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Neopia's Fill in the Blank News Source | 21st day of Gathering, Yr 23
The Neopian Times Week 109 > Short Stories > Researchers: Before

Researchers: Before

by teghan62

I yawned. What time was it? You couldn't tell here, there was no light. Under the ground you needed a clock… and we only had one, the one that Barak-Nistar had made, the one sitting in his and Tzel-Evod's room.

     I remembered the times I had slept in their room when I was scared… smirking to myself, I brushed the thought away. I couldn't be scared now… I was the adventurer.

     I continued my thoughts. Maybe Tzel-Evod had managed to make a decent breakfast for once? Probably not.

     I left my room and entered our main room… no one was there. Just the camera my Kougra brother had installed, and nothing showed up on there either.

     What to do now? Sit and wait. Perhaps think of old times… those are always cheery. Well, almost… almost always. I brushed those thoughts away and set my heart on learning about before. Before! That was it!

     A while ago, Barak-Nistar had covered up a small book on his library shelves where we recorded experiments, which we would mail to the main Researchers building, but we always kept a copy. The book was titled 'Before.' If everyone is still asleep, I thought to myself, I'll check it out!

     Silently, I went and searched through the shelves that sitting in the corner of the room. I searched for a bit, found the book, and then opened it up eagerly. I thought I would just have to read off of the pages, but I was wrong. There was some kind of riddle there instead… a poem, even.

     Once inside myself, Now it shall be told, Search, and find the answers, And the answers, to the past, will unfold.

     Search 'neath what I love most, And come across two keys, One, like another, And the other one like me.

     Then look closely at my tail, Find it again, and you shall be told, The answers you are seeking, The answers, to the past, will unfold.

     What did all of that mean? I had no clue, so I decided to try working it out myself. "Let's see," I mumbled distractedly, concentrating on the poem. "Barak-Nistar probably wrote it, he was the one who covered it up. And Tzel-Evod could never write something like that… that Lupe is too concentrated on other things."

     "Okay, Barak-Nistar is the one who wrote it, so that's who all of the 'me's are. Now, 'Once inside myself, now it shall be told.' Well…" my voice trailed off as I racked my brain for an answer. "I guess… maybe that's saying he's telling it?"

     "'Search, and find the answers, and the answers, to the past, will unfold.' Probably just telling me to search. Okay, so the first verse just pretty much says what it is… let's move on."

     I skimmed over the second verse. 'Search 'neath what I love most?' What did Barak-Nistar love the most? I glanced around the room. Perhaps his siblings? No, it's probably one thing… I stopped my thoughts as soon as I looked back at the library.

     "Of course!" I cried. "But… how do I search? Maybe underneath the shelves…" So I tried to lift the shelves, but they were too heavy. So what now, genius?

     I was definitely stuck. I slammed my hoof down on the floor in frustration. I looked around, and saw something that would allow me to lift up the shelves.

     After finally lifting it, I was able to snatch the two keys resting under it before I set the shelf down again. "'And come across two keys, one, like another, and the other one like me,'" I said as I read the verses off of the pages of the book again. "Well, I've got the keys… they're strange keys, aren't they?"

     The keys weren't normal, that was for sure. One had the colors of a mutant Lupe, and the end seemed to be it's tail. The other one had the colors of some electric pet, with the end in the shape of a Kougra's tail.

     Suddenly it hit me, like when Tzel-Evod attempts to throw pizza dough above his head and spin it around like they do at Pizzaroo. The keys were my brothers! Tzel-Evod was a mutant Lupe, and I suppose he would be the other one Barak-Nistar was talking about in the poem. The other key was Barak-Nistar, an electric Kougra.

     My face broke into a huge grin. Almost there! I then read off the rest of the poem. "'Then look closely at my tail, find it again, and you shall be told, the answers you are seeking, the answers, to the past, will unfold.' Barak-Nistar's tail?" I questioned myself. "Well, I guess I'll go into his room… I've already found his tail again, in the key."

     I silently crept into my brothers' room. The only door in the whole house was our front door, so it was easy. I looked at Barak-Nistar's tail; it seemed to be pointing downwards. I followed it, and saw a dark blue spot with light blue stripes on it. It was small, so there was no wonder why I had never see it before. Then I saw a hole… a hole made for a key. I took out the keys, and used the Barak-Nistar key. The blue spot silently lifted.

     The hole wasn't that big, but there was a book in it. I picked up the book and blew dust off of the cover. There was the title, "Before."

     I went back to my room and opened the book. A shudder of joy ran through me; I would finally be able to learn about the past. I looked down and read.



Well, today was just great. Now I'm banned from going near any sharp pointy things. Mom just doesn't get that I'm not a dithering idiot. Urg… I wish she's leave me alone sometime. I, Barak-Nistar, hereby declare myself in control of myself! Nya nya!

     I was able to sneak in a rapier to my room. I'm almost set; I just need to make sure I've got everything. Oh, didn't you know? I'm escaping tonight. Yes, I know you think it will be hard for me to escape when my room is hundreds of feet above the ground, but I have a plan. I'm going to jump out of the window and scream until I land! What fun!

     Barak-Nistar dropped his pen and packed the light book he had been writing in a blanket. He picked up a stick that he would soon use to carry it on, but for now he held it in his paw. "'Cause it looks cool."

     "Well, I'm ready!" he declared to himself. It was dark out. He followed through with his plan, grabbing his bag and still holding the stick in his paw. 1, 2, he slowly counted to himself before jumping. "3!" he yelled and jumped out the window.

     "AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAIIIIIIIEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE!" he screamed as the air whooshed past him. Then, suddenly, he slowed down. He looked up and noticed that his bag was a parachute, with all of the items inside pushed up against it. "How dare you!" Barak-Nistar called out to the parachute. "Spoil all of my plans, will ya? Hmph!"

     When the Kougra finally reached the ground, he got the blanket and tied it to the stick. Drawing his rapier, he cut through the surrounding overgrown forest. He traveled the rest of the night and the whole day, making fairly good progress. By the end of the first day, Barak-Nistar had cleared the forest. He sat down and prepared myself a small meal. Then he would rest. ***


     "Where is she?!" yelled a boy at a terrified mutant Lupe.

     "I already told you!" the Lupe was in tears. "We were in the field and… and she fell down some hole! The hole closed up, I couldn't find her anywhere!"

     "Get out of my sight," growled the boy. "I'm quitting. Your sister was stupid, and you're just stupid. GO!"

     With tears in his eyes, the Lupe needed no second bidding. He ran and ran and ran. His vision was blurred by the tears streaming out. Unable to control himself, he finally collapsed, still crying.

     Where is my sister? thought the Lupe, Tzel-Evod. Where did she… go? "Heeca-Darban!" howled the Lupe, hoping his sister might hear him. "Heeca-Darban!"

     Tzel-Evod finally fell asleep, weary, homeless, and alone.

     When the Lupe finally lifted his head, he saw a dim light in the distance. Getting up, he forced his weary legs to move. Step by step, getting closer and closer. ***

(And then they meet…)

     Barak-Nistar was awake. Whistling merrily, he swung his bag around and looked at what lay ahead of him. Plains as far as the eye could see were ahead, and never did they end. "I never knew the outside world would be like this," muttered Barak-Nistar, "Back at home, the surrounding land was green with always fresh grass. Here, the land is golden… it's beautiful."

     He walked a couple more minutes, and then he saw a figure in the distance. Dropping into a crouch, the Kougra took out his rapier and slowly moved over to where it was lying. The figure gave out a strangled sob. Then it stopped moving.

     Standing up, Barak-Nistar inspected the figure. "'S a Lupe… a mutant one. I guess I'd better help it." Opening his bag, he pulled out some food he had stolen from the kitchens of his old home, and munched on it, watching the Lupe.

     Eventually he came around, and Barak-Nistar held out his paw with food on it to the Lupe. He wolfed it down, almost biting off the Kougra's paw.

     "Hey, watch it!"

     "Sorry," muttered the Lupe. "I was hungry; you have no idea what I've been through."

     "So… what's your name?" asked Barak-Nistar, hoping to start up a conversation. The Lupe glared at him.

     "None of your business, Kougra," it snapped. Instantly Barak-Nistar pulled out his rapier, and pressed it against the Lupe's throat, ready to strike at any moment.

     "You were saying?"

     "Why should I tell you anyway?"

     Barak-Nistar pressed the rapier harder. "Why should I? How about the fact that I just gave you food and saved you from anything you could have gotten to you first!" snarled Barak-Nistar. "If it makes you feel any better, I'm Barak-Nistar. Now, what is your name?"

     The mutant Lupe sighed and brushed the rapier away from him. "My name is Tzel-Evod," answered Tzel-Evod, "but what's the big deal about a name? What is that supposed to tell you?"

     Barak-Nistar sighed, "Just… just… I don't know! That's always what you ask someone when you first meet them!"

     "Do you threaten their lives too when they don't answer, Barak-Nistar?" Tzel-Evod raised an eyebrow.

     The Kougra slapped his forehead. This Lupe was pushing it. "Fine then," he growled, "how about your story? Where do you come from? Why were you crying?"

     After much persuasion, Tzel-Evod finally related to Barak-Nistar. Then, Barak-Nistar told his story. The two pets went well into the night, swapping stories. ***

     Tzel-Evod was the first to wake up. His first thought was to steal everything Barak-Nistar had and leave him, but remembering the time they had together last night, he decided against it. Instead, he shook Barak-Nistar, the older of the two, awake.

     "Where are we going?" asked Tzel-Evod, looking around.

     Barak-Nistar got up and yawned. "Well, I was thinking of going that way," he said, pointing in the direction from where Tzel-Evod came from. "That's where I was heading, anyway."

     "No!" cried Tzel-Evod. "That's where I came from. I don't want to go back there…"

     "But I thought he quit!"

     "Still… why don't we go down there?" the Lupe pointed a paw from the opposite direction that Barak-Nistar had pointed.

     "But that's where I came from!"

     "May I make a suggestion? Come with me."

     The two friends stopped and looked up at who had spoken. It was a teenage girl, and she looked nice and friendly.

     "My name is Jen," she smiled. "I couldn't help but hear you guys… perhaps you would like to stay with me?"

     "Shut up and mind your own business," snorted Tzel-Evod.

     "Aww, c'mon, Tzel-Evod," argued Barak-Nistar, "Why not? We have nothing else to do, and it's a different direction." He turned back to Jen. "Erm, but what will we do?"

     "Simple!" exclaimed Jen. "I found this 'Researchers' program; it's dedicated to finding out things that happen in Neopia. I figured that we could try it…" Jen's voice trailed off nervously as she glanced at Tzel-Evod.

     "…Fine," answered Tzel-Evod. Jen blew a sigh of relief. "But," continued the mutant Lupe, "This better be good." ***

     Jen had led them to an underground area, and had assigned jobs. Barak-Nistar would type up and submit the reports after learning to use his computer, Tzel-Evod would go out of their home underground, and Jen would do the basic activities.

     And that is all.


I noticed that the 'And that is all.' part was removable, so I quickly wrote down all that had happened since I came, and moved the note down to where I had finished it.

     I waited until the next night, then I quietly snuck in and put the book back where I found it.

     And now I knew the answers to the past.

The End

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