Baery's Quest: Part Four
He was born from the smallest of Draik eggs, into a family of Draiks. He was always the runt and the smallest of his older brothers, but he also knew he was destined to be greatest of all of them. That was what he liked to dream anyway. While sitting at his desk in Neoschool, he would really be off in some foreign land battling evil and defending justice. It was not until he decided to set off on a quest however, that he began his destiny.
“Let me get this straight,” Ailemea said slowly. Baery turned to her, throat dry from his explanations to the two girls about his exploits. Ailemea continued. “You, a tiny and weak Draik, left a home of loving brothers and owner to seek a myth and sleep on the ground? Are you crazy?”
“It has to be true!” Baery said. “Every legend is based in fact!”
“Maybe someone made it up from the facts about the Draik Egg Smugglers,” Mimi mused, staring at the little blue Draik with interest. Ailemea snorted.
“Please, Mimi, that is as much as a myth as ‘Draco’s Egg’,” the blue Xweetok rolled her eyes.
“You never know, a lot of Draiks have been going missing lately and a lot of new eggs have become available...”
“Sorry, but what are you talking about?” Baery interjected, suddenly wild with excitement. Mimi smiled, loving to tell a good story, and leaned towards the Draik.
“There’s a rumor about a secret organization of smugglers that kidnap little Draiks and imprison them in cracked Pteri eggs. They then sell them and get a juicy profit.”
“Pteri eggs?” Baery repeated, suddenly recalling something.
“Yes, what about it?” Mimi asked. Baery hesitated, then related the story of his late night venture around Meridell, having overheard the Meerca’s, Acara’s, and the mysterious “Cemia’s” conversation. As he finished his tale, Mimi let out a low whistle.
“You think it’s just a myth now, Aile?” she asked the blue Xweetok. Ailemea was staring wide-eyed at Baery.
“If it is true... then that means you are in danger, Baery.” The three petpets on her head and shoulders cooed ominously.
“What do you mean?” Baery demanded.
“Not only will you be attractive because you are a runaway Draik, but they will also be searching for the Draik that overheard their plans. It won’t be long before they hear about a certain tiny Draik conveniently locked up in the Citadel’s dungeons!”
As if in reply to Ailemea’s words, a voice that Baery had hoped never to hear again echoed through the corridors beside the dungeons.
“Please, sir, I’m looking for my little brother,” the voice of “Cemia” said wistfully. “He got lost in Meridell a couple of days ago and I’ve been just so worried about him, so when I heard about the Draik that was locked up in the Great Citadel’s dungeons...”
“Righto. We have that one. Come with me!” Footsteps were approaching and Mimi and Ailemea looked at Baery in horror.
“We have to do something!” Mimi hissed, suddenly whispering.
“I know, but what can we do!” Aile hissed back. Baery glanced out the bars and saw shadows approaching.
“They’re coming!!” he moaned.
“Boom,” the baby Yurble on the floor suddenly said. Mimi and Ailemea blinked and then looked at each other.
“I don’t think...”
“If you don’t tell...”
“Very well.” Ailemea turned to the wall that faced outside and picked up Nexy. “Here goes nothing,” she muttered, closing her eyes. Nexy suddenly began tossing fireballs ecstatically at the wall. Mimi stepped in front of Baery and sheltered him from flying sparks. When the smoke cleared, they were facing the sky.
“Ok, I’ll take Nexy and Suki and Aros,” Mimi said and then whistled. Two Eyries glided out of the clouds and perched in the dungeon. The footsteps outside the dungeon were getting louder.
“Hurry!” Ailemea said urgently as Mimi climbed onto an Eyrie’s back. She placed Nexy neatly in Mimi’s lap and then Aros and Suki jumped smoothly into the baby Yurble’s lap. The Eyrie leaped into the air and flew away from the dungeon.
The guard and Cemia were now just down the corridor from the dungeon. “Hurry!” Ailemea said, grabbing Baery’s paw and pulling him onto the second Eyrie. Haelee dug her claws into Ailemea’s mane and they clung to the Eyrie’s neck.
The Eyrie’s wings began to pump and he slowly lifted off of the dungeon ground. Then he plopped back down. “Sorry, give me a minute, I had to carry a Skeith to the Neohospital today.”
“Just in this cell right here,” the guard said behind them and then yelled in surprise. Baery glanced behind them and saw the thing that was Cemia staring in surprise at them.
“OPEN THE DOOR, YOU FOOL, HE’S GETTING AWAY!” Cemia yelled.
“BAERY, COVER YOUR EYES!” Ailemea shrieked. Baery closed his eyes as the Eyrie dived out of the dungeon, and felt a brush of magic fly at the guards. There was a flash and Cemia screamed. The Eyrie quickly flew downward.
“He’s smaller than average, and plain blue,” Clover said tearfully, her eyes red. Landon, Joshie, and Jake stood awkwardly and rather sadly behind her as she spoke to the Defender of Neopia. “I really don’t know what would have persuaded him to leave like this and...” Once again the owner burst into tears and Landon stepped forward to offer his shoulder.
“Um, pardon me?” a soothing voice said. “Did I hear that you had misplaced your little Draik?” The family and Defender turned to see the new arrival. A red Meerca, covered in scars, smiled placatingly at them.
“Yes. The youngest. Baery.”
“I am so sorry. And are these your other pets?” The Meerca smiled at Landon and the twins. They frowned and shifted uncomfortably under his gaze.
“Yes. Landon, Joshie, and Jake,” Clover gestured half-heartedly. “And you are?”
“Oh, I am so dreadfully sorry – my name is Minto.”
Cemia stomped furiously down the corridors. She flicked her mutant Draik tail back and forth, trying to reign in her fury. The Darigan Techo that had led her to the cell had gained his reward, now hidden in the deepest dungeon Cemia could find. Her tail flicked again, how could that little thing have gotten away?!
At least she knew one thing. Baery. The name of the little blue Draik. Lucky for Cemia, the foolish Xweetok had shouted it before temporarily blinding her and the Techo. Cemia climbed easily to the top of the Darigan Citadel and sat there, waiting. In due time, a Pteri flew out of the clouds and hovered in front of her.
“Message from Minto, my Lady,” the green Pteri reported.
“What is it?” Cemia demanded.
“He says that he has found quite a catch. A family of four Draiks, one of which has run away – he believes this will make your order easier to fill, though nothing so big as this will be has been thought of, he awaits your approval,” the Pteri said. Cemia froze and looked at the Pteri.
“What did he say the names of the Draiks were?” she hissed.
“I believe they were Landon... Joshie and Jake...and Billy? No no... Bob. No! Babbly...”
“Baery...” Cemia growled.
“Yes that’s it!” the Pteri cried. Cemia smiled. It was not pleasant and the Pteri flinched.
“This is all fitting together perfectly,” Cemia said quietly. She stood and told the Pteri what to do. Within ten minutes he was flying full speed away, back towards Neopia Central. Cemia smiled once more. This was too good.
Ailemea closed her eyes tight against Baery’s back, not wishing to look down. Baery had kept his eyes closed since Aile had yelled, and he didn’t wish to anger her by opening them now. The Eyrie flew all around Neopia before landing neatly next to Shenkuu. Ailemea handed the Eyrie a bag of neopoints then dragged Baery to a tree where Mimi and Nexy and their petpets sat waiting.
“Where have you been?” Mimi demanded. “It has been hours!”
“The Eyrie was trying to lose anyone that might have been tailing us,” Ailemea explained.
“And in doing so, was able to find your trackers once again,” Mimi said, frowning into the distance. They turned and saw a green speck approaching.
“Uh-oh! It is that mutant Draik – Cemia! Hide!”
“No, Baery. It’s only a Messenger Pteri.” They all turned and found a very tired Pteri collapsing in front of them.
“Are you... Baery?” it breathed heavily. Baery hesitated before nodding. It sighed with relief. “This...” it said, “is for you!” It dropped a small bundle in front of the Draik then promptly turned and flew away. The four pets gathered curiously around, though they all only stared fearfully at the package.
“What if it is some kind of poisonous gas that is going to release and kill all of us?” Mimi said uncertainly. Aile nodded in agreement. Baery only frowned. It was Nexy that opened the bundle.
A royal boy Draik’s hat sat limply on the ground, a clover and a note inside. Baery’s heart froze and he snatched up the note.
I have your family. Come alone.
To be continued...