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A Noteworthy Adventure: Part Two

by cosmicfire918


Before I got very far, I noticed that after about fifty feet, the trail began to slope downwards, out of sight. My antennae perked up in curiosity, but my legs didn't feel like running, so I continued at a leisurely pace, my Sludgy following. The sun began to dip below the horizon, casting an orange light on the fields, but I still couldn't see any sign of civilization. It wasn't until daylight was only a light glow behind me that Gai and I rounded a small hill and saw a cluster of lights. By that time, my legs were screaming for rest, but I just kept telling them that we had to get to a safe place to sleep.

     As I neared the lights, I could see that they came from a large city with a tall stone wall surrounding it. The buildings in the city were built like those in Brightvale, stone and wood with roofs of thatched straw. However, they were sadly lacking those beautiful stained-glass windows. Rising above them all was a white castle. It wasn't as large as Meridell Castle, but it was still pretty impressive. I got closer, and I could read the slowly swinging wooden sign above the city gate: "Kingdom of Vysalia."

     "Halt, stranger," a gruff voice suddenly said. I stopped in my tracks as a lantern was lit next to the gate, revealing a stern-looking Desert Shoyru and Island Lupe, both wearing armor and holding spears. "What business do you have with the kingdom of Vysalia?" the Shoyru asked me, tightening his grip on his spear.

     I thought it wise not to show them the book. "I am just a traveler, seeking lodging for the night…" I started to say, but suddenly the Lupe grabbed me and pulled my Sun Staff out of my grip, tossing it onto the dirt ground. I struggled to free myself, but the Lupe was several feet taller than I and hadn't been walking for ten hours. Gai started to ooze toward my staff, but the Shoyru plucked it from the ground and eyed it greedily.

     "Lord Gavlet does not welcome strangers," the Lupe hissed into my antenna menacingly.

     "He knows too much!" the Shoyru declared. "To the dungeons with him!"

     The Lupe picked me up and carried me inside the gates, the Shoyru following. Twisting and turning, I managed to punch the Lupe's arms and chest a few times, but his heavy armor deflected my tired blows. Realizing my efforts were futile, I contented myself with getting to know the city. It looked like a typical Meridellian village, but I found it strange that the gate guards were painted so…expensively. Suddenly, I noticed a shadowy figure step out of an alleyway. Before I could even think anything, I heard a whizzing sound, then a loud pinging sound, and then the Lupe guard dropped to the ground, out cold. I climbed out of his heavy arms and turned around just in time to see the Shoyru stumble to the ground, my staff falling out of his paw and clattering on the cobblestones. Quickly, I picked it up, and observed that both guards had small round dents in their helmets. Moreover, the dents were sparking with what I immediately identified as magic.

     I clutched my staff apprehensively and peered into the darkness, not sure what to expect from whatever had saved me. Gai, who had been faithfully following the guards and I through the city, approached me and stared at the shadowy figure while creating a puddle of sludge on the street. Out of the shadows stepped a creature I never would have expected in a million years-a Royal Girl Quiggle, staring suspiciously at me, and carrying a Faerie Slingshot. Suddenly, overwhelmed by fatigue and excitement, I dropped to the ground. The last thing I remembered was being carried somewhere…

     I woke up in a small wooden bed not unlike my own, sunlight streaming into my eyes. Rolling over, I could see Gai asleep on a chair by the bed, looking like someone had scooped up a handful of muck from a swamp and dumped it onto the chair. The memories of my journey flooded back to me, and I wondered if it had just been one weird dream. Looking around the room, however, I could see that I definitely wasn't home. Rare plushies and Battledome weapons sat on shelves lining the walls, and the furniture was high-class.

     Suddenly, the door opened, and the Quiggle who had saved me the night before stepped into the room, carrying my book. She seemed to be about my age, but was taller than me (most Neopets are). "You're Dark_breed_Hyren, aren't you?" she asked. I nodded. "You traveled here from Neopia Central, right?"

     I nodded again, but stopped in surprise. "Wait, how did you know that?" I implored.

     She tapped the book. "I skimmed this last night. In the middle of the book you wrote about your trip and drew a picture."

     Climbing out of the bed, I motioned for her to give the book to me. "I didn't write or draw anything; the book did it by itself somehow and the compass on the front led me here…"

     She looked at me funny. "You expect me to believe that?"

     I began to feel angry. "Look, it points southeast!" I said, gesturing to the compass on the front of the book, but something looked off…

     "No, it's pointing north, just like any proper compass would!" the Quiggle snapped. I stepped back in shock when I saw she was right. "So just tell me what you're doing here!"

     I felt like screaming that I wasn't lying, but I knew I had to control myself. I took a deep breath and spoke in a calm voice. "Listen, I don't know exactly what's going on, but I'm telling the truth. You can choose to believe me or not, but I know what happened to me was real."

     Her expression softened. "I'm sorry…I didn't mean anything by it. I guess I should just be glad you're not working for Gavlet." She handed the book back to me and extended her white-gloved hand. "I'm Lilis. It's a pleasure to meet you, Dark_breed_Hyren."

     I shook her hand. "You can call me Hyren, everyone else does. Who's Gavlet? I think one of the guards mentioned him last night."

     Lilis shuddered. "He's the current ruler of Vysalia. He used to be a high-ranking lord, but he headed a conspiracy to overthrow the king, and now he's taking all of Vysalia's money and using it on himself."

     "What injustice! I have to stop him!" I proclaimed. "Where's my Sun Staff?" I started to walk out of the room, but Lilis held me back.

     "Hold on a second," she commanded. "I helped you last night and now I would like you to repay the favor." She looked me in the eyes. "A few days ago, my friend Chaser got captured by Gavlet's soldiers. They're keeping him in the castle dungeon. I've tried to rescue him, but security is too tight. You look strong-I need your help breaking in."

     "Can do," I replied. Just then, a thought that had been tugging at the back of my mind managed to surface. How did Lilis know about my trip? I wondered. I opened the book to the new story-my story, and gasped. The writing now took up the next couple of pages. It told about my journey across the fields, my encounter with the guards, and even Lilis's and my conversation just minutes before. I turned back to the first page. In the picture there was now a Royal Girl Quiggle wielding a Faerie Slingshot next to Gai and I, and the two gate guards ran across the bottom border yelling angrily. I blinked and shut the book, putting it back into my backpack before pulling it on and grabbing my Sun Staff.

     As we walked through the streets, past vendors selling fresh fruit and young Neopets playing, I couldn't help but notice that every single one of them were painted an expensive color, like Royal, Faerie, Darigan, and even the occasional Usuki Usul or Quiguki Quiggle. Lilis must have noticed my gawking, because she giggled. "I bet you're wondering why we're all painted." I nodded. "You see, our kingdom trades goods directly with Faerieland, so we are one of the most prosperous areas of Neopia. There is no discontent or poverty here," the Quiggle girl explained. "Or, rather, there used to be…" She pulled me aside, away from the main road, and whispered in my antenna, "Ever since Gavlet took the throne, the residents of the kingdom have been losing money. If this keeps up, we'll all be like those Meridellians who live in rags and count potatoes for fun!" I nodded in understanding, and we continued to the castle.

     When we got to the massive stone structure, I quickly noted the presence of guards stationed at every conceivable entrance, even the ground-level windows. "Paranoid guy, isn't he?" I quipped.

     Lilis, however, seemed to be preoccupied with wading through a thick clump of bushes near one of the massive side walls of the castle. Curious, I followed her as she pulled some branches aside to reveal a wooden door in the ground. "This is one of the secret escape passages from the castle, built long ago by the first Vysalian king when our kingdom still involved itself in wars with the outside world."

     "How did you know about this?" I asked.

     "Chaser and I found it when we were young, while playing around the castle." Lilis grabbed the thick iron ring attached to the door, and pulled. It creaked upward, revealing a square hole with stone steps leading down into the darkness. "Now hurry, before the guards notice us," she urged. I carefully stepped down the stairs, trying not to slip and fall on the moss coating some of them. "Keep your hand on the wall," Lilis instructed me. Reasoning that it was a good idea to help keep my balance, I stuck my right hand on the wall and continued downward. Soon, I realized why she had said that. After she had descended far enough, she closed the door behind us, and it was completely black.

     "How much farther?" I whispered.

     "Not much, the dungeons aren't THAT far underground."

     Sure enough, after a few more seconds of descent, I stuck my foot down expecting another step, but instead got that jolt as it hit stone at the same level as my other foot. I looked around, but still couldn't see a thing. "How are we going to find Chaser?" I asked Lilis in a hushed voice, trying to be as quiet as I could, but the phrase echoed back at me time and time again from the damp walls. I tensed, expecting guards to come after me, but when the only thing I could hear was Lilis's Quiggle feet slapping against the cold stone, I relaxed. "Aren't there any guards down here?" I asked her.

     "Guess not," she replied. "HEY CHASER!" she yelled, causing me to cringe and my antennae to clamp themselves against the back of my head in an attempt to block the sound out.

     Suddenly, an electric feeling ran through the air and I could hear a faint hum, similar to what happens when you turn on a QX-92 Neutrino Blaster. Then, I stepped back in surprise and uttered a yell of shock. Floating in front of me were two red, glowing eyes. They blinked twice, but it was a jerky motion, and suddenly they rotated a few degrees, like whatever they belonged to was cocking its head. I gripped my Sun Staff tightly and quickly used my Magic Torch ability to create a flame in the air, so I could see what was staring at me. When the fire had reached its full intensity, lighting the entire dungeon up, I took another step back in surprise, because standing in front of me was…a Faerie Kougra. It cocked its head again and blinked at me, its tail swishing back and forth in an oddly mechanical motion.

     "Chaser, there you are!" Lilis cried, running forward and encircling the Kougra's fluffy purple neck in a huge hug.

     The Kougra looked down at his friend and started purring, his eyes occasionally sending out a red flash of light. "Good day, Lilis," he said in a monotone voice. "Thank you for coming to extract me from this location."

     I looked at the Kougra, wide-eyed. Something about his mannerisms and motions reminded me of something…a certain type of Neopet… "Is that a robot?" I asked Lilis.

     Lilis shook her head, a smile on her face. "Actually, he was a Robot Kougra for most of his life, but I got him a Faerie Paint Brush for his birthday recently. He's still getting used to owning an organic body. I still haven't figured out how he kept the glowing-eye thing, though…"

     Chaser was now sitting on the dungeon floor, tail thumping excitedly and wings opening and closing rhythmically. "Unknown organism detected. Request for scan," he said in the same robotic voice.

     "Uh…okay," I said, not exactly sure what was going on.

     "Scan permission positive. Now scanning." The Kougra's eyes started to glow red again, and he looked me up and down, but then he started to look agitated, and his eyes stopped glowing. "Scanners malfunctioning. Lilis, I require information concerning my scanners," he requested of his friend.

     Lilis started to chuckle. "Well, Chaser, I hate to break it to you, but organic beings don't exactly have scanners."

     Chaser blinked again, taking in the bad news. "How will I obtain data, Lilis?" His voice had a slight, suddenly emotional tone of worry, although it still sounded mechanical.

     "That's what eyes, ears, noses, tongues, and paws are for," Lilis gently explained.

     Chaser turned to me again, this time looking at me without the glowing eyes, and sniffing the air. "Subject identified. Blue Grundo. Request for identity."

     "Um…Dark_breed_Hyren, but you can call me Hyren," I replied, slowly getting used to this strange Kougra.

     Lilis looked around the dungeon. "Hey Chaser, aren't you supposed to be in one of these cells?"

     "Affirmative, Lilis. I felt it was necessary to breach security." Chaser pointed with one claw to a cell where the bars had been ripped from the ceiling and floor, bent like they were strands of wet pasta, and partially melted. Parts of the walls of the cell had been scorched, too.

     I gulped. "He's POWERFUL," I said in awe.

     Lilis nodded. "Good thing he's on our side, huh?" She held out her Faerie Slingshot. "Now, let's go defeat Gavlet and save the King!" she shouted.

     The three of us carefully (well, actually, not-so-carefully, we now owe the King a new dungeon door…) made our way to the first floor of the castle. Surprisingly enough, the only Neopets I could see were servants. "Don't worry, these guys used to work for the King and now they have to serve Gavlet, so they can help us," Lilis explained to me.

     Sure enough, an Island Acara maidservant rushed toward us, a big smile on her face. "Lilis, Chaser! It's so nice to see you! Are you going to do something about Gavlet?" she inquired, looking up at the two and wringing the hem of her apron.

     "You bet," Lilis said, giving her a thumbs-up. Chaser nodded jerkily and smiled.

     The Acara pulled a few Healing Potions from her pockets and gave them to us. "May the Faeries guide you," she said as we thanked her and hurried toward the throne room.

     As we stepped into the lofty, sunlit hall leading to the throne room, our toes/paws almost sinking into the luxurious velvet carpet underneath our feet, Lilis stopped cold, sticking her arms out to prevent us from going any further. Without a word, she motioned to the huge wooden doors at the other end of the hall. Standing on either side of them were pets in heavy armor, wearing black feathers on their helmets. One was a Pirate Eyrie holding a spear, and the other was a Jelly Kacheek brandishing a rather large sword.

     "Think they've noticed us?" I asked, a bit too late, as the two were obviously staring right at us.

     To my surprise, they opened the tall doors. "Lord Gavlet's been waiting for you three," the Kacheek snarled, a nasty grin plastered on its translucent green face.

     "Come on in," the Eyrie added, idly sharpening the tip of his spear on the stone wall.

To be continued...

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» A Noteworthy Adventure: Part One
» A Noteworthy Adventure: Part Three

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