That is to say, he tried to take a step forward... but found himself catapulted weightlessly ahead. ‘This is going to take some getting used to,’ he thought. He proceeded more carefully this time toward a rather large rock formation.
He could hear what sounded like clanging in the distance ... something like mining perhaps? There were machine-like sounds... Then a VERY loud zzzzZZAAAPP...
“Okay... so not heading in that direction.” Elias looked down at the book in his hands. He was beginning to feel it was all he really had of home. ...Did he really just think that? The Lost Desert? Home? He held the tome more tightly.
Out of the corner of his eye, Elias thought he saw something move, something orange...
Startled, he whipped around completely forgetting the whole ‘gravity situation’ and jolted forward into an unexpectedly graceful somersault. There erupted what sounded like applause from all sides. Slowly more and more of them appeared from behind the rocks.
Orange grundos! There were tons of them it seemed - a whole colony!
Elias flushed until he almost quite matched the shade of his onlookers. He straightened up and clutched the book to his chest. A few of the grundos seemed to take an interest in the object and came closer. Elias squeezed his eyes closed. He was really starting to miss the Desert, the sand, the sun!
Then, all was quiet. Elias opened one eye ...then the other. Had they really all gone?
Elias turned toward the sound. One of the orange grundos had stayed behind and gestured for Elias to follow.
Elias stayed fixed to his spot.
‘PSSSSSTTT!!!’ The grundo gestured again, this time more adamantly.
Elias sighed. What had he gotten himself into? Taking a deep breath, he followed the grundo toward a rather scholarly looking metal hut. And...was that...? Elias knew that smell anywhere... Books!!
The friendly grundo pushed open the door and stood aside so as to let Elias enter.
“Erm... Hello?” Elias wasn’t quite sure who or what to expect.
A pair of orange antenna twitched from behind a stack of books.
Elias thought he heard a sigh from their general direction.
“You don't really want to buy a book do you?” A similar-looking orange grundo was now before him. His name tag said ‘Bernard’ and it was patched to a very eclectic looking yellow jacket. “Well... if you like my books that much, I guess you could join the Booktastic Book Club. ...But only if you want to.”
“Um... sorry but I’m not here about any book club... I was hoping I could find someone who could help. You see, I think a spell in this book here,” Elias raised the volume so the grundo could see, “well, I think it transported me here all the way from The Lost Desert and I’m not sure how to get myself back.”
Bernard gestured for the book and Elias, somewhat unwillingly, handed it over.
“Nope. Can’t say I understand the language... I think another try with that and you might just end up more lost...”
‘Just great,’ thought Elias.
“But, I do have the widest selection of books on Kreludor. Everyone knows that. A wealth of knowledge at your fingertips... I don’t usually do this for free, but why don’t you take these?”
Bernard reached up and grabbed two books from the pile: “Orange Grundo Survival Handbook” and “Repairing Your Ship” — he handed both to Elias.
“See that ship out back?” Bernard pointed out the window toward a sad little hunk of metal. “It hasn’t run in years... but, you read that book, you get her gears turning and, well, let’s just say I wouldn’t mind taking a vacay to The Lost Desert.”
Elias grimaced. He knew he didn’t have much of a choice. He accepted the books from Bernard and got to work under the glow of a kreludor jar lamp.
Master Aremus’s word echoed in his mind, “You may have knowledge about books, but when was the last time you actually read one? Not just to judge its value to others, but to discover its value to you?"
He supposed no two books had ever been more valuable than those he now held in his possession. And boy, would he ever have a story for Master Aremus when he returned! Indeed, as he worked meticulously through the pages, Elias vowed he would one day write about his own adventure so that it would be chronicled for all time.
Legend has it that some of Neopia’s master storytellers still speak of Elias’s tale, adding their own little spin on the Elephante’s extraordinary adventure.