The heavy wooden door slowly creaked open, revealing dark shadows beyond.
Jan walked into the room, brushing cobwebs from her face and tunic. "Hold that
light steady, Maki," she called.
MakiKai, a blue Zafara, groaned. "But Jan, my arms are getting tired. Why
did we have to move into such an old house? Even the lights don't work!"
"That," said Jan, trying to stifle a sneeze from the dust, "is just a matter
of finding the circuit board so we can turn the lights back on. Here, let me
see that flashlight for a second."
"Besides," she continued, brushing the dust off a metal panel, "you know this
house was left to us by Great-grandfather, very generously I might add. I'm
sure that with just a bit of fixing up, this house will be... Maki?"
Her voice echoed emptily in the room, and she sighed. "Maki's probably gone
exploring..." she muttered to herself, and turned back to the panel. Fiddling
with a last few wires, Jan covered her eyes as a blinding flash of light lit
the room and lights blazed into existence all through the house, illuminating
its interior and sending the myriads of tiny spiders fleeing into the shadows.
Just then, Maki ran into the room, closely followed by his little sister,
a tiny white Lupe named GlacierSnow. He yelled excitedly. "Jan, look what I
found!" Tightly clasped in Maki's paw was a shining amulet.
Jan took the amulet from Maki's paw and examined it. Her green eyes widened
as she looked at it...
"Do you have any idea what this is?"
The museum curator stared back at Jan. "Hmm..." he mused, examining the amulet
closely, and then looking up excitedly. "Why, if I didn't know any better..."
The striped Lenny walked quickly to a shelf and pulled out a dusty volume.
He turned the book around and showed a page to Jan. "The Ancient Neopians
lived long ago but had great knowledge of many things. If I'm right, this is
one of their most sacred artifacts - an immensely powerful item. Little is said
about it in this book, but only the strongest can ever hope to wield this amulet."
Jan stared at the glossy surface of the amulet. "What's this symbol carved
on the front?" she asked. "It looks like... a claw, or maybe a figure of some
"Hmm... how curious. However, I'm sorry to say I really have no idea, nor
much more information about the amulet. Where did you find it?"
"My great-grandfather left his house to us; Maki found this amulet while exploring
in the dark."
The Lenny smiled. "Of course... I knew your great-grandfather well. He must
have found the amulet on his travels."
Jan smiled and thanked the Lenny for his help, then bowed and left.
MakiKai swished his tail excitedly as they walked out of the museum and onto
its sunlit stairs, leading out to the broad streets of Neopia Central. "Wow!
A real artifact! What are we going to do with it, Jan?"
Jan shook her head. "I don't know. We'll just keep it at home for now."
As they walked past Hubert's Hot Dog stand, deep in conversation, a dark shadow
stirred, slipping from its hiding place beside the museum's front steps...
A few days later, Jan and MakiKai walked back to their NeoHome. Jan bounced
the tiny GlacierSnow on her shoulders and held colorful bags from the Chocolate
Factory and Toy Shop in her other hand. It had been a sunny day, and they had
gone shopping with their friend, Alare, and her Faerie Aisha, GladysCat.
Maki and Gladys ran ahead, while Jan and Alare walked at their own pace, laughing
and joking. Maki unlocked the door to their NeoHome and stared in horror at
the surroundings. "Jan! Come here quickly!"
Hearing the tone in Maki's voice, Jan ran to the door, with Alare close behind
her. She came to a halt as she saw the scene in the room. The house that they
had so carefully repainted, cleaned, and repaired had been turned upside-down.
Things were thrown out of drawers, papers were scattered, their Kauvara-patterned
lamps were smashed, pictures had been ripped off the walls; it all seemed as
if someone had been looking for something...
Jan gasped with sudden realization. "Maki - where did you put the amulet?"
MakiKai tried hard to remember. "Um... on the desk! The desk in the study!"
GlacierSnow yowled, picking up the tension in the air. They all sprinted up
the stairs and burst into the study. This room looked untouched by the damage,
but the top of the desk was bare. Maki groaned and leaned against the door.
"They took it... I can't believe it, who would do such a thing? And the house..."
Jan sighed, but an idea had popped into her mind. "Let's go talk to the neighbors
and see if they saw anything..."
"Oh yes," replied Mrs. Chiapot, a large red Chia with blue glasses. She smoothed
her apron fussily. "We saw some strange figures running down the street holding
something and talking about getting to the dock as quickly as possible so they
could meet a certain Captain Blackwing and sail back to Krawk Island. Hmm, Krawk
Island, isn't that where all those pirates are?"
Jan's heart sank as she thanked Mrs. Chiapot. "We've got to go after them
and recover that amulet... but where are we ever going to get a ship? I don't
even know where Krawk Island is!"
Alare looked up. "I'll go to the library with Gladys; I'm sure we'll find
some maps to Krawk Island there. Meanwhile, why don't you take MakiKai and GlacierSnow
and head down to the harbor to see if you can get a boat. We'll meet you there
in a bit."
A few hours later, Alare and Gladys ran down the path to the dock, shouting
excitedly. "We got the map!"
Jan grinned widely and waved to them with one hand, cradling GlacierSnow in
the other arm. "Auqwa here," she said, pointing to a light blue Lupe, "heard
our story and is letting us borrow one of her sailboats, free of charge!"
"That's right," called the Lupe, coming down the gangplank with a coil of
rope slung over her arm. "It's time someone taught those pirates a lesson. She
may be small, but this is the fastest boat ever to sail the Sea of Neopia; she'll
get you there and back in record time."
"Now all we need to do is pack our supplies--" began MakiKai.
"There's no need to do that," interrupted Auqwa. "The sailboat is already
stocked and ready to go! All she needs now is a crew to sail her."
Maki turned to the others, his bright eyes shining. "Did you hear that? Let's
go, Jan!" He pulled eagerly at Jan's hand.
Jan sadly shook her head and knelt on the deck. "Maki, I won't be going with
you. I have to stay home and take care of Glacier; you know she's too young
to be left alone, and I can't take her along on this adventure."
"But Jan," Maki protested, his large blue eyes filling with threatening tears.
Jan hugged him. "No, I can't, Maki. But I think you're old enough to take this
journey on your own."
Gladys stepped up, fluttering her delicate Faerie wings gracefully. "Maki
won't be alone... I'll go with him. I can sail the ship, too, since Alare has
already taught me how to sail. We'll stick together and be the best of friends,
Maki smiled and tried to fight back his tears. "Right, Gladys! And we'll do
anything we have to do to fight those pirates and get our amulet back!"
Paw in paw, Gladys and Maki boarded the sailboat, leaving Jan, Alare, and
GlacierSnow standing on the dock. "Goodbye - and good luck!" Alare called.
Casting aside the ropes, Gladys slowly guided the boat out of port. Jan and
Alare waved until the boat disappeared over the horizon and was lost to sight.
To be continued...