It's Raining! It's Pouring! Old Faeries Are Snoring!: Part Three
They decided to sleep beneath a large tree, using its trunk kind of as a backing for their little camp. Before coming with them, Myshinki slithered back to her nest and nest and grabbed her small supply of food. She had some shriveled up berries and edible bark. It wasn’t much, but it certainly added to their supplies. With the oncoming dark, they felt that one Neopet should always keep watch, so Shadows offered to take the first watch.
She sat a little ways off from her friends who began to settle for the night. Myshi and Ki bickered like the twins did, arguing about who was in each other’s space, and it made her miss her family. By now, they would realize that she was gone and would probably be worried sick about her. It hadn’t been her intention to make them worry about her and now that she was gone, she felt somewhat guilty about it. What if they couldn’t find the faeries? Then all the stress and pain they’d caused their families would be for nothing and they would still have to move.
It was difficult not to get bummed thinking along those lines, so instead, she tried really hard to focus on the sounds of the night. Small bugs sang in the dark while the leaves whispered to each other when the occasional wind blew threw them. Periodically, she’d head the cry of some creature hunting in the night, but it was always distant and not enough to make her alert the others.
Finally after a very long, uneventful time, she crawled over and woke up Rillion. Then she curled up in a ball and went to sleep. She’d expected it to be difficult, between the fear that something might eat them and the guilt over worrying her family, but it was as easy as closing her eyes and drifting off.
When she woke up again, the sun was peering through here and there, just enough to light up the forest but not enough to chase away all the shadows. Myshi and Ki were already arguing, the two heads sticking their tongues out at each other as well as turning their heads away from the other, as if they had somewhere to go. It was a humorous sight and Shadows had to fight to keep from laughing at them.
Eventually they all woke up and shared a small breakfast of crackers, cheese, and berries. Then they continued upward with Myshinki and Rillion staying on opposite sides of each other. It was difficult but enjoyable making their way up the side of the mountain until all of a sudden, an oversized Mutant Kacheek with a brain pulsing out of his head leapt into the middle of them. Rillion hid faster than she’d ever seen him move before. His encounter with Myshinki had really put fear into him. Ehdis ran screaming off into the woods, and Myshi and Ki hid their heads under their arms.
“Myshinki, the outcast duo, what are you doing here?” the Kacheek snarled, pacing a circle around the cowering Hissi. His words were like daggers thrown at them and they only slunk closer to the ground at the sound of his voice. “Perhaps I should just eat you and be done with it. Then you wouldn’t bother anyone anymore.” The Kacheek laughed cruelly and stepped towards the frightened Myshi and Ki.
“Leave them alone,” Shadows yelled and threw a nearby stone at the Mutant Kacheek. He whirled upon her with fire in his eyes.
“Who are you?” he growled, covering the distance between them in one jump. He towered over her, his breath coming down in foul smelling putrid clouds, and she suddenly realized just how small she was.
Without flinching or batting an eye, she confidently replied, “I am Shadows, Myshi and Ki’s friend, and I don’t like you picking on them.”
The Kacheek laughed and held his sides as if it were the funniest thing he’d ever heard, “And just what are you going to do about it? Perhaps I will eat you instead of Myshinki.” Another rock bounced off his head and he spun around to see Rillion standing there with another rock prepared in his hand.
“I don’t think that’s a good idea,” he announced, tossing the rock up and down in his hand as a warning. Ehdis crept from the bushes, a rock in her paws as well though she didn’t look nearly as confident as Rillion.
“I’ll crush you,” the Kacheek promised and began stomping in their direction until another rock bounced off his head.
“You might want to rethink bothering us,” Myshi threatened as Ki’s winged hand through another stone at the massive mutant. The Kacheek dodged it and looked around slowly at the four of them, each one prepared to take him on for the others. His brain pulsed faster from his forehead and Shadows could see him trying to think a way to still walk away with some dignity.
Finally, after turning around to look at them all again, he puffed up his chest and announced, “Fine, I’m walking away but if I ever see you again, Myshinki, I will finish this then.” Shadows could see the visible effort it took Myshi and Ki not to show their fear at that moment and it took all of her self control not to chuck the rock she’d scooped up at the menacing mutant. However, he was leaving and she didn’t want to stir things up more than they already were.
The moment he had lumbered out of sight, Ki cried out, “Thank you. That is the first time that anyone has ever stood up for me. Thank you, thank you, and thank you again.”
Myshi mumbled as she dropped her rock, “Anyone else we’ve ever known would have pushed us forward when he was threatening us. Thank you.” Shadows looked over at Rillion who looked shyly embarrassed. Hard to hold a scare tactic against someone when one saw why they had to do the scaring.
“Eh, you’re one of us now and we stick together through the thick and thin. That’s why we’re here now and need to continue. If we don’t find the faeries, our parents are going to separate us all,” Shadows urged them forward. Not only did she want forge onward so that they could hopefully reach the peak by the end of the day but she didn’t want to stick around in case the Mutant Kacheek decided to come back for a second round.
They continued their trek onward and Shadows asked Myshinki, “So, how’d you end up with you two in one body?”
“I don’t know,” Ki replied, “We were just always this way. Myshi was always hatching plans that were guaranteed to get us into trouble and I was always the brains trying to get us out of it.”
“What she’s leaving out,” Myshi piped up, glaring at her partner head, “is that I’m the one who’s always trying to get us to have fun. Ki’s such a stick in the mud, always don’t do this, don’t do that, blah blah blah. As long as Ki’s attached to me, I’ve got to try to live a boring existence.”
“Boring? A boring existence would not have had us stupidly kidnapping Rillion. A boring existence would not have us playing pranks on the Neopets that could squish us if they found out it was us. Boring would not be trying to catch Balthazar while he’s catching faeries and see if he’d give us one for free. No, boring would be sticking to our nest and staying out of trouble but that’s something you cannot nor will you ever be able to understand,” Ki blew up, spewing the words in fast, breathless manner.
Everyone was kind of stunned by her outburst and then Myshi broke the silence, “Yeah, but it would be more exciting if you let me do everything that I wanted to.” Shadows burst out laughing, she couldn’t help it. The two heads were too much. Rillion started chuckling with her and then Ehdis, and finally the Mutant Hissi joined in.
“I’ve never seen anyone bicker nearly as much as you two do and I have two younger siblings who are twins,” Shadows explained after she regained her composure.
“Yeah, but see your siblings can go to separate beds at the end of the night. Ki and I are stuck,” Myshi explained and Ki nodded her head in agreement.
“I guess I can see where that would be a problem,” Shadows admitted though secretly, she was kind of jealous of Myshi and Ki. No matter what happened, they had each other. It sounded as if they had lead a very intense life and through it all, they’d always known that they’d have a friend at the end of the night that couldn’t be taken from them. That was something that she wondered if they knew or appreciated.
Soon, the hike began taking its toll upon all of them, for they were on a sharp up-mountain angle.
“We better be nearing the top,” Rillion groaned. “I can’t take much more of this.” Ehdis huffed in agreement and gave a weary look at Shadows as if she hoped that she would say they could stop. Of course, Shadows didn’t. They were nearing the top and once they made it there, they would find out for once and for all if the faeries could help them.
“What if we get to the top and there aren’t any faeries? What if we made this journey for nothing?” Rillion griped. She refused to acknowledge his question because doing so would make it seem like a reality. In the back of her head, she was already terrified that it was.
As if their discouragement had made it appear, they suddenly came upon the mouth of a cave. It was dark and threatening but from the little light that was able to penetrate it, they could make out stairs.
“I think we should go in there,” Shadows decided.
Ehdis protested, “What if there are more creatures in there like that Kacheek? I don’t want to be eaten by some wild beast.”
“Those stairs were not made by any Neopet from around here, I think that’s faerie handiwork,” Myshi explained and this seemed to be reassuring enough to Ehdis because her face lightened up.
“Then it’s decided; we’re going in,” Shadows announced and stepped forward.
“Wait, shouldn’t we call out first, just in case?” Rillion asked but she shook her head. Without waiting for any further protests, she stepped into the cave and began the descent into darkness.
To be continued...