The Discovery of Woodland Creatures
Also by asparagation
Why hello there! Care to have some coffee and a cupcake?
Well, I suppose you want to know how I came to be here in the forest! I was once just a plain old Cybunny, longing to have some kind of purpose. My days were spent aimlessly wandering through the many lands, observing the animals and how happy and content they were. Oh, how I longed to be happy like that!
One day, though, I discovered a whole new land that I had never been to before, I had just climbed up a rather steep mountain, and on peering down I found the most gorgeous sight! Crystal clear waters, a soft gentle breeze, lush vegetation and abundant sweet scented flowers! My eyes filled with tears at the sight of such beauty before me, I gingerly took a step down the mountain but alas! I tripped, and fell, tumbling over and over again until finally I landed with a heavy thud at the bottom. A faint shadow crossed my eyes; I heard a voice, a mumble.
"I think she hit her head after that nasty fall."
And with that, my eyes glazed over and I felt the soft paws of someone, or something, encase me and lift me gently from the ground.
Something cool was being poured down my back, I shivered as I felt a slight tingling sensation run down my spine. A trickle of the liquid was running down my nose and I twitched my nose as it trickled off. I heard the voice again in the background.
"I think she's coming to."
I slowly opened my eyes, and waited for them to adjust to the moonlight.
"How do you feel, sweetie?"
"I'm, I'm ok I guess."
"Here, take this and eat a bit, it will make you feel stronger."
I took her offering and sank my teeth gratefully into it, a burst of flavour filled my mouth, something between heaven and sugar and chocolate. I felt a renewed energy and vigour flow through my veins, I could see clearer, my hearing was crisper and I was suddenly aware that the creatures in front of me were GREEN and WOODEN!? And not just green and wooden! They appeared to be made of grass and flowers and various other flora. What was going on? Where was I? I looked into the faces of those surrounding me, then back at the one who had originally addressed me. I could see nothing but kindness in her eyes but I was still bewildered. Never had I seen anyone look the way these creatures did!
"Sorry to frighten you, dear, you I can imagine you've never seen others like us before."
"No! I certainly haven't; I'm sorry if I appear rude, but your fur! It's grass!"
My new acquaintance laughed heartily and turned to her friends,
"Well, it looks like her sight is going to be just fine!" Turning back to me she asks, "May I ask your name, please?"
"Oh! I'm sorry, my name is Gracy."
"What a pretty name! Mine is Isabel, I do believe you managed to stumble into our little oasis."
"Oh! So that's where I am! I've heard stories of this place, but I thought that's all they were, just stories."
"Well, we do try to keep ourselves somewhat secluded, you can only enter into the oasis through a specific pathway. I believe you had quite a nasty fall down one of our hills on the border of the oasis."
"Yes, I think I slipped or tripped on a rock."
"Well, we have taken you from the bottom to our stream, the clear waters help to heal wounds quite quickly, so hopefully you shall be feeling much better very soon."
"Ahh! I was wondering why I felt such a sensation! Tell me, though, what was it that you gave me to eat? I have never tasted anything so wonderful!"
"Ahh, that would be one of our cupcakes, we don't have very many left though, unfortunately our wonderful pastry chef who made them decided she wanted to see the rest of Neopia and left. They may look like ordinary cupcakes, such as ones you have seen before I'm sure, but these, these contain a special ingredient, none of us could ever find out what it was, though."
"Wow, that is sad! They are special cupcakes, though. Is there any chance she would have written the ingredient down for safekeeping?"
"Knowing her, it was highly likely, but her house, let's just say she was not the most tidy of creatures." She chuckled.
"Haha! Well, it takes one to know one! Would you mind if I maybe took a look at her place? I might be able to help find the secret to their healing properties."
"Sure," Isabel smiled, "but for now I think we should get some rest, it has been a most busy and unusual day for us all! Would you like to come back to my place to sleep Gracy?"
"Oh, you are too kind, Isabel, that would be fabulous!"
As the crowds departed, I had a sneaky suspicion that I would be their topic of conversation for a few days yet to come. Isabel led me to her "place," which as it turned out was a cosy little wooden house high up in a tree. She showed me the ladder to reach her place and we both made our way to her front door. Isabel then showed me her delightful little house in the tree, in which I've now spent more time than anywhere else! I was led to a small room with a bed in it, Isabel tucked me in and patted my head, assuring me that the slight pain I had there would be gone by morning. Tired yet satisfied, I drifted off to a warm deep sleep...
As I awoke, I looked up at the ceiling, and realised that yesterday was not a dream. I slowly moved out of bed and stretched, I could feel that today would be great! A mystery awaited me and one which I was sure I could solve. I walked to the dining area of the house where I found Isabel, already preparing a delicious breakfast of pancakes and syrup.
"Ahh, the sleeping beauty awakes!" she says.
"Haha, very funny!" Strangely, although I had known Isabel for only a day, I somehow felt like I had known her for years. We sat down together at her small wooden table and began to eat her glorious pancakes, just the energy I needed for the day ahead.
"Isabel, I was thinking, might I be able to look at the pastry chef's house today?"
"Wow, when you have an idea you really pursue it don't you!"
"Well, I just have this feeling; I don't know what it means..."
"Hmm, I think I understand. We shall leave as soon as we have finished breakfast."
After about half an hour we descended from her tree house, landing with a soft thud as our paws hit the ground. I followed Isabel through the oasis, passing shrubs and bushes of all sorts and sizes. I could see a rather large tree looming up ahead of us, with an opening in the base of the trunk. This was where we were heading-I could sense it. Isabel led me to the front door, which she opened carefully; she did not enter.
"I will have to leave you here; I have quite a few errands today. Don't worry, there's nothing that could harm you in the oasis," she smiled warmly.
"No problem! I will be fine."
With that, Isabel walked back along the path we had just travelled. Turning back to the door, I walked through into what appeared to be a living area, now unrecognisable under layers of disarray.
"Hmm, I'm not going to find anything in this lot," I thought. "I may just start to tidy up and see where that leads me."
The next hour or so were filled with me picking up various books, papers, sheets and other random items from the floor. I dusted and swept, washing down little items and looking carefully for anything that may give me a clue. I had just finished when I noticed a little knob on a wall.
"Hmm, it's almost as if the tree is trying to tell me something."
I wandered over to the knob and gently tugged, seeing if it may come loose. Failing that, I tried to twist it, but to no avail. Giving up, I leant against it and wiped my forehead. I felt something move to my side, and then a gentle *click* noise. I stood back and watched in amazement as a tiny crevice opened in the wall. In the centre of the crevice, under a thin layer of dust lay a single piece of paper. I was ecstatic! Had I found it? The secret everyone longed to know? I carefully removed the paper and turned it over; on it I found this writing:
There lies a tree
At the oasis's edge
In full sun
And near a tall hedge
This tree is not what it seems
It hides a secret hidden within
Until the one chosen
Lifts up what is thin
This is the secret
This is the key
It heals and helps all
Now unlock the Tree
"Hmm, a riddle! This just keeps getting better and better!" Armed with my riddle and my wits, I left the chef's house and began a full-scale exploration of the oasis, I searched the borders of the oasis until I came across a tree, which also happened to be near a somewhat dishevelled hedge. This tree was extremely large, its leaves giving a slight shimmer from the heat of the sun. I walked up to it and began to circle it, looking for any kind of clue. About half way around its circumference (it had quite a large trunk, you see) I noticed a knob, an almost exact replica of the one at the chef's house!
"Aha!" I cried in delight, and promptly pushed it in, whereby there was clicking noise and a large section of the trunk swung open, revealing a hollowed out area. I crawled through the hole and looked around, recalling the line in the riddle, "lift up what is thin."
"Thin, hmmm, what here is thin?" I searched around some more until I noticed what appeared to be a wall of bark, but there was something odd about it, it just didn't seem right. I felt around it for a while, and noticed an edge to it; I managed to wedge my paws in between the gap and began to pull. To my surprise the wall began to move, just like the riddle said! A veil! A veil of bark! How very clever! Peering into this new area, my eyes are attracted to a light glow, I move forwards and to my surprise find the source. A shimmery glowing plant!
"This must be it!" I smiled to myself. "I will not remove this plant, it must be special, but I will take a single leaf, and see what its effects are."
Over the coming days, through trial and error, I produced the first new batch of cupcakes, ones with the same healing potential as those created before me. The creatures of the oasis were ecstatic and held a huge party in my honour. Needless to say, they insisted on me staying with them and becoming a member of their society as the new pastry chef. I accepted; my life finally had meaning and a purpose!
In order to fully become a member though, there was one last change I had to make. It was a special day for me, the sun was high in the sky, and all the creatures were gathered by the stream of the oasis. Isabel stepped forward, holding out a beautiful paint brush, it was decorated with wood and leaves, just like all the creatures around me. I took the paint brush and I instantly began to change! My fur, once a ruddy red colour, turned to wood, and my fluffy neck became thick green grass, flowers burst from my fur and butterflies flocked to my side. The transformation was complete!
"Welcome, Gracy, our newest oasis friend!" Isabel yelled with happiness for all to hear.
I was finally one of them, with my brand new family and a wonderful life ahead!