Invisible Paint Brushes rock Circulation: 197,445,760 Issue: 981 | 21st day of Eating, Y25
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Life on a Foreign Planet


by greencheese79

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Hannu spent countless nights staring at the blue planet from his bedroom window, wondering what life would be like on Neopia. Residing on Kreludor, the Orange Grundo seldom found a chance to leave his home planet. Occasionally he would travel with his mother to the Space Station to play some Gormball or other games while she did her shopping.

     It was at the Space Station where his fondness for the planet grew with its beautiful blues, greens and whites. Hannu found the view much nicer and it was possible to make out some of the many settlements. On Kreludor you were lucky to see Faerieland before its fall.

     Many tourists visited the old rock Hannu lived on and he failed to see why. It was virtually void of life with the only true lifeforms, other than Grundos, being sentient rocks. There was not much to do either. He wondered how Kreludor was promoted down on Neopia: ‘Come take a tour at the forbidden-to-enter mine, buy a book and an overpriced Neocola, then eat at the Kreludan café with all of the food you can stomach.’ Food that many Grundos would easily pass up on. Home-cooked food was much better.

     Yet they came anyway, sometimes for more than a day, with smiles on their faces and excitement in their eyes. If they were that excited about visiting a little rock in space with very little to offer, how exciting must it be to visit their planet which contained a large variety of life and things to do.

     These were the thoughts going through Hannu’s head during his unplanned flight to Neopia. He had some regrets about boarding the shuttle, but the allure of visiting Neopia was too much to pass up on when the opportunity arose. And here he was now, squished in a box amongst the rest of the cargo. At least he could breathe. Well, kinda. Next to him was a crate of old gruncheese. He found the smell nauseating.

     It was Jynks’ idea to bring him along to Neopia. His friend had a convention in Neopia Central and snuck Hannu aboard the aircraft. Of course the only place he could fit him was in the cargo compartment.

     Jynks was notorious for causing mischief. Once the two of them started throwing rocks in the air to see how high they could throw them. With the low gravitational pull on Kreludor Jynks was able to throw his rocks pretty high. Then he had a brainwave that he would do much better if he used the community’s giant slingshot for keeping Dr. Sloth’s minions at Bay. He pointed the slingshot ninety degrees up and shot several rocks out of the stratosphere and into orbit. Feeling a heightened sense of exhilaration he decided he would not stop at sending rocks into space. So he framed an embarrassing picture of his sister to shoot into space.

     They had just received a shipment of Altadorian bread, which was a real treat on Kreludor. His sister decided to dip the bread into her chunky moon soup and ended up with soup all over her chin without knowing. And with her already goofy grin, she resembled a Quiggle plushie as she explained why she should have the last piece of bread over her brother. Of course Jynks retaliated by taking a photo and held onto it until he found a good use for it. Now he had one.

     Sure he got in trouble for contributing to the space junk already out there, which was very difficult to clean up. But after a slap on the wrist and a suspension from using the giant slingshot, his sister’s picture remained orbiting around Kreludor. Jynks even calculated the orbit so anyone with a half-decent telescope could see the photo that made her famous. His sister still cringes at the sight of Moon Soup and now only eats her Altadorian bread plain.

     Hannu’s stomach rumbled. How nice it would be to have some moon soup right now. In the excitement, he forgot to eat something before he left home.

     The trip was short, but bumpy, as they descended through Neopia’s atmosphere. Hannu would have held his head still if he was able to reach it, but instead settled with pushing his head deeper into a corner and thinking of nicer times.

     The warehouse staff were efficient at unloading the ship. It was only moments before his box was hauled out and placed in a darkened warehouse. Of course he was loaded on top of the gruncheese crate. He tried desperately to bust open his crate, but with the limited movement of his body he had no other choice than to wait for his friend. The wait for Jynks seemed longer than the flight.

     “That’s the one,” Hannu heard Jynks say. Jynks slid the crate over and it broke open on the floor.

     “I’ve been waiting for you at the lodge. I had to cut my lunch short to come find you,” Jynks said. Hannu was unimpressed. He had plenty of room in his stomach to fill and did not like thinking about all the food he did not get to eat.

     As they left the warehouse Jynks handed Hannu a small circular device resembling a bouncy ball. It was a tracking device equipped with a panic button since it was his first time visiting Neopia and he would be on his own for the day. With just a push of the button Jynks could locate and get to him in virtually no time. Hannu thought it would have already proved useful if Jynks had given it to him before he got into the crate, but with his limited movement he realized it would have only teased him.

     Jynks reminded Hannu that he was participating in a very important convention and should not be interrupted unless absolutely necessary. He advised him to stay close by and out of trouble then ran off before he missed out on lunch dessert.

     Hannu’s stomach began to rumble again as he grudgingly watched the shrinking Grundo disappear in the distance. Once Jynks was out of sight Hannu looked around, wondering what he should do first.

     “A food stand!” His first words of the story. He approached hastily and watched as a Mynci quickly prepared food in acrobatic fashion for a growing lineup of hungry customers. He waited patiently behind the excited crowd, expecting nothing but the finest Neopian cusine. His hunger pangs intensified and his stomach roared in the shared excitement of the crowd, embarrassing him slightly, but not enough to care. His head bobbed from side to side to see what was in store ahead. The moment finally arose when the customer in front of him walked away with a foil-wrapped surprise: It was his turn to order.

     The menu displayed an assortment of pictures featuring various styles of meat wrapped in bread. Hannu’s eyebrows sunk with his fading excitement. He fell for that Neopian excitement. It did not seem to take much to amuse them.

     He could not help but point out that the word ‘hot dog’ was a very humorous name for a tube of meat in a bun. The Mynci, however, did not seem to share the same humour nor did the cranky crowd waiting behind him. They only wished he would hurry up. How quickly their temperaments changed. Maybe it was the way he presented himself. With a shrug of his shoulders he ordered two cheese and chilli hot dogs.

     He was not sure what the hot dog was made of, but it was pleasing his tastebuds and satisfying his stomach. He looked around to see where he should go next. He had never seen much of anything outside of Kreludor, so it was no surprise that the first time he saw a large body of water, he was instantly drawn to it.

     Hannu walked toward a large pier that reached far into the ocean. This was the blue he saw from home and it covered most of the planet. He was in awe with the amount of water in front of him. He could have stayed there all day watching the boats on the water.

     One hot dog down and one still in hand, Hannu pulled the tracking device out of his pocket. He wondered if the device was even necessary. What sort of trouble could he possibly get into? While inspecting the device, he sensed something hovering over his head: a hungry mallard wishing to sample his hot dog.

     “Shoo! You can buy your own!” Hannu snapped. As much as he admired the beauty of the bird, he appreciated his hunger a little bit more and felt very possessive of his lunch. In the commotion, however, he lost hold of his tracking device and soon after heard a soft ‘ploop’. He looked around his feet and did not see the device anywhere. Hannu concluded that it must have rolled into the water. What was he to do? There was only one logical option. Hannu jumped in, hot dog still in hand.

     Hannu sank slowly to the bottom as he watch his cheese and chilli hot dog float slowly to the top. The mallard sloshed down and retrieved the hot dog from the water. Hannu realized he may not have thought that plan through carefully enough.

     The life in the ocean was breathtaking. Many fish and critters swam and crawled around the rocks, weeds and small trinkets found along the ocean floor. Though he was enjoying his new view of the ocean, he encountered two new problems. First, he realized he could not breathe in the water. Second, and probably worse, he never learned how to swim. He had never been around enough water to make that a necessary life skill.

     The gravity under the water was remarkably like the gravity on Kreludor. He felt much lighter than on Neopia’s landmass. If only there was a giant slingshot nearby to shoot himself out of the water.

     While Hannu looked around, a big hook lowered down from the surface and pulled him up. An Elephante stood there inspecting him quizzingly as he gasped for air. Hannu was missing the words to speak, so the Elephante started the conversation.

     “What were you doing down there?” She asked, placing Hannu down on the dock and swinging the umbrella she used under her arm. Hannu explained logically how he dropped his device in the water and tried to get it back.

     The Elephante clarified it was not very wise to jump in the ocean before first learning how to swim. Hannu appreciated the comment and agreed he would not do that again.

     The Elephante introduced herself as Tina. Hannu could not quite put a finger on it, but the name did not seem to suit her. She explained it would have been difficult to reach him without her umbrella. Fortunately for him there was rain in the forecast. Hannu agreed and said he was also fortunate to see so many creatures during his time underwater. There was so much life on this planet, even in places like the water where you cannot breathe. Hannu explained he was visiting from Kreludor and wanted to see as much as possible before the next day showed up.

     Tina agreed Neopia had lots of wildlife with many species yet to be discovered. She suggested walking through the forest to the west, but recommended he stay on the trail to avoid getting lost. Hannu found that comment very strange. He had heard of the mind getting lost in a conundrum or being lost in thought, but to become physically lost was completely unimaginable. Being from Kreludor, getting lost simply did not happen. Kreludans excelled at reading the stars. He looked up at the blue Neopian sky and concluded that it was harder to read the stars when they were hidden behind a reflective atmosphere.

     Tina thanked him for the conversation and continued on her walk. Hannu also loved to walk. It was one of the few things Grundos could do back home. Hannu examined his wet clothes. Back home his clothes would be frozen, but it was much warmer in Neopia. At least they would keep him cool.

     Within minutes Hannu could see the forest in the distance: A massive sea of green reaching across the entire landscape.

     “This is obviously the green on Neopia,” he thought to himself.

     The trail he followed meandered its way towards the forest and disappeared into an opening resembling the entrance of a giant cave. Large branches from the trees reached over the entrance entwining their finger-like branches into each other.

     Around the edge of the forest were numerous small shrubs and tall grass. Butterflies and other Petpetpets flew around to inspect the plethora of flowers blooming proudly in the sun. Hannu stopped for a while to inspect the life in front of him. He was not surprised that the Petpetpets were excited about the flowers. This was indeed something to be excited about.

     It was much darker under the forests’ canopy, but there was still plenty of light to look around. He paused. There was some rustling in some tall leaves of the undergrowth. He walked up slowly to the moving leaves, but whatever had been there was already gone. Hannu realized it was going to be difficult finding wildlife along the trail where half of the trees were missing. The only way to see more wildlife was to explore their habitat, not walking along a Neopian-made trail wide enough for a space shuttle. Hannu looked behind him, then to each side. No one was around to witness his next daring step: He walked off the trail.

     “It won’t be hard finding my way back,” he said with a scuff. Almost instantly he began observing some of the wildlife Neopia had to offer. He came across birds, scalamanders, greebles and an assortment of Petpetpets. Lots of plants too, many in flower.

     Hannu wandered for a while, distracted by all the unique forms of life on display. He wondered how many were still unknown species. He did not know if anyone had ever been brave enough to walk off of the trail before. Then an unexpected thought crossed his mind. What if some of the wildlife in this forest was dangerous? He decided it was probably time to turn around. And this was when things started to go bad for Hannu. It all started with a “ploop”.

     “That’s a familiar sound,” Hannu thought out loud. He looked down and his foot was missing under some water that had formed on the ground. Hannu attempted to pull his foot out, but the soggy squelchy ground kept trying to suck his foot back in. The mud finally released his foot only to grab at his other foot.

     During his struggle to free his feet, a short, sharp pain struck his neck. A group of moquots were buzzing around his head and biting him. Flailing his arms around like an excitable space fungus, he struggled free from the boggy soil and stepped back a few paces. It was as though the forest was mad at him. Back home it is very important to follow rules. There can be very bad consequences if you choose not to listen. Why did he think these rules would not apply here? Hannu swatted at another moquot.

     “I have to get out of here,” he said and turned back in the direction he came from. He was sure he only walked a short distance from the trail, but he could not seem to find it.

     He walked for what seemed like an hour, avoiding obstacles like fallen trees and soggy ground. He was now physically lost, his heart drumming much louder and faster than he liked it to. It was an unpleasant feeling and he understood why Tina had advised against it.

     The trees finally thinned out and Hannu was now looking into the blue Neopian sky. He had completely forgot about the starless sky. It was virtually impossible to navigate without them. He was stumped about what he should do next.

     Hannu looked out in the distance. Something dark was in the sky, closing in on him. He had never seen dark clouds before and they looked angry, rumbling and glowing with electricity. He began to tremble, uncertain about the event that was about to unfold.

     “I’m sorry for leaving the trail!” Hannu pleaded to the cloud. It answered by dumping water down on him.

     “There’s a new one,” he thought, “Lakes falling from the sky!” He watched as puddles formed around his feet and the ground began to soften. He looked around for shelter. He was not going to let himself sink into the ground again.

     He was about to take shelter under some trees when he noticed a cavity in the cliff wall. It was large enough to protect him from the rain and the ground was solid. He remained there until the rain stopped. His clothes were soaked, but Hannu was already used to his clothes being wet.

     As the clouds retreated to the east, they left behind a rainbow of which Hannu had never even read about. Beautiful and bright, it instantly calmed him down. The now-setting sun painted the remaining clouds and sky in beautiful purples, pinks and oranges. Hannu knew this was what he came to Neopia to see. It was a moment he would cherish for life.

     One by one he watched the stars appear until the sky was completely dark, feeling more like home. Kreludor rose up from the horizon. He stared up, studying the moon’s features and wondered how everyone was doing up there. He longed for his own bed, all curled up for a long night’s sleep. These rocks were not very comfortable, but it was very dark and was feeling more like home. He leaned back against the wall with a smile on his face and dozed off.

     Hannu woke up in the morning and the sky was blue again. He stepped out from his shelter and looked around. Beautiful white peaks of snow carpeted a range of mountaintops. They were the opposite of Kreludor’s mountains, which were smaller with molten lava at their peaks instead of snow.

     Hannu could not see the trail or even Neopia Central. He realized he needed to climb higher for a better view of everything. Rock climbing was something Grundos were born to do. Yes, one of the few things you could do on Kreludor. He climbed up the mountain with surprising speed and ease.

     Hannu reached a spot where there was more snow than rock. This was definitely the whites on Neopia when there were no clouds. And it was cold. About as cold as the surface of Kreludor. Hannu was used to the temperature, but his clothes were not. Still wet from the rain the day before, it was like wearing a suit of boxboard.

     Hannu walked stiffly towards a cave up ahead with a fresh and well-travelled trail leading to it. He entered hoping for some warmth and ended up bumping into a couple Neopians who insisted he be quiet. He agreed, not knowing why. They approached a room with a mountain of treasure. The idea was to sneak a piece without getting caught. Hannu did not see anyone else around and joined in the fun.

     The Kyrii and Shoyru grabbed a book and frost cannon and fled. Hannu had his eyes on a beautiful tasty-looking negg. As he grabbed it he sensed something big slithering around the treasure pile. Initially, Hannu did not put much thought into who was guarding the treasure, but now was beginning to wonder what was.

     Big eyes came into view staring coldly at Hannu. It was a giant ice worm! The Snowager to be exact. Hannu dropped the negg and made a beeline towards the mouth of the cave. A giant roar filled the room and a blast of ice chunks hit the wall where Hannu stood seconds earlier. His stiff wafer legs never ran faster. He even managed to beat his own land speed record that was set only a few hours earlier in the storm. It was a proud moment he could appreciate later.

     Lots of noises came out of him through his panting, whimpering and rigid clothes as he continued his sprint. The beast was closing in fast and Hannu sensed that he was not going to make it out of the cave in time. As he was trying to think up a plan, he accidentally tripped over his foot and fell forward in what seemed to be slow motion.

     Then something funny happened. As he fell, he shielded his face and landed flat on his belly. Remarkably his stiff, icy clothes slid well along the hard, icy floor of the cave. The downward slope helped him slide much faster than running in full sprint. Hannu zipped out of the Snowager’s cave faster than a sloth sock puppet out of a “Splat-A-Sloth” tube. He was free! The Snowager retreated from the entrance once it knew there was no more threat.

     Hannu slid for a while longer just to be safe. He did not know where he was going anyway. A short while later he came across a sign that read “Snow Roller Trail”. A trail! This was definitely a sign. He desperately hoped it would lead him back to Jynks, who he was starting to miss.

     “Go away!” A loud, grizzly voice boomed from above. Startled, Hannu looked up to see a snow beast high on a cliff. He obviously was not in the mood for visitors because he sent a giant snowball rolling towards him. Once again panic struck Hannu until he remembered his icy clothes. He jumped onto his chest and began sliding down the hill like a full-fledged Bruce. He was proud of this new ability until “thwump!” the giant snowball rolled over him rotating him faster down the hill.

     At least I’m moving faster Hannu thought, trying to stay positive as he swirled around downhill. The snowball reached a considerable size by the time it reached the bottom of the mountain, eventually breaking apart. Hannu lay there on the ground dizzy and disoriented. When his head settled down he looked up at a new sign that read “Welcome to Neopia Central”.

     Overjoyed, he picked himself up and ran dizzily towards the lodge where he had last seen Jynks disappear to. Jynks must have been worried sick about him.

     Jynks was standing outside the lodge talking with a few of his colleagues when Hannu approached.

     “Heya Hannu,” Jynks called out with a smile. “How did it go? Did you get to the park over there. There are lots of trails to walk on.”

     Trails?!” Hannu sputtered out. Hannu wanted to hurt him. Fortunately for Jynks, he was not a violent Grundo. Instead he relayed the series of events he endured.

     “Hey cheer up,” Jynks patted him on the back. The conference had just concluded and he was planning to get some lunch. Hannu had not eaten all morning and suggested they get chilli and cheese hot dogs. He was already starting to act like a Neopian. They grabbed three hot dogs from the Mynci and sat down at a bench on the pier.

     “Hey if you need cheering, I’ve just been given access to the giant slingshot and I have a great picture of my sister in her “beauty mask”. That should make a great addition to the space junk out there,” Jynks sniggered. Hannu agreed that was a good plan. And they ate their hot dogs as they watched the boats sail on the ocean.

     “Hey Hannu. That mallard just took your hot dog,” Jynks pointed out.

     “What?! Hey get your own hot dog!” Hannu said as he gave chase to the bird. Jynks never laughed harder in his life.

     The End.

 
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