When the theme song wound down, and the redline hit
the ground, Jubby let out a sigh. He didn't want to go back here… back to the
heat, the sand, the heat, the inedible food, the heat, but he knew he had no
choice. He turned to his dozing Doglefox, and gave the basket a little nudge.
"Wake up, Sleeping Furry. We're here," he said.
Digger yawned, stretched and wiggled his toes
before replying. "Huh? Where are we?"
"Somewhere south of Sakhmet and west of the
Digger groaned. "Oh no… not the Lost Desert
again! I just got cooled off from the last time!"
"Well, the longer you stand here griping, the
longer we have to SPEND here. Come on."
Reluctantly, Digger followed our hero out into
the blistering Desert sun. It took longer to get from the former War Tent to
Osiris Pottery than it might have. Digger insisted on resting in the shade of
every tent and palm tree they passed, though these long rests were counteracted
by bursts of speed as Jubby ran across the sand to prevent his feet from getting
Finally, sweaty, dusty and too hot for words,
Digger and Jubby entered the well-appointed tent of Osiris Pottery. The lovely
Aisha with the astounding curly locks looked up from her work, and smiled. Hot,
dusty and sweaty were usually how people entered her shop, after all.
"What can I do for you today?" she asked.
"We… are looking for something rather special,"
Jubby replied nervously. There were no other customers, but something warned
him to be careful.
"Canopic jars, serving platters, urns, salad
bowls?" the lovely sales-Aisha asked, preparing to reach into the inventory
and get out whatever her customers wanted.
"Um… no… we need… the wooden spoon," Jubby told
her. He leaned in close and whispered… hoping she knew what he was talking about
even without the emphatic speech and sudden background music.
The Aisha seemed to think carefully. "I'm sorry…
we don't carry utensils here. Perhaps… you could buy one from the Chef on Mystery
"But the Esophagor said it was here!" Digger
cried. He felt a wave of desperation. He'd been dragged out of a perfectly good
dream, again, and forced to run across the most forsaken portion of Neopian
soil… all to be told that they didn't carry spoons!
The Aisha raised her eyebrows, and looked down
at Digger curiously. "What… exactly… did the Esophagor say?" she asked.
Digger began to shiver with fear at the memory
of some of the things the Esophagor had said. "Doglefox on rye!" he cried, scrambling
back up under Jubby's hat.
Jubby shook his head in a combination of exasperation
and sympathy for his sidekick. "You know I'd never let him eat you," he reassured.
Digger only whimpered under the hat.
"What… else did the Esophagor say?" the sales-Aisha
asked, a bit taken aback by Digger's sudden fit of angst.
"He said that the Spoon is with the crocks,"
"Well there's your problem right there," the
Aisha replied, her tone growing suddenly cold. "I don't SELL 'crocks'. I sell
fine handcrafted pottery. There is a difference!"
Jubby blinked, not entirely sure what to say
to that. Finally, after an uncomfortable silence, he ventured "Uh… where do
they sell crocks?"
The Sales Aisha snorted and tossed her head haughtily
before honoring them with her speech. "Try Tyrannia; I think I heard something
once about crocks." She said, her tone icy as the Snowager's belly. "Or with
those filthy peasants in Meridell! I'm sure they'll have whatever gauche, primitive
thing you're looking for."
With a sigh and a slight (but logistically difficult)
tip of his hat, Jubby exited the artistic Aisha's tent. Since Digger was still
hiding under his hat, he made the run back to the Redline in far less time.
After prying the petrified petpet from his head again, Jubby settled down for
a nap of his own after the exercise of two long runs, and the stress of being
snobbed at. When he woke, the Redline was resting in a green, lush valley, far
different from the Lost Desert.
Digger was staring out the window, his tail wagging
excitedly. "Finally, someplace I can relate to!" he said, giving Jubby a long-tongued
Doglefox grin. Then he seemed to remember something, and looked confused. "But…why
are we here instead of Meridell? I KNOW they eat that gruel stuff with wooden
"Well… the place is really a mess right now,"
Jubby confessed. "And old King Skarl's sort of upset at me about telling Lord
Darigan that I'd seen his orb in Meridell Castle."
Digger nodded sagely. "Well it's all for the
best anyway! This is the only place in Neopia where pets can be free in their
natural state, romp in the jungle, sun in the plateau, munch free Omelette…
and listen to great music!"
"I didn't know you've been here before Digger,"
Jubby mused as he walked into the green Tyrannian Jungle.
"Nah I haven't. But my cousin Dugga lives here.
He writes me letters all the time."
"So THAT"s why we keep getting stone tablets
with pictures in the mail."
"Yup that's Dugga for you."
"Does this mean… you speak Tyrannian?"
"Of course! I have to be some use in this adventure,
"Okay, useful guy, where do you think we should
Digger paused for a moment, and put his paw to
his chin in a thoughtful pose.
"Well… I'm thinking they probably put FOOD in
crocks… so maybe at the Tyrannian food shop?"
Jubby shrugged the fur where his shoulders might
have been, and started off across the Jungle, past a dark cave, the dismal Wheel
of Mediocrity, and a Grarrl calling Keno numbers. The Tyrannian Food shop was
an imposing Chomby-shaped building with stairs leading up into the shop. Digger
happily leapt up the stairs, leaving Jubby to follow.
By the time he got to the top, huffing and puffing
from the long, steep stairway, Digger was chewing on a Nerkin leg. Jubby hardly
noticed; he was too busy staring at the rest of the shop! Oozing, wiggling things,
strange plants and bizarre cuts of raw meat…it was almost more than his stomach
"Don't they cook anything in this world?" he
"Sure, just not here. The villagers cook it
when they get home. Well… except for this great Nerkin leg. They always cook
those," Digger replied.
"Well… while you were ordering a snack," Jubby
said dryly, "did you ask about the spoon?"
Digger blinked, and swallowed the bite of meat
he had been chewing. "Uh…" he admitted "not yet."
Jubby sighed in exasperation, and looked down
at his peckish petpet. "Well… I suggest you forego the rest of your meal… and
Digger approached the shopkeeper with his head
hung low. "Ugga-ug ugg uggh?" he asked.
"Uggh-nuhh-guuh-uh!" the shopkeeper replied.
"Uggga nug ugg guuh?"
With that, Digger turned back to a very confused
"So what did he say?" Jubby asked.
"He said that the only crocks he knew about
were at the Tyrannian Petpet shop," Digger replied with a shrug.
"Petpet?" Jubby mused. "You don't suppose they
keep THEM in crocks, do you?"
Digger shrugged once more. "Dugga never mentioned
it, but maybe some of them are really mean and need to be isolated."
With that in mind, they trudged back across the
Jungle. Jubby was beginning to have his doubts about this place. Sure, it was
green and lush, and not as hot as the Lost Desert… but the humidity was getting
to him. He felt sure he was going to end up with some fur-related disease from
being constantly sweaty. It wasn't too long, however, before they reached the
Jubby was no stranger to the wonder and insanity
of a petpet shop. He had, in fact, bought Digger from the Neopia Central petpet
boutique. But the sheer variety and strangeness of the petpets that surrounded
the cheery Elephante, and the fact that a good half of them resembled things
he'd seen at the Food Shop, had our hero more than a little shaken. Digger,
on the other hand, seemed to be in heaven. With a cheerful bark and a wiggle
of his tail, Digger wriggled his way into the shopkeeper's "petting zone".
"Ugga-ugg unnh!" the Elephante said.
Digger looked up and said, "Unngh Ugga Dugga!"
"Dugga! Guhh nuhh ugggh!" the Elephante said
with a smile.
"Ask him about the spoon!!" Jubby hissed.
"Ugga-ug ugg uggh?" Digger asked obediently.
"Uggh-nuhh-guuh-uh," the shopkeeper replied,
just as the last one had.
Digger's little eyebrows knitted, and for a moment
he seemed deep in thought. Finally he asked, "Unn-uggh-uggah-nuggh?".
"Uggah! Nuuh-nuuh! Krawk!" the Shopkeeper said,
pulling out a funny little lizard.
"What did he say?" Jubby asked. "And what did
"Well… I asked him if he had a wooden spoon.
He said no. I thought about it, and remembered Dugga saying something about
crocks too. So I asked him if he had any crocks… and…well… there it is."
"That's a crock?" Jubby asked. He was utterly
"Nuuh. KRAWK," the shopkeeper corrected.
"Isn't that what I said?" Jubby asked Digger,
a little nervously.
"Well… it seems this krawk is pronounced with
a short-a and a 'W' sound instead of with the short o sound. That Esophagor
needs speech therapy."
Jubby nodded in agreement. "So what does that
thing have to do with the Wooden Spoon?" Jubby mused. He paused, tapping his
toes on the floor as he thought. Finally, he looked up and really wished he
had fingers to snap. "The Esophagor said it was with the "Krawks"…plural. I
wonder if there's a place where a bunch of these things run wild?"
Digger shrugged. I'll ask the shopkeeper. He
turned to the Elephante and said "Krawk unngh nugga wugga guh bugga?"
The Elephante petted the krawk that was resting
in his paws. The little creature seemed excited at Digger's mention of a place
where Krawks roam free. The Elephante leaned forward and whispered "Bugga unngh
Digger thanked the Elephante with a long string
of Tyrannian grunts, and turned to Jubby. "Let's go," he said.
"Hey, that's my line!" Jubby protested. "And
where are we going?"
"Duh, back to the redline."
Digger headed out the door with no further explanation.
As he sauntered down the path back to the Redline, Jubby jumped in front of
"Getting a little big for your collar, aren't
you Digger?" Jubby said.
Digger sighed and put his head down. "I… just
want to be the hero for once," he said with a whimper. "Is that so wrong?"
Jubby sat down next to his loyal sidekick, and
snuggled up. "Digger… you are a hero," he said, leaning down to give Digger
a kiss on top of his little head.
"But… you're the one with the theme song, you're
the one that Fyora calls, you're the one with the spiffy hat and the bag of
stuff. I'm… just your petpet."
"That's not true Digger. I couldn't do what
I do without you. Remember the time in The Temple of Boom where I was being
suspended in a French fry basket over a giant vat of hot oil? Who unplugged
the burner and saved me?"
Digger looked up and said shyly "I did."
"And who helped me wash all that oil out of
my fur after the adventure was over?"
"And who jimmied open the back door when I locked
us out of our NeoHome?"
Digger grinned, "I did. Thanks Jubby, you made
me feel a lot better."
"Good," Jubby replied with a smile. "Now where
are we going…besides back to the Redline?"
"Krawk Island," Digger said. "It's where the
Elephante said all the Tyrannian Krawks ran to escape larger predators." Jubby
sighed. "If we must, we must. But one condition…"
"Not still worried about that Deckswabber incident?"
"How was I to know it was a BOY Blumaroo? Only
girls wear earrings where I come from!" Jubby said plaintively.
Digger held back any comment. He realized that,
hero or sidekick, everyone has to mess up sometime. Together hero and sidekick
headed for the Redline, and on to Krawk Island.
To be continued...