The Very Long Vacation of Dr. Wilbur
Now that everyone's tan is fading and the memory of sunglasses on the nose seems like a mere dream, I find the time to recount my latest adventure. As always, I consider it my duty as Brightvale's most famous private detective to share my (mis)fortunes and create awareness towards the dangerous world we are living in! Yes, dear reader! The look of horror on your face is not superfluous; once more, with great peril for my own life, I saved the day, nay, the whole of Neopia, from a terrible threat.
So, loyal fan, have a seat, sit back, take your glass of warm milk and prepare to be, once again, enthralled.
It was the Month of Swimming, the humid heat was seeping into Brightvale, just as a noxious gas, spreading in the streets, entering through cracked doors and the odd opened window. There is nothing worse than spending a summer in your place of residence, at home. Thus, I fancied a change. I decided to go to... Mystery Island! Tropical paradise, mysterious fauna and flora, new and exciting foods, and probably a native language which closely resembles incensed muttering. Being a person of rather intelligent nature I first proceeded to Brightvale Books, in order to purchase the most extensive and comprehensive guide to Mystery Island. I'm the kind of person who likes to "blend in" when visiting another land, and blending is a serious matter not be trifled with.
The Ixi in the bookshop eyed me curiously as I feigned to know what I was looking for. I didn't. But it was just a matter of time before I did. Dr. Wilbur cannot be led astray in a library or bookshop, no matter how illogical the books may be classified. * cough * Just as I had spotted the book I needed I was cowardly and spinelessly attacked from behind by a ladder resting against the bookcases. The ladder grabbed my left foot, I stumbled, struggled, fell, the ladder threw itself upon me and was aided in its cowardly feat by a cascade if heavy leather-bound books. Thus I lay, splayed beneath the myriad of books, struggling for a mere breath. The book that hat hit me in the right eye was indeed the Island Cybunny Guide. You may think, why a Cybunny's guide, you're a Wocky. Right you are, dear fan, but Cybunny's are known to be very demanding travelers and will thus have listed all I need to know for a glorious trip. Triumph! The ladder had failed to mislead me. I freed myself from the shameless obstacles pinning me to the floor, got gingerly to my feet, all the while clutching my precious guide to the chest. By now the shopkeeper, behind the counter, was staring at me, eyes on fire, mouth open, fists balled with silent fury. As if I had voluntarily destroyed half of the bookshop. How foolish. I hastily scraped the required amount of NP from my pocket and quickly exited.
Being an adventurer at heart, I packed my Explorer Backpack, filled with indispensable survival-gear, that same day and headed towards the harbor. Charters to Mystery Island were not easy to find, sometimes you had to wait days on end to find sailors crazy enough to head that way. Most of the time these claimed to be honest tradesmen heading towards the Island to purchase rare fruits and native trinkets. I would say they seemed to be of a most questionable nature and did not seem to be of the purchasing kind. Nevertheless after waiting five brave long hours in the harbor, I embarked upon the The Windy Uni. Its captain was a most fierce-looking Werelupe named "Grog" or "Ogg", I never really managed to catch the name, but I'll settle for "Ogg" for the sake of my story. Captain Ogg, as I said, was most fierce-looking and quite frankly terrifying, not to a brave Wocky as me, but to the normal people. He spent most of the time drinking a pasty liquid from an unidentifiable bottle and yelling indistinctive words at his crew. The crew would then promptly scatter across the deck and respectively busy themselves with the sails, tying knots, mending nets or cleaning large black things which vaguely resembled canons.
I decided to keep to myself and stay in my cabin which, according to yours truly, was ordinarily used as a broom closet, but had now been emptied of its usual inhabitants and furnished with a hammock, one blanket and a bucket. I could not fathom what the bucket could be for, nor what its previous employment had been, but it was so disgusting I hid it outside the cabin between some large crates, hoping to never have to lay eyes upon it again. The journey was to take a fortnight and I was required to pay up front. Thinking that if I didn't pay them right then, right there, they wouldn't mind taking it themselves, I coughed up the required amount of NP, retired to my cabin, clambered into my hammock and started reading my Island Guide. The rocking of the boat and the hammock being unbearable, I soon gave up on reading. I decided some fresh air wouldn't be so bad after all, braved the rocking staircase and emerged upon the deck, which was submerged in a cloud of greyish smoke. I couldn't see a thing, but could hear loud and strangled voices, echoing bangs, the clanging sound of metal and the acrid smell of something burning reached my most superior nostrils. Dazed and confused I fell over as the ship gave a might lurch. Sitting on all fours I crawled my way towards the helm, hoping to be in an overlooking position of this mad chaos. I found Captain Ogg drawing his sword as I crawled over the last stair and yelling madly into his black beard. He dashed forward and attacked... a nasty-looking Kyrii standing behind me. They engaged into a gruesome swordfight and finally, with a stroke of brilliance, Captain Ogg managed to throw the culprit overboard.
It was then clear to me: the ship was under attack. No doubt some foul pirates had chosen The Windy Uni as a perfectly innocent target. Hah! We showed them. Soon enough the fight was over, the cloud of smoke lifted and we could assess the damages made to the ship. Captain Ogg proceeded to yell instructions at his carpenters, three queasy-looking Kacheeks, and ordered the rest of the crew to throw useless debris overboard and scrub the deck. I nodded in agreement with the Captain and decided to retire; I had had quite enough excitement for one day. As I turned away from the deck, my feet suddenly left the floor and I was suspended in mid-air. I turned around and realized Captain Ogg had grabbed me by the scruff of the neck. He was yelling at me, spit flying from his mouth. He unceremoniously dropped me on the floor and thrust a broom into my hands, yelled some more, and gestured to a corner of the ship littered with indefinable dirt. I decided to not put the Captain in his place; I was after all a paying customer, but I would show the kindness of my heart and help the crew to mend the ship. There were no more incidents after this first day and the voyage proceeded amiably, though I did notice the hull was now filled with more crates and chests than before.
I arrived in Mystery Island on the 20th of Month of Swimming. Two weeks of scrubbing the deck had earned me a sailor-worthy tan and a slightly rugged look. When seeing my reflection in a bucket of water I jumped back at the ferocious Wocky staring back at me. Two young Kougras were sitting on the dock nearby and sniggered at my peculiar reaction. Still smiling I walked over to them, pointed at myself, the boat and then my beard. They gave my quizzical looks. I smiled and waved. Clearly these natives weren't all that bright. I heaved my Explorer Backpack onto my shoulder and left the dock, heading towards main land. Main land appeared to be sand. Loads of sand for miles on end and eventually, when squinting, one could see the sand changing into a green mass of jungle-ness. I decided to spend my first few days on known territory. Dr Wilbur could easily handle a handful of sand, but a handful of jungle might be a different story. After two weeks on a diet of dry biscuits and seawater, my first priority was finding food. Anything but fibers. Fruits, meats, fish, vegetables... drooling inwardly I went in search of a marketplace.
As I walked along the sandy streets, I was suddenly stopped by a very large obstacle wearing a red flowery shirt and what seemed to be a wooden mask. He continuously chanted "Tiki tack, Tiki tack, come in and win, Tiki tack". I accompanied him inside his hut if only to be rid of his infernal singing. He handed me a large wooden bowl filled with slips of parchment. As soon as I had chosen one he grabbed it from me and started rummaging on the shelves behind him. He knocked over various items and finally picked the item with the number "66" tied to it. "Congratulations," he said, "you have won Pickled Olives." Grimacing slightly, I took my prize from him, inclined my head and left the dingy hut. Had I been in Brightvale, every single passer-by would have stared at me, a respectable dressed Wocky, clutching a jar of slimy green olives. In Mystery Island, this seemed to be quite ordinary. Sniggering at my own clever ruse of "how to blend in", I clutched the pickled olives closer to my chest. Still in search for real food, I stopped a native and tried to sign-language. The native shrugged and resumed walking, blatantly ignoring my friendly question. I was really starting to get hungry and angry at the complete lack of friendly behavior. Not the best way to attract tourism. After minutes of walking in the heat and scorching my feet on the burning sand, I stumbled upon a large marketplace. Rows and rows of colorful stalls selling about everything imaginable.
I was seduced by a nearby fruit stall which also sold colorful umbrellas as means of sun blocking devices. I bought Banangos, Blurfs and an Eitchtwoo Melon; and a bright pink umbrella, which I opened and casually slung over my shoulder, shading my head and shoulders from the sun. Barely had I sunk my teeth in the Eitchtwoo Melon that a great big Squippit came crawling out of the fruit! I spat out the mouthful of fruit and yelled in terror. An Island Aisha sitting nearby laughed and said "Island luck, you lucky mister." I let out a loud "humph" and stalked away, throwing the bought fruit in a nearby crate. Now I was still hungry and most possibly infected with one or other disease yet to be discovered and documented! Oh Woe!
Then it happened. Quick as lightning. A young Island Kacheek grabbed the pickled olives from my arms and ran for the hills. Quite literally, he scampered into a part of jungle which had taken residence upon the flank of a mountain. Nobody steals from Dr. Wilbur! Not even when it is a worthless free Tombola prize! I plunged in to the jungle. A mass of green leaves and wood attacking anyone not accustomed to the surroundings. I was hit in the face by many gutless leaves and masses of coward branches clawed at my legs. The young boy ran quickly and swiftly, avoiding any obstacle. Vegetal or animal. I, on the other hand, was not so lucky. After an unlucky encounter with an Island Spyder, I completely lost the boy's trace.
There I stood, puffing, panting and sweating. Lost. Alone. Abandoned by my faithful Cybunny Island Guide. Bleak, was my outlook, very bleak. I decided to rest against the trunk of an undefined tree and close my eyes for a few seconds. Soon, thirst got the best of me, and I decided to continue walking until I could find a small river or even a pool of dodgy water. After hours of walking in the damp and humid heat, my legs could no longer carry me and I fell down. Yes, dear fan, I Dr. Wilbur, wearer of silk, was lying in the mud. Quite literally. Reduced to a mere fraction of myself I found the strength to drag my body from the mud, in search for a dry piece of vegetation. I did not find soft grass or dry leaves, instead my groping hand found nothing. And I fell, I fell deep and for a very long time. Until I hit hard rocky underground with a slight crunch, no doubt crushing some essential piece of equipment from my adventurer's backpack. It was a dark place, smelling of fungus and other things that normally don't thrive in daylight. I slowly raised myself to my feet, rubbed my eyes, and squinted in all directions. A tiny flickering source of light was coming from my right. With the agility of a thief, I sneaked closer, edging alongside the cavernous walls. I poked my head around a corner and was met with a peculiar scene.
In the center of an enormous cavern stood a large copper kettle, quietly simmering on a fire. Crouching beside the kettle sat the young Kacheek, who was shaking my jar of pickled olives, watching the olives pirouette in their green pasty liquid. Dancing, yes dancing, around the fire was a greying red Techo, dressed in strange cloths. He pranced and turned and murmured under his breath, all the while shaking a peculiar staff, made of wood and white things which I assumed to be strangely shaped bones. The cauldron started emitting sparks and smoked profusely.
"Master, master, don't forget the final ingredient!" cried the young Kacheek suddenly. The Red Techo grinned broadly and patted the young boy on the head.
"Very good, Kobo, very good. Thanks to you, our spell shall be completed, and Mystery Island shall bow to me." He then proceeded to cackle evilly, until he choked on his own spit, hacked, coughed and groped at his throat. Kobo, meanwhile, was laughing his head off, until his Master smacked him in the back of the head with his staff. Grabbing the spot where he was hit with both hands, he dropped the jar of pickled olives, which rolled away slowly. My hands itched to go and rescue the jar and prevent that evil Techo from subjugating Mystery Island, but Kobo quickly got to his feet and hugged the jar to his chest. My jar!
"Yes, finally, Mystery Island will pay for not choosing me as supreme Techo Master," the Red Techo continued. "Oh they shall bow to me, once the spell is complete, and if they do not bow... well, let's say theirs will not be a happy ending."
Kobo jumped to his feet, raised the jar above his head and chanted: "Ending. Ending. Ending. Ending."
"Enough boy!" snapped the Master. "Now give me the jar." Kobo stopped chanting and slouched slightly, as if he had been hit. He shuffled away from the cauldron and his Master, not ready to part with his newest toy. "Kobo," said the Techo menacingly.
It was now or never. Another chance for Dr. Wilbur to shine and excel, and once more, save the day. It was time for action. Just as I was about to jump into the cavernous room and yell " Have fear, for Dr. Wilbur is here.", my foot got caught in a strap of my backpack. I tripped, felt myself fall and fell. Both Kobo and the Techo Master turned their heads with a snap and watched me scramble to my feet.
"So, we have a visitor, Kobo. Wouldn't you like to bid him welcome." Kobo didn't need telling twice and ran straight towards me, tackled me and sunk his teeth in my left ankle. I yelled out in pain and attempted to shake him off, but Kobo's sharp little teeth were firmly anchored. I could hear the Techo Master cackling again. Rage encompassed me and I kicked out at Kobo who yelled and let go. At that precise moment the Techo was once again choking in his own laughter, I lunged at him, instead knocked over the cauldron, sending the liquid across the cavern floor.
"You fool!" yelled the Techo Master, as he staggered he knocked over the jar of pickled Olives and it smashed, the green liquid seeping a burning hole into the sole of his foot. Just as he raised his staff to curse me, Kobo attacked him. The Master staggered once more and fell into the pool of liquid which seemed to be steadily evolving into solid matter, into rock. As Kobo and I watched the master turn to stone, the cavern started to rumble and crumble. Kobo tugged at my sleeve and dragged me into a secret passage. We crept and crept towards the daylight and emerged on the mossy forest floor. Exhausted, dehydrated and unbelievably tired, I fainted.
When I woke up, I was on a ship, once again captained by Ogg the Werelupe, on my way to Brightvale.
Thus ended my Mystery Island Adventure. So, au revoir, dear friends and until next time.
Dr. A.F. Wilbur
Search the Neopian Times