STILL HALF-ASLEEP, NERA the Ixi trotted down the steps of her castle home.
Being on the tenth floor of a ten story castle, it did get a bit tiring, especially
dizzying, to walk two hundred spiraled steps up and down each day.
However, life was good in Meridell. The castle
supplied her with food, water, and any supplies she needed, as long as she carried
out her job as the castle magician and healer. As she neared the last step,
Nera was greeted by the prince who had been running down the stairs, trying
to catch up with her. Nera turned her head and smiled, cheeks glowing.
"G'morning," she said to the white Ixi, who was
dressed in fine indigo velvet. She leaned over and gave him a kiss on the cheek.
He gave a wide grin, a simple "Good morning to thee, too," and hurried alongside
Nera as they entered the dining room.
Nera gracefully made her way to the long wooden
table. Her brightly-coloured layered robes covered her feet completely, making
her appear to be floating across the tiled floor.
She removed the violet hood that had been resting
on her head, and carefully pulled out a thick book from one of her robe pockets.
The book was in a deep-blue cover, decorated with silver celestial shapes.
Nera flipped through the cream-coloured pages,
finally stopping almost exactly in the middle of the book.
"Nera," the prince began, "What has thee planned
for?" The prince pulled back one of the many wooden chairs, and sat down beside
"Oh, thee thoughts have yet to decide. However,
thy reccomend thys." Nera pushed the open book toward the prince, who read over
the purple-ink writing, gasping as he read more and more. He laughed with excitement
as he finished, and said, "Confident thus shall hold successful, Nera?"
"Positive," she said, with a hint of mystery
in her voice.
The table was completely filled up almost an hour later. The prince sat at
the far end of the table (the royalty's seat), surrounded by servants and maids
and entertainers, along with the rest of his royal family. Nera stood alone
in front of everyone, dressed in bright copper robes. Her costume alone enchanted
the ones watching. She wore bands of shimmering gold on her hooves and jewelled
necklaces around her neck. The audience waited in anticipation as Nera looked
over her spell book.
Raising her head up, she performed her first
act. Three colourful silk scarves, out of no where, appeared in Nera's hooves.
She tied them together, later showing the audience the string of scarves were
knot-free, connected perfectly.
She continued her magic acts as the audience
gaped in awe. Now that she was finished, she was ready to perform her final
Nera slowly walked over to the prince. He put
down his silver wine goblet on the table as Nera held out her hoof to him. He
took it with a smile, gleam of mischievous light in his eyes.
Bringing him back to the front of the table,
Nera let go of his hoof and took a few steps back. She glanced at the audience
who were practically standing out of their seats.
Reciting a verse from her spell book with a few
hand gestures, smoke enveloped the prince for a few long moments.
Finally, when the smoke cleared, no one could
see the prince.
Shouts of rage and "HOW COULD YOU DO THIS TO
THE PRINCE?" began to echo through the large room.
Nera bent down, scooped up a slimy white Mortog,
and showed the audience their "prince."
No one could do anything but gasp.
She grinned her secretive smile. Nera kissed
the Mortog lightly on his forehead and set him down back on the floor. The process
repeated once again. Before the audiences' eyes, their prince transformed back.
The audiences' clapping roared throughout the
castle. They shouted and gave cries of laughter.
As the prince went back to take his seat, Nera
pulled out a free chair from the table and sat down. The people beside her all
whispered and stared, some even complimented her.
A tall, thin, avocado-coloured Nimmo stepped
up in front of the table, dressed in a cream-coloured vest. He pulled open a
long scroll and read it aloud to the audience.
"Hear ye, hear ye! The grande Prince of Meridell--Sir
Luke Wothag--will take one of ye damsels as thy wife!"
As the ladies in the castle grinned and giggled,
Luke sat in shock. He wasn't ever notified of this announcement, but sure enough,
it was announced.
After he got over the news, though, he was calm
and content, for he knew exactly who we wanted to marry.
As the table emptied, Luke dashed over to Nera,
trying to start up a conversation so he could gradually slip in the proposal.
"Haha, did thee enjoy the life of Mortogs?"
Nera asked him, in her sly-sounding voice.
"Hmm, it was...err...unusual! Heh, fun though,
Luke's hooves began to tap together. When Nera
turned to ask why, he grinned nervously.
"Heh, thy would never choose to be a Mortog!"
"Nera..." Luke began, trying to kneel--but was
almost too excited and jittery.
Nera looked down at the kneeling white Ixi in
"Will thee take thy hand in marriage?" Luke
looked up with gleaming blue eyes.
Nera clasped her hooves to her open mouth. She
slid them away from her face and around Luke's neck.
"Thee will, thee will!" She gave him a warm
hug as he slowly stood up. Nera grinned excitedly.
"Thus telleth the family tomorrow!" He exclaimed,
looking into the eyes of his soon-to-be wife and queen.
They walked out of the castle doors into the
beautiful courtyard, and sat on a silver-stone seat, watching ripples run through
the peaceful pond.
Back inside, a black-robed shadow crept up from
beneath the long dining table. It stood beside the courtyard doorway, watching
the two Ixis. Slowly muttering to himself, the shadow said, "...Wouldn't want
to be a Mortog...?"
"Thee haseth announcement!" the prince said
loudly, trying to speak above the chattering voices. He tapped his silver knife
on his goblet, which make a wind-chime like sound echo throughout the dining
"Thee," He began, grinning already, "Have found
a wife!" He held up his wine goblet to the table and the people cheered, except
for a few young ladies who sat in disappointment.
"Nera!" He called. He waited for her to come
and join him.
But she didn't stand up at the table.
"Thy shall be backeth soon!"
As the people chatted, Luke ran as fast as he
could up the spiral staircase. He was tired by the fourth floor, but he urged
himself on. Finally, at the tenth floor, he was exhausted and dizzy. He had
a horrible sick feeling in his stomach as to wondering why Nera was not there.
He tapped lightly with one of his hooves, carefully looking at the etched-out
carvings in the door while doing so. Tiny unidentifiable markings and drawings,
a few crossed out stars.
"Who is there?" Nera called from inside.
Luke sighed as soon as he heard her voice. He
wiped away the few sweat drops on his forehead that had formed out of worry
"Good morning!" He slowly opened the door to
see Nera, dressed in her best clothes, sitting on her bed.
Nera looked up from her cerulean silk skirt
and smiled. "Oh, hello! Sorry that thee has keepeth you all waiting...I was
just wrapping a gift."
She leaned over and reached under her bed. Nera
pulled out a small, brown paper and twine-wrapped gift. She handed it to Luke
with a grin. "To our wedding day." She stood up from her bed and gave him a
hug. "Let us go downeth the stairs now--we can of course open it later." Still
standing, Nera pulled out the deep blue book she had used the day before, and
slipped it under a loose floorboard by her bed, to keep it safe.
Staring at his gift, Luke began to trot down
the steps. He thought about how silly he was to have worried so much about Nera
when she was only an hour late. It was, of course, their big day, and it would
take her a while to get ready.
On floor Nine, Luke decided to not be so rude
and talk to Nera a bit instead of thinking to himself. "Nera," he began, turning
around. "Isn't this gre--" Luke was talking to himself. Nera had gone once again.
"Nera!" He called up to the tenth floor, grinning.
She didn't answer.
Luke, once more, climbed the staircase to the
tenth floor and opened the door to Nera's room.
"Come on, N--" By now the prince had gotten
tired of talking to himself. "Nera?" He called. No one was sitting on the bed
any longer. The window was not open at all.
In fear, Luke quickly opened all the doors and
cabinets he could find. No Nera. He searched behind the furniture and outside
of the window, but still no Nera.
Search parties made up of Guards and servants had examined every piece of
land on Meridell. Two groups even took boats out to ask the workers at other
lands if they had seen a shadow Ixi come through. Of course it was impossible
for her to get out of Meridell so quickly, but the Prince would not rest until
Nera was found.
Back at the castle, Luke paced the dining room.
He waited for hours for his servants and guards to arrive back and give him
some news on Nera.
Looking for a rest and some fresh air to breathe,
Luke entered the courtyard, sitting on the same stone seat from the morning
From out of the pond, a small black Mortog hopped
out of the water.
"Why, that's odd," he thought to himself. "I
didn't know Mortogs could be black."
It leaped onto the stone bench and sat, staring
up at Luke.
The prince stood up and turned away, hoping
his crew had gotten back by now.
The Mortog continued to stare, watching the
prince return back into his castle, alone.
A tall red Kau stood outside of the castle front gate. Dressed in a purple
and yellow hooded cape, he rapped loudly on the iron bars. Holding his cape
together tightly and looking down at the dirt path, a small blue Cybunny dressed
in a linen apron unlocked the gate.
"Hello there!" It squeaked, holding open the
gate door with one paw, carrying a feather duster in the other.
"Good Afternoon," the Kau said, in a low voice.
"I wish to see the prince. Is he available?"
The Cybunny had an uneasy look on her face.
"Weeell...hmm...he may not be, but you can try. This way, please..."
The Kau followed her, walking slowly behind
the energetic hopping Cybunny.
The Cybunny pulled open the castle doors, "Right
this way!" She grinned happily.
"Ahem, excuse me--I'll just look in the courtyard
for a while. I'll be in soon. Thank you."
The Cybunny sighed. "Okay then, come in if you
want." She went in herself and closed the glass doors behind her.
As soon as the Kau saw her gone, he bent his
knees and whispered, "Nera! Nera! Oh Neeeera!"
He searched the pond, seeing a small black Mortog
on a lily pad.
"Are you happy now, Nera?" He bent over and
picked a small pink flower that had been growing on the edge of the pond. Mumbling
a few verses, and with a sprinkle of some sort of blue dust, the flower turned
into a crispy green apple.
"You know I have better skills then you. You
know I should've gotten YOUR job. Hehehe, well, it's all fixed, because now
The Kau encased the apple in his hooves, hiding
the apple. He blew on the apple and muttered a spell. When he stepped back,
away from the fruit, the apple floated in mid-air.
"I'm the better magician. So I deserve that
job--and I will get it, too."
He hid the levitating apple in his purple and
yellow cloak for a second, once again mumbling something. When he unwrapped
the cloak, the apple had disappeared.
The cow grasped the invisible apple, took a
bite from it, and stuck it in his pocket.
"I am Kau Seer. I am the best magician ever!"
His eyes dashed from the left to the right, making sure no one was looking.
He pulled out a black sack from his cloak.
Before the little petpet knew what was going
on, the Kau slid into the pond, grasping the Mortog and stuffing her into a
He then placed the bag into another one of his
many pockets, and decided he'd enter the castle now.
Looking into the dining hall, he could see the
prince pacing back and forth.
"Hello Prince!" Kau Seer called, waiting at
Luke, very surprised to see a Kau instead of
his crew, looked up, puzzled.
"I hear you have an open job for magician?"
Kau Seer began to walk over.
Luke mumbled, and it was hard to hear him. "Oh...yes...umm...are
you a magician?" He began to tap his hooves together, not caring at all about
"Uh, yes, Prince."
"Fine...room is on the 10th floor. Goodbye."
As Kau Seer walked up the stairs, he became
extremely happy of his successful revenge.
Kau Seer silently stepped down the stairway.
He tried to make sure he didn't make any of the steps creak, because it would
surely wake someone up.
The Mortog fumbled it's way out of Kau Seer's
tightly-drawn bag, and hopped as far as she could down the stairs. Kau Seer
heard the small feet of the Mortog hopping away, and began racing after the
small petpet with fury slapped across his face.
Kau Seer finally caught up with the Mortog where
the two glass doors led out to the garden. The doors being closed, Kau Seer
was easily able to stuff the Mortog back into the bag.
He crept like a shadow through the doors, silently
and easily, making sure the hinges didn't squeak and wake someone up.
Now outside, Kau Seer dashed along the pebble
pathway and met up with a small wooden carriage. A Draik was sitting on a pillow
at the front holding the reigns of two Unis.
"'Ello sir, have that Mortog?" the Draik asked
in a high voice.
Kau Seer nodded and he handed the drawstring
bag to the Draik, and began to give commands in a low, grumbly voice. "I want
you to jar it with the rest or your Mortog batch. Take it as far away as you
can and make sure it is used for a harder level." He dropped a few coins on
the Nimmo's seat, and brought the yellow and purple clock around his snout.
Gold bracelets and earring sparkling in the moonlight, Kau Seer returned back
to the castle--his new home.
The sun rose above the grassy mountains in the morning, shining light through
the openings in the carriage. Nera, though, was still in a room of darkness,
for she was trapped inside a bag.
Suddenly, the carriage stopped and Nera could
hear the footsteps of the Draik come toward the open door. He grasped his tiny
paws around not only Nera's bag, but many other bags as well, of all shapes
She could feel the other Mortogs scramble inside
of their compartments and nudge against her bag.
Nera heard the Draik's voice mumble something
to another creature. When he finished, the creature replied. After their short
conversation all of the bags were handed over to the other creature. This creature
was a king Mortog--a rare Mortog which is able to talk. Enormous in size,
it dwarfs the more common kind of his breed. You've probably seen one from time
to time as you play Kiss the Mortog game, keeping the game organised.
This certain king Mortog sat near a small pond,
un-knotting the bags full of smaller Mortogs. Quick as lightning, he jarred
each one swiftly and with care. As soon as he finished jarring the Mortogs in
one of the bags he stashed the rest in a hole beside a tree. Nera wondered,
as the king Mortog fastened the caps on the last of his batch of jars, if she'd
ever escape and get back home.
To be continued...