Revisited: Part Five
“Wow, look at this picture,” commented the Usul, who had finally gotten to a point of being scared enough not to worry about her appearance. “These Lupes look like they lived a long time ago. I wonder who they are.”
“They were the owners of this house,” replied Jenny without thinking.
“How do you know that?” asked the Usul, frowning.
“Oh,” Jenny replied, now realizing that she had no way to back up or prove what she had said. “I just know, somehow.” She dismissed it as being unimportant by waving a hoof. The Usul shrugged.
“Should we try another room? We should probably keep moving as much as possible to avoid being found,” the Gelert suggested.
“What about the Gnorbu and the Aisha? Shouldn’t we look for them?” complained the Usul.
“Yes, but we do need to be careful. None of the rest of us wants to get caught.” He looked around at everyone in the group, leading them back toward the way they had come, intending to return to the hallway. No one really wanted to go back through the bedroom, so they tried the right-most door in the parlor as had been earlier suggested by the Kyrii. As he had speculated, it led back to the hallway.
As Jenny walked next to the banister on the balcony overlooking the foyer, she could feel another daydream coming on...
“...Get out of here!” yelled the green Lupe from the top of the stairs, hollering at the yellow Blumaroo standing at the front door. “I’ve told you before, I’m not selling my house to you!” The Blumaroo looked at him coldly, advancing toward the stairs. “Why don’t you just give up now?”
“Oh, but what benefits do I have, giving up now?” The Blumaroo’s dialect was heavy and clearly from the Haunted Woods but still noticeably of the aristocracy. “It’s not like I have another home to go back to now. You know what happened to my house.” He glared fiercely, now at the bottom of the stairs and starting to climb them.
“No, I don’t know. Whatever happened, I’m sorry, but–“
“Oh, I bet you’re sorry! Did these apologetic feelings start before or after you did it?” he shot back, starting to shout.
“Did what? What on Neopia are you talking about?”
“So you’re planning to play dumb, are you? You think that if you pretend not to know what I’m talking about, I’ll simply forget about it and go away? I know you’re the one who set my house on fire!”
The Lupe was dumbfounded. “I did no such thing, and I take extreme offense to the fact that you’d think I would! Get out of my house!”
“You only deny it because you know what you did.” The Blumaroo stopped advancing up the stairs and folded his arms, waiting for the Lupe to come groveling at his feet with repentance of his actions.
“Clearly you’re out of your mind. Now, vacate the premises before I’m forced to have my guards remove you.”
“No, you’re out of your mind if you think that a threat as lowly as that one will move me! I’m not going anywhere until I–” At that moment, the Lupe whistled, giving a signal to his butler. The butler came scurrying into the room, stopped for a moment to collect the Lupe’s message, then left again as quickly as he had come. “What was th–?”
The guards entered the room quickly and seized the Blumaroo, dragging him by the arms back out the front door. “I’ll be back!” he vowed, yelling at the top of his lungs. “I’m not resting until you have repaid me for the damage you’ve done!” The front door slammed shut...
“Are you coming?” the Gelert whispered loudly, beckoning for her to follow.
“What? Yes. Sorry,” Jenny replied absently, still half absorbed by the dream she had just had.
As she walked to catch up with the group, she noticed that the Xweetok was wandering off. “Where are you going?” she asked quietly, grabbing at the Xweetok’s arm.
“Meat,” was the sole response by the Xweetok, and she soon disappeared down a dark hallway.
Meat? What meat? Jenny thought, scratching her head. She took a few steps in the direction in which the Xweetok had gone, and then she knew exactly. The smell of someone cooking a steak was wafting through the air, and apparently the Xweetok had found it. Should she follow the Xweetok? It didn’t appear that anyone else in the group had noticed that the pet was missing, and to be honest, he seemed kind of creepy. Giving a last anxious glance toward the hallway that the Xweetok had gone down, she rejoined the Usul, Kyrii, and Gelert. With luck, they wouldn’t even notice that the quiet Xweetok was missing.
The next room they came upon simply seemed to be used for storage. Apart from a few pieces of old furniture covered with dusty covers, the room was nearly empty. “We shouldn’t even, like, bother with this room,” complained the Usul, reluctant to get dust all over her manicured paws.
The Gelert disagreed with her, however, noticing a door in the corner of the room. “It might lead us to the Aisha and Gnorbu.” And the Xweetok, Jenny added silently.
“But it likely won’t.”
“But it might, and that’s why we need to try it,” he replied in a huff, starting to become annoyed with the Usul’s reluctance to follow his directions. Ending the matter, he stepped into the room and was quickly discarded through a before hidden trap door in the floor. As he fell, he let out a short yell, ending in a sharp yelp as he hit the floor.
“Are you okay?!” the Kyrii whispered down, concerned.
“Oof.” The Gelert rubbed the sore part of his body that had impacted with the floor first. “Yes,” he answered with a slight groan. “I’m a bit sore, but I think I’m okay.” For a moment he surveyed the room he was now sitting in and whispered up to the Kyrii, “I think this room is safe! You should all come down!”
Jenny and the Kyrii gave each other a strange look, then shrugged. Jenny carefully approached the new hole in the floor, then slipped down through it. Before following her, the Kyrii was careful to hand the torch down. The Gelert pulled a dusty chair over to the hole and stood on it to collect the torch.
“No way!” shrieked the Usul. “I’m not going down there! It... it looks, like, dusty!”
Down below, the Gelert rolled his eyes. “Fine. Then at least jump over the trap door and tell us where that door in the corner leads, will you?”
With an exasperated sigh, she finally complied. Reluctantly, she took a few steps back from the doorway, intending to jump over the trapdoor. The Gelert, though in a lower room, could still see this action through the trap door, and he rolled his eyes. The trap door was nearly small enough to just take a step over! Taking a running leap was hardly necessary. Regardless, the Usul was convinced that she’d never get over the hole without one. Now back a couple yards from the doorway, she charged at the hole before taking the most ladylike leap she could muster. Unfortunately for her, gym had never been her strongest class when she had been in school, and her balance sometimes left something to be desired. Thus, her landing on the other side was less than graceful as she landed on her knees, right in the dust.
“Ewww!” she squealed unhappily. Although she was no longer in his range of vision, the Gelert heard her exclamation of disgust and could guess what happened. He laughed, infuriating the Usul. “That’s not funny!” she protested, leaning over the edge of the open trap door and glaring.
“Yeah, yeah, ok,” was the response from the Gelert, who was still laughing. “Just... haha... just go check the door.”
“Fine, fine,” she said grumpily, trying to brush off as much of the ancient dust as possible. Weaving around through several covered pieces of furniture, she reached the door and was about to open it when she realized that the doorknob, not surprisingly, was also covered with dust. “Disgusting,” she muttered, reaching into her purse to pull out a tissue to guard her hand from the oh-so-lethal dust. Making the least amount of contact possible, she reached her hand out to the doorknob again and turned it. At that moment, a bolt of lightning streaked across the sky, briefly illuminating the room.
“It’s a bathroom,” she yelled, temporarily forgetting to be quiet. The Usul was about to turn and leave the musty bathroom, but something caught her eye. On the opposite edge of the room, she could have sworn she saw the pale green shower curtain move. Curious, she frowned and moved toward it but soon stopped abruptly as yet something else caught her eye, although this time it was in her peripheral vision. She turned to her right, and in the mirror on the wall, she saw the most hideous...
To be continued...