Liku and the Quest for a Magic Cookie
"Lucinda... What's going on?"
Lucinda doesn't say anything, her brown hair flailed across her pillow.
"Lucinda?" I whisper.
Her eyes open. "Liku?" she whispers. "Don't... you'll catch it."
I blink. "Catch what?"
"My illness, silly." Lucinda laughs but it sounds like more like a scream than a laugh.
"But you've never been ill before!" I exclaim.
Lucinda laughs her scream-laugh again. "Even humans can catch illnesses, you silly JubJub."
"Will you be okay?" I ask.
"Of course, Liku," Lucinda says, her voice scratchy. "I'll be better in a few days. Then we can go and buy a slushie for you, how about that?"
"Yep, then you can get a Chia Pop!" I say, grinning at the mention of slushies.
Lucinda smiles. "I don't think I could bear to eat anything cold, how about just some nice Black Tea?" She coughs.
"Are you sure you're okay? Do you need anything-"
"No! Liku, I'm fine!" says Lucinda. "Please stop asking me!"
"Okay, Lucinda," I say. I am unsure of what to do when I get an idea. "Is it okay if I do a quest for Taelia?"
Lucinda smiles. "Of course it is!"
I return a fake smile to her and hop out of our Terror Mountain igloo. I intend to go to Taelia: but not for a quest.
As I enter the Snow Faerie's grand igloo, she smiles at me warmly. "A White JubJub? You'll be perfect for my quest!"
I shake my head. "I'm not here for a quest."
Taelia immediately drops her smile. "What for then?"
"I need some help," I say.
Taelia laughs. "Hah! You obviously don't know faeries. We never do anything for free!"
"I'll pay you!" I exclaim and bring out a bag of neopoints from my white shoulder bag which I carry everywhere with me. "I'll pay you 2,000 neopoints, and all I want is a bit of information!"
Taelia looks at me for a moment but then snatches the bag. "Okay then, kid, what do you want?"
"Lu- I mean, my owner, she's ill."
"What do I look like, a doctor?"
I shake my head quickly. "No! It's just that I know you're the smartest person around here, and I wanted to know what I could do to help her. She keeps refusing my help!"
Taelia smiles at the praise. "Well... I am very smart. Okay then, describe what she's like, and I'll try and help you."
"She's got a sore throat, and a runny nose... And she always has these really long coughing fits."
"Oh, that's Sneezles," says Taelia. "It's not a serious illness. You can easily cure it with a Magic Cookie from the Pharmacy."
The Pharmacy? I remember Lucinda going on a few trips there when I had fallen ill as a young JubJub, but never had I left Terror Mountain.
"Do you think she'll recover on her own?" I ask.
Taelia shakes her head. "No, you need a Magic Cookie. They're not that expensive."
"Taelia," I say, "is the Pharmacy in Neopia Central?"
"Yes, have you never been there?"
I shake my head.
"You're hopeless, aren't you?" Taelia sighs. "Well, I have to help you, considering you've paid me."
She leaves the room for a few seconds and returns with a large piece of paper. It is a map.
"This is a map of Neopia," she says. I know this because I have spent many hours staring at one of these maps in my room, wondering about the distant lands outside Terror Mountain.
"There is a sea in between where Terror Mountain and Neopia Central, so you need to get a boat from Happy Valley. Once you get to Neopia Central, all you need to do is ask someone where the Pharmacy is, and then buy a Magic Cookie. Head back home the way you came and ta da! Your owner is better."
I smile gratefully. "Thank you so much!"
"Thank you," says Taelia, patting the bag of neopoints I gave her. "Oh, and remember to bring enough money for the boat fare there and back."
I thank Taelia again and leave her igloo.
Now I must tell Lucinda of my plans.
At first Lucinda does not notice me, but she soon is aware of my presence.
"Oh Liku, you're back! Did Taelia give you anything good?"
"Not much," I say.
"Oh well, you can't always get what you want," says Lucinda with a tired smile on her face.
There are a few moments of silence when I finally gather the courage to speak.
"Lucinda, I'm going to Neopia Central," I say.
"No!" she says fiercely. "I don't care why, but you are not leaving Terror Mountain!"
I ignore her. "I'm going to Neopia Central so I can get a Magic Cookie from the Pharmacy."
"Liku, stop worrying-"
"I have to!" I shout. "Taelia said you need a Magic Cookie or-"
"Don't you dare go to Neopia Central, Liku!"
"I'm taking my savings for the boat fare," I say. "There's enough food in the cupboard by your bed to last you a while."
"Liku," Lucinda says softly. "You don't have to."
"I do," I say. "I'll be back soon."
Our igloo is right on the top of Terror Mountain, so to get to Happy Valley I must travel through the Ice Caves. Most visitors find the Ice Caves a chilling and mysterious place, but I quite like it. The ice bends light in its own mystical way and creates beautiful reflections. It frightens tourists, but it soothes me and cheers me up.
I walk steadily through the Ice Caves, occasionally taking a break and snacking on some Neo Crackers. Finally I approach the Ice Crystal Shop, which is near the entrance to Happy Valley.
"Almost there," I whisper to myself.
"Almost where?" a voice calls.
I look to the voice.
It is coming from the Ice Crystal Shop, so I approach it cautiously.
"No need to be worried, I won't hurt you!" says the voice.
I finally see the owner of the voice. She is an Island Eyrie, who towers over my head. She looks like an average Island Eyrie but there seems to be something different about her...
"If you wondering what's different about me," she says, as if reading my mind. "It's my wing, it's injured."
"Oh, I'm sorry," I say.
The Eyrie laughs. "It's not your fault! I've had it for as long as I can remember."
"Why don't you get it healed?"
"I would if I could," says the Eyrie. "But I don't have enough money to get to the Hospital in Neopia Central. And I can't work or play games because of my injury, so I'm stuck like this."
I frown. That's not fair at all! Without thinking I say, "I'll pay for you!"
The Eyrie smiles. "That's very nice of you, but you're on a long journey, I'm sure you need the money."
I shake my head. "I'm going to the Pharmacy in Neopia Central for a cure, but it's very cheap. Most of the money I need is for the boat fare, so I could pay for your fare there, and then you could fly me back when your wing is healed!"
The Eyrie considers this for a moment. "That's actually a very good plan."
I grin. "And I need some company anyway." I hold out a toe. "Liku."
The Eyrie smiles and shakes it. "Penny."
Suddenly I realize this trip will be much more fun than I had first thought.
We are walking through Happy Valley, warmed by the cheerful atmosphere.
"So what's an Island Eyrie like you doing in the Ice Caves?" I ask Penny after I finish explaining my story.
"Oh, I don't know," Penny says cheerfully.
"You don't know?" I ask, confused.
"Yep," says Penny. "A few months ago I found myself in Terror Mountain without a single possession or memory and a broken wing. I think I might have been in an accident which caused me to lose my memory, and that accident might have also been the cause for my broken wing."
"What about friends? Family? Surely they should be looking for you?"
Penny shrugs. "No friends or family have contacted me. I have a few acquaintances in Terror Mountain, but other than that I've been on my own for these past months."
I feel my heart falling inside of me. How must it have felt for Penny to wake up in the middle of a frosty land with nothing? I can not imagine parting with Lucinda for so long, and even worse, not remembering her. I wonder if someone is missing Penny right now.
"Don't feel sorry for me," says Penny. "In fact, now that you're helping me, I'll be able to earn some money. I was thinking that I could travel Neopia- starting with Mystery Island- to try and discover my past."
I smile, feeling happy that I am helping Penny. "That's great, Penny!"
"Yeah, it is, isn't it?" Penny says cheerfully.
I look at Penny, glad that she is so optimistic about her future. Then I think of something: "How do you know your name is Penny?"
Penny winks. "I don't. I just thought Penny would be a nice name."
We laugh and head towards the harbour, to cross the sea and get to Neopia Central, where our hopes are waiting for us.
The harbour is busy, and many neopets are rushing here and there.
"So how do we get a boat to Neopia Central?" Penny asks.
I am about to shrug, but notice a stand which says INFORMATION AND TICKETS.
"Over there," I say.
We go to the stand, which is being run by a Purple Mynci.
"Yes?" he says, bored.
"Can we have two tickets for a boat to Neopia Central please?" I ask.
"Sure, first, second or third class?"
"Third, please," I say.
We exchange money and tickets.
"You better hurry," says the Mynci. "Your boat's leaving in five minutes. And it's at the other end of the harbour."
Penny and I look at each other. We start running to the other end of the harbour as quickly as we can, and arrive at our boat just in time.
"'urry up!" says the Pirate Ixi who is checking tickets. "T' boat's just about t' leave!"
We hop on board, thanking the stars for our luck.
"Your room is right on the bottom floor, fif' door on the right," said the Ixi after handing us our tickets back. "'ave a nice trip."
We head to our room, a small, dingy one with a bunkbed stashed in the corner.
"Good thing we don't have many things!" says Penny. "Or we'd have nowhere to put them all!"
According to our tickets, the journey lasts three days, and we can buy food from the third class section of the dining hall.
"I didn't know we had to pay for our food," I say. "I thought it'd be included in the ticket."
"That's probably because we're third class," says Penny. "Don't worry though Liku, we have enough of the food we bought from Happy Valley if the food here's too expensive."
"Oh," I say. "I was going to eat in when we were in Neopia Central."
"We can just buy food there!" says Penny. "It's probably cheaper than Terror Mountain's food anyway."
"Okay then," I say, reassured by Penny's words.
I am glad that I have Penny accompanying me in this big, weird world outside my home.
Three days pass quickly (for me anyway: it turns out that Penny gets sea sick very easily) and we hear a knock on our door.
"We've arrived!" calls a rough voice, who then moves on to alert the other passengers.
"We've arrived!" Penny and I exclaim.
We hurry up to the deck where we have landed at a port. From the ship I can see Neopia Central. The bright colours amaze me... In Terror Mountain white and blue are the only colours you need. Here... Colours I didn't even know existed are splattered about everywhere.
"Wow..." I say, breathless.
Penny doesn't seem as amazed by our surroundings, but she is still excited. "Come on, Liku!" she calls, running off the ship.
I follow her. "Let's go over there for some food!" I shout, pointing to a giant burger shaped shop. I am not actually that hungry, but I want to explore this incredible place.
We enter the shop and buy some food. I notice my neopoints are slowly dwindling away, but I don't care: Neopia Central seems to suck all the worry out of me.
"Well, I'm heading off to the Hospital," says Penny after we finish eating. "Thank you for paying for my journey here: I'll soon pay you back. Should we meet up here as soon as we're done?"
"Okay then, bye, Penny!" I say as she leaves. Then it is my turn to head to the Pharmacy.
"Excuse me," I ask a passing Lenny. "Do you know where the Pharmacy is?"
"Oh, are you new around here?" he says, surprised. "All you need to do is head towards that big tree, it's called the Money Tree, then you should be able to see the Pharmacy. It's a yellow building with a blue roof, it's hard to miss it."
"Thank you!" I say, and run to the Pharmacy. Finally I have reached my goal.
The Pharmacy is empty, except for a Blue Elephante Nurse who is sitting behind the counter writing on a clipboard. She doesn't notice me until I cough loudly.
"Oh sorry! Hello, what would you like to buy?" she says sweetly.
"Could I buy a Magic Cookie please?" I ask, bringing out my bag of neopoints from my shoulder bag.
"Of course, that'll be 3,000 neopoints please," says the Nurse, taking a Magic Cookie out from the shelf.
I frown. I don't have 3,000 neopoints! I only have 1,000 neopoints left!
"I don't have 3,000 neopoints," I say. "Could I pay a thousand instead?"
The Nurse shakes her head. "I'm sorry. The lowest I can go is 2,000."
"But I need it!" I shout. "My owner's ill and-"
"You only need a thousand more neopoints," says the Nurse. "You can earn that quickly enough. If you're not buying anything else, please could you leave."
I leave the shop, miserable. How do I earn neopoints? My entire life Lucinda has sheltered me from the outside world. Whenever I needed something I would just take some money from my savings, which consists of the weekly allowance Lucinda gives me. I suddenly realize how inexperienced I am in life.
"Maybe Penny will know," I mutter. I head back to the Food Shop, but she is not there. She is probably still in the hospital getting her wing healed. It is night, and I have no idea what to do. Where should I sleep? I hardly have any money, but I cannot spend it because I must try and get a Magic Cookie somehow.
I decide that I should wait for Penny outside the Food Shop, and when she comes back she can hopefully lend me some money. I sit down among some bushes, waiting hopefully for the heavy footsteps of Penny.
I gaze at the Money Tree, standing large in the centre of Neopia Central.
"I wonder why it's called the Money Tree," I say.
Then I realize why: there are bags of Neopoints hanging from the tree! I rush towards the Money Tree joyous when a Rainbow Kyrii dashes past me and grabs the bag of neopoints.
"No!" I shout after him. "I need that!"
"Little White JubJub, are you okay?" says a voice.
I look around me but I see no one.
"Up here," the voice chuckles.
I look up and the source of the voice is... the Money Tree?
"I've been watching you sit outside the Food Shop for a while now. But when you came to Neopia Central I saw you with an Island Eyrie. Where is she?"
I decide it is best that I ignore the fact that a tree is talking to me- after all there are stranger things in Terror Mountain.
"Penny- the Island Eyrie that is- went to the Hospital to get her wing healed. I was waiting for her to come to our meeting point."
"Then why did you run so desperately towards me when you saw that bag of neopoints?" asks the Money Tree.
I explain my situation to the Tree, holding back tears.
"Hmmm..." says the Money Tree. "You are in a grave situation." It pauses. "Do you know what I am for?"
I shake my head.
"Generous Neopians donate objects and money and they all come to me: the Money Tree. It is so that needy Neopians like you can benefit." says the Money Tree.
"You mean you can help me?" I exclaim.
"Yes," replies the Tree. "I don't always put out all the money I have because sometimes greedy Neopians like to take from me. I put it out when I see a needy Neopian like you. Now, how much was it you needed?"
"A thousand neopoints please, Money Tree," I say, tears leaking from my eyes now.
"Don't worry about it," chuckles the Tree, handing me a bag. "This is my job. I love it. Now, go get that Magic Cookie!"
"Thank you!" I shout, running towards the Pharmacy as quickly as my feet can take me.
"Your welcome!" the Money Tree shouts. "And by the way, you can get money from playing games!"
So that's how you do it! When I arrive at my destination a few minutes later I feel elated. I can finally get the cure to Lucinda's illness! Breathless I open the door.
"Oh, you," says the Nurse. "Do you have the money for the Magic Cookie?"
"Yes, I have two thousand neopoints!" I say, putting the money on the counter.
"Here's your Magic Cookie," says the Nurse, handing it over to me. "Have a nice day."
"You too!" I say, walking back to the Food Shop happily.
When I get there I don't see Penny, but I do not feel lonely and happily sit down to wait for her.
"BOO!" I hear.
I look up- and there's Penny! She is flying above my head, her magnificent wings spread out. She has the largest grin on her face, and I can tell she feels as happy as I do.
"Thank you, Liku!" she says as she lands. "I wouldn't be able to fly if it weren't for you. Now we just need to get back to Terror Mountain and help your owner! Get on my back!"
I climb onto Penny's back and hold on tightly. Her wings start flapping.
"To Terror Mountain we go!" she shouts.
It takes us an entire day to fly to Terror Mountain but Penny does not stop once.
"I can do this, Liku!" she says when I protest. "This is the most fun I've had since... I can remember!"
I laugh at Penny's happiness. It may be overused, but it makes my heart glow when I remember that I have helped Penny.
"There's my igloo!" I call when I spot it from the sky.
Penny lands and I climb off her.
"Well then, I guess this is it," I say.
"Yeah..." says Penny.
"So," I say. "Are you going to go to Mystery Island? Try and find your past?"
Penny nods. "Bye, Liku."
And suddenly Penny is in the sky, flying away.
I sigh. I will miss Penny. I sadly enter the igloo and go to Lucinda's room. She is sleeping.
"Lucinda!" I say. I jump onto her bed. "Lucinda!"
Lucinda's eyes flutter open. "Liku? You're back! I was so worried!"
I give her the Magic Cookie. "Eat this, Lucinda, you'll feel better."
Lucinda munches on the Magic Cookie and instantly the life returns in her eyes. She hugs me.
"Liku! Thank you!" she says.
"I-" I start but a loud knocking noise interrupts me.
Lucinda and I look at each other.
"Who could that be?" she asks.
I have a feeling I know. I rush to the door and my thoughts are confirmed right.
"I figured that if anyone really missed me," says Penny, "they would find a way to find me- like you have to get that Magic Cookie."
I hug Penny, then turn to Lucinda who has followed me to the door.
"Lucinda... How would you feel about adopting another pet?"