Jack and the Seven Curses of Renee: Part Six
“We need to find somewhere to rest for the night,” Lena said as our small party trekked back through Neopia Central towards the Neolodge. Our numbers had been slowly diminishing as the Aishas' curses were lifted one by one, and now there were merely three mutant Aishas (Penny, Lena, and Cyrus) and myself (the dashing, shiny-smiling Lupe named Jack).
The sun was just beginning to go down and we had nowhere to rest for the night. None of us had even one single neopoint to our names, much less our pockets. So there we were- three mutant Aishas and a Lupe without a home for the night. Once again, it was time for stealing. Frankly, it hadn't occurred to us that we could have just sat under the Money Tree in order to get the neopoints to pay for renting a room in the AstroVilla to remove Sheila's curse. However, tonight the idea came to us, and off we went to the Money Tree, hoping that our fellow Neopians were feeling at least somewhat jealous.
“What is this?!” Lena chucked a large mass of seaweed out of the way. Fortunately, for this story's comic relief, it landed on someone's head. Unfortunately, this 'someone' was a very large blue Jetsam with very long teeth. He was very angry and called us a few words that shouldn't be said in the Times. Personally, I think he just had his flippers in a wad. Why in the world wasn't he in the water in the first place? If you're an aquatic Neopet, you should probably stay in the water for your own sake. (And in this case, for the sake of everyone else around you as well.)
“Hey! I SEE a WEED!” I triumphantly held up a large bushel of green seaweed and Lena and Penny groaned at my ridiculously clever joke. You could have slapped them with funny and they wouldn't have noticed.
“Here's ten neopoints,” Cyrus called to us from the other side of the tree and tossed a brown bag towards us. “Wonderful. It's enough to stay at the Fleapit Motel.”
“I'd rather sleep on the street,” Lena muttered.
“I'm sure we can arrange something if you insist,” I answered and dodged an old right shoe that went whizzing past my ear. I have a feeling she was aiming at my nose, but I can't quite be sure. We would have to have her sign up for bagatelle practice or something after this was all over...
“Here's another five neopoints!”
“And another ten!” Cyrus and Penny came carrying their small bags towards us and dropped them in the middle of our huddle. “It's enough to stay at the Cheap Hotel,” Cyrus mused and began combining the neopoints all into one bag.
“Wait, they actually named a hotel that?” Lena was giving a disbelieving look that I had seen directed towards me so many times before. Not that I ever deserve it, mind you.
“You'll see,” Cyrus replied in his gruff way and set one of his mouthed antennae with the job of carrying the neopoint bag. It hung from a string rather comically over his back, but he didn't seem to mind too much.
“You've got to be kidding me! We can't stay here! It's... dangerous. Just look at it. It's probably crawling with Moaches and Mootix!” ***Authorial Note*** If you guessed that sentence's owner as being Lena, you're right on the money. I was thinking the same thing, but that whining was a bit much for me, personally. I was saving the complaining for when we were actually in the room. Penny's displeasure was written all over her face, but being the quiet one, she said nothing. I thought perhaps she might cry. Or go ballistic and explode like an exploding snowball. That would have been very interesting. And one less curse to work on... ***End**
Cyrus stepped up to the counter and attempted to coax his antennae into handing over the neopoints while we all decided whether or not it would be a health hazard to sit on the chairs in the lobby. I glanced up just in time to see Cyrus' antennae start slinging the neopoint bag around in the air like a Faerie sling shot. It made two full graceful arches before hitting the Cheap Hotel manager square in the face.
“Get out!!! OUT!” I had never seen an angrier Scorchio in my entire life. He was nearly blowing fire, and I swear I saw smoke erupt from his ears as he looked up at the rest of us. Penny's mutant face was magnified to three times its normal size as she gazed through a dusty aquarium, Lena was picking up a couch cushion with a pair of tweezers she'd gotten from goodness knows where, and I had just finished belching a series of letters that didn't quite add up to the entire alphabet. (What? It couldn't have gotten any nastier in there anyway.)
“Don't come back!” The Scorchio literally booted Cyrus out the door while Penny and Lena and I dodged his kicks and pushes.
“We're sleeping outside. End of story. Back to the Money Tree.” Cyrus was leaving no room for argument, I could see. We all trailed after him with sorrowful looks on our faces. His antennae were still passing the neopoint bag back and forth to one another merrily on the top of his head. Twice they socked him in the face with it, and Cyrus finally ended up wrestling it away from them by a bizarre set of fighting moves that I didn't even know he was capable of. Lena seemed impressed, anyway.
“Goodnight,” Penny muttered unhappily as she curled up under one of the Money Tree's large roots. The massive plant was already asleep.
The next morning we all rose with the sun and bathed in the Rainbow Pool before setting off towards Neopia's bay. We had left out ship from the earlier journey there, and hopefully it was still resting safely in harbor.
***Authorial Note*** It has come to my attention that I have completely neglected telling you dear readers whose antidote was next on the list. Penny was the lucky Aisha today, and she was told to bring a baby Fireball petpet to Taelia's igloo. You can guess the rest. Flooding, melting, catastrophic events... I'm a happy camper at this point, because excitement is good for reviews. ***End***
“Great! It's still here!” Lena and Penny were romping towards the ship while Cyrus and I chose to walk.
“Do you think we can man an entire ship with just four of us?”
“Well, Cyrus... we wouldn't have manned it in the first place. We would have Neopet'd it. And yes, I believe we can. It shouldn't be that hard, should it?” I grinned at him in a brotherly way and leapt off towards the ship before he could answer. Personally, I didn't see what the big deal was. One person to steer, and the rest of us row. We could get Penny to steer. Lena could row downstairs with us because she seemed a bit more hardy than the other female Aisha.
Three hours later we were just nearing the shores of Terror Mountain. Surprisingly enough, the journey had gone fairly smoothly so far. However, the crags and caves of the mountainside made us all a bit nervous. Penny had called us up from the rowing cabin to help her decide the best way to pull up the boat, but so far we hadn't found a good way. The ice on the water was as thick as a Tonu's skin and there was no easy way to get the ship through.
“We're going to have to drop anchor and swim across,” Cyrus finally said and began to head back towards the bow of the boat where we kept the anchor.
“Are you insane? That water is too cold! We'll freeze!” Lena dashed after him, sounding off complaints as she went.
“Just pull up the boat as close to shore as you can manage. I'll take care of the rest,” Cyrus answered.
“Hands to the ready! Pull up on the sails or we're going to run aground!”
I turned around and watched Penny guiding the ship through the icebergs like a professional. Where had she learned that? It made me wonder... just what kind of Aisha was she under all the mutant skin? She'd been so quiet the entire time that I really hadn't-
“Jack! Stop dallying and get over here!” That was Lena's voice. She was nearly being pulled overboard by the immense weight of the sails, and I raced to her rescue. ***Authorial Note*** Picture my shining fur wet with seawater and my paws quickly moving to take the rope from her as I single-handedly managed every sail on the entire ship. That was exactly how it went. And when this gets published and Lena arranges a press conference with TNT to straighten that out, you just remember dashing young Jack who saved the day all on his own. ***End***
“Good job with the sails,” Penny told us as she edged the boat in sideways towards the shore between two large icebergs. “Drop anchor!”
Cyrus and I heaved the anchor over the side of the boat while Penny held the wheel and Lena laughed at how hard we were straining. “Alright, now it's my turn,” Cyrus said and picked up a long coiled rope with a heavy weight at the end. “Watch.” The rope made a graceful arch in the air as it followed behind it's weight before dropping heavily into the snow at the foot of the crags. Cyrus held the other end of the rope, by the way. Granted, as far as any of us could tell, it wouldn't have mattered either way. He was acting completely odd with this rope trick.
“Alright, so you'll tie that off and then we'll slide down the rope?” Apparently Penny had caught the drift of his plan. Cyrus nodded eagerly while tying the rope off on the ship's main mast and Penny walked to the edge of the deck. “Well, I'll go first,” Penny said before jumping onto the rope and sliding all the way down to the snowy mountain base.
“I'm not doing that,” I told Cyrus. I knew there was a look of horror stretched across my face at the time, but you really can't blame me. I can't be handsome all the time.
“Good. You can stay here and watch the ship,” he answered before sliding down the rope after Penny. He wasn't quite as graceful as she had been. However, he beat the pants off Lena's pitiful slide. Or he would have, if it had been wearing pants. Now you have to realize, it was just me on that giant ship now. What about marauders and pirates? I wasn't going to have my face bashed in for that. Quickly I slid down the rope after them. ***Authorial Note*** I did not howl like a Petoot from rope burn. Whatever Lena tells you isn't true. ***End***
“What now?” Penny was looking up the steep slope a bit hopelessly.
“Start climbing,” I answered, which was apparently the wrong thing to say at the wrong time. I don't suppose the asking for a piggy-back ride helped much either.
So there we were: one dashing Lupe and three mutant Aishas climbing the slopes of Terror Mountain on a quest for a curse's antidote, all the while doing the bidding of the dark Faerie Renee.
To be continued...