The most fantastic thing in the universe! Circulation: 123,711,044 Issue: 249 | 21st day of Swimming, Y8
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The Lost World of Stnaltia: Part Four

by silentbutterfly


With the calls from the game hosts still audible, Brave_eyes let out a long sigh.

      "What's wrong?" Blackwingedbird asked.

      "Maybe I should try the fishing game." He turned around. "You got a shield, which looks like it would be a decent one. That's something I don't have for the Battledome. And what did I get? A hideous scarf!"

      "You might be able to use that in the Battledome as well." Blackwingedbird giggled. "Perhaps you can wave it in front of you and attack while your opponents are temporarily stunned."

      "Very funny," he said and crossed his arms.

      "Tell you what," Blackwingedbird said. "I'll trade you the shield for the scarf."

      "What?" Brave_Eyes' eyes widened. "To be honest, I would love that! But it wouldn't be fair to you at all. What could you possible do with such an ugly scarf?"

      "I don't know right now." Blackwingedbird smiled and presented the shield to Brave_Eyes. "But I am a crafty person, and I'm sure I can eventually find a use for it."

      "Oh Black!" Brave_Eyes exclaimed and danced around her, triumphantly taking the shield into his hands. "You're the best, you know that? And not just the best, the bestest best!"

      "Oh my poor proper English ears." Blackwingedbird pretended to be hurt as she covered them. "Whatever shall the teachers think?"

      "That you're the most best?" Brave_Eyes teased.

      Brave_Eyes and Blackwingedbird laughed and continued down the curvy path to a wilted garden maze. The path lead directly inside the maze, and the journey around the edges was impossible - it ran straight to both edges of the cave.

      "Sweet Dissolve?" Blackwingedbird raised an eyebrow as she read the crooked sign near the entrance.

      "Maybe there's a bakery inside!" Brave_Eyes jumped ahead and then paused once he got not too far into the eerie maze. He looked back at his friend and then jumped back out almost as quickly as he rushed in with the thoughts of junk food. Apparently he wasn't in the mood for something sweet bad enough to dart inside. "Black, you're the puzzle person," Brave_Eyes said and gestured her in. "Don't get us too lost now."

      "Very funny!" Blackwingedbird glared. It was true that she loved puzzles, but not like this. She liked to do them in the peace and comfort of her room, not in a dark, foreign land.

      But, there was no other choice. She decided to be somewhat logical though and followed one edge of the wall with her left wing. Without randomly guessing the way, they were bound to eventually come out the other side.

      The maze provided to be a very quiet time for them, as they twisted and turned their way through without speaking. It was very eerie inside, and they both seemed to sense eyes watching them, but dared not to speak so the eyes would not hear them as well.

      They continue to weave through the maze, and came across a large opening. It was darker and damper here. Blackwingedbird and Brave_Eyes simply stared for a moment, and Blackwingedbird imagined it was once an open field for games and fun. However, now it was calm and still.

      "Maybe this is where the bakery was?" Brave_Eyes finally broke the silence.

      As soon as he did so, they heard what sounded like a hundred footsteps racing towards them. "Great!" Blackwingedbird said in a hush. "NOW look what you've done!"

      They made an effort to return to the part of the maze they just exited from when they saw they were surrounded by hundreds of meepits.

      At least, they assumed they were meepits with mossy capes around their necks.

      "SWEET!" the meepits that were facing them yelled in high-pitched unison. They then grabbed hold of each other, forming a giant line of meepits, and started racing straight towards Blackwingedbird and Brave_Eyes.

      Brave_Eyes grabbed his Lost Desert Dagger and new shield and considering fighting them off, but there were far too many of them. He let out a sigh, grabbed Blackwingedbird and huddled as close together as they could behind the shield.

      The rumbling on the ground began to slow down, and they heard an ever so faint "dissolve." And then another, "dissolve." And another, "dissolve."

      A series of faint "dissolves" were heard and Brave_Eyes and Blackwingedbird peaked over the shield to see the meepits slowly breaking from the chain, falling with a faint "dissolve" with ever so tiny energy bubbles being released when they fell forward and hit the ground.

      "Um?" Brave_Eyes simply said confused as he watched them continue to break the chain and fall, until the last fell only a few inches away from the shield.

      "Dissolve," it said with the final plop.

      "What's up with them?" Brave_Eyes asked.

      "Aww, poor little guys," Blackwingedbird said as she reached for the closest one. "They don't have enough energy to play."

      Blackwingedbird took the closest meepit in her wings and gently rocked it. The meepit's big eyes looked at her and started to get teary.

      "But they seem to create little versions of the energy bubbles that Melvin and Calvin were using. How could they have no energy left to play?" Brave_Eyes asked as he leaned next to one.

      "Because they use a different form of energy," a voice replied. Blackwingedbird and Brave_Eyes looked up to see a Maraquan Hissi who blended perfectly with the maze heading towards them.

      "Who are you?" Brave_Eyes asked.

      "Me?" the Hissi laughed. "I am a gardener. I have spent many long years watching them play, and tending to their playground so their fun was all they needed to worry about. They haven't been able to play like they used to since Laiperoa was taken."

      "Of course," Blackwingedbird said. "The light faerie would give them energy too. They seem to need a different kind of energy though."

      "Indeed they do." The Hissi slithered and began scooping up the meepits on his back.

      "Well," Brave_Eyes interrupted, impatiently wanting an answer. "What KIND of energy do they use?"

      "They use the energy from Laiperoa's laugh," the Hissi replied and continued to gather the fallen meepits. "They are like pets to her. She'll come into this garden and watch them play their game. They'd gather up a chain on each side, then one side would call 'SWEET!' This side would start rushing to the other side, and when it reached the other chain, the running group would break their hands, call out 'Dissolve!' and many of those tiny energy bubbles you saw would fly up into the air. Laiperoa collected these and made them into the bigger bubbles the rest of Stnaltia uses. But without someone able to capture the little energy these guys make, or the give them the energy they need, they just grow weaker as do the rest of us."

      "That's so sad," Blackwingedbird replied and continued to stroke the one she had in her wings.

      "But aren't you glad they aren't causing trouble?" Brave_Eyes asked. "I mean, it's sad and all, but at least they aren't causing problems."

      "They don't cause problems," the Hissi replied, confused.

      "They don't?" Brave_Eyes returned the confusion.

      "No," the Hissi spat. "They just play in this garden and are especially happy when Laiperoa joins them. Why were you so certain they cause problems? We keep them happy and healthy; there's no need for them to get into mischief."

      "Oh," Brave_Eyes simply replied, a little embarrassed.

      "Isn't there any other way they can get energy besides Laiperoa's laugh?" Blackwingedbird asked with great concern.

      "Not that I know of," the Hissi replied. "She sometimes gave them little white cubes when they played, but I don't know what they are made of."

      "Could that be sugar?" Blackwingedbird gently put the meepit down on reached into her pocket. Although it seemed odd to most Neopets she knew, Blackwingedbird liked to put sugar in her milk. She kept a small pouch of sugar with her so she could do so when over a friend's house, without getting too many odd looks or questions as to why she did such a thing.

      She took the pouch out and gently opened it to show the Hissi the sugar inside.

      "I think that may be it." The Hissi's eyes opened. "Where did you get this from? Was it a blessing from Laiperoa?"

      Blackwingedbird giggled nervously. "No, it wasn't a present from Laiperoa, it's just something I like to put in my milk."

      "Milk?" the Hissi asked.

      Blackwingedbird didn't want to explain and coughed nervously. "Here," she said and handed the pouch over to the Hissi. "I'll give them to you and you can give them to the meepits. That way they can have some more energy, and maybe still be able to play while we try to rescue Laiperoa."

      The Hissi wanted to say more, but nodded as he took the gift. "Thank you," he whispered. "Now if you are going to save Laiperoa, you must hurry. Take the path on the east side. Follow the path, and when you get to choose the direction pick right once, and left two times. Keep repeating the pattern and that will take you the quickest way to the other side of Stnaltia."

      "Thank you," she smiled, then nudged Brave_Eyes to get moving. They had spent a great deal of time wondering the first part of the maze, and the Hissi was right, they needed to hurry.

      They followed the pattern as the Hissi had instructed no longer feeling the weight of watching eyes. It was much quicker to the exit, though by the view they had almost wished to still be enclosed by the maze's walls. There was a thick fog, the ground was covered in a thick layer of water.

      "This must be the Misty Swamp," Blackwingedbird whispered nervously.

      Brave_Eyes put a grip on his Lost Desert Dagger. "Be on the lookout for the dkarpalht."

To be continued...

Pronunciation guide : Stnaltia: stuh-null-tea-ah

Laiperoa = lie-per-row-ah

dkarpalht = car-fault

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Other Episodes

» The Lost World of Stnaltia: Part One
» The Lost World of Stnaltia: Part Two
» The Lost World of Stnaltia: Part Three
» The Lost World of Stnaltia: Part Five

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