Molly - Back to The Box: Part Four
“Excuse me sir, sorry to bother you. But have you seen a-”
“No!” snapped a blue Eyrie dressed in smart NC mall clothes. He hurried on down the path, apparently having somewhere important that he needed to be.
“Ah, madam!” exclaimed Bernard at the next neopet to walk by, a red Meerca. “Sorry to bother you, but have you seen a lonely faerie meowclops anywhere?”
“What did you say?” croaked the old Meerca. “Speak up a bit. These old ears don't function too well, you know.”
Bernard raised his voice considerably. “I said sorry to bother you, but have you seen a FAERIE MEOWCLOPS anywhere? I have lost mine!”
The old Meerca peered at Bernard through a small pair of glasses. “I'm sorry,” she said. “But I am not a faerie, I don't give quests. I think you need to go to Faerieland for them!”
“I don't want a faerie quest!” said Bernard loudly. “I wanted to know if you had s- oh never mind!”
“Hey, Bernard! I finished making the posters!” called a voice. Bernard spun around, forgetting the old Meerca.
“Let me see them!” demanded Bernard, practically snatching the posters out of Albert's hands. He read one carefully. It was almost the same as the ones he had placed around Kreludor, except they gave out a different address and had a rough sketch of Molly on the front.
“Should we start putting them up?” asked Albert, pulling a second pile of posters out of his pocket. “I have some tape here. Well, somewhere.”
Bernard looked at his friend impatiently. Albert was searching the many pockets he had, finding anything but the tape. 'Well, while he does that,' decided Bernard, 'I will ask someone else if they have seen Molly!'
He spun around again and promptly bumped into the old Meerca who was still standing behind him.
“Oh sorry,” she said, taking a step backwards as Bernard glared at her. “But I just saw the poster you were holding. I can't quite read the writing, though. Would you have any objection if I had a closer look?”
Bernard handed her a poster and she squinted at it carefully. “It's no good,” she said after a moment. “I will have to put my reading glasses on.”
While the old Meerca proceeded to take off her other glasses and put on an ancient looking pair of reading glasses, Bernard glanced around to see if there was anyone else he could ask. A blue Shoyru was walking towards him, carrying a large bag full of items.
“Excuse me sir, sorry to bother you, but have you seen a faerie meowclops anywhere? One was stolen from me recently and I am trying to find her!” Bernard said this all in one breath, and the Shoyru stared at him in surprise for a few seconds, trying to work out what Bernard was saying.
“Sorry,” he said after a moment. “But I don't buy stolen goods. I have a meowclops backpack I can sell you if you would like, though! I can give you a slight discount if you want! Interested?”
“No thanks...” said Bernard and after a few attempts at persuading him the Shoyru walked off, shouting something about goods for sale to anyone who would listen.
“Lost...” came a voice from behind him. He spun around, almost crashing into the old Meerca again. “Well, stolen ac... actu- oh, actually!”
“Aren't you done yet?” demanded Bernard. “I need to put those up in a minute you know. As soon as that idiot over there finds the tape!” He pointed at Albert and the old Meerca looked. At that moment Albert finally found the tape and he pulled it out of a pocket triumphantly.
“Ah ha! Found it!” he exclaimed, throwing the tape to Bernard. “Ready?”
“Of course!” said Bernard with a hint of relief in his voice. He snatched the poster off the old Meerca and taped it to the nearest post.
“Well, really!” said the old Meerca in a shocked voice as Bernard and Albert walked off. “Some people these days are so rude. Manners aren't what they used to be!”
Molly jumped as a vaguely familiar voice sounded from behind her. She was hiding in a clump of leaves, half way up a tree. Jumping probably wasn't the best thing to do because the next second Molly found herself falling and had to steady herself with her wings before flying back up. Perched on the branch she had been hiding on a few seconds ago was a black meowclops. Molly stared at him for another few seconds, trying to work out who he was and why he looked and sounded familiar.
“Joe..?” she asked after those few seconds were up. Joe was one of the meowclops who had been in the Test Your Strength prize box with her. He had been given away before her, but later in her adventures she had met up with him – coincidentally just after the Pant Devil had stolen her the first time.
“Well done. You actually recognised me! Funny, because you have changed more than me. Faerie eh?”
“Yup. My new owner bought a faerie paint brush for me for Christmas!” said Molly, sitting next to Joe on the branch.
“Oh, you found an owner, did you? Lucky you! Where is he then?”
Molly looked at him sadly. “I got stolen by some cackly blue flying clawed thing a few days ago... he took me here. I don't know how to get back!”
Joe looked at her in surprise. “Cackly blue flying clawed thing..? Oh, you mean the Pant Devil?”
“I don't know what it is! I suppose that could be him. He doesn't pant much, though...”
“So what happened then?” demanded Joe.
“Well, he shoved me in a sack the other night, took me somewhere near here and locked me in a small cupboard inside the trunk of a tree.”
“Then what are you doing out here? You can't be in two places at once can you?” asked Joe, with a slightly confused look on his face.
“I escaped!” said Molly proudly. “There was a broom in the cupboard, so when the Pant Devil or whoever he is came to open the cupboard yesterday I put the broom by the door and it fell on his head. I flew away while he was distracted!”
Joe looked at her, amazed. “Wow, for someone who wanted a quiet life, you sure have had a lot of adventure. More than me, in fact!”
Molly shifted her weight a little, making the branch wobble. “Well, how have you been then? What have you been up to? Did you even find your owner?”
“Nope!” said Joe, answering her last question first. “I have lived on my own and I like it that way! I just scavenge for food. You get used to it after a while – it's quite fun! I can go where I want, eat what I like, sleep wherever I feel like, go to bed as late as I want. You couldn't do that with an owner!”
“But what do you do for company?” asked Molly, wondering how she could ever live without Bernard.
“I don't need company. I make petpet friends along the way – mostly other loners like me. We get up to a bit of mischief and then go our own separate ways...” He trailed off, thinking of the last petpet he had met up with. They had caused quite a fuss at the Wheel of Misfortune the other day. Joe chuckled at the memory.
“I don't think I could ever live like that!” said Molly.
“You might have too, now that you don't have an owner. Good owners are hard to find for a meowclops – as you would know quite well.”
“I plan to find my owner. I am not sure how yet, but I will!” said Molly determinedly.
“Well, good luck with that! Where did your owner live? I might be able to help you get started on your journey...” offered Joe.
“That's the hard part,” said Molly. “We lived on Kreludor.”
Joe's eye widened. “Kreludor?! I have never been there before. How on Neopia could you get back to it?”
Molly shook her head. “I have no idea how to get back. But Bernard might be looking for me... I think I should head to Neopia Central first.”
“Agh, I have had bad experiences with Neopia Central so I won't come with you. But I can at least help you out of the Haunted Woods I suppose.” said Joe thoughtfully. “Are you hungry?”
Molly nodded. “Right, follow me then!” said Joe, scrabbling down the tree. Molly simply leaped off the branch, floating down and landing next to Joe.
She followed him through the trees, and they soon came out near a noisy crowd. A load voice could be heard and Molly's eye widened slightly in fear.
“Test Your Strength! Come on up and Test your Strength! Great prizes to be won!”
“Isn't this..?” started Molly.
Joe nodded. “Test Your Strength boost, where we were given out as prizes. But he often gives out food; it's easy to steal it off people. Like this!”
Joe pounced on someone's handbag and tore a hole. A few items dropped out, including some gross food which Joe grabbed in his mouth and ran away with. Molly was about to run after him when a large hand grabbed her from behind.
To be continued...