Tales of a Petpet Adventure: Part One
This special two-part series was written in celebration of my one-hundredth issue anniversary of being in the Neopian Times. I’ve come a long way since my first appearance nearly two years ago in Issue 247 and I hope this story reflects that. Back then, I could never have imagined being where I am today, and I’d like to thank all the people who have helped me get this far—my friends and family, my readers and reviewers, and most importantly, Droplet and everyone else at TNT who helps to make this incredible periodical everything that it is.
Here’s to another hundred issues. I hope you enjoy the story.
“Password?” the bush said and rustled a bit.
“Weewoo,” said a Faellie in response.
But a moment later, a Symol sidled out from behind the bush and nodded towards the Faellie. “Good to see you again, Blurfle. How’s it going?”
The Faellie shrugged. “Good, I guess. How about you?”
“Just fine, my thanks.” The Symol shook his head. “Anyways, the group is meeting a bit further in than usual. All these rumors of Sloth invading have set us all on edge.”
Again, the Faellie nodded. “I know, I know. Well, thanks for telling me.” With a friendly wave, he walked past the Symol and into the darkened forest. In seconds, Blurfle had jumped up and flapped his wings—he’d been practicing—and in seconds more he was flying through the trees.
The light of a small campfire soon came upon him, and the Faellie landed lightly before walking out of the forest and into the camp. He perked his ears for a second, expecting the enthusiastic shrill of Flo the Flowper, their self-proclaimed leader and organizer of the Petpet Retreat, but alas, it did not come.
“Oh, hi, Blurfle,” said a Feloreena as she noticed him. “How’ve you been?” Her voice was softer than usual, clearly saddened.
Blurfle took a seat on a log opposite her and sighed. “Been doing good, I guess.” He stared at the fire for a moment. “Boy, it’s quiet without Flo.”
The Feloreena nodded. “Sure is.” She, too, sighed. “But that’s the fate of Lab Petpets. One day you’re in, the next you’re out.”
An older Doglefox to her left grumbled something, then spoke up. “‘Tis why we ran away, me brother an’ me.” He pointed a claw towards a red bucket at his feet; two eyes peered up from inside and the Pile of Soot sneezed. “Jus’ one more zap and I knew he’d be done for, so I packed our things and fled. Doubt we’ve even been missed yet.”
Blurfle nodded. “Well, Fox, you’ve got to do what you’ve got to do.”
No one spoke for a few moments and the fire crackled away. All of a sudden, a yellow blur leapt out of the trees and landed near the logs—“Muhahahahahahaha!”
The grinning Wain looked around the clearing, frowned noticeably when no one spoke up, and then waddled over next to Blurfle to take a seat on the log.
A chill wind blew over them, and in a little more time a small grey Petpet with slender, drooping ears and large, tired eyes wandered in and plopped down upon yet another log. “Hear the news?” he said. “Sloth’s taken the Space Station.”
“Muhahahahahahaha!” the Wain wailed enthusiastically. But again, no one cared to notice.
“No, Marvin,” the Feloreena said softly, “I hadn’t heard that. Wasn’t it always his, though? I mean, well, I don’t know....” She shook her head and sighed.
“Doesn’t matter if it’s his or not,” Fox said, brandishing a clenched paw. “The Space Faerie kicked ‘im out eight years ago. That Station’s rightfully ours now.”
“True, true,” the Feloreena whispered.
Again, silence. The fire crackled, the wind blew, a shrill cry came from the forest. Everyone looked up and gazed into the thick and dark trees. The leaves rustled a bit, a twig snapped. The Symol from before wandered into the light and nodded to them reassuringly.
“Just a Chumablah,” he said, “no need to worry.” He paused and turned towards the Feloreena, whose white and pink fur had noticeably paled at his arrival. “You alright, Miss Perdy?”
Perdy took a breath and quickly straightened herself. “Oh, yes, I am, thank you.”
Once more, the Symol nodded. “Than I shall be on my way again. Goodnight, all.” He turned and gave a backhanded wave as he faded deeper into the darkened trees.
And again, perhaps for the last time that night, there was silence. The fire crackled and the wind blew, and Perdy yawned and Marvin made some comment about the world coming to an end and how all they could about it was sit around a campfire wasting time, until, at last, Blurfle leapt up from his seat and exclaimed, “I’ve got it!”
Everyone turned to look—rather, to stare—at him.
The Doglefox in particular looked particularly perturbed. “You’ve got what, boy?”
“I’ve got the solution to our problems,” the Faellie said.
The grey Snoogy shook his head, his slender ears swaying lazily back and forth. “Our problems are without end, Blurfle; no single idea can solve them all. The world’s going to end tomorrow and we’re all going to be no better off than we are now. I knew I shouldn’t have gotten out of bed today.”
“No, no, that’s where you’re wrong,” Blurfle insisted, waving his arms in dramatic gestures. “We can all solve our problems, and I know how to do it, too. All we need is a little excitement, so I propose—”
“Get on with it, boy—what d’you propose?”
Blurfle took a breath and beamed. “I propose we go on an adventure!”
Once more, there was silence. But this was a different kind of silence. The fire no longer crackled, it sang, and the wind didn’t blow, it bellowed. Small dervishes of dust and broken leaves spiraled around them, and the Faellie finally grew tired of standing and sat back down.
“An adventure?” Perdy said. “At a time like this? Blurfle, you can’t honesty expect that—what with Sloth invading and all—”
Again, the poor Wain went ignored.
“Of course I mean at a time like this!” Blurfle leapt up again, still moving his arms in extravagant gestures. “There’s no better time, is there? Who knows if we’ll still be here tomorrow—who knows if our owners will rise in the morning and flee, leaving us behind? The world is under attack, Perdy; the world may very well end this very instant—and you expect us to sit around and wait for it to come?
“No!” he said, thrusting his paw towards the sky, “I won’t stand for it!” Which was rather ironic to say at a time like this as he was, in fact, still standing. “Let’s go on an adventure, Perdy—let’s travel the world and live our last days to the fullest!” Pleased with himself, Blurfle sat back down upon the log and crossed his arms. “It’s what Flo would’ve wanted.”
A round of nodding circled the group.
“It does sound intriguing,” Perdy said at length.
“As long as I can bring m’ brother,” Fox added, “I’ll go.”
“Might as well join you,” Marvin said with a yawn. “It’s better than dying alone.”
“What about you, Haunt?” Perdy asked, and everyone turned towards the Wain.
The deal was set.
* * *
“That everything?” Blurfle asked. A few days had passed since their last meeting in the woods, and here they all were again, with backpacks and food and water aplenty for one grand adventure.
Fox checked his brother’s bucket to make sure he was safely fastened inside before he looked back at the Faellie. “Seems ready to me.”
“Then let’s head out,” Blurfle said, thrusting his paw skywards as he started marching.
“Aye, aye!” they all shouted, and the adventure had begun.
Morning turned to day, and they had marched northwards from the woods and up to the prairies west of Neopia Central. Great plains Lupes and Aishas threatened to attack then, but with one howl, Haunt had scared them all off. On occasion, woodland Bearogs had romped down to muddle their path, but Fox was well-equipped to take care of them, too.
Day turned to night, and they set up camp for the first time.
And finally, after a very repetitive week of adventuring, they made it to the base of Terror Mountain. None of them were quite sure what challenges and treasures still awaited them at the summit, but since the blistering heat of the Lost Desert was far less appealing than the chilly mountain air, and since everywhere else was out of the question for a troupe of wandering Petpets, it had been unanimously decided that this was where they were going.
So go they went, and here they were.
“What do we do now?” Perdy asked. “It looks awfully high.”
“Well,” Blurfle said, “it is a mountain.”
“But the maps said it was much shorter.”
Marvin shook his head. “Then we must’ve not been using Petpet maps. Go figure; we make it all the way here, only to find out the mountain’s too high for us to climb.”
Blurfle shook his head. “Nonsense—we can still make it! Let’s camp here for the night, and in the morning we’ll start hiking. We’ve got plenty of provisions, don’t we?”
His stomach rumbled and unconsciously he reached for the pouch hanging at his waist. Inside, his paw touched only emptiness.
“Okay,” he said, “we’ll stop at Happy Valley before we go any further. Sounds good?”
“Aye, aye!” The resounding answer was unanimous, except for Haunt and Fox’s brother, who couldn’t quite manage to make much more than unintelligible sounds of agreement.
* * *
“So there,” a Yullie drawled on as she loaded up their bags with fresh provisions, “you’re headin’ up the mountain, are ye?”
Blurfle nodded as he counted exact change and then placed it on the counter for the Yullie to take. “That’s the plan. Know anything exciting up there for us?”
“No, not quite, well, not quite exactly, at least.”
That grabbed everyone’s attention, and they all crowded around her.
“Well,” Blurfle said, “what is it?”
“Well,” the Yullie said, “there’s been some rumors, y’know, and they tell o’ tales o’ wild things up in those mountains, wild things the likes of you or me ‘ave never seen. They say,” she looked sideways, then other ways, then back at them and leaned over the counter, lowering her voice, “they say there’s a giant Snowickle up in those mountains that hoards to your hearts’ content.”
“Ooh,” they all murmled.
“Then that’s what we’ll do,” Blurfle said, “we’ll find that great Snowickle in the sky and—and—and we’ll do something!”
Everyone cheered, at least slightly, and grabbed their bags.
“Thanks for all the help, ma’am,” Blurfle said, waving to the Yullie as he turned around and pulled his parka tighter around him before they shuffled through the door. This was going to be an amazing adventure. At least, if they could make it up the mountain, it would be.
To be continued...