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A Quest Unlike Any Other: Part Two

by toffee_choc


Orange_choc85 winced as his brother slammed the door of their Neohome, and turned back to his breakfast.

     "What's his hurry?" he asked Minty_choc85, who was sitting reading the Neopian Times.

     Minty shrugged, and folded up his newspaper. "Yesterday he was muttering something about Snow Wars; I think he's trying to beat the Tree again."

     Their owner, TC, laughed. "Again? He really needs to learn to quit while he's ahead."

     Minty snorted. "That's the problem - he's behind!"

     Orange grinned as he finished his cereal, and then jumped down from the table, stretching his Kougra limbs.

     "Hey, TC," he called. "Is it still okay for me to go to the Lost Desert today? I really want to try my luck on the Fruit Machine. And visit Qasala, and-"

     "Alright!" TC held up her hands in mock despair. "You can go - just don't spend all my hard-earned Neopoints, alright?"

     "Okie doke!" cried Orange, and sped out of the house, his white Weewoo, Icy, in hot pursuit.

     An hour later, Orange was starting to rue his decision to go to the Lost Desert. Trekking across to Sakhmet is not fun when you're painted Christmas.

     "I think the hat and muff are a bit superfluous here, eh Icy?" he panted, amused.

     The Weewoo only wilted slightly more in response, and took up its usual position on his tail.

     Orange smiled at his pet weakly and turned back to the task of reaching the gates of Sakhmet. Pausing only to drink a bit from the river by Coltzan's Shrine, the Kougra finally staggered through the gates of the city.

     "Well, hello there," said a friendly desert Wocky. "You look tired out! Here, have one of my cooling drinks - they're legendary."

     Orange accepted the drink thankfully, and sure enough, after a few sips he felt a lot better. Glancing around, he noticed the Princess standing on the steps of her illustrious palace.

     "Anything special happening?" he asked the Wocky, conversationally.

     The Wocky saw where he was looking and smiled. "No, not really. The Princess is just waiting for her visitors from Qasala - Prince Jazan and Princess Nabile. She always looks forward to their visits."

     Orange smiled, and finished off his drink.

     "Thanks," he said, handing the glass back. "I'd better go and do what I came for!"

     The Wocky smiled back. "Of course. And good luck!"

     Turning away, Orange walked slowly towards the Fruit Machine, where the normal crowd of pets were standing.

     He grimaced. "Looks like a long wait," he commented to Icy. "Shall we go look at Osiri's Pottery first?"

     He'd just turned away from the busy Fruit Machine, when there was a blinding flash of light in front of him, and a booming voice declared.

     "You have a new Quest!"

     Orange shook his head to remove the traces of the flash from his vision, and squinted at his visitor. The figure standing in front of him certainly had wings… but apart from that, it sure wasn't your average faerie. In fact, even the wings looked like they were made of cardboard.

     The… thing continued. "The Happiness Faerie would like you to bring her an Ancient Hourglass!"

     "Uh," said Orange, uncertainly. "The Happiness Faerie? I've never heard of a Happiness Faerie before."

     The faerie stared at him. "Well, how sad for you. Are you going to do my Quest or not?"

     Orange regarded it again. "So… you're a faerie?"

     "Yeeess," responded the faerie guardedly.

     "But aren't faeries meant to be, like, majorly beautiful? AND to do with an element… like light, earth, fire etc… you don't seem to fit into either of those criteria, and well…" the Kougra trailed off.

     The Faerie looked on the brink of tears. She wrung her green hands together fretfully as she stared at the sand beneath her feet.

     "I may not-" she choked, "be as beautiful as some of my sisters, but there's no need to be rude and-"

     "Whoa, whoa!" cried Orange hastily, sensing a faerie bawling session coming on. "I didn't mean it like that! Calm down! What was it you said you wanted again?"

     "A-an Ancient Hourglass," sniffed the faerie.

     "Er, okay, I've never heard of one of those… no time limit or anything, like other faerie quests?" he asked.

     "No, just whenever you can fit me into your schedule," answered the faerie, sarcastically.

     "Heh, right," said Orange, backing away nervously.

     "Oh, by the way, you won't find it here," called the faerie, bitterly. "If you bother to look, try asking a wise man on Mystery Island."

     There was another blinding flash of light, and she was gone, cardboard wings and all.

     "Weird," said Orange. "I guess we'd better go to Mystery Island then - it has to be cooler there anyway!"

     It was nearly lunchtime by the time the Christmas Kougra and his pet had managed to get a place on the ferry to Mystery Island, and even later when they finally disembarked the boat on the cool, palm-lined shores of Mystery Island.

     "Well, here we are, Icy," murmured the Kougra. "And the only 'wise man' I can think of on this Island is the Island Mystic - let's go!"

     Unfortunately, Orange's assessment of Mystery Island's weather soon proved to be incorrect; it was not only almost as hot as the Lost Desert, it was sticky and humid - especially under the trees, which unfortunately was where they were, hiking across the Island in order to visit the Island Mystic.

     "Ugh," he complained to Icy, feeling his fur growing stickier by the second, "whose stupid idea was this?"

     The Weewoo also seemed to be suffering from the heat, and made no response other than to collapse heavily onto the Kougra's back.

     After what seemed like hours of sweating and straining through the increasingly overgrown jungle, they broke out of the trees into blazing sunshine - they'd reached the other side.

     Orange threw himself down onto the sandy beach, then jumped up again rapidly, before running swiftly into the water, almost dancing as he made his way across the burning sand.

     "Oww!" he cried, dancing in the water, until his paws began to cool down.

     "And that, boys and girls, is why you should always wear footwear on the beach," commented a voice wryly from behind him.

     Orange whirled to see the Island Mystic sitting a little way off, apparently sunning himself on the shores of his own small island. More than slightly surprised at seeing him outside of his hut, Orange watched as the ancient Kyrii sipped his coconut juice and absent-mindedly perused the latest edition of the Neopian Times.

     "Uh, sir?" he began, uncertainly.

     The Mystic looked at him uninterestedly. "Oh, I suppose you want me to tell your future, hm? Well, now let's see…"

     The Kyrii put on a look of concentration, and tried to seem mysterious… though as he was sitting in a deck chair wearing sunglasses, this proved more comical than anything else. Orange resisted the urge to laugh. Finally the Kyrii seemed ready to speak.

     "You will find the effect of the sun produces an uncomfortable sensation on Kougra paws," he announced, dramatically.

     "That's not the future, that's the past!" exclaimed Orange. "And besides, I was told to come and look for you to search for an item. An Ancient Hourglass."

     The Kyrii sipped his coconut juice thoughtfully. "Nope."

     "Er - sorry? What was that?" asked Orange, in some surprise.

     "I said nope - means no. I have no idea what that is. Try the Techo Master. Goodbye."

     The Mystic fixed him with a beady eye, and waved his arms, muttering some mumbo jumbo (No disrespect to the Mystic - Orange later reported that that seemed to be what he was saying), and suddenly the Kougra and his pet found themselves face to face with Ryshu, who was looking at the slightly suspiciously.

     "Where did you come from?" he asked, brandishing his weapon.

     "Err," said Orange, disorientated. "From the Island Mystic. I think."

     Ryshu chuckled, lowering his weapon. "Ah, I expect you disturbed his sunbathing. Proceed!"

     The Nimmo turned away from Orange and towards the next pet that was approaching, uttering his usual challenge. The Kougra rolled his eyes and went into the cool of the Training school.

     "Right, Icy," he said. "Let's go see what the Techo master has to say for himself."

     Unfortunately, Orange hadn't had much training - it was Toffee who had always been the Battledomer, and he quickly became lost in the labyrinth of corridors. He was about to give up in frustration and climb out of the nearest window in an attempt to escape, when he heard chanting coming from the door next to him.

     "Well, I hope this is the place!" he said grimly, pushing the bamboo door open.

     Inside was a quiet room, filled with blossoms and the sound of running water - though there was none to be seen. In the centre of all this, the Techo master was sitting with his eyes shut, floating a few inches above the floor. Orange may have not had much training, but he had seen the video for the school, and knew better than to approach the Master, even while meditating.

     "Ahem," he said, clearing his throat loudly.

     The Techo master didn't stop his meditation, he merely pointed to the door on the other side of the room.

     "The answer to what you seek is beyond that door. Go!"

     Almost without realising he was doing it, the Kougra crossed the room and opened the door indicated. Suddenly he and Icy were outside in the hot, humid jungle again - and at the foot of Techo Mountain.

     "Oh, for heaven's sake!" cried Orange. "Where to next? Maraqua? The Space Station?"

     He had just started to approach the mountain, when an Island Kougra appeared in front of him. She took a breath to start her spiel about codestones, but Orange cut across her.

     "No, I don't have any codestones. I don't want to get a red one - I want an Ancient Hourglass!"

     The other Kougra pulled a face, annoyed at the interruption.

     "The volcano will not be happy with your current offering!" she declared officiously.

     "Argh!" Orange ground his teeth in frustration, and turned to go.

     "Hey! Try the Deserted Tomb in Geraptiku!" called the Kougra after him, before vanishing into the undergrowth.

     Orange trekked through the jungle to Geraptiku slightly apprehensively. The whole town gave him the creeps, and he had never been there without TC before. Slowly, he crossed the clearing, steering well clear of the growling noises coming from the Petpet shop. He halted in front of the tomb, staring at the forbidding stone door.

     "Well, Icy, here we go," he said, taking a deep breath and darting under the half-open door.

     Inside was just as creepy as he remembered it. Dodging an arrow trap, he spied a golden glow coming from a nearby room.

     "No way it's that easy," he muttered to himself.

     But sure enough, there in the centre room was a glowing treasure chest.

     "Eureka," said the Kougra half-heartedly as he ascended the steps to the chest.

     Pushing aside the heavy lid of the stone chest, he leaned over to look at what he'd won.

     "What the..?" he murmured, looking down the dark hole that had been bored through the base of the chest.

     Suddenly, he felt a sharp shove from behind. Losing his balance, he didn't even have time to scream before toppling head first into the pit below.

To be continued...

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» A Quest Unlike Any Other: Part One
» A Quest Unlike Any Other: Part Three

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