"Isn't this exciting, Nake?" a blue Shoyru said, as he looked back at his friend.
Nake, a yellow Blumaroo, didn't share in his friend's enthusiasm. He was nervously looking at every shadow, as if he expected something to jump out and cause harm to the two of them.
"I-I don't know, Nau," he answered. "M-Maybe we should have stayed with the tour. It is a long way down."
"Not for me. I got wings," Nau answered.
Darigan had recently decided that, since his castle held historical significance, he would open it up for a tour through parts of the castle. Most of the castle was still not to be seen by the public, so the tour guide took them to the places that Darigan allowed.
But Nau was one for adventure, and to explore the forbidden. So first chance he got, he grabbed Nake and left the tour to explore on their own. That exploration led to stone tunnels deep below the castle.
As they continued, Nake felt something run across his tail. It caused the nervous Blumaroo to jump and scream.
The Shoyru ran over and slammed his friend's mouth shut, as his scream echoed down the corridor. After not seeing or hearing anything for a few minutes, he slowly released Nake's mouth, before seeing what scared him.
"It's just a Miamouse," he said, trying not to laugh.
But he wasn't laughing when he saw the guard, a Darigan Grarrl, come up from behind Nake. He took one look at the pair and lowered his spear.
"Halt!" he demanded.
"Run!" Nau yelled, and the pair ran further down the corridor, the guard hot on their heels...
Date: Aug 5th
"This way!" Nau hissed, rounding a corner.
The guard was only a few steps behind them, and Nake was already running out of breath. They needed someplace to hide. Just as he thought that, a tapestry on the wall caught his attention. It was ever so slightly hung at an angle, revealing what seemed to be some sort of tunnel behind it.
There was no time to question it. The guard would be turning the corner any second. Nake pushed past the tapestry, pulling Nau along with him. The tapestry fell back into place behind them only moments before the guard's footsteps thundered past.
Nake breathed a sigh of relief. "We got away."
But Nau was staring at something behind him, the Shoyru's eyes wide with terror. His heart sinking, Nake turned around to see...
Date: Aug 6th
A crumbling old well. One more step and Nake and Nau would’ve plummeted to their ends.
“That was close,” sighed Nau, hugging the nearest wall.
Nake toed an old old rusted chain that slithered over the edge of the well and into its black depths. “Yeah. Looks like there were guard rails at one point, but they broke.”
Nau studied the twisted metal spokes, ripped clean in half. “Broke or… or got torn off?”
Both friends exchanged a glance.
“But what would be strong enough to do that?” asked Nake.
As though in answer, the rusted chain rattled as, somewhere far below them in the well, something moved…
Date: Aug 8th
Nake and Nau stared at the well in silence for a few moments. Then Nake took a step away. "That's it." He said. "I would rather face that guard again than face whatever's down there."
"Wait." Nau said, peering into the blackness beyond the well. "The tunnel keeps going beyond the well. If we can get around it, maybe we can get out of here and avoid the guards."
"I don't know about that..." Nake eyed the well uneasily. "What if we fall in? Or what if whatever is down there follows us out?"
Nau shook his head. "I'll catch you if you fall. Wings, remember? And whatever's down there has clearly been there for a long time. If it hasn't found a way out yet, why should it now?"
Nake sighed, but nodded his head. "Alright." He said nervously. "But this had better not get us killed."
Nau flapped his wings and flew straight over the well. He landed on the other side and turned to look expectantly at Nake.
Nake took a deep breath and began to edge along the wall, keeping as far away from the hole as he could. He was almost to the other side when his foot slipped. As he began to fall into the well, he reached out desperately for Nau...
Date: Aug 13th
Though almost pulled off balance, Nau quickly recovered and, wings flapping hard, bent down and grabbed the flailing Blumaroo. For a strange half-second, they hovered in the air. Then they began to sink, slowly but irresistibly. Neither had considered that Nau may not be strong enough to carry a second body in addition to his own.
"Nooo!" cried Nake. "Don't let me fall!"
"I'm trying!" Nau gritted his teeth.
"YOU TWO." A voice boomed. "What are you doing? Get back up here NOW."
Nake, who was gazing up desperately at his friend, saw the guard at the mouth of the well. "We, we'd like to," gasped Nake. "But--"
The guard snatched at Nau's head with enormous, calloused hands. Though the latter would have welcomed being grabbed even by the neck at this point, the former caught only air.
The roaring guard faded from view as the duo descended, gently at first and picking up speed as Nau grew tired.
"I'm sorry," Nau huffed, "my wings couldn't save us."
Nake didn't answer -- he was thinking not of the wings he didn't have, but something he DID have. He stopped looking to Nau and kept his eyes down.
In the split instant he made contact with the bottom of the well, Nake, still holding on tightly to Nau, bounced as he'd never bounced before, as if his identity as a Blumaroo depended on it. Then it took a few more, smaller bounces to absorb the impact, and the two were on solid ground, out of breath, yet without sprains or broken bones. As they turned to high-five each other, they gasped. In the well, they saw...
Date: Aug 15th
...a dark passage leading deeper into the rock. The chain snaked across the bare floor of the well and into the blackness, where it was swallowed by shadow.
"What are we going to do?" Nake whispered, and his voice seemed tiny in the inky darkness.
Nau opened his mouth to reply, but was cut off by an awful sound: a rusted, ear-splitting, metal-on-stone screech. The pair leapt back and pressed themselves against the stone walls, staring in horror and trying to find the source of the terrible noise. Then they realised the chain was moving.
Slowly, it was shifting upward, and its links were grating and scraping on the stone. Someone was hauling on it from above.
"The guard!" Nau murmured, his wide eyes on the chain. "He must be pulling it up!"
Nake whimpered and pointed desperately to the hole in the bottom of the well, where the chain was coming from. The shadows shifted, and when the guard yanked again, the end of the chain came into view...
How does this story end?
Date: Aug 20th
It was wrapped tightly around a mutant Elephante. Squinting his blood-red eyes and moaning hoarsely, the Elephante began to crawl across the floor with the aid of the chain, toward the two young Neopets. They screamed.
Almost in the same second, Nau jumped with his arms and wings opened defensively in front of Nake, and the Grarrl above gave one clattering yank...
A Skeith guard emerged from the passage, grabbed the chain, and pulled it fast -- the Elephante stopped. "You've both stood your ground well." The guard pulled the Elephante back as he spoke. "Well done. It's all right now."
"What just happened?" "Who is he?" "What is this room-well-place?" "Why is he chained down here?" After the expressions of disbelief and gratitude, Nake and Nau bombarded the guard with questions.
"He was once a respected factory owner and visitor to this castle," the Skeith sighed, "who wandered off-bounds during the tour. Somehow."
"Got himself lost for weeks, possibly months. Then went as mad as a Weewoo," said the Grarrl, as he walked in through the same passageway. "We chain him here because he had nowhere to go."
"I'm sorry. We'll never do this again," Nake said solemnly.
"Sorry," said Nau, light-hearted now. "But thanks for a decent adventure, and uh, for saving us."
Back above, they shook hands with good cheer. The Blumaroo and Shoyru then set off with directions to meet up with their group.
"Every time," said the Grarrl.
"Good work down there, mate," the Skeith said to the Elephante, who joined their side. "Your timing was spot-on."
"Thanks. I think my acting is improving. Yours, too," the Elephante smiled as his coworkers slapped him on the back. "Let's break for lunch."
Meanwhile, down the next hallway, Nau turned to his friend. "That really was a good adventure, wasn't it?"
"I guess you're right," said Nake, who was still elated.
Nau grinned. "How about we take the next right, instead of left like they told us, just to see what's there? It'll only be a second..."
Date: Aug 28th