"Got you, pretty one!" the evil Lupe hissed at the struggling
Faerie, and then turned to us. "Did I hear my name?"
"Let her go, Balthazar!" Korrinea said softly.
He smiled, yellow teeth gleaming in the leaf-light,
and whispered two words: "Make me." He stuffed the pixy into a jar as I frantically
whispered to my Kougra.
"You can't fight him now! You don't have your
"We can't just leave them with him!" she protested.
Before I could point out that we certainly could, she had leapt over his back
and knocked his sack full of Faerie jars to the ground. The faeries sprang free
with a crash and began hitting the Lupe with blasts of colored light.
The monster snarled and ran, yelling over his
shoulder, "I'll see you in the dome, stripe-scum!"
"You wish! Stay out of my forest!" Korrinea flung
I looked at her, my face pale with stress (not
that I could see my own face, but hey, it sounds good), but only echoed, "My
A crease appeared between her silver eyes. "I
don't know why I said that..." Then she was distracted by the pixies, which
crowded around us, blessing Korrinea with about twenty abilities. "Thanks guys!
It was nothing. Watch out for yourselves, though." When they were gone she turned
to me. "I'm hungry." She looked around for a minute, then added, "Oh, and also
I rotated. "Are you kidding me? The village is
Her tail curved into a question mark. "Yes? Over
where exactly?" I just glared at her. "Well, do something. You're the owner!"
"Yeah, well you got us into this mess. Chasing
that Earth Faerie like a wannabe Balthazar yourself!" I could tell she was hurt.
"Fine," she stated, lashing her tail as she stalked
"Fine!" I agreed. I wasn't going to apologize
if she wasn't. I walked the opposite direction. After five steps I sneaked a
peak behind me. It turned out that she had decided to check on me, too. Our
eyes met miserably.
"I'm sorry!" we called in unison and tackled
each other. I pinned her down and leaned into her face.
"Apology accepted," I said solemnly. She rolled
over on top of me and licked my forehead. Her breath smelled like tchea fruit.
"Look," I began as I scratched her left ear,
"this is an island, right? So we just have to start walking in a steady direction
and we'll come to the beach. Then we can just follow the beach around to the
"But if we go the wrong way we might have to
walk all the way around the whole island!"
"Got any better ideas, O wise and furry one?"
She didn't, so we started walking.
We played I spy as we journeyed, and then we
tried to see who could think of the most synonyms for 'walk'.
Then we got into a fight about whether "jaunt"
was a real synonym.
"Jaunt means like 'take a walk' walk, not walking
walk," I insisted.
"It's still walk, though -- you can't just make
up rules in the middle of the game!" she argued. I suggested that we move on
to listing types of trees.
"This kind of tree, the plant kind, no cheating!"
I warned her, gesturing at one.
"Speaking of which, haven't we passed those before?"
"No," I said. It was a forest. Of course there
would be the same kind of tree more than once! It just looked the same. Looks
can be deceiving. We were not walking in circles.
"Yes we have," my Kougra sniffed, "I smell us."
"It's about time to take a break anyway." We
sat on a rock and ate some purplums from the aforementioned tree.
"Hey Korrinea, do you remember before you were
'created'?" I broke the pause thoughtfully.
She looked at the ground. "Not really. Where
do Neopets come from? Some people say eggs. Lots call their owners 'Mom' or
'Dad', but did I have a Kougra family? What happened to them? Did they have
owners? I don't know." She looked up at me and realized I was feeling kind of
mushy and insecure. She flopped her front half into my lap and rubbed her silver
head against my chin. "'Course, you're my real family, the best ever. Family
is really who loves you and argues with you and hangs out with you and takes
care of you when you have Sneezles- and that's you. I still wonder, though."
"Yeah," I choked.
"Tomorrow's my birthday," she said suddenly.
"No its not. You were adopted in August."
"I was born tomorrow, though, I think." I frowned
at her. "I don't know! Sometimes animals just know things. You wouldn't understand,"
she said defensively.
"Whatever. It's getting dark. C'mon." We curled
up on a patch of moss. She rolled into a tight silver ball and I used her for
a pillow, with a blanket from my pack. I was glad we were used to sleeping like
this. Normal Neopians would have freaked out if they were lost in a forest at
night. Sleep came quickly to her, but I lay awake a long time, listening to
the chirping grackle bugs and Korri's gentle snuffles.
I woke up at sunrise and shook Korrinea.
"Happy birthday!" I shouted. A flock of noisy
Pawkeets took flight in astonishment overhead.
She rolled over and sleepily slurred, "Do I sense
"Take the good, ignore the bad. And have an omelette."
I shared my wisdom through a mouthful of carrots, peas, and egg.
"What? No cake?" She cheerfully devoured her
slice and dashed off into the underbrush.
"Where do you think you're going?" I demanded,
grabbing our stuff and crashing after her. I came out into a clearing with the
sound of water gurgling. She stood under a small waterfall in a creek, purring
as she took a morning shower. "How did you know this was here?" I asked in amazement.
I was not too amazed to plunge in gratefully, however. Living on the road has
its disadvantages, and they don't sell deodorant in the beauty parlor.
She climbed out and shook a small rain onto the
verdant moss. "It was... like smelling, only in my head." Her whiskers twitched.
"Hurry up." I watched her lick her fur into submission as I bathed. She seemed
more silver than usual. Kind of sparkly, almost. It was probably just that I
wasn't used to her being clean. I wasn't stupid though. I knew the signs of
an adventure. Was there more to Korrinea than your ordinary Kougra? I had no
idea, but it looked like I was about to find out.
To be continued...