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Neopia's Fill in the Blank News Source | 19th day of Hunting, Yr 21
The Neopian Times Week 41 > Short Stories > It All Started With a Warf

It All Started With a Warf

by stellarwing

TerrorFlight the blue Shoyru was very nervous. It was her first day of school. Before leaving, she tried begging one more time. "Please, Mom, don't make me go!"

StellarWing shook her head. "I already told you, Terry, you have to go to school! Here, don't forget this!" She handed Terry her green backpack. "I put a lunch in there for you. Now, off you go!"

Terry sighed, put on her backpack, and walked outside. It was a beautiful day; the sun was shining, and birds sang from the yellow eesa tree on their front lawn. She was about halfway to school when she met up with one of her friends, StarlitTear the blue Kougra. Star came up to Terry, looking as excited as ever. "Wow, this is so exhilarating! Our first day of school! What's wrong, Terry? Why so glum?"

Terry answered, "I don't want to go to school! Eyriedactal was telling me about it, and he said the teachers hit you if you're bad and give you tons of homework!"

Star just laughed. "Eyriedactal? Your older brother? He's just teasing you! I spoke with my older brother, ShadyGlen, and he said there's nothing to be afraid of! Besides, you've got friends here! Look, here comes Bryan!" A blue Gelert trotted towards them. It was Bryan146, Terry's friend since before she could remember.

Bryan seemed to be in quite a hurry. "Come, you guys!" he called, "Hurry up! We'll be late!"

The three friends ran the rest of the way to school. When they finally got there, they dashed on over to homeroom, which was Science with Mr. Flock the purple Lenny. Star and Bryan, who were a little ahead, were already inside when the door slammed in Terry's face. In front of it, sneering maliciously, was almahadin the red Pteri. Alma spoke with an evil tone. "Well, well, well, if it isn't little Terry! How are things going with you?"

Terry, who was not in the mood to deal with Alma, just shoved past him. She walked in and went to sit in her desk, head down the whole while.

Alma was much older than Terry. He was bitter and picked on all the other pets. His parents treated him rough, and he was upset about being held back. He came into the classroom after Terry and sat on the opposite side of the room. Mr. Flock took out his pointer and began to speak. "Welcome to class, students. I am Mr. Flock, and in here you shall be learning about..."

***

Terry's day was not as bad as she expected. All they really did in class was introduce themselves and go over rules and such. For lunch, Stellar had packed Terry's favorite, a popcorn sandwich and a can of neocola. A little note fell out when she emptied her lunch bag. It read:

My dear Terry, may your first day of school be brighter than the sun!

~Stellar

Terry placed the note in her backpack, and continued the conversation she was having with Star and Bryan.

***

Finally, school was over. Terry said goodbye to her friends and began walking home. She had not gotten far when a blue Uni suddenly landed in front of her. It was BlueSkyedancer, and he had his pet Warf, Chippy, with him. "Hi Terry! How was your first day of school?"

Before Terry could answer, Chippy made a strange clicking noise. In the distance Terry heard someone call, "Come on, Skye! If we don't get home soon Mom will be angry!" It was BlueStarcatcher, Skye's twin brother. Skye said, "Sorry, Terry, I'd better go! Hope your day was OK!" Skye spread his wings and flew off in the direction of the shout, with Chippy riding on his back. Terry sighed and continued on.

Terry was almost home to her house at 47795 Tiki Tack Street, Mystery Island, when she heard an odd "Brrrflp" sound from behind her. She turned to see a Warf that appeared to be following her. At first she thought that maybe Chippy had run away, but she looked closer and saw it was a green Warf. Terry walked up to it and said, "What are you doing out here, silly creature?"

The Warf blinked, but didn't do anything else. Terry just shrugged and continued walking. The Warf followed. When she finally got home, Terry ran inside, screaming, "Mom! Mom! A Warf followed me home!" She passed by an electric Eyrie, her brother Eyriedactal, while looking for Stellar.

Eyriedactal just shook his head and said, "Yeah, right, like anything would follow you home!"

Terry stuck out her tongue and Stellar came in and said, "Cut it out, you two! Now, what's all the commotion about Terry?" Terry led Stellar to the door and showed her the green Warf. Stellar reached toward it, and petted it on the head. The Warf purred softly.

"Well, it seems friendly enough," Stellar commented.

"What? What seems friendly?" Terry's younger sister, LavaBrewer the rainbow Grarrl, came in and looked around. Lava was originally a red Peophin, but Stellar took her to the Lab Ray daily. She saw the Warf and exclaimed, "Awww, how cute!" But when she reached down to pet it, the Warf hissed at her. She pulled back in dismay. She sighed and said, "It's because I'm a Grarrl, isn't it? Why can't Terry be the lab pet?" Lava continued to mutter to herself as she walked over to a blue velvet chair in the room and slouched down in it.

Stellar was going to go console Lava when Griffious burst into the room. He was a rainbow Eyrie, younger than Eyriedactal, but still Stellar's first pet. He looked around and saw Lava sitting miserably in her chair, Stellar and Terry standing at the door with a green Warf, and Eyriedactal on the tiger couch, looking up from his copy of Sakhmet Tales. He cocked his head and asked, "What's going on?"

Terry pointed to the green Warf. "This little guy followed me home. I think I'll call him... Ping-Pong! Ping for short!"

Stellar gave Terry a look. "Now wait a minute there! You know that the moment you name something, that's when you get attached. You already have a pet Whoot. Besides, this Warf looks like it already has an owner. It's painted, after all. Why look, it even has a collar!"

Stellar reached out and showed the others a dark blue collar around Ping's neck. A little silver tag hung down in front. Writing was carved into it.

"What does it say?" Terry asked nervously.

"I don't know," Stellar admitted, "The writing is too small. Here..." Stellar unlatched the collar and went over to her marble desk. She opened one of the drawers and pulled out a magnifying glass. She then turned on her tall table lamp to better inspect the silver tag. She read it aloud, saying "'It appears that you have found my pet, the treasure you can soon get. The first clue in order to find, watch the Warf and follow close behind.' That's odd..."

Terry jumped up excitedly. "Oh, treasure! I wonder what it could be! Can we look for it? Can we? Can we?"

Stellar laughed and shook her head. "Whatever it is, we can decide tomorrow. It's getting late. Come, time for bed." Stellar headed off in the direction of her room. Griffious shrugged and did the same. Eyriedactal placed a bookmark in his book and placed it on the blue coffee table in front of him before wandering off to his room. Lava sighed again and went out to the backyard to her pool, which she was so used to, having been born a Peophin.

Terry hung back. She pulled a rainbow pencil and pad of paper out of the drawer of the marble desk and scratched a note onto the first sheet. It read:

Dear Mom, Eyriedactal, Griffious, and Lava,
I have decided to look for the treasure. Something inside me tells me I have to. Please don't worry about me, I will be back as soon as possible.

Love,
Terry

Terry left the pencil lying on the paper. She turned off the tall table lamp. The only light in the room was from the street lights outside coming in from the still open door. Terry picked up the collar, silver tag shimmering in the scarce light. She then walked over to the door. Ping jumped up in the air, and landed with a thud. He looked very excited. As soon as he saw that Terry was following, he hopped outside and began wandering down the path to the street. Terry took one last look inside before closing the door. Feeling renewed confidence, Terry held her head high and marched after Ping.

Terry wandered down the street after Ping. The little green Warf seemed to know exactly where he was going. Terry began to flex her wings nervously. Maybe it wasn't such a good idea to leave home? She thought to herself. Than she shook her head. No, I have to find that treasure! Whatever it is...

Terry snapped out of her thoughts and looked around. She was somewhere she did not recognize. It was a run-down place; the slums. Stellar had always warned her not to go there. Terry quickened her pace to catch up to Ping and whispered, "Maybe we should go back? It's not safe here!" Ping suddenly stopped in his tracks and hissed. For a moment, Terry thought he was hissing at her, but she looked up and found herself face-to-face with a Mutant Krawk.

The Krawk smiled an awful grin and said, "My, what's a little blue Shoyru and her pet doing on this side of the tracks? Shouldn't you be at home sleeping on your velvet pillow?"

Terry shrank back, unsure of what to do. She knew that if she ran, his "gang" would probably just show up and surround her. So she did her best to look confident and exclaimed, "Excuse me, sir, but you are in my way! Move it, or I will take it personally!"

The Krawk laughed menacingly and said, "Is that so?" He motioned his hand and three other mutant pets, a Lupe, Cybunny, and Kougra, came out from various hiding places. They surrounded Terry and Ping, slowly closing in on them. The Krawk suddenly yelled, "CHARGE!" and they rushed forward. Thinking fast, Terry grabbed Ping by the scruff of his neck and leaped into the air, spreading her wings as she did so she was caught in an up-draft. She glided a safe distance from the Mutant Gang, hearing the Krawk leader swear after them.

Terry had flown past the slums over a high wall when Ping began to squirm and make desperate clicking noises. "Cut that out!" Terry scolded him. But it was too late; Ping got free and began to fall. Terry dove after him and caught him just before he landed in a hedge of spiky bushes. Terry looked around. That's odd, she thought to herself, I don't recall anything like this ever mentioned. The spiky bushes stretched as far as the eye could see in a huge field. Ping once again squirmed and managed to free himself again. He landed with a small thud. Luckily he was small enough so that he could easily dodge the thorns. Ping then looked up at Terry as if asking her to follow. Terry sighed and decided that since she had come that far, she might as well go through with it. She held her breath and slowly lowered herself, finally finding a landing position where she was not getting poked.

Terry followed Ping a little ways through the bushes. She was relieved when he stopped. She did not make it through without a few scratches here and there, but was basically unharmed. Ping motioned to a large hole in the ground under one of the bushes. He slipped easily underneath and disappeared into darkness. Terry was wondering how she could follow when out of the hole popped a fire bomb, as if someone had thrown it. Terry lifted the bomb, lit it, and hurled it at the spiky bush over the hole. The bush erupted into flames, then died down just as quickly. The hole now exposed, Terry easily hopped into it.

Terry fell about ten feet before hitting the ground. She was surprised to find that it did not feel like dirt, but rather some sort of extremely smooth metal. She looked up. The entrance was still relatively close, yet the dim outside light did not seem to penetrate the pitch black hole in the least. Terry was surprised to find that the collar she held in her claw was glowing. She heard Ping from somewhere in the darkness. She felt around until she found him. In a rather clumsy manner, Terry managed to slip the collar over Ping's neck. He purred in approval and began to lead the way down a passage.

Terry tried to figure out what the walls of the passage were made of, but could think of nothing that matched them. Suddenly, Ping stopped. The passage came to a dead end. Ping reached up and tapped the wall at the end six times. Words suddenly appeared on the smooth surface. They stated:

You have finished the first clue,
Now here is what you must do:
Bring to me an item that
Is tasty, small, and may hatch.

No sooner had Terry finished reading the clue when two passages opened up, one to the left and one to the right. Terry turned to Ping to wait for him to lead, but he just blinked at her. Following him was only the first step, Terry thought to herself miserably, I have to do the rest on my own. So Terry held her head high and went into the left passage.

Terry wished Ping was still leading. Not only would it make it easier to find her way, but the light would be in front of her. Ping was following obediently behind her, but the glowing collar did no good there. Ping had hissed at her when she tried to remove it. And so she was constantly tripping over rocks and things. It did not help that she was bitter, homesick, and had no idea what she was looking for.

After walking for what seemed like forever, Terry ran smack into the end of the passage. She felt around but could find nothing. Just before giving up, Terry decided that since she had come that far she might as well try everything. She extended one arm and tapped on the wall six times. Nothing happened.

Nothing at first, anyway. After a moment of silence the wall completely lit up and Terry found herself staring at what appeared to be a vending machine of some sort. A machine-like voice said, "Welcome to the Underground Vending Machine. Please state what you would like."

After Terry recovered from her shock, she figured that the vending machine must have been her means of obtaining the item she needed for the clue. Since the voice sounded almost intelligent, she asked it, "What kind of items do you have?"

The machine answered, "I carry every kind of good imaginable. But I specialize in food items."

Food items, eh? Terry thought to herself, I wonder if that's some sort of clue? Terry cocked her head in thought. Well, it's something tasty, so it must be food. Small doesn't really cut it down much. Hmmm... may hatch.. what hatches? A... an... egg? Eggs hatch..."Oh, I know, a negg!" Terry exclaimed the last part out loud.

The machine stated, "Please specify type of negg."

Terry looked confused. She wondered if it mattered. Oh, well, she had to try something. "Purple negg!"

The vending machine dropped out a purple negg into its slot. It then said, "Thank you, and goodnight," and turned off. The passage was once again black. Terry had to feel around in the dark to find her purple negg. She had just picked it up when a beam of light surrounded her and Ping. And strange sensation swelled through Terry and the next thing she knew she was back to the place where the second clue was written.

Terry just stared in confusion for a moment. She was not used to anything transporting her instantly from one place to another. When she recovered from her shock, she held out the purple negg she had received from the vending machine. The wall where the clue was written seemed to turn into some sort of projector. It look like a TV screen. On the screen appeared the portrait of someone, their face hidden by a black cloak. Ping squealed excitedly, as if he knew the figure.

The figure spoke. "Well done, my young Shoyru. You have figured out the fist two clues. And purple; that's my favorite!" Terry sensed a hint of humor in the voice. "Now, hand the negg to the Warf, he can handle it." Terry handed the purple negg to Ping. He took it willingly and hopped off down the passage to the right. Sherry began to follow him but the figure said, "No, we still have something to discuss.You must solve the third and final clue. Here is my riddle:

What is more powerful than the Faerie Queen
And more evil than the Dr. Sloth?
Rich pets need it,
Poor pets have it,
And if you eat it, it'll be your demise.

You come forward to tell it to me. If it is correct, you will be given the treasure. If you are wrong, you will be sent home and will lose all memory of these events. Good luck."

The screen vanished and the wall slid over to reveal another passage. Terry walked slowly towards it, thinking all the while, What could it possibly be?

It was all too quick before Terry reached the end of the passage. She entered a dimly-lit room containing nothing but a large wooden desk and a revolving chair. Next to the chair stood a figure, completely cloaked in black except for a silver Zafara tail peeking out the bottom. The Zafara kept his back turned, and spoke to Terry. "Do you know the answer?"

No, Terry thought to herself. But what she said was, "It's not a fair question! Nothing is more powerful than the Faerie Queen!"

"That is correct."

"What?"

"Nothing is more powerful than the Faerie Queen, nothing is more evil than Dr. Sloth. Rich pets need nothing, poor pets have nothing, and if you eat nothing, that'll be your demise. The answer to the riddle is, 'nothing.'"

Terry just stood in shock for a moment. Then she stammered, "I got it right? Well, uh, what's the treasure?"

The Zafara turned towards Terry, face still hidden. "The treasure... is having successfully passed the trials, and the satisfaction of returning my pet to me."

Terry just stared at the Zafara for a moment, not sure of how she should react. Then the Zafara burst out laughing. "Relax, my young Shoyru. I was only joking. Heh, heh... gets 'em every time." The Zafara snapped his fingers and Ping came in, carrying with him a small golden key. The Zafara took the key and walked over to a rather large treasure chest in the corner. He used the key to unlatch the lock and slowly lifted the creaky wooden lid. Terry walked closer and looked inside.

The chest contained every paint brush created, a few so rare Terry had only heard of them, but never seen them before. The Zafara spoke. "You may choose one paint brush, and that is all. However, you must promise to never tell anyone of this place, or what has happened here. Now, choose..."

Terry looked over the brushes over and over again. Faerie, that one is pretty popular. Fire is pretty good, too. Hmmm... maybe Shadow... then, her eyes fell upon a pretty blue bow sticking out from under a strawberry paint brush. Terry reached in and moved it aside to reveal a baby paint brush. She picked it up. "I choose this one!" Terry announced.

The Zafara, who was sitting in his chair petting Ping, replied, "Very good. Goodbye, my young Shoyru." Everything turned white, and Terry fell unconscious.

***

Terry awoke in her bed. Her heart sank. Was it all just a dream? She sighed and reached over to feel for her alarm clock. She felt instead a silky bow. She turned her head and saw, sitting there, a Baby Paint Brush. Under it was a note that read:

Remember your promise; tell no one of what happened! I hope you enjoy your treasure. It was well earned.

~The Silver Zafara of the Spiky Bushes

Brrrflp

~Ping

Terry smiled and hid the note in her drawer. Just then, Stellar came in. She looked at Terry skeptically. "Where did you get that paint brush?"

Terry just smiled and said, "Oh, it was a present from a friend."

"Do you know what happened to that Warf?"

"He went home."

"Oh really? How do you know?"

"Oh, I have my ways." And so, Terry stashed her paint brush in the closet and got ready for school, skipping down the road, humming happily to herself. And as she passed the yellow eesa tree, a small Beekadoodle flew from it and buzzed off into the distance.

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