The silver Kougra hauled on the rope with all his might. High above, the bell
bonged resoundingly. The sound summoned Neopians far and wide. In the home of
BerrinGold, it was the annual ball.
BerrinGold was a multi-billionaire Neopian. She considered herself a princess
and lived in a mansion in Neopia Central. Every year, BerrinGold’s rich friends
would come for the ball. The silver Kougra, Arran, was not BerrinGold’s pet.
BerrinGold had one pet, Victoria, a Gold Uni. BerrinGold had found Arran alone
in the woods when he was just a small cub, and had allowed him to stay on one
condition: he would be her bellringer, and in return she gave him a tarp shelter
and a meager food supply. Although Arran did not like his life, he stayed with
BerrinGold, for fear she would become angry if he ran off.
Arran sat in the bushes watching as the magnificent carriages pulled by Work
Unis rolled in through the gates. In one of the finest carriages, Arran saw
Victoria’s fiancé, a handsome white Uni named Charles. Before long, all
the guests had arrived. In the gathering darkness, Arran peered through the
window at the well-lit ballroom. His stomach rumbled as he watched the guests
helping themselves to the delicacies laid out on the tables. Scrambled Rainbow
Neggs, Negg Cream Cookies... Arran glanced unhappily back at the Ant Eaten Ham
lying in his tarp shelter.
Suddenly, a dark shape flew over the wall. Arran squinted upward. It was a
Shoyru, and it looked very tired. So weak, in fact, that Arran was certain it
was about fall down to earth. And that’s just what it did. Tumbling through
the air, the stars Shoyru landed on the ground in a heap. Arran ran over to
“Water,” she gasped. “Need...water...” Arran ran over to his shelter, grabbed
a Bottle of Water, and ran back. He took off the top and tipped it. The Shoyru
drank thirstily. When she was finished, she pushed away the bottle and sat up.
Arran helped her over to his shelter, where they sat down again.
“Please help us!” the Shoyru said. She was obviously distressed.
“How?” Arran asked.
The Shoyru unfolded her tale. “My name is Marii. I lived in a secret city called
Whillenia, far from here. One day, our city was conquered by a sudden surprise
attack from Lord Hinistra. He plans to conquer all of Neopia, using Whillenia
as his home base. He is very strong. There is only one thing that can stop him,
and that’s the Emerald of Justice. I need to find it! Lord Hinistra has enslaved
all the others from our city. I alone escaped. I need the Emerald of Justice
to save my people! I need help!”
Arran was awed by the tale. “Have we anything to help us find the Emerald of
Marii shook her head sadly. “I’m afraid not. We’ll just have to look everywhere,
But Arran wasn’t listening. He was staring far into the distance, not seeming
to be looking at anything in particular. Arran began to speak in a deep voice
that was very unlike his own.
Look to the west,
Journey through the fiery demise.
Find the land of Everlife
Far away from greed and strife.
Go to Encret
Of the wood.
Find the place where
Walk the path down
Through the green
Elm and Oak and Alder ‘tween.
Find the gem of
Truth and right,
Journey up into the night.
Follow stars and
Walk through mind
There Whillenia you will find.”
Marii stared at Arran in awe. The words he spoke burned into her memory. “What
was that?” she asked. “Your voice sounded like our King’s.”
Arran shook himself. “I have no idea what I just said. I’ve never heard it
before. It was so strange, as if it was someone else talking and not me.”
“Don’t worry, I can remember,” Marii said. “It sounded like directions for
finding the Emerald of Justice and then getting to Whillenia. Here’s the first
Look to the west
Journey through the fiery demise.”
“Hmm...” Arran said thoughtfully. “It sounds almost as if we have to go through
“But that’s ridiculous,” Marii said. “It’s impossible. You’d just keep going
and going until you came right back to where you started.”
“Yes, but sometimes it looks like the sun is really going down just behind
the Western Ridge, almost as if it’s touching.”
Marii frowned. “Downtown Neopia Central is just over the Western Ridge.”
“I know,” said Arran. “But it wouldn’t hurt to try. We can get out tonight
when the gates are open for the carriages.”
“Meet you out there,” Marii replied, taking to the air. “I don’t want to be
seen in here.” She flew over the wall, leaving Arran alone. He settled himself
down, waiting for the ball to end, but remembering to chime out every hour as
he had been instructed by BerrinGold. Finally, after midnight, the doors of
the mansion opened and the rich guests came out. The gates, too, were opened.
Arran cast a furtive glance around to see that no one was watching him, and
darted out the gates.
“Psst! Over here!” came Marii’s voice from his left. He dived into the bushes
where she was sitting. “What took you so long?” she asked.
“The ball went on a long time,” he replied. “It always does.”
“Well, let’s get some sleep,” she said. “I’m tired.”
Leaning against each other, the two NeoPets fell into a deep sleep.
To be continued...