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Never Wish to Fly: Part Four


by puppy200010

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The address led Glia through a twisting and rocky path in the dark woods. The path seemed to stretch on forever, and she was just about to turn around to go back, when the house came into view. If you could call it a house. It was massive, and almost looked like a castle from the distance, except that it was made of wood (black wood!), not stone.

      Even though Glia had decided not to turn back upon the sight of the house, she was now having second thoughts, seeing it up close. The wood was pitch black, almost blending in with the many surrounding trees, smelling somewhat rotten, and splintering at the mere touch. The shutters were made of the same black wood, falling apart and missing many slats. A few of the windows were uncovered, though most of them were boarded up (with black wood. What a shock.). Dirt and dust completely caked the remaining windows. Trampled and dead flowers and bushes were all that remained of the small garden. The whole place seemed abandoned; it gave Glia the creeps.

      Mustering up almost all of her courage, she walked up the barren path to the house. She couldn't help but feel like something was watching her through the trees. Through some of the sad remains of the garden's bushes, she could swear she saw some eyes. It seemed to take hours to reach the door to the eerie house, but she knew it couldn't have been nearly that long. Now standing on the stoop of the house, she was very tempted to turn around and fly straight home. Strangely enough, as much as she would love to do that, her legs refused to obey. Sighing, Glia looked around for a doorbell. There didn't seem to be one, but there was a large bronze doorknocker. Just as she was about to go ahead and knock, she heard a twig crack, as if stepped on, somewhere behind her. Instinctively, she wheeled around. But no one was there! Concluding that it was just a stray petpet, she raised her paw to the ominous knocker. One barely audible rap on the door. Glia made a second rap on the door, this time louder. She stood there, waiting for something to happen. Nothing. She made a third and final knock on the door. This time, the force of the knock made the door creak open an inch. Deciding not to think about what would happen if she was caught breaking and entering, she pushed herself into the house.

      The front room was almost exactly as she had expected. There was dark, gloomy wallpaper and the floors seemed to be made out of the same dark wood that covered the house's exterior. As Glia stood gaping at the room, which had many doors and hallways adjacent to it, a hunch-backed... creature... came into the room. She wasn't sure exactly what it was, but it looked like a cross between a werelupe and a faellie.

      The creature's right eye twitched as he addressed her. "Maaaster haaas been excepting yoou!" he warbled in an insane way, sounding like he had gone mad. She wouldn't be surprised if he had! "Coommmmee!" His path led her through one of the hallways connected to the front room. The hallway was barely lit, except for the single candle held by the... the thing in front of her, and she had to squint just to see where she was going. As they traveled down the low-ceilinged hallway, they passed many closed doors, and Glia couldn't help but wonder what went on behind them. She could just imagine the howls and screams of tortured neopets. But would this visit end up adding her screams to those she imagined? She hoped not.

      Finally the two stopped at the end of the hallway in front of a big oak (and not black) door. "Maasterr will seee yoou nooww!! Ennnterrrr!" The creature turned his back and started back down the hallway, leaving more footprints in the deep layer of dust on the floor. Glia sucked in her breath and turned the knob. Expecting cobwebs to hang in the doorway, she frantically attempted to knock them down. And her plan would have worked, had there actually been any cobwebs to knock down!

      An elderly Ixi with a long gray beard gave her a quizzical look as she entered. Glia blushed. "Just, err, practicing some dance moves," she mumbled. The Ixi gave a warm and hearty laugh, and for the first time, Glia realized that the room was NOT what she had expected. Gone were the dust covered floors, along with the dreary wallpaper. In fact, the atmosphere of the room was quite inviting! Just like any other home she'd ever been in!

      The Ixi watched her staring around the room in shock, and commented, "Yes, it's quite nice, isn't it? I just inherited this old house, but have only gotten around to redecorating this room. I must get some decorators in here soon, though, the rest of the house looks almost like it's been abandoned!"

      Glia was much more comfortable now. "If you don't mind my asking, what's with your... umm... butler?"

      "Heh, my butler! Yes, I suppose that is what he functions as! I haven't quite discovered what it is about him, but there is something odd about him, isn't there?" Like, you mean, other than his appearance and the fact that he calls you master? thought Glia. "He is a bit creepy, but don't worry, it wasn't I who hired him." The Ixi walked to a large brick fireplace where a fire was softly crackling. "He came with the house, and I haven't the heart to kick him out. He probably has no where else to go! Besides, he has his own wing of the house, where he customarily stays, so he's out of my way most of the time. So," he said, finally getting to the point, "There is information you seek?"

      "Ah, yes..."

      "Anything specific? Oh, and would you like a cup of tea?"

      "Yes, please!" She watched him pull a black pot, most likely containing boiling water, from the fireplace.

      "I must make my tea this way...This house is so old that it's never been wired for electricity, nor for plumbing. It's going to take a fortune to get those utilities put here..." He trailed off, turning his back and placing tea bags into the two mugs of steaming hot water. "Lemon or sugar?"

      "Both, please." He handed her a mug of the hot tea, taking a brief sip of his own. She took the mug and took a long gulp. Mmmm....

      "So, as I asked earlier...What would you like to know?"

      "Well, I'd like to know if you've... you've... heard about..." Glia stumbled. Why was the room getting darker by the second? And why was it spinning? What was happ-

     -

      The Grundo blankly stared forward, transfixed. Just seconds after the pet had found them hiding there, the robot had shot a defensive (and probably hypnotic) beam straight into the Grundo's eyes. Well, now that he was hypnotized, now what? And how long until he would wake up out of his "sleep", on a frantic search for the Kougra and robot he had seen hiding in one of the space station's storage rooms? And now, after hearing the robot's tale about the fate of Neopia, she was lost. Where to begin? She had not the slightest clue! But whatever she had to do, she had better do it quickly! The planet, without knowing it, was counting on her!

      "Well, robot, you said that these Grundos might know the whereabouts of these map pieces. So, how do we get information out of this one?"

      "Just-go-a-head-and-ask." Pangra almost felt silly asking something that looked so lifeless questions. If she hadn't been standing these when it happened, she would be half-convinced that this Grundo was a life-size statue!

      "So, err, Mr. Grundo..." Then she remembered that he was hypnotized and became more assertive. "Where are the space map pieces?" she snapped with a new form of boldness in her voice.

      "They... are....they are...separated."

      "But where ARE they?"

      "Mystery Island, and..." The Grundo stopped for a second, and Pangra thought she saw the hypnotized gaze in his eyes flicker for a second. He stuttered a few more times, and then appeared to wake from his trance, alarmed and having no idea where he was. "What?! Where'd my dinner go? I was just eating it a second ago!" He continued to spurt off comments about his missing "Beef Rouladen", and then left, not noticing Pangra or the robot, to find the one who had dared to steal his food.

      "That was close," said Panrga, breathing a sigh of relief.

      "He-knows. It-will-be-no-time-at-all-be-fore-Sloth-is-af-ter-us. We-must-work-fast-and-un-der-cov-er."

      "What?!" This was unbelievable! It seemed like nothing more could happen to make this mission harder!

      Becoming ruthless, Pangra ran out of the door. Sprinting down the endless steel hallway, she frantically searched for any rooms to investigate that could contain this moon-machine. As she ran, she thought she could hear another set of footsteps behind her, but she was sure she was just imagining it. Besides, the hallway was quite large; it had to be an echo or something.

      Her uncertainty made her turn around. Suddenly, her fear of being discovered was confirmed. Five large, strong, green Grundos were behind her, and quickly gaining distance!

      "GRUNDO MASTER MUST FETCH NEOPETS FOR MASTER!!" Pangra wheeled around to start running again, but she ended up turning around smack into another wall of Grundo soldiers! Not only was she terrified, but now she was trapped!

To be continued...

 
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Other Episodes


» Never Wish to Fly: Part One
» Never Wish to Fly: Part Two
» Never Wish to Fly: Part Three



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