Mystery Island is green. There's no other way to say
It's not just GREEN green, though. Merridell
is green, but it's a turf-y, mossy, potato-y sort of green. In autumn, it all
goes red and brown. Neopia Central is green, but again, it's a short, contained
sort of green. Mystery Island is WILD. Everything is lush, verdant green. It's
a pretty nice place.
I was back to my normal, cheerful self, voices
in my head not withstanding. Kunila had attached himself to me like a small,
yellow and black leech, and was happily pointing out all the tropical fruits
"Look, that there's a Cocoa Juppie. They're
tasty. Very good if you slice them up and put them on ice cream, but the very
best is fried with pastry. And that, that there is a Purplum. You can make mocha
out of them, but I don't like it. They're nice just fresh."
I picked two, handing one to the Kougra and slicing
the other into segments. "So, we just walk west until the ground opens up, right?"
I asked, handing it round.
"Yep." Ramei scratched his ear with one hind
paw in a very catlike way. He had a few scars on his shoulder that showed up
bright white through the fur after our last battle. "I hope it doesn't open
up too much… I don't fancy having to fly down a ravine."
Keeragh had made a quick sketchpad out of a few
spare sheets of parchment and was scribbling like mad with a piece of charcoal.
"Whatever. How do you spell Purplum?"
"P-E-R-R-P-L-M-M-E," replied Lu. For pirates,
spelling had always been optional.
"Sweet Ghostkerchief, Lu, were you listening
at ALL when I gave you all those lessons?" Perilo was rather grumpy about the
fact that she couldn't move about very fast on land, and therefore had to be
carried. Elenna had been quite sweet and volunteered, but it hadn't helped the
Kunila was taking point, with me a few dozen
yards behind him. Ramei followed me, with Elenna next to him and Perilo on her
back. Behind them were Hina, then Lu and Immacolata, and finally Keeragh, dawdling
at the back. This is important.
"I don't think we should take the compass entirely
seriously." Immacolata hauled her backpack higher on her shoulders, her long
black hair tied up into a bun. "The ground opening up could be anything from
a rift to a rabbit hole…"
"Or a…" I stopped, looking at my feet. There
was one of those long moments where the entire universe seems to be holding
its breath, and then the leafy ground underneath us gave way with a snapping
sound and a sudden rush of twigs and dirt. We landed in an uncomfortable heap
at the bottom of a large, circular hole.
"Or a pit trap?" Perilo asked, in a rather muffled
voice. "Who's sitting on my head?"
"Ouch! Ramei, like, get off my legs! They're,
like, going numb!"
"Ow, ow, ow, OW! Ramei! You're poking me!"
"Sorry, Lu, but…"
"HAI HAI HAI!!!" We all looked up. Well, those
who capable of looking up without seriously damaging themselves or someone else.
"It has caught something! It has caught nasty
little pets! Nasty little pets taste good in cooking pot!"
I'm no expert on anthropology, but I think it
was a Tiki Witchdoctor. Well, what it actually looked like was a small, moving
shrub with a couple of bones attached and a pole with a skull on it, but Tiki
Witchdoctor was my next best guess.
"It will roast them! It will boil them! It will
feed them to the Witch! The Witch will be happy, yes yes yes!"
"Urgh." Elenna rolled her eyes. "A villain who
speaks in third person. That's SO cliché!"
"It will ROAST them. It will BOIL them. It will
SLICE them and DICE them and wrap them up in TWIRLY FRUIT…"
Kunila landed on the Witchdoctor's head ALMOST
exactly like a ton of bricks. Actually, it was a bit more like a ton of spotted
Kougra. He was one heavy kitty.
Keeragh leant over the edge of the pit. "Don't
worry! We'll get you out of there right away, no problemo…"
He trailed off. It might have had something to
do with the ring of Tiki spears around his head.
* * * * *
"Fifteen-thousand-six-hundred-and-nineteen green bottles, hanging
on the wall. Fifteen-thousand-six-hundred-and-nineteen green bottles, hanging
on the wall, and if ONE green bottle, should accidentally fall, there'd be fifteen-thousand-six-hundred-and-eighteen
green bottles, hanging on the wall."
Waterlily was currently hanging from her wrists
against a dungeon wall. She heard the clang of a door and blatantly continued
bottles, hanging on the wall. Fifteen-thousand-six-hundred-and-eighteen green
bottles, hanging on the wall, and if ONE green… oh, hello Anuina. Come to let
"Of course not," the Faerie snapped. Waterlily
shrugged nonchalantly. In fact, shrugging when you are being suspended by your
wrists is really quite difficult.
"I've come to tell you that your silly little
owner is soon to be sitting on the bottom of the ocean!"
"Oh." Waterlily considered it for a while, kicking
her back hooves to get a more comfortable position. "Chrissy will like that.
She always said that there's sunken ships full of treasure down there."
"I meant dead," Anuina snapped. "Drowned, you
"Yeah, so did I." Waterlily shot her a particularly
sweet smile, which could be rather scary. "Of course, you do know… don't you?
Of course you do, smart Faerie like you."
"Know what?" Her eyes narrowed, as though she
"Everybody knows. You mean you don't?"
"Of course I do. I was… just checking you knew."
"Well of COURSE I know, other wise how would
I know that you know?"
"And… uh, what is it you know? Just, you know,
checking what you know is the same as what I know."
"Oh, I know."
There was a long pause, while everyone present
worked out what had just happened. Finally, Waterlily piped up.
"Well, whatever you know, I'd stop trying to
kill Chrissy if I was you."
"Oh, would you now?"
"Yes." The Ixi paused; kicking her back legs
a few more times to get the circulation going, and then glanced down at Anuina.
"Because you know, that won't stop her."
There was a long silence. Finally, the Faerie
almost laughed. "What, killing her won't stop her?"
"No. It's just gonna make her a lot, lot, lot
scarier when you open the front door and she's standing there. With a big sword.
Chrissy likes swords."
There was a very, VERY long pause, that was the
horribly quiet sound of someone trying to work out whether the other person
was joking or not, when they had a horrible feeling that they weren't.
"Stupid Ixi," Anuina barked, turning on her
heel and marching out of the dungeon. Waterlily sighed.
bottles, hanging on the wall. Fifteen-thousand-six-hundred-and-eighteen green
bottles, hanging on the wall, and if ONE green bottle, should accidentally fall,
there'd be fifteen-thousand-six-hundred-and-seventeen green bottles, hanging
on the wall."
* * * * *
I think, under the circumstances, Keeragh handled it quite well.
"Why are you trying to boil my friends?" he
barked, ignoring the circle of spear points. The pets holding them looked at
each other, then one said.
"Witch says so. We do as Witch say. Big Kitty,
he knock out Witchdoctor Oh So Lo Co. Big Kitty is BRAVE. You are friend of
"Err, yes…" Keeragh started to say, but Kunila
bounced in front of him.
"My name isn't Big Kitty! It's Kunila! I'm Kunila
and this is Keeragh! Who're you?"
There was a long pause, and then, amazingly,
the Tiki warriors lifted their spears.
"Ku Ni La," one of them sounded out. "Keer Agh.
The prophecy!" And at that moment, all twelve warriors flung themselves flat.
"Uh…" Keeragh had watched enough films to know
that saying 'Prophecy? What prophecy? We're nothing to do with a prophecy!'
would very quickly create a lot of people who DIDN'T believe in the prophecy,
and that usually spelt bad news. "Yes, yes. The Prophecy. Just… which version
of the Prophecy is this, 'cus, you know, it's changed a little over the years…"
"The Prophecy made by Queen See In Du Bel! She
say, when Ku Ni La and Keer Agh come, then Witch go forever!" The Neopet, now
dimly recognisable as a Techo, looked grave. "I want Witch to go, Keer Agh,
she make life very hard for us simple Tiki warriors. My name is Mu Cho Bra Vo,
and I ask that you come to our village."
"Uh, yeah. We better go to this village then,
better we? And, uh, what about my friends?"
"They come with us," the Techo grinned. "There
will be tasks. If you complete tasks, they go free."
Kunila pricked up his ears. "Tasks? To see if
we're the real Ku Ni La and Keer Agh, you mean? Oh, that's alright then, 'cus
we're them!" Then, unbelievably, he added. "What happens if we fail them, anyway?"
"You all get roasted in cooking pot," the Techo
replied happily. Keeragh grabbed Kunila's ear as we were hauled out and tied
"Kunila, remember me saying there were some
times when you should keep your big mouth shut?"
"Well, that was one of them."
"Oh. Right. Okay then."
Cooking With Witchdoctors
"Okay." I tested my ropes slightly, although the fact that I was hanging underneath
a pole carried by two not-very-tall Tiki warriors restricted movement a lot
and meant that my back occasionally scraped the ground. "We're just going to
go prove that Kunila and Keeragh are really these mythological heroes spoken
of in a prophecy, and if we fail, we get thrown in a giant cooking pot and eaten.
I'm good with that. I am dealing with the situation. Getting a little edgy,
admittedly, but I'm fine…"
"Chrissy." Immacolata had a few leaves sticking
out of her hair and a smudge of dirt on her nose. "It would be most beneficial
to us all if you BE QUIET right about now."
"I second that!" Lu snapped her teeth at the
particularly annoying Tiki Witchdoctor, who had regained consciousness and kept
dancing and giggling in third person about cooking pots and dinner and 'It will
eat fat pirate, yes yes yes!'
The clearing was pretty rustic, a few Tiki huts,
a few Tiki lamps, a Tiki cooking fire, all very, VERY Tiki. Us non-prophesied
people were thrown into a large bamboo cage where we (Supposedly) couldn't cause
any trouble. There were lots of yells of 'The Prophecy!' and 'Ku Ni La! Keer
Agh!', and those two were carted off on bamboo litters draped in flowers. Typical.
I sat down on the leafy floor and ignored the
other pets arguing in hissed voices. This was going to be a long night.
* * * * *
"Thirteen-thousand-nine-hundred-and-forty-seven green bottles,
hanging on the wall. Thirteen-thousand-nine-hundred-and-forty-seven green bottles,
hanging on the wall, and if ONE green bottle, should accidentally fall, there'd
be thirteen-thousand-four… no, wait, thirteen-thousand-nine-hundred-and… and…"
"I think you're looking for 'Thirteen-thousand-nine-hundred-and-forty-six.'"
Fabialla grinned up at Waterlily. "It all went off without a hitch! Not only
are your owner and your brothers and sisters and the new friends they made all
Okay, but also a Peophin broke Anuina's Orb of Storms! Boy, is she angry… listen,
you might be able to hear it!"
Waterlily titled her head slightly so one ear
pointed towards the ceiling, and was rewarded by a dull crash from far off in
the castle. "Cheesecookies, that IS angry!"
"Oh yes!" Fabialla looked delighted. For the
first time, Waterlily noticed that she was actually very tall for a Uni, but
she was always stooped and miserable so you could barely tell. Now she was bubbly
and exited, it was very noticeable.
"Did you hear what I said to her last time she
"Yep!" Fabialla was practically dancing. "That
was a great idea, she's worried and won't show it!"
"Learn anything else?" Waterlily clapped her
hooves as best she could, suspended from the dungeon wall. The Uni's excitement
"Yes! Oh yes! Anuina's got a magic box that
she guards with her life. You can't get in without the proper key, otherwise
it'll turn you into a Barbat!"
"Oh." Waterlily looked crestfallen. "That's
powerful magic, there's no way I'd be able to…"
"No need!" Fabialla held up a small purple and
black key. "I WAS a thief, you know. And what's more, Nightwing has got a couple
of silvery orbs on a chain in his room. Usually, he keeps them with him wherever
he goes, but on this occasion he left them behind."
"Silvery orbs?" The Ixi frowned, puzzled. "That
sounds like… but there's no way… they must be… Souls!"
"Souls!" Fabialla jumped. "You mean… of course!
There's four of course, one for Danno, one for Mercedes, one for that Eyrie
that the Dark Sharks got and one for that Shoyru he mentioned… your owner knew
"Doesn't ring a bell," Waterlily shrugged. "Doesn't
matter, anyway. Good work, Fabialla! We'll be out of here in no time!"
* * * * *
It was a long time before Keeragh could extract himself from the
festivities to visit us again. He looked worried.
"Kunila is sleeping off a ton of fruit, he looks
like a small yellow hill covered in flowers at the moment." The Eyrie hissed.
"And most of the Tiki pets are asleep. I need to talk to you!"
Perilo was fidgeting with her mane. "What is
"I'm not a prophesied messiah! Why in the name
of the Great Bogen do they think I am? Why did my name turn up HERE, anyway?"
"Uh, well…" the Peophin examined her hooves.
"I might have something to do with that…"
We all stared at her. She started grooming the
edge of her tail fin.
"Well… I was only little, Okay? I had a book
of Tiki stories from my mother, and smugglers attacked our village and it was
the only thing I could save, apart from you three, of course. And we were all
just babies, even Lu and me, and none of us could remember what our names were
except that I had mine written down in the front of the book and… well… I picked
your names from some of the stories! Luaunoau was the first ever Limbo Champion
or something, and Kunila and Keeragh were from a prophecy foretelling the arrival
of two great and wondrous pets who would free the Tiki people from the tyranny
of the evil Witch."
There was a long pause. Finally, Keeragh piped
"But I'm not a great and wondrous pet!"
"Well, you know…" Luaunoau leant out to look
at him properly. "I've been a pirate for, what now, ages. A captain, no less.
I know some of this good luck and bad luck stuff is mumbo jumbo. But some of
it, now, some of this prophecies and signs stuff is real. They work. And maybe,
you know, just maybe, the reason the prophecy was made for Ku Ni La and Keer
Agh is because, a couple of centuries later, a little Peophin was going to get
given a book and have to bring up a three little pets, all on her own. That's
the way these things work, if you catch my drift."
Keeragh glanced between us. "You really think
I dug the silver dragon necklace out from around
my neck. "You can do it, Keeragh!" I dropped it around his ruff. "Here. For
good luck. Not that you need any." I added hastily. The Island Eyrie grinned
at us. With a beak, that's pretty hard.
"I'll get you out, don't worry. I won't fail
* * * * *
The Tiki Witchdoctor raised his staff with a yell as the first lights
of dawn crept over the horizon.
"Come forth, Ku Ni La and Keer Agh!"
The two stepped forward, Keeragh looking nervous
with the silver dragon sparkling round his neck, Kunila looking sleepy and slightly
"Task the first!" The Techo bellowed, gesturing
at the crowd with a rattle of skulls. "Come forth, As Pa Rin the Healer!"
An old Usul crept forward, holding a twisted
staff topped with the inevitable skull and draped in an old cloak. "I am As
Pa Rin the Healer," he croaked, his voice old and cracked. "I set you your first
task, Ku Ni La and Keer Agh."
He pointed at a not-too-distant mountain peak.
"At the top of that mountain is a bush. The berries of this bush make the most
potent of potions, but a tribe of vicious flying Mynci guards it. I challenge
you to bring me the berries of this bush!"
"I accept." Keeragh stared at Kunila for a few
moments, and then elbowed him hard. "Eh?" The Kougra looked around. "Oh yeah,
I accept too. Where are we going?"
"Just be quiet and get on my back," Keeragh
hissed. Kunila shrugged and did as he was told. With a quick crouch and a leap,
the Eyrie was airborne.
* * * * *
"Are we there yet?"
"Are we there yet?"
"Are we there yet?"
"Kunila, shut up!"
Keeragh banked hard and the Kougra just dug his
claws in. "Don't do that! I almost fell off! You wouldn't like it if I fell
off, would you? Would you?"
"No, Kunila, but don't talk so much." The Eyrie
back winged to land. "We'll go the last few feet on foot, it'll be less easy
to spot us that way. Come on, you've got the satchel?"
"Yep! Of course! I never forget, I'm like an
"A simple yes or no would have done." Peering
around a stand of bamboo, Keeragh brightened up a little. "There it is! No flying
Mynci either, we're in luck! Come on, then."
They were silent for the next five minutes while
the pair of them stripped the bush of berries. "Is the bag full yet?" Kunila
complained, after an unusual period of quiet hyperactivity. "I'm bored now.
I want to go back. I'm hungry, too. I'm starving. I'm gonna die of starvation,
Keeragh, you don't want me to die of starvation, do you? Do you?"
"Kunila, shush, they'll hear you…" A drone of
wings filled the air. The Eyrie flung back his head in alarm. "Too late! That'll
have to do, get on my back now and whatever you do, DON'T DROP THAT SATCHEL!"
The sandy smear that was Kunila and Keeragh travelling
at high speed burst through the foliage just as the swarm descended. By sheer
bad luck, they burst right into the middle of them. After less than a split
seconds hesitation, Keeragh adopted the highly controversial but extremely effective
method of simply flying as fast as he could and not looking back.
Kunila clung to the Eyrie's mane as one particularly
fast Mynci sped up beside them. Yelling in some ridiculous Tiki tongue, he lunged
and grabbed the Kougra's tail. That was his first mistake. Life rarely allows
"NOBODY PULLS MY TAIL AND GETS AWAY WITH IT!"
Swinging the satchel will all the strength he possessed, Kunila smashed the
berry filled bag into the Mynci's face. It screamed loudly and peeled away.
Another Mynci leapt up, feathery wings beating hard, but the Kougra kicked it
in the stomach with a yell. Any Neopet that came close enough got either scratched
or beaten in his sudden frenzy of activity. Keeragh spotted the Tiki village
ahead, mind racing. There was one manoeuvre that was almost certain to work.
Provided Kunila didn't fall off.
"Hold tight!" he yelled as he pulled upwards
into a vertical climb… and stopped beating his wings.
For the barest of nanoseconds, they stalled and
began to fall, but Kunila's weight pulled Keeragh over backwards and they started
plummeting nose first towards the ground. Pulling up at the last second, the
Eyrie came gliding in barely two feet from the ground at top speed, skidding
into the dirt. Kunila, ever the responsible one, leapt off with a double back
Several of the Tiki warriors clapped. The Mynci
circled for a while, then began flying back to their home. Two Island Shoyru
landed next to As Pa Rin the Healer and began to talk very fast in their native
language. Picking himself up out of the dirt, Keeragh put two and two together
and got Pi R squared.
"You were following us!"
The Shoyru shot him a grin. "Of course. You fly
good, Ku Ni La fight good. You get berries. You pass test."
Kunila had the decency to look modest. "Well,
they shouldn't have pulled my tail," he muttered.
To be continued....