The Adventures of Jake the Explorer!: Part Six
Ah, yes, vacation time. And there's no better way to spend a vacation than in a new land in search of treasure.
"And the best part is that it's just me and nobody else. No Hannah the Brave, no head-strong pirates, no mummy Uni, no silly kid, and no knights to steal all the action." Yes, it was just me and me alone. Ah - I was relishing in the grand joy of it.
"All right!" I opened my map. This was the first time I've been to Lutari Island. The atmosphere was very different from Mystery Island; it was shrouded in thick fog and colder. "Okay, there's the Fluorescent Pools," I noted on the map, "and the info center is over there... Survival Academy is just across that bridge - not sure I'd want to go there; sounds extreme."
My quest was actually a magical jewel called the Ruby Feather of Mirth. Supposedly it made anyone who touched it happy, but I didn't care about that; I just wanted it in my collection of rare items. "Where could it be located...? The riddle to find it was pretty confusing. Maybe I should try the Bog of Charity?" The 'bog' part sounds, um, unsettling, but the 'charity' sounds promising.
Suddenly an orange Lutari came swinging from the vine of a tree and landed right in front of me.
"Well, hello there. Roxton A. Colchester III is my name and adventure is my game. Would you like a tour of my fair island?"
"Your name is far too long; and no, I'll be fine on my own," I said.
"Hmph! Well, your tail is too long; do be careful you don't trip over it," the Lutari rudely replied back.
"I-I beg your pardon?"
"Beg all you like, but it needn't be done to pardon me," this Roxton fellow said.
"That's not what I meant - Oh, forget it. Excuse me, I have exploring to do." I walked away, but that orange Lutari decided to FOLLOW me.
"Exploring, eh? That's what I LIVE for. How 'bout we team up together, eh, old chap?" Mr. Colchester grinned my way.
"I'm not your grandfather - go away," I snapped.
Roxton A. Colchester III feigned being wounded by my words. When I ignored him, he went back to talking to me. Ugh, even worse.
"Surely you don't plan to venture out ALONE? This is dangerous wilderness, uh, um-”
He was looking for my name. As if I was going to tell this strange man my name.
"...Mr. Kougra," the Lutari finally said. "I could show you around; it's a splendidly peaceful island."
"Didn't you just say it was 'dangerous wilderness', your words exactly?" I asked, trying not to smirk.
"Er, uh... Details, details. Hey, is that a map?" Mr. Colchester grabbed my map right out of my paws! "Nice map you've got here, Mr. Kougra, it shows all the important locations on Lutari Island. Which is good when you're a tourist. Are you a tourist, Mr. Kougra? You really don't remind me of one. I mean, look at that jacket of a thousand pockets, and the cargo pants - and might I say that is a FANTASTIC fedora? May I try it on?"
"No," I said flat out. "Look here, Mr. Colchester - "
"You can call me Roxton."
" - I am doing quite fine enough ALONE. I don't NEED your 'guidance'. Now, please hand me back my map."
"You're a fun fellow to hang out with, Mr. Kougra." Roxton gave the map to me. "I guess I should go then -"
"Yes, please do that," I said.
" - and give my aid to someone more willing of my help."
"Very good." I nodded.
However, Roxton didn't leave. He just stood there giving me that fake grin of his. What was WITH this Lutari?
"I'm WAITING," I finally said.
"For what?" Roxton asked me innocently.
Arg! This guy is hopeless!
Why can't I just be left alone?
Roxton suddenly snatched something up off the ground.
"Ack!" That's when I noticed that the paper with the riddle to find the Ruby Feather had fallen out of my pocket!
The Lutari opened the folded paper. "Hm. Ah. Yes. I see. So, Mr. Kougra, you're looking for the fabled Ruby Feather of Mirth, eh? I could definitely help you."
"I'm sure you could - right into insanity; you're driving me crazy, Mr. Colchester!"
"I said you can call me by my first name, Roxton; I don't mind. And I don't deal with insanity at all, too many loose gears, if you know what I mean - I like to keep things together.
"Okay, Mr. Kougra, we got off on the wrong foot here." He wrapped an arm around my shoulder. "I know all there is to know about Lutari Island, far more than you obviously do with a map like that. I also know my homeland's legends; which means with MY help you're bound to find the Ruby Feather.
"What do you say, Mr. Kougra, teammates?" He offered a paw for me to shake.
What else could I do but accept? Mr. Colchester may be annoying, but he was right about knowing Lutari Island better than I. "Okay." I took his offering hand.
"Splendid! Adventure is waiting for us, Mr. Kougra, are you ready?
"I'll take you on a tour first. That riddle to find the Ruby Feather was pretty fuzzy; we might find it in the least likeliest place, wouldn't you agree, Mr. Kougra?"
"It's Jake," I said.
"Who's Jake? Where? Do you know someone here?" Roxton glanced around.
"I'M Jake. Jake the Explorer."
"Ooh, a title, eh? Nifty." Roxton's voice was full of sarcasm.
Sigh...This is going to be a looong and bumpy ride.
The Ruby Feather of Mirth
Is found where all finds birth.
It sparkles in the sun as water flows over it,
It belongs to those who have the wit.
Seek it among the trees and bogs,
Where the Faerie hides in the fogs.
It struggles to be free,
In the open air above the sea.
So said the riddle of the Ruby Feather. And now I stood with Roxton A. Colchester III in front of an amusement park attraction called the Wheel of Happiness. A cheerful Blumaroo, decked out in feathers and bright colors, stood right next to the giant wheel ready to give out awards to those who won something on the contraction.
"Have you come to spin the Wheel of Happiness, my fine friends?" the Blumaroo asked us.
"We sure have," Roxton said.
"You've got to be kidding me," I muttered. "We're supposed to be on a quest to find a rare item, not try and win cash on a wheel.
"But this is the Wheel of HAPPINESS," Roxton said. "Come on, can't you see the connection? Ruby Feather of MIRTH, Wheel of HAPPINESS?"
"I see it, yes, but this is just your every day Wheel of Excitement; it's not going to give out a rare item," I said.
Roxton shrugged. "You won't know until you try." He spun the wheel.
The Blumaroo clapped his hands. "Ah, slot 10, here's your prize."
My jaw dropped open. "The Ring of the Lost!?!" I squeaked and sputtered.
"Well," Roxton leaned against a tree, slipping the gold and black ring on, "what do you know, hm, Jake?"
This is unbelievable! "Let me try." I spun the Wheel of Happiness with determination.
"Slot 5," the Blumaroo announced. "Here's your prize."
My jaw dropped open once more. But it wasn't because of shocked wonderment: I was given a lousy one thousand NP. "You've GOT to be kidding me..."
"Tough break, old chap. Shall we try another place?"
I glared at the orange Lutari. If eyes really COULD shoot daggers.
"What do you think of trying the Bog of Charity out?" Roxton asked me.
I stuffed the thousand NP in my pocket. "That was where I was planning to go in the first place." I gave the Wheel of Happiness a scorned look.
"The riddle for the Ruby Feather seems to fit the Bog of Charity, don't you think?" remarked the orange Lutari.
"I don't know about that, but it DID mention to seek it in the bogs."
"Here we are!" Roxton said dramatically.
Gah! He's annoying.
It was not a very impressive sight, the Bog of Charity. It was a weeping willow surrounded by a murky bog. Like the Money Tree in Neopia Central, the willow, a Living Tree, guarded over a pile of treasures that it hands out to those in need. UNLIKE the Money Tree, however, which was full of useless items, the Bog of Charity had a large assortment of goodies.
Roxton and I crossed the little bridge to the willow. The tree gave us a sleepy glance, yawning a "Hello."
"You'll find all kinds of valuables here," Roxton told me. He picked up a bottled faerie: opening it a tiny Earth Faerie flew out:
"O thank you, kind sir. For your benevolent soul I shall bless you."
Roxton glowed green momentarily as the Earth Faerie sprinkled green glittery dust on him.
The faerie then flew off and the two of us went in search of the real treasure: the Ruby Feather.
I rummaged and sifted through the piles, picking up items such as a Lutari Island-inspired lamp; plushies; a colorful shirt; and a bottled Light Faerie.
Roxton jumped up in excitement then. "Here's a FEATHER."
"The Ruby Feather?" I asked hopefully.
"Nah. I think this one is for the Survival Academy," Roxton replied.
Of course, I thought bitterly.
"Well! I don't think the Ruby Feather of Mirth is here," Roxton abruptly announced.
"We've only looked for a couple of minutes," I said. "Are you lazy or something?"
"ME? LAZY? What a thing to say! Roxton A. Colchester III lives for adventure, danger, ACTION!
"It is obvious that the Ruby Feather is not here. Why? Because someone would have found it long before now. Everybody comes here in search of treasure."
"So why did you suggest coming here in the first place?" I asked, exasperated.
"YOU'RE the one who said you planned to visit this place first," Roxton said casually. "I was just going with the flow."
Arg! You are seriously getting on my nerves Roxton, A. Colchester III...
"Fine," I said. "What about the bog tree itself?"
The orange Lutari stroked his chin while staring up at the willow. "Never thought of looking THERE, I must admit. Hey, Jake, you're not so bad at this sort of thing, treasure hunting. You've got a good eye."
"I AM THE Explorer," I said. "I didn't GIVE the title to myself - I EARNED it."
"A pro, eh?" Roxton snidely remarked.
"Hey! I am not boasting here, just stating a fact."
"All right, Mr. Willow, what you say you tell us what's hidden in those branches of yours? Or, you could let us check it out ourselves."
The tree yawned. "What's that? Do you go and climb the Brain Tree? The Money Tree?" He shook. Hundreds of little, narrow leaves fell; and a few old branches. "There is nothing in my boughs, you can be sure of that. If you don't like what's under my branches, then move along." He yawned again and went silent.
"Oh well." Roxton shrugged.
We peered up into the branches anyway.
I looked at the riddle again. I noticed Roxton still had the feather he found; he was waving it around. "What are you still doing with that?"
"Actually, I have an idea - another place we can look," Roxton told me. He tickled my nose with the feather.
"Aa-chu!" I scratched my nose, giving Roxton a VERY dirty look. "And WHAT would THAT be?"
"The Survival Academy, of course. Did not the riddle say something about fighting?"
"Uh..." I read the riddle. "No."
Roxton grabbed the paper. "Yes it does. Right here, 'it STRUGGLES to be free'. It 'fights' to be free.
"Think about it. It makes sense."
Only to YOU. "You’re totally twisting the words around. Words are chosen carefully for a riddle; you can't just turn their meaning upside down."
"Anyway," Roxton went on, IGNORING me, "we have a ticket in." He waved the feather. "Let's give it a try."
"I guess it's worth a shot," I said.
"That's the spirit!" He slapped my back.
The Survival Academy was reached by a rickety, old, swinging bridge. The cold ocean churned underneath it; swelling and then retreating. I could see the kelp swaying with the current, and starfish twinkling.
"What a menacing place, huh?" Roxton stood before the training hut, hands on hips.
"Er... if you think giant, colorful feathers are scary-looking," I replied. I looked to see if a ruby one was among those that decorated the outside of the Survival Academy. Nothing. Maybe if I got closer up?
"Well, come on! What are you waiting for?" Roxton grabbed my hand and dragged me into the big hut.
Right away we were greeted, by a wisp of a Zafara. "The instructor, Master Lotan, will be with you shortly," she said.
I couldn't believe such a small girl worked at an academy that specialized in survival training. Maybe this place wasn't as great as its name implied.
Someone entered the room.
"Welcome!" a giant warrior of a Tonu boomed. "I am Master Lotan!"
Did the walls just shake?
"Hello!" Roxton stepped forward, with open arms. He attempted to speak as loudly as Master Lotan.
The Tonu scowled. "Have you come for training?"
"Why, yes; yes, we have." Roxton produced the feather.
"Very good! Let us start then!" Master Lotan said.
"Splendid!" Roxton clapped his hands.
Uh... weren't we here in search of treasure, not training...?
The Tonu scraped a wooden box across the floor. Out of it he dumped a jump rope, dumbbells, an exercise mat, a target board, swords, and weighed-down shoes. Then out of a closet he grabbed a bow and some arrows. "We'll start with this."
"O-kay-" I took the bow and arrows.
An hour later...
"How's the yoga doing?" Roxton asked me.
"Fi-fine," I grunted, trying to get out of a difficult position.
"Weights are next," growled Master Lotan.
Another hour later...
"Look at you go, Jake, you've almost done a hundred push-ups," Roxton said.
"Next, we sword fight!" roared Master Lotan.
"I guess I should go look for that Ruby Feather," Roxton said. "You don't mind, do you, Jake? Master Lotan?"
The Tonu growled; that was all.
"S-sure. Whatever. Ugh~" Forty-five more push-ups to go. "Tell me one thing, though. Why am I the one doing all the work!?"
Roxton had been looking on while I lifted thirty pound dumbbells, plucked my fingers sore with the bowstring, got tangled up in my own legs doing yoga, and struggled through sit-ups and NOW push-ups. And he just leaned casually against the wall, in grand comfort.
"There was only ONE feather," Roxton simply answered.
I huffed and puffed. But not because I was having a hard time. On the contrary, the anger I felt towards that orange Lutari gave me incredible energy. I breezed through the remaining push-ups, impressed Master Lotan with my swordsmanship, and when we got to the punching bag, I got permission to draw Roxton A. Colchester III's mug on the thing. Ah! Revenge!
Two more hours and my training was finally done. I met Roxton outside. He was sipping a cold drink in the shade, with the pretty Zafara.
"Jake! You're looking as fit as ever!" Roxton greeted me as I approached.
"You look thirsty," the Zafara said kindly. "I'll go get you a drink."
"Thank you, Miss." I sat down beside the cursed fiend. "Any luck?"
"Nope. No Ruby Feather of Mirth here," Roxton answered.
"Hm..." I gladly took the glass of lemonade the Zafara handed me. "Where now?"
"We could try Island Gossip. They may know of some interesting information."
I almost choked on my drink. "The Island WHAT? I don't want 'gossip', I want good, solid knowledge. Besides, I thought you said you knew all about the stories and legends of your 'homeland'. Have you forgotten already?" That question was sarcasm. I knew the moment I met him that Roxton A. Colchester III was a big show-off; he liked to say things to get a Neopet's attention, whether whatever he said was true or not.
"Are you implying that I don't hail from Lutari Island?" Roxton was actually getting angry. "Every Lutari comes from Lutari Island, there is not a Lutari you can meet that DOESN'T come from here.
"And, an-anyway, I don't know EVERY story. When I was a kid I was so fascinated with the outside world that I spent all my school years learning about places like Terror Mountain, Krawk Island, and the Lost Desert." He named each land with awe. "Heh, my mum was pretty mad at me when I knew more about the history of Meridell than my own homeland.
"So you see?
“There's a Lutari at the Island Gossip who knows every legend you can think of - which is why she's working there. Come on, let's go."
"In a minute..." I needed to get all my breath back.
"Hey there, Erin," Roxton greeted a green Lutari behind the desk of Island Gossip. "This is Erin, she offers tours of our splendid island - and she's my storyteller."
"It is nice to meet you, Miss," I said.
Erin, however, had both eyes on Roxton. I guess Roxton A. Colchester III was pretty popular with the girls - no wonder he had such a big head.
"Excuse me," I said, speaking louder.
The green Lutari finally glanced my way. "Oh, hello. May I help you? Are you with Roxton, here to hear the latest gossip - er, uh, NEWS?"
That slip of the tongue was not very reassuring. I was having doubts again about this.
"We're here about the fabled Ruby Feather of Mirth," Roxton told Erin.
"Ooh! My favorite subject!" Erin clapped her hands in excitement. What would you like to know? Its origins? Sightings?"
"Where one can FIND it," I said.
"Oh, well, that's a toughy. No one knows THAT answer," Erin said.
"Then what about those sightings?" Roxton asked.
"Oh, those?" Erin waved a hand. "Hmph, they're just rumors. Neopets claim they saw a bright red, feather-looking thing and think it's the Ruby Feather."
I scratched my head. "Okay, maybe you can tell us about the Feather's origins."
"Good thinking, old - uh, YOUNG chap." Roxton gave my back a slap. "Such information could be truly helpful."
"Well," Erin cleared her throat, "there are many stories. Some say that when Eithne, the Fire Faerie, was supposedly destroyed by Moltenus - when she tried to harness his power - her essence was so strong that it created a magic Feather. The Ruby Feather then floated freely through the sky, finally touching home with Lutari Island - bringing life into it. But since Lutari Island is a lot older than the vanishing Eithne, not too many believe that story. Plus, it's the Ruby Feather of Mirth, not of Anger.
"Another story, mostly accepted, is that the Ruby Feather was created in the very volcano that made this island. Briana, the Air Faerie, then brought the Feather to Lutari Island as a mystical talisman protecting our homeland.
"However, many tried to use the Ruby Feather for evil, so Briana had to hide it. But it's still here, protecting us, that's why Lutari Island is the happiest place in Neopia! Don't you agree?"
I only nodded to be polite; my brain was thinking of other things.
"I think our next stop is obvious," Roxton said.
I looked up at the orange Lutari.
"The Faerie Quest Hut," Roxton said. "It's just through those trees to the left, and up a rope ladder."
"Where the Faerie hides in the fog, huh?" I said.
I expected to speak with Briana at the Faerie Quest Hut, but alas, an island faerie - looking like Jhuidah's sister - was the only faerie there. And she couldn't help us if we didn't have a quest.
"Oh, come now, Shuidah," Roxton said, "can't you help us a LITTLE?"
"I am sorry, Mr. Colchester, "the Island Faerie replied. "But I truly know nothing about the Ruby Feather. And if I DID, I could not tell you where it was. You will have to talk to Briana."
"Where is SHE, then?" I asked.
Shuidah laughed. "No one knows where THAT faerie is, EVER. Like an Air Faerie she is as flighty as they come. In other words, you may meet her in your travels on Lutari Island, or... you may NEVER see her in all your life."
"That was SO helpful," I said in a huff. The two of us were backtracking towards Island Gossip.
"It IS true, though," Roxton said. "In all my life I've yet to meet Briana."
"WHAT now?" I went back to the riddle.
We turned and passed the News Hut.
"Ah, Lutari Savings Bank, let's go," Roxton said.
"Huh? Wha...? Why?" There was nothing in the riddle about neopoints.
"Why are we here?" I asked as we stood in line to speak with the teller - a Mynci.
"To collect my daily interest, of course; I always forget, being such an ACTIVE Lutari," Roxton replied.
I groaned. Give me a break. "We're on an adventure here and you had to stop to collect a few measly NP?"
"A coin collected is a coin saved - for emergencies, you know." Roxton thanked the Mynci and now we were headed for the Island Market.
"Another side trip?" I asked.
"Well, I DO need some Lutari Cocojuice, and Purple Spotted Cheese would be nice," answered Roxton.
"You really are something, Roxton," I said, shaking my head.
"Why, thank you, Jake."
The Kacheek who ran the market was happy to help us; and just to cheer me up (yeah, CHEER ME UP) Roxton bought me a Lutari Island Tonu Plushie.
"A souvenir," Roxton said, winking.
I gave the plushie an odd stare, then stuffed it in my pack.
"Now really, I must say," Roxton was talking again, "I think the Fluorescent Pools is the place we're truly searching for. It fits perfectly with the riddle."
"Yeah," I nodded, "it does. But isn't the Pools the same as the Bog of Charity - so many Neopets go there that the Ruby Feather would've been found long before now."
"Sylpha, the Uni there, only has visitors take a dip, and then they're gone. No one would have TIME to see - let alone LOOK for - a ruby feather."
"What about this Sylpha?" I asked. “Wouldn’t SHE have found it if not the visitors?”
Roxton didn't know what to say to THAT...
The Fluorescent Pools were a beautiful sight to behold. The clear waters glowed white-blue; and the mist that floated over it was fragrant and refreshing.
"Hello, dear friends," Sylpha the Uni greeted us. She had a very soft, sweet voice - one could fall peacefully asleep hearing it. "Have you come to heal your sorrows? You are welcome to do so."
"Thank you." Roxton inclined his head towards the Uni.
"We aren't here to heal battle scars, Roxton," I said.
"Shh, and follow me."
We went out to the very end of the Pools, where a skinny waterfall flowed into it. All the aches and pains I received at the Survival Academy were soothed away. "Ah..."
"Of course we aren't," Roxton whispered to me. "But how else do you suppose we look for the Ruby Feather?"
I looked into the waterfall while Roxton checked the Pool's floor.
"Nothing," the orange Lutari muttered.
I saw something red glint in the sunlight. "I found it!" I grabbed the object, pulled it out of the water, and...! Moaned... It was just a bead.
"You found it, eh?" Roxton tried not to laugh at me, but his big grin didn't help much.
"Well, it looked bigger under water," I said.
"Oh- a Tongi bead, hm?" Sylpha said. "You should keep that. It is a very rare item; it brings you luck."
I shrugged, pocketed the bead, and the two of us left the tranquil Fluorescent Pools.
"We're have to venture into the very wilderness of my home," Roxton said dramatically. "Best to keep your wits about you, Jake, it's dangerous out there."
I snickered. "That's why a Floobix just landed on your head, and that cute Weebly there wants to be your best bud, hmm?"
Roxton eyed the colorful bird, and shooed the Mynci-like Weebly away. "Okay, okay, Lutari Island is by far the friendliest and happiest place in Neopia; even the BOGS are happy to see you. Sigh... Ah! I know; the volcano Erin told us about, the Ruby Feather could have been hidden THERE.
"This whole island was made by that underwater volcano; we, who live here, found our birth there. You know, the fog on this island is caused by the hot air from the volcano, it comes out of the ocean as steam which is immediately cooled by the damp air."
"How do you suggest we get to an underwater volcano?" I asked.
"I can breathe under water for a long time," Roxton replied.
"Oh, well, you can wait and I can check it out."
"And why not?"
"Because you'll keep the Ruby Feather for yourself."
"I wouldn't be so ungentlemanly as THAT."
"We started this together, we END this together." I wouldn't argue any further.
"Aw, you've taken a liking to me," Roxton nudged me. "I'm touched, really; I am truly moved by your determination to have us stick together."
"Would you stop it." I shoved him away. "We have to be serious here. Now, where should we look next...?" I looked around us. A natural arch stretching over the ocean interested me. It was situated passed the Fluorescent Pools, and one could easily reach it (if they were as brave and adventurous as Roxton and I) and stand at its very pinnacle. "Come on, follow me for once."
"I have no objections," replied Roxton.
"This is amazing!" I exclaimed. I stood at the top of the natural arch, staring down at a sea of stars.
"It is," Roxton agreed. "This is called the Mirror of Stars."
"What are those things glowing down there?"
"Rocks, SPECIAL rocks. They have no name. This place acquired the name 'Mirror of Stars' because we Lutari believe that this very spot mirrors that of the true sky. For even though you can't see them during the day, the stars are still up there, twinkling."
Wow, something actually NICE came from Roxton's mouth.
"I think we found 'Where all finds birth'," I said.
"We were born from stars?"
"Well, not exactly, but someone bigger than ALL of us made those billions of stars, and thus gave birth to everyone and everything."
“I do. Now, the question is... where's the Ruby Feather?"
"Could it be that bright red object in that waterfall over there?" Roxton pointed, smirking a little.
"Ah!" I'm sure it was the treasure I came here to find! "Where's Briana, though?"
"Maybe she's giving someone one of her quests." Roxton produced a coil of rope.
"What are you going to do with that?" I asked.
"I'm going to get the Ruby Feather."
"It belongs to 'those who have the wit'," I pointed out.
"And that would be me."
"REAL wit, as in smarts; not DRY wit," I said.
"Just watch, Jake." He twirled his rope and then flung it out to catch hold of a tree above us. "Here. I. Gooo~!" He swung through the air, towards the waterfall. Roxton really looked like he was going to make it - and then he slammed into the wall of rock BEHIND the water flow. "I'm okay!" He inched his way to the gleam of red. "Ah-ha! Got it! Hey, come on, why won't you BUDGE!? Grr~ Growl~ If you want to fly free over the ocean, then lend me a hand here! Wha~? Oh dear. Ack!" Roxton's hands slipped and he came flying back.
"Nice work," I commented. "You want to try MY idea now?"
"And what is that?"
"We work TOGETHER. It struggles for a reason; it's gonna need BOTH of us to set it free, BOTH our strengths. I'll go from the top of the waterfall, and you do what you just did - except for slamming into the rock wall; don't do that."
"With all my heart I'll try not to do that again," Roxton muttered, rubbing his nose.
Roxton swung while I scaled down, and we met at the same spot. We grabbed the Ruby Feather and together we pulled. It was stuck good in the hard rock.
"It's moving, it's coming free!" I exclaimed then.
"I have a hold of it," Roxton said.
"Pull harder," I suggested.
The Ruby Feather suddenly sprang forward. I was caught off guard and was propelled outward. I felt my rope slack, and then I was falling! To be crashed to bits among rocks and sand.
"Jake!!" Roxton caught my rope as it passed him by and he used it to lasso me in.
We sat safely at the start of the natural arch, the Ruby Feather of Mirth between us, sparkling a dozen reds.
"So what do we do with it?" Roxton asked.
"I don't know now, not after hearing Erin's tale of the Feather. It belongs to Lutari Island; neither of us has a right to it."
A breeze suddenly ruffled our fur. "But you both deserve a reward," a woman's voice said. From the swirling fog around us an Air Faerie emerged.
"Briana! It's really you!" Roxton leaped up. "A pleasure to meet you." He bowed.
Briana laughed. "You're such a tease, Roxton A. Colchester III." She turned to me. "And you are Jake?"
"You, Jake and Roxton, have passed the test: you figured the riddle out and proved your wit. For that, the Ruby Feather of Mirth can grant you what will truly make you happy."
"How?" Roxton asked.
"Simply put a hand on the Feather and it will show you where you will find the happiness you desire," Briana told us.
Roxton went first. He saved my life; he deserved that much.
A sphere emerged from the Feather and revealed a moving picture.
"Hey, isn't that Lilian Fairweather and her professor father?" I asked.
"It sure is," Roxton said. "And it looks like they're going on another expedition - with the little kid, Scrap, and the grumpy sea captain. We're old friends, Captain Rourke and I - he let me call him Cappy. All of them together can only mean one thing!" He turned to me. "Hey, Jake, it's been swell hanging out together, but I have somewhere to be. I wish you a safe journey, where ever the Ruby Feather takes you."
"You too, Roxton." And I really meant it. He wasn't such a bad Lutari after all.
Roxton tilted his hat to me and ran off, disappearing through the trees.
Now it was my turn. Placing my paw on the Feather, I watched as a picture showed me the ancient kingdom of Altador. Traveling through the streets it came to an abandoned temple, wherein a statue of a golden Alabriss gleamed.
"Treasure!" I said with delight.
Briana smiled. "The Ruby Feather knows the hearts of all." She took the jewel and placed it in the sky, above the sea. "I will take you to Altador. Come, brave Kougra, let us go to your next adventure."
To be continued...
Ooh! What horrors await Jake in the one thousand-year-old Altador? Don't be scared to come back next time for the next thrilling adventure of Jake the Explorer!