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Dusk in Tyrannia: Part One

by alkuna_


Author's Note: ^^Anything between these marks is translated from Tyrannian.^^

Author's Note 2: Tyrannian is a tricky language and some words don't translate perfectly. Since the vocabulary is still incomplete, I admit to making up some Tyrannian-ish words for use in this story. May the true inhabitants of this World forgive me! ^_^*

Chapter 1: Culture Shock

I couldn't help it; I really couldn't. I took one dismayed look around and began to cry.

     Oh, maybe I should back up a bit. My name is Dusk, and I'm a female Darigan Kougra. Truth to tell, I'd lived in the Darigan Citadel for my entire life. I knew every shadowy nook and cranny. Everyone knew me there and I knew everyone. I could walk the dark streets during the even darkest night hours without a light because I could see beautifully.

     It was the stupid principal's idea. The old Darigan Skeith got it into his fat head that we were far too isolated up in our protected city. So in order to make the students more "worldly," those of us with good grades would be spending the semester in a foreign land in what he called an "Immersion Course," learning everything there was to know about the place. If we went we had to do a report and present it to the class, giving details about mannerisms, foods, petpets and the kinds of games available. If we didn't have good grades, we would spend the semester in school, taking an intense class on the language and researching in the library on our selected land.

     Normally I was proud of my A's and B's on my report card, but today I severely wished I had gotten even one C+ to be disqualified from my current "trip."

     I hadn't gotten any kind of warning as to what to expect of Tyrannia, my pre-selected land. Now I was a dark furred Neopet in a scorchingly hot land, with the sun beating down on me, and no idea where to go from my drop off point.

     They had just set me down in front of this building - I'm GUESSING it's supposed to be a school - made of hardened clay and stone. It looked more like a mountain carved to look like a termite mound and all they had told me was to go to the office and I would meet up with my emissary.

     I tentatively approached the building and felt my dismay turn to despair. All the directions were in Tyrannian, which I couldn't read yet.

     One sign pointed down a looooong hall, which was helpfully marked "Gedd Ugga-Ugg."

     Another sign pointed in the other direction cheerfully explaining, "Graguda ahh/nah ugg."

     Finally, a sign simply pointed along the outside of the building and simply stated, "Mugga."

     This brings us to my despairing crying bout.

     I don't know how long I sat there and sniffled, but suddenly I heard the pounding of hooves and looked up to see a powerfully built Tyrannian Uni galloping full speed toward me. I sniffled again, wiped my eyes and stood up to meet her, then felt a pang of despair again as I realized that somewhere in the poor directions, they had mentioned my translator was a Wocky named Murrov. Which probably meant the Uni skidding to a stop in front of me probably wouldn't understand a word I said.

     "Ugg Darigan Citadel?" she asked, carefully pronouncing the name of my home.

     I nodded, and then tentatively asked, "Murrov?"

     The Uni rolled her eyes toward the sky, which apparently was a universal gesture and shook her head 'no,' which must have been universal as well.

     "Cuda," she said, beckoning for me to follow her with a toss of her head and a gesture with her horn along the outer wall in the direction of the 'Mugga.'

     Maybe 'cuda' meant 'come'? I hesitantly followed. I had nothing better to do and maybe the 'Mugga' would at least lead me somewhere out of this sweltering sun. I could already feel myself starting to bake in this miserable heat and my dark fur.

     "Migga," my foreign savior proclaimed, tapping her chest with her chin.

     "Migga?" Was that an introduction maybe? I tapped my own chest with a paw and said, "Dusk."

     "Dusk," Migga repeated carefully, and smiled when I nodded at her pronunciation. Another universal gesture.

     I was feeling a little more at ease as the gestures and body language seemed familiar or at least fairly easy to figure out. Fyora knew what would happen if she started some sort of interpretative dance. Shudder.

     Migga led me along the wall and, THANKFULLY, out of the sun and into the building and finally into what looked like a primitive office. I felt a little more at ease as the cool air wrapped around me and I saw a desk, easily recognizable despite being made out of stone, and chairs made of the same.

     Following Migga's gestures, I sat down on a Stone Couch and was surprised to find that though it was rock hard (literally), it was shaped to make sitting semi-comfortable.

     Migga spoke in rapid-fire Tyrannian to a Chomby behind the desk, who shot me a reassuring and sympathetic glance.

     At that moment, a Golden Wocky scrambled into the room, panting, "I'm so sorry," he gasped, "They only told me at the last second that you were here and needed to be picked up. I had ten minutes to make a twenty minute run."

     Then he spoke to the Uni and Chomby in Tyrannian, apparently explaining to them the same thing he had told me.

     They both rolled their eyes and snorted scornfully. I nodded. It made sense that since all of my instructions were last-minute, the other side would be last minute too.

     "I'm Murrov." He offered his paw, which I shook; I was grateful for the familiar gesture of greeting. The Uni and Chomby looked baffled by the gesture but made no comment. "I didn't even have time to get your supplies ready," Murrov continued apologetically. "There are lots of things I could have gotten you that will make your stay here a LOT easier. I just wish I could stay on and be the one to help you out."

     "You mean you're not my translator?" I asked, feeling desperate.

     "I wish I could be," Murrov sighed, "but they just dropped a Neomail on my head while I was halfway into a job I've been hired to do. My employers let me have enough time to greet you and get you set up with Migga here and give you a list of supplies and then I'm back to my job of mapping the farthest reaches of Tyrannia."

     "Um, no offence but does Migga even speak Common Neopian?" I asked, feeling worn out suddenly.

     "Other than a word or two, no. But... " Murrov gently pulled a book out of his backpack and handed it to me.

     To my shock, I realized I was holding a hand bound book titled 'Speak Tyrannian'. I flipped through the book, gazing in wonder at the strange words printed right next to their Common Neopian counterpart.

     "This book is one of my best works. I worked with Tyrannians and translators to learn the language and get it into written form. If you ever need to translate something, it's in here." Murrov smiled warmly at me. "And this is my hand written book, so unlike the others it won't disappear before you are done with it. Just make sure you return it to me okay?"

     "Thank you so much," I whispered, hugging the book happily.

     I paged through the book, looking for the right words, and then turned to Migga, ^^Thank you for helping me out, Migga.^^

     I spoke slowly and awkwardly, but Migga's kind reply reassured me that I was on the right track, ^^Not at all. You looked so miserable I couldn't help but extend a hoof.^^

     "Well, I'm sorry I can't stay," Murrov said apologetically, handing me a list in both Common Neopian and Tyrannian, "but here's a list of things you should probably buy."

     I accepted the list and silently thanked Darigan that the one thing the school HAD done right was give me a surplus of Neopoints for anything I may need.

     To my surprise, the first thing on the list was a Tyrannian Paint Brush.

     Migga nodded in perfect agreement and led me out of the office and out into the Tyrannian Jungle, ^^I was wondering if we should get that,^^ Migga admitted to me through the book. ^^I can't possibly imagine how miserable you must be. Purple is a very pretty color... but it's just too dark for the temperatures around here.^^

     I agreed. Even as we walked through the shade of the jungle trees, I felt myself growing miserably hot again.

     To my surprise, Migga led the way to a densely overgrown part of the jungle while I followed, clutching the newly purchased brush in my paws. Gently she brushed a huge Elephante Ear plant aside to reveal a magically sparkling pool hidden by the plants.

     I peered closer and could see a faint rainbow reflected in the water's depths. I glanced upward, but no rainbow arced overhead.

     ^^I know you have to write a report,^^ Migga said in a quiet voice, ^^but please don't mention this to anyone else. This small spring is connected to the Rainbow Pool in Neopia Central by an underground stream. We want to keep this place free of tourists tramping through and muddying the waters.^^

     I nodded and handed the book over to Migga before stepping into the water. Taking a deep breath I dunked myself under the surface. Immediately the paint brush vanished from my paws and the water began to bubble furiously around me. I could almost imagine the jungle trees rustling to the roar of distant, prehistoric beasts.

     Then the air in my lungs grew short and I surfaced with a gasp, feeling my front teeth growing into long saber fangs. My fur grew shaggy and lightened to a dusty yellow. I staggered out of the water and shook off, spraying what felt like tons of water out of my coat.

     Migga squealed and giggled as I splashed her and every plant in range. Immediately I felt lighter, and to my surprise; cooler. Even through the fur was thick and shaggy, the light color didn't absorb heat and I relaxed with a sigh of relief.

     We shopped for the rest of the morning, then Migga stopped briefly to buy a pair of Tyrannian Water Neggs, some Farn Plants and two Trilo Bites.

     As the noon hour arrived, the land heated up rapidly, and in the time it took the two of us to retreat from the shop to the shade of the plants, we quickly grew miserable.

     ^^Lesson number one in Tyrannia: No matter what you are doing, noontime is an hour to get into the shade,^^ Migga instructed me sternly. ^^Everything stops at noon unless you're safely inside. It's the hottest time of day and even the Tyrannians tend to get heat stroke. Keep a Water Negg with you at all times; the heat will dry you out very quickly.^^

     Everyone else seemed to know this already; the streets were rapidly emptying and I could see that much of the shade near the streets was already growing crowded. Migga led me past uncountable Neopians and their owners, all lounging and napping in the shade. A few listlessly batted at flies in the heat but most seemed to find even this too much effort. When we finally found a spot, we were well away from the streets and somewhat cooler than before in the deeper shade of the foliage.

     Satisfied that we had a good spot, Migga began unpacking the bundles of food.

     I bit off a bit of shell from the Water Negg and sipped the cool water; all the while eyeing the Trilo Bite suspiciously. Although it smelled like seafood... it looked like a bug! I thought of biting into it and getting a mouthful of gooey bug guts...


     Migga took one look at my face and began to laugh hysterically, tears of mirth rolling down her cheeks, ^^Oh! ... Oh Dusk... I'm sorry... heh heh heh heh... your expression is so funny...^^ She gave a small cough and explained to me with a smile, ^^I know what you must be thinking, but I promise; this really is sea food.^^

     She taught me how to crack open the hard shells and pull the meat out. I was relieved by the mildly fishy taste. We dipped it in melted butter and thoroughly enjoyed the strange looking sea snack. Migga also taught me how to properly eat a Farn Plant one leaf at a time. Green, the flavors exploded over my tongue, the taste different from leaf to leaf. Dried out, the flavors were milder and more subtle, not to mention the leaves developed a pleasing crunch. We sipped the water from our Neggs and waited for the temperatures to drop again.

     By the end of the day, we had gotten all of the supplies necessary including some Cool Shades to protect my eyes from the bright sunlight.

     I got a tour of the school and learned that the Gedd Ugga-Ugg' translated to 'Good food is here,' meaning the Cafeteria, and it was good too. All Tyrannian food was served in its prime, and better by far than the horrible third rate past prime stuff they served at home. The sign that said "Graguda ahh/nah ugg" translated to 'Welcome to coming/going here.' Basically it handled registration and transferring to other schools; a smaller side room to the 'Mugga'/Office.

     Migga was perfectly patient as I stumbled my way through conversations that day. She would say something in Tyrannian, wait patiently for me to look it up, and would repeat herself if I needed her to.

To be continued...

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