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Telzleh's Quest: Part Six


by outsyder

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Chapter 6

When Telzleh reappeared, she found herself atop a small grassy hill. The sun was just starting to set in the distance and nighttime was fast approaching. She quickly scoured the area to find out where the amulet had taken her now before it got too dark. In the distance, she made out a familiar looking castle with a smiling Blumaroo head built into its façade which made her feel at ease. There was no mistaking the Castle of King Roo, a major landmark of Roo Island.

     A sigh followed by a comforting smile spread across Telzleh's face. She was finally sent to a place where there was no danger at all. After a four-month coma in Shenkuu, a concert-crashing in Kreludor, a bone-chilling blizzard at Terror Mountain and a nerve-freezing encounter of the undead in Meepit Oaks, the calm pastoral setting of jolly Roo Island was a welcome alternative.

     The only question on her mind was where, in an island where positive feelings were not only common but also the norm due to their fun-loving monarch, would she find one to be the energy recipient? There were simply so many happy natives here she couldn't even keep track of them all! Taking out the amulet from beneath her mane, she held it out and hoped the compass stones would pick up the one she was looking for. They didn’t fail her as one particularly flickered towards a small suburb nearby in the distance. Without time to waste, she walked down the hill and to her next positive energy target.

     Telzleh knew something was seriously wrong as she walked down the main thoroughfare of the neighborhood. Whereas Roo Islanders were cheerful and smiling, the Blumaroos she saw were sad and miserable. Most didn't even have the strength to bounce around and just dragged their tails behind them. What happened here?

     She saw an old red Blumaroo sitting down hunched on a wall nearby who called her over. "You're a newcomer here, aren't you?" he said in a raspy voice.

     Telzleh approached him and answered, "Yeah, I am. Just what happened here?"

     The Blumaroo coughed once and shook his head. "If I were you, missy, I'd leave this place as soon as you can. Hard times have fallen on Roo Island. You are best going somewhere far away before you get captured by that stupid place as well."

     Telzleh arched her brow. "That stupid place? Sir, I don't understand what you're saying."

     "Take a look around you, Missy. What kind of Blumaroos do you see walking around, huh?" he asked as he pointed behind him. Telzleh did so and finally noticed something amiss. Every Blumaroo she saw was either extremely old or crippled with various broken arms, legs and tails. There wasn't a single young and fit Blumaroo around at all.

     "Wait. I only see the elderly and disabled around. Where're the younger Blumaroos?" Telzleh commented as she looked at the scene in confusion.

     The Blumaroo coughed and said, "All the youngsters have left to go to that stupid fair. Can't think for the life of me how long it's been here, but it's a real pain! Only us old folks and those sick and hurt are left doing all the jobs around here and it's really tiring us all! If I were you, Missy, I'd leave right now before you get hooked on that place too!"

     She slowly nodded at him. A fair where all the young able Blumaroos were going? That sounded very odd to her. However, she wasn't here to investigate a carnival - she was here to find the recipient of the positive energy she needed.

     "Thanks for the advice, sir, but I still have unfinished business," Telzleh mused as she waved goodbye,

     He then started to laugh with a hearty cough. "Youth. They always think they know what to do. I warned you, though!""

     As Telzleh walked away from this peculiar old man, the amulet's compass stone flickered once more to show her the way. At the end of the street, in a hidden cul-de-sac, the mutant shuddered once before the sight that greeted her. The house she saw looked better suited for the Haunted Woods instead of Roo Island. The place was a shambles from top to bottom. The windows were covered with a deep layer of dust and grime, the paint was chipped and cracked in several large chunks, the wood paneling was torn and hanging only by one nail in some parts, and the grass of the front lawn was quite tall and possibly filled with Petpetpets. From the looks of things, this house had been abandoned for a long time. Could someone actually live here?

     Suddenly, she saw a light coming from one of the windows. Someone lived there all right. She grumbled slowly to herself wishing she brought something in case she found something nasty in the tall grass.

     "The things I do for my wish..."

     Making her way through the brush, she reached the front door, but not before shaking herself all over to remove the stickers, dead grass and other debris she had collected in her fur. She shuddered once more, wishing she could take a bath later.

     Looking back at the door, she found it unlocked and half-opened. The mutant hesitated briefly, as she would be trespassing, but she had to get to the bottom of this mystery as well as get her positive energy.

     She immediately started to cough and wheeze as soon as she entered. There was so much dust in the house that all three eyes began to water. The house was practically deserted as dust clouds and cobwebs covered everything. At least it wasn't as messy as Zuxie's apartment back in Kreludor. Trying hard not to gag under the dust clouds around her, she reached into her mane and drew out the amulet. The compass stones led her to a door at the far end of the house which had light gleaming out from all sides. Gulping, she slowly grabbed the doorknob and pulled it open.

     As she did, she saw a rolling pin flung at her. Ducking, she missed the utensil by inches. The room she was led to was an old-fashioned kitchen with an elderly orange Blumaroo with her gray hair done in a bun and wearing a dirty black dress with a white apron in front. Her face was framed by a pair of thick-rimmed glasses. A small crooked cane was in her hand. Despite her advanced age, the Blumaroo matron looked very fit.

     “What do you want to take from this old woman now, you moocher?! I ought to...” she snapped, only for her to gasp and grab her cane in an offensive manner.

     “A thief now, is it? Well, you won’t take old Roonda’s last mementos without a fight! You feeling lucky, you little scamp?” she shouted as she swung the stick at her.

     Telzleh let out an eep as she avoided her attacks. “Wait! Hold on there, Ma’am! I’m not a thief! Please, stop!” she pleaded, only for the Blumaroo to resume her swings.

     Finally, her swings became slower and slower as she took long deep breaths. Finally, she dropped the stick on the floor and hobbled over to a chair nearby and sat down. “Bah! Curse my age! If I was any younger, I’d have given you a sound thrashing! Very well, take what you want from this poor elderly Blumaroo and get out of here!” Roonda snapped.

     Telzleh shook her head and she went over to a sink and took out a glass of water. She then handed it to Roonda, who snatched it from her hands and began to take long, forceful gulps. The mutant picked up the cane and placed it next to the chair the old Blumaroo was sitting on.

     Telzleh finally said, “Please, Madam. I told you I’m no thief. My name is Telzleh. I’m from Neopia Central. I just want to know what happened here. Why is this house deserted? Why are you still living here? Just what is going on around here?”

     Roonda let out an annoyed grunt and responded, “You certainly have a lot of backbone to trespass in an old woman’s house. But because you gave me a drink of water, maybe you’re not so bad... for a mutant.”

     She then grabbed her walking stick, got up and slowly hobbled off. She then stopped and said loudly, “Well, what are you doing standing around like a Spardel? Come with me, lazybones!”

     Telzleh shook her head and groaned. This Blumaroo was quite the firecracker. Nevertheless, the mutant followed her all the way across the hall towards a dusty old bedroom. Just by its pungent aroma of perfume, the Usul could tell this was her sleeping quarters. Aside from a simple king-size bed and a small table with a lantern, this room was remarkably bare with the exception of a very old, yellowed painting on the wall above the bed.

     The picture was probably painted a long time ago as it showed this very house looking brand new. In front of the house was a family of Blumaroos. One was a debonair-looking blue Blumaroo male wearing a waistcoat, tie, and trousers. Next to him was a beautiful yet burly orange Blumaroo with blonde hair tied in a bob and wearing a simple green dress. Her face was stern yet caring with a smile. Below them was a small speckled Blumaroo boy wearing a simple shirt and trousers and waving at the viewers. No doubt the female was Roonda as a younger Blumaroo, but who were the others?

     Lying down on the bed and setting her cane at her side, Roonda began, “After my dear Rooderick passed away, only Rooger was all I had left. Oh, he was quite a bright young boy but a bit of a rebel. I made sure I taught him manners and to always be well-behaved. He eventually got a good job and always helped me out whenever he could. Yes, we were all happy.

     “Then it started about a couple of months ago. First, that Merry-Go-Round mysteriously closed down. The next day, this enormous tent appeared out of nowhere in its place. It claimed to be some sort of traveling carnival or fair. I was never one for such amusements as I had the house to care of.

     “Rooger, however, was curious and went there during one of his delivery routes. I didn't see him until later that that night. When I did see him again, he was a changed boy. He started to praise the virtues of that carnival and told me that he would go there as long as he wants. I scolded him and told him not to go, but he didn’t pay any attention to me! I then chided him more and he simply shrugged it off. Never did I see him so rebellious before. I was very worried...

     “Rooger began to miss entire days of work as he spent more and more days in that stupid fair. To top it all off, he began to convince other members of our community to go there. When they did, they all came back just like Rooger and the cycle kept going. More people said the fair was fun, they got curious, they became fair-obsessed crazies and they got more Blumaroos to join them! It’s an epidemic, I tell you!

     “Now I thought everything would end when he had no more money to waste, but it got worse! He started to steal items from the house to sell them for Neopoints to waste there! He sold everything we had! Our good china, my best kitchen utensils, even heirlooms that belonged to my dear Rooderick himself! I was lucky to have never given him our National Neopian account or else we would be already without anything else. So here I am, a poor broken old woman who wishes her little boy would return one day. I fear I will be joining my Roody soon if Rooger doesn’t return...

     “In just two months all the healthy and fit Blumaroos were spending their time, Neopoints and lives away at that blasted fair leaving us old folks to take care of things! We just can’t survive for every long without our families... I only wish Roody was here to give me more strength..."

     Roonda then leaned her head down and slowly sobbed. Telzleh felt sorry for the poor lady and placed her hand on her shoulder to comfort her. On cue, the amulet began to activate within its hiding place. After pulling it out, its stones flickered crazily in presence of the elderly matron. As expected, she held the energy. There was denying what she was here to do: Return her son from the clutches of the fair.

     "Madam, it seems Roo Island has been suffering for a long time," Telzleh told her, "so I'm going over to the fair and finding a way to get your son back!"

     Roonda simply chuckled sarcastically at her and shook her head. "Youth. You all don’t understand anything. It is futile! My son is gone! If you go there, you too will become just like all of them. But if you really want to go, you'll find it where the Merry-Go-Round stood. Go if you wish, but I won't hold my breath. I warned you," she replied forlornly.

     The mutant thanked her, despite the negativity, and headed out. How impressive was this fair to make someone forget about everything just to spend the rest of their lives there? This she had to see.

     -------

     "Whoa..."

     Telzleh could not believe her eyes at the spectacle she saw silhouetted in the night sky. Where the Island's famed Merry-Go-Round once stood, there was a towering circus-like tent that covered a good six acres of land with spotlights nearby shining into the sky. As she marveled at the sight before her, three questions went through her head: What happened to the Merry-Go-Round? Why was this strange tent placed up in its place? And would she really be able to find Rooger in a place this big? With determination, she approached the entrance.

     Mingling along the small group of Neopets going in, she was just about to reach the entrance to the tent and quickly noticed a sign posted outside reading:

     ZABROO'S FUN-TASTIC FUN FAIR

     It's Fab-ROO-lus Fun!

     Sticking her tongue at the bad pun, she made her way inside. At the entrance itself, she noticed a strange archway flanked by two statues of a rather fat Blumaroo with a pencil-thin mustache dressed in a ringmaster outfit and top hat on its sides. The expression of the statues' faces was not jolly but rather menacing. Why would those two statues be in front of an attraction like this? As she passed them, she sensed a slight chill overtake her body. For some reason, she felt as though some strange thoughts were trying to enter her mind, but they quickly left. The sensation was odd to say the least. Shrugging, she pressed on.

     Telzleh had to rub her three eyes in awe at the tent's interior. There was an actual amusement park house completely inside! Darting her eyes around, she noticed a coaster and a Ferris wheel right off the bat, along with many smaller attractions dotting the landscape like tea-cups, bumper cars, toboggan slides, swinging ships, top spinners and many more. Also she could see dozens of small booths ranging from chance games to concession sellers with many Blumaroos and even other kinds of pets enjoying themselves.

     Despite it all being under the cover of the tent, the roof was shining with artificial stars and topped with a giant crystal ball shining and rotating in the sky above everyone like a miniature planet. It was no wonder nobody would ever want to leave. This place was a dream!

     She reached into her mane and managed to find the silk pouch Anshu gave her. She was quite amazed to see it despite the fact she was unconscious for a while and was immersed with clay up to her chin back in Shenkuu. Taking out the Neopoints, she quickly counted them up and saw she had 10000 NP! Just for how much did Anshu sell that Kreludan helmet for anyway?

     She then placed the money back in the pouch and looked straight at the attractions in front of her. Maybe she COULD have a little fun before starting her search for the brothers. How much time would she waste anyway? The night was young. She ran straight into the park with plans to enjoy the sights first.

     Before she could think of which attraction to go first, Telzleh felt a rumble in her stomach. She realized she'd had nothing to eat since those mint rolls and she hadn’t eaten solid foods for over four months according to Anshu’s diagnosis. Her belly demanded food. Luckily, she spotted a concession stand close by and waited in line until she finally reached the counter where a female Bori wearing an apron stood behind it.

     "Welcome, valued customer. What would you like?" she said with a very wide grin. Wide enough to make Telzleh nervous for a bit.

     "I would like some popcorn and some Raspberry Neocola. No ice please," Telzleh ordered as the Bori whizzed around and brought together a popcorn bag and a drink cup in less than five seconds to the counter.

     "Here you go, Miss. Popcorn and Raspberry Neocola, no ice. Is that all?" she asked and Telzleh nodded back as she grabbed the bag and grabbed a handful to stuff into her mouth.

     The Bori smiled again. "That will be 10000 Neopoints, please."

     Telzleh opened her three eyes wide open and gulped so hard she started to choke on the popcorn. She grabbed the drink and took a big gulp of it until she finally felt better. "What did you say?! A bag of popcorn and a cup of Neocola are worth 10000 NP?! That's impossible!"

     The Bori shook her head and replied, "It's all written in the price mat on the counter, Miss. See?" She then pointed to the bare table and jumped in shock. "Oops. Clumsy me! I removed it after I cleaned that mess earlier. Here you go."

     She placed a plastic mat on the counter and Telzleh inspected it. Her mouth hung wide open as she looked at the prices for all the food items in the stand. Everything was ranging from 4000 to as high as 20000 NP! Just what kind of food was this for them to charge that much?

     "You've got to be kidding! These prices are too high! This has got to be a joke!" Telzleh shouted.

     The Bori's smile started to fade as she looked at the mutant Usul with a sad face. "My dear, are you saying you're better than everyone else? Why, everyone here has paid the exact amount for their goods. Now, please, don't make me call the fair security personnel on you."

     Telzleh looked back and saw the line staring at her with contempt and anger slowly building in them. The mutant Usul snarled under her breath as she slammed the bag of Neopoints in front of the Bori. The concession stand owner took them and smiled once more.

     "Thank you very much. Enjoy your food and please come back again soon!" she said sweetly.

     Telzleh growled as she threw the still-full bag of popcorn and Neocola cup into a wastebasket nearby. That experience made her lose her appetite. After all, 10000 Neopoints for something so simple didn't sit well with her. She decided to inspect the rest of the amusement park.

     After an hour walking around the various parts of the park, her suspicions were confirmed. Everything the fair sold, from tickets to the attractions to even tries in the games of chances were outrageously expensive. The tea-cups cost 12000 NP per person, not caring if it was adult or child, the Ferris wheel was 25000 NP for admittance, and, most surprisingly of all, even simple booth games like their milk-bottle throw and Uni-shoe pitch were priced at a whopping 3000 Neopoints! Not even the carnies of the Deserted Fairground in the Haunted Woods charged this much!

     The most shocking thing of all was though everything was costly, the fair goers didn't even care they were paying so much! All Telzleh could see were happy faces without a care in the world. The smiles on every visitor were unnerving to her as nobody should smile that widely. Something was extremely wrong here. It was high time she started to look for Rooger and get him out of here. But how could she? She didn’t even know what he looked like grown-up – not to mention finding him in this multitude was like finding an odd-shaped grain of sand on a beach!

     The first thing she decided to do was head to the information booth in hopes that they'd help her locate him faster. At the booth, a green Pteri male and a female white Uni were behind the counter.

     "Welcome to Zabroo's Fun-Tastic Fun Fair! How may I help you?" the Pteri said cheerfully with a bow as Telzleh appeared.

     Telzleh nodded and replied. "Yeah, hi. Say can you help me locate a speckled Blumaroo by the name of Rooger? It's really important."

     The Pteri looked at it and then said, "Is he a relative or a friend of yours perhaps?"

     "No. I'm just trying to find him. Can you help me?" Telzleh replied.

     "So he isn’t a relative or friend then? Sorry, we can't help strangers that way. Think of the litigations!" the Pteri said, only to smile again. "How about we show you the location of our best attraction? The Roo-lling Coaster! Just 40000 Neopoints to enter!"

     Telzleh slammed her paw on the counter and yelled, "What are you, nuts?! I didn't come here to have fun! I need to find him NOW!"

     "So... you don't want to enter our attractions? Not one at all?" said the Pteri looking nervous and so did the Uni as she turned her head from helping the customer at her end.

     The mutant snarled, "NO! The last thing I want to do is spend away my life savings in this tourist trap! If you won't help me, I'll look for him myself!"

     With those words, Telzleh stormed away. The Pteri and Uni's expression soon shifted as their eyes lowered suspiciously, pressing a button underneath the counter. A red Grarrl and blue Elephante appeared on cue. The information booth handlers merely gave a silent nod and the two larger pets walked away in the direction Telzleh left.

     Hours passed and she went over every area of the fair. She didn’t spot a single male speckled Blumaroo anywhere and she despaired that she would never find him. Looking down on the floor, she accidentally bumped into someone, causing her to look up ready to apologize. Instead, she smiled, realizing she had bumped into a speckled Blumaroo wearing a T-shirt with the head of the fat Blumaroo printed in front, and brown trousers. Could this be him?

     "Oh! Hello there! So sorry! I shouldn't have been blocking your way! I was just wondering where to go next!" he said in a goofy yet monotonous voice.

     “It’s ok. Say, is your name Rooger by any chance?” Telzleh asked him hopefully.

     The Blumaroo nodded and answered, “Yep. That’s me. How did you know who I was, though?”

     Telzleh sighed and said, "Thank goodness! Look, you must come with me. Your mother misses you terribly and she really wants you back.”

     Rooger looked at her oddly. "Whoa, hold up there, Missy! Why should I go back? I love being here! I never want to leave. I’m going to spend the rest of my life here having fun!”

     Telzleh shook her head in disbelief and protested, "But don’t you get it? Your mom is really missing you. If you don’t return to your home with me, she won’t last long! Besides, are you really going to spend your whole life here? What about money? It won’t last forever! Please come back before it’s too late!”

     Rooger laughed and said, "Listen, Miss. Let me tell you something. Ever since my father passed on, Mama has been on my case every day. ‘Stand up straight, Rooger!’ ‘Don’t slouch, Rooger!’ ‘Find a job to provide for us both, Rooger!’ It’s maddening, I tell you! I’m ever so thankful I finally found escape from all her incessant nagging and I’m never going back there again! So what if I waste every single lazy Neopoint? As long as I spend one second away from my mother, I’m a happy Blumaroo!”

     The Usul couldn’t believe her ears. “You’re wrong, Rooger. Family is very important. There will be times when they can be strict, overbearing and sometimes a pain in the neck, but that’s because they care about you. Your mother suffered a lot after your father passed on and she had to be strong to raise you to be an outstanding son. Family is very important. Please, don’t make her suffer anymore...”

     Rooger shook his head and replied, “If Mother is in fact suffering, then why doesn’t she come here as well? She will realize the folly of her ways. She’ll come to understand how liberating being here is. Just like we all have... Yes... Zabroo’s Fun-tastic Fun Fair is... the best...”

     Telzleh could tell something was definitely wrong with him. There was this glint in his eye like he was in some kind of daze. Everyone had that same glint now that she thought about it. It was as though they were entranced by some mystic force. This very force might be what was controlling their actions.

     Before she could fathom this, she was grabbed by the shoulder and swerved around to face the Grarrl and Elephante security.

     "Pardon me, Miss. But you seem to be bothering a guest!" the Grarrl said in a half-annoyed tone.

     "You should come see the owner. Come with us now..." the Elephante added also in the same intonation.

     Telzleh wasn't in any mood for shenanigans, but perhaps she could get some answers with whoever was in charge. She decided to follow along without raising a fuss and the two burly pets escorted her away. Rooger stood there wondering for a few seconds until he shrugged his shoulders and bounced away towards another attraction.

     Telzleh was led to a tent far away from the hustle and bustle of the fair with a sign outside reading "ADMINISTRATION ONLY! NO ADMITTANCE TO GENERAL PUBLIC!" Opening its flap, the mutant went inside with the two guards behind her. She found it quite empty except a simple office desk, rug and chair with its back to her as furniture. The chair swiveled around and she saw none other than the fat Blumaroo whose likeness adorned the statues out front as well as the T-shirt Rooger wore. If his visages on those two things were ugly, seeing the real thing was worse.

     "And they say I'd make Meepits shriek in terror. Now there's a face that would make an excellent mask..."

     The portly green Blumaroo leaned forward on his chair and looked at Telzleh with a malicious smile. "What do we have here then? Are you the mutant Usul who doesn't like my establishment?"

     “What’s it to you, huh? And just who are you supposed to be?” Telzleh answered back.

     Tipping his top hat at her, he replied, “Who am I? Why, I am Zabroo! Creator, Owner, MC and CEO of this Fun-tastic Fun Fair! Now, you failed to answer my question. Do you or do you not like my precious amusement park?”

     "No, I don't! What's the big idea? Charging so much for rides and goods this simple and cheap elsewhere in Neopia! Not to mention everyone doesn't care to be left in the poor house spending so much! I demand an explanation!" she said as she slammed her fist on the desk.

     Zabroo clicked his tongue and shook his head in dismay. "Poor dreamless girl. What do you have against my lovely Fun Fair? Everyone here is happy. They love being here. Don't you see their happy faces? They haven't a care in the world! They know they love Zabroo and his Fun Fair... and so shall you."

     With those words, the two guards grabbed her and held her tight. Telzleh was surprised by this turn of events and struggled to free herself. As she did, Zabroo revealed some kind of small rod with a red gem on the top and a bright green knob placed on the side.

     The fat Blumaroo explained, "Let me tell you about this little tool. This was a gift from some... good friends of mine. This gem is the same as those in the 'eyes' of my statues in front. Whoever passes through those statues are automatically placed under a hypnosis spell of my choosing. My spell is simply to have them spend their lives in my lovely fun fair for all eternity! What better way to make sure I get continuous attendance than brainwashing everyone to return and bring more? Sometimes I amaze myself...”

     “So that’s it... That’s why everyone so crazy about coming here over and over again. You’re crazy!” Telzleh snapped.

     Zabroo wagged his finger and resumed, “Ah, but it gets better, little mutant. At first I charged moderately for my wares. Then I thought to myself, 'If they will stay here forever, why not charge them more? They wouldn't care!' Now, I will never have to worry about money every again! Ha ha!"

     He then gloated as he tapped the rod, "This little beauty controls the hypnotic suggestion feeding into the minds of the visitors with the power source disguised as the Crystal Sphere in the roof! Quite ingenious on my part to disguise it as a planet in the starry sky backdrop in the ceiling! The only way to stop its influence on everyone is destroying this little trinket but that'll never happen. After all, you will now join them..."

     Telzleh snarled angrily only for Zabroo to wag his finger at her once more. "I don't know how you managed to escape the spell out front, but I'll make sure this one doesn't fail. Now hold still and become part of Zabroo's happy family... forever."

     The evil Blumaroo then used his thumb to turn the knob as the gem above began to shine. Before she could realize what was happening, a flash burst from the rod. Telzleh stopped struggling as she closed her eyes and leaned her head down. The guards released their grip on her as Zabroo rubbed his hands in evil glee.

     "Now, my dear girl. Which of my many fun fair rides would you like to go first on? I'm so nice, I'll let you ride your first choice free of charge!" he said triumphantly.

     Telzleh suddenly raised her head and opened her eyes as a sly smirk overtook her. "How about the Telzleh School of Hard Knocks? You're through, Zabroo!"

     The fat Neopet could simply shake his head in confusion. "But how?! That flash was ten times more powerful than the ones from the eyes outside! How could you... Wait a second..." He leaned in closer and he finally growled realizing how Telzleh avoided the blast.

     He poked at her mane and revealed the amulet. Zabroo pounded his fist on the desk. "A faerie amulet! Curses! That magic can’t harm faeries or their items! Blast it!"

     Cracking her knuckles, she grinned again. "So... that rod is what keeps the hypnosis going, eh? If you know what's good for you, hand it over!"

     "Never! My ambition shall not be destroyed by the likes of a little monster like you! Boys, get rid of this annoying pest!" Zabroo commanded as the Grarrl and Elephante charged at her.

     Telzleh quickly leaped in the air and, with one amazing mid-air twirl, smacked both guards with her tail, knocking their heads against each other and passing out. Turning around, she saw Zabroo running away. Snarling, she quickly went in pursuit.

     The two ran across various parts and attractions of the Fair. Telzleh wondered to herself how could that guy be so fat and yet so fast at the same time. Nevertheless, she pushed on hoping she would eventually corner him somewhere. Things weren’t easy as Zabroo had his workers and several brainwashed Blumaroos block her access at every turn. Luckily, she managed to disperse them without needing to fight them and pressed on.

    When they finally reached the Ferris Wheel, Zabroo found himself with nowhere else to escape. With a smirk letting her know he wasn't giving up, the fat Blumaroo bounced on top one of the cars going up the wheel.

     “You’re too late, Missy! You’ll never catch me. Never in a million years!” he gloated as he let out a cruel laugh.

     Telzleh was not deterred as she leaped into the next car coming around to catch up to him. However, she miscalculated the distance and jumped too low. Using her claws, she hung on by the side of the car which was starting to teeter due to her weight unbalancing the vehicle. Gritting her teeth, she dug them deeper into the steel and managed to keep steady.

     The mutant Usul quickly climbed to the top of the car and waited for it to be at the top of the wheel’s rotation. Looking down, she immediately spotted Zabroo on the adjacent car, oblivious to the fact she was right above him. Telzleh then took a tremendous leap from her position and landed on the car with the nefarious Blumaroo, causing the wheel to stop with the impact.

     The irate Zabroo turned to face her and held the stick high in the air and began swinging it straight at her like a crude club.

     "There... is... no... way... I'll... let... my... dreams... be... destroyed... by... the... likes... of... YOU!" Zabroo shouted furiously with each swing, which Telzleh easily evaded.

     Finally, the Usul had all she could take. On the next strike, she held her paw out and grabbed the stick in her grip. Now both pets started to struggle with each other to gain control of it. Zabroo used his weight and inertia with the intent of pushing Telzleh out of the car and fall. She realized what he was planning, however, and when he applied enough strength, she let go of the rod, causing the Blumaroo to lose balance and fall out of the top of the car. Before he could plunge, Telzleh grabbed him tightly by the hand holding the rod.

     Zabroo merely looked at her with a scowl and muttered, "So the monster wants to help me now? What a joke!"

     Telzleh shook her head. "Stop saying such nonsense! I was taught always to try and save those in danger. Even if they are disgusting creeps who take advantage of others like you!"

     The Blumaroo shook his head and looked at her as an unnatural smile crept over his face. "I'd rather pass on than live in shame knowing an ugly three-eyed monster such as you saved me. Farewell!"

     With those words, Zabroo released his hand from the rod. She could only look in horror as the Blumaroo plummeted and crashed through a small mechanical control shed nearby which exploded after the impact.

     She simply stood there, frozen in shock. She didn't mean to do it. He was evil, sure, but she never meant to really hurt him. She looked at her hand and saw the rod now in her possession. She knew what she must do despite the horrible price she paid. Holding the stick high in the air, she swung it down on top of the Ferris wheel car with tremendous force, shattering the gem on top into hundreds of pieces.

     Just like that, the crystal sphere core on the ceiling started to slow down and finally stopped as its glow waned and disappeared. When that happened, all the pets finally regained their senses. Noticing their harried looks, they slowly began to shuffle out of the fair.

     Telzleh waited for the wheel, now running again, to reach the ground level before getting off. Once there, she saw the Bori, Pteri, Uni, Grarrl, Elephante and other workers stand there, looking happy and sad.

     "Thank you, my dear. We too, were under control of that evil spell. Even though we knew all about Zabroo's evil plans, we were powerless to stop it," began the Bori.

     "But now because you stopped the sphere's control, we are all now free," commented the Pteri.

     "We thank you for freeing us from this prison of false fun. We can now all return home to where we are needed. Once again, we thank you, brave mutant," the Grarrl finished as the workers left along with the visitors.

     Telzleh slowly padded up to the exploded shack that Zabroo crashed into. Nothing but charred wood and gears were left. No traces of the Blumaroo whatsoever. She looked down in dismay.

     "You did what you had to do. I can imagine what you’re going through at this moment, but that doesn’t compare to the pain and suffering I feel now," said a voice behind here. Turning around, she saw the disheveled Rooger. His face no longer in the saccharine-entranced smile but rather a solemn, pained frown.

     “I didn't mean to do it. I really didn't. How can I live with myself for doing what I did?" Telzleh said as tears formed in her three eyes.

     The speckled Roo shook his head sadly. "Miss, my father, before he passed on, gave me these words of advice. Life is ruled by the choices we make in everyday life. We make good choices that bring rewards and we make bad choices that bring tribulations. Uncertainty will cloud our judgment and we fear making a wrong choice. However, it is that risk which brings meaning to our lives. It doesn’t matter whether you made a right or wrong choice in judgment. The important thing is that you MADE one in the end.

     "If good things come after making a choice, then you will feel satisfied. If bad things occur, it doesn’t spell the end of everything. It merely brings an outcome we must overcome. What is past will stay past. We must all look to the future...”

     Rooger then looked down at his feet as his tail started to drag across the floor. “...and yet, no form of consolation will ever be powerful enough to repent the wrongdoings I inflicted on my dear sweet mother. She was always strict and yelling at me to shape up... but that was because she was alone. With Father no more, she was both parental influences for me. By Fyora’s sake... she is all I have in this world! Why did I ever repay her kindness with such defiance?! She must hate me now.”

      “You must endure even if you made bad choices. Isn’t that what you said?” Telzleh said as he patted his shoulder.

     The speckled Roo nodded sternly. “Yes, that is true. Father would be ashamed of me if I didn’t redeem myself for all the pain I caused my mother. Miss. Let’s go back home.”

     With those words, the two Neopets marched through the empty fun fair and out the exit to the Blumaroo siblings’ home.

     -------

     Rooger could only sigh sadly as he saw the state of his house. He was so oblivious to everything while under Zabroo’s spell that he couldn’t even see the damage he inflicted on both his home and mother with his reckless pursuit of fun.

     Beckoning the mutant along, they both went inside towards Roonda’s room. Opening the door, the Blumaroo and Usul saw her lying on top of her bed, eyes closed as she slept. From under her eyelids she was twitching uncontrollably.

     “My dear Rooderick... Please help me in this time of need. Please find a way to bring my little Rooger back home...” she said in her sleep.

     A gulp went down Rooger’s throat hearing this. Telzleh placed her paw on his shoulder and pushed him forward. “Go on. She’s waited for you to come home so make her happy!” she whispered.

     The speckled Roo bounced over to her, cleared his throat and said, “Mother. I am home. It’s me, Rooger.”

     Roonda slowly opened her eyes as she saw her prodigal son finally home. “Rooger. My little wonderful Rooger...” she said as tears started to form from her eyes.

     Before Rooger could say anything, his mother grabbed her cane at the bedside and gave him a solid whack on the head with it. “It’s about time you finally come home, you saucy rascal! Do you have any idea how much your poor old mother was suffering without you around?!” she snapped as se shook the cane at him.

     “Ow! Sorry, Mother! I really didn’t mean to escape! I was under this evil spell! Honest I was!” Rooger pleaded as he rubbed his sore head.

     “Well, don’t stand there like a bump on a log! Rooger, tomorrow first thing you’re going to do is going back to that delivery service and beg them to get your job back! Then when you come home, you’re going to cut all that grass outside! Who knows what petpetpets are lurking in there?!”

     “Yes, Mother. Whatever you say, Mother.” Rooger sighed sadly and heavily. Telzleh could only shake her head and shrug her shoulders.

     Rooger started to shuffle away only for Roonda to shout, “Rooger, where are you going? I haven’t dismissed you yet! Come back here, boy!”

     The Blumaroo son turned around sadly and was surprised to see her smile as she held her arms out as a single tear came out of her eye. Rooger smiled weakly as he bounced up to his mother and they embraced each other. Telzleh tried to hold back her tears witnessing this charming scene she had helped make.

     “Thank dear old Roody you’re finally home. I really missed you, my little Roo,” Roonda said as she hugged him.

     “You should thank this mutant girl, Mother. She was the one who broke the spell, not only on me but everyone else,” Rooger replied.

     Roonda looked up at Telzleh as she let go of her son’s hug. “Dear sweet girl. I don’t know why, but I believe Rooderick must have sent you to me to help get my darling son back home. For that, I thank both him and you. You have made this old woman happy. Sadly I have nothing to give you except our eternal gratitude...”

     Rooger nodded and looked up at her as well. “Miss, I too must thank you. If you didn’t come along, who knows what would have become of Mother and myself. You helped me out in ways you never could imagine. You shall always be remembered in this household forever.”

     With that, the Blumaroo mother and son looked at each other again and hugged. As they did, both started to glow. Telzleh stepped forward and held her amulet out as the energy aura emerged from their center of their bodies and flew straight into the medallion, energizing another dark stone with light and leaving only one single stone left. She was one step away from realizing her wish!

     With the job done, Telzleh felt herself ready to teleport and uttered, "Fare..."

     She finally vanished before she could finish. Not like they would have heard her as they immediately turned to stone at the exact moment she vanished.

     Suddenly, a pounding came at the front door, bursting open as several Blumaroo royal guards stormed inside. Behind them, came a worried King Roo.

     “Are you sure that mutant girl came here?” he asked as he turned his back.

     The Bori concession worker from the fair appeared walking close behind him. “I am sure, your Majesty. That was the same Usul girl that freed all of us from the mind control. I am sure I saw her leave with this speckled Blumaroo gentleman.”

     King Roo looked even more alarmed. “I should have guessed it was Rooger the Neomail delivery guy. The only speckled Blumaroo in the Island. We have no time to waste! We must find that girl before...”

     Before he continued, one of the guards bounced up to him as he hung his head down. “We are too late, your Highness. She has vanished... but not without leaving her mark...” he replied sadly.

     King Roo feared the worst as he was led to the master bedroom where he saw the statues of Roonda and Rooger frozen in their hug at bedside. The normally cheerful king furrowed his brow.

     “Bring them along. I must inform Queen Fyora of this turn of events. If only we could arrived sooner...” he sighed as he and his men went right to work.

     -----------

     A lone figure emerged from the entrance of the now deserted amusement park tent. Zabroo smiled viciously as his body appeared unscathed. "Foolish girl. Everything is going according to plan. Soon the reward will be reaped. I don't need this stupid disguise anymore..."

     Taking a flap of skin from his neck, Zabroo pulled up and peeled his face off to reveal a different form underneath the mask. Suddenly a pair of wings burst from behind the form as the Blumaroo costume revealed a new body beneath.

     The figure looked back at the tent and threw a crystal ball to the ground. A thick smoke emerged from inside and surrounded the entire tent. When it cleared, everything was gone. Only the Merry-Go-Round remained right where it used to be. Smiling darkly again, the figure opened its wings widely and flew off.

     The Yellow Blumaroo barker immediately got up and shook his head a few times. How long was he asleep? He saw the Merry-Go-Round just as he left it but somehow was much dirtier as if it hadn't been used in a long time. Gasping to himself, he quickly bounced over to get the Unis cleaned. He was sure customers would arrive in the morning to enjoy the rides.

     ------------

     “My Queen! Two new victims have appeared!” a faerie guard announced as she knelt before Fyora in the throne room. Altador, Jerdana and Fauna stood nearby looking concerned at one another.

     The Faerie Queen closed her eyes as she let out a long sigh. “One more stone recharged... Where were these poor victims found?”

     The guard answered, “In Roo Island. We have already dispatched some faeries to help bring the victims to the palace as you have ordered to do.”

     “And the girl? Did they find the girl responsible?” Altador asked her.

     The guard turned to face him and shook her head. “I’m sorry, my Liege. King Roo has said the girl was long gone after the statues were found.”

     Everyone in the room looked grim. Fyora finally said, “Inform every single last faerie throughout Neopia. No matter how small or insignificant the region is. Let it be known to every small land, village and town of the globe: Be on the lookout for this mutant Usul girl and stop her. Remember, she must be brought unhurt to us here. Go!”

     The faerie guard saluted and flew off like a rocket. The three Altadorian heroes walked up to Fyora’s throne as she looked more distraught.

     “This is troubling news. That girl must be found or it will spend the end for Neopia,” Jerdana said solemnly.

     Fyora nodded in response. “You are correct. If what you have told me about the amulet is true, then we can not sit idly by.”

     Altador bowed before her and said, “Do not worry, my Queen. Our city is on high alert for her. We have also already contacted Meridell, Brightvale, the Darigan Citadel, Sakhmet, Qasala and all other regions she hasn’t appeared in to be on the lookout for her. There is nowhere she will go where the leaders or resident faeries aren't ready for her arrival. I’m sure she will be found soon enough.”

     Fyora looked at her friend and gave him an uneasy smile. “I sincerely hope you are correct. The end of Neopia will be at hand if we fail..."

To be continued...

 
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Other Episodes


» Telzleh's Quest: Part One
» Telzleh's Quest: Part Two
» Telzleh's Quest: Part Three
» Telzleh's Quest: Part Four
» Telzleh's Quest: Part Five
» Telzleh's Quest: Part Seven
» Telzleh's Quest: Part Eight



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