The Battle of the Lucky Coin: Supplemental Text - Part Two
Then the most encouraging part of the exchange to this point
occurred: the Ruki let loose with a hearty laugh. Then he spoke for the first
time. "Now who said anything about harm?" he asked. "You are my saviours, and
my gratitude for that transcends words. Now let me make something clear to you
before we speak any further. I, in actuality, am no spirit. Certainly, the laws
of nature suggest that there should be little else left of me to greet you here
and now except for some disembodied aspect of the supernatural, but I assure you
all that I'm as every bit in the flesh as you are now. The irony of this is that
it took a kind of otherworldly event to keep me at the very age I was when I stumbled
onto this unfortunate predicament. I must apologize to you for that little scare
a moment ago, but after an unspeakable amount of time in hibernation-like sleep,
wouldn't you also feel the need to let out with a good yawn upon awakening?"
"A yawn?" Dr. Boolin squealed, springing up
instantly from the ground he would not lay on before he fainted. The Ruki laughed
again. "Yes, a yawn," he said.
Bren took in this episode with a smile of relief
and amusement. "My friend," he said to the Ruki, "you indeed talk of strange
events. I reckon you must have quite a tale to tell, and should you be willing,
my friends and I would be most thrilled to hear it. We are, after all, Ghoul
Catchers by trade. Mind you, there's been nothing ghoulish about you whatsoever
since you have awoken, except for the yawn."
Everyone laughed at this comment. "I don't blame
you folks one smidgen for your sense of awe at what you've learned from me thus
far. Why, I've yet to comprehend the whole experience myself. After all, it's
very hard to comprehend anything when you're asleep! So I will gladly tell my
story to you now as best as I can, for it will prove to be a learning experience
for me as well, as I attempt to piece it all together in my own mind.
"I suppose the most sensible way to begin is
by saying I am not a native of these woods. I came here by way of a nearby desert,
which is where I'd always lived. I spent a great deal of time there scouring
the land for grackle bugs (a treasured delicacy among my species) and drinking
water wherever it happened to be found. My leisure time was spent exploring
all the ancient shrines and monuments our storied land had to offer. I don't
know if you folks have ever been there. As far as I recall, there were no outside
visitors to speak of, but I digress from my story.
"I came about these woods on a day of restlessness
when there were no grackle bugs or water to be found within my everyday vicinity.
Feeling I had nothing to lose, I let myself be taken by a sense of wanderlust
into the forest I had found after travelling for some time. It was an entirely
new landscape for me, and my senses came to life at its discovery. Before I
knew it, I was walking through the forest.
"My journey went well enough at first. This
is actually a pretty place under the light of day, but the sun was sinking steadily
as I ventured further into it, and by the time nightfall had come, the air became
unspeakably cold and the tweets and songs of the daylight birds gave way to
cackling crows and the like. Occasionally, I'd catch a pair of eyes gazing out
at me from some dark pocket. I was growing scared, no doubt about that, but
I felt the need to press on, as my enthusiasm for the journey hadn't yet waned.
"Nonetheless I felt relieved to finally come
across a building in the midst of all these forest surroundings. It was a brick
tower, somewhat ominous in appearance but still more welcoming than all those
eyes looking out at me along the way. I knocked on the door, and was greeted
by an old lady with a look of both surprise and concern. "My child," she said
before I had the chance to introduce myself, "whatever are you doing in these
woods at such a late hour?" I gave a quick description of my travels up to that
point, and was instructed to wait at the door for a moment. When she came back,
I was presented with some berries, which I must say were most welcome after
being on the move for so long, and was told to stay off the paths until sunrise.
No doubt it was the best advice I could have gotten in light of all the followed
afterward, but two things prevented me from doing that: one was an unwillingness
to come in contact with one of these forest's hidden creatures, and the other
was that youthful wanderlust I told you folks about before. Energized by the
berries I received from the old lady whose name she said was Edna, I soldiered
"The next thing I was amazed to come across
was the tattered remains of what was definitely an old fairground. The rusty
remnants of old rides and games were strewn about the field in a plethora of
colors. Underneath the cold light of the moon it was, in its own weird way,
the prettiest sight I'd seen in the woods so far. However, any sense of beauty
I was beginning to derive from this place vanished with the voice I then heard:
a gruff, dictatorial voice that seemed to be directing some kind of military
drill. From a dark nearby path he then emerged and came into view. He was a
cloaked figure, wearing a hood and clearly a person of authority, as evidenced
by the procession that followed him. They were a grim group, let me tell you,
toiling along with large spears and battle-hungry looks. I was asking myself
what I had gotten myself into when the cloaked figure raised a hand, signalling
the group to stop. I froze, hoping with all my might that my presence was not
detected. But luck was not in the cards for me on this night.
"'I smell a spy!' bellowed the hooded figure.
'That scent does not originate from these woods. Dispatch the Chia Clowns!'
"Now I reckon I was not as alarmed to be discovered
as I was by the fact that clowns were coming to find me. Sure I was on the site
of an old fairground, but if you three were there with me, you would surely
agree that clowns did not fit into the intensity of this scene whatsoever. Perhaps
I spent a little too much time contemplating this predicament, for I saw two
tiny, garishly colored figures coming directly my way before it even occurred
to me that I should try to make a run for it. Then again, if that hooded fellow
could smell me while I was still some distance away, then I likely had little
chance of outrunning that regiment of his.
"As the clowns made their way toward me, I heard
a low whirring sound, and suddenly it dawned on me that these clowns were robots,
which I guess made a little more sense. In no time, they had seized me and practically
wheeled me back to their leader, for each clown had taken one of my arms and
lifted me a few inches off the ground. And the speed in which their little feet
travelled was far beyond the speed that could be accomplished by any Ruki I've
"'Now what have we here?' asked the hooded
figure as I stood trembling before him. 'I knew I recognized the desert scent.
But what in the name of Neopia brings a Ruki like you to these parts? This is
quite a way from home for you timid desert folk!'
"I was too overcome with fear to answer. Indeed
this mysterious fellow knew more about me desert home than anyone outside of
it should know, given our secrecy.
"'Well, no matter,' he continued. 'As you happen
to have stumbled upon a top secret operation, I now have to punish you. But,
as I'm now on the verge of a great conquest, I'm in a particularly good mood
tonight, and so you shall be given a slight glimmer of hope. I'm sure you are
mightily tired after your long journey here from the desert, so I will grant
you the opportunity to have a little nap. Then again, you'll need the help of
a very intelligent Neopian to wake you, so it may turn out to be a very long
"At this point, I struggled to break free of
the clowns' painful grip, but I may as well have been trying to bust through
a brick wall. The last thing I remember in my waking state was the hooded figure
hoisting his large glowing staff over my head and bellowing out words in a language
I didn't understand. Then my eyes grew heavy, all went silent, and all I saw
To be continued...