The Messenger: Part One
Rasala stared out her window, her head in her paws as she peered through the glass. Outside, the sun shone bright in the Mystery Island sky. The air was warm, humid, and the sky was clear. Waves crashed delightedly against the shore as a soft breeze ruffled the tropical trees, and neopets of all shapes and sizes played in the sand. Even some pets from Maraqua were up, the weather too nice to ignore; they splashed in the turquoise water as their land-living relatives swum around them. Everyone seemed delighted, and Rasala could see that it was another perfect island day. She sighed with content, and then left the window to go back to her bed and her bags.
The island Wocky swished her tail to try and cool off as she packed, carefully choosing which articles of clothing she would take with her on her trip. Most of her clothing was too light for the weather she expected to encounter when she arrived at her destination, so she left a lot of it sitting in a messy pile on her bed, as the few selected articles were folded neatly and put away, ready for travel.
“So you’re really going, huh?” Rasala turned her head to see her little brother Jort standing in her doorway. His fur was wet, and Rasala could tell he had been swimming.
“Yes, definitely,” she replied shortly, zipping up her bag and looking around her room. “Have I missed anything?”
“Yeah, your mind,” Jort laughed, and Rasala scowled at him. “Why would you want to leave here? It’s so nice!”
“It’s too nice, and too hot!” Rasala replied as she grabbed her bag. “Sometimes I think Mystery Island is just no place for a Wocky.”
“Suits me just fine,” Jort shrugged, and then he sighed a little, watching his sister as she approached. “I suppose I should give you a hug,” he said, and Rasala smirked.
“Don’t sound so enthused,” she said sarcastically, and Jort chuckled before embracing her.
“We’ll miss you,” he said as they broke apart, and Rasala ruffled the damp fur on his head.
“I’ll miss you guys, too, but this is something I have to do,” she replied, and Jort nodded briefly before leaving the room. Once he was gone, Rasala sat on the edge of her bed and sighed. She had been planning this trip for a long time, and she was finding it hard to believe that in just moments it would actually begin. It seemed too good to be true, but as she looked at her bag sitting on the floor by her bedroom door, she smiled.
Rasala was an island native, but for years now there had been something pushing her to leave. She did not plan to go forever, but while the others on the island enjoyed the summer, the Wocky knew she could not wait any longer, as she was now finally old enough to go off into Neopia on her own. Her parents were upset, but supportive, of her decision to leave, and Rasala was thankful for it, for leaving them was hard. However, she knew that this move was right, and she was incredibly excited to see the other lands around her.
Rasala looked at the clock on her wall and realized that it was time to leave. She stood up, her heart beginning to flutter, and grabbed her bag. Her parents were not home, but she had said goodbye to them earlier, and now she just needed to escort Jort to their cousins’ hut before she went over to the Harbour. She called to her brother, and before long he came running from his room, a towel around his neck.
“You don’t know what you’ll be missing,” Jort told her as they made their way down the sandy path to the Harbour. Rasala rolled her eyes, and then gave her brother another hug as they approached their cousins’ hut.
“I’ve experienced it enough for now,” she said, and then she let him go, smiling as one of their cousins came out to greet them.
“Off then, are ya?” Cita said as Jort ran past her into the hut. The island Acara smiled at the young neopet and shook her head amusedly as he raced past, before turning back to Rasala.
“Yep, got to be going now, actually,” she responded, and Cita nodded, looking down towards the Harbour.
“Have fun, Rasala, and don’t forget us all here,” she said, and Rasala gave her a hug before leaving.
The Wocky took her time getting down to the Harbour, as she could see that the ship she would be taking was only just pulling in. She walked slowly, digging her paws into the sand and breathing in the island air as she stared across the water. As much as she longed to get away, this was her home, and she didn’t want to ignore its beauty, only to come to regret it later. She would miss this place terribly while she was gone, and she knew that nothing could ever replace it in her heart, no matter where in Neopia she was. She could hear the sounds of neopets playing on the beach in the distance, and she closed her eyes briefly as she walked, before she stumbled on something in the sand.
“What the—” she mumbled, opening her eyes as she caught her balance. She looked down at the sand to see a small, empty bottle lying at her feet, and for a moment Rasala considered leaving it there and continuing on. However, as she took a step away from it, she thought again about how the island was, in fact, her home, and she went back to the bottle after a moment’s consideration, her paws outstretched. She took the bottle and opened it, and then filled it with sand. This way, she could always have a little bit of the island with her, and she smiled as she topped up the bottle and sealed it. She studied it for a moment, admiring its simple charm, and then put it in her bag, before trotting quickly down to the Harbour; the ship was fully docked now, and the excitement for what she was about to do had started bubbling up in her once more.
The Harbour was busy, full of tourists entering and leaving the island. Rasala pushed her way into the crowd, her eyes fixed ahead to the ship that would be taking her away from the island for the first time ever. She was surprised at how many neopets there were, most of them clad in their beachwear, with a few oddities still wearing the appropriate clothing of whichever land they had just arrived from. There was much chatter and noise, and in some spots, Rasala could hardly see the ship through the massive crowds. At long last, however, she managed to find the line for the ship, and she stood behind a older blue Blumaroo, who wore a nice dress and a big sun hat.
“Beautiful weather, isn’t it?” the Blumaroo said to Rasala, looking sideways at her as they waited for the ship to starting loading passengers. Rasala smiled politely, and then set her bag down by her feet.
“Not bad, but a little tiresome,” she said, and the Blumaroo turned fully towards her, a look of surprise on her face.
“You think so? That’s the first person I’ve heard complain the entire time I’ve been here,” she replied, and Rasala shrugged as the crew of the ship opened the entrance gates. Rasala grabbed her bag again and got her ticket ready for boarding, though she quickly realized that the line moved very slowly, and she probably could’ve have waited a while longer before getting the ticket out. She fidgeted as she waited for the line to move, impatient to get on board, and she could soon feel the hot sun beating down on her fur. It was uncomfortably hot, and below her, her paws burned against the Harbour’s wooden planks. She sighed as she shuffled forwards, a sigh half of annoyance and half of relief; sometimes she loved it here, but at other times, like now, she wanted nothing more than to get away.
Once she was on board and had put all of her things away in her room, Rasala went out on the main deck of the ship; she planned to spend the entire time she traveled up here, for she didn’t want to miss a single sight that was to be had. There was so much of Neopia she had never seen, and she wondered what each land would be like. It was a lovely thought to have, and as she pondered it, Rasala stood near the railing, standing on her back paws and leaning out over the water. She let her mind wander as she waited for the last few stragglers to get on board, and was so far removed from reality that when the blue Blumaroo she had talked to in line tapped her on her shoulder a moment later, she jumped.
“I didn’t mean to scare you,” the Blumaroo chuckled, and Rasala smiled a little embarrassedly.
“Sorry, I was just thinking,” she said, and the Blumaroo nodded. She, too, stood against the edge of the ship, just as the crewmates began to take down the ropes.
“So where are you headed?” she asked Rasala as they stared out over the water together. The breeze was cool against the Wocky’s fur, and she was glad for it.
“Far away from here,” she said simply, smiling a bit.
“Away? But it’s so nice here!” the Blumaroo exclaimed. “I mean, a bit hot, perhaps, but still gorgeous. To each their own, I guess, but how far is far away, exactly?”
The boat swayed as it finally pulled out of the Harbour, and Rasala’s breath caught momentarily as she realized her dream was actually coming true. She smiled wider, and then turned to the Blumaroo.
“Terror Mountain,” she said wistfully, and then she looked back over the water.
To be continued...
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