The Atlas Saga, Book One - Return to Neopia: Part One
"Wait a minute, this can't be right..."
I quickly turned my head from side to side as I surveyed my surroundings. My eyes widened in shock and disbelief as I took in the unfamiliar sights.
"W-Where am I?"
One minute, I was back home, in my room, and the next...
All I remembered was a bright flash of blue light.
I found myself standing in the middle of what seemed to be a beautiful park. The serene atmosphere did calm me down a little, but my mind was still reeling from shock.
This could not be happening. I didn't even recall anything about the place that I was standing in, and I could not see anyone else in sight that I could ask for help.
This was all too strange. Just exactly where was I?
I looked down at my feet. There was a silvery-blue backpack lying on the ground right next to them. I picked it up apprehensively and unzipped it. A small black case rested within the first compartment. I raised an eyebrow and, with much hesitation, picked it up.
I yanked open the black case, and fished out a small, silver device with a screen and a few buttons.
My cerulean eyes opened wide as I recognized the item.
I stood up straight as memories began rushing back to me.
Memories about a world long forgotten.
Memories about friends long neglected.
- Five years ago -
A small, furry creature looked up at me with inquisitive eyes.
I leaned down, a big smile plastered on my face, and said, "How are you? I'm gonna be your new owner!"
The small green Lupe jumped up and down in joy, and leaped right into my arms.
I hugged the little one close to my chest.
"I think the name Spyder would be good for you. Yeah, I think I'll call you Spyder876," I whispered into his ear.
"I like it! It sounds great!" He snuggled closer to my chest. "Nice to meet you too... umm..."
I smirked. "Just call me Atlas. Good to meet you too, little guy."
My eyes narrowed.
I remembered now. He was my very first Neopet. A green Lupe. Lupes came from...
I looked down at the device in my hands once more, and shook my head in disbelief.
I recalled it as my personal NeoCom. It was a small device, that everyone in Neopia was given on their first visit. We all used our NeoComs to do a multitude of things, like check our Neomail, travel across Neopia, and whatnot.
I found the 'On' button, and booted up the device. The screen flared bright white for a few seconds, before a few images came into focus.
"Please press the 'Teleport to NeoHome' button," a feminine voice emanated from the speakers. I was amazed. The voice still sounded crystal-clear after all the time that had passed.
My finger paused right before the button, as another wave of memories flooded my mind.
- Four and a half years ago -
"Hey, Atlas! Where are we going?" Spyder876 asked me as he walked beside me.
"Chill, Spyder, chill. You are going to be getting a new baby brother!" I told him.
His eyes opened wide. "You mean that?"
I smirked. "Yeah."
Spyder let a massive grin worm its way across his lips. "I hope it's another Lupe! I really want someone new to play with!"
"Bored of me already?" I joked.
He grinned. "Maybe so, maybe not..."
I grasped his head under my arm and ruffled his hair. "Heh. All right, come on now, let's go."
"Any idea what you're going to name him?"
"Yeah, I think Prophetical07 would really suit him."
I looked down at my finger, still hovering over the 'Teleport to NeoHome' button. I raised my eyebrow.
What was I waiting for?
I pressed down on the button, a little harder than was necessary, and waited.
A bright, blue light to my right caught my attention.
I watched as the familiar blue light swirled around, eventually forming a decent sized oval.
I remembered that. It was the portal to my NeoHome.
I quickly shoved my NeoCom into my pocket, took a deep breath, and, without hesitation, stepped through the swirling blue portal. I closed my eyes as feelings of nostalgia washed over me once more.
I was back in Neopia, for the first time in three and a half years.
After a brief flash of light, I found myself standing in front of a massive building. The structure was well-kept, and the lawn was neatly trimmed. My NeoCom started beeping. I quickly pulled it out of my pocket and looked at the screen.
"Key in left compartment," it told me.
I checked the small compartment on the left side of my backpack, and sure enough, I fished out a brass key.
I slowly walked up the white path that led to the front door. Yes, this was my Neohome. The one that I had built together with my pets. The key that I had in my hand had to be the key to the house.
I unlocked the door, grabbed hold of the brass doorknob, and turned. The wooden door opened with a click, allowing me entry. I strode in, and shut the door behind me. The first thing I saw was something big flying right at me.
The 'thing' tackled me to the carpeted floor and pinned me down.
"Who are you?! How did you get in here?!"
I heard two voices coming from upstairs.
"Spyder, you okay down there?"
"Big bro, what's going on? Who are you talking to?"
"A stranger entered the house! It's a human boy!" the 'thing' on top of me yelled back. Upon closer inspection, I realized that he was a Lupe. A fairly big one, at that.
The Lupe turned his attention back to me. "I'm going to ask again: Who are you? What is your name? How did you get in?"
"Easy, buddy. The name's Atlas. This is how I got in," I said, as I showed him the key.
His eyes grew wide and he immediately stepped off me.
"A-Atlas?" he asked. "Is it really you?"
"Yeah, it's me. From those voices, I assume that you're... Spyder876? Is that right?" I replied.
The Lupe leapt towards me again, this time wrapping his arms around his in a big hug. I glanced up as two figures rushed down the stairs.
"All right, where is he?!" a massive white Grarrl yelled.
Spyder turned around, with tears in his eyes. "Guys... he's back..."
"Who's back? Hey, you look familiar, but what's your name?" the Grarrl asked.
"It's all right. My name is Atlas." I racked my brain for his name. "Powertank780, is it?"
The Grarrl's mouth dropped open.
"A-Atlas? Atlas!" He rushed forward and picked me up in a massive bear hug.
He stepped back after a while, and surveyed me. "Wow... you look really different."
I chuckled, realizing how much I had grown, and gestured to my face, saying, "Yeah, this was Nature's fault."
I followed up by gesturing to my jet-black hoodie and jeans. In my earlier days in Neopia, I wore much lighter garb than what I was wearing then. "This was my fault."
A mutant Grundo ran forward, pushed Powertank aside, and bearhugged me as well.
"I missed you!" he shouted.
I raised both eyebrows. A mutant Grundo? I had no memory of ever creating a Grundo, not to mention turning him into a mutant. I gently pried him away from me. "Forgive me, but I don't recall ever getting a Grundo."
He frowned. "It's me! Prophetical07!"
I was taken aback. "What?! Can't be... he was a red, male Lupe!"
He sighed and lightly punched me on the shoulder. "You sent me to the lab ray a couple of times before you left. Remember?"
"Oh... I'm sorry, Prophetical."
"It's okay," he said with a smile. "Just happy to have you back here with us."
Spyder looked back up at me once he had regained his composure. "I'm sorry for jumping on you like that, Atlas, but it's just that we're all on edge. The invasion of Kreludor by some unknown enemy has gotten us all on edge-"
"Whoa, whoa, buddy, back up. Invasion? What invasion? Kreludor? What in the world is a 'Kreludor'?" I spouted off questions.
"Kreludor is Neopia's moon. That was the place where Dr. Sloth first discovered the Grundos. A few weeks ago, a distress call coming from Kreludor reached Neopia Central. It said something about an invasion. A team was sent there to investigate, but they haven't returned," Prophetical said, and hung his head. "We fear for the worst."
I sat myself down on the couch. An invasion, and a place that I had not even heard of before. Wow.
So much had changed.
"Wait, how did you guys survive all this while? What about food and all that?" I asked.
"It was pretty easy. I mean, you did leave us about four million Neopoints in the bank when you left," Spyder responded.
Powertank sat down next to me and said, "Well, now that you're back, things seem to be looking up! Why don't we all just forget about this whole invasion thing and go exploring? I'm pretty sure you're anxious to see how much Neopia has changed since you were last here."
"Look, it's great to be back and all, but what I want to find out is: how did I get back here if I didn't want to? All I remembered seeing was a big flash of light, and the next I knew, I was back in Neopia."
The pets looked at me with puzzled expressions on their faces.
"I don't know, Atlas, but maybe you'll find out in time... " Spyder took a seat opposite me. "In the meantime, how about going exploring with us, just as Powertank suggested?"
"Yeah, I guess that would be a good idea," I said as I rose. I pulled out the NeoCom, and pressed the 'Explore' button. A map showed up on the screen. As I scanned the map, I did a double-take at one of the cities listed that was available for visit.
"Now, hang on. That city... the one in the middle of the ocean. That's not..."
"Yeah, that's Maraqua," Spyder said.
"Wait, it was destroyed! There was a whirlpool!" I shouted, confused.
"That whirlpool couldn't go on forever, and they rebuilt the city," the green Lupe explained. I suddenly noticed that Spyder was wearing a red coat with white trim.
"Hey, Spyder, what's up with the coat?" I asked.
"Hmm? You don't remember that too? Christmas paint brush? Mean anything to you?" he asked.
An image of myself holding up a green and red paint brush surfaced in my mind's eye. I remembered bringing the Lupe to the Rainbow Pool and painting him Christmas.
"I'm sorry, all of you guys, if I can't remember everything, but it's been quite a while," I apologized in a soft voice.
"It's all right. Well, I think we should go to Mystery Island first. Maybe a little familiarity would be good for you, Atlas," Spyder said.
I nodded, and selected Mystery Island on the map. Seconds later, another blue portal appeared in the living room, right in front of me. My Neopets motioned for me to follow as they stepped through.
I walked through the portal, and closed my eyes once more as thoughts drifted through my head. However, one stood out the most amongst the others: I was back.
To be honest, it felt...
To be continued...