Voice of the Neopian Pound Circulation: 93,823,843 Issue: 183 | 26th day of Running, Y7
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Brought Together - Part Two


by springsteen0991

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“Are you joking?” Strophagus demanded seriously, “I was sent here to bring Queen Fyora an herb, not to go on any sort of adventure!” He stared at her, gaping. He could not believe what she had just suggested.

     “But I can’t make this trip alone!” Smatty protested. “I’m going to need someone to help me along the way. Two Neopets are better than one, after all!” She winked at him.

     Strophagus groaned. He hated adventure, and he despised it when things didn’t go as planned. “I am going to sit here until you come back to this house with the herb that Fyora has requested of you!” He pulled up a chair.

     Smatty could not believe how stubborn he was. “Let me put it this way. Do you want to come along with me and get your Queen the herb, or would you like to be sent home empty handed?”

     “Well...” Strophagus sighed. “All right. I will come with you. But I hope that this journey will be in no way perilous, exciting, long, or difficult.”

     “Funny,” the Kyrii smirked. “I was just about to say that this adventure will be perilous, exciting, long, and difficult.”

     He groaned again. “So what exactly do we have to do, and where exactly do we have to go?”

     Smatty shrugged. “We have to get a clover called a Queen’s Clover that is mentioned on that parcel cover. But the herb grows on a far away cliff that could take us days to get to, and I’m pretty sure that it grows at the bottom of the cliff.”

     “But...” Strophagus protested.

     “But to get to the cliff,” Smatty continued, “we have to go across Candychan’s Bridge, and then I think there’s this huge icy lake near an inn. After you get to the other side of the lake, there’s a cliff, and at the bottom is where the clover itself grows.”

     “I do NOT like the sound of this, Smatty.”

     “Come on,” she ignored his whining. “We’ll rest here tonight and leave some time tomorrow morning.”

    ***

     They had packed plenty of food rations, they thought at least, mostly vegetables and dry foods that wouldn’t perish. They each had sleeping bags, warm clothing, and Smatty brought along her strongest tent. Smatty suspected the journey would be one of her longest ever, though probably not longer than five days. But for Smatty, who was used to going out in the morning and being home again in the evening, a five day trek overwhelmed her a bit. Needless to say, it overwhelmed Strophagus a lot.

     Around nine o’clock they both set out carrying each one bag of food and clothing. Smatty had to carry the tent. “Where are we off to?” Strophagus asked Smatty, miserably.

     “Well, Candychan’s Bridge is up a dozen or so miles north. It might take us all day to get there in all this snow.”

     Strophagus sighed, wondering why he had agreed to come along with her. They didn’t have much of a conversation until unexpectedly a cold and wet feeling came upon Strophagus’s side. He looked down at his jacket as Smatty giggled. “What happened?” he wondered aloud.

     Smatty chuckled. “I threw a snowball at you, silly!”

     “Oh, I see,” he replied, annoyed. “And why did you do that?”

     “Because it’s fun!” Smatty exclaimed, throwing another one straight at his face.

     “Please, stop it now,” the Quiggle ordered.

     Smatty sighed and looked at him, a sad twinkle in her eyes. “You really have no personality at all, do you?”

    ***

     At noon, they decided it was time for a rest and stopped at an inn where many Terror Mountain locals took breaks on their routes. Smatty walked in first with Strophagus trailing behind, unsure. An old, smiling blue Poogle sat at a table, taking a bite out of a snow sandwich. “Smatty!” he exuberantly exclaimed as soon as he saw the Kyrii. “Long time no see, old pal!”

     Smatty ran towards the Poogle and hugged him, nearly knocking him down. “Old Bruce! How have you been doing?” Smatty asked, beaming.

     But before Old Bruce could reply, Strophagus, a bit confused, spoke up: “I believe that he is a Poogle, not a Bruce, Smatty.”

     The two other Neopets chuckled. “He’s a Poogle, but his name’s Bruce,” Smatty explained.

     “Who’s your friend, Smatty?” Old Bruce asked.

     “This is Stro– his name is really long. Just call him Strophy. He’s running some special errand with me.” She playfully zipped her lips.

     “Hello, pleased to meet you.” Strophagus bowed to the Poogle, remembering to be polite.

     “Pleased to meet ya, too, Strophy!” Old Bruce shook Strophagus’s hand firmly, by surprise. “You sure have a pretty rich get-up, don’t you?”

     Smatty laughed. “He has no idea what you’re talking about.”

     “Indeed,” the Quiggle said.

     “Anyway,” Smatty told Bruce, “we have to get some herb for some greedy old Faerie, and I thought we’d stop by to have some lunch and get some rest.”

     The Poogle patted Smatty on the back. “You’re welcome here any time!” He turned to the Royal Quiggle and spoke in a mocking wealthy accent. “Your highness, please have a seat.”

     “Certainly. Thank you,” Strophagus said, not understanding the sarcasm again. “I have noticed many similarities between the things you two say to me. It is quite puzzling.” Smatty smiled. The three of them sat down and had an appetizing lunch. Old Bruce and Smatty told Strophagus stories of old times when they were kids and how they went sledding by the Happy Icy Fun Snow Shop. “I do say,” Strophagus found himself thinking, “that does sound like fun.”

     They had been at the inn for an hour and three quarters, the Kyrii and the Poogle catching up on what had been going on with them recently. But alas, it was time for them to get going. “Thank you so much, Bruce. It was really great seeing you again.” Smatty hugged him again and waved good bye.

     On their way out, the Poogle called to them: “Stop by on your way back, will ya?” Smatty nodded, and Strophagus gave him his “best wishes.” Old Bruce didn’t know for what though.

     “He was a jolly fellow,” Strophagus said, looking at Smatty. She grinned.

     “Yeah,” she agreed. “He’s a great friend.” Smatty stared at the sky, a piercing blue. Maybe Strophagus was someone she could get along well with. Maybe he just needed to open himself up a little and explore new aspects of life. She bet herself then that she could teach an old Puppyblew new tricks, despite how the old saying went.

     After a difficult climb up to the top of a hill, Smatty spotted Candychan’s Bridge a few hundred yards up ahead. When they arrived there, they were tired and worn out, and the sun was setting. “Oh my!” Strophagus shouted. The bridge stood in between two humongous cliffs, and the way down was a long one.

     “Oh, don’t be a baby, Strophy; I’ve crossed this bridge millions of times. There isn't anything to worry about; it's been stable for decades.” She marched towards the edge of the cliff.

     “I highly doubt you have crossed it a million times,” the Quiggle remarked.

     Smatty stared at him. “You need to take some sarcasm and exaggeration courses; those are your weakest points. You could take an extra 'Understanding General Humor' class, if you like, though.”

     Obviously, Strophagus didn’t find that very funny, so he shrugged and decided not to reply. Sometimes he wished he understood humor a little better. He sighed and followed Smatty as they took their first steps onto the rickety bridge. “This bridge is wobbly and not very strong,” he muttered, mostly to himself.

     “Yeah, this is the ‘dangerous’ part of the journey that I mentioned. Don’t worry, though; I’ve crossed this bridge tons of times and nothing’s happened,” she repeated, clenching her teeth and moving at a quick pace. Just as she said that, she stepped onto a slab of wood and her foot fell through. She yelped in shock.

     “Do be careful!” Strophagus advised her, not realizing that his comment was one of the most useless comments Smatty had ever heard. She carefully pulled her foot out, making sure that she kept her balance, and continued along the bridge. Strophagus gaped at the open area he had to cross.

     “Let’s go, Strophy!” Smatty shouted back to him.

     “I can’t!” he cried. “It’s too dangerous. And scary.” Smatty walked steadily back to where Strophagus was standing. She suddenly grabbed his hand and with unusual strength pulled him across the gap in the bridge and began running as fast as she could. Strophagus waddled clumsily behind her, scared out of his wits, hyperventilating all the way to end of the bridge.

To Be Continued...

 
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» Brought Together: Part One



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