The Door to Jelly World
“There is too a thing called Jelly World!” Celeste shouted. Her friend, Marcus, just laughed at her.
“Yeah. There’s a world of jelly like the Haunted Woods is beautiful. How in Neopia would you get the idea there’s a land of jelly? Jelly!”
Celeste stomped off. The Christmas Uni had plenty to be annoyed about. Every member of her family, except her younger sister Lea (a Cloud Kacheek), sneered at her for believing in “Jelly World”. Even baby Mary had giggled when she mentioned Jelly World.
Celeste opened the front door and slammed it shut. Her owner jumped. “Celeste! Do I have to tell you again--”
“Yeah, yeah,” she mumbled. “Don’t slam doors, walk quietly, behave like a proper lady, and--”
“You got that,” grumbled her owner. “Well, it’s dinnertime.”
Celeste poked a hole into the Half Strawberry Jelly in front of her. She made a door. She added some windows.
“Celeste, Jelly World doesn’t exist. It just doesn’t. Everyone is learning that. You need to jump ahead of this hole.”
As she curled up in her bed that night, reading Atlas of Neopia, her eyes strayed to a sentence with the word “jelly”.
It is claimed that a door to “Jelly World” appears every new moon next to the Meridell Rubbish Dump. People claim to have seen it, but they say they could not distinguish it since there were many orange doors, each a varying shade of orange. Scientists say that this is merely wishful thinking. Jen Le, a scientist that studies new worlds, says, “It might be, and it might not. All I know is that I either had a hallucination or have discovered a new world.”
She looked at the picture. It was a painting of a city made of orange jelly, glistening in a glorious red sunset. Laughing Neopets played in the streets.
A painting. A mere painting, from some artist’s imagination. She wanted the real Jelly World.
Well, thought Celeste, the new moon is one day from now. I’m going!
In the early morning when dawn had not yet crept over the sky, Celeste took the rest of her allowance, all the jellies, a Handy Compass, a map, and the page about Jelly World from the Atlas of Neopia. “Don’t turn into smoke!” she told the page, and slid it into her Air Faerie Backpack along with her favorite Blue Uni Plushie.
She opened the front door.
Celeste screamed and whirled around. “I’m not really going--oh, it’s you, Lea?”
Lea looked at her. “You are going somewhere. I can tell. Where is it?”
Celeste showed her the atlas page. “See? The new moon is tonight.”
“Let me go with you!” said Lea. “Please?”
Celeste sighed. But, she thought, Lea was the only one to believe me. Let her come. Besides, I’ll need some company as I fly. It’ll be a little extra weight, but...
“Alright,” she said. “But pack in ten minutes.”
* * *
In the morning, two Neopets were seen. One was a Christmas Uni. On her back was an Air Faerie Backpack. Another was a Cloud Kacheek, with a Hasee Backpack. Both backpacks were full. They were journeying to Meridell, from Neopia Central.
The Defenders of Neopia discussed this. “Anything suspicious?” said a Mynci.
A Usul in the back of the room stood up. “Yes. Why are they up so early? And why--” She paused and looked around the room. “Why don’t they have owners? There’s only one answer. They’re looking for something.”
“Kids?” said Judge Hog.
“They’re looking for Jelly World!”
Surprise caught the room. “Kids?” “Common sense!” “These days--”
“Order! Order!” shouted Judge Hog. “Summon the 404 team!”
The 404 team. It was the team that worked on kids. They blocked entrance to places like Jelly World and beyond Neopia. It consisted of a red Peophin, a red Cybunny, and a red Lupe. They had big white numbers--four, zero, four--on their uniforms.
“Reporting, sir!” they said.
Judge Hog showed them the reports. “Jelly World again. Hop to it.”
* * *
Lying in her bed in a Tent that night with two Light Sticks propped up against the cloth, Lea couldn’t believe what was happening. She read the page about Jelly World again, just to forget about this huge adventure.
Something seemed to guide her as she reached for the remnants of the Strawberry Jelly and the Lemon Jelly. She mashed it together.
The orange of that picture--
The jellies merged together.
“Celeste!” shrieked Lea. The jellies ebbed and flowed. Back and forth, faster and faster, until it was a blur. It flew out of Lea’s hand.
“What’s going on?” shrieked Celeste.
Then it stopped.
It was the color of orange. The exact color in the picture.
“This is it!” said Lea. “We can tell the door from the other ones!”
Suddenly there was a noise outside the tent. Lea looked out.
“Who--” said Lea, but a voice said, “We are the 404 Team. You have been reported for attempting to track down a so-called 'Jelly World'. Exit quietly and we will leave you in peace.”
Celeste grabbed her backpack and slipped it onto her back. “Lea,” she mouthed. “Climb on.”
Lea slipped on her backpack and gripped the orange jelly. Then they leaped out of the tent and flew.
“You have now been declared,” said a red Cybunny with an “0” on her chest, “criminals.”
Celeste’s wings beat against the air. “I can’t make it!” she gasped. “It’s all so... heavy!”
Lea reached into her backpack and dropped all but one of the light poles. Then she dropped the bag of neopoints and the jellies. She took out a paper and pencil and wrote, “HELP!” before letting it flutter to the ground. Celeste flew as hard as she could. Let my owner see me now, she thought. She would be proud.
Would she ever see her owner again? She was being chased by the Defenders of Neopia. Now she was flying in the dead of night with her younger sister and two backpacks and she was tired, and she hadn’t gotten much sleep, and there wasn’t much light, and--
She looked, following Lea’s pointing hand. She saw farmland. Lush green grass. She could smell it, the tang of rivers and hills and--
The new moon left the world completely dark, but by the last remaining light pole, Celeste could still see. She saw something shimmering by the Rubbish Dump.
Doors. Ten doors that might change her life.
Lea pulled out her jelly and walked around. Then she saw the 404 team running, swift and gracefully. “Halt!”
Lea found the exact color. The orange jelly she had formed into a key. She jammed it into the lock. Click--the door sprang open.
Celeste was being grabbed by the team. “No!” she said. The red Cybunny was lunging towards her.
“Go!” shrieked Celeste. Lea slammed the jelly door and stepped into a new world.
Celeste watched as the orange jelly doors shimmered away, taking her sister with them. The 404 team gasped. Then they took her away.
“Wow,” Lea whispered. It was real. It was orange jelly. She held the key out in her palm. Then she said, “I wish my sister was here with me. If it wasn’t for her...”
“Gone. Really gone.”
Celeste’s heart fell as she heard the confirmation. Her sister--was gone. Lost in a world of jelly. If she ever saw jelly again, she would smash it to pieces. She would stomp on it. “I wish all the jelly in the world was Squished Jelly!” she screamed. “I hate jelly!”
“There, now...” sniffed her owner, “it’s not... really... true...”
Celeste went to bed, taking the lower bunk. Her sister’s bed was on top. It was empty.
A lump in her throat rose. She gave a great sob, and fell asleep.
* * *
The next morning, she remembered everything that had happened. “Lea,” she whispered, then got out. She looked up.
Lea was sleeping in it.
Lea gave a little shriek, then woke up. “What?” she said crossly.
“How did you get here?”
“Here? I was here all the time.”
“I thought you were in Jelly World.”
“Jelly World? Oh, I’d love to be in Jelly World, but I wasn’t in it. Strange thing, though, I had this dream that I went into Jelly World but some red Neopets grabbed you so you couldn’t come with me.”
“Really?” Celeste laughed. “I had the same dream!”
“Breakfast!” called their owner. Celeste smiled all the way downstairs. After breakfast, she wrote down her dream. When she went outside to play, she gasped--
Was it only her imagination, or was an orange jelly key lying there in the grass?
Yay! First ever in NT! -pinkkea