Enchanted Stories: Adventure on the High Seas - Part One
It was a gloriously warm and sunny summer day. Screams of laughter and the noise of splashing was all that could be heard from the residence of Kristykimmy and her family in Neopia Central. It seemed like it was going to be a normal summer.
I was in the shallow end of the pool with Inna in her floaty. Bluejay was strapping on his floatation device as Yanli impatiently waited by the side of the pool.
"Maybe you should pluck all your feathers out during the summer. Not only would you not have to worry about them becoming waterlogged and dragging you down in the pool, imagine how much cooler you would be," the Christmas Zafara teased.
The Starry Pteri simply stuck his tongue out at her and she splashed him again. Inna was kicking furiously, trying to get out to the deeper water, and I kept pulling her back.
"Mammma!" the Baby Acara cried in frustration.
"Oh, stop that, Inna. You can't go over to the deep end," I laughed.
A beach ball came flying towards us, I pushed off the pool floor to jump up and spike it back. Elise caught it on the other side. The Faerie Cybunny laughed and said, "Not bad, maybe we should start a volleyball team."
"Hurry up and serve already, Elise," Chloe called.
Princess, the Desert Uni, sat in one of the beach chairs by the side of the pool, as she didn't swim. She sometimes sat in the shallow end on very hot days, but as a rule, if it was deeper than the bathtub, she didn't go in it. Anita, the elegant white Sakhmetian Aisha, sat next to her, reading.
Bluejay finally jumped into the pool, and he and his sister immediately got into a splash fight. When they finished, Yanli laid on her back and just floated along the surface of the water.
"Can we go to the beach this summer? I mean the beach at Mystery Island. We could hang out at the beach, swim in the sea, explore the island, and see your parents and their Neopets," Yanli suggested as she floated past me.
"I would like to take a cruise again," Anita said, sitting up and lifting up her sunglasses. "I went on a luxury cruise liner with Hector two years before I came here, and it was simply gorgeous! Two weeks at sea on a liner that was more glamorous and luxurious than the Astrovilla! It would be so much fun for all of us to do that, as none of us get seasick."
"That would be fun. I'll think about it. There are plenty of cruise ships that depart from Mystery Island. We might go to the island for a few weeks to start, and finish with an ocean cruise. We haven't taken a vacation outside of Meridell in forever," I replied.
That night, as I made my rounds about the house locking doors and windows, I stopped by the cabinet in the library. In it were two books that no one else in the world owned. A shiver raced down my spine. I knew that everyone in the family had enjoyed them and wished we would find more of these enchanted stories, but I didn't. I like adventure as much as the next crazy teenage girl, and once in them I quickly got caught up in the moment, but there was something about them that made uneasy. I didn't like not knowing where these books came from or why. I had gone to the Library Faerie, Illusen, Jhudora, several faerie scholars, and even Aethia. So far no one could tell me anything about them or had even heard of such a thing before. Some of them accused me of making it up. Of course, the fact that they had become regular books didn't lend my story any credibility.
It had been a few months since the second had dropped in on us, but that didn't mean anything. There had been a long gap between the first and the second. I knew that something more was coming. Having two drop in on me, and being stalked by the second book when I refused to read it, had convinced me of that. I had just hoped that we would figure out what was going on before another one arrived, but after so many frustrating dead ends that hope was beginning to die.
Shaking those thoughts from my head, I made certain the cabinet was still locked and walked away.
I awoke with a start. Looking around my room, I wondered what had awakened me so harshly. My alarm was screeching next to me, but I was used to it, so I didn't think it was because of the alarm. I pressed the off button and lay back down. There was no danger of falling back asleep as I was wide-awake and the sun was shining with its first rays. I stretched, and my foot kicked something at the end of the bed, under the covers.
I reached under and felt for it, it was a book. Not an unusual thing, as I read books in bed often, but a shiver slid down my spine anyway.
"Oh, please, let this be normal," I prayed as I pulled it out.
My heart sank as I looked at it. It was deep blue in color with gold letters on the spine. It read, 'Adventure on the High Seas.' I knew that it was yet another one of the enchanted stories, and like last time there was no way I could get rid of it. I threw it across the room and it landed on my desk and stayed there. I went off to get ready for the day, and then went downstairs to make breakfast. Elise came into the kitchen bearing Inna, and set her in her high-chair.
"I heard her calling from her crib," she explained.
"Good morning," I said in reply, too irritated to say more.
Elise raised and eyebrow and asked, "Stocks drop or something?"
"Worse," I grumbled. "We're taking our vacation early and I'm afraid it won't be Mystery Island."
Elise's eyes widened. "Has something bad happened?"
"Go look on my desk."
She didn't have to, as a still disheveled Yanli came skipping into the room, singing, "We get to go sailing!"
Yanli was waving the book around.
"I was looking for my hair brush, and I thought I might have left it in your room after asking you to help me pull my hair into the ponytail before swimming yesterday, and I found this! When do we leave?"
Elise was looking on, amused by Yanli's enthusiasm. Yanli got to see the good parts, being left out of the real action to keep her from harm; she was the only one not sporting massive bruises after the first adventure. Thinking about it made me rub my hands against my pants.
"Sometime this afternoon, I guess," I said.
"Whee! Catch, Elise! Imma go tell Bluejay. This is so totally gonna rock!" Yanli cried, throwing Elise the book.
"How can she not make you excited?" Elise asked as I sighed.
"Because the last two were dangerous, remember that? Also, at least the last two places were on land. Except for maybe Chloe, we know nothing about combat at sea and the situation is infinitely more difficult to control. Don't give me that look; it's my job to worry about every little detail. Mom and tactician of group, remember?"
Elise laughed and playfully rolled her eyes at me. "And yet, on your own, you dive headlong into danger and do the stupidest things. If you could only put half so much concern into your own doings."
"Really, let's not bring up things I've done, bunny-mine. We've already established I'm not the brightest person in split second decisions." I stuck my tongue out at her.
Elise just snickered at me.
I kissed little Inna's nose and asked, "What would baby do?"
"Want nummy, Mama," Inna said seriously.
"Right, Inna would eat breakfast, so that is what we shall all do," I said.
By the time my family had all gathered for breakfast everyone knew about the next book. They were all chattering away, discussing what they thought that the story would be about.
I brought my dishes to the sink and said, "Anita and Princess, would you mind watching the younger ones and cleaning up after breakfast this morning? Chloe needs to get zapped and Elise and I have some shopping to do."
They both chimed in with 'no problem' and so the three of us left. At the lab, Chloe turned into the Maraquan Eyrie. This only worsened the uncomfortable feeling I had. Chloe dragged behind as we walked to the Beauty Parlor to buy conditioner for Elise; Maraquan bodies are not easy to use on land.
"It's a bit odd, isn't it?" Elise remarked.
"Ah, you noticed? Still think I'm needlessly worried? I highly doubt that this is coincidence, and that means whoever is sending us these books can manipulate our lives at will. They seem to be doing it in a way that makes it even easier to interact within these fantasy worlds we're being sent into," I said.
"Yes, but if we don't read it that book will follow you around forever and we run the risk of angering whoever is sending them. On the other hand, if we do it we might find out who is sending the books," Elise replied.
"I hope so," I muttered. "Because this is getting old already."
To be continued...