An Expedition Around Neopia
“700 Nanka Bottles hanging on the wall, 700 Nanka Bottles hanging on the wall…”
Panda sighed in disdain, licking at her paw softly.
“And if one Nanka Bottle should accidently fall…”
The licks became harsher, heavier.
“There’d be 699 Nanka Bottles hanging on the wall…”
Narrowing her eyes dangerously, Panda glared at her neighbour, daring her to continue.
“699 Nanka Bottles hanging on the wall, 699 Nanka Bottles hanging on the wall…”
The pink Kadoatie pawed at her ears roughly, screwing her face up in annoyance.
“And if one Nanka Bottle should accidently fall…”
She took a deep breath, willing herself to find her inner comfort animal and calm down.
“There’d be 698 Nanka Bottles hanging on the wall…”
Giving up on this, Panda sat straight up, her tail curling tightly.
“698 Nanka Bottles hangi-“
Panda screeched, standing quickly as if ready to pounce, her voice dripping with venom.
The object of Panda’s anger turned towards her slowly, mockingly rolling her eyes before opening her mouth again as if to continue her song.
“Honest to goodness Woogi, if you don’t give this up soon, there’s gonna be one less Kadoatie in this place taking up food.”
Woogi closed her mouth again, seeming to ponder on her fellow inmates words.
“Well,” the spotted Kadoatie began snidely, “I wouldn't have to entertain myself if the company in this place were better.”
Panda scoffed. “You’d have a much better time if you weren't so fussy. A full stomach makes for a happier heart.”
“Pfft, as if it’s my fault! These snivelling peasants won’t feed me, what am I supposed to do about that?!”
“Maybe ask for something that is actually available on the market? Who in their right mind would want to spend millions feeding a crabbit old woman like you?”
“Ha, as if you can talk, you snooty beggar! Blue Cybunny Negg’s are hardly what I’d call affordable.”
“You know I have a sensitive stomach! I can hardly help it that my diet is so restricted.”
Woogi rolled her eyes again, snorting slightly before turning away from her neighbour.
“698 Nanka Bottles hanging on the wall…”
The large green foliage was hacked down fiercely, branches snapping and Glymes flying everywhere.
The blue Techo swung the sickle at a steady pace, wiping the sweat off his forehead with his other hand. 29 days, 700 hours, 42000 minutes, 2520000 seconds into his expedition and Harry still felt like he was getting nowhere. Growling in frustration, Harry lunged towards the mess of leaves, trying to fight his way through. A few minutes of hissing, tearing and rustling later, and Harry found himself only mere centimetres from where he had been, only this time there seemed less hope of him ever proceeding. He was lying with his face towards the sky, his whole body hovering quite a bit off the ground with both his legs and his arms seemingly irreversibly tangled and caught in the fierce brambles that had surrounded him for the past four weeks. He puffed out his cheeks in annoyance. Just his luck.
This was his second attempt at finding the lost civilisation of lore and his first expedition as a lone explorer. He set out with high hopes, confident that this would be a success, that his name would be forever etched in the history books. He wanted to prove he could do this, prove to his former companion Blooplum that he was capable of great things.
He wasn't even capable of moving right now.
He closed his eyes, hoping that the lost civilisation would stumble across him instead.
It was cold.
It was dark.
It was damp.
It was everything she was used to.
She stumbled along the cobbled corridors, hands sliding along the slimy walls to feel for doors. Not that she really needed to, her eyes had completely adjusted to the darkness at this point, she was just tired of turning her head from left to right all the time.
She was tired, so so so tired. Another curse of fatigue would come in handy right around now.
Her hand suddenly scraped along rough hard wood signally she had found yet another room. Raising her eyes to the heavens (or, at least, to the outside world), she sighed in exasperation before reaching for the handle. Before she mustered up the nerve to turn it, the sounds of a chorus of ordinary-sounding voices singing an old camp song wafted through the large entryway. Not the exit then.
The Halloween Cybunny backed away from the door, gritting her teeth in the process. She felt like she had been down here for a hundred years at this point.
As she began to drag herself down the corridor once more, she realised that she had never once come across another neopet. Surely these catacombs weren't so big that she would never meet another soul trying to find the monster? And speaking of the monster, it had been months since she had last sighted him. At one point she was regularly seeing the monster turning round corners or entering rooms, but after she got trapped for a few days after being swallowed by that giant purple jelly thing she had seen neither hide nor hair of him.
It had crossed her mind a few times that perhaps the monster had already been captured, but she always shrugged that theory off, for surely she would have been notified of this somehow.
And so, she continued to trek on day after day, hoping that the monster would be captured soon. She had the sinking feeling that if she didn't get out of here soon she would miss the Altador Cup.
Coming across another door, she opened it cautiously after hearing no sounds behind it. Ah, the exit. Maybe level 700 would hold better results for her?
Roonie woke and bounced to the floor, his blankets tangled in his tail. He bounced eagerly again and rushed out his bedroom door. It was all so fresh in his memory and he couldn't wait to talk to his father King Roo. King Roo was whistling and playing Dice-A-Roo. Roonie sprung into the room shaking from all his excitement, hardly able to contain himself.
"Good morning son. I must say you look very cheerful today. Have you been practising for the annual Dice-A-Roo Championship?” Roo asked as he looked inquisitively at his son.
Roonie bounced on his tail again and exclaimed "No! Father I must tell you what I dreamt about last night. A mysterious blumaroo dressed in a cloak came to me and said for me to pursue my dream. Father I have never been off the island but I know what this means".
King Roo sipped from his tea and by now had very open eyes.
"Off the island you say? Son, are you actually thinking of leaving the island? What is this bizarre dream you had? I won't hear of you leaving the island!"
Roonie looked at him in dismay and unbeknownst to Roonie his Father had had a visit similar to this before.
"Father you have always known that I have wanted to bounce so high I could go to Kreludor and back."
King Roo looked at him with concern. "Son, there are evil robots there! How do you even think it would be possible to get there?!"
“Father I have a friend there. His name is Coltiben. He sent me a pair of Interstellar Spring Shoes. I have always wanted to go visit him. Coltiben tells me how he loves to jump around on the moon with them too in Kreludor."
King Roo looked at the shoes in awe.
“I never told you about them until now but he tells me they make you feel like a rocket with them on.” Roonie exclaimed. "Please father come witness me leaving with my Interstellar Spring Shoes and I will have many stories to tell you of my adventures and memories made".
King Roo had always wanted Roonie to be the champion of Dice-A-Roo. He had a look on his face that he had not seen before. King Roo began bouncing and whistling and rolling his dice. Then he turned and exclaimed: “Son, I have something to tell you as well. I have met this strange cloaked Blumaroo in person before and I have been happy ever since. I trust you will do well.”
Roonie was so excited! Finally he had his father's approval after years of talking to him about being able to go to Kreludor. The King had gathered all the family, monarchy, friends and citizens of the island and told of how his son was departing to Kreludor.
"Let us gather in the meadows”, King Roo proudly announced, “where we will rejoice in my son's departure".
King Roo now turned to Roonie. "I must ask what else is behind all this son? I mean there are many dangers there you are not used to.”
“Father I plan on setting a new record there by bouncing 700 times in a row in less than 3 hours and 49 minutes. Coltiben told me others will place a flag in my honour if I should manage this. In consideration of wearing a space suit, I am so curious about both acceleration and gravity and for the future of bouncing. This is truly what my dream is, Father". Upon gathering in the meadows the flowers smelt of new spring air. It was a beautiful day and all kinds of Blumaroos gathered around eating Spring Dog's very content with the day. King Roo shook his son's hand wishing him the best of luck and farewell. This was Roonie's moment. He had dreamt of going to the moon his whole life. All the Blumaroo's stood back and cheered when Roonie came out to the meadow in his space suit with his Interstellar Spring Shoes on and watched in amazement as he began bouncing and soaring to unknown heights they had never experienced. It was something remarkable and for all to see.
Blumaroos were bouncing in elation for days to come. Then the residents of Roo Island became quiet and worried.
“Sadia! Sadia!” King Roo called for his servant.
"Yes King Roo?" Sadia asked. She knew what the King was going to ask for his days had been long and worrisome. Sadia looked at the King with a smile on her face.
"King Roo I know it has been so long since Roonie has left but he is home!" King Roo rushed from his throne to the window where crowds of Blumaroo's cheered. Roonie walked into the castle and his father gripped him and hugged him tightly. Roonie had finally made it home.
"I set the record father, I pursued my dream and accomplished my goals. I have to thank you for raising me to be never bored and always believe in your dreams."
“I am so proud of you son!”
King Roo and Roonie were bouncing on their tails and singing.
“Father I have so many stories to tell you... let's begin at once!”
Mist was all she could see.
No matter which way she flew – upwards, downwards, left, right, diagonally – she never could escape this seemingly eternal mist.
Veering off to the side. She sighed. She was sure she had been here before, that dense patch of fog to her left looked quite familiar. Or maybe her brain was going as fuzzy as her surroundings.
Siyana regretted volunteering to go on an errand to Mystery Island for Queen Fyora. It had seemed such a simple exercise, so straightforward. How she managed to get this lost was completely beyond her. The other thing she couldn't fathom was why there was such a huge amount of fog in the first place; where did it come from? Well, sure she had been distracted painting her nails while flying but if there was a huge storm or something she would have noticed it, or have at least turned back the way she came. She can’t have been that oblivious, can she have? Maybe it wasn't a storm at all, maybe this fog covered the whole of Neopia and was part of some evil masterminds plan to take over the world! Or maybe The Coincidence had plummeted from space and this wasn't mist at all but a dust cloud caused by the crash. But one thing was for sure: this definitely was not her fault. Not one bit. Nu-uh.
Looking up, she abruptly stopped. Was that light she could see in the distance? Real, bright light?
She flew forwards, hurtling towards freedom.
Oh wait, no. It was just a lighter patch of mist, no salvation to be found there. She was positive she had passed that mushroom-shaped mass of fog over there earlier, however. Maybe if she went left this time instead of right? Taking a deep breath she set off again praying that at some point this nightmare would actually end.
Clank. Clank. Clank.
Bill’s heavy boots stomped down the long metal corridor, his wrench swinging by his side. Reaching the break room door, he let out a large puff of breath. Finally it was time for a break. The long shifts trapped in this stuffy, claustrophobic tangle of tunnels always left his eyes feeling heavy and his lungs feeling tired. Just a few more hours to go and he’d be able to relax at last in his stuffy, claustrophobic living quarters.
He spun the handle round, the airtight door opening with a ‘pop’. Metal scraped along metal as the Yurble used his shoulder to heave the door open. He could practically smell the lukewarm, oily coffee that awaited him.
The door stopped in its movement with a piercing screech. The dull thuds of fast approaching feet caused Bill to turn towards the opposite end of the tunnel. There was Max, his apprentice, running at him at full speed, seemingly not weighed down by his heavy protective gear.
“It’s tunnel 060700TM Boss! 060700TM!”
“What’re ye yellin’ aboot this time, eh Max? Accidentally drilled ano’er hole in the station’s main oxygen tank? Accidentally welded the Machine Room’s door shut again? What is it, boy? I got a nice, stale scone waitin’ fer me in that there room, hurry it up!”
“No, no sir! It wasn't me! None of it was me!” The trainee engineer gasped out, drenched in sweat.
“I’m losin’ my patience ‘ere, boy. I think I can hear those choco chips callin’ to me…”
“Sir! Please! Listen! They’re back, they’re all back. I saw them heading towards the Airlocks. They've got tools with them. They were heading towards the doors, Boss! The doors! You've gotta do something, quick. Call someone. Please!”
Bill’s wrench hit the floor with a sharp clatter just as the deafening alarms began to bellow.
Barbara gave her flippers one last tug and adjusted her goggles. The boat slowed to a stop and the captain left the wheel to plead with her one more time.
“You sure this is the place, lady?” He scanned the empty horizon surrounding them, brows furrowed and voice hesitant and unsure.
“This is the place, Cap’n, thanks for bringing me.”
They were miles off the coast of Mystery Island, exactly halfway to Maraqua.
“No one ever comes diving around these parts; never in all my days have I brought someone here. You sure you wantin’ to be doin’ this, now? I don’t see any reason why this place’d be any interest to you, nothin’ to see here. If you’d just let me take you over that way a little, there’s a beauty of a ship wreck to be found there…”
He had one arm extended towards her as if ready to grab her and stop her from jumping.
“Nothing to see here, huh? If no one’s ever dived in these parts, how would you know? It’s called Mystery Island, right? That means there’s still things to be discovered.”
And with that she leapt into the water, flippers almost slapping the boat captain in the face.
The soft crunching of boots on gravel resonated around the large, desolate area.
With one foot elevated in front of her and the second up on its toes, Tanya slowly turned her head to peak behind her shoulder. Phew, all clear. She lowered her foot before lifting her other. She paused in the same position as before, this time glancing behind her other shoulder. Phew, all clear.
This process repeated itself until finally, finally, Tanya neared her destination. Hiding behind a crater, she fumbled with the zips on her jacket struggling to free her fluffy Poogle notebook and Slorg pen. She eventually managed to tug them out of her pocket the force nearly making her fall backwards. The Pea Chia peered round the edge of her crater searching for anything that could hinder her.
There. There was the guard standing at the gate. Tanya quickly checked her watch: just five more minutes before he went on a patrol around the perimeter, that would be when she took her chance. There were no more hiding places from where she was to the place she wanted to be, so her ninja skills would need to be out in full force. She needed to be quick but she couldn't make a noise. She felt she could do this; she’d been a babysitter for years and trying to do housework with a mass of sleeping children around was no easy task.
Two more minutes.
This was what she had been waiting for for years. All she had ever wanted was to become a writer for the Neopian Times, but all she had gotten was rejection letter after rejection letter filed through her letter box. But this was the story that would finally see her name printed in small letters on that hallowed piece of paper. This was what everyone was wondering about and she was going to be the one to reveal what was really happening behind the steely metal gates of the Kreludor Mining Corp.
The guard began to make his move, looking around the area to make sure there was no on around before he started his patrol. Suddenly, a noise in the distance distracted both guard and journalist from their thoughts.
“Boing! Boing! Boing!”
Tanya whipped her head round towards where the noise was coming from just in time to see the silhouette of a Blumaroo bouncing on the horizon.
The sun shone hotly down on the children suffocating on the heavy summer air. Four boys lay on the brittle grass, limbs spread and eyes squeezed tightly shut. The force of summer was bearing down on them, pushing them further into the ground. Michael opened his eyes, sitting up abruptly and sucking in a huge breath of hot, stagnant air. He looked around blearily - at the trees in the distance burning and crackling, at the dry brown grass beneath him and at the three boys at his sides, whining and squirming under the suns blistering rays. It was too hot to move and yet too hot to stay still. Fanning himself with his hand Michael gathered up the energy to speak.
“You guys wanna go to the beach?”
A chorus of groans and happy gasps filled the clearing. The beach sounded good but the effort needed to walk there seemed too great.
“Maybe I should invent something for this type of situation – something that’ll cool you down…” Statistics drawled, arms flung over his face.
“What, you mean like a fan?” Nose grumbled, scratching at his itchy and sticky skin.
Huffing slightly at the pair Michael stood up and helped Lump up to his feet as well.
“Well, we’re going, stay here and melt if you want to,” and with that, the Vandagyre walked off into the trees with the Skeith stumbling behind him.
By the time they had reached the end of the woods Statistics and Nose had managed to catch up to them and all four were dripping with sweat. In the distance they could see the sea glistening and sparkling. Lump bent over hands on his knees and tried to catch his breath.
“There’s no way… wheeze… that we’ll… puff… be able to make it… gasp… to the beach. Too far!” The rest of the gang wheezed in agreement.
Spotting a building a small distance to them, Statistics pointed it out.
“Look! Isn't that a café? Maybe if we go get some lemonade we’ll feel better.”
The Scorchio started to walk forward gesturing for his friends to follow. As they neared the building they realised it was really just a shack. The wooden steps up to it were cracked and broken, the old door had holes in it, and the ‘Open’ sign was half hanging off.
“You know, I heard the Bouchelli family lived in this place. They’re master criminals wanted in every land in Neopia!”
“Not another one of your stories, Lump…”
Turning the bag upside-down the contents fell onto the work-bench with an almighty clatter. Furred fingers delicately sorted through the mess handling each shard with care. With the components finally separated, Victor surveyed his collection eyes stopping on an item in the middle of the table. From there a pair of lifeless eyes shone dully up at him. With a tear in his eye and his hand on his heart Victor said a small poem for another fallen yooyu. Once finished he glanced up, eyes scanning yet more sacks, 700 in total, filled with fallen heroes.
Training for the Altador Cup had started up again and the coaches, after analysing Moltara’s game-play in this year’s Cup, decided that their skills in scoring with clockwork yooyus were lacking. And so, all in the name of sport, these tiny robots had to suffer. The Yurble clenched his fist, cursing the day the Altador Cup was invented.
With a heavy heart Victor began to work. Some yooyus could be salvaged and remade into their original from for training purposes but the majority were not so fortunate. He now had a vast collection of yooyu inspired clocks, toasters, lanterns, tables and even beds cluttering his workshop. Lifting his tools from the drawer he began to work. Maybe some chairs were in order?
“Zooming along, zooming along…” The Lutari twirled round in his chair singing full pelt.
“At the top of the beautiful starry sky…” He leapt up, moonwalking the length of the control room.
“What if the Peophin, the Jetsam and the Koi think we’re rath…” At this, Dr Landelbrot attempted to plie back to his seat but ended up tripping over his own feet, staggering across the room and stumbling into the main control panel.
“Nothing to worry about Scintilly, dear girl, no injuries to report here!” He winked over to his companion as soon as he had regained his composure and straightened his bow tie.
Suddenly, the crisp artificial air was punctured by the sound of alarms. Landelbrot spun round, his eyes reflecting the red flashing lights.
“Perhaps there is cause to be concerned, Scintilly! We seem to be plummeting to the ground. Not good, not good at all.”
He flung his body over the main console, fingers frantically pushing buttons and flicking switches. The ship shuddered, the sound of metal creaking echoing around the room.
“Only 10 minutes to impact, no need to panic! Pull that squiggly lever over there! Quick time!” Bracing his foot against the counter he pulled on a particularly large green lever, gradually bringing the ship level. Wiping his brow of sweat Landelbrot heaved a sigh of relief. The Coincidence hovered just slightly above the mists of Lutari Island.
“Panic averted, Scintilly. Perhaps next time I’ll just do jazz hands, hm?”