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Neopia's Fill in the Blank News Source | 28th day of Storing, Yr 22
The Neopian Times Week 96 > Continuing Series > Zarrelian and the Fifth Grade Neoschool Camp of Doom: Part Four

Zarrelian and the Fifth Grade Neoschool Camp of Doom: Part Four

by battlesunn

Mr. Bronston breathed in the rich scent of pine and fresh air as he surveyed the campsite. He and his group had finally reached their destination, though the Draik had had to fly over and employ a few carpools to retrieve his students. It had all been worth it, though, because the horrible journey was over at last. The duration of the trip couldn't possibly be worse then the drive there, could it?

     The Draik felt a tug at his shirtsleeve. He snapped his head around and saw Zarrelian peering sourly up at him.

     "What?" Mr. Bronston snapped, ruffling his leathery wings. Zarrelian folded his arms.

     "You're supposed to come to the lobby. You have a speech to give about the rules and regulations of the camp, you know," he replied. Mr. Bronston raised a brow.

     "How did you know?" he asked suspiciously.

     "One of the other fifth grade teachers told me to come and get you."

     "Oh. Okay, I'm coming."

     Mr. Bronston sighed and unfurled his wings, flying off the ground and soaring over the treetops en route to the campsite's lobby. He wasn't looking forward to this. The speech, that was. He hadn't prepared one, and didn't even KNOW the rules of the camp. Oh well. How hard could it be? After all, most of the students wouldn't even be paying attention to anything that he was saying.

     The Draik landed softly outside the lobby's door and regally strode in, pausing to throw his fellow fifth grade teachers a nasty glare. Mr. Bronston stalked onto the stage and stood behind the large wooden podium, staring over the masses of students. The Draik took a deep breath. Lecturing his class of thirty Pets was one thing, but addressing a hundred of them was a different matter entirely. He decided to start out with an ice-breaking remark.

     "Welcome to camp..." He glanced at the name inscribed on the wooden podium. "Crathsona. For the next few days, this camp will be your home, which means that you need to treat it with just as much respect as your regular NeoHomes." He grinned. So far, so good. "So, please abide by these rules..." Mr. Bronston smirked as he began to rattle off the camp rules that had been thoughtfully posted on the inside of the podium. There were three pages of them. By the time he had finished, almost every student in the building was fast asleep. The Draik smiled fondly. It looked as though he had done his first official camp job well.

***

Zarrelian groaned as he scanned the day's activity sheet. It was Tuesday morning, their first full day of camp. The evening before had been terrible. The cabin was filled with the sounds of sobbing, homesick ridden Pets, and, worst of all, the nonsensical mutterings of Mr. Bronston, who, as it turned out, talked in his sleep. Zarrelian had lain awake all night long.

     And now, he was going to be forced to go on a nature hike. The Ixi shuddered. Three hours in the woods... The dark, scary, rabid-Snowbunny filled woods. Zarrelian hoped that whatever attacked them preferred Draiks to Ixi.

     It wasn't long before Mr. Bronston, accompanied by twenty or so groggy students, came marching over the field and to the activity sheet. Mr. Bronston frowned.

     "Okay kids, looks like we're scheduled for a hike in the woods." The Draik cracked his knuckles expressively. "Only, I think I'm going to change that just a bit..." He eyed the students and grinned maliciously. "We'll be going for a RUN in the woods!" Mr. Bronston declared. A loud groan rippled through the crowd of students. Atyur stifled a yawn and raised his paw.

     "Why?" he asked. Mr. Bronston scowled.

     "Because you're all out of shape! And you know why? Electronic devices! Why, when I was a young Draik, I was outside all day... playing Neo-football and Neo-soccer with my brothers!" He bared his fangs viciously.

     "We're going a run whether you like it or not. And no flying! I'm looking at you, Poloroe." He glared at the startled Faerie Gelert for a moment before turning back to his students.

     "Alright kids, we're going through THIS path! It's called The Huckleberry. It's impossible to get lost as long as you stay on this path, understood?" Everyone nodded. Mr. Bronston smiled. "Good! Okay, Buck's coming along, but if you get lost, don't bother following him because he never knows where he's going." The Draik glared menacingly. "But none of you WILL get lost, will you?"

     Without waiting for an answer, Mr. Bronston turned and began jogging briskly down the forest path, Buck yipping at his heels. Atyur shrugged and followed suit, employing his stout, powerful legs to urge him on to greater speeds. Zarrelian was definitely the one with the disadvantage. His short, stubby legs were not meant for this kind of rough terrain running. It wasn't long before he had fallen miles behind everyone else, panting and clutching a stitch in his side. Pretty soon, he also realized that he was completely lost.

     Somehow, Zarrelian had managed to defy the laws of science and strayed off Huckleberry trail, landing himself a one-way ticket to the middle of nowhere. Unsure of what to do, the Ixi seated himself in a clump of ferns and sniffled sadly at his misfortune.

***

Atyur was amazed at Mr. Bronston's endurance. He had been running at an even pace for a good forty minutes, yet he hardly seemed out of breath. The orange Lupe picked up the pace and caught up with his jogging teacher, padding doggedly beside him.

     "How do you do it, sir? You're like, forty years old!" he exclaimed. Mr. Bronston stopped short, causing the Pets behind him to crash into each other.

     "You think I'm HOW old?" he cried in disbelief. "I'm only TWENTY-EIGHT!" The Draik whimpered and ran his claws through his graying plume of hair. He then turned to his students. "Do I really look THAT old?"

     The awkward silence following Mr. Bronston's remark was shattered by Mrkrawk's piercing cry of, "Hey! Zarrelian's gone!"

     Mr. Bronston ran through the throng of grouped Pets, frantically searching for Zarrelian. After finding no traces of the Halloween Ixi, he slumped down to the ground and put his head in his hands.

     "Argh! I don't believe this. Only Zarrelian could get lost on Huckleberry trail!" A few more hairs fell softly from the Draik's head to sprinkle on the leaf-covered ground. Mr. Bronston stood back up and dusted himself off.

     "Okay, here's what we're going to do. I'm going to go and look for Zarrelian, and you stay in this exact spot until I get back." He whistled for his Doglefox. "Buck will stay with you. I'll be back soon. DON'T GO ANYWHERE!"

     With that, the Draik whirled around on his heel and trotted off into the distance before melting in the thick foliage. Atyur scratched Buck behind the ears.

     "So what do we do now?" he mused. Mrkrawk shrugged.

     "Mr. Bronston said that we should stay here, remember? I remember. He specifically said that he would be back soon and to not go anywhere. He sure seemed angry when he said it, I wonder why. Maybe his apartment flooded. Our NeoHome flooded once. Well, it didn't really flood, it just-" Atyur placed a paw over Mrkrawk's mouth, muffling the Krawk's tirade. The Lupe pricked an ear forward.

     "Shh! I hear something," he whispered. The pets all crouched together, not daring to breathe, as the nearby bushes twitched and ruffled. Atyur whimpered. What if it was a Bearog? The leaves split, and out stepped...

To be continued...

Previous Episodes

Zarrelian and the Fifth Grade Neoschool Camp of Doom: Part One

Zarrelian and the Fifth Grade Neoschool Camp of Doom: Part Two

Zarrelian and the Fifth Grade Neoschool Camp of Doom: Part Three

Zarrelian and the Fifth Grade Neoschool Camp of Doom: Part Five

Zarrelian and the Fifth Grade Neoschool Camp of Doom: Part Six

Zarrelian and the Fifth Grade Neoschool Camp of Doom: Part Seven

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