Aulyssa's Scavenger Hunt
A chocolate waterfall rushed down a candy mountain, splashing onto the sugar-sand shore. Miles of shiny rock candy path scrolled over the cookie gravel. Stacks of candy cane emerged from the ground, next to a row of gumdrop trees. A pile of jellybeans here, floating bubblegum there. A gush of cinnamon-scented wind strolled across the scene, changing the cotton candy clouds' shapes.
This was Aulyssa's dream taking place in a good night's sleep. For such a sour Poogle, she sure had a sweet fantasy. She imagined herself diving into a river of caramel, grabbing a nearby apple and dipping it in, ready for a bite. She lay under a shady tree, enjoying herself.
Suddenly, she felt a shiver. She felt a faint dot of cold on her shoulder. Snow. No, it was sugar snow. Aulyssa looked around, and noticed that in just a matter of seconds, her candy wonderland has been transformed into a winter candy wonderland! A sheet of white sugar spread across the ground, covering the candy crumbs. The snow continued. Then, a harder piece of snow fell on her. Hail? No, it couldn't be. Then it happened again, but this time, she realized that with each fall the hail made a thunk, as if landing on glass.
The hail continued. Was this a storm? A storm in Aulyssa's perfect candy world? As the hail began to sound more realistic, she dissolved from her sugar land, until she found herself in a dark room, conscious. She lay in bed awake, annoyed that she had woken up from her best dream. She glanced at the clock. It was four a.m.
Upset, she closed her eyes with the intention of continuing her dream, but failed. She heard the thunk of the hail again, but this time, it was real. She opened her eyes. Thunk. Thunk. She realized it was a pebble being thrown to her window.
Aulyssa grumpily got out of bed and went to her window. Nothing to be seen, except the darkness of dawn, ready to turn into morning. As she made her way back to bed, there was another thunk. Aulyssa was mad now, and opened her window. Still nothing, except she noticed a small piece of paper with some writing, but it was too dark to see what it said. She looked around once more, but could not make out who could've left the note. No sounds of footsteps running away, or flapping of winds flying away. No rustling in the bushes of some neopet hiding off, or even a faint breathing to be heard.
It was suspicious now. Aulyssa closed the window and turned on her lamp. She squinted, trying to get used to the light. The title read "Scavenger Hunt", and she then read the letter.
"Exotic Ingredients of Shenkuu
Lost Desert Sandy Olive Oil
Obtain these items. Bring them to me. I shall be waiting under the large oak tree. Don't take too long. A reward is in your place for your accomplished deed."
The letter was unsigned.
"Well," she said to herself between a yawn, "sounds like a lotta work, but if there's a prize involved, I'll do it. Nothing planned for later today anyway."
She went back to sleep, but had no more candy wonderland dreams. Instead, she dreamed of an adventure for the rare items, and being rewarded millions of neopoints. She'd become rich.
But her dream was much too short, for she woke up that morning by the sound of the busy outside world. Traffic. Chattering. Chirping petpets. "Hotdogs! Hotdogs! Get'cher hotdogs here!"
Aulyssa woke up extra tired. She shook herself awake and reread the mysterious note. She got ready and walked out of the house.
"Okay," she prepared. "First item, 'Exotic Ingredients of Shenkuu'. Sounds like a cookbook. But where could I get it? Shenkuu, I am guessing." She paused. "Grr, that's so far away. I'll just look for it at the book shop."
She walked a short distance to Neopia Central and entered the Book Shop. It smelled like fresh paper. It smelled like old paper. Books were everywhere in rows and shelves and counters and tables.
"Ew," Aulyssa muttered. "Books."
"Welcome." A tall Nimmo came up to her. "How can I be of assistance? Are you here to check out a book, pick up a book, or return a book?"
"I just need a book for someone," she explained.
"Reading increases your knowledge and enhances your imagination. It treats your brain to a good story. Books open many doors to success."
"Yeah, yeah. Whatever. You got 'Exotic Ingredients of Shenkuu' around here?"
The librarian didn't seem to notice Aulyssa's rude reply. "I will search for it, Miss. Make yourself comfortable. Why not pick up a newspaper while you wait?"
"When I'm dead," she said. "And hurry. I need to get the book."
The Nimmo disappeared into the library for a minute, and came back with a thick orange and gold book.
"Here you go, Miss. Exotic Ingredients of Shenkuu."
Aulyssa took the book from him. "Ugh, it's so heavy. Thanks."
"My pleasure! Come back soon!"
Aulyssa walked towards the exit, and called out, "And don't think you'll ever be seeing me in a library again." And left.
She put the book in a bag she had brought along with her and looked at the note. Next item on the list was a Loveberry.
"Loveberry," she repeated. "Looks like's I'm heading to Meridell."
The sun was hot. She walked some more and arrived at Meridell. She entered Meri Acres Farm to "Pick your own".
"Aye," a Gelert greeted her. He was dressed in a rough brown potato sack and carried a pitchfork. "You here to pick some berries?"
"I'm here to pick a berry. One berry. Uno. I need one Loveberry. Can I just pay for it and get outta here?"
"Deal is you pay to look for 'em yourself."
Aulyssa's head dropped and hung loosely. "Ugh... so much work. All right. How much?"
"That will be 400 neopoints," he said.
"Fine. This better be worth my reward." She took out a pile of coins from her bag and gave them to the Gelert as she said, "Here ya go. Where do I start?"
He pointed to the large field and handed her a basket. "Hooray," she said unenthusiastically.
She came upon a large bush and picked up... a rotten berry. "Ugh." She flung it over her shoulder. She picked up a voidberry. "These things are gross," she said, and let it drop to the floor. She started to the other side of the field and saw a small red shape in the middle of the bush, which was covered with thorns. Carefully, she reached over and grasped the berry. She pulled it out too quickly, and left a long scratch on her arm.
"Ouch!" Aulyssa whined. "Stupid bush! Stupid thorns!" She looked at the berry she just picked. It was a Half-Eaten Loveberry. "Aurgh! This is insane! I hate berry-picking!" She stomped off and looked high and low for more berries. She found dung. She found dung again. She found stepped-on dung. She found even more dung. Dung, dung, dung.
"There's only dung around here! What's it going to take to find one specific berry?" Her ears pressed flat.
A small Acara frolicked past Aulyssa, humming a tune and swinging her basket full of varieties of berries. At the very top lay one perfect Loveberry, big and juicy with a deep red color. Aulyssa cracked a sly grin. She silently followed the Acara and swiped the fruit without a sound. The Acara was unaware.
"Haha, a Loveberry! The easy way!" She smiled and dropped her basket, running out of the field in delight.
"Next up..." Aulyssa unfolded the note and read. "...a Spooky Doughnut. Ooh! The Haunted Woods! Finally, a normal place." Her excitement fueled her pace, and in no time, she had arrived.
The land was a dreary place. The fog hovered low. The pale white full moon shined up high, for it was always nighttime in the Haunted Woods. Aulyssa looked around and admired the sight. "Korbats screeching in the sky, Spyders crawling around, the Unknown lurk about. Ah, there is no place like this, really," she said as she walked by a tall tree. A pair of sinister red eyes blinked. Their gaze followed her.
She approached the Fairgrounds. She considered playing a couple games, but the thought floated away, for her mind was kept on her reward for completing the scavenger hunt.
"One Spooky Doughnut, por favor," she told the Bruce that ran the food cart. She stared in awe of his appearance. Vampire fangs and pitch black wings. She thought of painting herself Halloween. No, she thought, I'd look like some sort of abominable monster. The Bruce gave her the doughnut as she handed him the money and left.
"And last but not least, Lost Desert Sandy Olive Oil. The name says it all. To the Lost Desert it is." She walked out of the coolness of the Haunted Woods and entered the heat of the desert. She walked under the hot, hot sun and into Sakhmet.
"Lost Desert Foods" was titled about the stall. Aulyssa looked at their stock: Sand Squash, Sand Grapes, Sand Apple, Sand Sandwich. It's a sand buffet! She wondered if they had some type of sand beverage.
For some strange reason, Aulyssa stared at the Sand Squash. An elegant-looking Desert Hissi spoke up. "Hi," she said to Aulyssa, "may I help you? Would you like to purchase this fine Sand Squash?"
Aulyssa perked up. "What? Who, me? No, I don't want the Sand Squash. I was just wondering how you people mold these things into shape and sell them as if they had a taste or something."
The Hissi chuckled. "Oh, of course they have a taste!" Her fierce green eyes looked at Aulyssa as if she were stupid.
"Well, hence its name..."
"I personally love the Sand Squash. You should try it," she said. Her long split tongue hissed out in a persuading smile.
"Hmm. Sure. And I need a Lost Desert Sandy Olive Oil while you're at it." She continued to look at the food. And people buy these things?, she thought, I could easily scoop up some sand, roll it into a ball, and call it a Sand Orange.
"Here you go!" the Hissi gave her the olive oil and shaped sand food. Aulyssa put the items in her bag and gave her the money.
"Thanks for the shamsquash," Aulyssa fiddled and began to leave.
"Sandsquash," the Hissi corrected, but Aulyssa paid no attention and happily walked away quickly.
"Exotic Ingredients of Shenkuu, check. Loveberry, check. Spooky Doughnut, check. Lost Desert Sandy Olive Oil, check. Sand Squash—oh, my Sand Squash." She examined the Sand Squash. Why did I buy this?, she thought, am I stupid? I just bought sand. Sand!
She took a bite out of the Sand Squash. Surprisingly, it was really good. "Not bad," Aulyssa stated. She finished off the squash. "And I thought I would've choked on that sand."
Finally, she was back at her neighborhood. She read the note again, just to make sure. "So I obtained everything. Now where's the tree I'm supposed to meet this person at? Oak tree, oak tree..." She came over to the thick, tall oak tree not too far from her house. There was no one there.
"Hello?" she called out. "Anyone there? You asked for some stuff. I got them. Hello?" She looked around. No one to be seen. She was furious.
Aulyssa heard someone coming from behind and turned around. It Hasiera, her Gelert friend. She came out of their house and approached Aulyssa. "Lyss! You got the items?"
Aulyssa was bewildered. "Wha—wait, that was you? You wrote that note?"
"Yeah." She smiled and took the bag from Aulyssa's shoulder and looked inside. "Yep, looks like you got everything. Thanks!"
"Wait! Why did you write it? And where is my reward?"
"Silly Poogle! Your reward is your lunch. Come on, let's go inside and—"
"No! Wait! I don't understand! Why did you write this? Explain!"
"Well, I was busy today, Aulyssa. Someone had to go get the groceries for today's lunch," Hasiera smiled.
"You mean you tricked me into running your errands?!" Aulyssa steamed.
Hasiera's long ears stood straight up. "It's about time you'd go out to get the food for once, but you'd never agree to help. I figured, why not play scavenger hunt anonymously? It's the only way you'd do it. Anyway, now let's go eat—"
"I have a question!" Aulyssa interrupted. "How did the note come to me if I never heard you hiding away?"
"I asked Xantolis to do it for me. He always does favors for me, since he's a ghost. Now can we go inside?" Hasiera nudged.
"Wait! Where's my prize?!" she demanded.
"Aulyssa, I've already told you! You went to get the food, now we can eat it. A filling stomach is your reward."
Aulyssa grumbled, and ran inside the house, because after a seemingly long day, she was rather hungry after all...