Smell the Scents: Part Five
“Joe, are you sure this is safe?” asked Timmy nervously. They had been plodding along Joe’s thin path for a while now and Timmy’s paws were beginning to ache. The forest had become a lot darker and gloomier. The trees looked a darker colour, it was windy, and it was very silent. Besides Joe, there were no petpets to be heard or scented.
Timmy jumped at the sound and ran forwards, only to stop a second later when he crashed into Joe. Joe growled softly.
“Sorry, Joe,” said Timmy, feeling stupid. “I stepped on a twig and it startled me. Come on, let’s get going if you think this path is going to lead us somewhere. I only hope it’s safe.”
Joe gave a short, impatient growl and then continued on, closely followed by a nervous and jumpy Timmy.
“Wuff!” said Joe in a low voice a moment later, stopping.
“What is it, Joe?” asked Timmy, and then realised it was a stupid question. The path had ended and all Timmy could see ahead of him were gloomy looking trees and bushes. ‘Oh great,’ he thought. ‘A dead end. Now what?’
Joe apparently knew where he wanted to go. He gave a short wuff, nipped Timmy gently on the paw to get his attention and then forced his way around a bush. Deciding he didn’t have a better option, Timmy followed.
‘Now,’ thought Max. ‘How do I get out of Faerieland?’
The question was answered for him when he suddenly found himself falling through a cloud that apparently did not want to support his weight.
‘Well,’ he decided, landing with a splash in the middle of a vast amount of water. ‘At least that cloud was low. Now, how do I get to Neopia Central?’
That question was also answered for him when he spotted a small ship heading towards him.
“Ahoy!” yelled a Kougra from the deck. “Need some help there?”
“YES!” yelled Max, surprised that help had come along so quickly.
The ship sailed over to him surprisingly quickly and someone threw a rope over the side.
“Grab hold of that with your teeth, or paws if you can!” shouted the same Kougra, peering over the side of the ship at him.
A moment later Max found himself gasping for breath and on board the ship.
“Wow, thanks for that,” he said, hardly believing his luck.
“Yeah, no problems. I am afraid you will have to come with us to our destination, though. We can’t stop and detour just for someone who nearly drowned and is probably lost.”
Max stared at the new speaker, another Kougra who looked like he had slightly more authority.
“Where is your destination?” he asked in what he hoped was a polite voice.
“Neopia Central. We have some important stuff to deliver in a hurry. We were sent over in one of Neopia’s fastest ships but even stopping to help you will have delayed us.”
Max had even more trouble believing his luck. Both the bad luck of being captured by Jhudora and now the good luck of falling out of Faerieland and being picked up by one of the apparently fastest ships which was headed in the same place he needed to go.
“Neopia Central is fine with me,” he managed to gasp eventually.
The Kougra stared at him for a moment. “Good.”
“Joe, where are we going?” asked Timmy, knowing that Joe would not actually be able to reply.
The woods had become even gloomier and if possible, even more silent. Timmy was starting to jump at every little noise and was imagining there to be sometime hiding behind every bush and tree.
“Why is this place so gloomy and scary? We can’t be in the Haunted Woods, can we?” By now Timmy was so scared he was ready to believe anything. He almost jumped out of his skin (and probably would have if it had been physically possible to do so) when a large roll of thunder made itself heard.
“Oh,” said Timmy with obvious relief a second later. “It’s gloomy because of the storm. I can’t believe I didn’t know that. Joe, are we nearly at wherever it is you want to take me?”
Joe gave a small, comforting whine before forcing his way through another clump of bushes. Being small, he found it easy, but he had to stop on the other side and wait a moment for Timmy.
“I hope it doesn’t...” Timmy paused for a second as rain started to pour down on top of them, drenching them in seconds. “Rain...” he finished, sighing.
Joe turned around a small bend and Timmy gasped. The gasp wasn’t heard because of a large roll of thunder but Timmy wasn’t fussed. Timmy could see the edge of the woods just ahead of them. He began to run, overtaking Joe in his excitement to reach the faint bit of daylight apparently creeping through the clouds.
‘Good thing the storm started after the ship landed,’ thought Max, walking along the edge of the woods. He still couldn’t believe his luck and probably never truly would. ‘Hey, I wonder what Jhudora is doing now. I bet she is angry.’
(In Faerieland a loud and angry scream could be heard, making innocent shoppers turn their heads, whilst the librarian sat at her desk covering her ears, and Fyora’s staff let out a few sparks.)
Max wandered along, starting to get tired but trying to hurry at the same time. As a result his pace was probably normal. He was just thinking happily of getting home when something barrelled out of the woods and into his side, knocking him over.
“Max!” exclaimed the familiar voice of Timmy.
“Timmy? What are you doing here? Have you found Bella?”
“I was about to ask you the same thing. No, I haven’t found her. I found a doglefox, though.”
“Where? I can’t see him. And I haven’t found Bella yet either. I have been... distracted... by other things.”
“Joe is invisible, so you might have a bit of trouble seeing him.”
“Oh, ok. Well, why don’t we go home until this storm has passed and then try looking for Bella again?”
“Sounds good. Let’s get going then.”
“It might help if you got off me first, Tim,” said Max, trying to get up.
“Oh,” replied Timmy, and picked himself up from where they had fallen.
They headed off in the direction of home, not arguing for a change.
“What were these other things that distracted you?”
“Would you like anything else to eat? Are you sure you are both okay?”
“Mum, we are both fine,” said Max, pushing his plate away.
“Yeah, I can’t eat another thing. It smelled great, though!” said Timmy, half shutting his eyes and not noticing Max rolling his eyes. “I am so tired. I need some sleep now. Waking me up at dawn...” He sent a playful glare at Max.
“Well, I thought it was for a good reason,” said Max defensively. “I can’t believe Bella found her own way back and we were stuck out looking for her in a storm, completely wasting our time!”
“Yeah, you have said that already,” replied Timmy. “But I must say I agree with you.”
Max yawned and so did Timmy.
“Right, bed for both of you, now!”
“Yes, Mum,” chorused Timmy and Max, and went slowly to their bedrooms. The first thing Timmy noticed was the cloud petpet paint brush on his bed. He stared in surprise.
“What’s that doing there?” he asked, amazed.
At that moment Bella started laughing just outside their door. Timmy and Max both glared at her.
“Go back to your room, Bella,” snapped Max.
Bella ignored Max and glared back at Timmy, attempting to look fierce. This worked slightly better than her attempt at putting her hands on her hips but it only made her look funny. Timmy rolled his eyes and looked away.
“Did you like the junk I left you then, Timmy?”
“Junk? What junk? I don’t see any junk,” said Timmy in a slightly surprised voice, looking around for this apparent junk.
“Yes, you do. On your bed!” snapped Bella, trying to make her glare even fiercer. By now though her eyes were nearly shut and she had to give up the attempt in order to be able to see.
“I still don’t see any junk...” said Timmy, completely mystified. “Why did you leave me junk anyway?”
Attempting to glare without shutting her eyes, Bella replied. “It is revenge because you are mean to me. Really, really mean. And if you don’t start being nice, I will leave more junk lying about!”
Timmy and Max looked at each other, bewildered. “I still don’t see any junk...” said Timmy after a moment's pause while everyone tried to think of something to say.
“RIGHT THERE!” yelled Bella, pointing to the cloud petpet paint brush that lay on Timmy’s bed.
“Oh right. But Bella, that’s not junk...” Timmy’s voice trailed off when Bella ran away.
“What was the point in that?” asked Max.
“No idea at all... oh, here comes Mum. That explains why she ran off at least.”
“Did I hear Bella shouting? Yes? What for?”
“Just one of her usual tantrums,” said Max, looking at Timmy in amusement.
When their mum had left the room, Joe gave a small whine from somewhere in the direction of the paint brush.
“Is that a hint, Joe?” asked Timmy. “Well, if Bella gave it to me, I see no harm in using it...”