The Search for the Fish Doughnutfruit
The leaves waved and swayed in the light wind, rustling softly as the breeze whispered past. Birds chirped high up in the treetops, delighting in the late morning sunshine as they hopped from branch to branch. The sky was bright and blue, as though an artist had just swept a brush loaded with acrylic paint across the heavens. For most Neopets, today was perfect for hanging out at the beach; paddling in the crystal waters, chasing each other along the glittering sand, or fishing for Crabulas in the rock pools. But deeper within the jungle of Mystery Island, amongst the moist-laden foliage and thickly scented air, there is a place that none of your regular Buzzes, Draiks or Lennies even know about. Where the sunlight lies dappled on the earthy floor, and where sweet smells filter through the tree trunks; the doughnutfruit groves.
There is a legend that tells of a group of strange creatures settling in the groves and feeding on the fruits high up in the trees. An ancient Kyrii mystic has told many a curious traveller about how the creatures had fallen from the clouds and ventured for days through the heavy jungle to find salvation. The only problem is, nobody listens to him; he usually speaks such rubbish that his stories are dismissed as nothing more than the crazy ramblings of an old, old Neopet.
But there is truth to his tales; indeed, there was an ensemble of mysterious, chirruping figures plucking the ripe fruits from the trees. ‘Hasee’ was their name, but such hungry critters they were that many of them were gathered and sold to loving homes where they could be cared for and not ruin the Mystery Island economy.
Yet some Neopians still say they can hear giggling from inside the dense greenery - many believe that the jungle is home to the restless spirits of Island elders, and that respect should withhold them from ever venturing amongst the ferns and palms. But the Mystic knows something... Something about the Hasee... Something that, even if anybody should believe him, he could never disclose...
Not all of them left the jungle...
It ran on through the trees, ducking under the overhanging leaves that dripped with condensation. It was small and fast, but round from many a good meal. It hoped that today would be no different, and that there would be a fine feast that evening. It scurried onwards through the undergrowth before skidding to a halt in the soft soil.
A chuckle sounded from nearby, and a rotund purple creature came rustling out of the trees.
“Woogy,” it giggled. “C’mon, c’mon!”
The other creature, Woogy as it seemed, licked its lips and stared up into the treetops. “I can see a Rainbow!” Woogy squealed delightedly. “D’you see it, Jimmi?”
Jimmi nodded with excitement. “Hurry, hurry!”
The rainbow that Woogy spoke of was no less than a brightly-coloured doughnutfruit. Not only was it nice to look at, but it sure tasted good. And how would Jimmi and Woogy know? They were Hasees, and they thrived off the delicious fruits hanging tauntingly from the highest branches. Branches far higher than the small petpets themselves, but which the duo had been able to reach through a clever invention.
Jimmi, the purple Hasee, pushed on through the jungle until the invention came into view. To anybody else, it would have been unimpressive - a plank of wood balancing on one sharp rock - but to the Hasees, it was a miracle.
Woogy stepped onto one end of the makeshift seesaw and watched as Jimmi leaped into the air before coming crashing down onto the opposite end.
“Wheeeeeeeeeeeeeee!” Woogy exclaimed as he was catapulted into the sky. He reached out with his orange paws and grasped one of the doughnutfruits firmly. As he descended back towards the ground, he tugged hard and the fruit followed him down.
“Yellow Doughnutfruit!” Woogy called as Jimmi went flying upwards.
“Greeeeeeeeeen!” Jimmi replied.
“Yay! Checkered Doughnutfruit!” relayed Woogy, drooling as the black-and-white doughnutfruit was added to his pile.
“Omg pls! Yellow Doughnutfruit!”
“Yay! Blue Doughnutfruit!”
The two Hasees soon had two very colourful piles of collected doughnutfruits. They clambered off their seesaw to have a bite to eat.
“You got the Rainbow,” Jimmi giggled.
Woogy munched on the colorful fruit, delighting at the wide mixture of flavours. If you’d ever wondered what a Rainbow Doughnutfruit tasted like, it was like this: fresh and fruity, almost like the watermelon, but packed with citrus like tangerines, and sugary like bubblegum, and chewy like lab jellies but smooth like chocolate at the same time. It could be crunchy like a cookie or soft like a doughnut, or even both together. There was a hint of strawberry and the richness of cheesecake too, and they all swirled together in a very pleasant manner. You can probably see why the Hasees liked them so much.
“You know something,” Jimmi began, as he finished a Yellow Doughnutfruit. “I’ve always wondered...”
“Wondered about what?” Woogy asked.
“Wondered about that one doughnutfruit we’ve never tasted,” said Jimmi.
“The Fish,” Jimmi said simply, with a nod of his small head.
Woogy got to his stubby feet and chortled. “We should try and find it.”
“D’you think it exists?” Jimmi asked in awe.
“If it does, we’ll get it.” Woogy smiled.
“Yay!” Jimmi squealed.
“Let’s go this way,” Woogy said and trotted off into the jungle. Jimmi followed him, excited at the idea of an adventure and the notion of what the Fish Doughnutfruit could taste like.
After a little while of trekking through the thick foliage, the two Hasees had to stop and rest. Their short legs couldn’t go as fast as they wanted to, and their squidgy bellies didn’t make for the easiest of movement.
“I’m hungry,” whined Woogy. His little eyes scanned the branches above for any doughnutfruit, but he couldn’t see any. He couldn’t remember which way they’d come from either.
“Are we lost?” Jimmi squeaked anxiously.
Woogy got up. “No.”
“What do we do?”
“We should find the Island Mystic. He knows everything,”
“I thought he just talked nonsense. He told me I would find a million Neopoints on the beach, but all I found was a rusty old can and a stale Breadfish.”
“Maybe Breadfish are worth a million Neopoints,” Woogy shrugged. “The beach is that way. It’s not far to go.”
Jimmi sighed, but gave in and agreed.
“It’ll be quicker,” Woogy said as they set off. “Just imagine what that Fish fruit is going to be like!”
Jimmi licked his lips as they ploughed on through the forestation.
They eventually crashed through the ferns on the outskirts of the jungle and their tiny feet met the hot white sand. Squinting in the sunlight they were rarely accustomed to, the two Hasees could see a bamboo hut in the distance.
“That’s him,” Woogy squeaked.
The duo pattered through the sand, staring in awe at the glistening ocean. It rolled away to the horizon, its undulating waves sparkling like a tapestry of blue diamonds, moving softly towards the beach where it left a whisper of white froth behind.
Before they knew it, the pair of Hasee had arrived at the Island Mystic’s hut.
“Should we both go inside?” asked Jimmi worriedly.
“I’ll do it,” Woogy said, and Jimmi didn’t protest.
The small orange petpet wandered into the cool, dark interior of the hut. The scent of sea salt hung in the air, and there was a Kyrii with wild blonde hair sitting in the corner. There was a bone lodged sideways through his nose. Woogy winced and let out a squeak.
“Welcome to my little hut,” the Kyrii said softly. His words seemed to linger in the air, hazy like mist. “Ahh, I guess you came here to have your fortune told, eh?”
“Yes...” Woogy squealed. “Could you tell me--?”
“Well... here it is...” said the Mystic. “You will defend yourself against several insane Monoceri.”
“What? That’s not what I asked,” said Woogy crossly.
“Remember to come back tomorrow!!!” the Island Mystic exclaimed. Then he shut his eyes.
“But can you tell me where the Fish Doughnutfruit is?” Woogy pleaded. “And is it yummy?”
The Mystic said nothing.
“Excuse me!” Woogy squealed. “Hello!”
The Kyrii stayed still, eyes closed, not a word coming from his mouth.
“Can’t you tell me more?” said Woogy.
“Yes,” whispered the Island Mystic. “It is yummy.” And then he was silent again.
Woogy left the hut feeling very confused.
“Well?” Jimmi asked hopefully.
“Watch out for Monoceri,” Woogy said, frowning.
“Is that it?” Jimmi looked crestfallen.
Woogy stared at the ground sadly. He was hungry and wanted to go home, back to the moist and warm depths of the groves.
“Oooh!” Jimmi shrieked suddenly.
“What, what!” Woogy cried, bouncing up and down.
“Monoceri live in the mountains,” Jimmi said slowly.
“D’you think the Island Mystic is telling us something?” Woogy wondered. He gazed up at the sharp grey peaks that overlooked the beach. They looked like storm clouds; cruel, menacing and dangerous.
“How could a doughnutfruit grow up there?” asked Jimmi.
“I thought they only grow in the groves,” Woogy replied.
“Maybe they do. Maybe we just weren’t looking hard enough,” Jimmi sighed.
They turned from the beach hut and headed back towards the jungle.
As the Hasees gradually picked their way back through the moisture-laden shrubs, the sun began to sink below the horizon. A pink glow wriggled through the canopy above the forest, dotting the floor with colour and giving Jimmi and Woogy’s spirits a little lift.
“It was quite a fun day,” Jimmi squeaked, ducking below a large fern.
Woogy nodded in agreement, but then something caught his eye.
“Jimmi, look at this!” he gasped.
Jimmi doubled back and giggled. “It’s a bush, Woogy.”
“Nooo, it’s a special bush,” Woogy stared wide-eyed. “D’you not see?”
“Bleh!” Jimmi exclaimed. “It looks like a Monocerous!”
Woogy leapt up and down on the spot. “The Mystic isn’t an old fool.”
“Yes, he is,” Jimmi said. “There is nothing insane about shrubbery.”
Woogy glanced up into the fast-fading sunlight, his beady eyes darting around the foliage above. Jimmi started searching too.
“It must be there,” Woogy said quietly.
“THERE!” Jimmi squealed.
It was almost like seeing Fyora herself. Hanging from a branch, shining blue like the rarest sapphire, was the Fish Doughnutfruit.
They had found it.
There was just one, but Jimmi and Woogy knew they would have to share it after coming all this way. They shared an excited look, both forming an image of what it would be like to eat it.
“Yay!” Woogy chirruped. He glanced around and found a small rock.
“Wood!” Jimmi said simply and bounded off into the ferns. He emerged a few moments later dragging a long plank of wood from the deck of a ship.
As they had done so many years before, they made up a seesaw, carefully balancing the plank over the little rock.
“Let’s go get it!” Jimmi squeaked, and took his place on the seesaw.
Taking a deep breath, Woogy jumped up high and landed on the seesaw, throwing Jimmi high into the rafters of the treetops.
“Omg plssssss!” Jimmi screeched as he reached out to grab the Fish fruit. He felt the cold, smooth texture beneath his stubby paws and as he spiralled down away from the branches, he tore the doughnutfruit from its perch.
“Don’t eat without meeeeeeeeeeeeeeee!” Woogy exclaimed as he disappeared up into the air.
Jimmi jumped down onto the ground and waited for Woogy to land.
Flump! The orange Hasee soon joined his companion, and they both sat for a moment, with the doughnutfruit smiling up at them from the ground, just watching it in awe. It was round and blue, perfectly shaped, with two happy-looking eyes, a big grin, and a smattering of delicate scales. The faint smell of fish trickled into the air from it.
“It’s almost too nice to eat--” Woogy began, but Jimmi was already tearing it in half.
“On the count of three...” Jimmi whispered. “One... two... three!”
The two Hasees, at last, hardly daring to believe it was true, took a large bite of the fabled Fish Doughnutfruit.
And how did it taste?
Jimmi and Woogy exchanged a glance. Then without further hesitation, they jumped up and spat out their mouthfuls.
“Bleh!!!” Woogy complained.
“Gross!!” Jimmi squealed.
“It tastes like old fish and socks,” Jimmi said sadly.
The Hasees stared at the mangled doughnutfruit on the ground. They’d trekked through the jungle and almost climbed mountains for it, but now they decided it could stay in its hidden grove, next to the bush of the Monocerous. All they wanted to do now was get home and have a nice hot Doughnutfruit juice... Oh, and one of those Rainbow ones.
Or maybe the Blue.
No... The green.
Gold then. Gold goes with doughnutfruit juice.