The Moonlit Adventure
Only the sparkling emerald green eyes could be seen shining eerily in the moonlight. No movement or sound could be detected; it was as if those eyes were an illusion played on the midnight dew.
Still, Ariata, the small yellow Poogle, just couldn’t shake the feeling she was being watched... very intently! She stood her ground as quietly and unmoving as those green eyes she was watching. Her eyes burned and tears formed, but Ariata refused to blink for fear that those green eyes blinked back and be missed.
The walk home from her friend’s house was always cheerful and short, but tonight the path seemed to stretch unendingly into the night. Trees from the forest closed in over the path, making everything shrink into dark, blurry, barely visible shapes.
Ariata took a halting step forward, moving herself closer to those green eyes. Oh, how she wished she had allowed Varek to walk with her. He had offered and she turned him down. WHY!? Why had she been so determined to prove she was big enough to do this on her own? Varek was so big and strong; nothing scared that Halloween Lupe. Not even those big creepy green eyes that were in those bushes would have affected him. They sure affected Ariata, though; they affected her quite a bit, if you would like to know the truth.
It happened so fast she thought she was mistaken, but when it happened again, she was sure! The eyes blinked! Ariata’s heart slammed to a stop and skipped instantly into a gallop. Her body felt weak and her breath caught inside her chest in short shallow gasps. All she wanted to do was dart away in fear, hoping to outrun this thing, but she knew her little legs wouldn’t carry her fast enough. All she could do was stand there and wait for the worst to happen. She steadied herself, held her breath, and waited.
Moments passed and nothing happened. They both were still standing in the same spot doing the same thing... which was... nothing! Ariata began to assess the situation in a different light. Surely this thing would have pounced by now if it had intentions of doing so, wouldn’t it? Maybe it was as scared of her as she was of it. There was only one way for her to find out.
Ariata gathered her nerve as best she could, inhaled and called out, “Who are you and why are you watching me like this?!” The green glowing eyes blinked into darkness and sparkled back to life but that was the only reply she was given. Again, she called out, but this time in a stronger voice, “You! There in the bushes, who are you and why are you watching me? Show yourself!”
A soft chuckle could be heard as the large creature moved into view. She couldn’t tell whether the creature was laughing or growling or both. Leaves rustled and twigs snapped, making Ariata’s senses jump at each sound. The darkness hid the creature until it came into a moonlit patch just in front of Ariata.
As her eyes focused onto the creature, its shape became more and more familiar to her. With great relief, she realized it was Varek! Ariata let out a long sigh, lowering her head down to her paws. She finally felt like she could breathe again.
“What are you doing here, Varek? And why were you hiding in those bushes like that,” she finally managed to ask. Her voice was still high and whispery from those frightful moments.
Varek lowered his head apologetically. It hadn’t been his plan to frighten her. “I’m so sorry,” he said. “I had no idea you would be able to see me in those bushes. I really thought that was my best hiding spot in the forest.”
Ariata laughed. “Well, I would think it would be a bit difficult to hide ANYPLACE with eyes that are lit like the Pant Devil!”
“Actually, I didn’t think about that,” Varek said this with such innocence it caused them both to break down into a wave of laughter.
In a more serious tone, Varek explained to Ariata the dangers of the forest. The Bug Brothers were a most troublesome duo these days, as were the unfortunate and very mucusy instances involving the Meuka monster. (Stock in the handy wipe disinfectant company was very high these days.)
He recalled the instance of the travelling Usul who met up with the Swamp Ghoul. The Usul had been near the swamp, releasing bottled faeries collected along his journey. He had been so involved in his quest that he wasn’t aware the Swamp Ghoul had risen up behind him. The Swamp Ghoul stole his compass, surrounded him in a thick, heavy mist, and carried him off to a remote, undiscovered area of Neopia. He would have been lost forever had the bottled faeries he released not notified the King.
After the fright that Varek unintentionally gave her, Ariata now realized that maybe she wasn’t quite ready to be on her own just yet. Maybe it wouldn’t be wise for her or anyone for that matter, to ever be by themselves when travelling through the forest. The idea of a Meuka incident sent shivers down her spine. She would rather meet up with the Bug Brothers or the Swamp Ghoul any day over that!
The walk with Varek back to Ariata’s house was quite fun. It was full of laughter mixed with occasional lessons of wisdom. The night made the familiar and well traveled path feel like they were in a different land. In places, night time flora which only bloomed at night cast their greenish glow across their path, lighting their way. Some of them uprooted themselves from the earth to scurry out of harm's way only to scurry back and replant themselves after the two friends passed.
Off in the distance, Faeries skittered about, leaving twinkly clouds and scattering rainbows of colored dust in their wake. Strange screeches, chirps and clicks emanated all around them from petpetpets, and occasionally a *plip plop* could be heard as the mortogs jumped into the lake. High in the sky, flocks of Draik flew toward Mystery Island, calling out to each other in long melodic tones.
It turned out to be a wonderful moonlit adventure for Ariata. She was thankful for having such a wonderful friend in Varek. She had no idea a Lupe changed its appearance at night. Varek’s fur had become thick and dark as shadows, the colors shifted like the shadows of a tree and the texture was luxurious and flowing. His eyes were truly hypnotic. The color of green that shown was richer than any green she had seen in Neopia. Varek’s teeth were remarkable as well. They were longer and so white that they too seemed to glow in the darkness.
When Ariata walked, you could hear each distinct foot fall. She walked in a pitter patter type of sound. Varek, on the other hand, seemed to almost float along. He made almost no sound when he moved and he seemed to be alert to every sound and movement made no matter how soft it was.
As they said goodnight and parted ways, they made a promise to have a moonlit adventure walk again very soon!