Battle Quills... ready! Circulation: 158,073,880 Issue: 316 | 2nd day of Storing, Y9
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A Haunted Path: Part Two

by ayame_23


When the snow on the ground began to melt and then disappear altogether, Telos finally stopped taking quick glances behind him. They’d finally gotten off of Terror Mountain and were successfully in Tyrannia. There was no longer any need to worry about the great, hulking beast that inhabited the snow-peaked mountains.

      “Thanks for waking me up last night, Dofrey,” he said to the creature trotting along beside him. “I kind of like having a petpet now.”

      Telos had shrugged out of his sweater and untwined his scarf and was in the process of tucking them into the backpack when something made him stop.

      “So I finally get the appreciation I deserve?”

      Telos jolted and looked around, but he could not find the source of the voice. He could have sworn...

      “Who was that, Dofrey?” Telos murmured, scratching his head and looking around. “I think I must be hearing voices.

      “Hardly,” the voice snorted. “and can’t you come up with anything more creative to call me? I’m well aware that I’m a Dofrey.”

      With wide eyes, Telos looked down at the petpet. He pointed dumbly at the creature.

      “You? Are you talking to me?” he choked. “But petpets can’t talk!”

      The Dofrey stamped its hoof. “Of course I’m talking to you.”

      But its mouth wasn’t moving, of that Telos was certain.

      “I must be going crazy,” he muttered.

      “Don’t be ridiculous. You just accepted me as a petpet, and that grants me the possibility of being able to speak to you. Didn’t you ever wonder how your friends conversed with their petpets?” The Dofrey’s mouth didn’t move, but he eyed Telos dryly.

      “I-- I guess I didn’t really ever think about it.”

      “Obviously,” the Dofrey remarked.

      “So, you're actually really my petpet now?” Telos asked, uncertain.

      The Dofrey dipped its head, but, instead of attacking, it scooped up a clump of grass into its mouth.

      “Yes,” the Dofrey replied, speaking around his mouthful of food, “I suppose so.”

      Telos watched the petpet chomp on its meal. “Then, what’s your name?”

      “My name is Apt.”

      Telos pursed his lips. That was an odd name. Short and sweet, he guessed.

      “I guess that makes us friends, Apt.”

      Apt nodded, and then began to trot off. “Come along then. We’ve still got a long ways to go before we reach the Haunted Woods.”

      Telos followed dutifully behind, thinking of a new question he wanted to ask the petpet every few minutes.

      “Am I the only one that can hear you?” Telos finally questioned as they passed through the small settlement of Tyrannia.


      “Cool,” Telos replied simply.

      His attention was averted to the strange rock sculptures that rose up around them. Everything here appeared to be made of rock, even the furniture. Telos wondered if they even ate rocks for food.

      The pair passed by a Tyrannian JubJub and Usul, and Telos was forced to wonder if they had rocks for brains as well.

      “Ugga ugg ug!” the JubJub shouted.

      “Ug ugga ug ug!” the Usul answered, and thumped a paw on the ground.

      Telos’s brows rose.

      “Don’t stare, Telos,” Apt commanded. “It’s rude.”

      Telos blinked and obediently looked away. A Scorchio waddled past and caught Telos’s attention instead. The squat creature had a club slung over his shoulder, and he was dragging what looked like a rug behind him. He shuffled over to the JubJub and Usul and raised the rug in their faces.

      “Ugga ugga ug ugga ugggg!” it greeted them.

      Telos stopped to stare at the exchange.

      “Ugga!” The Usul pointed at the rug and clapped.

      The JubJub seemed to disagree, and he shook his head. “Ug.”

      The Usul pouted in response, and the Scorchio slammed his club on the ground.

      “Ugga ugga ugga ug ug!” he shouted in a tone that Telos believed to be angry.

      The JubJub shook his head again, and, with a disgruntled cry, the Scorchio turned and slumped away, still dragging the rug behind him.

      “Telos,” Apt called him, “are you finished eavesdropping now?”

      Telos turned back to the Dofrey and continued to follow him. “How could I be eavesdropping? I have no idea what they were saying.”


      The following day, Telos and Apt had made it to the end of Tyrannia. The two stood on the shore and looked out across the broad expanse of water that separated them from Meridell. Excitement surged up into Telos. He had high hopes that Meridell and Brightvale would be magnificent places to see and visit. Now, all he had to do was cross the water.

      Telos trotted down to the docks where several Tyrannian creatures were going about their business. Apt followed contently behind him.

      Telos made a beeline for a Kacheek who was unloading his small boat.

      “Hey!” Telos waved.

      The Kacheek looked up.

      “You wouldn’t by chance be giving rides in that boat, would you?”

      The Kacheek continued to stare at him blankly, in the middle of unloading a crate.

      “Hello, mate? Can I have a ride in your boat?”

      “He doesn’t understand you,” Apt informed him.

      “Oh,” Telos sighed.

      This could prove difficult.

      Telos pursed his lips and then decided to be brave. “Ugga ugga oog oog ug ugga?”

      The Kacheek dropped the crate and straightened, glaring at Telos. A couple of Neopians around them snickered, and the Kacheek placed his hands on his hips. Telos took a step back.

      “I think you insulted him,” Apt told him what he already knew.

      “I’m aware of that,” Telos replied dryly.

      Wanting to correct his mistake quickly, Telos tried another approach.

      “Could we,” Telos began, gesturing to himself and Apt, “take a ride on your boat,” he paused to point at the Kacheek and then imitate someone rowing a boat, “to Meridell?”

      He finished off the sentence by pretending to set a crown on top of his head, and then he pushed out his belly, wrapped his arms around it, and laughed. He hoped it was a fairly decent impression of King Skarl.

      The Kacheek was silent for a moment, and then he laughed loudly.

      “UGG!” he proclaimed and tilted his head toward the boat.

      He turned and climbed onto it.

      “I think that may be a yes,” Telos decided, and he followed suit.

      When the Kacheek didn’t bother to push him and Apt over the side of the boat, Telos assumed he was correct. He made sure to hand a few neopoints over to the Kacheek in appreciation, and then he settled back to enjoy the trip.


      The venture across the sea was a beauty of its own. Telos spent the majority of his time peering over the side of the boat, marveling at the fish that coursed through the water with ease, some seeming to follow the boat curiously. He enjoyed the smell in the air of salt and water, and the way the sun was never too warm for him to laze on the deck. Apt snoozed in a pile of clothes, and the Kacheek remained silent and steady at the wheel. Telos wouldn’t have been able to communicate with him anyway.

      The night was a different story. Half-asleep, Telos was stirred continuously by a haunting cry. It sounded like sobbing, like someone in distress. The noise was painful to his heart, but it also frightened him more than he’d like to admit.

      “The Drenched,” Apt informed him.

      Telos had heard stories of the Drenched, the three sisters that lured sailors to their doom. He stayed in the cabin of the ship until morning, afraid to go back out on deck.

      They reached Meridell in two days time. The Kacheek dropped them off, but didn’t stay around for a nice chat. In a series of grunts, in which Telos expected he was saying goodbye, the Kacheek turned his boat back out onto the water, heading home or somewhere else.

      “Friendly fellow,” Telos commented, as they hiked from the docks to the village of Meridell.

      Telos studied the assortment of signs that pointed to key locations of Meridell as they proceeded closer to the castle. He paused to study the one that pointed to the location of the Turmaculus and eyed Apt devilishly.

      “Don’t even think about it,” the Dofrey warned.

      Telos chuckled and continued on. They walked in silence until they came upon the Ye Olde Food Shoppe it boasted an assortment of Merifoods, and Telos’s stomach growled in appreciation. He studied the options, quickly passed over the less-appetizing stone soup, and ended up buying himself a loaf of yeasty bread and a cup of water. He purchased Durbage for Apt, and the two ate at their leisure outside of the Shoppe. The bread was warm and soft, and Telos took his time with it. He broke off one piece at a time to make it last longer. Apt dove into his Durbage with less care. The noise of him smacking his food around in his mouth had Telos’s brow raising.

      “Delicious,” Apt commented when finished.

      Only halfway done with his own, Telos decided to save it for later, and he dropped it into his backpack.

      Telos nodded. “On to Brightvale then?”

      They started off.

      “Stop! Thief!” a terrified cry rose.

      Telos and Apt looked up just in time to see an Aisha come hurtling their way.

To be continued...

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Other Episodes

» A Haunted Path: Part One
» A Haunted Path: Part Three
» A Haunted Path: Part Four

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