Stranded!: Part Four
Also by brookeppg
“Food!” Rivers cried, her eyes tearing up. Before them stood a remarkable arrangement of exotic island foods of every shape and size known to neopets! Taking heaping steps forward, the trio rushed into the earthy cave. Stacks of delicious food engulfed the cave, giving it a peppery and sugary smell.
“Oh thank you, thank you, this is a miracle!!!” they hollered at the same time. Maddie politely picked up a fish pie and tore off chewable pieces; Rivers’ jogged over to a scrumptious meat cabob. Unlike the two, Amanda climbed a tall stack of fruit. At the top (almost thirty feet into the air) she flung herself off the pile of goodness and sprawled into an identical pile, making food rain down on Maddie and Rivers.
“Look what I found!” Rivers bent down, cupping her hands, and savored the taste of ice cold water. A single stream flowed from one wall to another, never slowing its tide.
“It just keeps moving! How is it possible for a stream to run without any openings or exits?” Madalleena wondered, curing her dry throat with the liquid.
Just as she said, the stream flowed calmly, about thirteen yards in length, with a width of about six.
“Every stream has an entrance and an exit,” Rivers stated, whipping water away from the corner of her mouth.
Amanda fixed her eyes on the stream before saying, “Maybe if one of us goes into the stream we’ll find an opening under water?”
Grinning like a Cheshire cat, Rivers was about to leap into the stream when light flooded into the room. Quick as a lightning, Amanda, Maddie, and Rivers hid behind a protective mound of fruits.
Two island Techos climbed in through a trap door in the wall opposite to the one that they had come through. Maddie couldn’t contain the giggles that escaped her when the second Techo got stuck in the cramped entrance, his head still above ground as he attempted to climb down the rickety ladder.
“I knew I shouldn’t have eaten those island meat loafs!” bellowed the second Techo from the other side of the wall. His legs dangled wildly the air, barely missing the first Techo who came to free him. At last, after many tugs and pulls, the Techo budged free.
Climbing down the ladder and sweeping off his grass skirt, the second Techo looked at a small piece of parchment covered in some weird type of symbols. “Let’s see... the Princess wanted an island Kacheek fruit drink, and an island Bruce mashed potato for dinner.” The first Techo nodded and begin to walk in the three hiding pets’ direction.
Holding her breath, Madalleena took a step backwards to avoid being seen, and accidentally knocked one of her wings into a large pile of Grapefruits, causing them to tumble over and come crashing to the floor. Immediately, the two Techos whipped around and spotted the three pets looking wide-eyed at the mess.
“INTRUDERS!” the first Techo yelled loudly. “We have intruders in the food safe!” And then both island pets reached into a side pocket on their skirts and whipped out a strange item that looked like a piece of bamboo. Before any of the three had a chance to flee, the pets placed the blow guns to their lips and blew into them.
Immediately, a bright green dart shot out and hit Rivers in the side. “Ouch!” she yelped, and then quickly, her whole body seemed to relax until she couldn’t stand any longer and collapsed on the sand floor. Her eyes drooped slowly, until all was dark.
When Amanda opened her eyes, she still felt surprisingly sleepy. But when she tried to raise her arms above her head and stretch, she found that her hands were bound together with vines.
“Madalleena, Rivers, where are you guys?” asked Amanda desperately. She strained her ears to hear even the slightest sound. This doesn’t make sense; why are they not replying?!?
“I’m here with Rivers,” Maddie whispered weakly. When Amanda’s eyes adjusted, she found Rivers and Maddie leaned against another rock wall, half asleep with their arms tied behind their backs. The two petpets (weren’t you paying attention? The petpets followed them into the food safe!) lay in a small cage made of bones in the corner of the dank room.
“Where are we? What happened?” the pirate Blumaroo asked, looking around in a confused way. The room smelled of wet moss, and there was a steady dripping sound coming from somewhere. The only thing that made the room not completely dark was a sliver of light that leaked in under the door.
“I don’t know, I just remember feeling a sharp pain, and then blacking out in what the island Techos called the food safe. Rivers is still unconscious, though. I think that the things that they shot at us were some type of poison or sleeping darts.” Her voice sounded cracked, like she hadn’t used it in a while.
“Oh.” It was all that the pirate Blumaroo could say. Squinting, she could pick out what looked like a large stone rolled across in front of the doorway. Rough looking markings covered the door, and she could hear some weird sounding voices coming from the other side. They even heard the voices of the two Techos that had captured them. Suddenly a female voice interrupted the two, a stern but yet kind tone strung its way into every note.
“I want to see the captors, now,” the anonymous female whispered. Maddie glanced anxiously at Amanda, then hunched into a frightened ball. The insides of Madalleena’s stomach lurched and flopped to no end. Frosty invisible hands nipped its way into every crevice of her body; shock engulfed Maddie to the point her mind was a fuzzy condensed cloud.
“Yes, Princess.” The cave’s door was slowly rolled away to reveal a gorgeous island Xweetok. She was covered in the normal island painted pet’s white markings, but a few different ones were littered here and there. Her ruff around her neck was the deepest shade of green, and was decorated with island flowers. On her head, perched like a canary, was a small circlet of flowers. She gazed at each pet with her piercing amber eyes and then nodded.
“I would like to be alone with the prisoners for a moment,” she instructed the guarding island Ogrin. He looked startled at first, but then nodded, and handed her a lantern of Lightmites before closing the door. Amanda raised an eyebrow at the princess, and then glanced at Madalleena, who shrugged.
“Greetings,” the princess began, settling down on a rock as if it was a chair. “My name is Everest, the Princess of this island. And who might you be?”
Madalleena and Amanda glanced at each other. The princess seemed nice enough, but they were being held captive by her.... Finally, the faerie Kougra spoke up. “My name is Madalleena, and this is Rivers and Amanda.” She nodded to each pet in turn.
Princess Everest gave a small smile, and then reached into her cloak. “I managed to sneak some food to you, because I knew that you would be hungry after a night in The Cave.” She pulled a coconut shell bowl filled to the brim with tropical fruits out of her cloak, and helped peel the fruit, as Amanda’s paws were tied. Both conscious pets dug into the fruit, until the pirate Blumaroo motioned to Rivers.
“Will Rivers be alright? She still hasn’t woken up.”
Everest furrowed her brow and went over to the faerie Xweetok, whom she felt over and listened to her heartbeat.
“She will be fine. She is just still exhausted from the sleeping darts. The effects sometimes last up to four or five hours.”
Amanda and Madalleena glanced gratefully at each other.
“Why do you want to help us if your servants captured us?” Maddie fixed her deep violet eyes on the princess. Everest promptly stood up and fiddled nervously at her circlet.
“I’m lonely all the time on this island; I just wanted someone to chat with,” her royalty replied, still keeping her queenly position. Maddie stole a look at her conscious friend for advice. Amanda gave a slight nod that said: you can trust her. The three sat in silence for a moment, before Princess Everest finally pointed curiously at Madalleena. “I’ve never seen a necklace quite like that. All of ours are made of twine, vines, and rocks that we find. Where did you get it?”
The faerie Kougra glanced down to see the air faerie bubble necklace that dangled around her neck. Savannah had given it to her on her past birthday. A few tears welled up in her eyes. Savannah... Finally, she looked back up. “I got it from my owner, back at my home.”
“Where do you come from?” the princess asked curiously.
“Neopia. It’s a lot different from here. Lots of owners, neopets, petpets, and all types of shops and places for adventure. Unfortunately, this isn’t the adventure we wanted. We were on a cruise and got thrown overboard during a storm.” The island Xweetok’s eyebrows perked in interest, but then resumed their regal stature so fast that Amanda wasn’t sure if it had really happened or not.
“So, what are they going to do to us?” the pirate pet questioned.
Everest’s gaze dropped to her paws, and there was a short, uneasy silence. “Well, as tribal law, since you three were caught eating from the food safe, you are to be punished in one way.” She lifted her gaze just barely to look at them. “Tonight, under the light of the full moon, you are to be sacrificed to the volcano.”
To be continued...