It was late, oh so late, and the moon was high in the
sky, casting a shadow of light upon the lands below it. In a little Neohome
on Mystery Island a Darigan Lupe named Madarasco stayed up late to finish Antique
Furniture, the book he was reading. Although at times his appearance was
foreboding, Rasco had a soft heart, often compared to a marshmallow. He would
be at the top of his class had he not abandoned his studies daily for the latest
edition of The Neopian Times or the newest book to have graced the Book
Shop's shelves. Staying up late was a regular routing for Rasco, and he had
grown to be quite the Whoot. How many times had he seen the moon rise above
the tropical trees and grace the night sky? Too often to count.
Rasco yawned dreadfully and rubbed his large
black eyes, shielding away the sleep that tried to overcome them. He was tired,
but he only had a page left and it was on the royal NeoOak, the most beautiful
tree ever to have grown roots in Neopia. He read it groggily. "The NeoOak
is a grand tree, grown only for the highest class Neopians, such as the royalty
of Meridell…It is also the only wood they use for their furniture…"
The words sung the Lupe to sleep, lulling his
tired eyes to a close and nodding his head down onto his desk. Slowly Madarasco
drifted off to the land of dreams, where he built the biggest bed imaginable,
nailing the wood together himself.
The next morning, Rasco awoke with a start. He
had overslept and would have to hurry to get to Neoschool on time. The Lupe
hastily ran a paw through his coat and grabbed his back pack, which lay trampled
on the ground. He snatched an apple from the kitchen table and shot through
the door, kicking sand up all the way to Neoschool.
Madarasco scarfed down the apple and slipped
through the bamboo door of his Neoschool just as the bell rang. The Lupe slid
behind his desk and pulled out his textbook, preparing for another dreary day.
Today they were studying the history of Mystery
Island and Rasco groaned softly. He had already read a book on it which he could
recite line for line. As his teacher began reading aloud Rasco's eyes fluttered,
for he was still tired from his lack of sleep.
"Mystery Island was founded in…"
Madarasco's eyelids were terrible heavy and his
head felt like a pound of bricks. He wasn't sure how long he could stay awake.
Shortly, he leaned his head upon his paw and let his eyelids drop. While the
Zafara at the front of the room taught her class about the history of Mystery
Island, a certain Lupe let out a whuffle as he slept.
Meanwhile, Rasco's teacher made an important
announcement. "Today, class, we're going to be taking a little field trip."
There were shouts of excitement from the class and Rasco continued to doze.
"Don't get too worked up, it's just a little
trip," Miss Jafter said. "All we'll be doing is taking a tour of the tropical
forest. Seeing the true Mystery Island. The forest is just a couple of miles
behind the school. Now, what do you say we get going?" she asked.
The class erupted in shouts of joy and the students
lined up single file behind their teacher. "Everyone ready?" she asked. "Alright,
then let's go!"
It turned out not everyone was ready.
Sitting at his desk, catching a Kadoatie nap was Madarasco, tired from a long
night of reading. He didn't even notice when the rest of the class trailed out
and left him all alone.
Rasco's dreams were filled with furniture: chairs,
tables, and beds. He had learned an awful lot form Antique Furniture
and it was all coming back to him in his sleep. It seemed that every time Rasco
read a new book his dreams molded around it. Perhaps that was just what he got
for reading so much.
Now he was dreaming of building a chair for his
desk at Neoschool. He was putting it together piece by piece. But pretty soon
he started having nightmares about furniture. The pieces didn't fit and
he had to cut them all over again. Now he was all out of wood so he couldn't
cut anymore and that meant he didn't have a chair to sit in at Neoschool! While
all the other students sat in their chairs during lessons, he had to sit on
the floor. What a dreadful nightmare.
Madarasco began to quiver as he slept and his
nightmares became restless. It wasn't long before Rasco was stirring and his
eyelids became light again. They flickered and he opened his eyes He jumped
when he realized that he was at Neoschool and not in the comfort of his own
Neohome. Not only that, but the classroom was empty! How had it so happened
that he was at Neoschool and no one else was? That was quite an unusual occurrence.
Rasco looked around in confusion. Where had everyone
gone? He hadn't been asleep that long had he? The Lupe noticed backpacks
still on the ground and books abandoned on the desks. So they couldn't have
gone that far. Maybe they had just taken a little break and would be back in
a few minutes.
Madarasco sat down to wait. Now that he was wide
awake time passed slowly. Rasco tapped his paw on the desk impatiently.
How long are they going to be gone? he mused
as the minutes drifted quietly away.
Finally, Rasco figured he had waited long enough
and got up from his desk to take a peek outdoors. Just outside the back door
he could see paw and hoof prints trod in the soil. Recalling the old mystery
books he had read once, Rasco decided to follow them. Judging by the number
he was bound to find his classmates at the end of the trail.
The Lupe kept his nose to the ground, sniffing
out their scent and following the prints. At the edge of the tropical forest
he happened upon a Miamouse scurrying across the path, which paused to take
a look at him. Before Rasco could say anything the Miamouse gave a squeal of
fright and raced off into the surrounding shrubbery. Madarasco frowned a bit,
but didn't think much of it. Although he loved his paint color he realized that
it often scared critters away.
As Rasco continued on his way he felt the climate
gradually shift. No longer was the air cool and rejuvenating, it was now humid
and smothering. Sweat began to gather on Rasco's fur and he shook it off, continuing
to follow the trail. To his confusion he found that the path wound all around
the forest, seemingly leading to the heart of it.
Madarasco spotted a nearby Pteri and called up
to the brilliantly colored Neopet. "Excuse me?" he caught the bird's attention.
"Hi! Have you seen a pack of school Neopets walking through here?"
"Sure did!" the Pteri called back. "They passed
by about fifteen minutes ago. They were headed for the fruit tress to observe.
Did you get lost?"
"Nah," Rasco said. "I was just taking my time.
Thanks for your help!"
Hmm, Rasco thought to himself. They
passed by fifteen minutes ago to look at some fruit trees. I've already read
all about the fruit trees of Mystery Island. What would I miss if I took a little
detour? No more than I already have, he reasoned.
Coming to the decision that he really
wasn't in a big rush, he decided to take a fork in the path. It looked intriguing,
with star of paradise flowers bordering it and vines of ivy creeping up tall
yellow eesa trees.
Madarasco found himself recalling what
he had read in past books and began investigating the rare greeneries. Here
and there he picked a flower, figuring that he would bring them back for show
and tell at his Neoschool. However, as Rasco got more involved in his observations
he lost track of time. Before he knew it it was lunch time and his stomach was
grumbling. Realizing that the rest of his class was probably already back in
class Madarasco set off at a gallop, weaving his way around trees as his stride
at up the ground.
Rasco was a powerful Lupe, but his speed
got away from him this time. A vine lay inconspicuously on the forest's carpet
and as he ran his back paw caught beneath it and pulled him down into a bush
Madarasco, who had landed full force on
his head, remained there unconscious for several minutes, before realizing where
he was. The Lupe's head spun, but he carefully pulled the broken branches off
of himself and stood on wobbling legs. He could feel thorns embedded in his
skin and grimaced at the pain. Knowing he needed to get back to Neoschool, not
only for class but for help, Rasco wobbled back onto the path and on his way.
As Madarasco traveled back the way he
had come, the pain gradually began to ease and his stride lengthened once more.
He thought again of what his teacher would say and he made a face. He would
be in big trouble.
At long last, Rasco broke free from the
tropical forest and found himself standing in front of his bamboo Neoschool.
Even from outside he could hear the chatter of his schoolmates, who were lively
from their expedition. Rasco entered the classroom, his head hung ever so slightly
as he regretted having stayed up the night before.
All at once the noise dropped to an unnatural
stillness and the class became silent. The Neopets were all staring at the battered
Darigan Lupe that looked like Madarasco.
"I've been wondering where you went,"
Miss Jafter said, her paw on her hip. Seeing his injured condition she hurried
over to help Rasco inside.
"I… I got a little lost…" Madarasco said
sheepishly, deciding not to tell his teacher the full account of what happened.
"That's a terrible excuse if I've ever
heard one," Miss Jafter said, seeing through his white lie. "But it looks like
something did happen, so we can discuss it more later. First let's get you cleaned
Rasco nodded guiltily. He'd never read
a book that would tell him what to do in a situation like this.
"All right then. Class, please take out
your encyclopedias and read page 314. When the bell rings you are dismissed."
Then the Zafara exited the room, holding Rasco up as she led him into a back
room where medical supplies were kept.
The bell rang releasing the students from
Neoschool, but Rasco stayed late as his teacher pulled embedded thorns from
his skin and applied an ointment. Although it hurt, he only gritted his teeth
and bit his lip. When Miss Jafter had finished she turned to the Lupe and said,
"Well, what do you have to say for yourself?"
"Sorry," Rasco said. "I was planning
to be back on time but..." he trailed off.
Miss Jafter chuckled. "Well, I can't say
I would have taught you anything you didn't already know, but the point is that
you need to stay with the class. It looks like you've learned your lesson, but
even so I'm going to ask you to prepare an oral presentation on the flowers
of Mystery Island for class tomorrow. Seeing as you led yourself on your own
little adventure, you can at least share what you saw with the rest of us."
She patted his paw. "And one more thing. Try to get some sleep. School is not
the place to be taking naps."
Madarasco blushed. He hadn't realized
that Miss Jafter had seen him sleeping in class. He thanked her and left the
Neoschool, hurrying home to get to work. It looked like it would be another
Author's Note: I hope you all enjoyed the story! I'm open to all feedback:
criticism or compliments. It's always nice to know what I'm doing right and
what I'm doing that could be improved. I'm open to your suggestions!