Esud, Mynci Slip Na-Nas and a Faerie Quest
Esud looked around at the leafy palms waving gently in the ocean breeze and sighed contentedly. He had recently decided to take a vacation on Mystery Island to relax from his high-pressure job as a Commodity Trader at the Neopian Stock Exchange. As the sun warmed his upturned face, the Christmas Lenny removed his fur-trimmed jacket; a coat he wore constantly despite his thick feathers, for as he was wont to say, “I’d rather be laughed at for wearing my coat indoors than suffer chills”. Satisfied that the warm and humid air of Mystery Island would suffice in itself, Esud jauntily threw his jacket over his shoulder and proceeded to explore what Mystery Island had to offer.
Feeling more drained from a recent run in with the Ghost Lupe than he had even realised, and having lost the use of one of his wings in the skirmish, Esud walked to the Tiki Tours stand and hired a Coconut JubJub to give him a tour of the island. He settled into the roomy rickshaw and allowed himself to be pulled along through paths and over streams, the rocking motion lulling him to a state of peaceful bliss, until they reached the gates of the Lost City of Geraptiku. No sooner had they entered the city than a beautiful Faerie in shimmering blue garments blocked their passage and said, "I can't remember where I left my Mynci Slip Na-Na. I am sure it's around here somewhere."
Startled, Esud replied, “Well, um, good luck with that. If you would just clear the way...”
The Faerie opened wide her eyes and implored, “If you do not find what I require, there will be no more quests for you for 600 minutes!” Folding her arms across her chest, the Faerie stuck her lower lip out in a dramatic pout.
Esud rolled his eyes and said, “I am on vacation. Do you know how busy we’ve been in the Stock Exchange since the release of the Sell!Sell!Sell! avatar? How many Neopians who have never bought a stock in their entire lives are now coming by with their sacks of neopoints and questions? Oh, the constant questions! If I am not asked to do another quest for 600 years I will not be unhappy.”
The Faerie slitted her eyes in thought, and with a visible stroke of inspiration she tempted, “However, if you do succeed in bringing back the item I require, there will be a sizeable reward to show my gratitude.”
This was indeed the language that Esud understood and the idea of a Faerie’s gift proved irresistible to the Lenny. After a slight pause, so as not to appear too eager, Esud nodded curtly and said, “I will do your quest. Tell me, where does one find a Mynci Slip Na-Na?”
As the Faerie seemed to float and melt back into the shadows of the gloomy ruins, she said, “If I knew where to find one, I wouldn’t need you.”
“Well,” Esud said to the retreating figure, “I guess that makes sense.” Turning to the Coconut JubJub, he asked, “Do you know where I might find such an item?”
The Tour Guide nodded, an act that involved his entire round and woody body, and replied, “You can either ask the Myncies who spend their days at the Beach playing Volleyball if they have one or you could go to the Tropical Foods Store.” If the JubJub had had arms, he would have indicated that the two options were on the other side of Mystery Island from where they now found themselves, but he did the best he could to point with the top of his spherical head.
“Maybe we could just ask the Shop Wizard if he knows of one for sale?” Esud mused aloud.
Suddenly, the Faerie reappeared in a spray of spiteful wrath and warned, “No! That’s cheating! You are on a Faerie Quest and are not allowed to use the Shop Wizard!”
Esud scrambled to the furthest corner of the rickshaw and stammered, “Wh-wh-whatever you say. O-o-okay. No Shop Wizard.”
The Lenny remained cowering until the Faerie smiled benignly and retreated once more into the dense murk of the shadows, saying, “When you have the item, you will find me waiting at the Harbour.”
As soon as she was gone, Esud coughed to cover his embarrassment in front of the Tour Guide and gruffly commanded, “Well, then, take me to the Beach to talk with the Myncies.”
The JubJub furrowed his brow and lowered his eyelids in a look of regret as he replied, “I’m afraid this is where the tour ends. You will need to walk from here.”
Tired of appearing surprised at every turn, Esud breathed deeply to maintain his composure as he said, “Yes, well, of course. Walk it is. If you would just point me in the right direction?”
The JubJub heaved his whole body repeatedly in the direction of the enormous smoking volcano in the distance, which rose impressively above the leafy canopy. “You will need to go over Techo Mountain to get to the Beach.”
Esud swallowed hard to control a sudden attack of panic and nodded solemnly. “So be it.” He entered the jungle and forced his way through the ferns and bushes and dense undergrowth. The palm trees that towered above his head blocked out the sunshine and the Lenny was grateful to have brought his coat along after all. He snuggled back into his jacket, gingerly favouring his sprained wing, and noticed a faint glow of light ahead and decided to head for it.
Reaching the light source, Esud realised that it was a small clearing, and more surprisingly, in its very center was an aged Techo in red robes. He had his eyes closed, obviously deep in meditation, as he balanced on his tail, swaying rhythmically to the susurration of the breeze in the fronds surrounding. Not wanting to disturb him, the Lenny walked on stealthy toes to silently pass into the jungle. As soon as the leaves had embraced him, the Techo opened one wise eye and noted his direction.
Continuing to follow a faint and ill-used path, Esud proceeded to the mountain. As soon as he reached the jagged shale covering its foothills, a blue Kougra jumped out in front of him and said, “I wouldn't get closer if I were you. It’s quite hot up there." Esud looked toward the summit, and although he knew it was a volcano, he hadn't expected it to be so active. Torn between the desire of wanting the Faerie’s gift and concern for his own welfare, the Lenny thanked the Kougra and decided to stay his course.
After an arduous and increasingly hot climb, during which he was forced to take off his fur-trimmed coat once more, Esud reached the summit and immediately encountered a group of Island Techos with frilly skirts and bones through their noses, shaking their spears and stomping their feet. Their leader, impressively striped with tribal paint, stepped forward and demanded an offering for the volcano.
“I have no codestones,” Esud protested helplessly as the Techos encircled him.
“When there are no codestones, the volcano will accept... another type of sacrifice,” the leader explained.
Esud swallowed hard with fear as it dawned on him what those words must mean, and just as the Techos were about to reach out for him, a blur of green and red interrupted their movement. As soon as the Lenny could focus on the blur, he saw the aged Techo from the jungle clearing fighting off the Island Techos with a flurry of kicks and jabs. The natives scattered quickly and Esud fell to his knees and buried his head under a wing in exhausted relief. Esud took a deep breath and raised his head again with a weary smile, but before he could thank his rescuer, the Techo had disappeared.
“I think...,” Esud said to the empty air, “I think I’m beginning to see why they call this Mystery Island. If one more thing jumps out at me, I’m going to scream.”
The weary Lenny rose to his feet and crested the mountain, carefully descended its other side, and re-entered the faint jungle path.
Despite his jumpiness, Esud passed through this part of the jungle without meeting any more strange characters and emerged from the thicket precisely at the stretch of beach where the Myncies held their daily volleyball tournaments. Stumbling toward one pair of playing Myncies, Esud called out, “Hello there. I’m hoping you can help me. Would anyone happen to have a Mynci Slip Na-Na?”
The Mynci nearest to him stopped in midserve and began to chatter and cackle excitedly with her opponent. She dropped the volleyball and approached the Lenny.
“I wish I could help you, but we seem to be out of Na-Nas. Not to worry, though, they sell them at the Tropical Food store, right over there.” The Mynci pointed at a Tiki Hut not far up the beach and continued, “If you bring us back some Na-Nas, we can make what you’re looking for.”
Esud looked from the Mynci to the hut she had indicated and decided that he would go and buy the Na-Nas as requested. As he turned to leave, he did not notice the wide grins and winks that passed between the two Myncies.
The Lenny walked, lost in quiet thought, along the beach. Cooling his weary feet in the foamy surf, he was startled by a figure, in a wildly coloured flowered shirt and with a wooden Tiki Mask obscuring his face, who leapt out at him from the bushes saying, “Care to try your luck at Tombola? Great prizes to be won, just put your paw in, pick up a tombola ticket, and see what prize you win. Anything ending with a 0, 2 or 5 is a winner!”
True to his earlier threat, Esud simply stared into the lifeless, wooden eyes of the mask and screamed in frustration. When he was finished, the figure retreated silently back into the jungle, allowing Esud to continue on his way.
Esud entered the Tropical Foods Store and immediately his blood went cold with fear. He shivered as he put his jacket back on and attempted to hide his face in the fur trim-- for the shopkeeper of this store appeared to be the same Techo, complete with frilly skirt and tribal paint, who had threatened to offer him as a sacrifice to the volcano.
The shopkeeper, however, appeared not to recognise the Lenny and he proceeded to sell him a large quantity of Na-Nas for a small quantity of neopoints. Esud nodded carefully in thanks and backed out of the store. As soon as he felt the sand beneath his feet once more, Esud ran at top speed back to the Myncies, expecting at any time to feel the Techo’s skull-topped staff come flying toward him.
Reaching the Myncies safely, the Lenny gave them the fruit and watched in disbelief as they hurriedly ate them all, throwing the peels onto an enormous waste pile, a veritable mountain of Na-Na peels.
“Wait a minute,” Esud protested. “I thought we had a deal. I brought the fruit, and you were supposed to make Mynci Slip Na-Nas out of them.”
At this all of the Myncies burst into peals of laughter and chattering. Eventually one of them broke from the group to explain, “Don’t you see? Because we’re Myncies, every Na-Na peel we throw away becomes a Mynci Slip Na-Na. Dare you to step on one.” Again the Myncies exploded with mirth, and finding no more Na-Nas to eat, they soon resumed their tournament.
Esud shook his head and chuckled softly to himself. He picked up a nearby peel and proceeded to the Harbour, which he could see was not too far away. When he reached his destination, the Faerie appeared once more and said, “Thanks, you found my Mynci Slip Na-Na. The next time you visit my Rainbow Fountain, I will have a little surprise for you!”
Esud jumped back in surprise once more, wondering how anything on this Island had the power to surprise him anymore. “The Fountain Faerie?” he asked. “I thought you were an ordinary Water Faerie.”
The Fountain Faerie smiled broadly and said, "Everyone gets excited when they dream of the custom paint job they can have when they complete one of my quests. So, what is it for you? Pirate? Plushie? A little Beekadoodle tells me that you have always dreamed of being Royal." The Faerie pointed meaningfully at Esud’s fur-trimmed coat.
“Paint job? Who cares about paint jobs?” Esud responded excitedly. “The price of Mynci Slip Na-Nas is totally inflated. These things are literally growing on trees down here. They’re throwing them out with the trash. If I can get in touch with my stockbroker, Nigel the Chia, and tell him to leverage my Na-Na futures, I will make a killing!!"