A Kettle and a Cackle: Part Two
I was now a Bartamus named River. What an odd combination. Flexing my wings, I lifted myself off the ground and flew swiftly out the window. Up until then, I had never known Bartamuses could fly. I was glad of that, though, when I gulped in some fresh air. Out of Edna’s castle at last, but I still didn’t know where Neopia Central was. My owner was probably pacing with worry, as she did once when one of my siblings didn’t return from the park. It turned out that she had left with a friend and stayed with them for dinner, instead of coming straight home. She got a time-out, but wasn’t punished much more. I flapped my ugly wings thoughtlessly, like it was as natural as breathing-because to a Bartamus, it was as natural as breathing.
I flew without guidance for a long time, alone with my thoughts. I never passed anyone else in the Neopian skies, and this far away it was still day. It could’ve been day in Neopia Central as well, though, as I wasn’t sure of how long I’d been gone. I could only assume things, and that troubled me. As I was just thinking of how amazing a flaming fire faerie pizza would be at the moment, I spotted an oddly shaped cloud in the distance. It looked a little like Faerieland, so I zoomed in to get a closer look. What I saw was the best thing I had seen that day. Faerieland was a safe haven to me, and Queen Fyora could change me back. If only I could get into her office without a Neopet catching me...
I plotted and planned until I had tired myself out with all the thinking. I stayed stationary in the sky, not moving anywhere. At last, I had a well-thought out plan that I was sure would work. I flew closer to the cloud, high above the streets. Faeries, Neopets, and their owners were strolling along after a hard day at work. I quickly flew to a tall, stone building right by Queen Fyora’s palace. Hoping people would think I was a statue, I sat with my wings folded at my sides, blinking only when necessary. When the streets of Faerieland had darkened, I flew off of my post and into the window of the queen’s castle. It was a sparkling white affair, with real crystal chandeliers dangling from the ceilings. I stuck to flying near the ceiling, avoiding the chandeliers as I navigated the way to Queen Fyora’s personal study, where I knew she would be up late working. As it turned out, I was right.
Queen Fyora was sitting behind her long, polished, mahogany desk leaning over a piece of paper. Her pteri feather quill swept across the paper effortlessly like it was as natural as breathing. Hesitant, I flew into view. She looked up, not startled at all, and continued to write. She smiled softly, letting it reach her eyes.
“What brings you here, child?” Queen Fyora asked, finally putting down her quill and focusing her attention on me. I had heard that she could speak all languages, including petpets - so I figured she would understand me when I spoke to her.
“My name is River and I live in Neopia Central. The Soup Faerie chased me into the woods where I found Edna’s castle. She was nice at first, but then she changed me into a Bartamus, what I am now. So I flew to you, hoping you could understand my language and change me back into the Speckled Uni I used to be,” I said. She nodded absentmindedly a few times, and then turned her chair around and got up. She, too, had many potions lining her walls. They were all for good, though. Evil potions were bottled in dark green and purple bottles, and good potions were bottled in pink, light blue, and lime green bottles. Just by glancing at all the shelves, I could tell there was no evil potion in sight.
Queen Fyora finally selected a potion, a light blue bottle that had a fragrance that smelled like my mother’s garden back home. Thinking of her made me realize how much I missed her. I hope she wasn’t too worried back at home. I’m responsible, and she knows that. I just hope that she doesn’t think I’m running away, and blame herself for this mess. I sighed quietly, hoping Queen Fyora couldn’t hear. I don’t think she did, or either was polite enough not to mention it. As I thought, she was pouring the potion into a pteri-egg blue cup with a beautiful pink porcelain handle. I admired it. Once she was done pouring, she handed it to me.
“Drink up,” she said, “and then you’ll become yourself again.” I willingly gulped down the potion. It tasted great, like freshly-picked cherries, the kind that stain your mouth for days.
“Can I have some more?” I asked, completely serious. She laughed. I had never noticed it before, but when she laughed, it sounded light a wind chime. I decided that she had a nice laugh, and I would like to hear it again. Not like Edna’s cackle, though.
It had taken a minute or two to spread through my body, but when it had, I immediately began shifting. My wings changed color, lost their spiky tips, and grew larger; my head separated from my body and I grew two more legs; and I got my main and tail back. Luckily, I didn’t feel any of it. I think the potion may have had something in it so I didn’t feel pain, and I was glad of that. All in all, I was still relieved when the process finished. I smoothed down my newly bushy mane and tail. I’d have to brush them when I got home.
“There you are,” Queen Fyora said, already turning her attention back to her paper. “You are now a Neopet again. Go home to your owner and get a good night’s sleep.” When I opened my mouth, she had already started to ignore me and turned her attention back to the paper. I wondered what she was writing. Maybe it was a letter to a friend, or a story for the Times. I wished I knew.
“Queen Fyora,” I stuttered softly, “I don’t live here in Faerieland and I don’t know how to get back to where I live in Neopia Central.” She looked up at my melancholy expression, quill still poised over the paper. She set down the quill for the second time.
“Now that’s a problem,” she concluded. “We must find a way to get you back to Neopia Central. Your owner must be worried sick. How long did you say you were gone?”
“I don’t know,” I said honestly. “It could’ve been two or three days.”
“You could take the CloudRail down to Neopia Central, but the next shuttle isn’t until eleven o’ clock in the morning tomorrow, and we can’t wait that long. There are airships, but those are locked up for the day. There’s only one option left,” she grimaced, “the Uni Riders.”
“What are the Uni Riders, and are they bad?” I asked, clueless. Why does nobody tell me these things? My mother is probably just trying to protect me, but I’d rather know. It would be a lot more fulfilling. Plus, I don’t see the point in her “protecting” me from Neovision. I watch it every night regardless of what she says.
“The Uni Riders are a group of Unis who transport Neopets and faeries to and from Faerieland late at night,” she informed me, “but people only go to them as a last resort. They’re crabby, often veer off track, and charge extremely high prices. I suppose we’ll have to go with them.”
“All right,” I said, unsure of why we were going with the Uni Riders. From Queen Fyora’s description, they didn’t sound like very nice Neopets. I hope they weren’t mean to me. Even though I was going home, I still didn’t have an interview for the Neopian Times so I could get a pretty, shiny trophy. My only option was to interview Queen Fyora, and I was sure she had been interviewed plenty of times that I hadn’t seen. I only started reading the Times a few months ago, anyway. There were a lot of cool stories and informative editorials that I didn’t know about. My owner usually just clipped good questions, stories, and comics out of the past issues for me to read. She knows what I like.
Queen Fyora led me out the front door of her castle into the brisk night air. Wind nipped my cheek as I trotted along behind her. The stars glistened in the Neopian sky, but it was silent. All the Neopets and faeries who lived in Faerieland had all gone to bed already. We continued to walk, taking main streets down to the edge of the cloud. I could see a gathering of Unis in all different colors at the end of a long pier. They must be the Uni Riders.
To be continued...