The Hero From Meridell: Part Two
Also by bestpet21
“A message?” Zamrin asked in confusion. “About what? Who would possibly want or need to leave me a message? I'm just a simple farmer.”
“I don't get it either.” Kade shrugged. “It looked like writing of some sort to me, but I couldn't read it. It's has these strange characters in it...”
Kade shook her head, “Like nothing I've ever seen before. I suppose I could try to draw it, and we could take it around town and see if it means anything to anyone...”
Zamrin scratched the fur on his chin thoughtfully. “Hm... it's quite an unusual way to leave a message. I mean, how did they go about it anyway? They would have to be looking from overhead to see what they were doing, right?”
“Not necessarily.” His companion frowned. “But it would be the most logical way to do it.”
“I don't understand how something like this is possible,” said Zamrin. “Are you sure it's a message?” he asked again with skepticism in his voice.
“Positive. There's no other explanation.” Kade drew a piece of blank parchment and an ink pen from the ever-present bag slung over her back. “I'll be right back,” she said, lifting off the ground and flying directly upward. She paused at a formidable height, sketching the strange configuration of missing crops. When she was finished, she examined it with a careful artist's eye that had been one of her natural gifts from birth. She felt that it was a fairly accurate representation of the original, and preceded back to the ground, landing next to Zamrin, and being careful this time not to splash any mud.
Zamrin took the drawing from her and studied it carefully. There appeared to be five different characters in the message. All of them looked completely foreign to him and his friend both. “It's Tyrannian to me,” he said finally with a sigh.
Kade nodded and gently took the parchment back from him. She placed it neatly in her bag, careful to make sure that it would not get mangled if the bag shifted around, which it often did in flight. “I'll take this around town and see what I can find out. You want to come with me?”
“Of course,” Zamrin said, “I wouldn't ask you to do it by yourself.”
Kade folded her wings down as an offer for Zamrin to climb onto her back. “We can get around faster if we fly,” she said. This would not be the first time her friend had ridden on her back, and she in no way found it degrading. The Kacheek was light, and as long as he never saddled and bridled her, she was perfectly fine with the arrangement and happy to help.
Zamrin was careful to wipe off his paws before mounting Kade's back. He knew how she was about dirt, and he wanted to be considerate. He sat down in front of her backpack and wrapped his paws around a clump of the mane around her neck to be sure he wouldn't fall off. When all was confirmed ready to go, she rose from the ground, stirring leaves and dust with the force of her flapping wings. They leveled off at about five hundred feet above the field, and Zamrin knew the hardest part of the flight was over. He relaxed his grip on her mane, and said, “Let's talk to Farmer Tylum a few fields down. He's a knowledgeable chap. Maybe he could tell us something.” Kade nodded in agreement and swooped down in that direction. The landing was quick, but smooth. It was what Zamrin had come to expect from having such a great flier as his friend.
The two marched up to the front door of his cabin and knocked gently. The red Wocky eyed them through the window with wild, suspicious eyes and then preceded to unbolt the seventeen various locks on the door. “Come in, come in. Make yourselves at home,” he said in a high-pitched voice. He was known throughout Meri Acres as being somewhat eccentric, but Zamrin and his friend had learned through first-hand experience that there was a lot more to him than that.
“Hi, Tylum.” The Eyrie waved and stepped in gingerly, wiping off her paws on the plain brown rug. “How are you?” she asked cheerily.
“I'm doing all right, thank you. Goodness gracious, it's great to see you two. You've both been so hard at work that I've hardly seen hide nor hair of you all month.”
“I know,” Kade said emphatically. “It's a shame we don't get to see each other more often, but I'm afraid we didn't come to chat.”
“Oh, you didn't?” A slight shadow of disappointment passed over his face, quickly being replaced by a warm-hearted smile, “Well, then, what did you come for?”
Zamrin removed the sketch from his friend's bag and held it up for the Wocky to see. “Does this mean anything to you?”
Tylum scratched his head and squinted at the smudged drawing. “Why, it looks like some sort of writing!” he proclaimed enthusiastically. “An ancient rune-based system perhaps?” he said to himself. “No, no, no... the style is too simplistic and efficient...” He began rummaging through piles of papers and manuscripts that were as tall as the three of them put together. He pawed through them at a dizzying speed, discarding the irrelevant documents behind him, which in some cases landed neatly on the floor and in other cases flew straight into one of his guests' faces. At last, he found what he was looking for and denoted it with a loud “Ah ha!”
Zamrin brushed a paper off of his shoulder. “What is it?” he asked.
The Wocky didn't answer, but wrenched Kade's drawing of the message from Zamrin's grasp and held it up next to his finding, looking at each closely and scrupulously. “Yes!” he shouted. “An excellent match. My boy,” he said whilst slapping Zamrin on the shoulder firmly, “what you two have found is not an archaic rune-based writing; rather it is an entirely new form of communication, invented and developed on the Neopian Space Station.”
“The Space Station?” Kade interjected as Zamrin rubbed his throbbing shoulder.
“Yes, without question it is written in one of those newly-created dialects. Dear me, where in Neopia did you find it?” he asked incredulously.
“It's difficult to explain,” said Zamrin. “Someone removed plants from my field, and it made this pattern.”
“You say they removed plants?”
“Yes, I don't know how else to explain it. They were just gone. It didn't even look they had been dug up.”
Tylum had gotten out a drab, off-white piece of cloth and was copying the drawing onto it using an ink-tipped brush. “I hope you don't mind,” he said.
“No, no, go ahead,” the Kacheek replied.
“Now, Zamrin,” the Wocky said, looking up from his work, “I would be careful not to show this to anyone else, understood?”
“I'm not quite sure why really. I've just always thought it best to err on the side of caution.” He rolled up the cloth and stashed it in one of his piles. It was evident that he probably would have difficulty locating it again in the future, but he didn't seem to mind.
“I understand. I'll try not to let anyone else find out about it.”
“That goes for you too, Kade.”
She nodded. “My lips are sealed, Tylum.”
“Wonderful,” he said. “Now I have to get to work studying this, and I'll let you know what I come up with.” He was in such an excited hurry that he practically pushed them out the door.
In a few minutes, the two friends were airborne again. “Why would someone from the Space Station have anything to say to me?” Zamrin asked his friend the question that Tylum had not given him the opportunity to mention.
“I have no idea,” she said. “You don't suppose it has something to do with the synthetic vegetables they're making on the station, do you? Maybe they're looking to give you a cut of the profits, or ask you to stop competing with them, or some business related thing like that.”
“No, I don't think so.” Zamrin rested his chin in his hands. “Why not just come to my door and talk to me?”
“They're all about hyping it up on the Space Station. They probably don't understand our simple way of life,” she suggested, landing neatly in front of Zamrin's little brown cottage.
“I don't know, but it's been a long afternoon, and I'm tired. You mind leaving me some time to take a nap?”
“Not at all.” Kade took to the skies and waved. “Keep me posted!” she shouted as she flew off.
Zamrin yawned and turned to go back inside. He stopped. There was a faint glow coming from behind the house. He peeked around the corner to investigate, hardly believing his eyes as he saw a spaceship land in his backyard.
To be continued...