Messenger: The Journey North - Part Four
The swim to Brightvale didn’t take too long. Within half an hour, we were trekking wet, exhausted, and hungry through the streets of Brightvale. After a good ten minutes of searching, we finally found Brightvale Fruits and stumbled inside the shop to eat.
“Let’s see,” said Midnight thoughtfully, “should we have a Tangella, or a Skeem?”
“I can’t stand seeds,” I said, my belly grumbling loudly. “Let’s just get a couple of Tangellas and go.”
“Wait a minute,” said the shopkeeper. “We have a couple of Seedless Skeems, just in from the farm. And they’re on sale today, only a thousand neopoints each.”
“How much are the Tangellas?” asked Clark.
“The same,” said the shopkeeper.
“Hmmm,” said Midnight thoughtfully, “I simply cannot decide. Let’s see. Eeny meany miney mo, catch a Tigermouse by its toe. If it hollers-oh wait. I messed up. Let me start all over again.”
“Oh, for Fyora’s sake!” I yelled, grabbing the Tangella. “And here’s your money!” I yelled to the shopkeeper, shoving her requested money onto the counter. “I’m leaving!” I stormed out of the shop, the others trailing hesitantly behind me.
We had a nice picnic on the grass outside the Brightvale Motery. The Tangella was huge and each of us ate a considerable amount before having a long nap on the grass, ur bellies comfortably full. At about 3 p.m. we awoke.
“Good morning,” I said sleepily, glancing blearily around. “Hello, Clark, Midnight, Bluecloud, Star-wait! Star? Star?” I stood straight up, no longer asleep. I shook Bluecloud awake. “Where’s Star?” I shouted in her face.
“Huh?” Bluecloud blinked sleepily. “Star’s over there... wait... Star! Where are you?”
I was surprised that our yelling hadn’t woken the grown-ups. I tried to shake Clark awake, but he just yawned and flipped over, muttering something about Gormball. I sighed. He was no use.
“We’ll just have to look for her ourselves,” I announced to Bluecloud. She nodded glumly and we set off down the hillside, searching for Star.
After a half-hour we still had no clue where Star was. Finally Bluecloud suggested searching the Brightvale Motery, which was near where we had been sleeping.
When we reached the place where Midnight and Clark were still sleeping, I flipped open Pecan and Thunder’s crate to check up on them. Thunder was sleeping, but Pecan panted happily when I opened the crate and hopped up onto my shoulder.
The Brightvale Motery was surprisingly empty, as far as I could see. In fact, it was hard to see at all. What with all of the Smoke and Fire Motes, the room was too smoky to see well. Surprisingly, the air was fairly easy to breathe.
Bubble Motes floated lazily around the room, and the floor was more rock and mud than hard tile floor. A huge tank full of Water Motes made up the left wall, and a glass jar full of Salt Motes sat on a display table in the corner of the room. It would be almost impossible to find Star in this fog. I figured it would be best to split up. Bluecloud searched the back half of the room, while Pecan and I advanced forward toward the front desk.
A pretty blue Peophin with a bright orange mane and a long green cloak thrown across her shoulders was sprawled across the front desk, polishing her hooves. An Electrical Mote hovered in the space above her head, and a Frost Mote zoomed around and around the desk, making me dizzy.
I gently tapped the Peophin’s shoulder. She jumped in surprise and whistled. Immediately I got a nasty shock in the elbow from the Electrical Mote and my toes went numb from the Frost Mote’s coldness. “Please stop,” I pleaded. “I’m just looking for my friend’s little sister. She’s a little baby Acara with a light blue star on her forehead. Please, have you seen her?”
The Peophin whistled again and the two motes stopped attacking me and hovered at the shopkeeper’s shoulder, glaring at me. The Peophin whistled again and the frost Mote whizzed into the back room and returned a moment later with Star.
“Star!” I cried jubilantly, hugging the small blue Acara. “Thanks!” I added to the Peophin. She shrugged and began polishing her hooves again.
I headed toward the door, where I met Bluecloud, who smiled happily and carried her little sister outside. I followed, wondering what Midnight and Clark would say.
The two grown-ups were already awake when Bluecloud and I got back. Midnight gave a cry of happiness and rushed to hug Bluecloud and Star, while Clark folded his arms angrily and said loudly, “Where were you guys?”
“Star crawled away while we were sleeping,” I explained, plopping down onto the ground and scratching Pecan behind the ears. “We went to go look for her.”
Clark sighed. “Well, next time, ask me to come too. I don’t want you to be wandering around Brightvale all by yourself. It’s a dangerous place.”
“I have Pecan to protect me,” I said, smiling and patting Pecan. “I tried to wake you, but you just went back to sleep.” Clark frowned but didn’t say anything.
“Well, we should be going now,” Midnight announced, breaking the silence.
“Where?” I asked stupidly.
“Meridell,” the shadow Acara said impatiently. “Where else would we go? That’s where the boats are.”
“Okay,” I said, plunking Pecan back into his crate and clutching it tightly. “Let’s go then.”
The walk to Meridell took the remainder of the afternoon. It was almost dark by the time we arrived, and we were hungry and tired again. Unfortunately, our Neopoints were running low and the only food we could afford were berries.
And you all know where all the berries are in Meridell.
That’s right. Meri Acres Farm.
We split up, Midnight and Star going one way, Bluecloud and Clark going the other, and me and the two petpets going the last way. It was now completely dark, there were very little stars, and there were an awful lot of scary shadows under every bush.
It was hard carrying both the full crate and the berry basket at the same time, so I let Pecan and Thunder walk by my side while I picked berries. Most of the bushes looked to be empty, however, the second one I tried had one small Mortogberry on it. Grimacing, I placed the slimy berry in my basket and moved on.
The only other berry I found was half-eaten. The farmer in charge of berry picking called me back in and I waited for a little next to the foul-smelling Rubbish Dump before the others finally returned. Bluecloud and Clark had found another half-eaten berry, and Midnight and Star had found a Fishberry, a small piece of wool, and the all-too-famous piece of dung.
Discarding the wool and the dung, we divided the berries and, unlike our midday meal, left still feeling hungry. We trudged into the village and found a small inn next to the Turmaculus. Thankfully, he was asleep, or I fear Pecan might have wandered a little too close.
The inn room was small, dingy, and full of Petpetpets. I found a family of Mootixes nesting in the bed covers, and was all too happy to sleep on the floor. There were two beds; one was occupied by Clark, the other by Midnight and Star. I gave the innkeeper five neopoints for an extra blanket, which Bluecloud and I shared. Pecan and Thunder slept in the crate.
There were no curtains, so that the sunlight blazed inside the room and woke us all up at 6 a.m. Bluecloud buried her head under the blankets and moaned, before being jostled awake by the rest of us. We all paid the innkeeper and stumbled out into the bright sunshine, resting under a tree before setting off in search of food.
Unfortunately, our money was nearly all gone. There were only ten neopoints, which was not nearly enough to buy some food or even another go at berry picking. Clark and Midnight both had money at the bank, of course, but there was no bank here in Meridell.
Then Bluecloud got the bright idea of sending Thunder and Pecan down into the Symol Hole to hunt for Neopoints. Of course, Thunder needed a good amount of persuading and enticing, but we convinced him in the end.
Pecan chose to do a belly flop, and came back with nothing but a sore belly. Thunder was more careful and dove in with his eyes wide open, coming back with 3,000 neopoints, enough for us to all have a hefty helping of gruel and plenty left over to pay for passage on a ship.
We trekked to the Meridell docks, where we found a ship that would be leaving in an hour for Tyrannia. The price was only fifteen Neopoints, which was incredibly low for such a good ship. We boarded the ship and got settled into our rooms while the ship got ready to set sail.
We had rented two rooms, both side by side with a door built into the wall connecting the two. There were two beds in every room, so that everybody except for Midnight and Star would have their own bed.
The room was surprisingly clean compared to the Meridellian inn. I opened the crate and let Pecan and Thunder run around a bit before we took an excursion to the galley to find some crumbs and bacon rinds for the two starving petpets. Thankfully, the food was included in the passage price.
The ship, the Cap Rider, was very large and full. There were six floors, twenty rooms on each floor, and about 130 passengers in all on the ship. The top floor contained the captain’s cabin and office, the galley, and the usual twenty rooms. Our two rooms were on the fifth floor.
After the petpets and I had had a snack, we walked outside onto the deck. It was empty except for a couple of lawn chairs and a group of Boris wearing black beanies and carrying signs reading ‘Support the Black-Hatted Bori Club--Shun any member of the Yellow-Hatted Chomby Club’. I ignored them and walked over to the side and looked out toward the docks. To my great surprise, the land was already a small dot on the ocean. We were headed north.
To be continued...