Battle Quills... ready! Circulation: 155,374,126 Issue: 208 | 16th day of Gathering, Y7
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When the Ghosts Come Out: Part Three

by lavendergoddess79


After running through the complete darkness and pouring rain for what seemed like forever, Princess had to stop to catch her breath. She tried to call out to the other pets to wait for her, but she could hardly manage to whisper. In only a moment she had regained the energy to run, but even just one moment had been too long. As she heard a roar of thunder, a bolt of lightning flashed in front of Princess. In that brief second that the lightning bolt illuminated the woods, Princess found that Devil, Angel, and Red were nowhere in sight. She didn't keep up with them and now she was lost.

      Princess wasn't sure what to do. Maybe if she kept running in the same direction, she would catch up to them. Yes, she decided. That was the thing to do. But as she looked around her, she wasn't even sure which direction she had been going in.

      "Devil!? Angel!? Red?" She called out the names of her cousins into the storm, hoping they would hear her. Her cries were returned with silence. The only noises Princess could hear were that of the wind and rain. She didn't know what to do.

      Princess stood still for a moment, thinking. She wondered if her cousins would notice that she wasn't with them. If so, would they come back for her? Would they be able to find her? She vaguely remembered once being told to stay where she was if she was ever lost. But would anyone ever find her out here? Should she just pick a direction and run in it? At least that way she would eventually get somewhere. Or would she? After all, these woods were very big.

      As these thoughts raced through Princess's mind, she never realized that she wasn't alone. In fact, the thing that had been watching her ever since nightfall saw that she was too wrapped up in her thoughts to notice it, and began to slowly approach her.

      Princess decided that she would start to run. Any direction would be fine. So she ran. The thing that was behind her did not expect this, so Princess had a head start, though she couldn't have known it. However, Princess was not as fast as what was chasing her, and it soon caught up to her.

      Princess felt an eerie chill as something touched her shoulder. She shook, and stopped running. Perhaps had just been the wind, or a branch from a tree, but something told her it wasn't. She didn't want to turn around, but she knew she had to. Slowly, she moved her head just enough to see that someone or something was standing behind her. She backed away, trying not to scream. Then there was a flash of lightning, brightening the scene enough that Princess could recognize the figure. She was relieved to see the Halloween Aisha in front of her- it was only Red.

      "Oh, thank goodness it's you," Princess said, "You see, I thought I was lost and I couldn't find you guys and I could have sworn it was a ghost and… and…" Princess stopped to catch her breath. She had been talking so quickly that it almost made her tired. Red looked around at the trees that surrounded them.

      "Well," he said, "You never know what you might find… out here… at night…" His voice trailed off. Princess started to shiver. Was it getting colder, or was it just her? She wanted them to get out of here before they saw any ghosts.

      "Can we… where are…" Princess found herself unable to word her sentence correctly. She sighed, and began again. "Which way is it to Alicia's neohome?"

      Red pointed to the left. So she had been going the wrong way. It was a good thing that he had found her, or she might never have made it back. Princess wondered where Angel and Devil were.

      Just then, the two fire Acaras came running out of the bushes, making plenty of noise. Princess wouldn't have been sure it was them if she hadn't heard their arguing voices.

      "There you are, Princess!" Devil said, sounding relieved. "We're so glad we found you."

      "I told you she'd be here," Angel said. "If you'd just listened to me we'd be home by now."

      "I did listen to you," Devil said, "That's why we found her."

      "Then you should thank me."

      "Then thank you, Angel." Devil turned to Princess. "We'd better get going. We don't want to be out to late."

      Princess smiled in agreement, and the pets were on their way. Princess was careful to stay close to Devil, who was in front of her. The last thing she wanted was to get lost again. The rain was still pounding on the ground as heavily as ever, but Princess had been paying less attention to it. She was concentrating on the sounds of her cousins stepping on twigs and pushing away branches in front of her. If she kept track of the sounds they made, she should be able to tell where they were. It hadn't worked so well before, but Princess was confident that she would not get lost again. Even so, she stayed very close to Devil. She wished someone would start talking.

      "It's not far, now," Devil said.

      "Oh good," said Princess. There was a pause. To avoid being afraid, Princess wanted to keep talking. That would draw her attention away from her fear. But it seemed like no one was going to say anything more, so Princess just kept talking.

      "Where are we, exactly?" she asked.

      "Somewhere past the deserted fairground," Devil said. "Not far."

      "Oh," Princess replied. She found nothing more to say, so she started to think about her stay at Aunt Alicia's house so far. She hadn't been there for very long, but it felt like so much longer. In fact, she had barely even gotten unpacked and taken a tour of the neohome when she left to see the woods. She thought of Cloud and Daisy. It was too bad they hadn't come with her to see the woods. But now she knew Alicia's other pets better, which, Princess guessed, had the goal of this outing. She also had gotten to see a great deal of the Haunted Woods. This place was amazing, but very creepy. Princess didn't know how her cousins could stand living here.

      Up ahead, Princess could see a faint light. She guessed that it was coming from the neohomes. As she got closer, she knew for sure that that was where it was coming from.

      "Well," Devil said, "Here we are."

      Princess could see the neohomes in front of them. She recognized Alicia's immediately, for it was the largest one. The four pets approached the neohome, and opened the door. As they walked in, Princess heard footsteps on the stairs. She saw a rainbow Ixi and faerie Kacheek- Cloud and Daisy had come running down to greet them.

      "You're back!" Daisy said, flying up to them. "We were wondering what was taking so long."

      "Yeah," Cloud said. "It's almost ten at night, and you don't want to be out there at night."

      "I figured that out," Princess said, remembering how scared she had been in the woods. She didn't want to go back out there at all- even during the day. But everything was so nice in Alicia's neohome that, if she hadn't known, Princess couldn't have guessed that it was in the Haunted Woods. For the rest of her stay, Princess didn't want to leave the neohome.

      "Well you better get some rest," Devil suggested. "Tomorrow's going to be a big day."


      "Wake up, Princess," Aunt Alicia said. Princess groaned and sat up. She looked at the clock that sat beside her bed- it was seven o'clock. She couldn't imagine why they were getting up this early. Princess couldn't remember a time when she had to wake up earlier than this.

      "Time for breakfast," Alicia said, closing the door as she left the room. After a minute, Princess got out of bed and headed downstairs, where Daisy, Cloud, Devil, Angel, and Red were all sitting at the dinning room table.

      "You slept in really late this morning," Daisy commented as she stuck her fork into the plate of pancakes that sat in front of her. Princess noticed that there was only one empty seat at the table, and she sat down at it.

      "We were up at five," Angel added.

      "It's alright," Alicia said as she entered the room, setting a plate of steaming pancakes in front of Princess. "She's not used to getting up so early." Then, she looked at Princess. "Here we always get up early. That way we won't have to stay up so late. No one wants to be up when the ghosts come out."

      Princess could understand this. The woods had been so horrible at night that it could only be better in the morning. But she still didn't see why anyone would want to live here when they could live somewhere safer, like Neopia Central.

      "Well," Alicia said to Princess. "Finish your pancakes and start getting ready - today I'm taking you to meet all of my friends."

      Princess smiled at her aunt. Things were going very well now, but Princess couldn't have known how bad they would get…

To be continued...

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Other Episodes

» When the Ghosts Come Out: Part One
» When the Ghosts Come Out: Part Two
» When the Ghosts Come Out: Part Four
» When the Ghosts Come out: Part Five

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