The Rusty Ghoul Catchers:Part Three
Rusty and Caliidora woke up the next morning, still tired from the previous day’s events. Their feet still hurt from the endless amount of walking they had done. Big Horner woke hours earlier to go talk to his parents. He wanted to ask their permission about moving in with Rusty first. The Korabt loved his parents deeply, and wanted to make sure they were fine with it. Stressing them out or just leaving without saying anything wasn’t something the Korabt wanted to do.
As Big Horner was talking to his parents, Rusty and Caliidora went to the Altadorian market for supplies. They needed food and ghoul catching equipment for their first adventure. You can’t save Neopia on an empty stomach, now could you? Well..you could...but it wouldn’t be ideal.
The shopping took over an hour, as the market was full of customers. Rusty and Caliidora did manage to buy everything they needed. They made sure to buy plenty of food along with maps and equipment.
Once the duo had finished their shopping, they headed back to Big Horner’s house. After they picked him up, they planned on going back to Rusty’s home and write out a plan. They needed to find out where the most ghoul sightings were occurring so they could spring into action. It felt like a lot of work, but it would benefit them in the long run.
As they approached the small house, Rusty could tell something was off. Big Horner was sitting on the steps of his house. His elbows rested on his knees and a sad expression rested on his face. He looked gloomy, like something crushed his dreams. Or stolen his favourite childhood plushie.
Rusty walked up to him, holding the ghoul catching equipment. “Oh no, did your parents say you can’t stay with me?”
“No..my parents...they’re gone Rusty.”
“Wait, what?” Rusty blinked as Caliidora stood beside him. “What do you mean they’re gone?”
‘‘It must have happened during the celebration last night! They’re gone!”
Caliidora placed a hand on her mouth, shocked. “Do you know why? Or what happened?”
“No... they didn’t leave a note behind or anything..” The Korabt sniffed and rubbed his nose with his arm. ‘I..I think ghouls are after me...and they took my parents instead.”
Big Horner was sure the ghouls had been after him for years. They must have known he was studying them, and came for revenge. Rusty thought the entire idea was ridiculous,
Rusty hesitated, and rubbed his face. “Uh buddy..I don’t think ghouls took your parents. That sounds really...crazy.”
Big Horner whined, hurt that his closest friend didn’t believe him. He was counting on Rusty to help him, only to be immediately let down. His family was gone, and right now he really needed a friend. Even if his theory seemed incredibly silly, he had hoped Rusty of all Neopians would believe him.
Caliidora roughly nudged Rusty in the side with her elbow. “That's not a good thing to say, you never know. Ghouls could have taken his parents. We don’t know for sure that they didn’t”
“Okay...okay fine.” Rusty held up his flippers in defense. “We’ll start searching in the Haunted Woods. I’m sorry for doubting you buddy.”
Big Horner jumped in excitement. They would finally have their first mission as ghoul catchers. Years of study and training would finally be put to use. Big Horner had waited his entire life for this moment. With Rusty and Caliidora by his side, nothing seemed impossible.
And so, our weary travelers headed off to the Haunted Woods. They faced the tall mountains of Altador, treacherous heat of the Lost Desert, and finally the eerie forest of the Haunted Woods. The mountains were a pain to climb, as none of the group had any sort of rock climbing experience. The sand of the Lost Desert burned the bottom of their feet, and the heat wave exhausted them. They stopped at Quasla to refill their water rations and took a break. After a few hours of rest, the group headed off again, towards the Haunted Woods. Rusty nor Big Horner had ever been that far from home.
Once they arrived, they immediately looked for clues. They questioned every resident they came across, but no luck. No one they talked to had seen the Korabt parents or sightings of any ghouls. Right as they were about to give up, a miracle happened. The group came across a camp where gypsies were surrounding a fire. The Neopians were chatting and seemed friendly, so they approached the camp.
Rusty questioned the gypsies about his friend’s parents. None of them had seen them or any ghouls around. Most of them were very kind to the jetsam, except for one.
A red Wocky named Mabel, rolled her eyes. “We haven’t see any Korabts or...ghouls around.”
“So..that’s a no?” Rusty tilted his head, not liking the attitude of the wocky very much.
She snapped at him. “That’s what I just said kid. Stop bothering me, there’s nothing here, so you might as well hop back home.”
Rusty walked back over to his friends, grumbling. The wocky wasn’t as friendly as the others. He secretly hoped a ghoul would capture her, and she’d then beg for their help. Karma always found a way of coming back to bite someone.
“She wasn’t very nice..” Big Horner winced, not liking the haunted forest a bit. It scared him out of his mind. He wanted to hurry home to his safe and comfortable bed.
Caliidora patted his back, trying to comfort him. “She just has unresolved issues with herself, that’s all.”
Big Horner nodded, now focusing on finding his parents. He hoped they were safe and not in any danger. He didn’t care if it took weeks, he would find them.
The small group had to resort back to looking for clues, so they headed through the woods, into Neovia. As the crew headed out, they were confronted by a large ghoul. It glowed dark purple and had a massive pointy mouth. The group tried to defend themselves, but were no match for the dark creature. They were forced to flee the scene.
The trio ended up getting seperated. Neither of them knew where the other was. They ran in random directions, trying to get as far away from the ghoul as they possibly could.
Big Horner ran through the woods, getting hit in the face by branches and vines. Ignoring the stinging sensation in his face, he continued to run for his life. Then, the Korabt ran into something towering over him, and was knocked unconscious. More ghouls hovered over to him, and took Big Horner away.
The ghouls grabbed the Korabt, taking him hostage. As much as Big Horner tried to fight back, it was hopeless. Nothing he did could loosen the hold the ghouls had on him.
Rusty and Caliidora were lost in the Haunted Woods. Caliidora had ran to Neovia and stopped at the abandoned attic store. The storekeeper there, a ghost Aisha, kindly let her in.
“Hello dear, is something wrong?” The ghost Aisha smiled, concerned for the much younger Aisha.
“Ghouls...they chased me and my friends.” Caliidora spoke, completely out of breath. She didn’t know what to do. Her heart was pounding and she felt weak. Running for her life had shaken her up a great deal.
“Oh no, I’m so sorry!” The ghost floated over to her side, comforting her. “Is there anything I can do for you?”
“Can...can I stay here for a bit? I don’t know if those monsters are still after me…”
The ghost nodded. “Of course my dear, stay as long as you need.”
“Thank you…” The island Aisha sat down in a wooden chair, worried over the safety of Rusty and Big Horner.
She could only hope they were okay.
Rusty, scared for his life, ran into the deserted fairground. He hurriedly looked around, his eyes stopping at the building of the spooky furniture store. The jetsam ran in, and hid behind a tattered old couch. None of the customers paid much attention to him. They stayed focused on furnishing their own Neohomes. He was sure they’ve seen weirder, as they was in the Haunted Woods after all. There was a talking tree with a brain who lived in the woods, and that’s pretty weird.
The jetsam heard the crackling voices of the ghouls, which send shivers up his spine. He pressed his cheek against the old couch, listening to their conversation.
“Boss is gonna be very happy that we got one of them.” One of the ghouls spoke, cackling loudly.
“Aye, he gonna finally let us off the hook for all those times we messed up.” Another ghoul said.
“Heh heh, I hope so. This Korabt better be worth all the trouble. I just can’t believe that jetsam fell for my red Wocky disguise!”
Rusty gasped, realizing that the ghouls had his dear friend. He knew at that moment, he had to save Big Horner.
To be continued…