My head hurts; how did I-.. where am I? I remembered I was heading to the Shop Wizard and ugh… my head… it feels like those darn Myncis were just using it to play volleyball. What was I-.. AHH! What the… AHHHH!!!!
"Arihi!" Arihi looked up as Nate drew closer to him. Wait a minute.. what happened to the blinding light? He looked around him, palm trees covered the sandy areas around him in a peaceful, albeit it was in a rather sinister manner. The beach was empty. He had a thought creeping up at the back of his head… he'll get it soon enough.. Mystery Island, he was in Mystery Island. How did he-
"Yeah? What do you want?" Arihi spoke up as Nate finally stood beside him.
"Just wanted to check in on you," Nate murmured as he gazed upon the waves crashing upon the horizon. "Are you doing okay?" Nate asked as his gaze returned to Arihi.
Oh, right.. I'm sitting down, huh.. Arihi thought to himself as he returned a steely gaze back to Nate.
"How am I supposed to feel Nate?", Arihi got up, not even dusting the sand off his trousers as he started pacing.
"The Techo Master suspended me from the training school, he basically deemed me unworthy to follow his teachings in front of all his other pupils, how am I supposed to feel?!!" Arihi yelled as he stared coldly at Nate.
"You're missing the main point. He didn't expel you, Arihi. He is simply reprimanding you for betraying his trust," Nate responded. He took a deep sigh as he studied his fellow Lutari friend whose anger and disappointment seemed to be trickling from him. He almost reminds me of one of the volcanoes here on this island, Nate thought to himself.
Arihi knew he was a warrior; a fighter. He could feel it in his blood. Ever since that incident during his childhood, he knew that it was his destiny; to be a guardian, to be a hero. But the thing about being a hero is, is that not a lot of people would believe you are one until you prove yourself. But then again, how often do we really need heroes here in Neopia? The Techo Master was respected by many due to his many years of experience in the art of training one's agility, strength, defence and endurance. To actually be a hero, or at least get the recognition of one, one has to get through the Techo Master. It was the Master's way of life to achieve one's greatest potential, kind of like a 'level-ing up' sort of analogy, of pushing oneself over and over again. For Arihi, his greatest challenge was living up to his brother's reputation. Phyro.
Phyro was a crowd favorite, everybody loved him. Arihi loved his brother dearly, and Phyro adored his baby brother. Even before Arihi had received his acceptance into the Training School, Phyro had high hopes for him. Arihi learned things fast, he was swift in combat as well as the fact that he could endure countless hours of hard training.
However, that sort of 'short-cut' training wasn't in accordance with the Techo Master himself. The Master believe in patience and pacing yourself accordingly. Arihi's actions of sneaking into one of his older brother's defence classes was quickly noticed by the Master and he decided to give Arihi a lesson that he would never forget.
"Alright, Arihi.. you got to admit that you're in the wrong here. There is no way you're gonna be able to convince any of the battle veterans here that you're in any way correct," Nate spoke clearly to Arihi.
"Is my brother mad at me?" Arihi said in a small voice, he hated disappointing his brother. But even then, he knew that he had crossed the line.
Nate snorted, "What do you think? More than anything, I think he's mad at himself. He feels like he was the one who encouraged you to sneak into the advanced classes."
Arihi stood silently as he glared at the palm trees now. The wind had died down, mirroring Arihi's sudden drop in anger. It seemed oddly peaceful. Strange.. Mystery Island isn't usually this quiet this time of the day.
"I know you're hurting Arihi, that's kind of the reason why I came out here to talk to you," Nate spoke.
"The Techo Master received a couple of reports from the island's neighbors. It turns out that there has been a couple of disturbances that's been happening in Krawk Island," Nate pointed to the island across from them. BZZZT! What the-.. what was that… did the island just move?
"He wants us to go check it out," Nate continued. "Come on, I know what you're thinking.. if you're really thinking about blowing off this assignment, then you're just proving the Master right." Nate also knew that besides being a warrior, he was also an excellent tutor. I have to lead Arihi to the right way, I won't let his young mind and naivety be his downfall, Nate thought to himself. Knowing Arihi, he would probably blow off the assignment and regret it later; knowing very well that his brother would hear of his insolence and be further disappointed in him.
Arihi sighed. He weighed the options in his mind, he could get back at the master for not going to Krawk Island, defying him again.. which could lead to further anger and quite possibly, expulsion. On the other hand, he would have some free time.. but to do what exactly?? He had already been suspended and Mystery Island seemed eerily quiet today.
"Okay," Arihi spoke. "Let's go check it out then," he continued.
Arihi trudged along the sandy beach. Nate was right beside him. The both of them were decked out in their usual black gear. Arihi looked up at the skies; rain clouds were forming, there was already a hint of a drizzle.
"Okay, so what exactly are we doing here?" Arihi asked, as there were just more and more sandy rocks around them.
Nate stopped walking and pointed up ahead. Arihi followed the direction that he was pointing at.
"Wait, Smuggler's Cove??" Smuggler's Cove was a notorious spot where most of Neopia's outlaws made their profits. It had been long rumored that for years, the previous Krawk Island governors knew of the illegal activities that were taking place, but simply looked away as they pocketed some of the profits. But those days were long gone since Gavril McGill took on the role of governor.
The both of them soon reached the inner region of the cove in which a large cave formed.
"There were reports that some of the pirates were back, possibly trying to sell off some newly acquired treasure for some Dubloons," Nate spoke as he turned on a small but powerful light to inspect the cave.
Arihi snorted. "Dubloons aren't worth much anymore, not since the pirates disappeared. What's the point anyway?" Arihi followed suit by turning on a similar light. ZZZPPPT! Arihi looked down, his device had disappeared. What the…
"Nate, I think there's something go-"
"Shh," Nate shushed him. "I think I hear some-"
Suddenly Arihi and Nate were being pulled into the cave by an unseen force. There were blurred dark figures, inching their way to Arihi and Nate.
"Arihi!" Nate shouted as he tried to fight off the shadowy figures.
"Nate!" Arihi struggled against the grasp of the shadows, it seemed as if he had no control over his limbs.
"TAKE THEM OUT! TAKE THEM OUT FAST!!!"
This is it. Arihi thought to himself as a weird pain spread across his body. He could hear Nate's screams as darkness filled his vision.
This is the end of me.
I can't believe it.
I'm moving. No… around me is moving.
Arihi opened his eyes as dimmed neon lights in the overhead greeted him. Where am I He glanced around him; he was in a bed of sorts, the blanket above him was transparent, it had small lights glowing softly all around it. At the corner of the blanket, a transparent wire was connected to a machine. Arihi pushed the blanket back as he inspected the wire. Ugh.. my head.. I can't remember much.. everything's so fuzzy. He struggled to sit up, his whole body felt exhausted, almost as if he had just completed a marathon. As he managed to prop himself up, he took a quick inventory around his surroundings. It seemed as if the wire had some sort of current going through it; from the machine to that odd large blanket. Arihi looked closer at the machine. It had his name on the screen, along with his vital signs; his heart rate, organ functionality, etc. Where am I? Arihi slowly tested his body by stepping onto the floor, gripping on to the side of the bed. His legs felt fine, though they felt weak, the kind of feeling that Arihi usually gets after a long gruelling day of training.
Training. Something was coming back to Arihi.. something.. he was a "… warrior, a fighter". Arihi shook his head as the words echoed in his head, almost like a dream that hadn't been told to stop forming once the person has already woken up. Wait, he was a-
SIMULATION COMPLETED. THE RESULTS WOULD BE REVEALED AS SOON AS FULL DIAGNOSTICS ARE CONCLUDED. THE EXPECTED WAITING TIME SHOULD BE 24 HOURS.
A computerized voice spoke.
Simulation completed? Wait.. I remember something…
And then it hit him. He was never in Mystery Island, not even close.
He approached a nearby window to confirm his hypothesis. Nothing but darkness and a clutter of twinkling lights greeted him.
He was in space. He was-
"Well, I'm glad to see that you're awake," a nearby voice spoke up.
Arihi turned around at the voice. He hadn't even hear the red Techo come in to the room.
"You're confused. I get that. Temporary disorientation as well as retrograde amnesia is pretty common with what you've been put under. Believe me, I know," the Techo continued as he seemed to be studying another being that was situated right across from Arihi.
Arihi drew closer to take a closer look, keeping a safe distance between himself and the Techo.
It was Nate.
Nate was lying down on the odd looking bed, only he seemed to be still asleep. There was also that transparent blanket covering his body.
"The name's Velm," the red Techo spoke. "The captain of my ship found you and your partner shortly after the distress signal from your ship was sent out."
Arihi's memory was slowly returning; Nate was his fellow cadet partner, they were both selected to join the space division. "…warrior, a fighter" Those words kept echoing in his head.
"I dreamt that I was fighting monsters or.. something.." Arihi spoke.
"Well, fighting monsters is pretty good exercise," Velm laughed to himself.
The door to the room opened again. A pretty green Eyrie stepped in.
"Ahh… I see you've met our healer, also known as Dr. Velm. How are you feeling?" the Eyrie asked.
Before Arihi could answer, the green Eyrie took a seat near the bed where Nate stayed fast asleep.
"I'm Talinia, but around here, they call me, 'The Archer' because I'm the best at shooting down targets," Talinia said as she grinned at Arihi.
Arihi looked at Nate in forlorn, ignoring Talinia and Dr. Velm's presence. Why wasn't he waking up yet?
"He's fine, you know," Talinia spoke.
Arihi looked up at Talinia's gaze.
"We just had to keep him sedated because the program really took a toll on him. It usually takes the biggest toll on the strongest, that's why they take longer to recover," Talinia continued.
Another being entered the room through the large metal doors again.
"That's Mipsy," Talinia pointed at the blue Acara that was descending down the short steps.
"We call her 'Wizard' because of the way she slows our enemies down by her crazy maneuvering of the ship," Velm spoke with a small smile.
"More importantly, I am also the Captain of the ship when our leader is not here," Mipsy spoke.
"How are you feeling, Arihi?" she asked.
Arihi struggled to get words out. He was just so lost and confused and more importantly, worried about his friend.
"Your name is Arihi," Mipsy continued to speak, almost as if she empathized entirely.
"You and your partner here, Nate," she nodded at where Nate rested.
"You're both in the WARRIOR program, your code name is FIGHTER. Nate's is TUTOR. The both of you were doing a routine check-up of Kreludor when you got alerted to a strange signal out there. We got your distress call, but we were too late. The both of you were already put under in the program and we couldn't take you out immediately."
Arihi thought to himself. The last words that he heard was… oh, that's right.
"Well, this is a rather strange reunion, wouldn't you say so? Should we have a celebration" Talinia asked cheekily to Dr. Velm.
The red Techo simply gave the Green Eyrie a stern look.
"Wait, what program?" Arihi asked.
"The QUEST program," a deep voice spoke.
Arihi looked up as a well-built Blumaroo descended into the area.
"I'm Rohane, and it seems like we have lots to catch up on."