The pair's giggles floated above while the afternoon sun
blazed down upon them. A piece of a shrub gave a muffled giggle while in front
of it stood a Lupe who was slyly looking around. He obviously could hear the giggling
behind him, but was choosing to ignore it, or to pretend to ignore it at the very
"Hrm, where IS Lisha?" He smirked, causing the
bush to shake even more in a fit of stifled giggles. The bush gave a wobble,
as if dying to tell, but Jeran knew that it never would, Lisha would always
wait until it came to this...
"Hrm, well MAYBE if I lay down in that bush
I can think of where Lisha might be!" Before the Aisha could react, Jeran pounced
on the bush, reaching inside of it until he could hear a delighted squeal underneath
it. The wiggling mass darted out of the bushes, keen on avoiding a tickle, but
she quickly turned on her heels and pointed a plastic wand at her brother.
"You found me again, Jeran! You're always so
good at this!" Lisha smiled warmly. The Aisha adored her brother beyond perhaps
anything else in her world. To her, he was the sun in the morning and the moon
at night; he was everything to do her, her confidant, her protector, anything
that she needed, as was Lisha to Jeran.
"Maybe if you stopped laughing so much, Lisha,
I wouldn’t find you!" Jeran joked. He hopped out of the bush and pointed a finger
at the large twisted oak tree next to Lisha.
"Okay, Lisha, I found you, so now you have to
find me!" he told her. Lisha gave an obedient nod and covered her glasses, slowly
counting as she pretended not to see where her brother was going.
"One...two...three..." Lisha began, but by two
Jeran had already taken off down the hill towards the larger pieces of the rubble
that surrounded the area. This was quite possibly their favorite place in all
of Neopia. Thought both Lisha and Jeran (and many other scholars of Neopia as
well) could not figure out who or perhaps what created these magnificent walls,
the brother and sister always liked to think that they were the remains of a
beautiful palace from long ago. They would play for as long as they could among
the castle ruins until the sun sank down beyond the mountains and valleys, and
the darkness was so impenetrable that they could not see a thing.
Jeran's mind quickly snapped back to the present.
Lisha must have been on seven by now and he didn't have a hiding space! He jumped
over a babbling brook and kept running, trying to put some distance between
his sister and himself as to give himself more time to hide. "Think Jeran, think!"
he scowled, beating his furry blue head in anger. His eyes scanned the horizon
until he saw a small hole in the tree before him. It was perfect! Lisha would
never suspect him there! Jeran dashed over to the hiding spot, eager to finally
hide. But in Jeran’s rush he failed to notice the large tree root jutting out
from the ground. His oversized blue foot was quickly wedged in the root, causing
him to come crashing down to the ground with a dull thud. "OW!" he yelled, rubbing
his chin gingerly. The spot ached and burned under his touch, while Jeran squinted
his eyes shut, trying to dismissing the stars that winked before his eyes. He
didn't think that a simple fall would hurt that much.
Slowly Jeran opened his eyes, trying to stand
up as to hide himself in the spot before Lisha could see him, and yet he simply
couldn't move! Jeran's eyes fled open in a panic, nothing he did seemed have
any effect on his limbs! But he was not the only thing frozen, indeed the entire
world stood steadfast, the only thing that seemed to move were Jeran’s eyes
which darted around in horrified terror.
As quickly as the whole thing started, it stopped
as Jeran. The blue Lupe stood up and began to look about in confusion. Quite
suddenly, however, the ground under Jeran’s feet began to emit a blinding white
light, enveloping Jeran within it. He shielded his eyes with his paws to stop
the searing light from entering his eyes. Even through his closed eyelids he
could feel his eyes watering from the light, as if his eyelids were nothing.
He felt as if he was drifting away from the ground, though he constantly felt
its firm and confidant presence beneath his feet. Softly the light faded, calming
to a point where it disappeared. Jeran kept his eyes shut, slowly trying to
regain his bearings before opening his eyes. What in the world was that? Was
it a faerie? Was it just the sun blinding him? He couldn't tell distinctly,
but he did know that his head burned and throbbed with pain. "Urgh... my head..."
he groaned, brushing a few strands of fur out of his eyes. He laid back onto
the hard marble floor, the cool stillness of it soothing him.
And that it when it occurred to Jeran that grass
is not made of marble.
"WHAT?!" he screamed jerking up in a frightened
manner. Jeran's eyes stared where the grass should have grown, yet in its place
he saw a magnificent marble floor that stretched across the room. The sky was
obscured by pure white walls that stretched as high as he could see, disappearing
into the dark ceiling above. "Wh-where am I? This isn't... these aren’t the
ruins," he muttered, stunned as he looked at the surroundings. Cautiously he
ran his paw against the wall testing to see if the wall was indeed real. The
rugged texture of it brought back a memory in his mind; these walls felt exactly
like the destroyed bits of the ruins…
It was then that it hit Jeran, he was no longer
in the ruins, but the reconstructed castle which the ruins once made up!
Was it magic? Was it the cruel prank of a dark
faerie? Jeran couldn't tell, but whatever it was he was simply marveled. He
gazed with interest at a portrait on the wall. It was a finely crafted picture
depicting a prestigious Skeith, which scowled down upon Jeran as if disgusted
at his mere presence.
"It looks... medieval... but... it can't be,"
Jeran whispered, his voice echoing all around him. The blue Lupe took off down
the hall, running with a bit of panic towards the wooded double doors before
him. Upon reaching them, the doors instantly flew open in admittance of him,
but Jeran was too scared to marvel at this magic. His mind was a wretched storm
of questions which sprung up with every step he took. Where was he? Could
he get out of here? Where was his home? What happened to Lisha?!
Jeran’s attention was diverted as he passed
by a window which was streaming glorious sunshine from the outside. Surely if
he looked outside this tower, he could understand where he was and go back home
from there! Jeran smiled at this opportunity and hastily learned out the window…yet…it
must have been a mistake!
The valley lingering below dotted here and there
with small cheerful huts that billowed smoke from their chimneys. He saw all
sorts of pets milling about below him living seemingly perfectly normal lives,
as if they had lived in this place for years upon years. "The ruins…I don't
see the ruins anywhere," He murmured dejectedly. Jeran strained his eyes in
the direction he thought Neopian Central was, knowing quite well that he should
be able to see it from here…and yet it wasn’t there.
It was if it didn’t exist at all…
Jeran's stomach sank as he came to that realization…
"Home..." he sighed with a broken heart. Where
was it? He wanted to go home; this wasn’t his home. He wanted his mother and
his father and... "Lisha," he whispered. Jeran sank to the floor in a crumpled
heap, gently playing with the wooden spear in his paws. Here he was, living
out his dream! He had an adventure… an adventure that he always dreamed of!
You have what you want, a nasty voice
hissed in his mind. Aren’t you grateful?!
But I wanted it to be with Lisha. I-I didn’t
want to be alone! Another voice cried meekly to the first. He felt so alone
and helpless without Lisha, he wondered in the back of his mind what would he
do without her loving support…
"So then I sai' to the Uni 'the King wants 'em
and you can't stop the king,’!” "And so she gave it up righ'?" The small Lupe's
ears twitched at the sound. It was voices, someone was coming! Quickly he weighted
his options: ask where he was, or hide and wait for them to leave. Silently,
Jeran wondered what he could possibly say to the approaching voices.
”Hello, I just came here through a flash of
white light! Could you tell me where I am because I don’t think this is my world
Even in his head they sounded too stupid to utter
As the voices grew louder, Jeran’s panic grew.
He looked about wildly for a decent place to hide, in the end, diving behind
a pedestal which held a stature of an angry Skeith, cowering behind it as if
to make himself smaller. Once again the doors to the hall opened again to admit
the voices into the room. Jeran knew that he should stay hidden as best he could,
but in the end his curiosity to see the owners of the voice had gotten the best
of him. Carefully his eyes peaked out from behind the pedestal, but what Jeran
saw caused him to clamp a hand to his mouth, daring himself not to scream aloud.
Walking before Jeran were—were… dragons! Their wings jutted out from their backs
while their tails winded behind them like silent serpents. Both of the creatures
appeared to be fully grown, yet Jeran was almost as tall as both of them. As
he stared in awe at the creatures before him, Jeran couldn’t help but think
that they looked distinctly like the creatures which were thought to exits in
early Neopia, yet they were simply the products of faerie tales and nothing
Weren’t they? "Eh, finally she gave me the fruit
but I had to pay three times for it! Bah cruel thing, said she was going to
spend the money on 'sparkly things'." The two creatures laughed in unison, a
few puffs of smoke sneaking out of their noses. Jeran watched with a hungry
interest at the creatures, they were the sort of things that his dreams were
made of, but this was no dream, they were real!
While Jeran admired the creatures from his hiding
spot he failed to notice that he was beginning to lean more and more on the
column. By the time that he noticed his blunder it was far too late to rectify
his mistake. The statue and pedestal fell over with a horrifying loud bang,
startling to two inept guards before him.
"INTRUDER! INTRUDER IN THE CASTLE!" one of the
guards howled, hurtling towards Jeran with the spear in his hand. The blue Lupe
darted to the other side of the hall, avoiding the creature’s grasp. He threw
himself down the hallway with impeccable speed, running past the guards faster
than their small legs could bear to move. The castle was in complete disarray
as the many guards of the castle stupidly watched Jeran go by, not realizing
that he was the intruder which the castle was abuzz about until they saw the
long line of guards running in his wake.
"Gotta keep running…gotta…keep…running," Jeran
coaxed himself. His chest burned with each breath he took, and he knew that
he couldn’t keep up this pace for much longer. Checking back on the guards to
see that they were still gaining on him, Jeran seized another small pedestal
before him and pushed it over. The guards failed to react in time, fumbling
over each other in a mess of wings, tails, and flailing feet. They were so absorbed
in their own chaos that the guards failed to notice the intruder ducking into
a hallway. Jeran continue to run down the hallway, no longer checking to see
if it he was being followed, his heart beating wildly.
The Lupe didn’t bother to stop as he hurtled
through a door before him, his eyes burning as the light from the outside seared
into them. He could hear the commotion from inside the castle due to his appearance,
but it was the last thought on his mind. As far as Jeran was concerned, he simply
wanted to get away, to hide...
But where to hide? He was an unfamiliar person
in an unfamiliar land. He considered hiding in the small village he remembered
seeing from the window but wondered if perhaps his appearance there might simply
cause more chaos than before.
It was then that it struck Jeran; the perfect
place to hide was standing, or rather growing, right in front of him.
"The forest!" he smiled, diving into the underbrush.
The thick trees quickly swallowed up even Jeran's noticeable blue fur, allowing
Jeran to breathe a sigh of relief as he slowed his hurried pace. The trees were
so thick and lush that there was no way that the guards in the castle would
be able to see him from atop it. And even if they did come into the forest,
the trees grew together to form such a complex labyrinth that Jeran was sure
that they would have no luck of finding him…
Jeran’s paws ached with each step he took. The
entire episode has depleted all of his adrenaline, but he knew that his adventure
had only just begun...
Jeran sank down onto the ground, checking around
him to make sure that no one was around, pondering upon his current situation.
"A castle? This can't be... it really can't.
I thought... I know... this is Neopia... is it?" he questioned himself. He wasn’t
even sure. It was a strange new place to him, a place he didn't seem to like.
True, it was his dream to live in a place with knights and dragons, but not
to be CHASED by then! But perhaps the worst idea of all was that he was alone.
This small scrawny Lupe was alone in the big world, and that in itself scared
him more than anything...
Dejectedly Jeran sulked around, pushing his way
through the blinding underbrush to find some sort of civilization, some sign
of what he knew and could understand. But all around him he saw nothing but
trees where there once stood the beautiful white ruins that he always played
within. "Helllooo?" he called out tensely as he traveled. It was perhaps not
that ingenious of an idea to let everything in the forest know where he was,
but Jeran was so lost and scared that he didn't mind any company right now,
not even the guards.
"Hey? Is anyone out there? I'm lost and... well
I'd like you help!" The sky turned to a pale dusk as night set in. The Lupe
gave a small shiver as the wind pieced his fur; even with his thick coat the
night here was bitingly cold. Jeran stationed himself by a river, looking around
at the surroundings for a second. His feet ached with pain and stiffness, no
longer willing themselves to be tread on any longer. He had been walking all
day and yet there was no sign of anyone... CRUNCH! Jeran's ears snapped to attention
as a twig broke in the distance. The Lupe jumped up and grabbed his pathetic
toy spear, he knew it would offer no protection, but he knew he had to try anything
A hoof appeared out of the brush, and then another.
Jeran stood, awestruck at the strange creature before him. It looked almost
like a Uni, yet it was most definitely not one of their species. The creature
stared down at Jeran, its fur matted and mangled with mud and twigs, hiding
its brilliant orange color. From the top of its head two sharp horns protruded
from its fur, while an assortment of acorns and teeth hung around his neck.
Jeran opened his mouth, eager to ask the creature what in the world it was,
yet quickly stopped when the creature pointed an arrow directly at Jeran’s nose.
"Hey you! You've been traveling these woods
all day. What's your purpose here?" he snapped. Jeran stammered about, causing
the gruff creature to frown with annoyance. Jeran tried to think of an intelligent
answer to give, but could only think of questions.
"What... what are you?" He inquired. The creature
opened his eyes wide in confusion, yet quickly regained his suspicion of the
Lupe before him.
"Are you blind, Lupe?! I’m an Ixi, and a thief
to be exact! Beyond that you shall get nothing from me! Now state your business!"
he roared in a defiant manner. Jeran's mind reeled, an Ixi? He never heard of
those! But as Jeran’s mind thought back to the medieval paintings he frequently
looked at, he remembered that within some of them he would always notice an
odd Uni-like creature prancing through the fields.
"You… you're an Ixi? But aren’t those just—just
a myth?" Jeran questioned. The Ixi seemed perplexed at this question as he stepped
back, his bow still taunt as he pointed it at Jeran.
"Impossible! If I were extinct, how could I
"Well, where I come from, you’re extinct," Jeran
said quietly. The thief frowned, raising an interested eyebrow at the boy before
"Oh, and where do you come from?" he asked sardonically.
Jeran looked about him pathetically shaking his head in a slow manner.
"I... I don't know. I'm lost I-I don't even
know where I am." The Lupe paused. The Ixi’s hearts gave a slow pang of sadness
as he lowered the bow and arrow. He kept his ground, but seemed almost stricken
by the Lupe’s pure emotions. "Well you must know that you are in Meridell, one
of the greatest kingdoms on Neopia." Jeran looked at him with a blank stare.
"Merry-dell? I never heard of it. Are you sure—I mean where... oh, never mind!"
Jeran waved a paw as the Ixi continued to look on, extremely confused at what
Jeran was speaking about. Jeran slowly stood up and looked around. The sky was
getting darker and darker each second and he was no closer to finding home than
he was when he first arrived.
"Say... erm... Ixi—"
"The name’s Firiden," the Ixi gruffed.
Jeran gave a tentative grin towards the Ixi,
but nothing more could be said as a rabid snarling erupted from the bushes behind
Jeran. Firiden’s bow tensed as he aimed at the bushes and fired, but the snarling
mass inside the bushes was far too smart to stay still, leaping out from behind
the bushes just as the arrow struck. Jeran took notice of the creature, wondering
if it was another new species. However, upon closer inspection Jeran knew that
it was a species that he understood more about than any other species, it was
a Lupe! It was not, however, the type of Lupe that he was being far more uncivilized
and feral than Jeran was. And though the two were of the same species, he knew
that this Lupe wouldn’t have any qualms about attacking his own kind…
”Get down!” Firiden yelled, preparing his bow
to fire another arrow. His words were too late as the wild Lupe locked Jeran
into his sights. The feral Lupe lunged at his civilized counterpart, trying
to swat at him with a powerful paw. But the small Lupe was ready for him, grasping
his toy spear with confidence as he ran up to meet the Lupe. Gracefully he dodged
the bulky Lupe, bringing the spear down upon the Lupe’s head with a hollow smack.
The beast gave a loud, pitiful moan before collapsing
onto the ground, fully defeated by one blow. The pair stood silently, waiting
as for the Lupe to stand up again and attack. Warily Firiden approached the
Lupe, his hooves clacking over the rocks in the ground. He prodded the Lupe
with his hoof, and upon receiving no response from the Lupe, he decided that
it must have been knocked out old. The orange Ixi turned towards Jeran, who
looked up at Firiden as well.
“W-where did you learn to fight like that?” he
asked, dumbstruck. Jeran looked pitifully at the broken spear, the last reminder
of his old life. He gave a shrug and continued to stare at the spear.
“Nowhere special, just practicing with my sister
Lisha…” He didn’t like to say that name, it reminded him of what he lost. Firiden
continued to stare at Jeran, a smile spreading over his face.
“You should train more kid, you have serious
potential, really you do,” he encouraged. Jeran smiled at Firiden and nodded,
slowly standing up as he looked around.
“Well, thanks Firiden, I guess I should be going…”
Jeran sighed. Firiden furrowed his brow in confusion as Jeran began to walk
“Hey, wait! I thought you said that you didn’t
know where you were…” The Ixi questioned. Jeran nodded and continued to walk
“I don’t. I still have no idea where I am, but
I suppose I’ll find out to where my home is eventually,” Jeran explained. Firiden
looked about him, wondering if perhaps something would come up to ease the situation.
Upon finding no aid, he clinched his teeth, knowing that he would regret what
he was about to do.
“Now…don’t tell anyone I said this… but follow
me. You can come and stay at my place,” Firiden yelled to Jeran. Jeran’s yellow
eyes lit up as he followed in the shadow if the Ixi, the possibility of another
tomorrow looking brighter than it did before.
To be continued...