Wishing on a Well
“So what do you think the solution is?” I stared down into the black depths of the Wishing Well; in my paw, I held a single neopoint. I let go of the neopoint and watched it drop. I strained my ears to hear the neopoint as it hit the bottom of the well, but to my disappointment, I didn’t hear the satisfactory plop of the water at the bottom. I sighed and looked back at my owner miserably; she shrugged her shoulders and held out her hand to take my paw.
“Come on, Bailey, let’s go home.” I nodded and turned to leave. I couldn’t hide my disappointment at not being able to work out the puzzle and not solving the avatar riddle. I’d thrown my last neopoint in the well and still had nothing. I’d have to wait another week to get my pocket money and try again.
Back at home my owner, Cassie, could sense my upset and offered to get my favourite food, pizza, for dinner. While I was waiting for her to return with our dinner, I sat on my bed, staring blankly into my bustling habitarium on my bedside table. Tapping the glass indifferently I watched as the mootix jumped and scuttled behind the nearest tree; then something caught my eye...
A scratch card lay on the side of my desk. I’d completely forgotten all about it after my visit to the Snowager last week where I had retrieved it from his pile of treasure. Hastily I grabbed the card, scratching away the grey circles to reveal a winning of 10,000 neopoints; I felt my heart swell with happiness.
“Surely I can work it out now!” I called out to myself, just then I heard the front door slam and I knew Cassie had returned. I could hear her talking to my younger brother, Ben, a baby Lupe who was always getting in trouble. She was telling him off for something, but I couldn’t quite hear her as she marched him into the kitchen.
This is it, I thought to myself. I wouldn’t get another chance today. I stared at my reflection in the mirror, my Royal Usul face staring back, echoing the reflection of calm. But beneath my calm exterior I was shaking inside, very scared to leave the safety of my home to go on this Avatar Adventure; but if I didn’t leave now, I never would.
Silently I shuffled down the stairs, listening intently as I could tell Cassie and Ben were still in the kitchen.
“Bailey! Dinner’s ready!” I suddenly heard her shout from the kitchen, I froze on the spot, like a snowbunny in a bright light. I feared that she would come out of the kitchen and catch me red pawed with the scratch card in hand, but she didn’t appear in the doorframe as I anticipated, so quickly I clicked down the latch on the door and exited the house.
On the other side of the door I felt a wave of relief over my head. It was starting to get dark, but Neopia Central was a safe place. I didn’t expect to bump into any unsavoury characters on this evening. I folded up the collar on my coat to protect myself from the chill wind, shuffling my feet quickly as I walked briskly towards the bank to redeem my scratch card.
The bank was almost empty at this time of the day. I put the scratch card on the desk and pushed it towards the bank assistant, who smiled warmly and cashed in my scratch card, swapping it for a purple velvet bag, brimming with neopoints.
“Would you like me to count them out for you?” the bank assistant offered. I felt her smiling face beaming down at me, but I couldn’t risk waiting here any longer. Every moment was a minute closer to Cassie realizing I had gone and I was sure the first places she would check would be the shops and the bank to see if anyone had seen me around.
“No thank you, I trust it’s all there,” I replied kindly. Clutching the velvet bag tightly in my paws, I turned to leave the bank. I stopped just short of the door to put the bag inside my coat pocket, realizing how dangerous it can be to walk around the streets of Neopia at night clutching a bag full of neopoints.
By now it was getting really dark and the streets that led towards the Wishing Well were not very well lit. I huddled inside my coat, my paws thrust into my pockets for warmth. The night air was very cold and I was starting to regret leaving the cosy inside of my home, until I saw the Wishing Well ahead...
I ran up to the stone outsides, forgetting all about how cold I was and how dark the night now seemed. I grabbed the bag from my pocket, taking a few coins and tossing them into the well; again I strained my ears to listen for the inevitable plop that didn’t come, somehow. Even though I knew it wouldn’t happen, I was still disappointed that there seemed to be no water at the bottom of the well. I stood on my tiptoes and leant over the side of the well, looking down into the blackness of the well, wondering for a second what happened to the neopoints that were thrown inside the well.
I stepped up onto a piece of stone that was jutting from the side of the well so I could lean further over the well. There was a kind of glow emitting from the bottom, a silvery dust that seemed to be down there. Suddenly my foot slipped and I was propelled forwards into the depths of the well. There’s no water at the bottom of this well! I’m going to hit the floor! My head was screaming, but I was breathless as I fell through the darkness. The glittering glow at the bottom of the well seemed to become brighter as I fell, then suddenly I stopped falling. I was just hanging in mid air, right above the glow; I stretched down with my foot and whatever was holding me in place suddenly stopped and I thudded to the ground.
I found myself standing ankle deep in a puddle of clear blue water that shimmered like silver. “I KNEW there was water down here!” I found myself shouting out to the blackness. Feeling around, I found I was imprisoned in the bottom of the well. I stretched out my paws and felt around the circle of stone that surrounded me. I looked upwards and saw blackness for ages, and then I saw a glimmer of stars that seemed an age away.
“Is there anyone here?!” I called out to the darkness, my voice was starting to waver and the panic was starting to fill my voice. My daydreams from my youth of believing there was a magical faerie at the bottom of this well that granted the wishes were evaporating faster than I had fallen down this well.
“So what do I do now?!” I was speaking aloud to myself. I was becoming increasingly aware that my feet were soaked through and the bottom of my coat was also sodden. I was beginning to feel cold all through my bones and I stared up at the stars again. They were so far away...
Had Cassie even noticed I was gone yet? Would she think to come and look here or would I be stuck down here until the morning when flocks of neopets descended on the well to make their daily wishes. I leant against the wall of the well, closing my eyes so tightly and wishing that I could find a way out of the well. Hoping beyond hope that Cassie would find me as soon as possible...
I was feeling quite drowsy and very hungry by now, leaning against the back of the wall I jumped, feeling the stones shifting.
Oh my goodness, I’ve broken the wishing well! I thought hastily, rushing back into the middle of the well. The glowing water seemed to brighten as the stones continued to shift out of the way, forming a doorway in the side of the well wall. I waded through the water into the newly formed doorway. “Wow!” I mouthed as I saw what lay on the other side.
Mounds upon mounds of neopoints, piled carefully into neat stacks, surrounded the entire chamber. The light was dim, but as it hit the coins, it shone in millions of different ways, shimmering gold filling the room.
So this was what happened to the neopoints that were thrown into the well; this was where they ended up. I felt my heart fluttering with excitement as I explored the chamber, finding a long list of users who had had their wishes granted by the well. I still couldn’t understand how it all worked, but there was something I did understand, that it was magic...
And I was stuck down here.
“What am I supposed to do now?!” I shouted out. I heard my voice echo through the chamber. Sitting down among the piles of neopoints, I had never felt more glum. Even at the bottom of the well, I still hadn’t discovered the secret behind the wishing well avatar. I was beginning to lose hope that it would ever be found.
Or that I would be ever be found down here...
I woke up with my face pressed against a pillow of golden coins. I rubbed my sore cheeks as I sat up and looked around the glowing room. I’d almost forgotten that I was stuck down here, at the bottom of the Wishing Well...
I stood up and looked around the room, hoping there would be something I hadn’t seen the night before. I knew I had been tired and could have easily missed something. Scanning the chamber, I saw a small wooden door at the far end. Climbing over the mounds of neopoints to reach the door was like climbing Terror Mountain. The coins were slippery underfoot and kept giving way, setting me back a few steps every time I slid down another neopoint mountain.
“Please don’t be locked, please don’t be locked!” I whispered under my breath as I reached for the golden doorknob. I felt my paw close on the shiny handle and I closed my eyes as I turned it slowly.
I think I half expected it to be locked, but to my surprise I heard a loud click and a creak as the door began to open. I still didn’t open my eyes; after the door hadn’t been locked, surely there was going to be a brick wall behind it or something else like that!
Slowly I opened one eye and peeked behind the open door, where there was no brick wall in sight. A sigh of relief escaped from my throat and I stared into the dark corridor that lay in front of me. Staring back at the glowing chamber, I considered the possibility that following this corridor wasn’t such a good idea, but what other choice did I have?
By the looks of it, the Wishing Well didn’t have a magical faerie living at the bottom of it, and there was nobody that seemed to visit the chamber at all. It hummed with magical activity, but I didn’t understand what gave the Wishing Well its power.
All of my adventure for the Wishing Well avatar was now forgotten as I stepped through the door into the corridor. There were flaming torches lighting the way through the dimly lit passageway and I couldn’t help but wonder who lit the torches or whether they too were magical.
As I continued along the passageway, I noticed several wooden doors in the walls. These were considerably smaller than the average sized Neopian door and I would’ve had to crawl to fit through them; I tried each handle, but each of the doors were locked.
I guess this was pretty fortunate, though; I was already in a big enough adventure than I wanted to be in, and any further interruption to my escape could be a detriment to my sanity.
Continuing down the corridor, I began to wonder where I would end up. I hardly noticed the ceiling getting lower and lower until the point where I was crouching and almost crawling on all fours to fit down the passageway. Eventually I came to a point where I could barely move any further and I was starting to feel like this was a very bad idea and I should have stayed in the neopoint chamber waiting for rescue.
I noticed on my left was a small door, like all the others along the passageway, but when I turned the handle, expecting the door to be locked, I heard the soft click of the door opening and a bright light flooded the corridor. I squinted against the light and crawled through the opening into a brightly lit storeroom.
I blinked my eyes as I became accustomed to the light and looked around. There were piles of books everywhere and where there weren’t piles of books, there were piles of unopened crates, which I assumed were also full of books. From somewhere behind one of these crates, I suddenly heard humming, from a person, not from an object. It was soft and fluttering and I knew at once that it was a faerie.
“Hello?” I called out, and the humming stopped. Almost a second later a face appeared from behind the crate. Her long brown hair framed her face and she wore large glasses. I knew at once that this was the Library Faerie and I felt a sense of relief, as I knew I was at last safe and my adventure was over.
“Hi there! What are you doing in the storeroom of my shop?” she called back, walking around the box of books and coming into full view. She was holding a pile of books, which she put on the side and wiped her hands on a white apron that she was wearing.
“I, uh, came through that door.” I turned and indicated the door in the wall. I realised now how small the door looked now I was back in the world of reasonably sized objects.
“Oh...” She smiled kindly before adding, “How did you get in there?” I felt a wave of embarrassment flush over my face as I realised I was going to have to admit to everything.
“I fell down the Wishing Well, and then I fell through the wall and came to a chamber, and then I came here...” I stuttered, then I added, “But don’t worry, I didn’t take anything!”
“I know you didn’t take anything, Bailey, and I know what you’re thinking about the Wishing Well. Despite being linked to the Faerieland Bookshop by that corridor, it’s not run by faeries; even we don’t where the magic comes from. We can’t even fit through the passage, so we’ve never even seen the chamber.” I waited until she finished before I nodded understanding of the situation. So it really was an unsolvable mystery. I couldn’t help but be curious...
“What about all the other doors along the corridor? Do they lead to other shops?” The Library Faerie indicated for me to sit down, so I did as I was instructed and sat on an upturned crate to listen to her story.
“It used to be that every world in the whole of Neopia had an entrance to the Wishing Well’s chamber, and we used to be allowed to pick Neopians who we thought deserved a wish granted. Though several years ago a lot of Neopians found out about the entrances and decided to steal neopoints from the well. After that, the well closed off all entrances, except for the one over there.” She pointed to the door again before continuing, “We never really knew why the well chose the faeries to keep the secret, but we did nevertheless, and until this day no one knows that you can get into the Wishing Well through Faerieland. We were particularly worried when Xandra tried to take over Faerieland; we thought the well would lock us out for sure then!”
“So, nobody knows the secret of the Wishing Well? It’s a complete... Wait, did you say we’re in Faerieland?!” Suddenly it dawned on me that I was a long way from home and Cassie would be going crazy with worry, I would be grounded for at least a month if I didn’t get home soon!
“Well, you didn’t think I’d moved my shop to Neopia Central, did you?” The Library Faerie giggled. I groaned in disbelief and rubbed my head with my paw.
“I just didn’t think about it... how am I going to get home?”
“That’s okay... I’ve already called your owner; she was very worried about you...”
I sighed, but felt better knowing that Cassie was going to be here soon and I could go home and curl up on the sofa with a book, a nice safe book. I heard the bell next to the door upstairs tinkle loudly to say someone had entered the store. The Library Faerie excused herself and disappeared upstairs for a few moments before reappearing with a familiar face.
“CASSIE!!” I cried, running to hug my owner as though I hadn’t seen her in a month. It didn’t feel like just yesterday that I had left on my avatar adventure.
“Eurgh! Bailey, you stink and you’re filthy! What have you been up to?”
I looked at the Library Faerie and winked. “Oh, you know, the usual, I went on an adventure!”
“You’ll have to tell me all about it later, kiddo, but now, let’s get home. I have some cookies waiting for you, and Ben has been gloating about being the good pet for once!” I laughed and walked to the door alongside Cassie. I was finally going home and I was happy...
Finally at home I changed out of my cold, wet clothes and brushed my fur clean. I stared at a wet velvet bag with the remaining neopoints from my scratch card and thought about my adventure. It had been tough and I really hadn’t figured anything out, and I didn’t have a new avatar, but I felt like I’d accomplished something, even if I couldn’t tell anyone about what I had seen at the bottom of the well!