Illusen the Kadoatie #5: A Day with the Rescue Team
"And then, the Princess thanked me for my deeds, and paid me and Rocko in 1,000,000 Neopoints! Of course though, being the humble hero I am, I made him donate it all to the Money Tree."
A roaring fire cackled wildly in the Red Brick Fireplace, bathing me and my friend Shiny in a shower of red and orange. We laughed joyfully as I caught him out on his fifth fake story that day.
My owner Oblivia had invited over her close friend Rocko and his Starry Warf, Shiny, who I had met the previous week. They had spent the last Fyora knows how many hours sitting on the couch, talking and snacking, whilst Shiny and I sat on the rug in front of the fireplace, doing the same. The little showoff loved coming up with the wildest tales of his adventures in the Warf Rescue Team, and even though they always proved fake, I still found them quite entertaining.
However, my Mootix, Little Mooty, had decided not to participate, leaving nothing but an extremely weird explanation. "I want to leave you two alone"? Since when did he say stuff like that?
But before I could think much more about the matter, my thoughts were interrupted.
"You know...." started Rocko the Usukiboy Usul, his voice noticeably louder than before, ringing around the room for everyone to hear. "I have to take Shiny here to his work at the Warf Rescue Team tomorrow, yet apparently one of the Warfs has called out sick. Sometimes they'll take replacements..." His eyes traveled towards me. "...Perhaps Illusen here could apply?"
Oblivia the Usukigirl Usul's eyes quickly darted towards me.
"O-oh, Illusen? I don't know, she was never a very big fan of Warfs, but now that she's getting along with Shiny..."
I swiftly turned me head towards Shiny, and when our eyes met, something very strange happened. I had absolutely no desire to volunteer for the job, but when I saw his eyes spilling over with encouragement, his head nodding so enthusiastically, it made me want to lie more than I ever had in my life.
"M-MEOW, MEROW MEROW!" I hollered towards the Usuls, which was Petpet to Neopet language for "Y-yes, yes please!"
"Oh, well, I guess she does want to do it!" said Oblivia, a proud and excited smile spreading over her face. She turned to Rocko and said, "I'll bring her over early tomorrow, then meet you at the Pizzaroo after you drop them off. Oh, they're going to have so much fun!!"
"Yes, that sounds like a wonderful plan." Rocko replied in his almost intimidatingly suave voice. He walked over and scooped up Shiny, which almost provoked a mournful whimper from myself, as I still had so much more I wished to talk about. "Well," he continued, "we better go and get some rest for the big day. I look forward to seeing you both."
He waved goodbye to Oblivia, then began to make his way out the door, Shiny waving at me from over his shoulder. I waved back, my face a mask of contentment. Once they finally left, I collapsed onto the floor in horror. I was doomed.
I sat in Oblivia's lap the next morning, my fur freshly washed and brushed, my ears twitching about like bugs. Despite Oblivia's words of encouragement, this had to be the most nervous I had ever felt in my life. Little Mooty had once again decided to leave us be, claiming that he "knew it would be a hilarious disaster, but still preferred to leave me and Shiny be." Seriously, what did that even mean?!
Before I could ponder it any longer, we had arrived at the house of Rocko and Shiny. We were greeted and brought inside by Rocko's owner, Mickey, who led us to the large and expensively decorated living room. Before I could even tell what was going on, I was forced to follow Rocko and Shiny out the door, Oblivia staying behind to wait for Rocko.
"H-hey..." I began, my nervousness still shaking my voice, "H-how come you've g-got a pack on a-already?"
"Oh, this?" said Shiny in a voice that was almost comically calm compared to mine, gesturing to the parachute on his back. "Official members are given their own after awhile, in case they get called to any sudden emergencies. Don't worry; you'll get yours at Headquarters."
"Here we are," said Rocko, gesturing towards a burrow in the ground that was just big enough to fit a Warf or a Kadoatie.
"Come on, Illusen." said Shiny, making his way over to the burrow. "This'll lead over to headquarters."
I quickly scampered over and squeezed myself in. For a second, I thought this would be easy, but the realization soon dawned on me; The tunnel was really, really dark.
I began to whimper uncontrollably as I crawled slowly through the super scary, threatening and horrifying in every way dark tunnel, doing everything in my power not to run out and abandon Shiny.
"What's wrong?" Shiny called out, utterly impossible to make out under the ever thickening blanket of darkness. "You claustrophobic?"
"K-k-Kadoaties d-d-don't l-like t-the d-d-d-d-ark...." I managed to stutter in my panic.
"Oh, yeah, right...." he replied, sounding almost embarrassed at his forgetfulness. "Well, don't worry, we're almost there...."
Finally, a few moments later, sanctuary had come.
We quickly slithered our way out of the tunnel, the precious blessing of light washing over us. I only marveled in it for a few seconds, as I soon found myself goggling in the beauty of the place.
A gigantic tree grew up from the ground, it's branches reaching out, tunnels through the walls beginning were the branches ended. There was not a single leaf on the entire tree. Instead, Robot painted Petpets of all breeds stood at little desks in the nooks of the branches, somehow able to tell the Warfs their missions and spit out parachutes for volunteers or those who had forgotten their's.
But then, the second realization had dawned on me that day, one that completely ruined the beauty of the entire picture for me; All of the Warfs. Warfs running up paths, climbing up the tree, getting parachutes, hearing their missions, reporting finished, horsing around with friends, coming towards me... wait, COMING TOWARD ME?!
Yes, I know I had befriended Shiny over the past two weeks, but that didn't mean I was suddenly comfortable with every Warf in Neopia. I still had little mercy on the creatures for what they did to me back at the Mystery Island Trading Center, and I was not prepared to face that torture again. Thankfully, Shiny seemed to have guessed this from my fierce ear twitching, as he pulled me out of his friend's paths and began to lead me up the tree.
Soon we found ourselves standing in front of the desk on the lowest branch, behind which sat a particularly creepy Robot Snowbunny.
"Yes..." it began, its extremely fake robotic voice sending twitches through my ears. "Can I help you?"
"She's volunteering for Honey on Team 12." Shiny cut in to my relief. "She just needs a parachute."
The eyes of the Robot Snowbunny began to flash what felt like hundreds of different colors. After a few seconds, it opened it's metal jaw wide and spat out a parachute.
"Thank you for volunteering to the Warf Rescue Team," it said in its robotic drone as Shiny helped me put on the parachute. "Today's mission for Team 12 is a Mutant Kadoatie, stuck in a low hanging tree in the Haunted Woods."
"Yikes!" muttered Shiny. "Not the best job for a first timer, but I'm sure things will still go well."
He then took my paw and led me through the tunnel (which was thankfully much, much shorter), only for us to find ourselves outside, in some random field with a Faerie Eyrie waiting for us.
"Hey there, little guy!" she said, her eyes locked on me. "You must be the replacement for Honey. I can tell your confused, but it's really quite simple; since most Warfs can't fly, they hire winged Neopets, such as myself, to fly them to their missions. Now quick, hop on, you're going to be late!"
I did myself a favor, kept my mouth shut, followed Shiny up onto the Eyrie's back, despite the fact that I was getting a headache from such a confusing concept.
"Wow... I'm so embarrassed with myself...."
I couldn't care less about the darkness around me, for today had proved to be one of the worst I ever had. Despite the beauty of Headquarters and the attempted bonding experience with Shiny, I don't think anything could make up for being second on the tower, your shoulders nearly breaking underneath the weight of all the Warfs, causing you to collapse and be chased away by the angry workers who fell into the dirt because of you, screaming furious insults at both you and your innocent friend....
"Aw, come on, Illy!" Shiny chimed. "I thought it was hilarious! I mean, did you SEE Ruff's face?! He looked like he could never speak again!"
I sensed him stopping in his tracks to let out a large, joyful guffaw. It was at this moment that I smiled my first real smile in hours; Shiny was a true friend, who knew how to make the brightest of out of any situation; an act I truly needed to follow. And so, it was with great sadness I parted from my friend that day, yet with great relish that I listened to Oblivia's rambles of how equally great her day was.
From that day on, I was known as Illy, best friend of Shiny the Warf.