophin grins wildly. “Natalia let me take home Marsupia so that I can continue playing with her! Isn’t she adorable?!”
I gawk at her, absolutely mortified, taking in the sight of my lovely living room now soaked with fleshy fluids and the like. I can feel an upset rumbling in my belly, my afternoon snack just on the brink of coming back up the way it went down. "Rome," I mutter weakly as she coos at Marsupia the Faerie Intesteen with adoring eyes. "You are in so, so much trouble." Romaline glances at me, for once appearing anxious in response to my threat. But before I can bask in the glory of having finally alarmed my pet, I dash down the hall into the bathroom, desperately seeking for a toilet to come to my rescue.
Once I finally emerge from the bathroom, it doesn't take me long to kick the Intesteen out into the front yard for Natalia to pick up. As I tie Marsupia to the fence for safe keeping, I notice the Royal Acara running down the street frantically, tripping just slightly as she veers into my driveway and runs into the yard.
"Miss Lustre!" the Acara cries out, "Rome called me and told me all about Marsupia. I'm really sorry. Truly!"
I stare at her angrily, not in the mood for forgiving. "Natalia, you have to learn to keep that petpet under control. Because of your Intesteen, you now owe me a new coffee table, a new rug, AND a new Evil Hand Chair."
Natalia gazes at me intently, her brow furrowing with thought. "The Evil Hand Chair... with Lumbar Support? That Evil Hand Chair?"
"The very one."
"Oh, darn," Natalia mutters, no doubt fretting over the expenses she and her owner will have to make for damage control. Quickly, the Acara composes herself and begins to apologize once again. "I truly am sorry, Miss Lustre. It's just that Marsupia is practically programmed to leave behind messes like that! It's not as if I could fix it either." Natalia wrinkles her little button nose. "Painting my Intesteen with a Faerie Petpet Paint Brush didn't help. She still remains a grubby little bugger! I told Dad that I wanted a cute, clean Faellie, but did he get me one? No! He told me that I had to 'stop conforming to the stereotypical Royal Girl pet standards'. I don’t even know what that means, but it doesn’t sound very pleasant. Humph. I always thought that Dad wanted a boy..."
"Oh-kay," I say slowly, flabbergasted at how such a tiny neopet can chatter on and on. Quickly, I untie Marsupia to hand her over to Natalia, motioning for her to head home. She apologizes once more and swiftly hurries down the street to her home. I make a mental note to contact her owner, Harold, and tell him to purchase a Faellie for the poor, tortured pet. I sigh inwardly and make my way back into my living room, ready to scold my own pet to the ultimate degree.
I sit on the couch, sinking into the soft cushions as Romaline begins to spew and sputter excuses at me faster than a Chia Bomber. I sigh, trying to look anywhere but the splotches of muck and slime that has been left over from the little perpetrator. Sickening little petpet. Why, I ought to make Harold pay for the cleaning expenses, as well.
“Mom!” Romaline whines, shaking me out of my thinking. “Mom, you’re not listening to me! I said I was sorry.”
Well, I certainly can’t doubt that. Rome may be mischievous, but she’s not a liar. I smile tiredly at her, suddenly feeling too exhausted to deal with such a troublesome situation. I tell her, “I know you are, Rome. We’ll just clean up this mess tomorrow. I need to hit the sack.” I lift myself off the couch, ready to flop onto my bed and never get back up until Romaline snorts angrily.
“What is it now, Rome?”
“You REALLY weren’t listening to me, were you, Mom? I said I was sorry, but I also said I want an Intesteen of my own! You really are dense sometimes, you know that?”
All of a sudden, the world comes to a stop.
I can’t even bring myself to detest the insult Romaline practically barked at me. Rather, I’m completely stuck on the fact that my pet said that she wants an Intesteen.
...Intesteen. Intesteen. INTESTEEN.
I whimper softly, feeling inconsolably miserable. “Romaline, even Natalia doesn’t want an Intesteen. Why do you want one?”
“Because Intesteens are cute, Mom! Besides, Natalia wants a Faellie. Just from that little tidbit, you know that Natalia has bad taste. Ick.” Romaline shudders and begins to mumble under her breath about the misery that Faellies can bring to a neopet.
Suddenly, the gears kick in and start turning in my head. The pieces all come together so easily now! Natalia, the Royal Acara, wants a cutesy Faellie. Romaline, the Tyrannian Peophin, wants a dirty, slimy Intesteen. Instantly, I pick up my jacket and sling it on with every intention of running over to the Neopian Bank before closing time.
Romaline watches me intently, looking both confused and suspicious. “Mom, where are you going? It’s almost nine at night!”
I grab onto my wallet and stalk over to the door, shouting over my shoulder hastily. “I’m going to the bank to withdraw some neopoints, and I’m buying you a new paint brush. Tomorrow morning, you’ll be a brand new color!”
I fly out the door, barely observant of anything around me. The bank closes in less than a hour, and if I don’t hurry, I’m not going to make it. If painting Romaline into a different color means that she’s no longer going to want an Intesteen, then I am totally willing to pay for it!
Once Romaline’s mother scampers out of the house, the Peophin doesn't waste any time in hurrying to the Can Phone that the local neopets had set up all throughout the neighborhood. After effectively tugging and banging the faulty, make-shift phone, Natalia the Royal Acara picks up and greets Romaline with a bland “hello”. Romaline squeals, jolting Natalia out of her boredom and apathy. “Nats,” the Tyrannian Peophin gushes, “my mom totally fell for it! Tomorrow, I’m going to be a brand new Neopet!”
Natalia giggles, surprised that the Peophin’s plan actually worked. “Who knew that your mother would actually fall for a lame, badly planned strategy that was designed to convince her to believe that a paint brush color totally altered a neopet’s personality and desires.”
Romaline grins ecstatically, ignoring Natalia’s jab at her strategy. “Hey, I’m certainly not complaining. I told you, Natalia: I always get what I want.”