One Route to Altador: Part Five
"Ugh, my stomach is gnawing at my side," Abernathe groaned as she woke from her hunger.
Abernathe sat up in her bed, and looked out the port hole next to her top bunk, and saw the dark blue morning sky. Remembering that the Armana would reach Altador that morning, Abernathe excitedly sprang out of her bed and down the ladder. She walked over to Region4's bottom bunk, and began to non-to-gently shake him.
"Wake up, you sleepy rabbit!" she shouted happily. "We are going to see the land of Altador today!"
"You're gonna wake up the people in the cabin next door," Region4 mumbled as he opened one eye.
"I feel like I could eat the Jelly World," Sugarchick moaned from the other bottom bunk.
"If only it existed," Climene said wistfully as she climbed out from next to Sugarchick.
"Breakfast exists, and I'm gonna eat your share if you don't get up," Region4 threatened playfully.
Sugarchick immediately shot out of the other bunk. "Don't you dare!" she said, glaring at her brother.
"The sooner we get to the dining room, the faster we'll get to eat," Abernathe said.
The siblings rushed to the dining room, anxious to eat after missing dinner the other day. After they had shown their meal passes and ordered their food, they began to discuss their plans for the day.
"I suggest we pack up our things from our cabin after we're done eating," Abernathe said.
"After that we should go on the deck and visit Captain Sterling!" Climene squealed with excitement.
"Then we can watch Altador come into view," Sugarchick said dreamily.
"Sounds good to me!" Region4 said. "Ah, here is our food."
After the male Shoyru waiter had served them their food, the siblings dug into their separate meals like hungry Lupes.
"I gotta remember how good purple negg neggnog tastes!" Region4 exclaimed after the siblings had finished their large breakfast.
Abernathe smiled. "I forgot what a full stomach felt like!"
The siblings walked to their cabin, and hurriedly packed the few things they had unpacked, slung their bags over their shoulders, and rushed up to the deck.
The warm sun was at the Armana's stern, and the pale blue sky was full of fluffy white clouds. The salty air was cool, and the sea was steel blue and was tinted with teal.
Waves splashed smoky white foam against the hull of the Armana.
Before Abernathe could cherish all these things, Sugarchick and Climene raced to the bridge to visit Captain Sterling, laughing as they went.
Region4 chuckled. "We might as well follow them."
Abernathe and Region4 found Climene and Sugarchick sitting on a pile of ropes next to Captain Sterling, who was merrily steering the ship towards Altador.
"Tis nice to see ye again, youngies!" The Captain greeted the older siblings. "Ye got perfect tim'in, too, for I'll be land'in this beauty in Altador in 'bout an hour."
"It is nice to see you again, Cap'n!" Region4 replied cheerily.
"Say, why didn't ye visit again me last day?" Sterling asked quizzically.
The siblings shuffled their feet.
"Well..." Climene trailed off.
"Nah, I'm just poke'in with ye!" The Captain laughed.
"Look up ahead!" Region4 shouted excitedly.
"It is the peak of a small mountain!" Abernathe cried.
Up ahead in the distance, a small green line ran across the horizon, and on top of the green the peak of a grey miniature mountain could be faintly seen. Slowly the green strip grew larger and larger, and the mountain could be fully seen, with other mountains topped with snow on the right and in front of the first mountain. Far off into the right, the green turned into sandy yellow, and the huge snowy mountains were barely visible.
"Just behind yon grey mountains lies Altador!" Captain Sterling exclaimed.
"If ye don't mind, could ye stay under the deck until we reach the docks?" he asked.
Sugarchick and Climene were crestfallen. "Yes, sir," they mumbled.
"We will," Abernathe assured the Captain, though she felt a little sad herself.
As the siblings walked back to the stairs, Abernathe looked back to see the grey mountains, then turned and walked after her siblings.
People were walking everywhere. Crowds stood and talked excitedly while others squeezed by. Crew members were issuing out orders and carrying heavy loads, and the siblings found it almost impossible to reach their cabin.
"I wonder what Éclair is doing right now," Abernathe thought aloud as she reached over her bunk to open the port hole.
"She said she would meet us in the Lost Desert, yet she didn't," Region4 mumbled.
"She would have never missed this trip for the world!"
"I wonder who Éclair wants to win the Altador Cup," Sugarchick thought aloud.
Abernathe gasped. "This whole time I never though of which team I was going to join!"
"Why don't you join Team Shenkuu?" Region4 suggested. "They are a good team."
Sugarchick shook her head. "Team Faerieland is way better!"
"Team Altador are the namesake of the tournament, and the got second place last year!" Climene argued.
"I'm joining Meridell," Abernathe said, smiling.
"WHAT?" Sugarchick and Climene shouted.
"They have a good attitude, they have the tendency to do well, and I like their players," Abernathe happily explained.
"I guess it isn't a bad choice," Region4 said. "Though Shenkuu does have-"
Just then there was a loud knock at the cabin door.
"I'll get it!" Region said as he walked over to open the door.
"I wonder who would want to see us," Abernathe mumbled.
When Region4 opened the door, a male Shoyru was waiting at the door.
"Ello! I'm a member of the Armana's crew. Cap'n Sterling wanted me to send you a message."
"Uh, okay," Region4 stammered.
"He says that he is sorry he made you leave the deck, but his crew would need as much room as possible to work. He suggests you make your way to the stairs, because the ship is going to dock soon. He says he won't be able to see you anymore, because he is very busy. He wishes that you will forgive him for not giving you a proper farewell," the Shoyru said.
"Tell him that we understand, and we thank him for his time and for steering the Armana," Abernathe said next to Region4.
When the Shoyru had left, Region4 and Abernathe walked back and sat down on a lower bunk.
"What a nice goodbye," Sugarchick said sarcastically.
"Sugarchick, you can't forget that Sterling is a Captain, and he has his job to do. You should be thankful that he spared his time to send us a messenger," Abernathe said quietly.
"Cheer up! We can go up on the deck now!" Region4 said.
Abernathe and Region4 stood up and headed for the door, but suddenly the ship tilted to the left and the Armana turned to the right, and Abernathe stumbled and fell on the floor as Region4 fell back onto the bunk.
Hurriedly Abernathe got back up and climbed onto the top bunk to peek out the port hole. When she saw that they had docked in the docks of Altador, she jumped down the bed and ran out the door.
"We're in Altador!" she yelled excitedly, and her siblings raced after her.
Abernathe pushed through crowded hallways with her siblings behind her, and ran with all her might up the stairs. Abernathe gasped with delight, shock, and awe as she stood on the deck. The city of Altador was more splendid and more beautiful than any other place in Neopia. All around the city were small grey mountains with snow-covered peaks, and lush green hills covered the land. The city was made of gleaming white stone, the roofs of each building were of fiery orange panels, and sections of the city were built on stone cliffs and hills. The architecture was astounding, and only the most skillful stone masons could have built such a spectacular city. The rays of the sun shined proudly on the city, and cast an orange light in the sky. A bit out to the west, the main section of the city of Altador sat behind a dark gray stone wall. In the center of the walled area, the tower which held the Hall of Heroes stood grandly over the ground.
"We have finally reached Altador!" Region4 chuckled with merriment.
"Hurry up! We have to get off the Armana before we get stuck behind a crowd!" Sugarchick said as she urged her siblings forward.
Sure enough, people started to crowd onto the deck, gasping a shouting with excitement.
Crew members grunted as they set a plank between the ship and the docks for the passengers to leave, shouting instructions and encouragement.
As the siblings walked down the plank, they gazed at the beautiful city, trying to catch every detail of the buildings.
"Where do we receive our luggage?" Abernathe asked a crew member who was working on the docks.
"The crew is unloading the passengers' luggage over by the stern of the Armana, and you can rent a small wagon to carry your load in," the crew member said.
When the siblings had loaded a wagon with their luggage, they walked down the stone path into the gleaming city.
"I suppose we should find a hotel somewhere," Region4 suggested.
After asking a couple neopets, the siblings learned that a hotel called "Grandiose Auberge" that was in the main section of Altador was the most popular choice for fans of the Altador Cup.
The siblings walked across the lush green fields towards the main city, excited and hungry. To the right of the main city, rock cliffs stood tall and proud. To the left, beside the sea, trees stood peppering the fields, and a small farm could be seen in front of the trees.
As the siblings entered the main city through the gate, a Skeith guard nodded as they passed. The main city was smaller then the city by the docks, but there were trees and ponds everywhere. The buildings were made similarly to the ones by the docks, except four buildings, which had royal purple roofs that were line with gold. In the center of the main city the tower stood, and on its left was the Colosseum, and on its right was a fountain.
The siblings walked along the path, still pulling the small wagon along until the came to a large building with a pond beside it, and a gazebo in front of it. Next to the path that the siblings walked along, a stone poll held three wooden arrows, each pointing in a different direction. The top arrow had the words "Altadorian Archives" carved into it, and pointed to a building in the shape of a square wall. The middle arrow had the words "Exquisite Ambrosia" carved into it and pointed at one of the buildings with a purple roof. The bottom arrow had the words "Grandiose Auberge" carved into it and pointed at the large rectangular building with the gazebo the siblings were walking towards.
The siblings entered the hotel and immediately saw why it was so popular. The lobby was enormous, and to the right, large couches, sofas, and desks sat on a bright orange carpet with a golden sun in the middle in an open square. To the left, a long white stone desk with a marble top with a well dressed female Lupe behind it had a potted tree on both of its sides. Straight ahead the lobby split into to halls that went to the left and right, the one on the right leading to the stairs and the one on the left leading to a party room.
Paintings of famous neopets and places and other decorations were on every wall.
"We would like to rent a room for thirty nights," Abernathe said to the Lupe at the front desk.
The Lupe smiled at the siblings. "I suppose you are staying for the Altador Cup. There is a fifty percent discount for Altador Cup fans. The overall cost will be thirty thousand neopoints."
Abernathe gulped at the price, but handed the money over.
"Your room number is 216," the Lupe said as she handed the room key to Abernathe.
The Lupe ringed a small bell, and a little Wocky boy hurried over.
"Yes, ma'am?" the Wocky asked.
"Please take these young neopets' luggage to room 216," the Lupe said, handing the boy a separate key.
The Wocky nodded, and then pulled the small wagon to the siblings' room.
"We should get something to eat," Region4 said, and the group walked out of the hotel and onto path that lead to the Ambrosia.
The Ambrosia was wonderful. The walls were painted a fiery orange, and pearly white pillars stood against the walls. Here and there windows with gold lined orange curtains were built in between pillars. A beautiful stone fountain of sparkling water was placed next to a large window, and stone tables with orange wooden chairs peppered the rusty colored stone floor.
The siblings chose a table next to a window, and started to study the menu. After much arguing of prices and taste, the siblings finally agreed to order stuffed grape leaves with Altadorian bread, with Altadorian nectar to wash it all down. They regretted not ordering sooner. The leaf wraps were delicious, with the grape leaves creating a fresh crispy taste and the filling making the food soft in the mouth. The Altadorian bread was soft with a tough of sweetness, and the nectar was sweet and had a slightly fruity taste.
After paying for the meal, the siblings headed towards the hotel with happy stomachs and cheerful moods. When they arrived at their room, they were delighted with the comfortable feel. The room had rusty colored walls, and a wooden floor with a huge carpet similar to the one in the lobby. There were three white queen sized beds, a second room with a tub for washing in, a huge window that had a spectacular view of the Colosseum, a stone table by the window with four orange wooden chairs, a small refrigerator next to a stone counter, one large wooden drawer and a wooden dresser next to one bed, and a lamp on a stone desk which sat between two of the beds. The siblings also noticed that the Wocky boy hadn't unpacked their luggage, but instead set the bags on one of the beds.
"I'm glad the Wocky was polite and didn't mess with our stuff," Abernathe said.
Region4 chuckled. "We don't have to worry about getting bored, since we have all this unpacking to do."
The rest of the evening sped by as the siblings worked at unpacking their luggage.
Night crept up on the siblings, and the siblings had finished unpacking and began to wash and climb into bed. Sugarchick and Climene chose the bed next to the drawer and dresser, while Abernathe and Region4 climbed into the other two beds with the stone desk in between.
"I can't wait to sign up tomorrow!" Abernathe whispered to Region4.
"You better get sleep, Ab, or you'll be too exhausted to play Yooyuball," Region4 murmured.
The bright stars twinkled in the night sky, and soon the siblings soon fell asleep, each dreaming about their past adventures.
Abernathe slowly opened her eyes, but quickly shut them again when the morning sunlight shone on them. Somewhere on a building a Vaeolus screeched, and Abernathe pulled back the covers of her bed and walked over to the window to open it. A cool breeze brushed by Abernathe, bringing the smell of fresh dew with it.
"It looks like it will be a nice day today!" Abernathe jumped at the sound of Region4's voice.
"You're awake?" Abernathe asked.
"I've been awake for nearly an hour!" Region4 chuckled. "Let's wake up the other two."
"There will be no waking us up today!" Climene declared, surprising the older siblings by her sudden appearance.
"We've been waiting for you two fatties to get up since sunrise!" Sugarchick said, crossing her arms.
Abernathe smiled. "Sorry for not waking up earlier! I know we all want to go soon, but I need a couple minutes to get ready."
Climene scowled. "Well, hurry up!"
Abernathe hurried to get ready, brushing her russet brown hair while packing all her Yooyuball gear and other supplies. As Abernathe braided her hair, Sugarchick, Climene, and Region4 packed any entertainment they might need.
Once they were ready, the siblings hurried to the Ambrosia. The siblings quickly ate a filling breakfast of walnut pomegranate pastries with sun tea, and then sped off to the Colosseum, full of excitement.
To their surprise, neopets and humans swarmed the area, creating large crowds. Finally the siblings found the huge table with a large white banner golden words "sign ups" above it. Six busy neopets stood behind the table, tiredly refusing and rarely accepting neopet's applications. When Abernathe was next in line, she timidly walked up to attempt to apply.
"I would like to sign up for Yooyuball try-outs to join Team Meridell," Abernathe said nervously.
"Dear," the male orange Kougra said tiredly. "Anyone can sign up to play Slushie Slinger, Make Some Noise, or Shootout Showdown, but only the best neopets can pass to try outs for Yooyuball," he explained.
"But-"Abernathe attempted to excuse.
"I'm sorry," the Kougra interrupted, rubbing his eyes. "But you are too young anyways."
"Aw, let the young Ixi pass!" Xana DiLanche, Team Shenkuu's goalkeeper said as she walked by. "You got to let some people play!"
"But she is too young!" the Kougra complained.
"I played when I was her age," Xana said.
"Fine," the Kougra huffed. "But just this once!"
Abernathe looked up at Xana with awe. "Thank you so much!" she whispered.
Xana winked. "I can't have this old cat scaring all the next Yooyuball players away!" she said, and then walked off.
"You will find Team Meridell in their tent, which is near the back of the Colosseum," the Kougra said sullenly.
"Thanks!" Abernathe said happily, and then ran off to find her siblings.
"Region! Sugar! Climene!" Abernathe sang joyfully as she approached her siblings.
Region4 greeted Abernathe cheerily. "Whoa, Ab! Looks like you've had a good time!"
"I get to try out for Yooyuball!" Abernathe blurted.
Region4 raised his eyebrows. "Huh! I guess you're lucky! How did you get past the sign-up table?"
Abernathe's eye's sparkled with admiration. "Xana DiLanche convinced them to let me try out!"
Sugarchick snorted. "Why would she bother to do that?"
Abernathe looked down, hurt by her sister's comment. "Well..."
"That was very rude, Sugarchick," Region4 said quietly.
"You don't have to be jealous because Ab gets to play Yooyuball when we only get to play the other games," Climene said, teasing Sugarchick.
"Aw, alright!" Sugarchick said slyly. "I was only wondering..."
Abernathe smiled at her siblings. "To tell the truth, I don't know why she picked me. But I do know that if I don't hurry, I might not get to play Yooyuball."
Abernathe raced towards the back of the Colosseum, nervousness and excitement building up in her.
On the left side of the Colosseum, eighteen white medium sized tents that could fit up to eight people peppered the grounds, each tent having a small flag with a land's emblem sewn onto it at the top of the tents, and a second smaller tent for dressing by each tent.
Abernathe walked up to the tent with Team Meridell's emblem on the flag that was on top of the tent, and gathered her courage before entering through the flap door.
Everyone in the tent looked up when Abernathe entered.
"I was wondering if the sign-up table was going to let anyone try out for Yooyuball!" Ethel Boortz chuckled.
Windelle looked Abernathe over. "Have you come for Yooyuball tryouts, young Ixi?" he asked quizzically.
Abernathe fidgeted with her hands. "Er, yes! My name is Abernathe, and I have come for Yooyuball tryouts."
Fiorina chuckled at Abernathe's nervousness. "There is no need to be shy!" She laughed. "Here is an extra uniform, so go get changed for a game of Yooyuball." Fiorina said as she handed a uniform identical to the ones the Team Meridell players were wearing to Abernathe.
Abernathe walked into the second smaller tent and hurriedly got dressed into the uniform and Yooyuball gear. When she emerged from the smaller tent, only Yoris Obbles was in the bigger tent.
"The rest of the team already headed to the Colosseum to practice," Yoris explained.
Abernathe silently followed Yoris to the Colosseum, excitement building up in here with every step she took.
When they entered the Colosseum, Abernathe found Team Meridell waiting on the right side of the Colosseum, While Windelle was talking to Team Darigan Citadel on the left side.
As Abernathe joined Team Meridell, Windelle came back from his talk with Layton Vickles.
"Team Darigan Citadel has agreed to play with us, and they acknowledge that we have a newbie with us," he said happily.
"I'll be out first, since we don't want three Ixi on the field all at once," Ethel volunteered.
Ilsa Ellits nodded. "Abernathe, you take Ethel's place as Left Forward, and remember that Darigan Citadel is not going to play softly," Ilsa ordered.
Abernathe took her place as the Left Forward, and nervously watched as Team Darigan Citadel set up.
"Abernathe." Abernathe turned to Windelle, who was the Centre Forward. "Don't let them steal the ball, and pay attention to where the ball is, because it might come to you, and if it does come to you, pass it to one of us if we're open, score if you're near the goal, or run to the other team's side," Windelle instructed.
Suddenly the metal circle in the middle of the two teams opened, and a normal Yooyu in a tight ball popped up, and the game started.
Windelle sped to the yooyu, and passed it to Fiorina, who ran to the other team's goal. As Tandrak Shaye was right about to try and steal the ball, Fiorina quickly passed it to Abernathe, who was ahead of her. Before Abernathe could catch it, Kep Bonnefie blocked Abernathe and caught the ball, and raced towards Meridell's goal, snickering.
Kep passed to Layton Vickles, and Layton threw the ball at Team Meridell's goal, but Yoris Obbles caught right in time and threw it to Abernathe. Since Windelle was blocked by Tormo Frein, Abernathe passed the ball to Fiorina before Tandrak could steal it, and in one sift moment, Fiorina scored. Reshar Collifey growled angrily, and Abernathe smiled with relief.
The next Yooyu that popped up was a fire yooyu.
"Fire yooyus are the fastest yooyu, and travel in a straight line. Its speed makes it easier to score from a distance, and better to avoid the Goalkeeper. However, the fire Yooyu's flames will become unbearable and you must drop the Yooyu to avoid being scorched," Abernathe remembered from the book "The Yooyu."
Before Windelle could swipe the ball, Layton grabbed the ball and passed it to Tandrak, who ran to Meridell's goal. As Ilsa was right about to tackle the ball, Tandrak quickly scored, and jeered at Ilsa.
Abernathe felt anger and frustration boil in her as Layton and Tandrak scored two more times, leaving the score to 3-1.
When the next Yooyu came, Abernathe ran to the other goal, and Windelle grabbed the ball and passed to Abernathe. Abernathe caught the ball, dodged Kep, and threw the normal Yooyu at the goal with all her might. To Abernathe's surprise, the ball flew between Reshar's legs and straight into the goal.
The rest of the game sped by, and Abernathe score two more times and then focused on stealing, blocking and guarding the ball from the other side. By the time the scrimmage was over, Tandrak was fuming over being beaten by a team with a newbie player.
"Let me promise you this," Tandrak said scornfully to Fiorina. "If we clash in a real game, you'll be dead sorry," he said, and then turned to walk to his team.
"I can't wait to see you in the real games too!" Fiorina said blithely, and then turned to Abernathe. "You did a great job on the field, Abern! You should play more often."
Abernathe smiled. "I've always been a fan of the Altador Cup."
"You should come and watch us play a real game in two days," Fiorina suggested.
Abernathe gaped at Fiorina. "Two days? I thought the Altador Cup started in five days!"
Fiorina laughed. "Luckily, it is just two."
Windelle walked over to Abernathe. "Alright, I'm going to see if Team Shenkuu wants to practice. This time you'll take Ilsa's place as Centre Defender."
Abernathe nodded, and then walked to Ilsa to learn his strategy as a Defender.
"I must learn to walk before I can run," she thought.