"We've got to hurry," Myrik said as she sprinted into the maze.
The hallway split in two. One passage went left, and the other went right. They looked identical.
She paused, looking right and left frantically. Finally she chose the right and started to run again.
Hopefully it was the correct way. The note had said her strength of mind had been tested already, so surely she wouldn't have to do too much thinking to get through the maze. If this was about strength of body, then perhaps speed was all that mattered.
Unless, of course, the strength of body referred to fighting.
Myrik hated fighting. She avoided the Battledome like the plague. Far better to find other hobbies, things that didn't involve possible injury.
But it did no good to worry about it. She was going to save Corey or die trying. No matter what, she was resolved to do whatever she could to win this game.
She dashed around a corner...
...and almost ran smack into another Neopet.
It was a Mynci with black fur that seemed to suck the light from its surroundings. Myrik took a step backward. The Mynci glared at her.
Corey is ours! Turn back now and save yourself! The same cold voice spoke in her mind once more.
"No!" she yelled, darting around the Mynci and running as fast as she could. She heard the footfalls of the Mynci as it followed close behind her.
She turned around another corner and then another. Her lungs were burning, and she gasped for air. All she wanted to do was stop running and give in to her need to rest.
No, no, I can't stop, I've got to save Corey... The Slogmok chirped softly, as though it sensed and approved of her thoughts.
She glanced over her shoulder. Not only was the Mynci as close on her heels as ever, he had been joined by other Neopets.
Myrik thought that she had been running as fast as she could, but now she discovered that she could run faster than she'd ever thought.
The maze walls were nothing more than a blur. Myrik hoped desperately that she wouldn't trip, for if she faltered even once, her enemies would be upon her.
Just as that thought crossed her mind, a stray vine snagged her leg. She stumbled but didn't fall.
Myrik righted herself and started to run again. As she turned one last corner, she saw it.
A white tree stood tall and proud. Its branches were leafless, yet the tree still had a sort of majestic beauty to it. Unlike the last white tree she had seen, it bore no resemblance to her friend. It looked like a tree and nothing more.
Myrik stopped right in front of the tree and looked up at it. She was here, but what was she supposed to do now? There was no note in sight.
The Neopets had stopped and stood together in a group. They glared at her, but made no move to attack.
What are they waiting for? Myrik wondered. She set the Slogmok down gently. "What do I do now?" she asked.
The Slogmok walked over to the tree. After pausing a moment, it walked into the tree.
Myrik gaped. The white bark rippled a bit around the area where the Slogmok had disappeared. Tentatively placing her paw on the tree, she gasped as it sank into the trunk as though it were nothing but air. The Wocky walked all the way into the tree.
She found herself in a seemingly endless white space. The Slogmok was nearby, and not too far away was an unconscious Yurble.
"Corey!" Myrik yelled as she ran over to her friend. The unconscious Neopet held a slip of paper in his paw, and Myrik took it.
Congratulations. You've won.
Everything began to grow blurry, and Myrik could feel the cold mental voice screaming in rage. But it couldn't do anything. Myrik smiled as everything went black.
"Wake up! This is no place to be sleeping!" Myrik opened her eyes and looked up to see Corey shaking her. She was lying on the ground, in the middle of the path which led to Geraptiku.
"Corey! You're back!" She leaped up and gave her friend a hug.
"Um, back?" The Yurble seemed rather confused.
"You mean you don't remember?"
"Getting kidnapped and stuck in a tree!"
"No... not really... are you feeling all right? Maybe we should visit Geraptiku another day."
"I'm feeling fine... but I would really rather not go to Geraptiku. At all."
"Aw, come on! I really wanted to buy one of the Petpets..."
Just then, the Slogmok wandered out of the brush.
"Look, here's one of the Petpets! It must have, ah, gotten lost! Why don't you take it with you, and we can go play Tombola or something?"
"Well, all right," Corey sighed. "You never want to do anything exciting."
"To be honest, I've had enough excitement for one day already."
As the pair set off toward the Tombola stall, Corey said "Hey! What do you say we visit Maraqua next?"
Myrik sighed. Yes, Corey was back to his old self again.
But, to be honest, she wouldn't have it any other way.