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Neopia's Fill in the Blank News Source | 28th day of Hunting, Yr 22
The Neopian Times Week 78 > New Series > What Came Before the Number Five

What Came Before the Number Five

by noremac9

Untitled Document

Nothing ever happened. An old argument to be sure, made by youngsters all throughout history, and thought of as a terrible cliché for any writer to so much as jot down on a piece of paper. But nevertheless, an argument not without grounding. That's exactly what a young yellow Lupe, whose name was Arous, was thinking as he set off in search of something interesting. All he wanted was a place with adventure. He was tired of all the peace in his kingdom, and all the boring day-to-day things life presented. All he really wanted was something adventurous, and so he set out to find it. He didn't know what he wanted, nor did that matter to him, because he would know when he had found it. With his trusty staff between his jaws he left his fair kingdom and ran as fast as he could over the seemingly endless grassland.

     He ran until the sun passed far beyond his view, and darkness was everywhere. He made a small bed and slept. The next morning he ran; the next night he slept. He did this for two weeks straight, hardly growing tired, and never longing for home. But it was still three more days before he made his discovery. The plains were changing to soft rolling hills, and it was scarcely an hour before sunset when he saw it. Just over one of the hills was a massive mound of translucent orange. He was unsure of what it was, and almost afraid of the strange sight, but he crept ever closer. On top of the hill he could see down into the city, the city of Jelly. Huge buildings loomed overhead, despite him being on top of the hill. Orange sights were everywhere, a mound of Jelly, and Jelly shop, and a Jelly statue, among many other things. He walked down into the city, wondering if it was some kind of grassland mirage. He poked a Jelly building. He could feel its texture, and he watched as it jiggled from base to roof. I can feel it, he thought, it must not be a dream. He scraped off a small piece of Jelly and ate it, and sure enough, he could taste it. It was almost too much for his mind to comprehend, but things only grew stranger.

     While pondering how all of this could be real, he heard a voice call out behind him.

     "Who are you, Still-Stander?" asked the voice.

     He spun around to see a blue Jelly Blumaroo. It jiggled as it bounced up and down, its Jelly body fluctuating with every bounce it took.

     "Me-e?" Arous asked, almost in shock.

     "Who else would I call a Still-Stander?" the bizarre creature mused.

     He was utterly confused, and the events that followed didn't help much. Many different Jelly pets came bounding in from different places. All of them were different colors (or was it flavors?), and all of them were 100% Jelly. The crowd murmured things about a Still-Stander from a distant land, and a horrible apocalypse about to ensue.

     It was all too much for Arous.

     "WHO ARE YOU? WHAT DO YOU WANT? WHAT DO YOU WANT?" Arous wailed, his eyes darting from one whimsical pet to the next.

     The Blumaroo just looked at him as if he had just asked where the Hidden Tower was.

     "What do you mean? We're just humble pets, and we don't want anything from you," he said, jiggling as he bounced up and down.

     Arous nervously glanced at each approaching pet, just sure they would turn him into Jelly, too.

     "Well, well I," he stammered, "I'm from far away and I, I... Um, I'm not used to this sort of thing with the, eh, ya' know, Jelly and all. Um, so, ya' know, it's kind of a shock to um...."

     "See a Non-Still-Stander?" the Blumaroo cut in.

     "Why do you keep calling me that?" Arous demanded, but felt rather foolish as he watched all the pets jiggle and wobble. "Oh... that's why," he corrected himself.

     "Yes, that is why," laughed a red jelly Wocky.

     "Well, are we going to leave him standing there, or shall we show him the hospitality of our fair kingdom?" called the food shopkeeper, a green Jelly Kacheek.

     The crowd agreed and lifted Arous, the Still-Stander from a distant land, upon their shoulders. They carried him into the main part of town, and the festivities began. They ate with him, held a toast with him, raced, danced, and did all kinds of other festive activities. Arous was in a sort of bliss-like state, surrounded by new friends that could only have come from an untamed imagination.

     A week passed by, and the festival of the Still-Stander was finally settling down. From what Arous had observed, the inhabitants of this Jelly world were completely carefree. They lived a simple life, and would begin a festival at any chance they could think of. Arous loved it there. Everyday was exciting. They always had something planned. He had found what he was looking for, and he was ready to go home. Not forever - oh no - he'd be back to Jelly land soon. But first he had to tell everyone about it, he had to gather all his things and make plans to move.

     He bade the whimsical race of jelly pets a fond farewell, and immediately started back for home. He ran as fast as he could for as long as he could every day, his staff clenched between his jaws like it always was when he ran. Instead of two weeks, it only took him a week and a half, which was amazing time over the grasslands. He had been gone a little over a month, and it just so happened that this had been the most change filled month for his kingdom. Ever.

     As he drew closer to the city, he could hear a collective moan flowing out of the barred gates. A wailing, crying sound poured fourth from inside the walls. He approached it with great caution, since his kingdom had always been peaceful and without great pain. He came to the gates and called to the guard, who was looking pale and distraught. The watchmen hardly nodded, and opened the gate slowly. Arous walked through the gate and saw what everyone was ailing about: The Orb was gone. He was shocked, beyond description. And that wasn't the only reason everyone was so upset. Boils, diseases, and all other sorts of blemishes were appearing on everyone. Even though the Orb was stolen a mere two weeks before, crops were already showing slight symptoms of blight. Everything about their kingdom was ailed with some new trouble, and no one thing or one pet escaped it. No pets accept Arous, that is. They looked at him curiously as he walked in to the center part of the city. He looked at him even more curiously, for they were the ones who had changed.

     "Arous?" asked Initor the Nimmo, one of his good friends.

     Arous looked at him closely. The Nimmo's skin wasn't its usual green. Although it still had some green, most of it was covered with a darker, blacker green. It was like thick black crust all over his body, but some of his normal skin still shone through. His eyes didn't look like they should've, either. They were beginning to have a slight red tint to their hue, something that made him look rather devious.

     "Initor?" gasped Arous, his jaw literally hanging open.

     "Yes, it's me..." his good friend sighed, "We've begun to change, ever since they stole the Orb."

     Arous was really starting to wonder who they were. When he asked Initor, his friend simply opened up his right hand. In it was a seal that Arous had never seen before. Initor handed it to him and gave him a moment to analyze it. On it was a large shield and a crown, with the words "MERIDELL" inscribed across the wax.

     "Meridell? Where in Neopia is that?" Arous asked, still holding the wax seal in his paw.

     "I don't know," whined Initor, "but they came and took our Orb. They were mighty knights, and we had no idea they were coming, but somehow they knew we had the Orb. They were gone as soon as they came, and they took our fair Orb with them. One of them dropped this, and I found it in the grass. I'll always keep it, just to remember this horrible day." "Yes, always keep it," agreed Arous, handing back the seal to Initor, "why is everyone so sickly looking?"

     Initor frowned. "I don't know, Arous, merely days after it was gone this began to happen. One by one we began deforming. Some of us to a lesser degree than others, and some were merely sick, but one by one it happened. And then it got worse. We began to darken, our eyes turning redder and our skin to strange hues. I don't know why, I don't know how, but it happened."

     Arous looked at his own fur. Totally normal, no change at all.

     "But, I, I'm totally normal. Nothings happening to me, and I feel fine." Arous said, actually sounding worried.

     "You were the only one gone," the Nimmo muttered, jealous of the Lupe's good fortune.

     Gone? Oh yes, gone! Thought Arous, remembering the trip he had only just arrived home from.

     "I must tell you of my journey!" he shouted, his old self rushing back, "it was incredible! I found a land made of Jelly, pure Jelly! Orange Jelly, too! And there was a wonderful festival, oh the festival! It was called the festival of the Still-stander, in my honor! My honor! Not bad, eh? And all the pets were made from Jelly, a-"

     "What?" Initor interrupted, "what are you talking about? Look, I know it's a shock, but please keep your sanity. What did you REALLY do on your excursion?"

     "But, but that is what I did. I found a Jelly World-- a Jelly City!" Arous exclaimed.

     Initor stared at him in awe, trying to figure out what had snapped in his friend's mind. Arous could see he was looking at him with a look that said "Psycho!", and tried to make the Nimmo understand.

     "Initor, hear me! I can take you there, we can go together! Then you'll see the Jelly too, y-"

     "Let's get you inside, I think it's getting too cold for you. And, eh, maybe long distance running shouldn't be tried alone next time, 'kay, Arous?" his friend cut him off again, honestly trying to help.

     "But, I di-" Arous started.

     "Listen to me, Arous. Do you want to be locked up, do you want to be declared a lunatic? I didn't think so. Maybe it is real, maybe you did see it all, but try explaining that to everyone else. Just calm down and settle in to normal life, forget about Jelly Central." Initor interrupted the final time.

     Arous nodded. He would have to keep these things to himself...

To be continued...

Previous Episodes

What Came Before the Number Five: Part Two

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