A Noteworthy Adventure: Part One
"Hyren, breakfast is ready!" my older sister, Blynn, yelled,
sticking her red Zafara head into our bedroom.
My eyes snapped open. "Blynn, you don't have
to say it so loud…" I muttered. "You're only ten feet away…" As the room came
into focus, I realized that she was gone, already in the front room.
I turned my bleary gaze to the bathroom, where
my Sludgy, Gai Daigouji, was asleep in the sink. Cosmicfire918, my owner, won't
let him sleep in the bed with the rest of us because the last time he did, everyone
was covered in sludge in the morning. He likes the sink anyway, because it's
nice and wet in there. I decided not to wake him up and trudged into the third
(and last) room of our house, the front room/kitchen/dining room/whatever else
we might need it for.
Everyone else was already seated at the table,
eating the breakfasts of their choice. TK was still in her pajamas, sipping
a Banana Milkshake and reading the Neopian Encyclopedia P-T (she likes to read
while she eats). Pharazon, my Faerie Draik little brother, was munching on an
Organic Leek (he has a thing for vegetables), and Blynn was licking the remains
of some Chocolate Flakes off of her paws (sometimes I think the only thing she
eats is chocolate).
"G'morning, Hyren," TK said in-between sips.
"Grab some food from the cupboard and join us!"
I nodded, still too tired to open my mouth, and
ambled over to the cupboard, where I pulled out a TeaLeef Sandwich. Trying to
keep my eyes from closing, I reached for my chair, but my depth perception wasn't
doing so well, and I gave up, hand falling limply to my side. I tried to just
eat the sandwich standing up, but my mouth wasn't cooperating. Some mustard
smooshed out of the sandwich and onto my lips, so I licked it off…but I was
still too tired to chew.
My family stared at me. "Hyren…maybe you should
go back to bed, man," TK said, picking me up and carrying me back to the bedroom.
"The rest of us are going shopping today," she informed me as she laid me down
on the bed, placed some warm, heavy quilts over me, and drew the curtains shut.
"You just get some rest." I nodded, eyes half-closed. "Hey, can I have your
sandwich?" she asked. I nodded again and handed it to her. "Thanks, dude!" she
said, taking a bite and walking away.
I smiled and closed my eyes, the quilts forming
a cozy shell around my body. When I was half-asleep, in that time when one drifts
in and out of consciousness before dreaming, Blynn's Snowbunny, Avatar, hopped
onto my pillow and nestled by my head, her soft fur tickling my antennae. They
twitched slightly as I dreamed about fighting Meuka in the Battledome for my
next Defenders of Neopia trophy. Right before I was about to strike the final
blow with my Metallic Sun Staff, I woke up.
I grinned, feeling refreshed. I sat up and yawned,
stretching my arms. This woke Avatar up, and she hopped off of the bed with
an annoyed twitch of her pink nose. I glanced at the Techo Clock on the wall.
1:31 P.M. I had slept in for almost five hours! "TK?" I called out. No one answered.
They must still be shopping, I thought. "Oh well, lunch time!" I said
to myself happily. I jumped to the floor and ran into the bathroom, where Gai
was waiting for me, burbling happily. I picked him up and hugged him, then put
him down on the floor so he could follow me. Then, I washed all of the sludge
off of my hands.
"C'mon, Gai, let's get something to eat," I said
to my Petpet as we wandered into the kitchen. I got a Tuna Sub and a Cup of
Water out of the Cupboard and set them on the table.
As I was about to bite into my Tuna Sub, the
door burst open, and Pharazon, Blynn, and TK walked into the room carrying a
bunch of food. "Have a nice nap, Hyren?" TK asked. I nodded. The three started
to put all of the food in the cupboard, and I munched on my sandwich and watched
"Oh yeah, I almost forgot, I bought you a present!"
TK reached into a bag and pulled out a worn green book with a red ribbon sticking
out from mid-way through. It looked old and Warf-eared, and there was a working
compass built into the front cover. "I read a little bit of it, it's got a bunch
of cool adventure stories," TK said. "I thought you might like it."
I eyed the book carefully. It did, indeed, look
very interesting, and I needed something to hold me over for when I finished
my homework each afternoon. "Thanks…" I said, carefully taking the large book
from my owner.
"How about a Pineapple Slushie while you read
it?" TK offered, holding the slushie in front of me.
"No thanks…" I said. "I think I'll have a warm
cup of Borovan instead." She shrugged and started sipping the slushie herself.
I sighed and sat down on our Chia Print Chair with my Borovan and the book.
I gently lifted open the cover, and was immediately drawn into a story about
the adventures of an Air Faerie and a Kougra on Mystery Island.
Over the next few days, I whiled away the hours
by reading the book every chance I got. It was the first book that I hadn't
been able to finish in one day, because of the sheer amount of exciting stories
it contained. I read about the Haunted Woods and Tyrannia, King Skarl and King
Hagan, heroes and villains, and ordinary pets who went on amazing journeys.
One morning, I finished an epic tale about an Usul and a Bruce who had to stop
Jhudora and Dr. Sloth from taking over Neopia. As I read the last words, "The
End," I turned the page. Two things surprised me-the next page was the one that
the ribbon was marking, and it was completely blank. Confused, I looked through
the rest of the book after the marker, but all of those pages were blank too.
"What a disappointment…" I groaned.
I closed the book, ready to tell TK that half
of the content was missing-but I froze, eyes wide, looking at the front cover
in shock because…the compass wasn't pointing north any more. It was pointing
southeast, and the small arrow painted on the compass between the large S and
the large E was gone. My heart started to beat wildly, and, breathless, I looked
up. I could see that the compass pointed due southeast, but my vision was obscured
by the bamboo walls of our Neohome.
Carefully, as not to disturb the compass's alignment,
I eased myself off of the Chia Print Chair and turned off the Meepit Lamp. I
walked out the front door and to the side of the house, where I had a clear
view of where the compass was pointing. It was an expanse of gently rolling,
green hills with a few dirt paths crisscrossing them. I knew the area well-
past it were the kingdoms of Meridell and Brightvale. Suddenly, a cloud covered
the sun and a breeze rushed past me, making my antennae tingle with excitement.
I had a gut feeling something extraordinary was happening, but I wanted TK to
confirm it, so I went back inside.
"So the compass has been pointing southeast instead
of north ever since you finished reading the last story written in the book?"
TK asked through a mouthful of Cheese and Onion Crisps.
"Mm-hm," I said, laying the book on the table.
"What do you think we should do?"
TK wiped the cheesy crumbs on her shirt and gently
picked the book up. As soon as she touched it, the compass pointer started to
spin around crazily. She let out an alarmed squeak and set it on the table,
where it instantly began to slow and then stopped, pointing southeast once again.
"Looks like it doesn't want me to touch it," she said with a hint of resignation.
On a whim, I took the book and opened it to the
marked page. What I saw made my heart skip and my antennae twitch like crazy.
The two pages had been blank the last time I looked at them, but in the middle
of the left page was a small woodcut of a blue Grundo carrying a Metallic Sun
Staff with a Sludgy by his side, and on the right page, in large decorated script,
was the title "The Tale of Dark_breed_Hyren the Valiant." My mouth felt dry,
and all I could do was gasp for breath, looking like a Goldy out of water. At
the beginning of all of the stories in the book were an elaborate woodcut and
a title like that one.
"Whoa, sweet," TK said, looking at the pages.
"I'm guessing that wasn't there the last time." I nodded breathlessly. "I think
the book just wants you and Gai to go, then…" she trailed off sadly. I gave
her a look of sympathy, knowing that TK loves to go on adventures, but before
I could say anything, Blynn and Pharazon ran into the house.
"TK! They updated the news for today down at
Neopia Central!" Blynn yelled.
"Awesome!!" TK leapt from her chair and ran out
the door, bringing her bag of Cheese and Onion Crisps. "Hey Hyren, you can go
ahead and see where the compass leads to," were her parting words.
I sighed, a smile working its way up my mouth.
I sure have a weird owner. "C'mon Gai, let's go," I said to my Sludgy, who had
been napping under the table. He burbled sleepily, and then oozed toward the
door. I grabbed my Metallic Sun Staff in one hand, the book in the other. I
slung my Green Backpack over my shoulders and filled it with Fried Shrimp, Caramel
Creams, and a package of Asparagus and Leek Sandwiches before walking out the
door and into the fields beyond Neopia Central.
As it was still early morning, I figured we could
get pretty far before sundown, and I chose a path that seemed to lead closest
to due southwest. Gai and I walked for a long time over grassy hills and through
lush valleys where small streams flowed, sometimes passing travelers coming
to and from Meridell and Brightvale. The scattered clouds began to clump closer
together, and the air grew cooler. I caught a glimpse of rain far to the south.
Occasionally, we stopped for a rest, but the book seemed to be urging us onward.
The sun climbed higher in the sky and then began to travel toward the western
horizon. The book kept us going as southeast as the paths would permit us, and
we never seemed to stray too far from the direction of our destination. Still,
as I snacked on a sandwich, I wished I had magical Faerie wings like Pharazon's,
which could cover miles in no time at all.
I was lost in thought when I suddenly found myself
standing in front of a small wooden signpost. Looking around, I saw that it
was now late afternoon and the sun was nearing the western hills. Gai babbled
happily, admiring the trail of sludge he had left. Branching off from the main
path was a smaller road that didn't look very used. It was grown over with grass
and the wagon ruts were shallow and faded. Suddenly aware of how long I had
been walking and how much my legs ached, I looked up at the signpost. A large
arrow near the top of the post pointed down the main path, and "Meridell" was
carved into it, complete with flourishes. A smaller arrow pointed to the left,
down the smaller path. On it, in hastily carved, simple writing was the name
Something stirred in my heart as I read the word
to myself out loud. Looking down at my book, I noticed that the compass was
pointing left. I smiled, almost expecting it, and turned off of the main road.
To be continued...