Invisible Paint Brushes rock Circulation: 81,443,838 Issue: 152 | 8th day of Hiding, Y6
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The Haunted Woods Secret: Part One

by meowth4


“Run!” Zeth yelled to his friend.

“I told you this was a bad idea,” squeaked Daton as she scrambled over the many large tree roots.

The large creature rose its shadowy head above the dark and dreary trees of the yet to be discovered Haunted Woods. The Lupe and his Kacheek buddy ran as fast as they could through the rough forest, tripping over fallen trees and becoming tangled in vines.

“Take cover!” Zeth suddenly screeched to a halt, turned left, and dove underneath a pile of leaves. Daton was too busy running and watching the ground (so she wouldn’t fall into another hole) to see that Zeth was no longer in front of her. Zeth bit at her tail and caught the end, pulling her into the leaves of a large shady shrub she almost ran past. “I think we're safe here,” Zeth panted, trying to keep quiet.

“What was that thing?” Daton peered through the large blanket of leaves. She was careful as to not reveal their hiding spot. She squeaked when she spotted the tall shadowy demon standing in the middle of the woods, ready to attack. “I want to go home,” Daton whimpered.

“Shh,” Zeth hissed, pulling her away from the edge of the leaves. “Don't let it hear you!” Both Neopets were tired and hungry, but they waited there, not daring to move. Before they knew it, it was night time and they had both finally fell asleep.

The dreary, foggy air and the darkness of the woods was now accompanied by the dim glow of sunlight; which shone in spots and patches, peaking through the drooping trees. Zeth twitched and tried to take a deep breath, but the leaves on top of him blocked the air. “Arrgh!”

He stood up and shook off the wet leaves. Daton, who had been sleeping right beside him, was now wide awake. He suddenly remembered the reason why they were there and froze like a statue. To his relief; no signs of life, other then them themselves, could be detected in the large area around them.

“I think that evil thing is gone now, Daton, but we can’t be too sure.” He sniffed the air for reassurance. He was expecting the horrible creature to suddenly appear from anywhere. Daton did not exert the same alertness that Zeth had. She just felt relieved that they didn’t get caught.

“Let's go home. We have to warn people about this!” Daton stood up and brushed a leaf off her shoulder. “Besides, I would rather not stay here where I can fall down hills, get tangled in brambles and be eaten.”

The two Neopets began their trip home through the forest towards Neopia. Just as Zeth was about to suggest to Daton that if anyone found out about this, they would be attacked by greedy people everywhere, Zeth suddenly stopped.

“I think I smell something,” he muttered.

“Good! I’m starving,” Daton quickly stated, licking her lips in anticipation.

“No, it smells evil.” He narrowed his eyes, twitched his ears and listened. He could hear, no... feel footsteps. The footsteps were coming from every direction. Zeth became confused when he looked around, but saw nothing.

“The footsteps, where are they coming from?” The frightened Lupe took a step backwards, bared his teeth and prepared to fight.

Before he could even consider asking, “What’s going on?” a flash of colour streaked across the area, bathing their surroundings in a dark bluish, yet bright powerful light.

"YOU WILL PAY FOR WHAT YOU DID!" A twisted and smoky shadow creature, like the one they had escaped from the previous night, rose into view in front of them. Zeth closed his eyes; trying to shake out the bright red spots the flash of light had given him. Daton took a few steps backwards. They were both ready to run at any time.

"W-we didn't do anything," she squeaked.

"Y-yeah, we are only travelling here," Zeth quickly added.

The demon took a cold stare. "THOSE ARE LIES. YOU STOLE THE AMULET. YOU WILL GIVE IT BACK NOW," the creature roared in a raspy voice that gave the two pets shivers. For a brief moment, Daton's attention dropped to the amulet around her neck and she grasped it tightly causing it to glow a little.

"I won't give it back!" She was attempting to sound brave, but her own voice betrayed her. She squeaked the phrase so shakily; the only one who understood what she had actually said was Zeth.

Zeth turned to look at Daton. "Give it to the evil monster, Daton," he said in a nagging, but nervous tone. "We don't need it," he added.

The Amulet of Dreams was a magical item. It allowed anyone who possessed it to peer into the dreams of others and make things of the imagination become real. It was also supposed to bring luck and fortune to anyone who owned it.

Daton took a small step backwards. "Run," she whispered.

Both pets spun around, planning to run, but their path was blocked. "Those rocks weren't there before," Daton squeaked panicky and clamped her paws over her mouth. The entire path was covered in large boulders; each with a different evil stone face carved in them.

"GIVE THE AMULET TO ME NOW," the creature bellowed. A few Barbats flew out of the trees nearby.

Zeth shook his head. The wispy, ghost-like creature’s almond eyes shone red. "YOU WON'T GIVE IT TO ME? THEN YOU SHALL PERISH!" As the creature waved its arms; a series of events took place all at once: the ground trembled, trees uprooted themselves, Barbats flew out of trees everywhere, and the pile of boulders began to tremble and break. Each stone letting out a cry of fury as they shattered.

"What's happening?" Daton cried.

"Look out!" Zeth leapt out of the path of the gnarled claw, but Daton, who was kneeling on the ground with her paws on her eyes, was caught by the creature’s outstretched claw.

"Let me go!" Daton struggled but could not get free. She bit hard into its claw, but it was just like biting through air. Zeth wouldn’t let anything bad happen to his friend. Thinking quickly, He doubled back and scrambled up the rocky ground. The creature swatted at him, but he was much too agile. He leapt forward and bit the creature in the foot as hard as he could. It let out a loud screech and dropped Daton, looking as angry as ever, though its eyes shone with confusion.

"Run, Daton, hurry," Zeth yelled as he himself turned to run, but only as the two pets began to escape, Daton noticed that the amulet was no longer around her neck.

"The amulet, it’s gone," Daton cried.

"We’ll come back for it later,” Zeth shouted.

“And be cursed? Or eaten?” Daton shouted back. She was breathing heavily. Her little legs could only take her so fast.

The shadowy demon grinned. It was quite pleased with itself; having recovered the precious trinket. It proudly held the amulet in the air and began swinging it back and forth.

"I WILL RISE AGAIN. AND WITH ME DESTRUCTION I WILL BRING!" The demon’s insane cackle was cut short; it vanished, leaving nothing behind. The crushed boulders simply vanished behind it as well.

One Year Later...

Daton the Striped Kacheek leaned in to get a closer view, attempting to examine the shelf full of Neggs. “Hmm,” she mumbled. The Neggs were quite overpriced.

“May I help you with anything?” a young girl, the owner of the shop, asked.

“Oh. No thank you. I was just looking.” Daton glanced at a few other food items, sighed, turned around and walked out of the shop. This was the year of the Neopian food shortage. Neopians would do anything to get a crumb of food. Anyone who had food to sell sold it at ridiculous prices. Even the money tree was bare, as no one had anything to give; or if they did, they were too greedy. Food in Neopia wasn’t the only problem that year, the weather was ridiculously unpredictable. There were: freak heat waves at Terror Mountain, blizzards tormenting Tyrannia, floods ruining Meridellian crops, constant raining on Krawk Island, and a ton of other random weather-related mishaps.

“Gee,” Daton mumbled. “I sure hope all of this mess will clear up soon.” It started to rain. Daton sighed and headed towards her Neohome; wondering about what would happen next in Neopia.

“Maybe a comet will crash into Happy Valley and a giant tsunami will cause Meridell to sink into the ocean. Perhaps aliens will overthrow the VirtuPets space station and blow Neopia to pieces, then after the smoke clears, we will have a freak tropical storm and the whole world will be flooded with water,” she said sarcastically, to herself.

Daton’s thoughts of doom were suddenly cut short when she noticed a large crowd forming around the main food shop.

“Now, I’m sure the Wocky Patrol will get those trucks thawed. The food will be delivered very soon,” announced the yellow Chia chef as he adjusted his hat. An angry Usul had shot a stone at it with a pea shooter and nearly knocked it off.

The crowd instantly began bombarding the poor Chia with questions and complaints: “How long will it be?”, “How did the food truck get stuck in snow?”, “Will there be enough food?”, “I can’t afford the high prices! I only make 2,000 NP a day!”, “This is a deliberate stocking problem to force us to pay more!”

Daton rolled her eyes, and continued home. She opened the door to her Neohome. As she stepped inside, she could immediately sense something was not right. “H-hello?” she said as she peeked around the door. Papers were everywhere and furniture was knocked over. Someone had been in her home. Armed with a stool, she sneaked around for a bit, but couldn’t find anyone. Relieved, she sat down in a chair beside a table and slowly began to drift off to the wonderful land of sleep. That’s when she noticed the shiny medal resting on top of a book. “What’s this?” She suddenly didn’t feel tired anymore. Carefully, she picked it up and looked at it closely.

“No, it can’t be! The Amulet of Dreams…”

To be continued…

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Other Episodes

» The Haunted Woods Secret: Part Two
» The Haunted Woods Secret: Part Three
» The Haunted Woods Secret: Part Four
» The Haunted Woods Secret: Part Five

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