A Candychan Adventure
Note: This is a continuation in the stories about Androcles and his “sidekick.” The previous story was A Zombie-fied Candychan Tale from issue 364. It is not necessary to read the previous parts in order to understand this one, but there are references to the previous stories. Enjoy!
“You know what I was thinking?”
I closed my eyes harder, in stubborn refusal to wake up.
“I think we should become world-famous adventurers. We’d be so good at it, you know.”
I decided to employ my wits and utter something fantastic and brilliant enough to dazzle him into submission. “Grungha.”
Androcles seemed to realize that I had been sleeping. “I suppose those who aren’t as beautiful as I am need more sleep,” he sighed. The thought, however, seemed to distract him enough, as he twirled around to admire his body in the mirror-like walls of the Ice Caves. Made of the whitest snow with dazzling charcoal eyes and crisp green wings, Androcles was convinced that of all the Candychans, Snow was surely the best color, and he was the best of the Snow.
I tossed an icicle in his general direction, and it shattered, distracting him enough that he managed to toss a somewhat withering glare in my direction.
“What were we talking about again?” he asked, genuinely confused. Admiring his looks did that to him – made him forget about other things.
“I was sleeping. And you rarely say things worth listening to, so who knows?” I replied with a teasing gleam in my eyes.
We met after I woke up on Terror Mountain one day, not quite sure how I arrived there. We became friends after we rid Terror Mountain of the zombie pets who had been frightening the residents. Androcles was arrogant and narcissistic, but he meant well enough, and provided you never took him too seriously, he could be great entertainment. I, on the other hand, was the first Chocolate Candychan he had ever met, so he kept me around as his “sidekick.” Perhaps he had other motives, but nothing he would ever admit to, much less willingly divulge of his own accord.
He sighed and rolled his eyes at me; clearly, he had remembered why he woke me up.
“What sort of adventuring were you thinking we would do?” I added, before he could interject with a comment.
“Well, we did already do the whole save-a-town-from-eternal-doom.”
“Not many ways to top that,” I agreed.
“So we need to do something equally fantastic somewhere else!” he said smugly.
I paused. “Can Snow Candychans even go somewhere else?”
Oops. I had mistakenly inquired about his most favored topic – himself. Given the opportunity, he would ramble for as long as he could.
“Give me the short version,” I added quickly.
He glared at me quickly, his charcoal eyes darkening for a moment. “We can go anywhere we like. We just get a little slimmer in warmer environments.” He ran a hand down his belly and paused to glance at himself in the wall again. “But we still look good,” he added cheekily.
“Where were you thinking of going then?” I asked. Might as well get this over with, and maybe later, we can worry about food or something. I’m thinking fish.
He rolled out a map, I’m not quite sure where he grabbed it from, and laid it on the stone floor. Looking over it, he pointed out a small island, and crowed, “There!” in a proud voice.
I sighed, and he seemed to take that as an agreement that I’d go with him. Considering I would, someone had to keep him from getting into too much trouble, it seemed like a reasonable enough assumption.
He tucked away the map again, after making sure I wasn’t looking, and then we kicked off from the ground, and headed toward the island.
The air slowly turned from the cool chill of Terror Mountain and got much warmer as we flew over the ocean. It didn’t bother me so much, but I heard some chattering sounds from Androcles. He didn’t look too hot.
“Too warm too fast,” he managed to sputter out. His flying had gotten a little erratic, and he seemed to fall a little bit. Falling made him warmer, and the color of his snow began to look a little grey.
Swooping down, I grabbed his arm and pulled him up. We passed through a cloud, and the chill seemed to make him feel a little better.
“You didn’t have to lie, you know,” I said finally. I gave him a little shake to show that he had worried me a bit.
He glowered, swallowed hard, and said, “I wasn’t lying. I just need more time before I can deal with the warmer temperatures. Snow Candychans,” he declared grandly, “can cope with anything.”
Yeah, he was feeling better. He jerked his arm away from me, and dove a little bit. Our progress had slowed, but Androcles was feeling better, which meant that when we got to the island, he’d be able to get into his mischief and we’d be on our way.
The palm trees came into sight, and he called out, “Race you there!” with a grin.
We dove quickly, and landed on the beach. Shoving him into the sand, I raced up the short way to grass. “I win!” I called out grandly.
“You cheated.” He stuck his tongue out and tried to flick some of the sand off of him. Most of it stuck, and he looked rather amusing. Not like the majestic, proud Snow Candychan he fancied himself being.
I turned away from him, and stretched. We had landed outside something called “Tiki Tours,” where a Coconut JubJub was setting up a shaded chair on wheels. I had never seen something like it before, so when Androcles came up to stand beside me, I pointed and whispered, “Let’s not go there.”
He nodded solemnly, the sight apparently making him wary as well. Glancing around, I spotted a hut surrounded by some strange-looking fruit behind the Tours. I ran in that direction, not bothering to explain to Androcles why, but knowing that he would follow all the same.
I picked up a red and green colored fruit and knocked on it. “What do you think it is?” I asked and turned to look at him.
“Who cares? What’s that?” he pointed, in obvious awe.
A giant green pot was set a little off to the left of where we were. It was surrounded by a variety of vibrant green bushes. Dropping the fruit, we approached it with increasing curiosity.
A beautiful tan faerie appeared behind the pot. Wearing a grass skirt and coconuts matched with a bright pink flower tucked in her hair, she waved a large wooden spoon at us.
“Welcome, stranger, I am Jhuidah the Island Faerie. This is my magical cooking pot. If you place suitable gifts to Pango Pango inside it, he may bless you with a very rare spectacular item. Be warned, though; if your offerings do not please the god, he can be extremely vengeful!” she said in warm tones that seemed to dance from her mouth.
I was mesmerized by her voice, and didn’t notice that Androcles, apparently, had located some items he wanted to toss in until I heard the first plop. I floated up to the pot to peer in, but the item had disappeared amongst its murky depths.
“Hey, help me with this!” he called out, struggling to carry a wriggling pink creature.
I dove over to where he was struggling, and grabbed what I presumed to be its head. He tried to bite me, and I got a better grip on him. Turning him over, he looked up at me with yellow eyes and growled, “Meep.”
“Ugh, let’s throw him in, too,” I told Androcles, my voice dripping with disgust.
“Exactly what I was thinking,” he replied cheerfully.
We both kicked off from the ground when we got to the pot, his leafy wings and my whipped cream wings struggling to lift the load. But we managed and we heaved the creature over the edge.
A tiny scream escaped his mouth, and disappeared as he bubbled away.
Jhuidah gave us a look, and said with unease, “I wonder what’ll happen to the poor petpet.”
“Petpet?!” I exclaimed. “But he’s so ugly. I thought he was a really big, fat petpetpet. Annoying critters.” A shiver claimed me and I shook a bit.
“Oh, well!” Androcles said, completely oblivious. We both grabbed onto the edge and peered at the mixture. “What now?”
Jhuidah handed us her spoon and instructed, “Close your eyes. Wish for something very, very special and then stir the pot three times in a clockwise direction. When the liquid settles, Pango Pango will give you a great reward.”
“What should we wish for?” I asked him.
He waved away the problem, and vaguely said, “Something not lame.” Grabbing the spoon, he merrily plunked it into the mixture and stirred.
I closed my eyes, more not to look at it and wonder what had happened to the thing we threw in there, than to wish for something.
“Here you go!” Jhuidah said cheerfully, and handed us a strange statue.
I took it from her, and gave it a once over. It was the petpet, perfectly persevered, his glassy eyes looking at a fishing rod in his paws. He didn’t squirm or say anything.
“Did we kill him?” I asked the faerie and set the statue on the ground.
“Of course not, dears. Pango Pango doesn’t kill creatures...” she started explaining.
We heard a sharp “crack!” and turned around to look. Androcles stood over the now-broken statue. The head had fallen off and cracks ran down from the neck over the creature’s belly. “Um, oops?” He smiled sheepishly.
I turned to ask the faerie, “How about now?” but she was gone.
Backing away from the item, I looked at him and mouthed, “Let’s get out of here.”
He nodded sharply, and we kicked off from the ground.
We flew back to Terror Mountain quickly. After scrounging around a bit, we relaxed back in the Ice Caves munching on a bit of Gummy Fish.
“I noticed that things end up unfortunately for the Neopians who deal with us,” I said casually to Androcles.
He grabbed an orange gummy, shrugged and said, “What else is new?”
Grinning at me, he popped the fish into his mouth. At least things work out for us.