The most fantastic thing in the universe! Circulation: 94,333,932 Issue: 184 | 1st day of Eating, Y7
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Brought Together - Part Three

by springsteen0991


The Kyrii and the Quiggle collapsed onto the mounds of snow at the end of the bridge. “Smatty,” Strophagus wheezed, “I do not ever, ever want to cross that bridge again.”

     “Fine with me.” She paused and looked at the setting sun. “Strophagus, see those boulders up there? Let's set up camp right next to them.”

     “Camp?” Strophagus asked in alarm.

     “Yeah, we have to sleep somewhere. What did you think we were going to do?” The Kyrii kept on walking.

     “Well, is there not an inn somewhere in the area? I thought that the tent was only for emergency uses.” He did not like the idea of sleeping in a tent overnight.

     Smatty rolled her eyes. “Well, I guess tonight will be an emergency. There aren’t any inns nearby, but I think that we’re going to live.”

     “I do hope so,” the Quiggle told her seriously. She couldn’t help but laugh under her breath. The Quiggle marched through the snow with Smatty. They set their bags down, and Smatty took the tent out of its box. As she was setting it up, Strophagus stared at her in amazement. “You are a genius when it comes to, er, setting tents up!” He couldn't think of anything else to say, except that he secretly wished he had the same survival skills as she.

     “Thanks for the wonderful compliment, Strophy,” Smatty snickered. When the tent was set up, Strophagus crawled in, followed by Smatty, and they laid their sleeping bags out. The tent was roomy, albeit that it did not shield the Neopets from the chilly weather all that much. Just as Strophagus was about to get into his sleeping bag and snooze peacefully, Smatty poked him on the shoulder. “We haven't had dinner yet. What do you want?” she asked.

     “Nothing!” Strophagus replied, groggy. “Not hungry... Just... Sleep.”

     “Another intelligent comment made by none other than Strophagus!” Smatty laughed. She took out some broccoli and nibbled on it a bit, but decided she too was too tired to eat. She crawled into her sleeping bag and immediately dozed into a deep slumber.

     Early the following morning they left their uncomfortable sleeping bags and put the tent away in Smatty’s bag. They continued their long walk, eating breakfast along the way. “Where are we going today?” Strophagus asked curiously.

     “Well...” Smatty mused, stroking her chin. “In about an hour we'll come across a huge icy lake. We'll need to go around it, and we can sleep at the inn owned by a few Bruces tonight.”

    Strophagus was glad that they would not have to spend the night in the tent again. “Well, what are we waiting for? Let's get going!” he exclaimed.

    Smatty stared at him as if he had just fallen to a sure death and lived. “Wow, Strophy, you're more excited about this than you were yesterday, that’s for sure!”

     “I just enjoy getting things done,” he replied. They continued to plow through the snow for a good long hour until up ahead a frozen lake glistened brightly before Strophagus's eyes.

     “Here we are!” Smatty said, shielding her eyes from the glare the lake provided. Not only was the lake bright, it was wide and extended forever. For a moment Smatty stood there sighing, marveling at its beauty. The water was frozen solid and would be fun to skate on, she bet. “Okay, if we go east from here, we should get to that inn in a few hours,” the Kyrii noted, calculating distances in her head.

     “How much more walking do we need to do?” Strophagus complained. “And I am very hungry, Smatty, could we not take a break?”

     “Out in the snow? In below freezing weather? Sure, Strophy! Be my guest,” she said in a fake enthusiastic tone.

     “Seriously?” Strophagus asked.

     Smatty rolled her eyes. “No. You see, Strophy? That was sarcasm. Commonly used amongst normal Neopets. Come on, let's get going.”

     “Sarcasm,” the Quiggle said to himself. “I need to study that quite a bit.”


     The two of them side by side had walked along the side of the frozen over lake for most of the day. For an hour it was still a pretty sight, but by the time they reached the end of it they were longing never to see it again. Around five p.m. NST, the two Neopets, exhausted, slogged into a bed and breakfast type hotel. Smatty took out a few Neopoints from her bag. “Could we stay here for the night?” she asked the manager, a bored blue Zafara sitting at a desk near the front of the room. She exchanged neopoints for keys to a room, and Strophagus followed her upstairs, dragging his bag. Smatty opened up the room, and both were relieved when they saw that the room was quaint, clean, and provided beds for both of them. They set down their bags and searched them for what was left of their food rations. On a small coffee table, they ate a short and measly dinner. They decided that in the morning they would eat whatever breakfast the inn was serving.

     The room was rectangular, and at the very end was a large window. After dinner, Strophagus left his seat to look through the window. He peered into the dark snowy night, watching the moonlight reflect off the snow. Smatty came up shortly behind him to watch the snowflakes fall from the sky, and neither spoke during this magical moment. It was the fairest sight Strophagus had seen in a very long time, and he gazed at the wonders outside until eventually he snuggled in his bed, dreaming of snow-covered tree branches and icicles forming on windows.

    The next day around nine o'clock NST, Strophagus and Smatty sat eating the omelettes that they had ordered. Smatty was eating a Bacon and Broccoli Omelette, while Strophagus was satisfied with a plain one. They had packed their bags again and turned in the key to the room. They were to leave as soon as they finished breakfast. “Will we be able to find the Queen's Clover today, Smatty?” Strophagus asked her with some hope.

     “I think we'll get to the cliff some time this afternoon. But I doubt we'll have time to climb down the whole thing. So... I guess that we could just set up camp at the top of it and climb down the next morning,” she said, taking a big bite out of her omelette.

     “You mean..?” the Quiggle began.

     “That's right!” Smatty interrupted cheerfully. “We get one more night in our favorite old tent! And best of all, the bottom of the tent may be a little wet since this snow is so mushy. It’ll be like sleeping in a swamp!” Strophagus sulked. He disliked the tent with a passion. He scoffed down his last one third of omelette and rose from his seat. The two of them thanked the manager, who was still astonished anyone came to the hotel in the first place, and then they left, setting off for their final destination.

     The sun was warm, and the top layer of snow was beginning to turn mushy already. Smatty could hardly stand the brightness the snow emitted when they were in plain sunlight. By noon, they could barely keep their eyes open and walked most of the way to the cliff half-blind. By the time it was three in the afternoon, the sun was no longer disturbing their vision; however, they had been walking laboriously all day long. Wiped out from walking all this time without a break, Strophagus and Smatty both sat down in the snow, which actually felt good since the sun's rays were so warm. They sat there for a good while just resting. After regaining some energy, they picked at their food rations, eating just a little bit of food to preserve the meager servings that were left. They had eaten too much of their food in the first two days of their trip, and now they were regretting it deeply. “We did not pack enough food, did we?” Strophagus pointed out, noting the obvious.

     “I don't think we did, as a matter of fact,” Smatty said matter of factly. “I may just have to eat your precious Queen's Clover once we get it.” She grinned evilly.

     “No, please do not do that, Smatty!” he begged her.

     Smatty coughed sardonically. “I was just kidding! Haven't you learned anything about humor over this entire adventure?”

     “Perhaps...” Strophagus began, a gleam in his eyes, “that it does not make much sense.” He nodded. Smatty slapped her forehead, as she had done a lot so far this trip, and the two Neopets raised themselves up as high as they could and stretched. They were both preparing for what was yet to come, the most difficult part of their journey.

To Be Continued...

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Other Episodes

» Brought Together: Part One
» Brought Together - Part Two

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