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Mushroom for Phila: Part Four

by ssjelitegirl


The desert Aisha looked at Shad. So did the others.

     "Are you sure?" Kat asked. "You can only answer once, you know…"

     "It was in a detective story I recently read," Shad snapped back. "Besides, there's only one logical answer." He looked at the Aisha. "The answer is time."

     His siblings blinked with surprise. "What?"

     "You are right," the Aisha said and stood up. "You may pass. This is the way to the city of Geraptiku," he added, pointing at the path next to him.

     "A Neopet's time starts when they are born and ends when they die but time itself has never started and will never end, it has always existed," Shad explained to the others as they carried on down the path. The others stared at him.

     "Cool," Ice remarked. "Now stop right there, kiddo. This here isn't going to be a walk in the park, the whole path has traps everywhere. I've been here, now I know what to expect. Wait here."

     "The ancient natives were really paranoid, eh?" Saura commented as the little Ixi turned around and looked at the part with her pink eyes narrowing.

     "Tsuki brought us past the Faeries, Saura took us to the temple, Kat helped us with the plant and Shad with the Aisha but only I can help us through here," she said. "Okay, here we go." She leaped into the air and bolted down the path. On the same second there was a quiet "cling!" and dozens of tiny arrows whizzed over the path. Ice was already way ahead of them and her hooves thudded so quickly that they were barely to be seen. She stopped after a couple of hundred feet and shouted: "Okay, come on!"

     "How did you get through here the first time?" Kat asked when they came to the Ixi. Ice grinned.

     "I'm too small for the arrows. Wait here again." She galloped off and jumped into the air. Several spikes stung out of the ground but Ice was once again too small for them.

     "Anything else?" Shad asked with a slightly hysterical note in his voice after they had sneaked past the spikes. Ice laughed and shook her head.

     "Nothing I'd know of but we still need to be careful. Let's go, the city is right over there." She pointed at some dark straw roofs in the distance.

     "Since the villagers mysteriously disappeared, no one has dared to enter the city," Tsuki remarked as they went down the path. "This may not end well."

     "We only need the gates," Ice replied. "I wouldn't go inside either. The place isn't as abandoned as you think. Who do you think set those traps up again after I had been here the last time?"

     The others gulped.

     "We need to go back too, you know," Saura remarked.

     "There's another way but it's a one-way street if you know what I mean and we can only use it to go, not come," the Ixi said. "And there we are, what a nice place, isn't it?"

     They were standing in front of the abandoned village. The houses were falling apart, bushes and grass were growing on the streets and everything was so quiet… so ominously quiet.

     "Here it is," Tsuki suddenly said, crouching down. "The little mushroom we were looking for this whole time. See?" He showed the others a tiny blue mushroom.

     The others gathered around him. They looked at a bunch of little mushrooms on the foot of an old tree and all thought of the same thing: "This is the reason we came here…?"

     "Tiny, yet powerful," Tsuki commented. "We only need one but let's take three, just in case."

     "Make it fast," Saura suggested. "Ice was right, this place isn't completely abandoned. I can feel something in the air… something really bad… and it knows that we're here."

     Tsuki picked three of the blue mushrooms and hid them safely into the bag Kat was carrying. "So, how do we get back? I don't feel like facing that big plant again."

     "This way." Ice was already on her way down the path and the others followed her quickly. "It may seem a bit dangerous and… dirty but it's the quickest way and Phila may not have much time any more."

     "What exactly do you mean by… oh." Ice had stopped by a puddle of quicksand. Her siblings stared at it.

     "No way!" Shad declared. "Not a chance!"

     "Either this or all the way back past the traps, the King's Vine and the Faeries," the Ixi replied. "Don't worry, I've been here. Got stuck in here, actually. It leads down to a cave and that takes us out on the shore. Just remember to hold your breath for a while." She jumped in. "Come on."

     "That Ixi has been to the oddest places…" Tsuki muttered, floating above the puddle and staring down at it suspiciously. Ice was already disappearing into it and suddenly Kat jumped in too.

     "Come on, guys!" she called and was gone the next second - a heavy Uni as she was. Saura and Shad sighed and followed her. Tsuki hesitated for a moment and then fell down too. For a short while he could only feel soft sticky sand all around him… and suddenly it ran out. The Shoyru fell down on a plate of rock and opened his eyes, only to discover that he was indeed sitting in a cave. The others were sitting near him, trying to get the quicksand out of their ears. The cave was pitch-black, the only reason why they were getting some light was the fact that Ace was furious because of the fall. They could all hear water dripping in the distance.

     "Well, Ice?" Shad asked after sneezing the sand out of his nose.

     "Well, I followed my nose back then, now we can follow Ace," the Ixi replied. "Can anyone tell where the water is running?"

     "There's a small stream here," Saura replied. "And it goes over there," he pointed in the darkness."

     "Water runs into the ocean and where there's the ocean, there's the way out of this cave," Ice stated optimistically. "Let's go."

     Saura found a stalagmite and used that to poke Ace. The Wuzzle toddled on, hissing and snorting, giving enough light for them to see and so they went on one after another but mainly after Ace who helped them to see where they were stepping so that they wouldn't fall over. The floor was indeed bumpy.

     "How did you get out of here without falling?" Tsuki asked Ice who grinned back, pink eyes gleaming in the dimness.

     "I didn't. I had quite a nice concussion by the time I got out. It didn't take a long time though. Perhaps five or six miles if I remember correctly. Guys, I think it's time for dinner."

     They had dinner, rested a little and went on. The cave was quiet but they could hear soughing somewhere far away. After a while they realized that it was all around them - behind the walls and even above them.

     "We must be underwater!" Tsuki guessed. "We were near the shore and looks like the cave led us right under the ocean. Are you sure that we'll get out on dry land, Ice?"

     The Ixi nodded. "At least I did. It may take a while but I can assure you that we'll get out of here just fine."

     "Where does the other end lead?" Saura wondered.

     "I'm not too anxious to find out," Shad replied. "Argh, my paws are killing me! I'd just love to get out of here."

     They went on silently for a while.

     "What if there has been an avalanche and the mouth is blocked?" Saura suddenly asked.

     "Jinx," Shad muttered.

     "Then the stream would've flooded the place a long time ago," Kat said. "Besides, I can smell fresh air."

     The others glanced at her. "You do?" They rushed on in the darkness, almost stepping on Ace and now they could feel the fresh breeze too.

     "I can see the light!" Shad yelled frantically.

     "No you can't," Tsuki remarked with a frown, "it's almost midnight."

     "Don't spoil it," the Lupe snapped, jumping out of the cave. "Whoot! We did it!"

     "We're not home yet," Ice said, stepping out in the starlight too, "but the rest of the way is easy. Don't you recognize the place, guys?"

     They all gathered in front of the cave, looking at the clear night sky, the dark calm ocean and the jungle before their feet. The cave was on top of a small hill and as they looked around, they understood that they were on a smaller islet near Mystery Island.

     "Look, there's a hut," Saura said. There was indeed a small hut near the foot of the hill.

     "The Island Mystic's hut," Tsuki said with a smile. "Hm, they had ship connection with the harbour, didn't they?"

     "Luckily it's a 24/7 connection as Mystery Island gets visitors from all timezones," Kat agreed, trotting down the hill. "And I'd suggest you to hurry up because the boat is about to leave."

     "We won't make it!" Shad gasped, almost rolling down the hill.

     "We will," Tsuki replied, raising his paw. The golden ring around it flashed in the moonlight.

     "You kids were lucky," the old captain told the five Neopets as they scampered aboard breathlessly. "We should've left five minutes ago but something happened with the rudder."

     "A shame, isn't it?" Tsuki grinned, leaning against the rail.

     The journey back to the harbour was peaceful. The moon was shining and the ocean was calm. There weren't many passengers aboard and the five pets plus Ace sat in the stern. Ice, Shad and Saura used the time to take a nap, Tsuki was awake as usually and Kat stood next to him, looking at the waves and thinking her own thoughts. Ace had curled up next to Saura and was calm again.

     "How long will it take to mix up Phila's cure?" the Uni asked her stepbrother.

     "Assuming that Cryo hasn't eaten any of the other necessary ingredients, shouldn't take more than half an hour," Tsuki replied. "I left them a note telling what we still needed, I believe they have bought everything while we were gone."

     Kat nodded. "Look, there's the harbour. Wake up, you three," she poked Shad with her hoof.

     The Neohome was near the shore, they could always see the ocean glitter in the sun every morning and so it didn't take them more than half an hour to get home. It was already long past midnight but everyone was still awake.

     "About time for you to get back," their owner greeted them and went to the brightly lit kitchen. "Phila's fever is still high but luckily her condition has stayed more or less the same. Got the mushroom?"

     "Right here," Kat replied. "Got the other ingredients?"

     Huntress nodded. "Well then, get started with the brewing, Saura."

     The Zafara yawned, went to the stove and pulled out a huge pot. "Okay, Tsuke, give me the recipe."

     "Fine, listen carefully." Tsuki sat down on the cupboard. "Take one gallon of water…"

     Minutes flew by. It was already very late but nobody even considered going to sleep. Cryo had been keeping an eye on the little Aisha but still showed up in the kitchen every now and then to see how the potion was doing. Saura added more ingredients, stirred and stewed, wiped the sweatdrops off his forehead and eventually had to open the window because the potion had quite a smell and the kitchen was overheated.

     "Let stew for five minutes, then add some parsley and give to the patient," Tsuki finally concluded.

     "I don't think we have parsley," Kat commented with a frown.

     "Nothing to worry about, it's just for the taste." Saura went to the windowsill where he kept a box of herbs and picked a few rosemary leaves. "Besides, I think this will mix a lot better with the soup's ingredients."

     Five minutes later they all gathered around Phila's bed. The Aisha was awake and looked at them with her huge emerald green eyes which had a feverish gleam. Then she glanced at the soup plate in Saura's paws.

     "For me?" she asked in a weak voice.

     "That's right, eat it all up," Saura replied and gave her the plate. The Aisha sat up and looked at the light blue soup.

     "Did you… cook it?" she asked, taking the spoon. She had to use her full remaining strength even to raise it. Saura nodded.

     "Awful smell," Phila commented and tasted the soup. "Awful taste too."

     Saura grinned. "Just eat it, that will cure you."

     Eating the soup took a long time but eventually the plate was empty. Everyone looked at the Aisha with concern.

     "Now you need to sleep and you should feel a lot better in the morning," Tsuki said. "Guys, I think we should go to sleep too."

     They all slept restlessly that night, all worried for Phila. Eventually their weariness still took over and they couldn't see or hear anything any more…

     As soon as the first ray of light reached Mystery Island, Saura's eyes flashed open. He was used to that, he always got up with the sun to cook breakfast and get some peace and quiet that was a rarity in that Neohome.

     The Zafara strolled into the kitchen, yawning widely. He pushed both windows open and then looked out of the window above the stove. The sun was rising, the ocean glittered and the Blackberry bushes whispered in the wind just as always. And someone was sitting in the isle between two rows of bushes, looking at the rising sun. That someone was small and green and her tail was curled around her tiny body.

     "Phila!" Saura jumped out of the window and went up to her little sister. "You're out of bed? Are you really feeling that fine already?"

     "Yeah." Phila's emerald eyes shone back at him. "Your soup cured me, Saura. I'm all well now. What's for breakfast?"

     Saura laughed with relief. "Well, there's still some of that mushroom soup."

     The Aisha glared at him. "Ugh… I'd rather starve!"

     The Zafara grinned widely. "Let's get back inside now, shall we? I think I'll make Blackberry cake today."

     Phila jumped up. "Cool! Can I help, huh, huh?"

     "Sure thing," Saura nodded. They went back inside.

The End

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Other Episodes

» Mushroom for Phila: Part One
» Mushroom for Phila: Part Two
» Mushroom for Phila: Part Three

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