One Strawberry Short of Jam
"You know, I wish they'd get better lyrics to this theme
song…" Digger said as they flew across the Neopian map, leaving a trail of dotted
red lines from Faerieland to Mystery Island.
"At least "Jub jub jub jub, jub jub jub, jub
jub jub jub! Jub jub jub jub jub!" is easy to memorize," Jubby said pragmatically.
"But they could have included ME in there somewhere!"
Digger protested, just about the time their red line express was touching down
on the balmy beaches of Mystery Island.
"Digger didn't fit," Jubby explained. "Anyway,
we're here. You won't have to hear it again unless we have to hop back on the
Redline and go somewhere else."
With a reluctant sigh, Digger followed his master
out into the tropical breeze. If he'd been in a better mood, the downtrodden
Doglefox would have enjoyed the warm sands, cool waters, swaying palms and hula-Aishas.
As it was, he moped along behind Jubby on the long trek to the Island Mystic's
"Wow they've really changed this place since
we were here last, huh Digger?" Jubby commented as they passed the Mystery Island
Chef. "Guess the poor Maraquan refugees had to go somewhere."
It was a weary way past the Trading Post, the
Arena, the new Haiku Generator, and all the wonders that the western shores
of Mystery Island had to offer. Jubby could feel Pango Pango smiling down on
them as they approached the Mystic's lonely hut. This place gave him a peaceful
feeling…at least it would if the Mystic wasn't a few thornberries short of a
cone. At least by the time they were wiping their feet on the Mystic's bamboo
doormat Digger had forgotten to be upset over his exclusion from the Indiana
Jub Theme Song.
Jubby knocked quietly, only half expecting an
answer. The rickety door creaked open, revealing the shadowy interior. With
a sigh and a roll of his eyes, Jubby walked into the hut. Digger followed very
close behind, but more to use Jubby as a shield than for any sense of loyalty.
"You will be mocked most cruelly by a Dark Faerie,"
a crackling old voice said from somewhere in the shadows.
"Too late," Jubby sighed.
"Zenana! You should have come earlier for your
"Um…" Jubby was hesitant to spend any more of
the crackpot's time, but he knew deep down that he just had to suck it up, and
do his best! "Actually, we were hoping you might know about something."
"Something? The Island Mystic knows EVERYTHING!"
the crackly voice said. In the background, there was a thud and a crash, as
if someone had made a dramatic arm-movement…and knocked over the lamp.
"Do you know about the Wooden Spoon?" Digger
piped up. For once, Jubby was grateful that his sidekick couldn't seem to keep
his mouth shut. For one thing, the Doglefox's voice just wasn't loud enough
to trigger the bellowing background music.
"Ahhhh…" the Mystic said. "The Spoon of Esmeredna…"
The shadowy room began to fill with swirling
lights and white smoke, and surreal music filled the air. Jubby, who had been
braced for another earth-shattering blare, sunk with relief to the dirt floor
of the hut. Digger curled up next to him, and they both prepared to digest whatever
riddle the Mystic was about to put forth.
"The Spoon of Esmeredna the Enchantress…" the
Mystic said again. "In days long past, before the birth of Shoyrus or Mynciis
or Meercas, when much of Neopia was uncharted and wild, even this Island, and
unknown to those outside, there lived the greatest magic user that has ever
been. She was greater than Edna, her extremely great grand daughter, greater
than Kauvara, who found her recipe book, greater than the Snow Faerie even.
And she had a spoon. At first it was an ordinary spoon, carved from a tree branch
in the Haunted Woods. It even had a matching spatula and pair of salad tongs.
But she used this spoon in all her magic potions. Every time she needed to stir
something, every time her magic brews needed to be disturbed a bit, she used
that spoon. It soaked up, as wooden spoons will, bits of the potions it stirred.
But over time, Esmeredna discovered that it was picking up bits of her magic
as well. Eventually it became her most powerful magic tool. So powerful it could
make the ground quake, the streams boil, the trees run away with their skirts
pulled to their knees…."
Jubby knew that if he didn't stop the Mystic,
and SOON, that the bone-wearing old fool would go on for hours, and probably
forget the original question. So, with a deep breath and a lot of courage, he
asked "What happened to Esmeredna, and her spoon?"
The Mystic stopped in mid-ramble, and sat in
silence for a few minutes. Jubby was about to see if he'd fallen asleep, when
suddenly the Mystic said "I don't know what happened to Esmeredna or her Spoon…why
are you asking me anyway? Go ask her extremely great grand daughter, and stop
bothering me before I make jam out of you!"
The surreal music stopped abruptly, and the
hut went shadowy once again. Not wanting to risk the wrath of another person
that day, Jubby and Digger ran for it.
"You know," Digger said as they ran back to
the redline express "I don't think he liked being interrupted…"
"You know," Jubby replied "I don't like being
bored to death, or threatened with jamification!"
Both of them were very glad to be safely aboard
the redline, even though Digger was still miffed about the Theme Song. They
took off once again and began the long redline leaving trek across the Neopian
Sea. Digger turned to Jubby, a question on his mind.
"Jubby, where exactly are we going?"
"Isn't it obvious? As much as I hate to take
the old crackpot's advice, he's right."
"About turning you into jam?"
Jubby shot his sidekick another glare, which
by this narrator's count is the third since Sakhmet. "No grackle brain! About…
oh, never mind… you'll find out when we get there."
To be continued...