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Journey through the Centre of Neopia: Part Two


by kaioti

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      "Koris…”

      “Five more minutes mom!” Koris opened his eyes reluctantly and saw a yellow and green blur against a brown blur. Then the image snapped clear and he sat up. “Kauwyn!”

      Kauwyn chuckled. “Welcome back.”

      He sat up and rubbed his head. Kauwyn gave him some water and bread. “Eat and drink slowly.”

      “Ugh. What happened? I was touching those pretty mushrooms and suddenly it was like every monster in Neopia was after me!”

      “Those ‘pretty mushrooms’ have a highly toxic spore.”

      “How come you weren’t affected?”

      “In the first place, my amulet protected me. In the second, you may recall I have a way with plants and fungi. And it’s a good thing for you that I do.”

      “Why do they even need a toxic spore?! I mean there’s nothing down here to eat them.”

      “Most likely it’s simply how they are. But we haven’t explored far enough yet to say there’s nothing else down here. We’re only about halfway between Moltara and Mystery Island.”

      “Ugh, well at least we know what happened to poor Garon.”

      “Actually, I found a marker of his on a passage to the southwest. He either knew better than to mess with the mushrooms or had his own protection against them.”

      “Ugh. More walking.”

      “Be glad you’re around to walk. I’m going to explore a bit more while you recover.” She went to the opening of the cave.

      “Uh, Kauwyn?”

      “Yes?”

      “Thanks.”

      Kauwyn smiled and left.

     

***

      The passage to the southwest was wider than the one to the northeast that had led them to the cavern. They gradually left the glowing crystals behind and turned on their sources of light. As they went, Koris started sweating. “Is it me or is it getting hot?”

      “What is the point of having a technologically advanced suit of armor if it can’t tell you simple things about the world around you?”

      “To be honest that really was more Jaxter’s thing. I mean I’m learning but he was the one that really knew how to do this stuff.”

      “I always wondered. I still hope someday he’ll realize what a mistake he made becoming evil.”

      “So do I. It’s no fun fighting him at all. And I still feel guilty. I mean, I know logically there was nothing I could do, but I was his sidekick!”

      “I know. Ut oh.” Kauwyn stopped as a bright red glow met their eyes. A chasm opened before them and they saw lava below. A number of spires of rocks stood out like stepping stones. “Well, that explains your heat.”

      “Ugh. Well, at least this shouldn’t be too difficult. All we have to do is get across.”

      They started on their way, Koris flying as fast as Kauwyn could jump between rock islands. Suddenly there was a WHOOSH! as lava rushed up! “Woah! That was close!” said Koris. It wasn’t long before another couple fireballs rushed up! “Hey! If I didn’t know any better, I’d swear these things were aiming at us!”

      Kauwyn looked down and gulped. “That’s because there are lava monsters shooting at us! Let’s get out of here!”

      The duo picked up pace, unsure if it would be enough to escape the attacking lava monsters!

     

***

      Kauwyn and Koris sat panting safely past the entrance to the next tunnel. They had just barely dodged the fireballs. Near where they sat was a stylized ‘G’ and an arrow pointing further on. “Well, we know Garon made it past those creatures,” said Kauwyn.

      “Yay. Can we go home now?”

      “We still haven’t found him yet. We must be getting close to where Mystery Island is.”

      “Oh joy, a volcano. Doesn’t that have some sort of monster in its lava too?”

      “Yep, but it ought to be sleeping.”

      “Let’s walk quietly, hmm?”

      Kauwyn laughed. She led the way. There was no way to mark the passage of time other than their supplies steadily growing lower. Koris began to grumble as his meals became smaller. “How did Garon even get this far anyway?”

      “He’s a known explorer, so it makes sense he’d take enough supplies to get him along. That and sheer determination.”

      The tunnel widened and opened into a magma chamber. Looking up they could both see the sky. “I’ve never been so happy to see the sky in my entire life!” said Koris.

      Kauwyn chuckled. “I know the feeling. Let’s see what we can find.”

      There were three other exits from the chamber, one leading due west bore Garon’s sign. “Let’s see, the one to the south should be the one to lead out. The one to the north has that academy.”

      “Why did they have to make that door look so creepy anyway?”

      “Probably to ensure that only serious Neopians entered it.”

      “What do we do now? I mean Garon had to have been running low on supplies by now!”

      “Probably he went out, got supplies, and came back in. We can do the same.”

      It wasn’t long before they returned with new supplies and followed the western tunnel. It dipped down a bit before levelling off. The glowing crystals returned and they saw and heard drips of water. Around puddles and along the sides of the tunnel various mosses grew, some of them with their own glows. A few hardy glymes and bumbluzes had made their home among the mosses and their flowers.

      “Well, at least these are safe!” said Koris.

      “Yes, and edible too. If Garon hadn’t gone out, he could have lived on the moss and water here.”

      “Yuck!”

      The two trekked on as the tunnel became wider. Blue crystals all formed along the sides and top so that it was almost as if they were in a tunnel under water. If there were fewer leaks and areas of plants, the ones they encountered seem the wider.

      “Uh, Kauwyn, do you think there’s any chance this could collapse?”

      “Well I suppose it’s always a possibility, but it doesn’t seem very likely.”

      The tunnel widened until they finally came out into what looked like a sea!

      “There’s an ocean under the ocean!”

      Around the underground sea was a wide swatch of land. A number of strange plants grew between where the cave walls ended and the beach began. Overhead the crystals continued to glow and shimmer. As they neared the sea, they could see some large fish jumping in and out of it.

      “How do you think this got here?” asked Korin in awe.

      “It’s hard to say. Probably there was some breach between the upper ocean and this area long ago. I’m more interested in what became of Garon.”

      They looked around a little while and eventually found a hut in a state of disrepair. Within the hut they found a Maractite container and in it there was a journal.

     

Garon’s Journal:

      2 Hunting 15 Annos Neopia Central

      After the past months of exploring, imagine my thrill at discovering a marvelous underground sea! And on Lupe Day no less! I feel more alive than I ever had before! Thanks to the blessing of an Earth Faerie, I am able to tell the edible plants from poisonous ones and have made myself a temporary home here. I feel very torn between staying and making this place my life’s study and finding out what lies beyond this sea. Thanks to a Water Faerie’s blessing I am able to breathe underwater, but I would rather travel its surface for the time being. Already I see in my mind a ship that I could build and set out on.

      While I would hope to return here, I do not know what fortunes may befall me. It may be that I shall not return. Thus I leave this journal in a Maractite container in the hopes that it may be found at some future date.

      If it is being read, I would ask the reader to bring it to the surface with them to share with the world. It contains several maps and many scientific notes. I, Garon the Lupe, will be setting off across this sea on the morrow on a fast-moving current.

      “Ugh! Of course he went across that sea! Now what do we do?”

      “Simple, Koris, we build a boat!”

     

***

      It took the two a while, but they managed to craft a boat out of materials they found. Koris took Garon’s journal and placed it within one of the areas of his suit. “Are you sure this thing will hold together?”

      “Pretty sure. I haven’t had to build one in a while, but there’s a sail, a rudder, a couple oars, and a place for both of us and our stuff.”

      “I’m surprised you could find leaves that big!”

      “It’s amazing what you can do with plant growth powers.”

      “Oh…right…”

      “Well, let’s go!”

      The two set sail on the underground sea. It seemed to go out forever in all directions. They soon found that the overhead crystals faded in light at night until they were just pinpricks like stars before slowly growing in light again in the morning. Kauwyn consulted her amulet to ensure they were still heading away from the previous shore.

      “How do we even know which way Garon went in? This sea is huge! It’s got to cover at least the area under Krawk Island and beyond!”

      “Well, you may note we’re going pretty quickly without wind.”

      Koris looked up at the flat sails and looked over the side as the boat moved across the sea. “How is this even possible?!”

      Kauwyn chuckled. “Remember his journal? I found the current he did and I figured we could hardly go wrong in following it.”

      “Yeah, but, I mean it’s been years! He could have gone anywhere!”

      “The best we can do right now is follow in his steps. Eventually we may have to guess, but right now we know he found this current and rode on it.”

      The current was either very swift or the area of the sea was very short because by the next day they came in sight of land again. They were easily able to get the boat to shore. Once they were on it, Kauwyn set the anchor. “This will hold it here for a while.”

      “Good to know. Now where should we look?”

      The shore went on to the north and south but ahead of them was more forest. “If I were him, I’d have gone in further.”

      She was proven right as they reached the area of the forest. There was an outcrop of rocks and on them was a ‘G’. Just in view was what looked like a natural trail in the woods. “Even I can tell where he went. Why do you suppose he left these markers, though?”

      “Most likely to find his way back, though it’s possible he might have thought someone could follow him someday.”

      The trees in the woods seemed to have soft, pulpy trunks and their leaves were small and narrow on curling branches, allowing enough light to fall to the floor that small shrubs and other plants could thrive. Every now and then they would find a rock with a ‘G’ on it. Finally the trail ended and they came to an area of grasses and flowers. Not too far in the distance they could see rocks again.

      They reached them and found another ‘G’ next to a tunnel. “Ugh. More tunnels! Will this never end?!”

      “It ends when we either find Garon or figure out what happened to him.” Groaning, Koris marched on behind Kauwyn.

      “One thing’s for sure—if I never see another cave or tunnel again it will be too soon!”

      This tunnel had crystals all around it. It had a downward slope and seemed to go on for a long time. Finally it opened up to another cavern.

      “Oh my!”

      “By Fyora!”

      Before them was an incredible scene: islands with crystals under them floated in mid-air. Connecting the islands were rainbows. Above was a dome of glowing crystals while below was a shimmering sea.

     

***

      The ledge they were on was wide, but it did not extend out far enough to reach the islands. However, there was a glowing crystal at one end of it and it looked as if it had been shaped. The top was rounded and had an indent. Near the base of the crystal was a rock with a ‘G’ carved in it.

      Kauwyn pressed into the indent and the crystal shot out a rainbow. It linked with a distant flying island and drew it closer until they were able to stand on it. “Well, that explains that.”

      “Yeah, it’s not like he had wings to fly like me,” said Koris.

      “Yes, if this hadn’t been here you’d have been the one going out. Well, let’s see where this leads!”

      The island had another of the crystal stands at its centre. Kauwyn pressed it and the island was drawn by a rainbow beam closer to the other islands. Eventually they docked with the nearest island. This island had a similar pillar near its end as well as a sparkling water fountain surrounded by flowers and shrubs. From the other end of the island came a Blue Vandagyre. She had on a conical hat with feathers, like wings, on either sides and was wearing a purple tunic with intricate designs around the neck, sleeve ends, and hem. She also had on a golden belt. “Welcome to Fithriheim! It has been many years since an outsider has arrived. I am Eir.”

      “I am Kau Defender and this is Korbat Defender. We come in peace. We are seeking out a Neopet known as Garon the Lupe.”

      Eir smiled. “Ah! Yes! Garon is still here. I’m sure he’d love to see you!”

      She led them on through the city. There were many shops, all of which had sloped rooves and exteriors with many windows and exposed exterior beams that formed beautiful patterns. Along the side of the cobblestone streets were trees and sidewalks. The many colours of the buildings made it look like a rainbow. Outside the shop area there were two crystal pillars. One of them had a rainbow bridge leading to another large island. Eir lead the way across the solid bridge of light with Kauwyn and Koris following.

      The island they came on was the next largest and had a number of Neohomes on it. These bore a resemblance to the shops, but all of them had roofs that seemed to be lined with blue-green feathers that glittered like gems. Finally they came to one a bit apart from the others. A Yellow Lupe wearing a simple green tabard was there.

      “Garon, you have some visitors.”

      Garon smiled at the two as they introduced themselves. “Well! It’s been a long time since I’ve seen anyone from the surface! Please do come in!”

      The inside of his Neohome was very neat and tidy. There was a table and some chairs. He made some tea and brought out some crumpets. “Not exactly fresh, but they’ll do. Now, tell me, what brings you here?”

      “You!” said Koris.

      “Your notes were found in Tyrannia. We were sent to find out what happened to you.”

      Garon nodded, poured them all tea, and sat down. He offered them sugar and jam. “Yes, I see. I always meant to go back. On finding this lost world, though, I was entranced. I’ve been able to not only make an extensive study of it, but of the other areas as well. I have written a number of books.”

      “So why not leave?” asked Koris. “I mean, you’re obviously able to.”

      He sighed. “Honestly I’ve fallen in love with the beauty of this place and returning here from the surface would be quite tedious, as you’ve no doubt found out for yourselves.”

      Koris nodded his head in vigorous agreement. “I’m wondering how all this came to be down here,” said Kauwyn.

      “An excellent question! Well, let me explain. Once all these islands actually were on the surface of Neopia! They existed in an area above the mountains that divide the main Neopian continent. When the Darkest Faerie began her fight, the inhabitants wanted to help out. A cabal of mages living here tried to cast a spell to move the entire region over Altador so they could help in battle. The Darkest Faerie, however, had taken precautions against any such thing and the spell failed. They then decided to try and move it to near where Faerieland was. You see, these islands are kept aloft by magical gems within themselves, rather than faerie spells, so they felt they might give an advantage somehow.

      “Unfortunately they miscalculated and the whole place was shunt into this air pocket deep beneath the ocean under where Faerieland was. The mages who didn’t die outright were totally exhausted by the effort. When they recovered they realized there were too few of them to try that spell again. They were, however, able to manipulate the magical crystals and created that dome so there would be light. Later they went exploring to find ways out. One of the few remaining mages went along. They discovered the path to Mystery Island and became hopeful they could actually reach their former home again. Shortly after resupplying, they came on another cave and the mage tried to create a garden there for them. Sadly he was ill at the time and the mushrooms he created, while beautiful, were also deadly. Only a few remained to return. They decided then it was better to stay here than to risk more lives.”

      “Understandable. And they never tried to move the city again?” asked Kauwyn.

      “Well, they had played with some teleportation magic but they were worried that if they attempted it their home would be destroyed. After I informed them of the fall of Faerieland, however, they started researching in earnest and now have it ready. Unfortunately it took years and the perils of going above kept us all out of the loop as to whether or not Faerieland had returned to the skies.”

      “It hasn’t—and it won’t. Ever since its fall there’s been a breech between Earth and Water Faeries, who want to keep it where it is now, and Air and Light Faeries, who want to raise it. The Darkness Faeries initially didn’t care and the Fire Faeries were pretty evenly split. Then the Darkness Faeries began to really like its proximity to the Haunted Woods and are even creating their own area between it and Faerieland. Drowsy Hollow or something like that. So they joined the Earth and Water Faeries. Well, the Fire Faeries got mad and joined the Light and Air Faeries creating an even split.

      “Fyora didn’t want to see a civil war, so she called for a meeting of representatives of all types of Faeries. To no one’s surprise Jhudora represented the Darkness Faeries, Illusen represented the Earth Faeries, and Marina represented the Water Faeries. Nuria represented Fire Faeries, Psellia represented Air, and Siyana represented Light. Oddly enough Taelia and Jhuidah came too. The vote was Nuria, Psellia, Siyana, and Fyora in favor of rising Faerieland and Jhudora, Marina, Illusen, Taelia, and Jhudiah against it. The last three had a lot to say about how Xandra was basically correct.”

      Garon blinked several times. “Wait, Illusen agreed with Jhudora on something?!”

      “Yes; it was apparently hard to tell whether Fyora or Jhudora was more shocked. In any case the nays had it. Some faeries wanted a recount, but Fyora put her foot down.”

      “Well, that does change matters. We should speak to Queen Reginleif at once!” He led the two back and to the other of the crystal pillars. Activating it, they followed the rainbow bridge to where the queen resided. It was a large longhouse hall with towering trees around it. A pair of Brown Unis guarded either side of the door. Both of them sported helms that had two horns as well as mail armor and swords.

      “We come in peace seeking an audience with Queen Reginleif!” said Garon.

      The Unis opened the doors and the three entered the long hall. Guards stood discreetly at the sides. At the end on a high throne sat a female Orange Yurble. Her hair was tied in complicated braids and she wore a helmet with huge wings on either side of it. She held a golden spear in her left hand. Garon, Koris, and Kauwyn bowed before her.

      “Garon, it is good to see you again! And you’ve brought friends! I had heard that new outsiders had come. What brings you to Fithriheim?” She smiled at them.

      “Thank you for your courtesy, majesty,” said Kauwyn. “I’ll explain everything.”

      Once she had finished, Queen Reginlief looked thoughtful. “It would be good to bring this city out again. It sounds like much has happened since our immurement. Herald!” a Green Pteri flew to her. “Go forth and announce that we will be raising Fithriheim!”

     

***

      Citizens of Fithriheim were talking excitedly as they passed through the streets. Eventually they were lead to the very outskirts of the islands. Alone on one flying island stood a rainbow crystal. In fact, it extended above and below the island, leaving just enough room to stand. “There are four of these. Each must be carefully attended so that the teleportation energies are focused correctly. Above and below the city are two others, which will receive the focused energy. Will one of you stand at one?” Queen Reginleif asked them.

      “I would be honored, your majesty,” said Garon.

      “The Defenders of Neopia are always happy to help,” said Kauwyn.

      “Uh, who’s going to be on the fourth?” asked Koris.

      Eir came up from behind. “I will! I’m the current high mage.” She handed each of them a clear crystal. “When that glows blue, it will be your signal to start. Simply touch the crystal and focus its energies towards the top and bottom crystals.”

      They left Garon behind and moved to the next crystal pillar. Before long all of them were in place and Eir signaled them to begin. Touching the pillars caused them to glow as rainbow light shimmered up them. This light began extending out until a globe formed around the islands, then rainbow beams began shooting out of the tops and bottoms of the crystals. Concentration was needed to focus them on the two key pillars and none of them wanted to think about what could happen if they failed!

      Once the beams completed their meeting, an octahedron of energy formed around all of Fithriheim, making it look like a giant rainbow gem! The outer pillars began circling round and around until the octahedron turned into a globe and then the city vanished!

      It reappeared in the area that once had Faerieland. The spinning isles slowed down until they stopped again, temporarily reforming the rainbow octahedron before it vanished. Though a bit dizzy, each of the four who helped were none the worse for wear and were brought back to Queen Reginleif’s hall.

      “Thank you strangers! Your names will be sung by our skalds! We look forward to working again with our fellow Neopians.”

      “A number of Faeries will likely want to come here,” said Kauwyn.

      “Let them come and be welcome! For now, let us feast!”

      “Ugh! Uh, no offense, majesty, but I think I need to recover a bit first!” said Koris, whose face was looking a bit green. Everyone in the hall laughed.

      The End.

     

Epilogue

      Kauwyn and Koris went on to report to Judge Hog and Mother Bruce. Garon was able to publish his books and met with his fellow Seekers, becoming a celebrity again, though he liked living simply in his Neohome on Fithriheim. Eir began meeting with the Order of Red Erisim so she could learn new magical techniques. Air, Light, and some Fire Faeries began creating cloud isles near Fithriheim, though Queen Fyora remained in Faerieland.

 
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