The four Super Authors, Spot the pet rock, and Jay the devilishly
handsome Eyrie arrived on the shores of Mystery Island laden with heavy knapsacks.
Harriet had insisted on bringing half of her
Usuki collection. The seams were splitting dangerously on her knapsack. A furry
Usuki ear popped out of one of the pockets. Spot's backpack was stuffed to the
brim with furry Usukis as well -- the overflow that Harriet couldn't pack.
Jay had packed his extra monocles, Sebastian
had packed his favorite comic books and action figures, and Albert had packed
all kinds of scientific equipment, including his new Mix-A-Lot 3000 Combuster.
Rosie, the sensible one of the group, had managed to fit in extra pairs of pajamas
and toothbrushes for everyone in her knapsack.
The group trekked across the thick humid jungles
of Mystery Island. Birds cackled overhead, and the smell of sea salt and fresh
earth hung in the air.
"So, Rosie?" asked Jay, breaking a tense silence.
"What exactly should we expect to find when we get to the mainland?"
Rosie shook her head. "I can't remember much,
Jay," she admitted. "It all happened so quickly."
"Well, then how do we know that ANYTHING happened
at ALL?" shot Harriet, stomping along behind the red Ixi. She was in a rather
bad mood because Jay wouldn't let her bring her Usuki Dreamland Resort playset,
insisting that the extra 250 pounds it weighed "might slow us down a bit."
"Just because I don't remember much doesn't mean
I don't remember anything!" Rosie retorted.
"Harriet!" Jay said, raising an eyebrow. "Let
Rosie took a deep breath, and glared back at
Harriet. Harriet stuck out her tongue. "Well," began Rosie, "I went to Mystery
Island yesterday to train, and everything was going fine. Then halfway through
my training session, I heard a scream from outside. I rushed outside to see
what was going on, and then I heard it..."
"Heard what?" asked Sebastian, with interest.
"The laughter," Rosie said, visibly shuddering.
"From far away, but it sounded so near. Maniacal, and like fingernails on a
chalkboard. Everybody was running away and screaming, and the trees and buildings
were burning. I think I lost consciousness then, because the next thing I knew,
I was back at Neopia Central. Somebody must have taken me home."
Harriet's eyes were wide with fear. "Sketchy,"
she said softly. "Who do you think it was?"
Rosie shrugged, evoking yet another long session
of silence until the group reached the mainland. The atmosphere was indeed tense.
Trees and plants were black and ashen from being burned the previous night.
Buildings lay in heaps of charred wood. Hardly anybody was to be seen, except
for a few startled-looking refugees, wandering around aimlessly.
"Let's go visit the Tiki-Tack man," Jay said,
ushering them in the direction of the Tiki-Tack man's small store which was,
A small bell jangled happily as the door opened.
The Super Authors filed in, followed by Jay and Spot. The Tiki-Tack man appeared
from a back room. "Hello, familiar people!" he boomed jovially, although his
plastic smile seemed to be a bit more forlorn.
"Good morning, Tiki," answered Jay. "I assume
you know why we are here."
"That I do," Tiki said, frowning through his
mask and sighing deeply. "I wish I could help you."
"You mean you don't know what happened?" Albert
Tiki shook his head, and reached under his desk
to produce six pieces of assorted chocolate fish pops and eye candy. "Help yourselves,"
he said. "Fresh, for the most part."
"I just ate."
"Watching my figure."
"Food on sticks is against my dining etiquette
beliefs and morals."
After everybody's creative excuses not to accept
Tiki's appetizers, Jay continued with his questioning. "Are you sure that you
didn't see anything... suspicious? Anything at all? Any... strange Lennies about...?"
"Positive," Tiki said. "I could take you to the
scene of the crime, though. Perhaps you would get more answers there."
The bell tinkled again overhead as Tiki led the
group of six out into the streets of Mystery Island. At the foot of the Mystery
Island Training Center was an extremely charred crater in the ground. It was
still smoking slightly.
"This is where Rosie was!" breathed Sebastian.
"No wonder she passed out," Harriet said, eying
the crater. It was extremely deep and rocky on the inside. "Looks like the work
of Dr. Sloth, or the Shadow Usul, or the Ghost Lupe, or..."
"That's enough," Jay said. "Spread out a little.
Search for clues. Ask around. And don't you even dare to go that toy store that
I know you had your eyes on, Harriet."
Harriet's ears drooped, and she cast a sullen
glance across the street at the toy shop whose choice window display was Usuki
Paradise Collection. Nevertheless, she started out around the crater, digging
around for clues, dragging her feet in a slightly dejected fashion.
Albert went over to the opposite side of the
crater, where several disgruntled looking Defenders of Neopia were questioning
an Mystery Island native. "Sir, could you- Sir, please... SIR!" yelled the tall
green Lupe to a small island Wocky. He shook his head. "This would be so much
more easy to investigate if we could actually communicate with the natives..."
Albert watched the Wocky rush away in fright.
He ran to catch up with him. "Excuse me?" Albert said, tapping on the Wocky's
The Wocky made a movement to run, but Albert
backed away. "Erm..." he started. "Wait. Hold on!" Grabbing a stick from the
ground, he began to draw pictures in the sand. First he drew a crude picture
of the Mystery Island Training Center, and then he added a large crater in front
of the building. Lastly, he put a large question mark off to the side.
The Wocky had been watching intently. Taking
the stick gently out of Albert's paw, he began to draw a response. First, a
large bonfire, and a shadowy figure behind the flames with large, evil looking
eyes, followed by a picture of what appeared to be an ordinary pencil.
"What?" whispered Albert. He took the stick back,
and drew an arrow pointing to the pencil, and another question mark.
The Wocky nodded vigorously, grabbing the stick
back. A shadow appeared over the drawings in the sand, and the Wocky stopped
drawing, eyes wide.
"Hey, look!" called the green Lupe from the Defenders
of Neopia back to the rest of his fellow Defenders. "This little Chia's gotten
one of them to talk!"
The Wocky bolted into the forest, making the
pictures in the sand disappear. "Thanks a lot," grumbled Albert to the Lupe,
"Hey, no problem, kid!" the Lupe called after
him. "Just doing my civic duty!"
Albert went back to where Rosie, Sebastian, Harriet,
Spot, and Jay were assembled already. "Well?" said Jay. "Did you find anything?"
"I found a couple of interesting rocks," Rosie
"I found a thorn bush," Sebastian said, holding
up a bandaged paw.
"We found the Usuki Boutique," Harriet blushed,
holding up several bulging plastic sacks.
"I found a clue!" Albert chirped.
The others turned to face him. "What is it?"
"Well," Albert said. "I'm pretty sure that this
whole fiasco began over a pencil."
"Right! Now that we've all been assured that
NOBODY found ANYTHING, let's go home!"
"Sebastian!" yelled Jay. "Now is not the time
to be spiteful. Go on, Albert."
Albert took a deep breath, and told the others
the story of his meeting with the island Wocky. He described the pictures in
the sand, and the drawing of the mysterious pencil. He didn't leave out a single
detail, and only stopped when he was totally finished (and quite out of breath).
"Good work, Albert!" Jay cheered. "I suggest
that we go back and visit Tiki, and see if he knows anything about a pencil
at the Mystery Island Training Center."
The six trudged back to the Tiki-Tack man's store,
where Tiki was lounging behind his desk, chewing thoughtfully on a chocolate
"Tiki?" Jay said. "With your... extensive knowledge
about Mystery Island... do you know anything about some sort of a... special
pencil belonging to Mystery Island?"
"Hmm..." Tiki thought outloud, ever gnawing on
his fish pop. "Hmm... I don't know of any pencil. You might check Neopia's archives,
"Are those at the Mystery Island Training Center?"
"Goodness, no!" Tiki laughed heartily. "Us Islanders
were deemed long ago too scatterbrained to take care of the archives. No, the
archives are up at in Faerieland. In a back room of the bookstore."
As Jay ushered the Super Authors out, Sebastian
whispered to Harriet, "Is it just me, or is this becoming routine?"
"Routine? No. Just really, really sketchy."
To be continued...
Oh, that Harriet. You gotta love her! What will the Super Authors and Spot
find in the archives of Neopia? What is the story behind the pencil the Islander
drew in the sand? Not to mention Charlie! All this and more will be answered
in the next thrilling chapter of... The Super Authors and the Chamber of Mysteries!