Flying High: Part One
Far away on the Planet Neopia, Bugsypal9 (or Bugsy for short), a human from Planet Earth, was sitting in her Neohome. She was lying on the rug in the centre of the one-room house, reading a book out loud. A yellow Shoyru, a blue Eyrie, a green Techo and a red Scorchio were gathered around her and listening eagerly.
“Then to their great amazement, the ship began to grow wings!” read Bugsy.
“No way!” said Buckbeak_002, the blue Eyrie.
“Yes way,” replied Bugsy, grinning.
“Wow! I wish I could do that,” said ZoshiDevil, the green Techo. Apart from Bugsy, he was the only one of the group who didn’t naturally have wings. Magical artificial wings were available but they were really rare to find and really expensive to get hold of.
“Can I see the picture please?” asked Nikolikan, the yellow Shoyru. “Of course,” answered Bugsy, showing her the illustration in the book. It looked exactly like a 17th century wooden sailing ship, only with a giant pair of wings shaped like a Lenny’s.
“Come on, come on!” said the red Scorchio. “I want to hear the next bit!”
“All right, all right.” replied Bugsy, laughing slightly. She turned the book back towards her and continued reading.
Bugsy had gotten her Scorchio from her brother, who’d decided to leave Neopia and go back to Earth forever. Oddly enough, he’d named the Scorchio “Shadow_the_Scorchio”, for want of a better name. When he’d decided to leave, Bugsy had begged him to let her take him in. She kept going on and on at him until eventually he agreed, so now “Shadow” (as he was now nicknamed) was hers and she’d never regretted her decision.
“And so, with everything finally ready, the captain drew his sword and sliced through the main mooring line with one slash! The first mate took the steering wheel and they were soon flying through the silvery clouds, having many fabulous adventures. The End,” finished Bugsy, closing the book with a snap.
Suddenly, there was a puff of blue smoke and the book vanished. All the pets groaned.
“Don’t worry, guys,” said Bugsy. “I might just go hunting for volume two while I’m in the Marketplace tomorrow.”
All the pets whooped and cheered.
Outside, the sun had just vanished behind the hills and it was getting dark. “Alright, everyone,” said Bugsy, “bedtime.”
The Neopets got into their beds. Buckbeak_002 and Shadow_the_Scorchio got into one double bed; Nikolikan and ZoshiDevil got into the other. Bugsypal9 always went back to Earth for the night.
“Bugsy?” asked Nikolikan, as she lay in bed. “Wouldn’t it be nice if we all sailed away on a flying ship in the sky, just like Captain Dream-caster and his Cloud-chaser crew?”
“Why yes, I suppose it would,” replied Bugsy as she tucked Nikolikan in, “but we’re just ordinary citizens of Neopia, living normal lives. We’ve just got to accept what we’ve got.” Bugsy finished with Nikolikan and went to the front door. She opened it, went out and closed it again. Nikolikan sighed as she listened to the click of the lock.
Half an hour later, everyone in the Neohome had fallen asleep... except for Nikolikan. She tossed and turned but no matter what she did, she couldn’t seem to get comfy. She stared out of the window and gazed at the starry sky above. One star seemed to shine much, much brighter than all the others. “I wish we could all be Cloud-chasers too, just like in the book,” she whispered, keeping her eyes fixed on the star. She held that thought in her head and kept staring at the star, until eventually she nodded off.
Bugsypal9’s Neohome was a small house on the edge of a large forest near Neopia Central, with a navy blue roof and white walls. It was a humble little place, just right for... whatever the sort of people Bugsy and her pets were. Bugsy and her pets had explored their neighbouring forest so many times, they all knew it like the backs of their hands (paws, feet, whatever) and had always gone in there whenever they felt they needed a run-around.
Bugsy opened the window and looked out. It was a bright, clear summer morning and the air smelt sweet and fresh. She turned back to her pets, which were getting themselves ready for the day. “Well, everybody,” she said cheerily, “the day is young and so are we. Who wants to go out with me today?”
Bugsypal9 and Buckbeak_002 raced towards the main shops of Neopia Central. Buckbeak_002 was galloping fast, with Bugsy riding on his back.
“Yah! Buckbeak. Yah!” Bugsy called out as they went along.
“I’m yah-ing as fast I can!” replied Buckbeak. They raced along the path, around a corner and up a hill. As soon as they reached the top, Buckbeak tripped on something and he and Bugsy were catapulted into the air. They flew heads over heels and landed just near each other.
“Owww,” groaned Bugsy, rubbing her head. “Are you alright, Buckbeak?” she asked.
“Yeah, I’m OK,” said Buckbeak, getting up.
Bugsy was just about to get back on his back again when he stopped her. “Would you mind terribly if we walked?” asked Buckbeak. “I might do that again and I don’t want you to get hurt; besides my back hurts a bit.”
“Sure, OK,” replied Bugsy. They started to walk to town. They hadn’t gone more than five steps, however, when Bugsy sensed something moving beneath them. They both looked down and saw a tiny Fleaf trapped under a large pebble, struggling to get free.
“Ugh!” groaned Buckbeak. “It’s a disgusting little Fleaf. Let’s put it out of its misery.” He raised his paw to swipe at the Fleaf.
“Hold on a tic,” said Bugsy, stopping him suddenly. “There seems to be something extraordinary about that Fleaf. I just can’t put my finger on it. I think we should help it out.”
“Really,” said Buckbeak.
Bugsy bent down and removed the pebble. The Fleaf scuttled out and started chirping merrily as though it was delighted that they had helped it. Then all of a sudden, the Fleaf began to glow so brightly that Bugsy and Buckbeak were almost blinded. They covered their eyes as the glowing got even brighter. Then, as suddenly as it started, it stopped.
Bugsy put down her hand... and gasped! She couldn’t believe her eyes! The Fleaf had gone, and in its place was a faerie! She was a very pretty faerie. Her dress, wings, eyes and hair were all almost exactly the same pinkish/purplish colour. On her head, she wore a beautiful sky-blue tiara, with a pink gem in the centre. She also carried a large staff of power with roughly the same colour scheme.
Bugsy liked the way it all seemed to match. Then suddenly, she realised who the faerie was!
“Oh my gosh!” said Buckbeak. “It’s Fyora!”
“The faerie queen...” said Bugsy, slowly. And suddenly, her brain went numb! Her vision faded into darkness! Her ears switched off! She felt herself falling... falling... falling....
Bugsy opened her eyes. Her head was resting against something soft and fluffy. Her body was lying, face up, on the ground. Fyora, the faerie queen, was bending over her. Then Bugsy suddenly remembered what had happened. What a stupid thing to do! Fainting in front of the queen! She wanted to hit herself but her hand wouldn’t move.
“Are you alright?” asked Fyora.
“I.... think so,” replied Bugsy, shakily.
“Don’t try to move just yet,” said Fyora. “Lie still for a moment and your strength will return.”
Bugsy waited for a few seconds and sure enough, her strength and energy came back. She pulled herself up and as she did so, she saw that the soft, fluffy thing she’d been resting against had been Buckbeak’s feathery back.
“Hey, you’re up!” said Buckbeak, as though he’d just realised she’d come round. The three of them stood up.
“Your Majesty, with all due respect, why have you appeared before us?” Bugsy asked Fyora.
“Well,” replied Fyora, “I suppose it was because a certain someone showed a great act of kindness towards a creature nobody seemed to like.”
“You mean that Fleaf –” started Bugsy.
“Yes,” said Fyora, “that was me in disguise. And for that, I am willing to grant you and your pets a very special reward.”
“But isn’t kindness its own reward?” asked Bugsy.
“You know the way we faeries work,” replied Fyora. “If a human in Neopia does us a great service, then we grant them an even greater reward. For showing great kindness towards me, I will now grant you something guaranteed to bring you, and your pets, worlds of action and adventure beyond your wildest dreams. It will be waiting for you when you return home. But please, do not feel rushed to hurry back. Go and do what you have set out to do and do it with ease. Farewell, Bugsypal9, and let us meet again very soon.” Fyora raised her staff high in the air and there was a brilliant flash of white light. When it faded, Bugsy and Buckbeak saw that Fyora had gone.
There was a long moment of silence. “Whoa!” gasped Buckbeak, “now there’s something you don’t experience every day.”
“How did she know my name?” Bugsy wondered aloud.
“Who cares!” said Buckbeak. “Let’s just get out of here before any more faeries in disguise show up.”
That afternoon, Bugsy and Buckbeak returned to their Neohome. They had barely begun to walk up the stone path that led to the front door, when the door burst open and Nikolikan, ZoshiDevil and Shadow came running out. They rushed right up to Bugsy and started talking all together, so fast that Bugsy could hardly hear a word any of them was saying.
“One at a time, one at a time!” shouted Bugsy over the noise. The pets calmed down.
“Bugsy,” said Nikolikan, “we were all sitting inside playing with our plushies-”
“When we heard a really loud thump outside somewhere,” ZoshiDevil cut in.
“And we were all so scared, we hid inside all day!” said Shadow.
“Ok, ok,” said Bugsy, “don’t scrape your scales. Let’s all just go together and find out what on Neopia is so scary.” Suddenly there was a sparkle in the corner of Bugsy’s eye. She turned in its direction and saw a path leading into their forest that they’d never seen before. The path was littered with little golden sparkles. The pets noticed it too.
“Do you think it went in there, whatever it was?” said Nikolikan.
“There’s only one way to find out,” said Bugsy, confidently. They all held hands (Buckbeak used his tail) and entered the forest together. As they walked, the air shimmered with more little golden sparkles. After a while, they came to a large, flat, grassy clearing they had never found before.
There was something large in the centre. It looked like... no, it couldn’t be... yes, it was! It was a 17th century wooden sailing ship, just like the one in the storybook! It even had a pair of giant, white wings shaped just like a Lenny’s! It was being kept upright by a structure of wooden supports, the wings were folded away tidily on either side of the ship and the gangplank was down, just waiting for them to board.
“Oh my!” gasped Bugsy. Her jaw dropped open.
“Whoa!” said Buckbeak. “So Fyora wasn’t kidding! I owe you 500 Neopoints, Bugsy,” he said, nudging her gently. But Bugsy didn’t respond.
“Wait a minute,” said ZoshiDevil. “Who did you say wasn’t kidding?”
Bugsy and Buckbeak quickly told their story. When they had finished, a wild look of joy spread all over Nikolikan’s face.
“My wish came true!” she said, joyously, dancing around.
“You wished for this?” asked Bugsy, curiously.
“Yes!” replied Nikolikan. “Last night I made a wish that we could all sail through the sky on a flying ship just like in the storybook, and now it’s come true! Hooray!” she cheered.
It was a while before anyone else said anything. They all just looked at each other and at the ship.
“Well, what are we waiting for!?” said Bugsy, eventually. “Let’s go and have a look at this thing.” The pets cheered. They all ran up the gangplank and started exploring their brand-new adventure machine.
Despite the ship’s large size, Bugsy and her pets managed to explore the entire ship in just two hours. Pretty soon, they had all memorised the entire layout of the ship. There were four levels, each with their own obvious purposes, and so it wasn’t long before the group had decided what they wanted all the different rooms on the different floors to be.
The ‘ground’ level, where the main deck and everything was, also had a viewing platform at the front, the captain’s quarters and office, and two more platforms at the back. The captain’s rooms and the platforms had been built in a very strange way. The captain’s rooms just sat there at the back of the deck, while the first platform was situated on the roof of them, accessible by a set of steps. The first platform was also where the ship’s main wheel was. The second platform was above it, built purely for viewing surroundings and accessible by the same set of steps. It had some wooden railing across the back to stop anyone on there falling right over the edge.
Level Two consisted of four separate rooms which, the group had decided, were going to be the crewmembers’ hold, the infirmary, the galley, and the bunk room where the crew would sleep. On Level Three, there were several cannons lined up against several portholes in the wall which opened up so that the cannons could fire easily. There were about twenty cannons on each side and they could fire all sorts of projectiles, such as lock-on missiles, ordinary cannon balls and snowballs. There were also a few cannons on the main deck too.
The level below that, Level Four, was easily the brig! There were eight adjoining cages, four on each side, each the size of a medium-sized broom cupboard yet tall enough to stand up in. They were separated from each other by thin iron bars. The doors that led into them were also made up of sets of iron bars, with thick, heavy locks. The only good thing about it was that it was well lit by windows, so at least prisoners wouldn’t have to live in the almost-dark.
After a while, the sun began to set. Bugsy called all the pets up onto the main deck.
“Ok team, take five!” she called and all the pets came rushing up from the hold below.
“Man, is this boat great or what!” said Shadow.
“Yeah!” replied Buckbeak.
“You think it's good now; just wait ‘til we get in the air,” said Bugsy.
“You mean... we’re actually going on a voyage!?” asked Nikolikan, excitedly.
“Well,” replied Bugsy, “it would be a shame and a terrible waste of a gift if we didn’t take it for one spin.”
“Yay!!!” shouted Nikolikan, jumping up and down. “We’re going on a voyage!”
To be continued...