A Waffle Paradise Circulation: 111,439,808 Issue: 182 | 17th day of Running, Y7
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Brought Together: Part One

by springsteen0991


"Strophagus," Fyora called to the Royal Quiggle, "could you please come to my office?" Strophagus, Fyora's most loyal and trusted messenger, left his room and proceeded to the Queen's office at the top of the Hidden Tower, to which only her most important employees knew the way. He trotted quickly through the bright corridors and had dignity in his step.

      "Good morning, Queen Fyora. How may I be of service?" he asked eagerly.

      "I have a minor errand for you, Strophagus," she replied.

      "Well, what is it?"

      Fyora sat down on one of her many expensive cushioned stools. "I need you to visit someone on Terror Mountain," the Queen beckoned. Strophagus had been to Terror Mountain before, but only to send messages to Taelia, the Snow Faerie.

      "And whom shall I be visiting, Queen?"

      "Around the top of Terror Mountain lives a Neopet..." she began. "She sells all kinds of herbs. I need a specific herb I believe she may carry." Strophagus knew better than to ask why the Faerie Queen needed an herb. He would probably never find out. She hardly ever told him the meaning of his quests.

      "How will I get there? And when?" Strophagus demanded curiously but only semi-excitedly.

      "Well, one of the faeries will fly you down to Neopia Central in two days time. From there, you'll be taking a boat to the foot of Terror Mountain. I've arranged for a carriage to pick you up there."

      Smiling as happily as he could to Fyora, but not feeling very well about this errand, Strophagus nodded and turned around. "Okay then, I...suppose I'll go pack."



      Two days later a Faerie grabbed Strophagus, who was rather small, and flew him down to Neopia Central. He thanked her and proceeded to a close by dock, where a luxurious ship had just arrived. Neopets were scattered around the area, getting ready to board the ship. Strophagus waded through the crowd and showed a security Chia his ticket, and boarded. He found a nice beach chair on the deck of the ship, sat down and relaxed in the sunlight. He pulled out a thin parcel from his jacket pocket, and read it over. It was merely a note to the herb specialist. He yawned, as this was possibly the most boring errand he had ever been assigned to do.

      After his long trip, it was the afternoon and he was standing in Happy Valley at the bottom of Terror Mountain. A carriage pulled by two laboring Christmas Ixis trotted up almost instantly upon his arrival. "Aboard!" one of the Ixis said simply. Strophagus daintily marched through the snow and stepped up into the comfortable confines of the carriage. Just as the carriage was leaving to traverse the long and steep trail leading up to the mountain, a strange, disorganized red Kyrii sped up to the other Ixi. "Hey, can I get a lift up to my place?" she demanded quickly, panting.

      "Sure, Smatty! Hop on in! We're heading that way anyway." The Ixi looked back inside the carriage to a slightly annoyed Strophagus. "You don't mind, do you?"

      Strophagus was not a very social Neopet. He had only two or three friends that were Neopets, and he tried to avoid meeting new friends. So to that, he put on his best fake smile. "Of course, I mind!" he cried happily. The three other Neopets stared at him with blank expressions on their faces. "Oh, that did not come out right, did it?" he quickly said, blushing. "I meant that I do not mind at all." He nodded nervously.

      The Kyrii shrugged and jumped right in next to him, causing the carriage to shake a bit. "Well, then, we're off!" one of the Ixis shouted as they began to plow through the snow with their hooves.

      "So..." the Kyrii began, turning to poor Strophagus. "You have a pretty rich get-up, don't you?" she said, staring at his royal outfit.

      "Excuse me?" Strophagus managed to say.

      The Kyrii rolled her eyes. "You didn't understand what I just said, did you?"

      Strophagus shook his head. "I'm afraid not."

      "Never mind then," she replied, sticking out her paw. "I'm Smatty."

      "Smatty! What a distasteful name," Strophagus thought silently. He unwillingly stretched out his hand. "I am Strophagus, messenger and errand runner of Fyora."

      "Who's that?" Smatty asked him, confused.

      Strophagus sighed, not believing a Neopet would not know. "Fyora is the Faerie Queen."

      "Oh, her!" Smatty exclaimed.

      "Yes, her. She is a very important person. She protects Faerieland and governs it very well," the Quiggle remarked, his voice e with pride.

      "Uh huh." What Strophagus was saying mattered very little to Smatty. There was a small pause in their discussion until she decided to try and chat with the Quiggle again.

      "So where are you going?" she asked out of curiosity.

      "I am on a specific mission given to me by Fyora. I would prefer not to discuss the issue further since it does not apply to you," he said in a slightly cold but polite tone. Little did he know then.

      "Gee, well, sorry! I can't tell you where I'm going either. It's a top secret mission. I must travel the distance and arrive at my house," she joked.

      "Right," Strophagus said in a disdainful voice. For a while they both fell silent. Strophagus even dozed off as he was tired from all of his traveling. He awoke later, abruptly poked by Smatty. He sat up and rubbed his eyes.

      "Wake up, Strophy!" she yelled.

      "Have we arrived at the top of the mountain?" Strophagus asked her.

      "Uh...yeah, we're at my house." The Kyrii looked around, as if just to make sure.

      "What?!" the Royal Quiggle shouted in panic. "Did I miss my stop?" He looked at the Ixis.

      One of them turned around to Strophagus. "This is where we were told to drop you off."

      "You were supposed to get dropped off at my place?" Smatty looked at him. "Does Queenie need some herbs or something?"

      With that, Strophagus' jaw dropped. Smatty was the oh-so-brilliant herb specialist Fyora needed? How could that be? He nearly said that aloud but decided not to blurt out his astonishment. "Well, er, thank you," the Quiggle said, addressing the Ixis, and promptly left the carriage. The Ixis pulled the heavy carriage in another direction and trotted off, taking it to a new stop. Strophagus reached inside his velvety coat for the parcel Fyora had given him for the herb specialist. He read it over again:

      I need a specific herb called a Queen's Clover, and I hear that you may carry it. Please give one or more to Strophagus, my messenger, and you will be paid a hefty sum in neopoints later. Thank you.

-Fyora, Faerie Queen

      Smatty caught up with the Royal Quiggle, and they entered her shabby Neohome. The entrance was already unlocked, as Smatty rarely locked it. She thought it was too much of a hassle. "Sorry if it's a mess, your highness," she joked.

      "I forgive you," Strophagus answered, not understanding the humor at all. He handed Smatty the parcel and looked around. Junk was lying on the floor everywhere, and the smell of plants was heavy in the cool air. Many different plants were on the floor, hanging from the ceiling, and sitting on the window sills. A collection of exotic and seemingly rare herbs lay on a rack on her kitchen table.

      Smatty looked over the paper in shock, then handed it back to Strophagus. "Wah!" she exclaimed. "Why in Neopia would she ever need this herb? If I don't even have it, why would she need to have it?"

      "Fyora has a good reason for every action that she does. I respect that, and I respect her privacy. I never question why she sends me on these errands," Strophagus stated proudly.

      "Okay, whatever," Smatty replied, having not listened to that comment at all. "Listen, Strophy, I don't have this herb in stock; it's among the rarest in Neopia. I think-"

      "Strophy is not my name. Why have you been calling me that?" Strophagus asked blankly, frowning and cutting her off.

      "That's my new nickname for you because your whole name is too long. Anyway, there's-"

      Strophagus prevented the Kyrii from continuing. "I wish to be called Strophagus; that is my full name."

      Smatty shrugged, saying, "That's too bad." She did not let the Quiggle interrupt her this time. "As I said, this herb is among the rarest in Neopia. I don't have it, but I do know where to find it."

      "Oh, good!" Strophagus said, relieved, and dropping the subject of what he wanted to be called. "How long will it take you to get it?"

      "Correction, your highness," Smatty whispered, grinning. "How long will it take us to get it."

      "I...do not understand."

      "I'm going to need a partner for this trip, Strophy. Namely, you," she told him in all seriousness. Smatty could not have said a thing more horrifying to the Quiggle at the time.

To be continued...

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