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Neopia's Fill in the Blank News Source | 28th day of Hunting, Yr 22
The Neopian Times Week 103 > Continuing Series > The Missing Gelert: Part Six

The Missing Gelert: Part Six

by buddy33774

The Forsaken Forest

Tetra looked up to the sky drearily. It was becoming darker with every hour.

     "Are you sure we're going the right way Tetra," Aryll asked impatiently. The newly formed trio had been traveling for nearly three days, and yet they were still nowhere near the shrine.

     Tetra checked the compass and map he had been using. "Yep," he replied. "We've been going straight north for about three days now, so we should be turning west soon."

     Aryll stopped dead in her tracks. She turned, revealing a very unhappy Gelert. "What?! What do you mean we should be turning west here soon? Haven't we been heading north-west the whole time?"

     Tetra glanced at the compass. "No, you said we needed to go Northwest for three days. So we've already gone north for three days, now we go west." Tetra gave a stupid little smile. "I have everything figured out!"

     Aryll glared angrily, looking about ready to lunge at their navigator and tear him limb from limb. "You are an idiot, Tetra! When I said north-west, I meant for us to go directly Northwest!"

     She thundered over, grabbed the compass from the poor Pteri's wings, and shoved it back in his face, pointing to the NW sign. "See! The NW means Northwest you fool!!"

     This was all news to Tetra. "Well that's currently a surprise," he replied scratching his head as he digested this new bit of info.

     Aryll couldn't believe it! "What did you think it meant?!"

     Tetra just shrugged. "I don't know. 'Not way' as in 'not this way,' I guess."

     Aryll stared at Tetra exasperatedly, eyeing him as though she was going to pounce on and eat the Pteri. Pianto decided it was time for him to step in.

     "Pets, pets, listen. There's no need to be fighting like this," he mediated. "We can solve our problems in a civilized way."

     "Don't worry," Aryll reassured, appearing a lion ready to pounce on her morsel. "It'll be very civilized when I tear Tetra to pieces and eat the remains!" Tetra gave a loud gulp.

     "But if you eat Tetra, who will make sure we stay insane?"

     Aryll sighed and sat on her haunches. "You're right. Besides, I'd probably just vomit him up anyway." She shielded her eyes with one paw (more out of standard practice than anything, considering it was very overcast) and looked off into the horizon in the distance. "We're still lost, though."

     "You know," Pianto suggested, "we could just turn west here and walk that way. If Tetra was right, going north, then west is the same as going Northwest. We should still get to the shrine anyway. It'll just take longer, that's all."

     The female just shook her head. "Nah, we have no idea where we are. We could be walking around this plateau in circles for weeks and find nothing."

     She shielded her eyes with a delicate green paw once again and continued scanning the horizon. Out in the distance, there seemed to be something that looked like the edge of the plains where Tyrannia met with the Haunted Woods.

     "There," she pointed. "I bet someone lives there who can show us the way to the shrine." She got up and set course for the forest line.

    Pianto sighed and set forth to follow her, Tetra taking up the back. I still liked my idea better, he thought.

***

The sky (or what could be seen of it through the thick tree branches) was becoming darker and darker as the trio walked deeper and deeper into the Haunted Woods. All around them, creatures of strange and unknown origins howled and cried out, marking their territory.

     Tetra shivered and ranted uncontrollably. "This isn't a good place to be, not at all. Like the one time…"

     Pianto looked over and saw that, for once, Aryll wasn't paying attention to the Pteri. She seemed to be lost in her own world of thoughts.

     "This place gives me a bad feeling," she muttered, mainly to herself.

     Eventually, it got so dark that no light shown through the canopy. The trees, vines, and shrubbery grew so close together that they seemed to make more of a wall than a group of plants, and it could have been argued that they were no longer outside.

     There were no longer any shadows, but it was so dark that the whole world seemed to be just one big shadow.

     Pianto pulled out his Mystery Island lighter and used it to light up a nearby stick so that the three pets had some light to go by.

     It was damper in the forest, too; more so than on the plains. For a while none of them, not even Tetra, said a word. But after a while there came a high-pitch wining from the back.

     "I'm hungry. Can we rest for a while?"

     Aryll turned and scowled at the Pteri, the fire reflecting off her light brown eyes. "Stop? We're not stopping until we get out of here. We're not just going to stop here in the middle of the terrible place!"

     Tetra gave a low whimper, but brought nothing more of it.

     Soon afterwards, the group entered a large cavern. It didn't seem like they were even outside in a forest anymore.

     The roof was at least two hundred feet from the floor. And in the very middle of the room sat a large pit, probably about 100 feet in distance across. Though it was impossible to tell what was in the pit or exactly how far down it went, it looked deep.

     Tetra, looking over the edge, gave a loud whistle. "Whew, I hope I don't fall in there." He turned to the two Gelerts. "How do we get across?"

     Extending across the center of the pit from side to side was a small makeshift bridge (in truth, it was more of a plank than a bridge). Tetra saw it and heaved a sigh knowing it was their only way across.

     "If only I could fly," he grumbled.

     It took some convincing, but Aryll was able to get Tetra to go out onto the bridge first. She reasoned out to him that if the bridge could hold him, it would hold the two Gelerts. This, of course, made no sense, as the Gelerts weighed more than he. But, luckily for them two, the naïve Pteri never caught on.

     Tetra went out first, holding his wings out to help balance him. After he had a good head start, the Gelerts followed; first the fire one, then the green one.

     Pianto glanced over the edge of the 'plank-bridge' to see something move in the darkness. He was about a third of the way out when the Gelert heard a hissing sound coming from the pit.

     Then, out of nowhere, a huge whip came shooting out of the black of nothingness. It wrapped around Pianto's paw and began pulling him down into the pit below.

     The Gelert didn't have time to get more than a loose grip on the bridge. Just as he lost hold and was about to become prey to the evil vine creature, Tetra grabbed a hold of Pianto's paw. It became a tug-of-war match for Pianto's life between Tetra and the vine.

     "Don't worry, buddy. I've got ya."

     But Tetra wasn't very strong and couldn't hold on to Pianto. Just as Tetra lost his grip on the bridge, he was grabbed by another paw-Aryll's.

     "Hold on, Tetra," Aryll called down, struggling to get a good hold on his wing.

     "Oh yeah, like I have a choice!" he called back sarcastically.

     Each link in the chain of pets grew weaker by the minute as the vine, which seemed to have unlimited strength, pulled its potential prey down into the darkness.

     "Aryll," Pianto called up, knowing there was only one chance to save themselves. "Reach into my backpack and pull out my lighter. Quickly!"

     Using one paw to keep as much of a grasp as she could, the green Gelert reached down past Tetra into Pianto's pack and began rummaging for the lighter.

     Out of the darkness, the creature suddenly revealed itself. It was a gigantic flower with petals colored a dashing blue, red, and green. They reached out for them like a child reaching for a birthday present. As it did this, it unleashed an ear-winching screech that, in some strange way, seemed to cause Pianto to lose a bit of grip.

     "Aryll, hurry!" Pianto yelled, though he doubted she even heard him through the shrieking.

     As if to answer his pleas, Aryll pulled out the Mystery Island lighter. She lit the flame and held it to the vine. It released its grip and recoiled immediately, as if the child had been slapped for being so rude as to reach.

     They scrambled up each other back on to the bridge and ran quickly across. As they did so, Aryll threw the lighter at the plant, giving them time to escape.

     Man, Pianto thought to himself glumly watching the lighter disappear into the pit. I lose more lighters that way.

***

The trio made it out of the forest in time to see the sunset. Yet, they remained as lost as before. That evening, they made a campfire and rested to eat dinner. Surprisingly, Tetra turned down the offer to eat bread or meat and went straight for some vegetables.

     "I'm gonna get back at that big plant that tried to eat us," he explained, happily munching on a carrot, "by eating some of his friends and family."

To be continued...

Previous Episodes

The Missing Gelert: Part One

The Missing Gelert: Part Two

The Missing Gelert: Part Three

The Missing Gelert: Part Four

The Missing Gelert: Part Five

The Missing Gelert: Part Seven

The Missing Gelert: Part Eight

The Missing Gelert: Part Nine

The Missing Gelert: Part Ten

The Missing Gelert: Part Eleven

The Missing Gelert: Part Twelve

The Missing Gelert: Part Thirteen

The Missing Gelert: Part Fourteen


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