Our Side of the Story
"I don't know, Sammy," the little Chuchuana said. "It seems awfully deep."
"Aw, come on, Nipper!" said a slightly larger Quetzal. "Since when did you shy from adventure?"
Nipper glared at Sammy.
"I like adventure, but I know where to draw the line," he growled.
"Oh, but come on!" Sammy looked down the hole. "It can't be that deep. And it's just so curious."
"That's the problem with you, Sammy!" Nipper snapped. "You're too inquisitive and curious. You don't know the difference between adventure and danger."
Sammy went red.
"Oh no, please don't fight!" a little blue Tapira yelled, blocking his ears. "I don't like it when you fight."
"It's alright, Baby Blue," Nipper comforted him. "We won't fight. Because we know I won't go down that hole."
"Fine." Sammy shrugged. "But Mum won't be happy."
Nipper sighed. He knew it was true. Sammy, Baby Blue and he came from a family of Neopets that took unnatural joy in making pet-pets do things to get rare items or hidden avatars. Today they were going down the Mysterious Symol Hole.
"Okay, I'll do it," Nipper grumbled. "But I won't be happy about it."
"If it makes you feel any better, we'll come with you, right, Blue?"
Blue shivered. He had a fear of the dark.
"It's alright, Blue," said Nipper. "You don't have to come if you don't want to."
"No, I'd rather be with you than wait here by myself." He smiled. "Besides, your eyes glow."
"Yes, they do," Nipper laughed. "Now let's go."
Slowly and carefully, Nipper led the way down the hole, using rocks jutting out the side as foot holds. As it got darker, Nipper's eyes began to glow, which made Blue feel slightly more comfortable. They made their way down a narrow tunnel, which eventually became so narrow they could only walk in single file. Blue kept stumbling over the rough ground so he and Sammy had to eventually swap positions so he didn't fall behind.
Soon, the ground and walls became flatter and smoother. Nipper was a bit suspicious. Wasn't this an abandoned hole? But they kept moving.
"I can see a light!" Nipper called back.
"Oh, good!" said Blue, who was feeling a bit scared and claustrophobic.
The light came from some lanterns hanging from the tunnel walls. This made Nipper even more suspicious.
"Does it feel weird to you that an abandoned hole would have lanterns?" he asked with a raised eyebrow.
"Who cares? This is fun."
Nipper sighed. It was hard for him, being the only one with any sense. Sammy was generally more interested in adventure than anything else, and although Blue was smart, he was too jittery to be of much use.
They kept moving until it became even lighter. The light came from a cavern with a roof covered in glow worms. Blue sighed with relief to be in a bigger space, and with light. Nipper looked around. There were two tunnels; one lined with lanterns, and one that was completely dark.
"Which one do we take?"
"Let's take the light one," said Blue. "Definitely the light one."
"I don't know," said Nipper. "If this place is abandoned, why are there lights? I think we should go with the dark tunnel."
"Why?" Sammy asked. It made no sense to him.
"Well, we never know what is harboured on the other side of the light tunnel, if there are Symols going up and down it all the time. They might not be happy that we go down there. They might have some sort of monster down there."
"Or," said Sammy, "treasure. I say we go down the light tunnel."
"Me too," said Blue. "Sorry, Nipper."
Nipper sighed. He was outnumbered. They made their way down the tunnel lined with lights. Nipper felt more and more uncomfortable by the moment. What would be down here? Sammy didn't seem to care, as long as he was having fun, and Blue was only too happy to be in the light. At the end of the tunnel was another, larger cavern. It had two tunnels, like the other one, but these were blocked off by doors. There was a table with a dusty old book on it in the middle, with statues of mysterious Neopets surrounding the walls. One, which Nipper suspected by the shape was a Skeith, was covered completely in cobwebs. Blue went over to look at it.
Nipper took a look at the book in the middle of the room. He blew the dust off the top and began reading.
"Turn the table, those who dare, and you will find a surprise there. Will it be treasure, a curse, or gold? Or will this be where your story will cease to be told? Go on, find out, turn the tops. Or maybe this will be where the adventure stops..."
Nipper and Sammy looked at one another.
"What does that mean?" Sammy said.
"Let me think." Nipper closed his eyes. "Turn the table. That can mean to change your way of thinking or way of doing things. Those who dare. That usually means something bad will happen. We should stop here."
"No!" Sammy was shocked. "This will be where the adventure stops. That's talking about if we don't turn the table. I don't want to stop! This is fun! And besides, aren't you supposed to turn the table on your way of thinking? So stop being such a stick in the mud!"
"Well maybe you should stop being so stupid and irresponsible!" Nipper dived forward for Sammy. They rolled around, wrestling. They bumped into the base of the table and the book fell onto the paved floor.
"Guys," Blue said warily. "Be careful. You might bump into something dangerous."
They didn't hear him and kept on fighting and yelling. They bumped into all the statues and Blue cringed every time. Thankfully, nothing broke.
But then they bumped into the table again. The table rattled and shook, the whole floor vibrated. It was enough to get Nipper and Sammy to stop fighting and look at it. The pattern on the top lit up and the outer rim disconnected from the centre, began to spin.
"No!" Nipper dived forward to try and stop it. "The table is being all weird!"
"Wait!" Sammy yelled. "Turn the table. That's what it meant!"
"Thanks for that little tidbit, now help me stop this thing before something bad happens!"
Sammy tried to help, but Quetzals aren't very good at holding things. The table suddenly sped up, flinging Sammy and Nipper into the walls. As they groaned and sat up, the table slowly ground to a stop. Sammy slowly slid over to the table and carefully looked over the edge. Seeing it was safe, he studied the pattern.
"Look, there's an arrow on this outer rim," he said. Nipper came over to have a look.
"What does it point to?" he asked, peering over Sammy's shoulder.
"I don't know," Sammy said, looking closely. "A circle or something."
A grinding noise came from the back of the room, where Blue was standing.
"Not now, Blue," said Nipper. "We're trying to work out what this table did."
"Look, the inner part is a map of the room," said Sammy.
"Guys!" Blue said frantically.
"Not now, Blue!" said Nipper.
"It points to a statue..."
"Not right now, Blue!"
"The statue of the..."
The pair whipped around to see what Blue wanted.
The stone statue of the Skeith leapt out of the cobwebs, and, shaking them off, bounded into the middle of the room and roared.
"Who dare disturb me?" he snarled. "Who dare disturb the slumber of the Great Lokij?"
"Uh," said Sammy, looking sheepish, "that would be me."
"And who are you, lowly creature?" The Skeith leaned right in so they could feel his hot breath on their faces, stinging their eyes. "How dare you disturb my thousand year slumber?"
"Yeah." Sammy twiddled his tail. "Uh, I am Sammy, the Quetzal, and I accidently bumped the table. My bad, Mr Lokij dude."
The Skeith roared.
"How dare you address me in this way?" He reared up on his hind legs. "I will destroy you!"
Lokij made a movement with his head, like a bull preparing to strike. Sammy and Nipper ran, Nipper grabbing Blue, who was frozen with fright, along the way. They dashed down the hall they had come through, closely followed by Lokij. They had hoped that the small doorway would stop him, but he just broke right through and came charging down the hall, knocking over the lanterns and crashing into the walls. Not only was the Skeith behind them, but a trail of fire from the lanterns also, plus rocks from the crumbling roof falling in front of them. The soon were almost at the part of the tunnel under the hole.
"We're going to make it!" Sammy cried.
Nipper looked behind them. Lokij was gaining. He looked in front. The roof was cracking, about to fall.
"I don't know," he said.
"Shut up and jump!" Sammy grabbed them and leapt for the hole as the roof crumbled behind them on top of Lokij. They landed safely on the soft grass surrounding the hole. The sat in silence and disbelief for a while, catching their breath.
"Well," said Sammy, breaking the silence, "that was fun. Maybe we can go again tomorrow!"