Zo Junior's Holiday
After spending much of the Neopian year training without much of a break, Krell Vitor finally announced that the Haunties deserved a brief holiday. The Altador Cup was a month away, and his team had trained consistently at the Stone Dome for weeks on end, in between battle sessions for the general public, of course.
"It'll be nice to take a break!" Fanetti stretched his wings happily, and picked up his suitcase. "I suppose I'll be running to Brightvale shortly. I do like a good book here and there. Where'll you be off to, Brains?"
"Hollllidayyyy! I'm going to Merrrridellll!" Brains teetered over, but Krell held out a hand to steady the poor zombie, who had been a great asset to the team in the past few cups. "Thank yoooou, Krellll! Byeeee!"
Krell grinned, then turned to Wan Dirx. "I suppose you're going off to Tyrannia, eh, Wan?"
"Nope," replied the Techo with a grin. "Mystery Island calls my name. Tyrannia's not my place, these days. You think I want to sleep on a bale of hay and eat my breakfast right off a hot rock near a volcano? Thanks, but no thanks. This time, I'll go somewhere warm, sunny, and much more relaxing." Away he went, waving to Krell and Zo Junior.
Krell shrugged, then turned to Zo. "Well, I'm going to Virtupets for my holiday. It's sort of a secret mission, you might say. I want to see how the Robots are doing, and glance at the cup on display, too. Someday, Zo. Someday, the Haunties will bring it back here." The Kyrii's eyes glazed over for a moment, lost in his thoughts. Then he sighed and returned to the moment at hand. Zo was picking up a very small backpack.
"Packing light, Zo? Hey, where will you be going for your holiday?"
Zo chewed his lip a moment. "Moltara," he said finally, with a nod. He opened his wings, smiled at Krell, and took to the skies.
Zo flew away, his wings serving to light his way in the dark. The secret entrance to Moltara was quite a distance away, but Zo reached it pretty quickly, given the fact Korbats can fly great distances swiftly. Zo let out a small set of Korbat clicks, and used his ears to read the vibrations that bounced back momentarily. He tucked his wings closer and dove down, down, down. The tunnel of sharp rocks was easily navigated through.
Zo made it to the open shaft at the bottom of the tunnel, and landed on a boulder. Nearby, he could hear the thrum and clank of machinery. The whoosh of steam that escaped from pressure valves helped keep Moltara supplied with natural power. Several quarry workers saw the familiar Korbat alight onto the boulder, and they ran over to greet him. Even in Moltara, where they had a Yooyuball team of their own, other familiar faces from opposing teams were hailed just as heartily.
"Zo Junior! What brings you down here?" called a voice. Zo turned to see Vere Polycinek from Team Moltara, smiling at him, and shaking her head at the same time. They shook hands and left the crowd behind. Vere pointed to a tunnel that led away from the shaft. "Come on, this way to Moltara City!" The Yurble grinned at her companion, and off they went.
"It's a holiday for the Haunties," Zo explained as Vere led the way down a tunnel, which was lit by lanterns, each containing a lump of glowing magma. "Krell said we deserved a week's repose after all the hard work we'd put in."
"Sounds nice," returned Vere, waving at several miners who glanced up as they walked by, yet did not cease their work. "They're on the clock," Vere explained aside to Zo. "Everyone here is on the clock, but don't worry too much. They'll be social before you know it!"
Vere left Zo after getting a quick bite to eat at the Munchery, and the Korbat was on his own to do just as he liked for a week. Moltara was an interesting place. There were so many marvels that impressed him very much. It was clear that the Moltarans were technical wizards, and it was apparent in every part of Moltara City.
The Mayor himself took an interest in the "outsider from the spooky woods," as someone explained to him. Zo found the Mayor easy to converse with, and they chuckled over many reminences. "It's nice to speak with one of the Team Haunted Woods crowd," the Mayor replied candidly to Zo. "I always wanted to get up to the surface to meet all of you personally, but duty calls more often than I'd like! Still, I make my excuses when the season begins."
"We'll be certain to make your season interesting, sir!" grinned Zo, and they shared another good laugh. He had a good time exploring Moltara City, to be sure. The Magma Caves were also very interesting. Zax Bannet was there, looking around for tiny coloured worms, and he stopped to speak with Zo, who was a very old friend of his. Then, Zo noticed the small, pristene hut of hewn rock, and entered it.
Igneot, looking very wise, predicted "an interesting time on the field" as he gazed into the flames of the candles, and Zo shivered a bit, yet thanked the mystic as calmly as he could. Igneot was known to be very wise, and some of his predictions seemed slightly chilling, though most Neopians merely smiled and said nothing. Who knew whether or not what Igneot said was really true? It was impossible to be sure, even if one was skeptical.
Zo enjoyed his holiday thoroughly, going surfing through the lava tunnels, building petpets with Tangor, admiring the many lamps and lanterns crafted by Lampwyck. Even Cog greeted him warmly, and gifted him a special flight cap of brown leather, trimmed with brass gears, of the very latest style. Zo was sorry when the week came to an end, but duty called, and final preparations must be tended to, before the next cup officially began.
So, after a pleasant week, Zo returned to the Stone Dome, wearing his new cap. Krell and Fanetti were already there, and Wan showed up soon after, followed by Brains. The team discussed their various holidays, but everyone admired Zo's cap with some slight envy, excepting Brains, of course. "Niiiice caaaap!" was all he said.
"I hope this sunburn will be gone soon," lamented Wan, as he rubbed soothing aloe cream over his arms and on the end of his nose. "I wasn't quite prepared for such a nice environment, as you can see."
"Virtupets ain't too bad," returned Krell. "The food was, uh, interesting, to say the least. The Robots were impressive, too. They've really come far."
"Good thing there's a library in Brightvale," Fanetti remarked. "It was a rainy week in Brightvale, ALL WEEK! The books were nice, though. Brightvale was Gloomyvale the entire time I was there."
"Faaarms make foooooood!" groaned Brains, holding up some Tasty Turnip Tartar. "I have Sluuuuudge Piiiie, too! King Skarrrrrl is niiiiiice!"
"Well, I went to Moltara, made some new friends, along with some older ones, got this awesome cap from Cog, hunted for worms with Zax, had my future read by Igneot, and promised the Mayor nicer slushies from us this year," smiled Zo as he set his cap aside and reached for his sling. "But enough with the talking, let's get on with what the Haunties do best! Let's get back to work! AAAOOOO!"
"AAAOOOO!!!" rang out the others, and with shouts of laughter, they proceeded to do just that.