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A Thousand Miles


by blackcairn

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Ruff?

     Green grassy hills flowed beneath his feet. In the distance below him was a small copse of trees. He turned his head this way and that but saw no one.

     Ruff!

     The sun smiled down at him. The blue sky stretched its arms to hug the world. Fluffy, white clouds invited him to play.

     Ruff ruff ruff arf.

     The clouds nodded and smiled, drifting away lazily on the breeze. He looked around him again, but again he saw no one.

     Ruff arf?

     Where had everyone gone? Maybe they were in the trees. He trotted down to the trees below. A yellow flower stopped his path.

     Ruff arf?

     The yellow flower swayed left and right.

     Ruff ruff!

     He complimented the flower. It smelled sweet. All flowers smelled sweet, except for a stinky purple one he met once. That was a long time ago. He couldn't remember it too well, but he wouldn't smell purple flowers anymore.

     The flower bowed and let him pass. He bowed to the flower and trotted downhill. The trees waved their arms in greeting.

     Ruff ruff!

     The trees waved off to the left. He looked to the left and saw a small dirt path. He bowed to the trees in thanks. He learned not to lick them. It made his tongue feel funny, and the trees did not like it when he scratched them.

     The path disappeared behind a hill. Where did it go? A footprint stared at him in the dirt.

     Arf arf?

     He asked the footprint where its owner was. The footprint pointed away down the path. He saw more footprints down the path.

     Arf ruff ruff arf?

     He asked the footprint where its family was going. The footprint pointed away down the path again. He bowed to the footprint. He learned not to scratch footprints. They didn't like that. Licking them was a bad idea.

     He trotted down the path, sniffing the footprint's family along the way. Something disturbed the footprints. It was gray. He sniffed it. It didn't smell. If it didn't smell, then it might not be squishy and icky. He touched it with his front paw. It was jagged and rough, not squishy and icky at all.

     Ruff!

     It did not reply. Maybe it was asleep. He licked it. It was salty, but it did not wake up. Maybe it was dreaming. He liked dreaming. It made him feel all warm and fuzzy inside. Maybe he was dreaming now.

     Arf woof!

     He was not dreaming. In his dreams an Eyrie, a blue Eyrie, always came when he called out for him. The Eyrie smelled like family. Maybe he could go to sleep now and dream. No, he was looking for something, someone. He didn't know who, but he'd know when he found that someone.

     He trotted around the sleeping gray thing and continued down the path. The footprints were still going somewhere. Footprints had very large families. There was a family of smaller footprints following him now. He felt proud that the footprints let him be their leader, but he didn't know where he was going! The footprints didn't seem to mind.

     The bigger footprints stopped at the long grass. Why did they stop?

     Ruff!

     They pointed to the grass. What was in there?

     Ruff arf?

     The grass waved around. He poked his nose through. There was more grass.

     Ruff arf?

     The long grass shuddered. Another head poked out. It looked like his head. Was he looking at himself? He was green. Green like the grass. His twin was black. His twin tilted his head.

     Ruff arf?

     His twin asked for his name. Did he have a name? He didn't think so.

     Arf arf ruff.

     Arf arf?

     Did he have an owner? He didn't think so.

     Arf arf ruff.

     Ruff ruff?

     Did he want to play?

     Ruff arf arf. Woof. Arf arf ruff. Arf ruff woof!

     It did sound like a lot of fun.

     Ruff ruff!

     His twin disappeared into the grass. He followed. The grass opened up to shorter grass. Next to his twin was a black Lupe. The Lupe had a white stripe down his face.

     Ruff ruff arf?

     "Hey there, blackcairn," the Lupe said. The Lupe didn't speak Sparde. "Who's your little friend?" The Lupe scratched his twin between the ears. His twin seemed to enjoy it a lot.

     Arf arf arf!

     His twin ran around in circles.

     "Do ya want the ball, boy? Do ya?" the Lupe asked. The Lupe tossed a blue ball.

     Arf ruff arf.

     His twin invited him to join. His twin chased after the ball. It bounced and rolled along the grass. He trotted up to the ball.

     Ruff arf?

     The ball did not say anything.

     Ruff arf arf. Arf ruff.

     His twin told him that you played with a ball. He jumped onto the ball. It rolled away.

     Arf arf arf!

     It was as fun as his twin said it would be.

     "Pet! It's time to go home!" someone shouted.

     He looked up. It was a green Scorchio wearing a crown. The Scorchio's blue clothes looked so soft. He ran up to the Scorchio.

     Arf arf?

     "Hello," the Scorchio said. He did not speak Sparde either. "Are you a friend of blackcairn?" The Scorchio scratched between his ears. It felt good.

     The Lupe and Scorchio walked away. His twin trotted away. Where were they going? He followed them. The grass disappeared. The footprints had made their way over here. He followed where they pointed. The ground turned gray and the footprints disappeared. He jumped on the ground. It was hard,. It was not like dirt. Where did the footprints go? He sniffed around the edge of the gray. They seemed to have gone underneath the hard gray. He dug under the hard gray with his front paws. A green thing was wriggling in the hole. It smelled like dirt.

     Ruff arf?

     The green thing asked who dug him up. He apologized and covered it up again. Something brushed past him. It was a black Gelert.

     Ruff arf?

     The Gelert didn't hear him. He trotted after the Gelert. The Gelert rushed through the crowds. His short legs could barely keep up with the Gelert's longer legs. Soon, he lost the Gelert. He did not know where he was. There were a lot of little Neopians around. He trotted over to a grey Spardel. She didn't seem happy.

     Ruff?

     He wondered why she was sad. No one should be sad.

     Ruff ruff.

     She said that she just felt sad. He licked her ears.

     Ruff.

     She said she felt better, but she still felt sad. He trotted off and found a colorful pebble. He picked it up in his mouth and brought it to her. It felt smooth on his tongue.

     Ruff ruff.

     Ruff.

     She said it was pretty, but it didn't make her happy. He trotted off again. He found a red flower. It smelled sweet. He complimented it.

     Arf arf?

     The flower nodded. He bowed. He took it by the stem and pulled it out of the ground, careful not to hurt it too much. The flower bounced up and down in the air. He trotted back to her. The flower tickled her muzzle.

     Ruff.

     She said it was prettier than the stone, but it didn't make her happy. He trotted off once more. He didn't know what he was looking for, but he'll know when he found it. Something bumped into him. He turned around. It was a Chezzoom. The Chezzoom had a big smile on its face. The Chezzoom twirled and danced. He thought it was very happy.

     Arf arf?

     He asked the Chezzoom why it was so happy. The Chezzoom did not speak Sparde, but it understood him.

     Arf ruff.

     The Chezzoom followed him as he trotted back to her. She was still sad. The Chezzoom tickled her with his ears and tail as Chezzooms did with unhappy pets.

     Ruff.

     She said it tickled, but she was still sad.

     Ruff arf?

     The Chezzoom walked away. It could not cheer her up. He wondered why the Chezzoom could still be so happy. The Chezzoom waved around a stick.

     Ruff woof woof.

     The Chezzoom put the stick down in front of him. It had wings. He had never seen anything like it, but it was pretty. Maybe it could cheer her up.

     Arf arf?

     The stick nodded and smiled. He picked up the stick. It was the heaviest stick he ever carried. He dragged it along the ground. He dragged it through a puddle. He was getting tired. He tugged harder. She had to be happy. No one can ever be sad. A Babith bumped into him. He fell over and the stick flew through the air. It hit her on the head.

     Ar ar ar.

     He begged for forgiveness and pulled the stick off of her. The stick disappeared. He turned this way and that, but he couldn't find it. He looked back at her. She was different!

     Ruff ruff?

     Ruff!

     She was happy! She bowed to him and flapped her new wings.

     Arf!

     He watched her fly off. She twirled in the air before she disappeared.

     "What are you doing?" someone shouted at him. It was a silver Gelert. "What did you do to my Spardel?"

     The silver Gelert did not speak Sparde. He trotted up to her. The silver Gelert's fur was shiny.

     Ruff!

     He was proud that he made someone happy.

     "Go away!" the Silver shouted.

     He did not understand. The silver Gelert walked off. He followed. He lost the Gelert. He looked around and saw a wooden plank. The plank went up.

     Ruff arf?

     The plank was made of wood and trees were made of wood. He pawed the plank. The plank sounded hollow. Trees did not sound hollow. The plank did not talk. Hollow wood did not talk. He decided to walk up the plank. There was more wood. The floor was wood. Boxes were wood. This wood sounded hollow. This wood did not talk. Hollow wood did not talk. There was no one to talk to. He needed someone to answer his question.

     He trotted along the wood that surrounded the wood floor. He couldn't find the plank again. He circled around two times, but he couldn't find an exit. Maybe it was behind him. He turned around and trotted the other way. He was getting tired after trotting around so much and he had no one to talk to. He decided to go to sleep.

     "What do we have here?" someone asked. "A stowaway."

     He woke up and opened his eyes. A yellow Shoyru was smiling at him.

     "What are you doing here, little guy?" the Shoyru asked.

     Ruff arf?

     "Are you hungry?" the Shoyru asked. The Shoyru did not speak Sparde. "Here you go, little guy. It's my last one."

     The Shoyru held out a blue berry. The berry had pointy yellow shapes on it.

     Ruff?

     The berry did not talk. He sniffed it. It smelled like food. He did feel hungry. He bit it. This berry was good.

     "We'll be docking on Mystery Island soon."

     He finished eating the berry.

     "Alright, little guy, I'll have to get back to work."

     He followed the Shoyru. Maybe the Shoyru knew the way out. The Shoyru lifted up a box and walked down the plank. The Shoyru walked along the dock and set down the box.

     Arf!

     The Shoyru turned around.

     Arf arf!

     He thanked the Shoyru and went off to look for whatever it was he was looking for. The ground was soft. He pawed it. It moved! He pawed it again! It moved easily like water, but he could walk on it like dirt, but dirt was a little squishy. It felt like pebbles. He could walk on pebbles too. He had discovered pebble-water! It was not as fun as dirt-water, but it was still fun. He dug into the pebble-water. Sometimes it filled back in like water, but sometimes it didn't. A red thing scuttled out from the pebble-water.

     Ruff arf?

     The red thing did not answer. He sniffed it. It didn't smell like anything. The red thing crawled away sideways. He moved closer to touch it. It pinched his nose and scuttled away.

     Arf!

     He wanted to know why it pinched him.

     Woof!

     His nose hurt. A shadow passed over him. He looked this way and that and saw a tall Eyrie. He turned his head sideways to see how tall the Eyrie was. The Eyrie was very tall. The Eyrie was blue. He sniffed the Eyrie. The Eyrie smelled like an Eyrie. He did not think this was what he was looking for.

     "Crabbies pinch when you get too close," the Eyrie said.

     Ruff?

     He did not understand the Eyrie.

     "Hmm," the Eyrie thought. "Ruff arf woof ruff arf arf woof ruff ruff."

     Ruff!

     He agreed. This Eyrie spoke Sparde! The Eyrie's Sparde was funny, but it was still Sparde. Maybe the Eyrie could help him.

     Ruff arf?

     "You're looking for something? Arf ruff!"

     The Eyrie was looking for something too.

     Ruff! Arf arf ruff. Arf woof ruff ruff.

     "You don't know what you're looking for? Neither do I, but I'll know when I find it," the Eyrie replied. The Eyrie reconsidered what he said. "Arf woof ruff ruff arf? Arf ruff ruff ruff ruff ruff arf."

     The Eyrie was strange, funny strange. The Eyrie would say something in his funny language and then say something in Sparde. He thought this was funny.

     Arf ruff! Ruff ruff arf.

     "I get sidetracked a lot, too," the Eyrie replied with a smile. "Woof woof arf ruff arf arf? Would you like to look together?"

     Ruff!

     He leapt up with a bark and followed the Eyrie across the island.

The End

 
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