The Lost World of Stnaltia: Part Two
Blackwingedbird wanted to scream, but instead held her breath.
Whatever was pulling them was in quite a hurry, and she watched while she was
drawn to the unknown destination. The smaller fish were startled and quickly swam
out the way to make room for her, while the bigger fish just watched as they slowly
swayed in the deep water.
No doubt they are thinking what a strange
fish I am, Blackwingedbird thought.
Deeper and deeper into the water she was dragged
and she began to struggle for air. She hoped that Brave_Eyes was okay, but a
more pressing concern was if she would be ok as well. If the tugging stopped,
there was no way she would make it to the surface in time for air, and the chance
of finding another air pocket was not in her favor. She closed her eyes and
hoped for the best.
As though her mind was read and wish was granted,
Blackwingedbird was relieved to discover herself being tossed into an air pocket.
The air was colder here than the water at the surface. If the shock of cold
hadn't hit her so hard, she would've started flying and found a nice place to
land. Instead she landed with a heavy thump.
At least I landed on something soft,
she thought with a sigh as she opened her eyes to find herself in a very hidden,
very dimly lit cave. Moss was growing on the walls and there were what Blackwingedbird
imagined once little green bushes that lined the walkway, now were wilted, dying
plants. "What a very sad to place to land in," she mumbled as she
rubbed her wings trying to warm them.
She was thrown to her feet and from underneath
her shot up Brave_Eyes, who was heaving for air. After being free from below
Blackwingedbird, he took a few steps and fell to his knees.
"Brave_Eyes!" Blackwingedbird exclaimed and
raced to give him a hug.
Instead, however, she was surprised that he
held up his hand and tried to dodge her. "I'm glad to see you too," he said
and then took in a few deep breaths. "First you knock out all the air in my
lungs by sitting on me... (another deep breath)... and now you want to squeeze
it out of me?"
"What!" Blackwingedbird almost slapped him.
She then spat in rapid-fire speech: "I hold my breath, get pulled into the cold
water to some unknown location just so you won't be alone and you think I did
it all just to sit on you? I was so worried about you and so scared and you
think I did it all to harm you? What good would that do me? Then I'd be here
all alone with a horrible, smelly, decaying body and no way back home! I didn't
"Hey! Hey! Easy now, Black!" Brave_Eyes interrupted,
finally breathing normal, "I was just kidding! I was serious that I was glad
to see you, though. For a moment I thought I'd be alone. Maybe between the two
of us we can find a way back, but I know I couldn't do it without you. I'm the
fighter and well, you're the one who reads books, so maybe you should show me
which fish swim fast and I can persuade him to take us to the surface."
"I didn't realize they were so young," they
heard a quiet voice, not too far away. "Usually it's the old folks that are
in the Sector 47 air pocket."
Brave_Eyes and Blackwingedbird both immediately
became silent, and Brave_Eyes softly moved in front of Blackwingedbird. If anyone
would come at them, they'd have to get through him first.
"I see," a wiser voice replied in a whisper.
"Perhaps we can still seek their help. We should have only pulled one of them
down; maybe there's a reason two children were fishing that day."
What resembled a Maraquan Acara began to approach
them, only he looked more regal. He had a purple cape around his neck which
had the designs of roses and thorns along the trim, and a healthy, happy tree
that appeared to be a portrait of the Money Tree in the middle. He also had
what looked like a crown with a red flower jewel in the center on his head.
"Greetings, Surface Dwellers of Neopia, I am
Prince Djolapht of this once-thriving world of Stnaltia. Please do not be afraid;
we may need your help."
"Our help?" Brave_Eyes spat. "Why didn't you
just come to us 'surface dwellers' and ask for volunteers. What could we possibly
help you with?"
Blackwingedbird elbowed Brave_Eyes. This
could be our chance to do something amazing! she thought. "Forgive my friend,
he's always a little bit too hasty," she said as she shot him a nasty look.
"What is the problem? If we could be of some help, it would be our honor to
"Well," Prince Djolapht began. "It all started
several months ago. Laiperoa had received a lot of attention from a particular
Brave_Eyes simply raised an eyebrow and dropped
his jaw. Blackwingedbird was able to speak. "I'm sorry, your majesty," she replied.
"We don't know who Laiperoa is. Is she your mother?"
Prince Djolapht laughed. "No, she is not my
mother. My apologies, I have forgotten you are not familiar with our world.
Laiperoa is a light faerie, and she is our Energy Faerie. She provides us with
our light, seasons, and, of course, energy. I believe you may know her sister,
"Yes, Fyora is Queen of Faerieland," Brave_Eyes
"Faerieland?" Prince Djolapht asked. "We only
have one Faerie in Stnaltia. She was the only one willing to come down here
with us. I would like to see some of the other faeries some day."
"Sir," a Maraquan Quiggle interrupted. "If you'd
like me to bring down the wiser Neopians we can try again."
"'Wiser Neopians?'" Brave_Eyes replied. "Do
you believe that, Black? He apparently doesn't know how smart you are, or how
foreign all this would be to anyone they drag down here! If there's no time
to talk, then just explain the details and we'll make do with what we do know!"
Prince Djolapht nodded, and then continued explaining
their problem. "Laiperoa was taken captive by the dkarpalht that showed great
interest in her. The dkarpalht are a strange group that mainly lives under the
bridge towards The Misty Swamps. Unlike the rest of us, they seem to be able
to survive without the presence of much light. While the rest of us are getting
sick and weak, they are thriving, though it is still seems too light for them
to come out for large periods of time. When Laiperoa first went missing, we
of course all went to look for her. That was when a handful of them took over
my empty castle. They are keeping her captive there and preventing us from rescuing
her. As we get weaker, the likelihood of us freeing Laiperoa and restoring Stnaltia
grows slimmer with each passing moment. That is why we were seeking the aid
of you from the surface. You still have your strength and may be able to reason
with the dkarpalht to free Laiperoa and save this kingdom."
"Reason with them?" Brave_Eyes was confused.
"If they don't need the light or energy from Laiperoa, why would they reason
with us? It seems capturing her would put them at the advantage and they wouldn't
have to live under a bridge anymore. I think they'd fight very hard for that
"That is what I'm afraid of," Prince Djolapht
replied. "We never tried to segregate them or exclude them from anything. I
don't understand why they suddenly wish to remove us off for the land. There
is plenty of it for everyone."
"We'll do our best!" Blackwingedbird said cheerfully.
"How do we get to the castle?"
"Follow that path down the cave. There's a large
air pocket through there that serves as our world. Continue on the path and
it will lead you to the castle," Prince Djolapht explained.
"Alrighty then!" Blackwingedbird took in a deep
breath, anxious to get started. "We're off to do our best!"
"Good luck, young pets," Prince Djolapht said
as they rushed down towards the path.
"Do you really think they can help save us?"
the Quiggle asked when they were far enough they wouldn't overhear them.
"I'm not sure," Prince Djolapht replied. "But
I will put my hope in them for now."
"If they fail, we can always try to pull another
pet down to try again," the Quiggle said softly.
"That is an option I would really like to avoid,"
Prince Djolapht replied. "If too many pets go missing after trying to fish,
I fear no one would be willing to sit at the surface. Then not only would we
not have anyone else to bring to our world to help, I won't be able to look
up and learn from them." Prince Djolapht had dreamed of going up into the Sector
47 air pocket to explore the world of the surface dwellers. The news of Faerieland
only made him more curious.
"If these kids do succeed, how will we get them
back to the surface? Your parents tried exploring the air pocket several years
ago and have not returned. We don't even know if they made it or not," the Quiggle
pointed out their new problem.
"I cannot speak for my parents," Prince Djolapht
said solemnly. "But if they do succeed, I'm sure Laiperoa will help get them
back home. "
"It's a shame," Prince Djolapht said after a
moment's pause. "I don't recall their names. One of them was called 'Black'
I believe, but that seemed like more of a nickname."
The Quiggle nodded. "If they fail we may not
get the chance to ask."
Prince Djolapht stared down the path. "Then
let us count on them being successful."
To be continued...
Pronunciation guide : Stnaltia: stuh-null-tea-ah
Laiperoa = lie-per-row-ah
dkarpalht = car-fault