Searching for a Miracle
Raono, the blue Lupe doctor, leaned over his patient and
gently prodded her. The patient was a small striped Shoyru, and was obviously
seriously ill. She shook with every poke of the cold metal doctor's devices, and
her normally vibrant stripes were washed out and dull.
Raono stood up and adjusted his white coat.
"Raono, what's the verdict?" A pink Kougra stopped
pacing the room and rushed over to where the doctor stood. She was trembling
with anticipation of the doctor's diagnosis.
"Taellie, I'm not going to lie to you. It doesn't
look good." Raono's expression was grave.
"Well what does that mean? If it's a money issue
… I can go to the bank … I have lots of neopoints, I promise…" Taellie trailed
"It's not a money issue. I would cure Lorelle
for free if I could, you know that. She's a very sick Shoyru; I've never seen
such an extreme case of Neomonia. I don't think that she will survive much longer
than a month." Raono bit his lip.
"No, please, doctor--" Taellie burst into floods
of uncontrollable hiccupping sobs. "Please, there must be something you can
"Taellie, no … no there isn't." Raono wished
he had a miracle cure to help Lorelle. A miracle cure? A miracle cure…?
"Doctor, she's my best friend in the world as
well as my sister--" Taellie's fur was tangled with tears but she forced out
a last appeal.
"Well, there is one thing. A miracle cure you
might call it," Raono said slowly, knowing that his boss would fire him on the
spot if he knew he was letting out this information.
"Raono, I knew you wouldn't let Lorelle die.
What is it? What?" Taellie's paw grabbed Raono's coat.
"No! No, I can't tell you. I can't do it. I shouldn't
have said anything!" The distressed Lupe shook his head furiously, angry with
himself. How could he have given a client false hope? How could he have suggested
something so preposterous?
"Raono … I know there's something. I know it.
I saw your eyes light up when you thought of it. You want Lorelle to live as
much as I do. Tell me… please. We can deal with the consequences after," Taellie
begged. The Kougra knelt at her sister's head, stroking the shivering Shoyru.
Lorelle's wings were folded pathetically underneath her, but gave a faint flutter
of recognition as Taellie whispered encouraging words in her ear.
"Well…" Raono knew he had to tell Taellie. He
just hoped that nobody else would find out. "There's a legend … a myth … in
the very depths of Mystery Island, in a large and overgrown forest, lays a magical
Uni. She is pure white; whiter that newly fallen snow, whiter than spring's
first lilies, whiter than anything you could possibly imagine. Dazzling white!
This Uni has extreme power, pure concentrated good magic that has greater healing
qualities than the faerie that tends the Healing Springs. The story goes that
this Uni can cure any illness … any disease … with just one tear."
Taellie gasped. Could such a story be true? "I
have to go! I have to see this Uni. Anything to help Lorelle."
"Taellie, think about this! Please. This would
be the most dangerous journey anyone ever embarked upon. It's more treacherous
than climbing Terror Mountain! You would be mad to go upon it. You may not come
out alive." Raono reasoned with the Kougra.
"I would come out alive. I would. And I would
bring back a Uni tear to save Lorelle as well." Taellie's kind face spread into
a wide grin - the first she had smiled since her sister became ill. "I'm going
to do it."
"Lorelle, I will be back. I promise." Taellie
leaned over her sister, crying silently. "Just keep strong until I come back
Taellie's friend dragged her away.
"We must go now while it's early," the red Gelert
said. His name was Barrag and he was a world renowned sports extremist. He climbed
mountains, he jumped off them … you name it and Barrag's done it!
Taellie and Barrag set off, leaving sunny safe
Neopia Central far behind them and heading towards Mystery Island. The pink
Kougra had decided it best to only bring one friend to help her - it wouldn't
be fair to place any other loved ones in danger. Barrag was eager for the adventure;
he loved a challenge and had a soft spot for the lovely Lorelle. The pair heaved
heavy back packs through many types of terrain until they finally reached the
boat that would take them to their destination at midday.
"It's been tough so far and we haven't even arrived.
Prepare yourself, Taellie. We only have a few hours of rest until the boat reaches
Mystery Island. Once we get there we will set up camp and then start travelling
to the forest at first light," Barrag said, checking if he had remembered his
compass. Taellie nodded as she bit into a tigersquash sandwich. Her limbs ached
from such intense walking and her head felt woozy from the heat, but she was
raring to go. The sooner they reached the forest the sooner her sister would
be well again.
Taellie opened her eyes as sunlight filtered
through the gaps in the top of her tent. Morning had arrived and the atmosphere
was full of nervous expectation.
"Taellie? Are you ready?" Barrag called out.
The pink Kougra stretched her stiff legs and trotted out of the tent, her keen
nose following the scent of sizzling sausages. She sat down next to Barrag as
he tended the camp fire.
It wasn't long before the sausages had been devoured
and it was time to set off. It took about 2 hours to reach the edge of the forest.
Tall winding tree trunks with strong buttress roots towered above them, blocking
out even the brightest rays of sunlight. As the pair stepped into the cool shade
of the trees, they were engulfed in darkness. Taellie hadn't thought that the
forest would be so dense.
"Which way now, Barrag?" Taellie asked, flicking
the switch of her torch.
"North-west…" Barrag squinted at his compass.
"We're heading towards the very center of the forest."
Taellie fumbled for Barrag's hand, shining a
trembling beam of light at the path before them. It was obvious that the path
hadn't been used in a long while, for it was overgrown with all kinds of tropical
"Just be careful where you step. You don't want
to anger anything!" Barrag warned his companion.
It seemed to Taellie that they had been walking
for hours. Every tree looked the same, and even the bright exotic flowers that
would usually interest her were dull and repetitive. All that was on her mind
was the thought of finding the magical Uni and saving her sister. Lorelle -
oh how she hoped Lorelle was still hanging on.
"Watch out!" Barrag suddenly grabbed Taellie
and dragged her firmly behind one of the large leafy trees. Taellie directed
a puzzled look towards the red Gelert. He was shaking with fear and silently
pointed at a clearing just ahead of them where a large Kougra was pacing. He
was extremely large, at least 4 times bigger than Taellie, and had a wild ruggedness
about him. His brown fur was thick and wiry unlike Taellie's smooth silken coat,
and his teeth were protruding and yellow. A large patch of his long fur was
stuck upwards in sticky spikes, where an ominous thick substance had splattered.
"Barrag … what should we do? I've never seen
one of my own so large and menacing." Taellie whispered in a voice that was
barely audible. Barrag shrugged. He had come upon many a scary beast in his
travels, but none as immense as this. He thought for a long while, and eventually
signalled to Taellie that he had a plan.
Barrag noiselessly slipped from behind the tree
as he motioned for his friend to stay put. Searching in the undergrowth he soon
returned with a couple of large rocks. The Gelert pulled his slingshot out of
his backpack and fastened the rock to it.
"If these shots don't work, the Kougra will pursue
us," Barrag told Taellie. "If he does, run … don't wait for me. We must promise
that if something happens to one of us the other will carry on … for Lorelle's
Tears welled up in Taellie's eyes. She didn't
know if she would have enough strength without Barrag. But … "For Lorelle's
sake," she promised.
Barrag pulled back the elastic on his slingshot
with a quivering paw. Please, Taellie silently prayed, please let
Barrag shoot the Kougra successfully.
Barrag let out the shot, and the rock flew into
the air … and landed a few feet off its intended target. The Kougra spun around,
looking for the source of the attack. He opened his mouth and let out a ferocious
growl. Barrag wasted no time shooting again. Please, please, for Lorelle,
Taellie prayed. The rock flew into the air … heading towards the bemused Kougra
… circling in what seemed slow motion … and … bang! … it landed on the Kougra's
"Yes!" Barrag celebrated as the enemy stumbled
among the prickly plants and finally landed with a thump on the dusty ground.
Barrag took Taellie's hand and led her around
the large animal. They walked quickly, so as to get as far away from the Kougra
as possible before it woke up.
The further they got into the forest, the harder
it was to tell what time of the day it was. The foliage was so dense it blocked
out every ounce of sunlight. Thankfully, Taellie had brought her watch. At about
nine o' clock they decided it was time to sleep for the night. Barrag set up
their tents in the shelter of some thick branches.
"We don't know what dangers are about," he said,
"so one of us will always have to be on guard. I shall go first."
So while Taellie slept deeply, dreaming of two-headed
wild Kougras and magical Unis, Barrag wrapped himself in his warmest furs and
kept lookout. Once his allocated time had ran out, he unzipped the tent to wake
his exploring partner. But seeing Taellie so peaceful and knowing how exhausted
she was, he couldn't bear to disturb her slumber. Instead, Barrag decided he
would stay on guard the whole night. Besides, he wasn't feeling in the slightest
bit tired! The night-watch ran without a hitch, and soon it was morning. Taellie
stirred and crept out of the tent sleepy-eyed.
"Barrag! Why didn't you wake me?" she asked in
a thick voice.
"I wasn't tired … why should I wake you when
I wouldn't have been able to sleep myself?" Barrag answered.
"You will be knackered today. I feel awful, Barrag!"
"Don't. It was my choice. Come on, hurry up -
breakfast is ready and I've got a steaming cup of borovan here with your name
on it!" Barrag smiled and tried to redeem the cheery atmosphere. Taellie gave
in and warmed her hands on the mug.
"How many days more travelling?" Taellie asked
"I don't know, I really don't. I've never been
here before … no explorers have. It's too dangerous. I would guess - about five
days?" Barrag shrugged his backpack on and stamped out the smouldering fire.
The deeper into the forest the pair got, the
more fascinating things they saw. Flowers they were sure hadn't been discovered
before - amazing petpets that definitely weren't for sale in Neopia Central
- and tasty fruits that satisfied their appetites. Taellie even began to doubt
the numerous danger warnings she had been given. Since the Kougra incident they
hadn't encountered anything else to put their lives in jeopardy.
"Come and see what I've found!" Taellie called
to Barrag, kneeling over a patch of acid-green fruits.
"Ooooh, very nice," Barrag commented.
"Shall we try some?" Taellie eagerly plucked
one of the oval fruits from their stems.
"I don't know - what if they're poisonous?" Barrag
"Oh, don't be silly. We've tried lots of fruits
already and none of them have been harmful."
"I know, but that's because I recognised them
as being similar to fruits we have on sale in Mystery Island shops. And I could
tell by footprints and disturbances that other Neopets had been feasting on
them. These fruits look untouched." Barrag was right - the area around the acid
fruits was in pristine condition.
Taellie rolled her eyes and sighed. "I'm hungry,
I'm eating one!" she declared recklessly, taking an enormous bite out of the
fruit. "It's lovely, Barrag - try one. Yummy. And look - I'm fine … it wasn't
poisonous." Barrag sighed and shook his head. He was ravenous, and the fruit
looked delicious, but it was just too risky. If there was one thing that he
had learned from being an extremist, it was to trust his instincts. And his
instincts didn't agree with his rumbling stomach.
It was hours later, and Barrag was foraging through
some particularly stubborn branches when Taellie started to feel off-colour.
"B-B-Barrag, I f-feel cold-d-d!" She trembled
one minute and - "Barrag, is it just me or is it hot?" she asked feverishly
"Taellie, I think you're sick!" was Barrag's
analysis. "It must have been those berries. Oh dear me!"
"I'm s-s-s-sorry," (Taellie was feeling cold
again) "f-for not tr-trusting you ab-b-bout the f-fruit."
"No apology needed." Barrag laid his friend down.
"I don't think it's going to be serious. You just need to sweat it out and drink
lots of fluids. You will be fine. Some of these exotic flowers have healing
properties … nothing good enough to save Lorelle but they will do for a mild
poison like yours. Only thing is, it will set us back a couple of days." Taellie
wept in a delirious state. She couldn't believe her foolish actions had put
her sister's life in danger. What if they didn't get back in time and it was
It was three full days until Taellie was ready
to travel again. It had taken intense nurturing from Barrag to pull her through
- his knowledge of the local exotic healers saved the Kougra's life. Taellie
was eternally grateful and also more paranoid - she was scared to do anything
without her friend's approval.
"Taellie, we are nearing the heart of the forest!"
Barrag told Taellie in a state of excitement later that day. The foliage had
become so impenetrable that he was certain of his prediction. They might even
reach it by the next day!
"We're also nearing the most dangerous creatures…"
Taellie's eyes shone with fear as she showed Barrag the immense Cobrall that
was wandering around the forest floor. It was much bigger than a usual petpet
(she couldn't help comparing it with her friend Wilma's pathetic 20cm long Cobrall
that she bought from the local petpet shop) at a staggering 2 foot long. Its
skin was bright sickening yellow with zingy orange stripes. The Cobrall's fangs
were large, soaked with a poison much more dangerous than that of the acid-green
fruits, and its sinewy shape looked like it could crush Taellie in a single
"It's like the Kougra all over again!" Barrag
looked shocked, "I never knew Neopets were bred this large … imagine trying
to sell that Cobrall in a shop. You would need about 4 cages."
Taellie felt a fit of frightened giggles coming
upon her; "Ssshh - no time for jokes. What do we do?"
Luckily their problem was solved as the Cobrall
sensed a flicker of movement in the tree above him and slyly slithered up the
"Keep your eyes open," Barrag said. "This place
must be littered with creatures like that. A plethora of Kougra-crushing Cobralls."
The explorers soon decided they couldn't carry
on any more. They were much too exhausted. There limbs throbbed and twinged
from all the ploughing through intense plants. They were nearly at their destination
but desperately needed a rest first.
However much she wanted to sleep, Taellie found
that shutting her eyes was impossible. All she could think about was the possibility
that the next day they might find the magical Uni. How amazing would that be?
They could save Lorelle! The anticipation plagued her until the early hours
until she finally slipped into a disturbed snooze.
Morning came soon enough. The sky rose high in
the sky, and although none of it penetrated through the thick shrubbery of the
forest, Taellie sensed that daybreak had arrived and struggled awake. Barrag
was raring to go, shovelling breakfast down his friend's throat and hurriedly
stuffing their belongings into their backpacks.
"Taellie, quick … quick … hurry, Taellie!" Barrag
muttered constantly. He was about to go where no explorer had ever gone before!
And so they set off, travelling for 2 hours until
they reached the place that Barrag believed to be the very center of the forest.
"If my calculations are correct, the magical
Uni's lair should be behind these very trees."
Taellie smiled, hope radiating from her. She
checked that she had all of her glass phials safely stowed away in her pockets.
She prayed that it wouldn't be too hard to get a tear for Lorelle. Barrag's
tense paw stretched forwards to the leafy canopy separating them from the heart
of the forest. Taellie started to breathe deeply - this is what we've been
waiting for, she thought - and the tension rose until it was tickling the
back of her throat.
"Do it," she whispered to her friend; this was
a much too majestic occasion for raised voices! Barrag closed his eyes … and
whipped back the leaves.
The pair tip-toed into a gorgeous clearing. Taellie
and Barrag couldn't believe their eyes. All around them blossomed beautiful
flowers, ones much more exotic than the others in the forest that had previously
amazed them. The trees here were taller and grander than all of the other trees
in the forest put together: they had rich chocolate brown trunks and wide emerald
green leaves. A faint trickling noise found its way into their ears - Taellie's
eyes searched until she spotted the source of the ethereal sound; it was a tranquil
stream weaving its way in between the many flourishing plants. Taking all this
in was too much for Taellie; she had to lean on her friend for support, eyes
open wide the whole time. Barrag too was awe-struck by such exquisite surroundings.
He had always imagined visiting such a place but never thought he would have
the chance. It was more astonishing than it had been in his dreams; every leaf
and flower was literally dripping with magic … the air was filled with enchantment.
"Barrag…" Taellie finally breathed after several
minutes, "Where is the Uni?"
Barrag frowned (an expression that seemed like
it should be illegal in such a dazzling place) and was saddened to find that
it was nowhere around.
"I don't know, Tael-" The words were half way
out of his mouth when he sighted it, half concealed by a magnificent purple-flowered
bush. Taellie followed his eyes and saw it too … a divine feminine Uni lying
on her side only a few feet away from where the weary pink Kougra stood.
The Uni was draped elegantly on the forest floor,
a pure-white shimmering sensation. Her hooves were a sparkling gold, as was
the enormous horn protruding from in between her delicate ears. Her mane and
tail were creamy-white, flecked with silver. When she tossed her fine head the
creamy hair was tinged with a shimmering pink. The most mesmerizing things about
the Uni were her glittering eyes … a gorgeous shade of the palest blue, and
glistening with magic. The Uni seemed to note her visitors for the first time,
and she rose effortlessly to her hooves. She was bigger (like most things in
this forest) than the Unis Barrag and Taellie were used to.
The Uni walked over to the pair with a graceful
movement that oozed with natural rhythm. She raised her head and then lowered
it again, silently acknowledging that she had company. Taellie lurched into
an awkward curtsy and Barrag bowed stiffly. Taellie wished that words would
come to her - but what does one say to a creature so powerful? To a Neopet so
mighty, so full of good? To something so beautiful and with such a deep concentrate
of magic running through her veins? In the end it was Barrag who forced out
the first words.
"Charmed one, g-great one, p-please … we need
The Uni tilted her head in a questioning sort
of way. Barrag took this unspoken gesture as a request to carry on … but it
wasn't his plea. It was Taellie's story, Taellie's sister - Taellie who must
do the talking.
And so she did. The Kougra began at the sensible
place: the beginning. She told this mysterious Uni of her sister's serious case
of Neomonia, and her perilous journey with Barrag to the heart of this spiritual
Mystery Island forest. The tale took a long time and a lot of tissues. Telling
the painful story of Lorelle was a heart-wrenching time for Taellie. She just
hoped it was enough.
The Uni closed her scintillating eyes gently
once the narrative was over. Taellie could tell she didn't help just anyone
- no matter how far they had travelled. The pink Kougra was wiser now; she knew
that however desperate someone was the Uni wouldn't help unless she was meant
to. Maybe it was that Neopet's time to go … maybe that Neopet's destiny was
up … but not Lorelle's. Not sweet kind intelligent Lorelle. Taellie was sure
And the Uni was sure of it too. Taellie lifted
one of the glass phials to the Uni's glossy face and watched as a single crystal
tear fell from her eye and landed with a soft tinkle in the phial.
Lorelle was going to be all right.