No One Understands...
"Hey, Piko, wait UP!" An orange Acara scrambled after
a red Ixi. The terrain around Meridell Castle was generally rough, although
the Acara had been assured by his brother that there was nothing but white marble…
INSIDE the castle that is. And the castle was four miles away still.
"But, Delani!" the Ixi said, sounding annoyed.
"We have to get there, before King Skarl starts on his evening feast, you know!"
"I know," Delani grumbled, "But couldn't we
get there a bit… later?!"
"NO!" Piko snapped, his eyes almost bugging
out. "No we can NOT! I need to deliver an important message from Sabre-X, and
you know how King Skarl gets with his food… well, maybe you don't, you've never
Delani ignored her brother's ramblings, and
slowed to a walk, clutching at a stitch in her side. Why did Piko have to become
King Skarl's official messenger, anyway? And why, why had she agreed to go along
Because Piko said it would be fun, she
told herself. Piko thinks running around in a huge clot of dirt is FUN?!
She groaned, seeing Piko almost out of her sight.
"Wait!" she called hastily, nevertheless not
wanting to be left behind.
"No, you slowpoke!" Piko called back. "You said
you'd be good if I took you along with me!"
"You never said you'd run like this," Delani
muttered, almost to herself. She sighed, but couldn't keep running. It looked
like she'd end up being alone. "You can go ahead," she reluctantly shouted back.
She didn't want to delay Piko's all-important errand.
Piko didn't respond but sped up. Delani sighed;
it was going to be a long trek.
Fifteen minutes later, Delani heard a commotion
in front of her. A trumpet playing-in a very off-key manner, she couldn't help
thinking-and a voice was shouting.
"Hear ye, hear ye!" It sounded like the deep
grunt of a Lupe, although she couldn't be sure. "We must fulfill our mission
or one of ye goes into the dungeon!"
"Aye, aye, sir," various Neopets' voices called
A parade? Delani wondered. No, a parade
isn't a mission. A battle? I could be in the middle of it!
She hastily scooted to the side of the road
to let whoever-they-were pass. But when the group came around the bend, she
gasped in surprise. A band of a dozen-odd Meridellian knights stood in shining
armour, led by none other than Jeran! The Jeran!
Delani curtsied hastily. She didn't see much
stock in curtsying, but it seemed appropriate for this grand official.
Jeran looked appraisingly at her.
"Are ye the 'Lady Delani the Ixi' of whom the
King's messenger speaks?" he growled.
"Erm… yes." Delani bowed this time. It was all
she could do not to gape. Why was this famous officer… looking for her?!
"Aye, he sent us to find you." Jeran scratched
his chin with a meaty paw. "Thought you might be lost."
"Oh," Delani said, peeved… and embarrassed at
her brother's extremity. Sending a whole troop of warriors, including Jeran,
seemed a bit much to her.
"Well, come with us, then, we'll lead you to
the castle," Jeran announced.
Great, just great! Delani thought. Forget
keeping pace with her brother, now she'd have to keep pace with an army?
When she saw Piko, she'd give him a piece of
Five minutes later, Jeran led a panting Delani
into the throne room, where Skarl was messily chowing down on some Meat and
Potatoes. Delani noticed that his mouth was open.
"I present Lady Delani," the Lupe said quickly,
then left even quicker. He probably wants to get away from me, she thought.
It hadn't been a pleasant trip by any means. They'd practically had to carry
her the whole way.
"Mmmph mmg Demmaugh," Skarl said, starting on
a piece of mashed potato.
"He means, 'Welcome, Lady Delani,'" a courtier
Ew, what a slob! Delani thought. But
she curtsied and said, "Thank you, Your Majesty."
"Mmmauph." Skarl was about to say more when
Piko cut in.
"Delani! What kept you so long?" an arrogant
scowl marred the Ixi's face.
"What do you mean, what took me so long?" Delani
snapped back, annoyed. "I was five minutes late, and you sent out an army!"
"I was concerned for your safety! You should
be grateful!" Piko said crossly.
"Hmph." Delani looked again at King Skarl. He
was eating a roast steak now. She remembered something her father had told her
about King Skarl when she was young. "Can I tell you a joke?" she asked him.
She didn't really have any particular thing in mind, but she could try. Sometimes
he gave out Neopoints.
"He's eating dinner--" Piko began primly, but
was cut off by King Skarl. Delani smirked.
"Mmp--" he swallowed. "Of course you can, fair
lady! No one has made this personage laugh for quite a while, I can assure you!"
"Well." Delani was impressed at being called
"fair." She quickly thought up any old question. "Ahem. Ah… When is a Spooky
Alkenore similar to a bad case of Zygorax the Grundo?"
"I don't know, why?" King Skarl paused and rubbed
his beard thoughtfully.
"Isn't it obvious?" Delani said, trying to buy
time to think of an answer. Any dumb answer would do. Why had she told a joke,
anyway? She heard people got Neopoints for even dumber jokes than the one she'd
"Harrumph… oh! Yes! Of course it is! I get it
now!" the king roared with laughter.
"Ha… Harumph?" Delani repeated. He'd thought
of an answer?! There even WAS an answer?! "Oh, yes, well…"
"I don't get it," Piko said with a reproachful
"Would you like to explain, sire?" Delani asked
hopefully. The king had obviously thought of something.
"Erm…" to Delani's surprise, the King's face
reddened and he blushed considerably. "That's alright, Lady. I would never take
away the pleasure of telling a fine joke from such a lovely maiden."
"Well…" Delani thought furiously. He didn't
know either! He was just pretending to make him look smart! "When… it's holding…
a bag of… Fire Aishas?"
"Har har har!" Skarl said heartily, although
he looked as confused as Delani felt. Everyone else was staring at them.
"I'm not sure I understand," a courtier remarked.
"It's… difficult to explain," Delani said cautiously.
"If you think hard, you'll understand perfectly."
Everyone except Skarl and Delani began thinking
furiously. The king and Delani looked at each other and shrugged.
"Oh! I understand," Piko said suddenly. Delani
listened intently. He explained, "If Zygorax holds a bag of fire paint brushes,
he has… a bag of fire paint brushes?"
"Har har har," Delani said, smirking at her
brother's stupidity. "That is so obviously… wrong! Right, sire?"
"Aye!" the King chuckled. "That answer makes
no sense, even Hagan couldn't decode it!"
"Har har har!" Delani agreed. Piko turned an
astonishing shade of red.
"Sire, I'm sorry," he stuttered humbly. "I did
not wish to make your Highness angry or upset!"
"Harrumph," King Skarl replied. "Only the smartest
ones in the kingdom can figure it out! Lady Delani, may I offer you a position
as a courtier in my court for your outstanding intellect?"
"Of course," Delani said happily. Piko was fuming.
"I'd be delighted!"
"I'm afraid I still don't understand it, wise
lady!" a Draik in a heavy tan robe commented politely. "Would you explain it
in clearer detail for us lesser ones?"
Delani laughed and shared an amused glance with
the King. "Isn't it obvious?" she giggled.
Everyone stared at them.