A Quest for Edna
Haltz the Halloween Uni lived in the Haunted Woods with
Talakin, his Mazzew. He worked in the Deserted Fairground as a fortune teller
and had also persuaded Edna the Swamp Witch to teach him how to make a few simple
potions. I know that ordinarily Unis are concerned with beauty and grace, but
since Haltz was painted Halloween, he'd been rather more drawn to ugly things.
So, if you wanted your opponent to get some temporary yet hideously ugly warts
just before the beauty contest and Edna wasn't in, well Haltz was the Uni you
went to see.
One morning, while he was adding a few cheap
but key ingredients to a funny potion for a friend who wanted something to make
spots appear on an enemy's nose, it was his turn to get a visit from Edna.
"Edna?!" exclaimed Haltz. "Well my goodness,
it's not often that you come to see me.... What can I do for you? Talakin?!
Come here, we have company."
"Weeeeell," croaked Edna as Talakin greeted her,
winding through her ankles in a figure-of-eight. "I am in need of some ingredients
for a potion."
"And you think I may have them in stock?" asked
a puzzled Haltz, glancing up at his shelves with jars full of techo claws, peanut
butter spiders, candy corn and the like.
"Oh no no no," cackled Edna. "What on earth could
you have here that I wouldn't have in my tower?" She bent down and absent-mindedly
patted Talakin's head. He loped off, satisfied with the acknowledgment, and
hopped up onto the table beside Haltz's cauldron.
"That's a good point." Haltz nodded. "So you
want me to go on one of your quests, Edna? I haven't done one for you in quite
a while." Talakin leaped over the cauldron to the shelves.
"Yes. I know. But this will not be an ordinary
quest, not for you, Haltz…. I'd like to make it a bit different."
"And how would you do that?" replied Haltz.
"I um… thought of a poem… to make it more unusual…
instead of just giving you a list of items." She looked embarrassed. "I hardly
ever get to try anything new," she mumbled. "People come to me all nice and
helpful, 'Edna, Edna, what do you need today?' and off they go to get it - which
is great - but they never stay and chat, they just take their payment and leave…."
Her voice trailed off.
Haltz glanced at Talakin who shrugged and jumped
from his perch on the topmost shelf, next to a bowl of jellied eyeballs, onto
"Go on then, Edna," Haltz said kindly.
Edna looked from Haltz to Talakin and back again.
She cackled gleefully as she leaned her broom against the wall and pulled a
grubby slip of paper from the pocket of her robe. She cleared her throat and
began to read:
"Travel back in time," she croaked.
"To a land far away,
Though you never leave
The present day.
Find for me
A tangy treat,
Hard bread, hard milk,
But no hard meat.
From this land
You must get a flight,
To a dizzying height,
To find for me
Something sticky and brown,
They're wing-shaped and earthy,
Now hurry back down.
It's a long way to land,
So travel safe and well
Into this place
That rhymes with 'bell',
And tell a joke
To a grumpy king
His stale reward
Is the final thing;
If you can't decide
Quite how to begin
Find someone 'round here
Who can give you a hint
But be it by magic
Or be it by track
You have to make
Your own way back."
Edna stopped reading and looked expectantly at
her listeners. "Well? Think you're up to it?" she asked.
Haltz looked over his shoulder at Talakin who
shrugged again as if to say 'We may as well give it a go.' So, turning to Edna,
"When do you need them, Edna?" he asked.
"Well, I need to have the potion made for Friday
afternoon," she replied.
"But it's already Wednesday!" exclaimed Haltz.
He thought for a moment. "I think we can do it though, Edna."
"Thank you, Haltz," said Edna, handing him the
paper. "I'll be waiting for you in my tower." And with that she took up her
broom, tapped it on the floor three times, turned around, and vanished.
"Well," sighed Haltz to Talakin. "We'd better
Haltz started planning for the trip. He told
Talakin to gather up everything he thought they might need on their journey.
While Talakin was busy doing this, Haltz re-read
the poem. He knew that it was talking about Tyrannia to begin with, because
that's where Talakin was from, but he didn't really know how to get there. From
reading the last verse he knew that Edna meant he could ask the Esophagor for
some hints about how to get started and he knew what she meant about how to
get home. He could walk, or he could use magic, and seeing as he didn't have
a lot of time, he felt magic would be the quicker way. He set about altering
a basic travelling potion to bring them back to the Haunted Woods after they'd
found the last ingredient. He added things that reminded him of home: a coconut
from the Coconut Shy and some of his favourite food like Pumpkin Cookies and
Mummified Ice Cream, so that the potion would know where to send him and taste
really nice too.
As soon as the saddlebags were packed with plenty
of food and neopoints they set off for the swamp to talk to the Esophagor about
how to get to Tyrannia.
Once they reached the swamp, Talakin jumped up
on Haltz's back and they slowly approached the place where they knew the Esophagor
rose from. Haltz braced himself as the ground shook and parted in front of them,
watching as the beast appeared.
"II AMMM HUNGGRRYYY..... feeed mmeee annndd I
wwilll reeewwaardd yoouu...." he groaned.
Talakin hurriedly opened the left saddle bag
and took out some of the food he had packed, throwing it on the ground for the
"Please, Esophagor," Haltz called out as the
beast began to eat. "I need some information for a quest for Edna."
"Eeddnaa?" asked the Esophagor, puzzled. "Noorrmaally
tthee quueestss I heelpp wiithh arree quueestss foorr tthee Brraaiin Trreee."
"I know," explained Haltz. "But you see Edna
has given us this quest; it's a little out of the ordinary, and she said you
would help us if we needed it."
"I wwilll trryy," the Esophagor replied. "Yoouu
caann aassk ttwoo quueestiioonss; tthiinnk caarreefuullly annndd woorrd thheemm
"Thank you, Esophagor. The first question I have
to ask you is how can I get to Tyrannia," Haltz thought for a second and then
added, "Really quickly?"
"Tthaat iis ssiimpplle," the Esophagor began.
"Iif yoouu heeaad nnoorrtth tooo Neeoopiia Ceenntrraal yoouu wwilll fiindd a
wwisshhinngg wwelll. Tthhroow iin a feeww neeoopoiintss annndd aassk tooo bbee
iin Tyrraannnniaa. Annndd yoouur seeccoonnd quueestiioon?"
Haltz paused. He realised that he had no clue
how to get from his first destination to his second, so he thought carefully
and asked the Esophagor, "How do we get from Tyrannia to our second destination?"
"Thhiiss wwilll bbee mooorre diiiffficuultt,"
the Esophagor said. "Yoouu wwilll neeed tooo cliimmbb frroom tthee juunnggllee
iin Tyrraannnniaa tooo a roocckky plaatteeaau. Tthherree yoouu wwilll fiindd
tthee toowwnn haalll annndd bbee aabllee tooo taallk tooo Teekkeel wwhoo wwilll
giivvee yoouu a sppeelll. Tthhaat iis aalll I haavvee tooo saayy." With that
the Esophagor finished off the last of the food and sunk back down to the depths
of his lair as the ground closed up after him.
So Haltz and Talakin left the safety and shadows
of the Haunted Woods and headed north over a vast expanse of uninhabited green
land until they reached Neopia Central. Once there Haltz looked around for someone
to help him. Talakin looked pointedly at the Post Office.
"Good idea Talakin," he said. "If anyone knows
where something is, it'll be them." So he headed into the Post Office to ask
for directions to the Wishing Well.
He approached a friendly looking yellow Chia
who was manning the ticket kiosk. "Excuse me?" he asked politely. "Could you
possibly tell me where to find the Wishing Well?"
"Why certainly." The Chia grinned. "You just
leave here and turn left, head away from the main shops and into the bazaar.
The old wishing well is tucked way back at the far end of the bazaar, on the
right. If you get to the soup faerie's soup kitchen you've gone too far."
"Thank you very much," Haltz said, and he and
Talakin left the post office, following the directions the Chia gave them until
they reached the stone well in the corner of the bazaar.
Haltz took a few of the neopoints from his saddlebags
and threw them into the well, wishing, as he did so, that he and Talakin were
far away in the land of Tyrannia.
"Do you feel any different, Talakin?" asked Haltz,
stepping back from the well. Talakin shook his head. "Oh well," he continued.
"They do say that even if the well grants you your wish it doesn't happen straightaway."
Haltz looked around him. "Oh!"
Away off to the west he could see the sun starting
to set, its orange rays brushing the leafy trees of the Tyrannian jungle and
shining on a huge stony structure in the shape of a dinosaur that bore a sign
saying 'Tyrannian Food.'
"I suppose that's as good a place as any to start
looking," he said, and together he and Talakin climbed up the stone steps and
entered the shop.
Haltz cleared his throat. "Excuse me," he called.
"Is anyone here?"
"Ugga ug Tyrannia!" came a loud raspy voice from
behind him. "Ug ugug ugga ug?"
"I don't know what you just said." Haltz smiled.
"But I need some food… FOOD." He mimed eating something to the shopkeeper.
The shopkeeper nodded, smiling, and held his
hand out, moving it in a large sweeping gesture at the contents of his shop.
He nodded again and ushered Haltz and Talakin forward so that they could look
among the shelves for whatever they needed and went back to sitting by his money
Haltz and Talakin split up and started searching
the shop for something to fit Edna's description. After a few minutes Haltz
felt Talakin's paw touch his hoof and looked down to see him holding a plate
of food. The label read 'Tangy Tyrannian Cheese and Crackers - 786NP.'
"Hmm. Cheese is hard milk, and crackers are hard
bread. Good work, Talakin!" he exclaimed. Haltz took the food to the shopkeeper
and got some neopoints from his saddlebag. He placed 786NP in the money pot
and left the shop with Talakin on his back and the cheese and crackers carefully
packed into his saddlebags.
Standing at the top of the steps, at the entrance
to the shop, Haltz thought he could make out a path up to the rocky plateau.
The sun was already much lower in the sky and he realised he had better hurry
if he was going to make it to the town hall before night fall.
He set off at a trot with Talakin riding on his
back so that he wouldn't have trouble trying to keep up. The path to the plateau
was rocky, but well worn. Haltz had to be careful of where he was treading in
the ever increasing darkness but he made it safely to the top and saw, to his
right up on a ledge, the fires of the town hall. He approached slowly, getting
his breath back from the climb, and stood by the rocky ledge looking up at two
neopets who were having a discussion about something. Haltz didn't know what
it was about but it seemed important because one of them was shouting.
He tapped his hooves on the ledge and said, "Excuse
me, I'm looking for, um, 'Teekkeel'?"
"Ig ugga Tekel… uh…" The neopet appeared to be
deep in thought. "Um. Me be Tekel," he said.
"Oh! I'm glad you can understand me," Haltz said,
slowly. "I need a spell… um… to fly… FLY." He flapped his useless bandaged wings.
"Ugga spell," Tekel said. "You…stay." He walked
to the fire and grabbed a burning branch. Returning to Haltz he said, "You…fly…high
and… far. To …South."
"I have to go south? To where?" Haltz asked
"To… land of flying… pretties." Tekel waved the
flaming wood around Haltz's head three times, muttering under his breath in
Tyrannian. "This good spell," he said. "Work good. Walk. Jump. Fly. Run."
"Thank you," Haltz said. He pressed some neopoints
into Tekel's hand and walked to the edge of the plateau. He looked down on the
jungle below and then, backing up, prepared to leap. "Hold on, Talakin," he
said as he ran forward, lifting his front hooves and pushing off the ground
with his back ones in a giant leap as he reached the edge of the stony outcrop.
He felt a cushion of air beneath him and looked
down. Far below him the jungle was falling away and, though the light was fading
fast, he could see for miles all around. He set his sights south and began to
gallop through the air. After a short while he settled into an easy rhythm.
He could hear the sea below him but it was too dark to see properly so he just
kept running through the dark night sky until, faintly in the distance, he could
make out a shimmering cloud.
"Talakin, do you see it?" Haltz asked. His eyes
were sparkling as he turned to look at his Mazzew, but Talakin was fast asleep
and so Haltz continued in silence towards the land of the Faeries.
Dawn was breaking as he landed softly on the
largest cloud in the cluster that made up Faerieland. Nevertheless, the jolt
from smooth gliding air to relative stillness was enough to wake up Talakin,
who stretched and jumped down from Haltz's back.
"I think this is the best place to begin, Talakin,"
said Haltz. He checked his saddlebag to make sure the cheese and crackers had
not fallen out in the flight and headed for the arch in the high walls to enter
the Faerie city.
Shopkeepers in Neopia rarely sleep and their
shops are open at all hours of the day and night - a fact that Haltz was very
pleased about as he approached a shop selling faerie foods and entered it. There
was a friendly faerie with beautiful leaf-green wings behind the counter and
Haltz approached her timidly.
"Excuse me? Miss? Could you help me please?"
"Why certainly!" She fluttered out from behind
her desk and came towards Haltz and Talakin. "What can I do for you?"
"Well I'm looking for some food for a friend
of mine. She didn't give me the name of it though… just told me it was, um..."
He fished the poem from his saddlebag. "'Sticky and brown, wing-shaped and earthy.'
Does that make any sense to you?"
The faerie nodded and smiled. She skipped to
the back of the shop and stood on tip-toe to pull down a plate stacked high
with chocolate brownies. "These fit the bill perfectly," she said in her light
sing-song voice. "They're my specialty! Sticky brownies. See? They're wing-shaped!"
"And earthy?" questioned Haltz.
"Well, I'm an earth faerie and I made them so,
yes, I guess they are." She giggled. "Would you just like one portion?"
"How many do I get in one portion?"
"There are three. I can let you have them for
500NP, as I think you are a noble steed and kindly neopet to run errands for
"Oh, how kind!" said Haltz. "We'll take them.
Thank you so much. I wonder," he continued as Talakin packed the brownies into
the saddlebag next to the Tyrannian cheese and crackers, "if you could help
me with just one more thing?" He looked expectantly at the pretty faerie and
she nodded for him to continue. "Well, you see, I flew through the night from
Tyrannia and I haven't slept. I'm really tired but I have to find a final ingredient
for my friend and she needs it by tomorrow. I have to get to somewhere that
rhymes with 'bell' and I have to get there quickly."
The faerie looked at him for a moment, then gestured
for them to follow her out of her shop.
"First of all, I think the place you need to
go to next is a land called Meridell," she began. "Now, over there, beyond the
city walls, you'll find some faerie friends of mine with very fast racers. One
of them will surely be kind enough to give you a lift down to Meridell, for
a close friend of ours lives there. Her name is Illusen and she can probably
help you to find your final ingredient if you ask her nicely."
"Oh, thank you!" exclaimed Haltz and he bowed
to the faerie before turning to leave the city with Talakin at his side, saying,
"Goodness, Talakin, aren't people friendly in Neopia?!"
In just a few short leaps from cloud to cloud
they reached the one that the earth faerie had pointed them towards and saw
all the faerie racers lined up along the edge. They approached a group of faeries
who were chatting together.
"Pardon me," Haltz started as the faeries turned
to look at him. "Um, I need to ask if one of you would be so kind as to give
us a lift down to Meridell?"
A beautiful faerie with a yellow dress, golden
hair and shining wings stepped forward and lightly touched Haltz's neck. "Come
with me," she said in a voice softer than sunlight on a flower. "I will take
you to Illusen and Meridell."
Haltz climbed into the back of her racer. "This
is really very kind of you," he said. "Talakin, won't you see if we have something
we can give to this faerie as a thank you?"
"Oh no, don't worry," she whispered. "This sweet
little Mazzew will sit with me a while you can have a short sleep, dear tired
Uni," she said quietly. Her fingertips brushed his eyelids and Haltz fell into
a deep sleep as Talakin sat in the front of the racer with the light faerie
and they sped down towards Meridell. "Don't worry about your friend," the light
faerie said to Talakin, scratching his ears as he curled up in her lap. "He
will sleep for only a short while, but he will feel fully rested, I promise."
The cloud racer touched down softly in Illusen's
glade. The light faerie went in to talk to Illusen and left Talakin to wake
his master. He leaped into the back of the racer and rubbed his head against
Haltz's cheek. The Uni awoke, stood up and stretched, looking around for the
light faerie. Moments later she came out of Illusen's little hut and beckoned
to Haltz who stepped forward to explain the last part of his quest to this newest
"You see, we have to find a grumpy king and tell
him a joke," explained Haltz, "and get a reward and then we can go home."
"In that case you need to head out of my glade
and towards the river, cross the bridge and enter the castle," explained Illusen.
"Once inside, seek an audience with King Skarl and tell him your joke."
"Thank you both," Haltz said, bowing low to Illusen
and the light faerie. "Wish us luck!"
Haltz and Talakin left the glade behind and trotted
happily through Meridell towards the river and the castle. They crossed the
drawbridge and entered the old castle to find King Skarl in his throne room
looking very grumpy.
The King looked down at Haltz and Talakin. "Tell
me a joke," he said in a gruff voice.
"Yes, Your Highness," began Haltz. "Well. Um.
Oh yes, here we go...." Haltz took a deep breath, but the King held up a hand.
"No!" he yelled. "You can only tell me a joke
using the choices of words on the cards that you will find neatly stacked upon
the table, there." He pointed.
"Oh," said Haltz, he looked down at the cards,
feeling rather worried. He began looking through his options and after a few
moments had formulated a joke that wasn't really very funny but would have to
"What shouldn't you do if you're eating?" he
said to the King.
"I don't know," he responded. "What?"
"You shouldn't explode," Haltz finished lamely.
He looked up at the King who, to his surprise, chuckled slightly.
"Hmmm, not too bad. But not good enough for one
of my expensive rewards I'm afraid…. However, you can choose something to eat
from my kitchens if you wish…."
That was just what Haltz wanted to hear and so,
thanking the King, he and Talakin set off for the kitchens where they found
bowls of gruel, piles of potatoes and slice upon slice of stale bread. Tapping
his hooves impatiently on the floor, Haltz watched as Talakin took a slice of
the bread and placed it in the saddlebag, removing the travelling potion at
the same time.
"Hop on, Talakin," said Haltz, happily. "We're
going home!" He drank the potion in one gulp.
They heard a sound that was a little like 'ziiiingPOOF'
and in a dizzying instant they were back in the Deserted Fairground with all
their familiar things about them. Haltz sighed contentedly and set off for Edna's
Tower with all her ingredients still stored in his saddlebags and his helpful
Mazzew at his side.
He reached her tower shortly after lunch and
entered her front door.
"Edna?" he called out into the gloomy darkness.
"It's Haltz and Talakin. We're back! We have your things… I hope…."
Edna appeared with a loud bang beside him. "Welcome
back, my weary friend," she cackled. "What did you bring for me?"
Talakin hopped up onto Haltz's back and opened
the saddlebags. "From Tyrannia we brought you Tangy Cheese and Crackers," said
Haltz as Talakin handed them to Edna.
"From Faerieland we brought you some of the earth
faerie's brownies." Again Talakin handed the package to Edna and she placed
it with the crackers and cheese, clapping her hands gleefully.
"And the final ingredient-- Haltz, do you have
it?" she asked.
"Yes, right here," the Uni replied as Talakin
produced the stale bread. "From the castle of King Skarl himself."
"Haltz, that really is wonderful." Edna nodded
to him. "You've done a marvellous job. Everything I needed is here and on time.
Now let me see…."
She waved her hands in the air and with a snap
and a crack produced, from thin air, a small bag of neopoints and a round plate
with an oozing snorkel snout upon it.
"Just a little thank you," she explained, handing
them to Haltz.
He gave the neopoints to Talakin to put in the
saddlebags and began munching on the snorkel snout as he left the tower with
Edna standing in the doorway waving him off.
"Oh, Edna," he said, turning quickly to catch
her before she shut the door.
"If you ever need any more help, you know, with
any more unusual style quests or anything, you know where we are." And with
that Haltz turned on his heels and he and Talakin headed off towards the deserted
fairground and home.