Neovia's Corruption:Part Two
"I never really knew how eerie the Haunted Woods was until now." Queen Nera commented as she followed King Altador through the dark forest. She didn't want to fall too far behind him. Who knows what was in these woods? It could be wraiths, dark faeries, or even worse...the Kiko Lake Team. Fyora knows how much Nera wanted to avoid that group.
Running into them in the middle of the Haunted Woods would be awful. They were more terrifying than any wraith. Nera would rather be lost in the Haunted Woods than run into them ever again.
Altador and Nera had already spent a long amount of time getting to the iconic forest. Now that they were finally here, they could make their way towards Neovia. It proved to be a very difficult task, but one they were more than prepared to tackle. The fate of Neovia rested in their hands or uh...paws. It seemed like the fate of someone was always relying on them. Guess that was part of the job of ruling one of the most powerful kingdoms in Neopia. People always need you to help them.
Altador stepped over a decaying tree root that was protruding out of the ground. "Just stay close to me my dear."
Nera snorted, still following him. "I don't know if I should. The last time you was here you ended up turned to stone."
Altador stopped walking and turned to her. "Nera, this is no time for your smart remarks."
"I'm just saying, I don't remember ever being turned to stone when I was helping someone."
The king groaned at his wife’s comment. "Let's just focus on getting to Neovia."
The two continued walking, keeping their distance from anything that looks suspicious. Which was basically every tree and shadow in the forest. Nera kept making smart remarks and Altador would grumble in reply. After what seemed like hours of walking, they stumbled upon a large tree. It towered above all others, looking fierce.
The tree, oddly enough, had a face. It also had a large brain tangled up in its branches. It stood out from everything else in the forest. Nera wanted to fight it, but Altador insisted they try talking to it first. He was a man of peace and justice. Nera on the other hand, wasn't. She wanted to fight everything it seemed like.
"I am the almighty Brain Tree!" the tree echoed, seeing the couple approach it.
Nera and Altador exchanged a puzzled look. They had no idea what the tree was talking about or why it was talking.
"You're the what?" Nera asked, sounding confused on why a tree would need a brain in the first place. Trees don't really talk, or they shouldn't. Except for the Money Tree, which then again, why does that even exist? How did it come to be? Neither Nera or Altador knew.
"The Brain Tree!" the tree echoed again, sending its voice all across the forest. Nearby tree branches shook because of the loud echo. Birds flew out of the trees, squawking in reply to the obnoxious noise.
Altador leaned over to Nera. "He sounds kinda full of himself doesn't he, dear?"
"Brain Tree is not full of himself!" the tree shouted at the elderly king's comment.
"Oh yeah he's definitely full of himself." Nera replied to her husband.
The tree ignored their slightly rude comments and continued on. "Do the small bearded Lupe and mildly annoying Xweetok seek knowledge from the almighty Brain Tree?"
The couple blinked, not knowing really what to ask. Nera soon enough takes a step forward.
"Yeah, so uh.. is Neopia flat?" Nera asked.
"Nera, Neopia is not flat." Altador scowled her. "Now is not the time for that. We have a town and Neopians to save."
"I know, but some Neopians think it is. I need to know they're wrong so I can rub it in their faces."
The Brain Tree pondered for a moment. "Neopia...it is not flat. NEXT QUESTION!"
King Altador took a deep breath in and released it. The entire situation already stressed him out and now they were just wasting time. "Mr. Brain Tree, while we appreciate your all-knowing brain, we really need to get to Neovia. Your assistance would be most appreciated."
The Brain Tree pondered once again. "Brain Tree says, keep walking and once you get to the gypsy camp, you'll be close to the town you wish to seek."
"Okay, but where's this camp at?" Nera crossed her arms. "And which way are we supposed to walk? North? East? West? South? Do you have coordinates or what?"
"Brain Tree must sleep now." the tree closed its eyes. It could only answer so many questions. A tree with such brilliance needed its rest after all.
"OH COME ON!" Nera shouted, but the Brain Tree only replied with a loud snore.
The rulers of Altador stood there for a moment, and decided to not even bother the tree anymore. Neither of them knew if trees even slept, but that was a question for another day. They continued on their journey, heading straight, in hope of finding the camp.
"I feel like building Altador was easier than this." Nera complained, pulling leaves out of her hair and fur. Walking through branches was wreaking havoc on her fur and hair. Part of her wished she had stayed home. It would be a lot more comfortable than where she currently was.
"Not every task is easy. If they was, then there would be no challenges in life. You wouldn't develop and grow as your own unique being." Altador spoke.
"You don't always have to speak in wise words you know." Nera threw the leaves down that she pulled out of her hair.
"Some Neopians need a word of wisdom." Altador shrugged, still walking ahead of the light brown Xweetok.
"Altador this isn't a children's game, you don't have to speak wisely all the time."
"I'm fully aware of that." Altador stopped as they approached a tower. Like the rest of the forest, it looked eerie. The sight of it made Nera sick at her stomach.
The queen stood beside the Lupe. "I'm so not going in there."
"Maybe they can help." the white Lupe insisted they knocked on the door and ask for directions. Nera refused to do such a thing.
"Or... whoever lives there could turn us into Meepits or even worse...talk us to death." Nera shuddered at the thought of having to listen to someone for hours on end. She rather deal with being turned into a Meepit.
"So what do you suggest we do then?"
Nera looked at the tower and back at the white Lupe. "Well...we can keep going and maybe we'll stumble upon the camp."
"We might not be able to find it. Whoever lives here surely knows." Altador took a step towards the tower.
Nera grabbed his arm and pulled him back. "Altador! A witch or something may live there!"
"They might whack us with a stick or use magic on us."
"Nera that's ridiculous. Not all Neopians who practice magic are bad or mischievous. I'm sure they're as friendly as we are."
Nera looked at the scary tower once again. "I don't think I want to risk it."
Altador agreed to keep walking in search of the camp. The Lupe didn't want to bother whoever lived in the tower anyway. And besides, he wasn't ready to be turned to stone again. Maybe Nera was right, whoever lived I'm there may not be friendly. Getting turned into a Meepit wouldn't help Neovia.
After an hour of tirelessly walking, Nera and Altador finally stumbled upon the camp. Wagons filled with belongings were circled around a campfire. Neopians of every size and species were chatting, telling tales of Neopia. They were discussing the Tale of Woe and the past curse that Neovia had endured.
The story sounded incredibly intense, but they didn't have time to listen to the entire tale. They heard bits and pieces of it, that was all. As much as Nera would have enjoyed to sit by the fire and listen to a story, she couldn't. They had a duty to perform first. Saving Neovia and making sure the rest of Neopia wasn't in danger was more important.
The royal couple talked with some of the camp members, and the campers assured that Neovia was just past their beloved camp. Nera and Altador thanked them for their kindness, and headed off.
As the couple headed to Neovia, they hoped the town was still intact. Altador was once corrupted with dark magic, so they knew how horrid such a thing could be. Any villain could be behind such evil.
And who that was, they didn't know.
It could be an old foe, or a new threat to Neopia. Hopefully they would be able to take down whatever it was and let Neovia have peace once more.
That's one thing Neopia always needed more of, peace.
To be continued…