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The Lost World of Stnaltia: Part Two

by silentbutterfly


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 know -"

      "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 assist you."

      "Well," Prince Djolapht began. "It all started several months ago. Laiperoa had received a lot of attention from a particular dkarpalht... "

      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, Fyora."

      "Yes, Fyora is Queen of Faerieland," Brave_Eyes said proudly.

      "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 freedom."

      "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

Djolapht =jah-la-fat

Laiperoa = lie-per-row-ah

dkarpalht = car-fault

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» The Lost World of Stnaltia: Part One
» The Lost World of Stnaltia

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