An Usul's Tail
Amelia the Usul approached the Rainbow Pool, with butterflies in her tummy and a Disco Paint Brush in her arms. This was it! This was the moment she had waited so long for! She had worked, and saved, and worked, and saved, and saved some more, until she finally had enough Neopoints to buy the Disco Paint Brush she had wanted for so long.
Just that very morning she had completely emptied her bank account, and handed over every single Neopoint she had, in exchange for the extraordinary brush. She had walked across Neopia Central with it clasped tightly in her hands, wary of an unlucky encounter with the thieving ghosts or the notorious Pant Devil.
But now she was here, with her hard-earned prize, at the safety of the Rainbow Pool. Amelia stepped gingerly into the pleasant warmth of the waters, full of excitement and nerves, and looked down at her reflection.
"This is the last time I shall ever look like this," she whispered to herself, "no longer will I be a plain, boring, Yellow Usul. I will be a bright, fun Disco Usul! I'll walk down the street and other Neopets won't be able to take their eyes off me. I'll never be ignored again, and I'll win every Beauty Contest I enter. Queen Fyora herself will want to be friends with me."
Amelia took a deep breath, and plunged the magical Paint Brush into the Rainbow Pool. Instantly, it came to life, its enchanted bristles dripping brightly coloured paint all over the little Usul. She could feel herself changing, every hair on her body transforming, with the most delightful tingly sensation. She couldn't help but laugh out loud.
Then the Paint Brush dissolved into the water, like used-up soap, and the magic was gone.
Amelia shook herself off, and looked at her new reflection, full of awe.
"Oh, my!" she exclaimed, "how pretty I look! What a lovely, unusual shade of green! And those patterns, the yellow, the purple. Oh, and the bright pink fur collar! Why, I'm as colourful as any Rainbow Neopet."
The happy little Disco Usul twirled around, admiring her new reflection.
"How bright my bushy tail looks! And how well it looks with my tail bo-"
Something was wrong. Something was missing. There was no tail bow.
"No!" gasped little Amelia, "how can this be? There must be some kind of mistake! Everyone knows that no matter what colour we are painted, every Usul has their own special clothes. But I have nothing! No lovely tail bow. Not even a headband."
She rushed over to the catalogue of pictures that hung by the Rainbow Pool entrance, a gallery of all the known Neopet colour combinations. Sure enough, the Disco Usul had no tail bow; in fact, it was the only Usul colour to have no clothes at all.
Poor, dejected Amelia left the Rainbow Pool and started the long walk home through Neopia Central.
"Perhaps it's not so bad," she thought. "I mean, so what if I don't have any special Paint Brush clothing? Lots of other Neopets species don't have any paint brush clothes, and I can still wear all my pretty outfits I've bought from around Neopia."
But it just wasn't the same. Everywhere Amelia looked, she was reminded of that bow, the symbol of the Usul and their natural aptitude for fashion.
She passed the Neopian Petpet shop, and watched down-hearted as the shopkeeper's practical green bow kept her tail tidy as she busily bustled about.
Outside the Art Centre, she envied a handsome Gold Usul, as his golden bow shone gloriously in the sunlight.
She smiled at a Baby Usul sat on her mother's knee, but had to look away when she noticed how her sweet little ribbons brought out the colour of her eyes.
Even the scary Zombie Usul she passed in the Market Place had a tattered bow secured around her decaying tail.
She felt as though everyone was staring at her; not because of her cheerful new colour, but because surely everyone must notice how strange and bare an Usul looks without a tail bow.
"I bet everyone thinks I'm a silly little Usul that can't look after her things," thought Amelia to herself. "I bet they think I've lost my bow. Or maybe they think I let my bow get dirty and now it's ruined."
She tried to cheer herself up by buying a Citrus Usul Shake, but even that had a little bow tied around the glass, and somehow it tasted bitter.
"I miss my charming yellow bow!" sniffed Amelia.
By the time she got home, Amelia was so upset she could barely fight back the tears.
"Hello, Amelia!" Her brother, Henry the Blumaroo, smiled. "Looks like you finally got your Paint Brush. You look wonderful!"
"No, I don't!" cried Amelia, bursting into tears and fleeing to her room. She flung herself onto her bed, and buried her face into the pillows, wishing heartily that she'd never bought that awful Disco Paint Brush.
"Amelia?" Henry poked his head around the door. "What's the matter?"
"Oh, Henry!" sobbed the little Usul. "I'm hideous!"
"No, you're not." The kindly Blumaroo smiled. "I thought you liked the Disco colour."
"I do, I like the colours, but I don't look like a proper Usul anymore, look!" She sat up and turned around. "See? No tail bow!"
"Oh. Well, that is unusual, but you still look great, and you have lots of other nice things to wear." Henry gave his little sister a reassuring pat.
"You don't understand," cried Amelia. "Usuls always have tail bows. It's not just an accessory, it's part of our identity. We are fashionistas to the core, and without our bows, we may as well be ugly Quiggles!"
"Surely it's not that bad." The Blumaroo opened up his sister's closet. "Let's see what we can do..."
"It's no use, " Amelia moaned. "No amount of dresses or hats could ever take the place of a tail bow. I wish I'd never painted myself Disco! I wish I was still boring old Yellow. Sure, it was dull, but at least I had my bow. Now I've wasted all my Neopoints, and I can't even buy a Paint Brush to paint myself back again."
But Henry wasn't listening anymore; he was too busy rifling through her extensive closet.
"Aha! I thought this might still be here." Henry pulled something out of the closet. "Look, Amelia."
Amelia looked up to see what her brother held out for her.
"My Yellow tail bow!" she exclaimed joyfully. "That was still in my closet? I thought I'd lost it forever!"
Together they tied the yellow bow around the little Usul's tail, and it still fit perfectly. Amelia looked in the mirror, and thought about what a pretty shade of yellow her bow was, like spring daffodils. She'd never really noticed that before.
"I feel like an Usul again." She smiled, admiring her reflection. "But do you suppose anyone will notice that my bow doesn't match my colour?"
"Oh, some Neopets will notice," said her brother, putting an arm around his silly little sister's shoulders. "They'll notice that you're cross-painted, and that makes you extra special."
And Amelia liked the sound of that.
Any suggestions or criticisms are always appreciated. :)