The Haunted Woods Secret: Part Five
Zeth tripped over yet another branch, his tired feet
giving away under his heavy body. "Maybe I should go by myself? You're really
hurt," Daton said comfortingly. She stopped to help the poor injured Lupe to
his feet again.
"I can't let you go by yourself, you need my
help," the injured Lupe grunted. Daton knew he was right, she didn't know how
to get to this cave and even if she got there, she couldn't make it collapse
all by herself.
The two pets had been retracing their steps for
a while now and they were becoming even more fatigued with every step. "Heh,
you did good back there," Zeth smiled. "But why a Hot Dog?"
Daton blushed. "I, well, I was hungry."
Zeth laughed. He was hungry too, but that could
wait. They probably didn't have much time before the seal spell would wear off.
Daton could feel it shake in her hands and she could see that the orange glow
of the seal spell was fading faster than it should be. "Are you sure this is
the right way?" she asked for the fifth time as she examined their surroundings.
"I'm sure we've passed that tree before," she pointed.
"Daton, all of the trees look like that!" he
Daton shrugged, "Yeah, I guess gnarly dead trees
covered in vines and thick sharp branches aren't much of a rarity in the Haunted
Even though Zeth had crawled his way up the muddy
path to find Daton, he didn't quite remember where he had gone or come from.
Ever so often he would recognize a familiar tree or path in the thick fog, but
he didn't want to admit he was a little bit lost, after all, not only Daton,
but the whole world of Neopia was depending on his elite backtracking skills.
"So," Daton said, picking up her pace, "How do you think the amulet found me?"
she asked the question as if Zeth was a book that could give her every answer
in the world.
"Well, I'm not entirely sure." He winced,
limping slightly again. "I think it all started when we broke the seal spell.
Since you were the first one to touch the amulet, you were the one who got its
powers," he explained. Daton held the Amulet of Dreams up to her face. She frowned
a bit while examining its fine details. Not bothered by the bright glow. "I
guess it became attached to you in a way," Zeth smiled. "That's why when you
first got caught by the Dark Faerie's illusion it couldn't hurt you and you
couldn't hurt it." He looked ahead again to calculate where he thought they
were. She knew he was right, he was always right.
They passed yet another forked trail divided
by trees. The winding path was becoming more and more rugged as they moved on.
The two pets had not eaten since the morning and were so hungry they could easily
hear their stomachs rumbling over the loud snapping of twigs, crunching of leaves
and hooting of Whoots in the trees. "Zeth, Look!" Daton pointed down to a large
hill at the end of the path. The grass had been scraped away and a long skid
of dirt was trailed down the slope and up the slope on the opposite side. "This
is the place I fell down and climbed up!"
Zeth sighed in relief, but that relief soon escaped
him, the cave was nowhere in sight. "Oh no," he breathed, "I, it was here! It
was where I hid from the Magtile! I, err, they…" He trailed off and lay down
on the dry brown grass. The amulet was now reacting violently; pulsing and shaking
in Daton's paws.
"Zeth--" she started.
"No, I know now, the cave was an illusion of
the Dark Faerie. She wanted us to waste all of this time," he cut in, lowering
his head towards the ground with every word breathing heavily and trying to
hold back tears.
"Zeth! You taught me to be brave even if the
situation looks dim! There's no way I am going to give up now!" she shouted,
grabbing the White Lupe's leather backpack.
"Daton! Where are you going? There is no cave,
it was an illusion! I let everyone down." Daton didn't take in any of his words.
She had jumped down the hill and began gliding to the bottom. The friction down
the hill burned at her feet and she was sure that if the slide had been any
longer, she would've set some of the remaining grass on fire. When she landed
at the bottom she began to run towards the trees. As she got closer and closer
to the area Zeth's cave was supposedly at, that's when she saw it. A dilapidated
old shack built out of wood. The roof had holes and tree branches in and on
top of it, some of the wooden wall panels were missing and the entire shack
was on a permanent lean.
"So this is what he saw," she mumbled in amazement
at how he could've gone in there without the entire thing collapsing. "The Faerie
disguised this, probably hoping it WOULD collapse on him, but now I am going
to turn the tables." Daton smiled and stepped up to the front doorway.
She would've been too small to reach the door
handle if there had been one, but all that was left in the doorway was a mangled
hinge made out of vine. The little Kacheek cautiously, but quickly enough, walked
inside. Inside the empty room was a giant hole, but it was not a large crevasse
as Zeth had been tricked into seeing. Instead it was a small hole that was probably
once used as a toilet. Daton crept over to the hole being as careful as ever
not to trip and make the whole thing cave in on her. "Just what I need, to share
a burial with the amulet," she rolled her eyes at the thought even though she
was worried it might come true.
"This is for another Fifty Hundred Thousand Million
years as a tree!" She steadied her hand; the amulet was shaking madly at this
point. Kneeling down beside the hole, she dropped it and watched it fall into
the darkness, not sure how deep it actually was. "I'd better get out of here."
She got up and bolted out of the one room shack. "There's got to be something
in here." She dug through Zeth's leather bag but all she could find was: his
Frost Cannon, a Blue Chia Plushie, A Supersize Mega Ultra Plus and an Electric
Blue Eyrie Morphing Potion. "This will have to do!" She snatched the Frost Cannon
and aimed it at the building. She tried her best to hit the center, but she
had never used a Battledome weapon in her life. I never was very good at
Ultimate Bullseye, she thought. The frosty streak of ice hit the roof causing
the entire building to cave in on itself. The rotten wood snapped like dry twigs
and the branches that had been so dangerously sitting on top of the roof fell
with a heavy thud; therefore sealing the deal.
She smiled. "I just saved the world!" The ground
began to tremble and worry spread over her like butter on toast. "What did I
do wrong?" she sobbed. Only just as she was about to kneel down on the ground
to cry, a giant tree burst out of the pile of wood that was once the old shack.
Its branches stretched out and grew before her very eyes making it one of the
tallest trees in the Woods in seconds. Daton jumped up in surprise "It did work!"
she squeaked with excitement.
When Daton got to the top of the hill again,
she could see Zeth was still lying in the same spot he was in before. He was
breathing slowly and had his paws across his muzzle. "Daton," he mumbled. "We,
no, you did it," he smiled a weak smile, though Daton could not see it
behind his paws. The poor White Lupe was in rough shape; he had obviously been
hiding the worst of his bad condition until now.
"Zeth! We should leave now and everything will
be back to normal," Daton whispered. Zeth attempted to get up, but he was far
too weak. He moaned and slumped over on his side. "We have to get you to the
healing springs!" Daton grabbed onto his tail and began to pull without much
luck; he was far too heavy for a little Kacheek like her to carry.
"I'm sorry Daton, I can't move," Zeth sighed.
Daton lowered her eyes to the ground in defeat. There was no way she could leave
him here like this. The walk home by herself would take her much too long. If
only they had an Eyrie transport service pet to carry them home.
"Wait!" she said, jumping up. "Zeth, I hope you
don't need this!" She dug through his leather backpack, pulled out the Electric
Blue Eyrie Morphing Potion and drank it like water.
The first thing she felt was a warm tingling
down her spine. There was no pain at all as the transformation from Kacheek
to Eyrie took place. Her little paws became strong legs and clawed toes, as
she fell to all fours, her fur became feathers, her tail shot out long and slimmed
down, her striped feathers became jagged bolts and her mouth turned into a hard
sharp beak just as a set of large wings sprouted from her back. The entire transformation
lasted about 3 seconds, but it felt a lot longer. She blinked again, Zeth was
staring at her with wide eyes. "Daton! You--"
"I'm sorry if the potion was expensive," she
squawked awkwardly, not yet used to her beak.
"No! I mean, you actually drank that to help
me?" he choked. Zeth knew that sacrificing a life as your own natural species
would be a choice that a lot of pets wouldn't jump at.
"It'll be okay," she chirped. "I need you to
climb onto my back so I can fly us out of here!" Zeth looked down at the ground
again. "What's wrong? 'Fraid of heights?" she choked.
"You're, well, still Kacheek sized," he murmured.
Daton's Eyrie transformation idea didn't go as well as she had planned, one
important detail she had forgotten was that when a pet drinks a Morphing Potion,
no matter which species they become, they still remain the same size.
"Hold on!" she squawked, turning towards the
Lupe's leather bag once more. She pawed out the Supersize Mega Ultra Plus with
her claw. It was difficult, she was not used to her new body yet. (or standing
on all fours) "This should work!" She picked it up in her beak and within minutes
she began to grow.
"Brilliant!" Zeth cheered weakly.
Daton, now the actual size of an Eyrie, grabbed
the backpack with her paw and placed the super sizing gadget back inside. She
managed to fling the backpack around her neck as the thing was way too small
for her to wear now.
"Let's get home," she smiled and bent down for
Zeth to climb on her back.
"What a year," he mumbled. "We should write a
cliché story about it." Daton grinned, spread her wings, and for the first time
ever, soared into the sky. Zeth held onto the backpack like a harness as he
peered down below the scary trees. Tears stung at his eyes, he was wincing as
the wind whipped at his sores.
Daton flew straight to Faerieland and hurried
Zeth to the healing springs. When he got out feeling as good as new, they flew
down to Neopia Central to finally grab a bite to eat. Not oddly enough, the
strange weather and food oddities went away the very same day. Everything was
back to normal. Well, everything except for Daton, who remained an Electric
Blue Eyrie to remind her of everything that had happened, and everything Zeth
had taught her. Zeth the white Lupe and Daton the Electric Blue Eyrie were never
seen apart ever again. They decided that they would make up for the year they
had spent apart, by living together for the rest of their lives.