The Princess and the Crook
«What are you doing? » noted Nala in a calm and composed voice. She knew exactly what I was doing, it was just her way to remind me that I should come out of my room once in a while. Rhetorical question. I hate it. She loves it.
I grumbled to let her know that I wasn’t willing to listen to her rambling. Yes she was more mature, yes she was smarter, and yes she was right. I knew all of this and honestly I didn’t care at all.
Volinala is nearly 6 years older than me. We are two adopted sisters, but I have always considered her like a mother more than a sibling. She’s an Acara and she is always calm. She thinks too much and she would have read all the books in Neopia if she could afford them. She and I are like night and day; I am a Xweetok, I have a bad temper and I think books and all those stuffs are really boring… I prefer manual activities, mechanics, do-it-yourself, I am passionate about these! I don’t think we can learn everything just by reading books, I prefer learning from my mistakes.
Since the beginning of that year, I’d been working on a new project that was really important to me: to create wings able to make me fly all around Neopia, and resistant enough to support the weight of any neopet, even an Elephante or a Grarrl! I had nearly reached my goal but I still couldn’t fly a long distance… From Lutari Island where I was at the moment, I couldn’t go further than Mystery Island…
Understanding that I wouldn’t talk, Nala sighed one last time before leaving my room. She was probably counting our neopoints again. She used to do it daily… Recently, we had spent all our saving in new gears and tools for me, books for Nala and gourmet food for Lina, our little sis.
Without further delay, I went back to my task. Maybe I could fix this matter if I used a different kind of fuel… I had already tried with lava, like Moltaran engineers, but unlike what they say, it’s far from being a revolutionary discovery… It causes damages to the materials and it’s really sticky!
My deep thoughts were interrupted by a deafening scream. I ran outside without thinking.
« NALA !!!!!! » I shouted my lungs out.
What I saw scared me to death. A poison tipped dagger was stuck in her right side and she seemed to have lost consciousness. The table was a real mess and all our neopoints were gone. I saw a dark shadow in the woods, behind the broken window, but it was already too far for me to reach it. Nala’s necklace had also been stolen. A light blue crystal, the same color as her eyes, with a ribbon matching her favorite dress color. It was a gift I gave her for her last birthday, she had never taken it off.
I felt like a monster for having been so cold to her before. All she wanted was to help me, but I didn’t even listen to what she was saying… The only thing I could do at the moment was to call Lina and hope that she could do something.
« Oh my Faerie Queen! » she exclaimed while running toward us.
She bent over her and stared at the wound with a concerned look. Lina is an island Kacheek. During her childhood on Mystery Island, she learned how to produce remedies with Jhuidah. She began cleaning the injury while asking me: « Did you see who attacked her? »
« No, I was too late! I beg you, tell me you can heal her! » I answered.
She pondered a few seconds and murmured « It’s a deadly poison… In this state, Nala won’t survive more than 2 weeks… I know an antidote but I don’t have the ingredients to make it! »
« Write a list, I’ll get them for you! » At this moment, the only thing that was important to me was the life of my sister. I thought that whatever awaited me, I was ready to overcome it.
« Impossible. It’s too dangerous. »
« AND SO WHAT?! I won’t stay here doing nothing and watch her state worsen! Just tell me what you need and I’ll go get it now! » I knew I shouldn’t get angry at her, that she was really worried, but I couldn't help it. I hate feeling useless and powerless and shouting is the best way for me to calm down.
She began reluctantly « …a Neovian mysterious potted flower, a bottle of tears of the Water Faerie, a yellow Healthshroom, and… » she stopped suddenly, hesitating over telling me the last ingredient.
« And what?! » I was losing control again.
« … a mystical bag of sand… » she continued unwillingly « Eyrieki is the only one who has one… That’s why I told you it was impossible! »
I knew it would be dangerous but I was determined. « I don’t care. I’ll beat him if I have to, but I’ll obtain all the ingredients! »
She stared at me with her deep green eyes and understood that I wouldn’t change my mind. Her voice was shaking when she finally said « Ok… But please be careful! »
I answered with a shy smile « I’ll be back in two weeks. Take care of Nala! »
I packed my things quickly. I only took a few clothes, my wings and my tools. First destination: Mystery Island.
It was the beginning of my long journey…
I checked that my wings were well attached on my back. It was the moment to see if they were as good as I wished they were! I ran as fast as I could until I couldn’t feel my own legs. I reached the coast, but went on running. Finally, I jumped in the air.
Nothing happened. I didn’t have anything to stop myself from falling. 1 yard. 5 yards. 10 yards. I started panicking. Was it the end? The ground was approaching dangerously. « Please! Please! Why am I not flying?! After all the time I’ve spent working on those, why don’t they work?! » I closed my eyes and took a deep breath. Finally my fall stopped. I was so relieved that I forgot everything about the events of the morning.
I had never felt like this before. It was an amazing feeling! The caress of the wind on my cheeks, the feeling of being lighter than a cloud! I was flying!! I was whirling, doing loopings, rising and falling! I laughed and I shouted, like I was the only one left in Neopia! I wanted to stay like this forever!
But the truth punched me right on the face and woke me up from this beautiful daydream. Nala. How could I forget her?! I didn’t have the right to be happy like this when she was in such a critical state! I stopped playing and flew straight in direction of Mystery Island. I was so worried about my sister that I couldn't enjoy the trip anymore. I don’t know much time I spent flying, but I felt like the morning was many years ago…
After a thirty-minute journey, I started hearing a low unusual sound. At first I didn’t think it was important, so I went on flying. But this noise became louder and louder. And then I understood. The motor!! I ran out of gas, lost in the middle of nowhere! I looked for somewhere to land, but all I could see was water. I didn’t know the distance that separated me from Mystery Island. « No! Not now! » I thought while losing altitude. With one last horrible sound, the wings stopped working, and I began my second deadly fall of the day. But this time, no miracle happened. I took one last deep breath before falling in the water.
The surface of the ocean hit me violently in the face. I felt like all my bones were breaking apart. A powerful force was slowly dragging me down into the abyss. I tried to swim but I wasn't a Lutari and the wings were way too heavy for me to move freely! Everything around me became dark as I lost consciousness. Was it the end?
The floor was really rough under my back. I was rocked by the waves as if I was on a ship and I wasn’t alone. Somebody was near me, whistling a melody I didn’t know. I made a huge effort to open my eyes.
As I thought, I was on a boat. It was quite big, but we were only two. The Wocky who was whistling earlier was turning his back on me. He had brown hair, a brown hat and a brown cloak with black clothes.
I tried to talk, but the only sound that came out of my mouth was a brassy cough. I spat out all the water that I previously swallowed. He suddenly stopped sharpening his sword and quickly turned around.
Two things immediately shocked me. First, his color. He had a grey coat, a black fur and a golden ear piercing. A pirate. Second, his eyes. He had light blue eyes, without pupil. A blind pirate.
He asked « Finally awake Princess? » with a sardonic smile.
« Who are you? » I asked sharply. He was blind, it’s true, but he still was a pirate!
« This is how you talk to your savior? » He took on a fake upset look. « I am Hunego. But you can call me Hugo if you want! What about you Princess? »
« Horliane. But I prefer Ane. » Something was still bothering me… « How… How did I get here? »
« I heard a big sound so I jumped in the water to see what it was .. » he hesitated a moment. « Well… Even though I can’t technically ‘see’ anything! » He burst out laughing. His laugh was sincere, like a kid’s. « So tell me Princess, what were you doing in the ocean? Looking for Maraqua? » A huge grin appeared on his face.
« Haha… Hilarious… » We talked a bit together, and I began to appreciate him a little more. So I related my adventures of the morning.
At the end of my story, he was really pale. For the first time since we’ve met, he wasn’t grinning.
« What happened to your sister is horrible… » He seemed really sorry « Let me come with you! I’ll help you find the missing ingredients! »
I was about to refuse, but he seemed determined and I was desperate… « … Ok, if you insist… »
After hearing those words, he grinned again. « Great! Mystery Island here we are!! »
To be continued…