An Evening in the Archives: Part One
Also by precious_katuch14
Raindrops drummed fervently on the opaque, large windows
of the Archives, but it was promptly ignored by a light blue Lenny who was grunting
heavily, busy with the task of moving books. Finneas grumbled, a bit regretfully,
as he picked up the last stack and started once again populating the gaping
holes of the shelves. Despite his weariness, the Lenny remained gentle, carefully
placing each ancient tome of marvel in their right place.
When he was done with this chore, the Lenny strolled
back to his study table, which was currently void of anything interesting to
study. Sitting down in the comfy chair, Finneas picked up his Meepit and wondered
if there was anything else to do.
That last research piece had been concerning
about another world. It was strange, but possibly true. A world called Neopia,
similar to his world but still different. The text had been hard to read, and
the research extensive, but there were still many mysteries shrouding that place.
And so far he hadn't had any luck uncovering
those secrets. Finneas wondered if should start with anything else. Better to
do something than to sit and laze around, the Lenny decided and got off his
With determined strides, he entered the Archives
once again in search of a good book. A book that would be interesting, no, compelling,
that would contain a whole story that would satisfy his hunger of curiosity,
not just a few fragments...
He scanned the spines of all the books he could
find along the shelves, but none of them seemed to be the one that he was looking
for. The Lenny tapped each and everyone as he went on and on, and as he got
to the end, he frowned. It felt as though he had searched just about the entire
Altadorian Archives... and yet, he had not.
And indeed, he had not. Finneas turned a corner
and saw a bare shelf at the very end of the large room, bare except for a few
scattered volumes here and there, which were mostly uncategorized books that
he kept forgetting to arrange, simply because of that research project of his.
But one book in particular caught his attention.
The silver-embossed letters on its ancient brownish spine spelled out, "Is Neopia
Not Alone?" and it looked like something that had not been pulled out in a while,
if it had been taken out at all.
Nonetheless, Finneas was curious. Could it be
the book that could perhaps solve the unanswered questions of his research?
He reached out and got it, blowing a protective cover of dust off the cover
before taking it back to his table, pushing away several bits of paper and a
couple of huge encyclopedias that tumbled to the floor with a crash that made
After picking up the fallen books and putting
them neatly aside, the blue Lenny began to page through the yellowed, somewhat
weathered leaves of his found tome.
Strangely enough there was no mention of the
author, and as he flipped over the page, Finneas noticed that the letters had
been meticulously imprinted in the old Snarkian Script, all fancy and flowery.
Thankfully it wasn't too hard to read, the ink still black and unmarred by the
teeth of book-loving petpets.
Finneas' wings trembled from excitement. Perhaps
this would answer the questions that last book had left him? Maybe this... He
took a deep breath and started reading.
"It was a rainy day," the book begun. How prosaic,
the Lenny thought but kept reading. "The Lenny inside that lone Archive wasn't
paying any attention, however. He was sitting in a comfortable, old chair, left
to him by his ancestors. Just like how they had left him this whole library.
It was his inheritance, and in no way did he shun it, though sometimes the work
was a bit Boring."
Finneas stopped and blinked in surprise. How
odd, he thought as he looked up from the book and spotted a lone droplet making
its way down the stained glass window. Just like that Lenny in the book, he
had been one in the long line of Lennies to become the warden of the Archives.
But, the blue Lenny told himself, I'm at least not bored by my work.
"The Lenny sighed and traced his wing along the
window, following a droplet that shifted colors as it ran along the mosaic-patterned
A droplet... Suddenly Finneas remembered the
first page that he had skipped over in haste, after finding no author. There!
He had glimpsed that word, but it was not just a random sentence. No, it was
A droplet so simple
A droplet so little
Watch it slide in the rain
Down the window pane
Such a wonder of nature
Shining, beautiful for sure
Finneas remembered that poem. He had created
it himself not too long ago, during one stormy night just like this one. It
was free verse, but then again, it was written under five minutes. It was amazing
how a droplet could spark such inspiration. Smiling to himself and remembering
that whimsical moment, he turned back to the pages he had been poring over.
Strange, the Lenny thought. Here he was, watching
a droplet outside glide across the intricate mosaic of the window, and then...
He paused for a moment and flipped again to the
first page. How did his poem get into the book? Finneas had never asked for
any of his poems to be published, and here was this particular verse, in the
same script as everything else in the book. How did that happen? He had the
feeling that this was no ordinary book... definitely not just a dusty volume
to be picked off the shelves...
Chills ran down his spine, as the Lenny recalled
the creepy images his imagination had showed him upon reading scary stories.
Impulsively Finneas bent down and picked up his Meepit plushie, a toy that had
been long forgotten. He squeezed it for reassurance, before he continued to
read the book.
"He shook his head, determined to do something.
The Lenny got up and started looking for a book, for something interesting,
something that would quench his thirst for curiosity. He looked everywhere,
ran the tip of his wings along the antique spines. But there wasn't anything
of interest, nothing that appealed to his sense of adventure."
Finneas stopped and looked at his plushie, with
a faint smile on his face as he recalled how he had just done that. But how
would a book know? I'll bet he finds a book beside a lone shelf now, the
Lenny thought with some amusement, though he could not deny the teeny tingle
of creepiness that was growing larger and larger by the second.
"The Lenny swept through the rooms, trying to
find the perfect book to read, but there was none to be found. At last, he threw
a glance into a dark corner beside an empty bookshelf, its jaws open and unhinged;
ready to devour any new arrivals. The pile of books was messy, but one particular
book caught his attention."
It couldn't be! Finneas hugged his plushie, took
a deep breath, told himself not to get too excited and turned to the next page.
"It was a book of old, perhaps much, much ancient
than the Archives themselves, of silvery script and mud-colored binding. The
cover read, 'Is Neopia Not Alone?', and even the title itself aroused the would-be
reader. He picked the tome off, loosening a bit of dust in the process, and
made his way back to his table, eagerly setting aside all he had been doing."
He tightened his grip on the Meepit plushie so
hard that it seemingly threatened to burst open. His suspicions were confirmed.
It was as if the book was chronicling his life
behind its pages and its rather deceptive title... if that WAS its title. But
before he could linger any more on the relation of the cover to the inside of
the book, a new thought crossed Finneas' mind.
Could there be more to this book than meets
the eye? What more was inside?
A burst of lightning outside the stained glass
window briefly numbed his sight, and spots exploded in front of the Lenny's
eyes. And before he knew it, something flashed before him again. Finneas gasped
aloud, knowing that the second blaze was definitely not lightning. He felt frigid
winds blow past him, despite the fact that all the windows in the Archives were
closed, and they threatened to pull him off his chair.
Which they did.
The Lenny found himself falling through a sudden
array of color and light, and he felt so dizzy that he closed his eyes, unaware
that he still held the plushie in one wing. For a while, everything was dark
and swirled Finneas about like a toy sailboat in the choppy waters of the sea.
"What is going on?" the bewildered Lenny murmured
softly as he hugged his plushie tightly, hoping that this scary trip would end
soon. The rough wind hit his face and brought unwilling tears to roll down his
"I don't know," a strange voice replied.
That was it. Finneas knew that some lunatic pets
would talk to the empty air, and that he might as well as be crazy. But to have
a voice replying to his talk... that was too much.
Suddenly he felt himself materialize somewhere,
and his feet touched soft grass. Settling his ruffled feathers down and shaking
them back into place, Finneas opened his eyes.
It was a beautiful day, with the bright, cheery
sun letting its golden rays bounce across the plain. The green grass beneath
his feet felt so real, and sharp enough to tickle him.
Was this Neopia? Surely it could not be so perfect,
with an endless blue sky floating above that was free from the tiniest cloud,
the grass evergreen and all rhythmically following the wind...
In any case, it was quite a contrast from the
room the Lenny had been sitting in, shrinking into his comfy chair with each
minute. He had been gripping that book tightly, too scared to read but more
than afraid not to do so.
The book! Of course! But... it all felt so real,
as if this was the real world and his own simply a distant, blurred memory,
like a bad nightmare.
"What a nice day," said that strange voice, the
one that Finneas thought he had imagined. He looked around, but could not see
"Down here," the voice said, and the Lenny looked
Finneas nearly jumped out of his feathers when
he realized that the voice came from the mouth of a Meepit at his feet. It didn't
take him long to realize just where that Meepit came from, especially since
it still had its seams and stitches.
"Wait, are you REALLY talking?" he asked, shaking
his head as if trying to get it off his shoulders. "This... isn't a dream, right?"
The Lenny reached down and picked up the Meepit. It still felt soft and fluffy,
the way plushies were supposed to be, but it was staring straight at him, arching
one eyebrow. He rubbed his eyes with his free wing and blinked repeatedly.
"If it is, would you feel this?" The Meepit jammed
one of its tiny paws into the Lenny's right eye. He gasped, and both his wings
flew to his eye, dropping the living Meepit plushie. It gasped too as it fell
onto the grass. "Hey, watch it, will you?"
Finneas tried to take everything in, wondering
if it would be a good idea to explore this new world. He didn't know what other
surprises would be in store for him, besides his plushie suddenly talking, with
a smart mouth, no less. But then again, there seemed to be no danger, and he
could probably learn something out of all this.
"So, what now, genius?" asked the Meepit, glancing
up at the Lenny, who suddenly fell silent and was staring off into space, deep
in thought about something.
"I guess we should explore this... place," Finneas
said after a moment of thought.
"Sheesh, I could've thought of that," the Meepit
The Lenny didn't reply, but was scrutinizing
the surroundings, trying to find out if there was a way out of this endless,
repetitive plain with its lush, green grass.
If only he could find a path or something...
Finneas blinked. There was a dark, shadowed path beneath some of the tufts he
had just been looking at. He could've sworn that it had looked absolutely normal
just seconds before. Was this yet another aspect of that strange book?
It wasn't as if he wasn't bordering on insanity,
anyway. Talking to a Meepit plushie come alive just felt unreal enough, but
this was almost too much. The Lenny took a few careful strides, and felt the
slight tinge of asphalt tickle his feet.
"Hey! Where are you going?" the Meepit shouted
in a high-pitched voice, obviously upset at being left behind.
Finneas bent down and scooped the plushie-creature
up, squeezing it near suffocation with a hug to reassure himself before he continued
"Watch it!" exclaimed the Meepit in short gasps
"Sorry," Finneas replied. "I forgot. But in response
to your question, I don't know. But since a path has appeared, we ought to explore
"I guess so..." the Meepit said gruffly, "but
carry me like you usually do. And if we meet a seamstress, ask her to patch
me up. My right arm is feeling a bit loose."
"If we meet a seamstress," muttered the
Lenny under his breath as he lifted the Meepit plushie up into his wings, carrying
him gently as though it were a real petpet - which it almost was. He continued
on the path, looking around warily, but there was nothing that caught his attention
much. Either nature was deceiving him, or he was just being too paranoid.
"Wait a minute," whispered Finneas, glancing
around for the umpteenth time.
The plushie fidgeted in his grip. "What now?"
Its owner shrugged. "Never mind, I guess we're
just going deep into... a forest of some kind. The trees are getting thicker
and closer as we go on."
"Well, so long as there's nobody else in here,
we're fine, okay?" grumbled the Meepit plushie impatiently.
Just as the words were out of its stitch of a
mouth, they heard the crack of a twig and the rustle of dry leaves. Finneas
focused on an ominous shadow skulking between two large trees. He stopped walking
and stood there, regarding it suspiciously.
"I think there's someone in here now," he replied.
"But who in their right mind would want to take
a walk in these woods?"
The Lenny glared at the Meepit plushie briefly.
"We would, but who else?"
"Are you adventurers?" a small voice asked, rustling
To be continued...