Beyond the Pages: Part Two
"You know, it's all thanks to you that we're stuck in here," Jurgis grumbled as they made their way across the endless plain of paper.
"Me?!" Sharllette stopped moving and glared at him. "It was YOUR idea to write a story for the Neopian Times! Just because you're SO obsessed with being famous."
"Yeah, but it was you who messed up the wish! You know you have to be specific if you want the Wishing Well to get it right!" Jurgis retaliated, returning the glare.
Sharllette held her stare a moment longer, then sighed and looked away. "Can we not fight? We need to find a way out of here."
Jurgis frowned. "But there's nothing here. And we've been here for hours!!"
Sharllette shook her head. "No, we haven't. It's only been like forty-five minutes, if not less." She gazed around at the place. "Hey, I just thought of something."
"Well," she began. "if we're in the newspaper, then where's all the news?"
Jurgis blinked and looked around, realizing what she meant. There was nothing there, not even a picture or a headline or anything. It was just paper. "Hmm, you have a point."
Then he thought of something. "What about that picture of us we saw in that weird newspaper? You think that meant something?"
Sharllette suddenly perked up. "Oh, yeah! In the picture, we were stepping through some kind of portal. Maybe there's one around here that can get us out!"
Jurgis watched as Sharllette started running ahead. He was just about to follow when she went out of sight, just like that. One minute she's there, the next, *poof* gone. The Eyrie panicked. "Oh, no. Sharllette!" he shouted, fearing that she went through some invisible portal without him.
He jumped and turned around to find his sister standing right behind him. "Wha-- what happened?? You were there, and then gone, and then here..."
Sharllette laughed. "Relax, bro. I think we've been going in circles."
"It's like this," she said, smiling in amusement. "at some point, this place just stops. When you walk through where it does, you end up at the beginning again." She paused. "At least, I think so. Either that or you teleported ahead of me, but I doubt it."
Jurgis growled, "So we've been going in circles this ENTIRE TIME?!"
"Yup. But the good news is that now we know, we can try going another way." Sharllette smiled, happy to have finally - sort of - gotten somewhere, and pointed in a random direction. "That way!"
Jurgis grumbled something about being hungry before following the Xweetok. "How can you be so upbeat?" he grumbled to his sister.
Sharllette just smiled. "Well, I've always wanted to be able to go into a story. Being in the Neopian Times is just as good."
Jurgis thought that was kind of ridiculous, but he let it slide. Just because he was hating every moment of this didn't mean Sharllette had to.
"Found it!" his sister suddenly shouted and started running.
Jurgis ran to catch up. "Found what?"
"The portal thingy!" She grinned and pointed ahead. Jurgis looked and saw too late that they were running for a large, blue swirly thing floating in midair - just like in the picture. He tried to skid to a stop, but he was going too fast and fell into the thing...
...right into the Snowager's lair.
Sharllette came out behind Jurgis and gasped. "Whoa... We must be in one of the NT stories about the Snowager."
Said snow-beast was laying on a pile of soft plushies and jellies and things. It looked kinda depressed.
A sudden metal clang caught its - and the two Neopets' - attention, and it reared up at a blue Kougra that stood frozen (not literally) in front of the Snowager's treasure pile, holding something Jurgis couldn't quite see. She started running and the Snowager opened its mouth to fire ice at her.
"Sharllette," Jurgis whispered as to not catch the beasts attention. "we should get out of here. Now."
But Sharllette shook her head. "No, wait. I want to see this. I think this is one of Mom's stories." Jurgis had to stop himself from shouting at her to get moving so they could get out with they're lives intact.
The two watched - Jurgis rather nervously - as the Snowager prepared to fire, but stopped when a little voice called out from outside the cave. They couldn't see who it was, but for some reason it made the Snowager halt and the Kougra got out safely. Once that had happened, the Snowager turned its head, seeming slightly shocked that it hadn't shot its ice, and saw them.
"Run!" Jurgis shouted and, before the snow-beast could think twice, he grabbed Sharllette's arm and whirled around, only to find that the portal they'd come through had disappeared. "What..!?"
"This way!" Sharllette began running toward the Snowager, pulling Jurgis along with her.
"What are you dong?!" Jurgis yelled at her just as the Snowager shot a weak blast of ice close by them.
Sharllette didn't answer. Instead, she yanked him to the side and ran halfway around the Snowager to jump into a recently formed portal. They found themselves tumbling out into...
...the blank white space again.
"What!" Jurgis exclaimed angrily. "Why did we end up here again?"
"Um, Jurgis? I don't think we're in that place again." Sharllette pointed behind him and he turned to see a girl a few meters away talking to a purple Grundo. The Grundo was wearing a weird shirt with a smiley face on it, and the girl had a huge hairdo.
"I know this," Sharllette said, smiling. "This is a comic. I think this one was in the issue right after the one with Mom's first story. Which was the one we were just in." she added just in case Jurgis didn't know.
"Yeah, I've seen it," Jurgis said. "I like reading the comics sometimes."
Sharllette stared at him.
"What? You think I can't read at all?"
"Never mind." Sharllette looked around at the white space. "Look, over there! Another portal!"
Jurgis looked where she was pointing and saw yet another blue swirly portal. "Okay, but should we go through it? I mean, what if we run into something dangerous again?"
"Hey, who are you two?" The siblings jumped in surprise when a blue Xweetok walked over from who-knows-where and stared at them accusingly.
There was a pause, then Sharllette leaned over to Jurgis and whispered, "I don't think anything we could run into would be worse than her."
Jurgis stared at her a moment, confused. He didn't remember this Xweetok being in that comic. Then again, he wasn't much of a reader. He was about to ask about her when Sharllette grabbed his arm and threw him into the portal, following behind a moment later. They fell into...
...a comfortable looking parlor room. There was a fire in the fireplace, a yellow Wocky sat in a chair holding up a book and seemed to be talking to a white Weewoo which was sitting on the only other chair in the room.
"Now we come to book number five: The Big Book of Hate and Anger..." the Wocky was saying. It continued to talk about the book in a rather boring way - or at least boring to Jurgis - and the Weewoo was taking notes.
"What is this?" Jurgis whispered, not wanting to draw attention to himself.
Sharllette narrowed her eyes. "I think this is an article. We should get out of here. Now."
Jurgis was surprised. He thought Sharllette would love this place; it was about books after all. But it was an article. Didn't she say something about finding those boring once..? "Okay," Jurgis said. "I see a portal over there. Let's go."
Sharllette followed her brother as he made his way quietly across the room and into the next portal. When they made it to the other side they found themselves...
...in The Hidden Tower in Faerieland. It was obvious that it was a comic; everything looked all blotchy. What might have been a starry Xweetok was paying for something over by a faerie that might have been Fyora.
"Wow, bad artist," Jurgis said, letting his eyes explore the room.
Sharllette elbowed him. "Don't be mean, this is better than you could do."
Jurgis rubbed his arm where she'd hit him and looked around for a portal. He wasn't sure at this point why they were going through them, but he didn't want to stay here where he could hardly tell what was what. "There!" he said, pointing behind a nearby shelf. "A portal."
Sharllette grinned at him. "Great. We'll be out in no time."
Before Jurgis could ask what she meant by that, the maybe-Fyora spotted them "Hello there! Would you two like to buy something?"
"No thanks!" Sharllette waved, and then dragged Jurgis over to the portal. Sick of being shoved into these, Jurgis pushed her inside then followed himself...
...falling into a crowd of basic colored Neopets, and scaring a few of them.
Sharllette stood up and glared a moment at her brother before looking around. "I think we're in the pound," she said uncertainly.
"The pound?" Jurgis looked around as well and found that they were in a room painted completely white, and filled to the brim with basic colored Neopets. "Man, we're gonna stand out here."
Sharllette agreed. "No kidding. I actually think this might be another one of Mom's stories."
"Mom wrote about the pound?" Jurgis paused when he heard what might have been crying. "And made it this depressing?"
"No, actually. She wrote about the Transfer Room. And I think that crying is from someone the main character meets."
"Weird..." Jurgis breathed, staring at everything.
"Yeah, but it was sweet," Sharllette smiled. "Anyway, since we're in this story, that means we're close!"
"Close to what?" Jurgis asked.
"Close to the current issue," Sharllette replied as if it were obvious. "I think that when we reach that one we'll be able to get out. It's a long shot, but it's not like we have anything else to go by."
Jurgis had to admit she was right. "Okay then, let's look for a portal."
They started weaving their way around the abandoned pets, looking around for that blue swirl. Before they could find anything though, a loud voice rang out. "Hey, Uni, girl! I'd like those two as well!" At that, a pink Uni made her way over to them, grabbing both their wrists and dragging them over to a man standing next to two other pets with colors WAY more valuable than theirs.
"Hey, we're not up for adoption," Jurgis said when the Uni shoved them at the man. "We have a mom."
"Oh, dear." The Uni frowned. "You poor thing. You don't realize what's happened do you?"
"You were abandoned, kid," the man said. "You're mine now. Eh, leave the Xweetok," he added to the Uni.
The Uni nodded and grabbed Sharllette's arm again, but before anything else could happened, Jurgis panicked and ran over to help her. He shoved the Uni away by her horn and snatched Sharllette's paw. "Run," he growled. They ran out the door, followed by shouts and alarms, and headed toward a dark blue portal that had just opened up in front of them. (Convenient, no?) They sprang forward and next thing the knew...
...they were sprawled out on a beach covered in sand.
"Ow." Sharllette grunted, trying to sit up properly. She blinked sand out of her eyes and looked up to see a disco Ixi standing two feet away from her.
"Hi," the Ixi said, looking shocked but grinning all the same.
"Hi," Sharllette replied, dazed from her rough entry into this place. She looked to her right and saw Jurgis sitting up with a paw to his head, staring at a blue Kougra who was standing a few feet away. "W...Where are we?" she murmured, gripping her own head. Man, did they land hard here. She turned slightly and saw a rock where her head used to be. 'Oh.'
"You're on the unnamed island just off the coast of Krawk Island," the Ixi said, answering her question. "What are you doing here? And more importantly how did you get here? And what was that swirly blue thing??"
Jurgis blinked at the Ixi. "You saw that?"
The Ixi turned to him. "Yes, I did. What was it?"
"It was our portal," Sharllette said. "We're, uh, from the future. And, um... we need your help to get back there, as our portal, uh, malfunctioned. There should be another one somewhere around here," she finished, standing up and brushing herself off as Jurgis did the same.
The Ixi gaped at the two of them. "From the future??"
"Prove it," The Ixi smiled.
"Okay..." Sharllette hesitated. "Well, we know who you are, and what you're doing here. Because you ended up in the newspaper... after telling everyone about this place." It wasn't technically a lie. Her mom actually wrote this one too.
"Yes. And I can prove it." She pointed to the Ixi. "Your name is Ariden." The pointing finger moved to the Kougra. "And your name is Serina. You two came here because Ariden wanted to see what was on this island."
The Ixi's eyes widened. "You are from the future!"
"Yes," Jurgis said. "and now we'd like to get back to the future. Seen any floating portals anywhere?"
Ariden, as Sharllette had dubbed him, laughed. "Of course not! We haven't seen the whole island yet."
"Well then, how about we go ahead and see the whole island, shall we?"
Ariden agreed, but Serina seemed a little doubtful. Regardless, the four of them began searching the island for blue portals. As they searched around some sand dunes Sharllette wondered if they were ruining their mom's story by being there. She got Jurgis and herself out of hearing range and voiced these thoughts to her brother.
Jurgis shrugged. "What does it matter? I don't think a story in the newspaper is more important than us getting out of here."
Sharllette was about to answer when Ariden came running up to them. He said, "Hey, I found your portal! Come see!" and then ran back the way he came, not even checking back to see if they were following.
Jurgis raised an eyebrow at his sister, who just shrugged and began running the way the Ixi had gone. When they reached him, he was standing next to a glowing blue portal. "Good work, guys!" Sharllette smiled. She was about to say something else - probably something heroically futuristic - when Jurgis grabbed her and threw her at the portal, jumping in with her...
...to land them in a big snowdrift.
"Oof! Jurgis, why did you do that!?" Sharllette grunted as she tried to pull herself out of the snow.
"I dunno, maybe because you were doing that to me whenever I wasn't doing it to you," Jurgis replied, shaking snow off his wings.
"Oh." Sharllette paused. "Sorry."
Once they had finally gotten out of the snowdrift, Sharllette started looking around for things she recognized. A house, a field covered in snow, an almost upside-down sleigh... "Hey, Jurgis."
"I think we're in Mom's Christmas story!" Sharllette squealed. "That means we're almost out! This is the last issue!!"
Jurgis grinned. "Sweet. Do you see any portals?"
Sharllette did a quick sweep of the place before replying. "No. Oh, wait, yes! Over there," She pointed toward the house standing nearby. The blue glow right next to it told her that was where they would find their portal.
Jurgis nodded and started off that way. Sharllette stood there a moment longer, watching the story by the sleigh, then quickly followed. When they reached the portal, they found that it was bigger than all the other ones. "This is it!" Jurgis said excitedly. "We can finally get out of here. Right?"
"Hopefully." The two each took a nervous glance at the other before jumping in.
*four weeks later*
"Hey, Jurgis! Come in here!"
"What?" the Eyrie questioned as he walked into the room
Sharllette grinned, holding up the newest issue of the Neopian Times. "We got in."
"What!" Jurgis rushed over and snatched the paper from his sister. "But we didn't even submit a story."
Sharllette didn't answer, instead letting her brother read the title of the page she was on. "Beyond the Pages. What? How did..."
Sharllette laughed. "I guess the Wishing Well knew what we wanted after all."