The Messenger: Part Two
“Terror Mountain? Summer’s just begun, and you’re leaving the prime spot for it? Why in Neopia would you want to go to Terror Mountain?” Athiene, as the blue Blumaroo was called, looked at Rasala with utter shock, a look so quizzical that it almost made the Wocky laugh. However, she smiled instead, thinking back to a night many years ago, when she was little.
“Once,” she said quietly, her eyes gazing off into the distance, “I had a dream. It was a long time ago, but it is still fresh in my mind. In this dream, Taelia the Snow Faerie asked me to bring her three items, and each item came in the form of a two-part riddle; the first part described the Neopian land in which I could find the item, and the second was a description of the item itself. For years now I have pondered the dream, and have studied those riddles. As soon as I became old enough to leave the island, I knew that I had to make this dream come true, or it would haunt me forever.”
“Well, that is certainly an interesting reason to travel,” Athiene responded, looking amused. “But isn’t it just a dream?”
“I don’t know,” Rasala answered truthfully. She had spent many nights lying awake in her bed wondering if it was real, but it had always been so vivid that she secretly believed it was. Her family thought it was nothing more than a childhood fantasy, and therefore they were quite surprised when Rasala told them she was leaving to fulfill it. She just couldn’t shake the memory of that night, though, and she needed to at least try to find those items. “I guess I’ll find out when I visit Taelia,” she laughed.
“So you know what the items are already?” Athiene’s sun hat almost blew off her head when a sudden gust of wind hit the ship, but she caught it just in time.
“Not exactly,” Rasala sighed, folding her front paws over one another. “I have figured out the first parts of each of the riddles, and know which lands the items are in. I have yet to figure out what the items are, though, because I have never been outside Mystery Island and don’t know what each land holds. I’ll have to find the items when I arrive at each place; I just hope I can find them before the ship pulls out again.”
“Well, I’m on board until Brightvale,” Athiene answered with a smile, as a waiter rolled a cart of food past them into the dining hall, “so I suppose I could try to help.”
“That’d be great,” Rasala agreed, and the two began to move towards the inner cabins of the ship, as it was apparent dinner was being served. “I believe we reach our first destination tomorrow morning, so I’ll meet you here when the ship pulls in.”
“Sounds good to me.” Athiene nodded, and then she left to go back to her cabin, so she could change into her dinner dress.
“Krawk Island is the first spot?” Rasala laughed a little to herself as she watched Athiene’s look of distaste as the two de-boarded the ship.
“Don’t smuggle yourself onto this land, or it is sure to be a disaster. That’s what the riddle was, and I can’t think of a better match to that than here,” the Wocky answered, and Athiene nodded as they headed into the island.
“Well then, what does the rest of the riddle say?” she asked, and Rasala took a deep breath as she made sure she said it exactly as Taelia had in the dream.
“Five B’s and four D’s equals a full stomach and change from silver,” she said, and Athiene stared at her for a long moment before turning back to face the island.
“Well now, this ought to be an interesting day,” she exclaimed, and Rasala smiled, looking around her as they walked.
“Don’t they have some eating contest here?” she asked, gazing around her. There were some rather full looking pirates in the distance, and she started to head that way. “I thought that might be a good place to start... after all, it says it equals a full stomach.”
“Yes, I believe there is something like that,” Athiene nodded. The two continued their strides, though Athiene took them on a short detour to the Dubloon O Matic on the way, as she had grandchildren at home and wanted to bring them some gifts if she could. She exchanged some small dubloons she had gathered on her own travels into bigger denominations that would be easier to shop with, and then they continued around the island, until they came across the Food Club.
“I thought that maybe we could look for a contestant that has five B’s or four D’s in their name,” Rasala said as they walked through the building, both careful not to get in anyone’s way. This place definitely seemed rough, and the Wocky hoped they could find an answer to the riddle soon, as she did not want to be here for long.
Unfortunately, no such luck came to the pair. After spending a long time reading over the ballads and counting letters in each pirate’s name, they determined that no one had five B’s or four D’s. They then spent another while contemplating other ways that the Food Club could be involved with the riddle, and while they thought they ended up seeing that day’s competition take place. It was entirely too painful to watch neopets eat so much food, but even so, after the competition was over, Rasala felt quite hungry herself. Sadly, feeling quite defeated, she asked Athiene if they could stop for something to eat before heading back to the ship, and so they made their way over to the Golden Dubloon.
“What an interesting spot!” Athiene beamed as they took their seats, and Rasala couldn’t help but laugh at her new friend; despite the hesitation to come to the island in the first place, the Blumaroo seemed to be quite enjoying herself now. In fact, she had even made some bets on the Food Club, and been lucky enough to win a few neopoints. Now, she insisted that they celebrate, and she ordered them both a Walk the Plank, as she said it sounded exciting.
Rasala searched the menu carefully, wanting to make the most of her meal. She was upset that she had not solved the riddle yet, but the ship would not be leaving until it was dark, and that gave her some extra time if she needed it, although she really did not want to be on the island for too long. However, for now, she was hungry, and she was a little excited to be trying new foods like these. Each of the names sounded quite interesting, but at long length, Rasala decided on Barnacle Bill’s Belt Busting Burger, as for some reason, her eyes were continually drawn to it. It wasn’t until she ordered, however, that she realized something strange about the burger’s name.
“Barnacle Bill’s Belt Busting Burger,” she mumbled, and then she turned to Athiene, a look of uncertainty across her face. “That has five B’s in it.”
“That it does,” Athiene said as she finished her first sip of her drink. She studied the drink for a moment, took another sip, and then looked back at Rasala. “But where does the rest of the riddle fit in?”
“That’ll be six dubloons,” the waiter said to Rasala as he took away her menu.
“Oh, I’ll pay for her drink.” Athiene smiled, and the waiter nodded once.
“That’ll four dubloons, then,” he said, and Rasala dug into the little purse she had taken with her for a coin. She had changed some currency over to dubloons before she had left Mystery Island, and now she took out a five dubloon coin, which she gave to the waiter. However, as his paw grasped the coin, Rasala did not let go. Instead, her eyes grew wide as the coin glinted in the light of the restaurant, and she noticed how *silver* it was. “What’s the big idea?” the waiter growled at her, and Rasala let go of the coin, feeling slightly embarrassed. She shook her head in a silent apology, and the waiter left, shaking his own head at her strangeness.
“What was that about?” Athiene asked as she looked at Rasala with concern, and the Wocky smiled widely at her.
“Barnacle Bill’s Belt Busting Burger has five B’s, and it costs four dubloons,” she said, bouncing up and down very slightly as her excitement grew. “Dubloon starts with the letter D, so four dubloons would be four D’s. The burger will leave you with a full stomach, and some change from a five dubloon coin, which is silver!” Rasala’s tail swished behind her as she realized she had solved the riddle, and after a moment, Athiene laughed in joy.
When the waiter brought the burger over to her a few moments later, Rasala immediately started to complain about being full. She pretended to attempt to eat the food in front of her, but insisted that she just couldn’t do it. At long last, the waiter brought her a take-away box, and Rasala happily packaged the burger, hoping that it would still be good when she got to Terror Mountain. The fact, however, that she had solved the riddle was tremendously satisfying to Rasala, and nothing could stop her good mood for the rest of the day. Even when Athiene lost all of the neopoints she had made on the Food Club by losing a few rounds of Bilge Dice, Rasala was extremely cheerful, and before long it was time to get back on the ship, so they could continue their travels.
“Did you put it safely away?” Athiene asked as she joined Rasala on the main deck a few hours later, as the moon was high up in the night sky and the water calmly splashed against the sides of the ship. Rasala nodded, and Athiene took a seat beside her on the beach chairs some of the crew had set up. “So, where does the next riddle lead us to?” she asked after a moment of silence, and Rasala smiled, closing her eyes and placing her paws behind her head.
“The Lost Desert,” she replied, and then they were silent again as they listened to the night.
To be continued...