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Meeting Her Maker


by tinybaby_orange1

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A shadowed figure stood in a cold, dark room. The creature's face was not visible, but its hands were moving quickly in the light of the full moon that streamed in through a small window. Outside the window were tall, leafless trees. In front of the creature was a long table. On the table lay another, smaller being. The shadowed figure was flipping pages of an enormous book, stopping every now and then to read something. Incantations floated from her mouth to the ears of the being on the table. The small thing moved as moonlight suddenly streamed over its face. It was a small Kacheek. It moved again, and the creature in the shadows laughed, a high, cackling laugh that chilled the Kacheek to the bone. It was an evil laugh.

      Kace sat up in bed, breathing heavily. It was just another nightmare. She turned to look out her bedroom window. In the night, a Whoot called out. Kace shivered. The night was the only time she didn't feel safe. During the day, when the sun shone and she was surrounded by friends, Kace could almost forget her terrifying nightmares and mixed up memories. At night, however, those memories were never too far away.

     Kace let herself fall back into bed, and rubbed one of the many scars on her neck. Being a Halloween Kacheek, Kace had quite a few scars and more than a few stitches, but she didn't mind. Looking the way she did didn't bother Kace; it was not knowing how she ended up that way. One of her only good memories from before she had been adopted was playing in a garden, a happy blue Kacheek. She didn't know where the garden was, or who she had been living with then. That memory ate away at her almost constantly. Kace wanted more than anything to know where she came from, and she would do anything to find out.

     The next morning, Kace awoke happily. She hadn't had any more nightmares that night, and she had finally come to a decision she had been thinking about for a very long time. She got out of bed and walked over to the crib on the other side of the room. Her baby brother, Swinger, was sitting contently in his crib.

     "Hey there, Swingy. How did you sleep, little guy?" Kace lifted the little Mynci into her arms and carried him into the kitchen. Her other siblings, Yoko and Santie, were already at the kitchen table.

     Yoko, the oldest and a Korbat, looked up as she walked in. "Hey guys, how'd you both sleep?" He gave Kace a questioning look; he was the only one who knew about her nightmares.

     "I slept alright. And this little guy was quiet all night!" She put Swinger in his high chair and said to Yoko, "Can I talk to you for a second? In my room?" Yoko nodded, and they left the kitchen.

     When they got into Kace's room, Yoko asked, "Are you OK? I heard you talking in your sleep again."

     "I'm alright. I just had a nightmare." She paused, and looked down at the floor, "Uh, Yoko? I need to talk to you about something."

     "Of course, shoot," Yoko said with a smile.

     "Well, uh, you know about my nightmares, and how I've always wanted to find out where I'm from." She paused again, and Yoko motioned for her to keep going. "Well, I think… I think I'm going to go look for my home… my first home. This is my home now, and always will be, but I need to know where I came from. Please don't be angry."

     There was a long silence, and Yoko just looked at Kace. After a while he said, "Go for it, kiddo. You need this. If finding your origins is that important to you, I'll support you all the way! But, how will you know where to begin?"

     "I'll know," said Kace. Yoko nodded, and hugged his sister for a very long time. When he let go, he turned to leave the room, but Kace stopped him. "Thank you, Yoko," was all she said. Yoko smiled, and left her alone. Kace sat on her bed. That had gone better than expected. Now, before she could leave, she had to pack. She grabbed a blanket, some food, and an old potion that her owner had given her. She wasn't sure what it did, but she thought it might come in handy. Now to find a map…

     An hour later, Kace was standing in the middle of Neopia Central holding a map. She was trying to plan out where to start her journey, but had no idea where to go. She sighed and put the map in her pocket. All around her was the bustle of the city. Unis rode by with their owners, shop owners haggled with customers, Pteris filled the skies. Kace needed some kind of sign, some sort of clue, but nothing was coming to her. She rested her head in her paws, and looked up as she heard someone yell, "LOOK OUT!"

     Just as she looked up, something hit her hard, and she fell onto the street. Groaning, Kace stood back up to see who had run into her. Lying on the street close by was a dazed Cybunny wearing large glasses and a bow tie. The Cybunny was rubbing it head, and when it saw Kace, it stood up quickly, "Oh my, oh my, I'm so very sorry! So very, very sorry! Oh my, look at this mess, oh my stars, oh my stars!" The Cybunny was running in circles, picking up things that had spilled from Kace's sack and hastily trying to get them all back into the bag. Kace reached out and grabbed the Cybunny's shoulder, which stopped it suddenly.

     "I'm alright! Really! Just calm down!" Kace said, smiling. The Cybunny rubbed its head, "Ah, yes, I suppose everything is alright. I just feel so foolish, running right into you like that." He paused. "But we haven't even introduced ourselves! My stars, I am forgetting my manners. I am Pensworth Kibblebunny the Third, but you may call me Pensworth. And you are?"

     "Er, I'm Kace," Kace answered, feeling rather intimidated by his long, impressive name, "and I was wondering, uh, where were you going in such a hurry?"

     "Ah yes," said Pensworth, adjusting his glasses. "Of course, of course, I was off to catch my carriage. You see, I am a scientist, and I am off to the Haunted Wood to continue my research. Where are you headed?"

     'The Haunted Woods?' thought Kace. Images from her nightmare flashed before Kace's eyes. A tall, dead tree. The full moon in the foggy night. The Haunted Woods seemed the perfect place to start her search.

     "Er, do you think I could come along with you? To the Haunted Woods, that is. I wouldn't know how to get there on my own," said Kace.

     Pensworth smiled. "Why, of course! That would be lovely! It's always good to have company in the Haunted Woods, if you know what I mean." He chuckled quietly and turned. "This way now, we mustn't miss the carriage!" They ran through the streets, all the way to the edge of Neopia Central. By the time they reached it, Kace was out of breath and tired. All around were Unis and carriages. Pensworth approached a brown Uni and asked, "Are you headed to the Haunted Woods?"

     "For a few neopoints I am." The Uni smiled and Pensworth paid him before hopping onto the carriage. Kace was excited; she had never been on a Uni-drawn carriage before.

     They climbed into the small carriage and sat down. It was a closed carriage, and Kace felt like she was in a tiny moving room. Kace gazed out the window at the passing scenery. At first they passed houses and buildings, but after a while they were in the heart of the country, with nothing but land and trees. Beside her, Pensworth was busily writing in a journal, stopping every so often to stare into space and mumble to himself. Kace smiled and turned away. The passing trees were making her dizzy, so Kace closed her eyes. She slept, but this time no nightmares haunted her, at least for the time being.

     When she opened them again, the Uni was moving fast, and they were no longer speeding through beautiful countryside.

     "Where are we?" Kace asked. Out her window was a wasteland. The ground was grey and dead, and leafless trees (like the one in her dream) were scattered across the land. The sky was dark, and Kace could see the full moon hiding behind a few black clouds.

     "We are almost there! Almost there indeed. See those trees? And the grass? All these dead things can only mean we are nearing the Haunted Woods!" said Pensworth excitedly. He was retying his bow tie over and over again, "Do you have all your things? We should be stopping soon."

     Kace gathered up her things into her bag and made sure it was closed tight. She was excited to be almost at the Haunted Woods, but she was nervous too. She had no idea where she would go from here, or what she should do to find what she was looking for. She would just have to see what happened as she went along.

     Sure enough, the Uni slowed their carriage to a stop and said, "Everybody out, and hurry. This place gives me the creeps." Kace and Pensworth hoped off the carriage and thanked the Uni. As soon as Kace was out she noticed the cold. The air was cooler here, and it was damp. She shivered, wishing she had brought a sweater. Beside her, Pensworth was wrapping a long scarf around his neck.

     "My stars, it is chilly here, isn't it? Good thing I brought my scarf!" he was saying. Under his arm was a pile of scrolls and papers.

     "Er, what do we do now?" Kace asked. "I mean, I guess you're pretty busy, so…I'll see you…"

     Pensworth laughed, "Oh my, you silly girl! I was under the impression that you were looking for a travel partner. If you don't mind, I'd like to stick together. That is, if we're heading in the same direction. Where are you headed? You never did tell me."

     Kace laughed nervously. Her journey sounded silly compared to important scientific research. "Well, that's because I don't exactly know where I'm going… it's… it's a long story. Maybe I could just tag along with you, help you out. Would that be alright?"

     "Oh my! Of course you can 'tag along'! I would love a helping hand. Now, that is, if you are brave enough. I'm going deep into the wood, and my mission is on the dangerous side. Are you still willing to come?"

     Kace shrugged. "I guess so. Where are you going?"

     Pensworth moved in closer and whispered so Kace could barely hear him, but what she heard made her jaw drop open, "Edna's Tower."

     Edna's Tower was strictly off-limits to all outsiders. The rumours were that Edna herself had surrounded the tower with hexes and curses to keep away intruders. If you did manage to get close to the tower, bad things happened if you didn't do things for Edna. Many travellers who stumbled across Edna's Tower were never seen again. However, Kace had also heard a rumour that Edna was very wise and powerful. Perhaps this witch could help Kace on her journey to find her past.

     "I'm brave enough," Kace said. "Let's go!"

     "We've been walking for hours! Can't we take a break?" Kace asked, exhausted. Kace and Pensworth had in fact been walking for hours, and Kace's feet were killing her.

     Pensworth stopped and put down his things. "I suppose you're right. It has been a long day." They sat down on the cold ground. All around them were grey, dead trees, and a fog had started to creep across the land. As they had been finding out, the Haunted Woods only got spookier as you went deeper into it. By now, both Kace and Pensworth were cold, tired, and hungry and more than a little freaked out, and the approached fog wasn't helping.

     "According to my map," Pensworth said, "we are only about half an hour away from Edna's Tower; however, we'll have to pass through the Game Graveyard to reach it. That will be the hardest part of our journey."

     "The Game Graveyard?" Kace asked, "What's that?"

     "The Game Graveyard is where dead games are sent. It is filled with ghostly neopets and the spirits of the games. All of them want revenge because they were shut down, so they can be very dangerous. We will have to be very careful."

     They unpacked some sandwiches and ate, and then Pensworth said, "Perhaps we should get some rest; I'm just worried about sleeping out in the open."

     Kace nodded. "I know. I'm really tired, but it might not be safe to sleep here." They both looked around, as far as they could see in any direction was just trees.

     "I believe we'll have to risk it," stammered Pensworth. He pulled a blanket from his small bag and huddled under it, "Good night then."

     "Good night," said Kace. She too pulled a blanket from her bag and covered herself. Soon she was sleeping, and dreaming.

     A dark tower loomed high in the pouring rain. Lightening flashed and thunder boomed, and Kace stepped into the towers entrance hall. It was quiet, except for the pounding of the rain. The dark figure entered the room. "Hello, Kace, I have been waiting for you," said the figure. It was hidden in the shadows.

     "Who are you?" Kace yelled. "Show yourself!" The figure reached out and touched Kace's arm.

     Kace awoke suddenly. She had been having a nightmare again. She was breathing heavily, and wished she could just go home. Then she saw Pensworth snoring nearby and saw the dead leaf that had blown up against her arm. She couldn't leave Pensworth. Kace threw off her blanket and put it back in her bag; she needed to take a walk. She paced around for a while, and then set off through the trees. After a few minutes of walking, Kace reached a tall stone wall. She followed it until she found an old iron gate. Hanging beside the gate was a small sign that read, "Game Graveyard. Beware." She shivered, and looked through the gate into the graveyard. It was still and silent.

     'Hm,' Kace thought, 'All the ghosts must be sleeping.' Then an idea popped into her head. If all the ghosts were sleeping, she and Pensworth would be able to sneak through the graveyard! She rushed back to Pensworth and shook him awake, "Pensworth! Pensworth! Wake up!" Kace whispered.

     Pensworth groaned but opened his eyes, "Yes, I'm awake, what seems to be the problem?" Kace told him her plan, and Pensworth was wide awake. "A brilliant idea, my girl! Why didn't I think of that? Alright, let's get moving!"

     When they reached the graveyard, Pensworth slowly opened the gate. It creaked slightly, and they both waited to see if anyone had heard the gate. Nothing moved. Slowly, cautiously, they walked into the deserted graveyard. The walked as quietly as they could, avoiding twigs and leaves, and not touching any gravestones. As they passed each stone, Kace read the inscription to herself. After a while she whispered, 'Techo Says, Meerca Chase, I wonder why all these games were sent to the graveyard?" There was a noise then, like the earth splitting, but only for a few seconds. Pensworth and Kace froze. They glanced around nervously, looking for what could have made the sound.

     "What was that?" Kace whispered, a little louder.

     "Shush," said Pensworth, "Just wait." They waited, afraid to move. A few minutes later Pensworth said, "Alright, let's go. And hurry!" They started moving through the graveyard again, faster this time. Then, out of nowhere, the noise came again, and Kace screamed. Up from the ground something was coming. There was groaning and a paw pushed through the dirt. It was grey, and almost glowing. Kace and Pensworth huddled together; they were terrified. Then, with a final rumble, dirt flew into the air, and out from the cold ground emerged a neopet unlike anything they had ever seen. It was grey, and glowing, and it had a vacant look in its eyes. It was a ghost neopet and it didn't look happy to see them.

     For a minute, no one moved, and then Pensworth yelled, "RUN!" Kace and Pensworth but took off as fast as they could towards the graveyard's exit. Behind them, the ghost neopet let out a loud shriek and began chasing after them. Other ghost neopets were appearing now too and soon there were hundreds of them, all chasing the frightened Pensworth and Kace. Kace ran like she had never run before, tripping over tree roots and dodging tombstones. After a few minutes, she saw the exit gates. She pushed herself to go faster and said, "Hurry, Pensworth, we're almost there!" But the reply she got was, "HELP!" She stopped short, almost tripping, and turned to look for Pensworth. Kace gasped. Pensworth was lying on the ground, frantically tugging at his leg, which was stuck under a large tree root. His bag had spilled all over the ground. Not far behind him was the swarm of ghosts, getting closer by the second. Kace didn't know what to do. The gate was steps away, but she couldn't just abandon Pensworth. She took a deep breath and ran back to her friend.

     "Come on!" she yelled. "PULL!" Together, Kace and Pensworth tugged on Pensworth's leg. Kace dug the earth out from under it and Pensworth broke up the root as best he could. Finally, with moments to spare before the ghosts were upon them, Pensworth's leg came free, and the two friends ran for the gates, not stopping to grab Pensworth's bag. Kace yanked them open and with a satisfying 'BANG!' the gates shut tight behind them. Gasping for breath, Kace and Pensworth didn't wait around to see if the ghosts could follow them out of the graveyard. They looked ahead, and not far in the distance was the black silhouette of a tower.

     Just under an hour later, the dark tower that had been so far in the distance was only minutes away. Kace and Pensworth stopped to rest near a large tree. They were tired, hungry, and more than a little frightened.

     "Now, this is the difficult part," Pensworth began.

     "The difficult part? THIS is the difficult part? All we have to do is knock on the door!" Kace said.

     "No, no, my girl! There are spells surrounding this house! We can't just walk up to the door. We'll need my…" He reached towards his bag, before realizing they had left it in the graveyard. "Oh no! Without my scrolls and potions, we have no hope of getting past these curses!" Feeling defeated, Pensworth sat down heavily on the ground, his head in his paws.

     Anxiously, Kace said, "There has to be some other way."

     "No, there's not," moaned Pensworth, "Without my Starlight Potion, there is absolutely no way past these barrier spells on the tower."

     The image of her potion gift from Yoko flashed into Kace's mind. She opened her bag and dug through it hastily. Finally, she pulled out the old potion. "Did your Starlight Potion look anything like this?" Pensworth looked up miserably, but his expression changed to pure joy when he saw what Kace was holding. He lunged towards her and grabbed the potion. "Yes! Yes! This is it! The Starlight Potion! This is amazing! Where did you get it?"

     "Er, my older brother gave it to me years ago. I never knew what it was for, so I just kept it. When I left on my trip, I thought it might come in handy." She smiled. "I guess I was right."

     "Yes! Right indeed! My girl, we will get to that tower yet!" Pensworth, still smiling, uncorked the potion bottle, and said, "Now, if we're in luck, I'll remember the incantation. A little space, if you don't mind." Kace stepped back and watched as Pensworth closed his eyes. He held up the potion and said loudly, "Strength of Grarrl and Uni's horn, with this light the dark barrier shall be torn. Tricky Mynci, Growling Lupe, in this wall find travellers a loop." When he finished, he threw the potion into the air, towards the tower. It spun through the air, some of the potion spilling as it went. When it hit the ground, the glass bottle shattered, and suddenly a light so blinding filled the air that Kace had to avert her eyes. When she looked back, she gasped. Floating just in front of Edna's Tower was a white shape. It looked like a Yurble, no- an Elephante, no- a Draik. Kace didn't know exactly what it was, but it was beautiful. Suddenly, the light disappeared, and Kace was left blinking in the sudden dark gloom of the forest. The air around the tower seemed unchanged, and then Pensworth said, "Alright, now it is safe! Shall we proceed?" Kace smiled nervously, and the two of them stepped forward into the space where the light had been. Nothing bad happened.

     "I told you it would work! That was all I need for my scientific paper. The reaction of the barrier to the Starlight Potion was different from anything I've ever seen before! So now that my work is finished, let's find your home!" Kace smiled, and Pensworth smiled, and together the two friends knocked on the large wooden door, the entrance to the dreaded Edna's tower. When they knocked, the door swung open. As they entered the dark tower, it began to rain outside. Lightning flashed and thunder boomed, and Kace and Pensworth stepped into the tower's entrance hall. It was quiet except for the pounding of the rain. The dark figure entered the room. "Hello, Kace, I have been waiting for you," said the figure. It was hidden in the shadows. Just like in her nightmares, Kace was afraid, but this time she had a friend to help her along the way.

     "I know you have," said Kace, "and I've been looking for you. I want to know- I need to know, who are you? Are you my, err… creator?" Kace couldn't bring herself to call Edna her mother.

     Edna stepped into the moonlight that shone into the hall through a tiny window. "Yes, I suppose you could call me that. I have created many pets, although you are the first to come and find me."

     Kace stepped closer. "That means this is my home! You are my family! I found my home!"

     Edna smiled. "No, you haven't. You have always had a home, back with your brothers and real owner. I am not your family just because I 'created' you; they are your family because they have cared for you and loved you. You never lost your home; it was always right in front of you."

     A dark cloud moved across the moon, and in the darkness Kace couldn't see a thing. When the cloud finally moved away, the moonlight revealed that Kace and Pensworth were the only ones left in the hall. Kace turned to face Pensworth, who said, "Oh dear, I suppose this means I'll be travelling back alone, if you plan to stay here with your real family." He turned to leave, but Kace grabbed his arm.

     "No, Pensworth, this isn't my family. My family is back in Neopia Central." She walked out the door, not caring about the rain. Pensworth followed, and in the rain Kace held his hand. "Come on," she said. "Let's go home."

The End

All the pets in this story (except Pensworth, who I made up) are mine. :D Come visit us sometime. :D

 
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