Dry Danger: Part Two
The next night, Tomos set out across the Lost Desert, heading northward. With him, he carried a small pouch of precious water, which had reluctantly been given to him by Sutek before his departure. The Lupe would take a sip from it from time to time, just to wet his mouth. With the long journey ahead and the limited amount of water available, Tomos knew that he could not be too greedy while satisfying his thirst.
By the early morning of the following day, Tomos reached a world experiencing its third day of spring. Soft breezes became present as the sight of a dark woods came into his eyes. Smiling, Tomos hurried further, already picturing the great bags of gold in his head.
All around him was the cheerful disease known as 'Spring Fever', the least deadly of all the diseases known to Neopia. However, this feeling took on quite a different shape in the Haunted Woods, the first place Tomos chanced on encountering. Instead, frightening looking ghosts paraded about in the sun, creating more of a panic than joy among other neopets.
"Excuse me," Tomos said, stopping one of the passing Ghost Blumaroos, "but do you know where I can find your Prince? Or Princess? It is most necessary that I speak to one of them; the lives of many count on it."
"Woooooo..." spoke the Blumaroo, giving a shrug, than a shake of his head. "Wooo, wooo..."
"Oh, okay," replied Tomos, quite confused. "Thank you very much for your time."
"Woo," replied the Blumaroo, continuing on his way.
The next neopet Tomos encountered was a Halloween Korbat outside of a rather large castle. 'This neopet,' thought Tomos to himself, 'seems to be in some sort of costume. Maybe I will be able to understand this creature's words.'
"Excuse me, sir, but- " started Tomos, though he was soon cut off.
"Ma'am. I'm a witch, can't you see?" the Korbat replied, frustrated at the other's ignorance.
"Oh, yes, and a beautiful one at that," replied the Lupe, trying to make up for his mistake with a bit of 'wooing'. "I was just wondering if you could point me to the ruler of these parts. Surely you have a Prince or a Princess, right? Maybe even a king, right?"
Giggling to herself, the Korbat shook her head. "Sorry, sir, but we have no king. Nor do we have any rulers. You see, you don't need someone to order you about when all you have to do is scare them!" And with that, the Korbat flew off, leaving Tomos alone by the towers of the great castle.
'Well, I'll say,' thought Tomos. 'No ruler? I wonder who this belongs to, then...' But with a sudden, loud wail penetrating the castle walls and entering his ears, the Lupe decided that whoever lived there wasn't that important. And so, starting at a panicked run, Tomos charged on north, out of the Haunted Woods.
The Deserted Fairground was just north of the woods, and was the next place Tomos reached. All around him were spooky looking games with more than unpleasant looking hosts. From the wheel of Misfortune to the Carnival of Terror, Tomos got the distinct feeling that he wouldn't get any help from this place. And so, with a sigh, he passed through the area with a quickened pace, only stopping from time to time to pick the occasional pocket.
After a couple more days of travel, Tomos finally arrived at Neopia Central. Everywhere he looked, there were neopets hustling by him, each with some purpose or another. Surely there must be someone who could help his homeland here!
With the thought of riches back on his mind, Tomos began to navigate around the town, asking various neopets where he could find their ruler. However, each one would merely shake their head or ignore him, none bothering to even give the poor Lupe the time of day.
'What a bunch of rude neopets!' thought Tomos after once more attempting to get the attention of a passing red Gnorbu. He shook his head and then opened his water pouch.
"Drat!" he shouted, tossing the pouch when he realized that he was out of water, "Now what am I to do?"
"Well, if you have 200 neopoints on you, I'll sell you a cup of orange juice, friend, " said a Chia Shopkeeper, giving the Lupe the first smile he had seen since he arrived.
"200? For a cup of orange juice?" Tomos replied, shaking his head, "Now isn't that just a bit too greedy, don't you think?"
"Well, I suppose I could let it go for 180 instead..." replied the Chia, scratching his head.
"What, 20 neopoints?! Well, aren't you just soooo generous," said the Lupe with more than a fair bit of sarcasm.
"Now wait a minute here! It cost me 88 neopoints to buy this cup of orange juice, and I have a family to feed! I think 180 is more than a fair enough price!"
"If you're a millionaire, yes. But as I am not..."
"Fine, how about 150?" was the Chia's response, obvious getting pretty agitated by the whole ordeal.
"Now what a min-"
"Deal!" cried the Chia, exchanging the orange juice to Tomos in return for 130 neopoints.
"Thank you," replied Tomos, his own paws taking the orange juice into his own paws. As for his belt, there were three burgers hidden there by his shirt.
It took Tomos the rest of the day to finally make his way out of Neopia and find his way north to the edge of the sea.
"Oh, and now what am I supposed to do?" moaned the Lupe, seeing the sea that lay in his way.
"Travel over the rainbow, of course!" came the answer from nearby.
Turning, Tomos saw a giggling little Blumaroo doubling up in laughter nearby. Obviously cheerful, and obviously an annoying little brat.
"Who are you?" asked Tomos, "And how in the world am I supposed to do that?"
"I'm a Blumaroo!" the little neopet replied, giggling some more. "And I'm a Dice-A-Roo Champion! As for the way to Roo Island, follow me! It is easy to get over Rainbows; all you need to do is bounce!"
And with that, the Blumaroo was off. As for Tomos, he needed to run to keep up with the energetic fellow, following him over the rainbow and onto Roo Island.
"Wow, this place is surrounded by water!" proclaimed Tomos upon reaching the island. Turning to the other, he then ordered, "Little one, you must take me to your king."
Once more, the little Blumaroo burst into a fit of giggle. "He's in that castle, you silly Lupe! All you need to do is follow that road and then ask for King Roo!"
And with that, the little Blumaroo bounced off, joining what seemed like massive packs of others bouncing around the isle. Everywhere Tomos looked were Blumaroos: purple, red, yellow, pink, and every other imaginable color possible! Indeed, it seemed like every Blumaroo in the world had found its way to this bright and colorful little island.
It took the Lupe only a few minutes to reach the castle. Along the way, he took the care to pick the pocket of a rather rich looking Royal Blumaroo, only to find out that this neopet must have spent every last coin in order to get painted the color he was. However, upon reaching the castle, his thoughts were focused mainly on the riches he would receive once he had gotten the help he knew the neopets of the Lost Desert needed.
"I am here to see King Roo, sir," Tomos told a Blumaroo standing on the outside of the castle.
"Very well, come in. I'm sure he'll be glad to see you. I trust that you are here for a game of Dice-A-Roo? It is the best way in all of Neopia to win gold, food, prizes, and more!" the Blumaroo replied, gesturing for the Lupe to follow him.
Shaking his head, Tomos replied, "I'm sorry, but it would seem that I am here for a graver reason. You see... Wait, did you say gold? And food?"
Nodding, the Blumaroo added, "Yes, and for only 5 neopoints a round!"
Tomos could hardly see how he could pass up just a chance. Maybe he could just play a game or two, and then ask the king for help. Yes, just a couple of games, that would be all.
But it was not at all a couple of games Tomos played, nor was it anywhere near that number. With a dozen pieces of pizza and more than several portions of nachos by his side, Tomos had spent a good two hours playing the game, and still he was not tired of it.
"Again, again! I want to roll again!" he shouted.
"He wants to roll, he wants to roll!" the Blumaroos in the background chanted.
"Congratulations, sir! You won some nachos!" a Blumaroo cried, handing over another portion of nachos to the Lupe.
A purple Blumaroo sitting next to Tomos nudged him on the arm, whispering, "Hey, guess what? Blumaroos love nachos! I bet you didn't know that..." With a wink, the Blumaroo then sat back, almost as if expecting something in return for his words.
Suddenly, a large, Royal Blumaroo shouted out across the room, "King Roo is approaching! Bring forth his dice!"
And then the Lupe remembered what his original intent for coming to the castle had been: to help the people of the Lost Desert, and, most importantly, get paid richly for doing so.
"Sir, may I have a word with you?" asked the Lupe as King Roo entered the room.
King Roo glanced over at Tomos, a big smile on his face. "Of course you can, friend, just get me my dice!"
"They're right here, sir," replied the Royal Blumaroo who had announced the king's coming, handing the pair of dice to his king.
Clearing his throat, Tomos got ready to make his plea. Surely such a cheery looking Blumaroo would not refuse his service, right?
"Sir, King Roo, I was hoping you could help us of the Lost Desert," Tomos started out by saying. "There has come to our home a grave drought, causing much panic among us all. Mostly everyone has left, and those of us who have remained cannot stay there much longer. We need help; most of all, we need water."
King Roo, who was busy playing his favorite game, merely nodding, saying, "I see, I see," in a quite distracted kind of way.
Nonetheless, the Lupe pressed on, saying, "Sir, surely there is something you can do?"
However, still King Roo did not look up. Instead, he said,"Come, why don't you play another game with me? Maybe later, after dinner, we can talk about this... uh... whatever your problem is. For now, let us play!"
With a sigh, Tomos took up the dice and let them roll. An arrow! On to the next set of dice! Already the Lupe was feeling better about the king's decision. After all, there was always time for these serious matters after dinner.
To be continued...