A Farmer's Quest
"What a Pile of Dung!” a yellow Kacheek cursed, and angrily stabbed his pitchfork on the ground, disturbing the soil on the ground.
He just could not believe the scene in front of his eyes: his asparagus farm was completely destroyed! He walked around in his precious field, his pace fueled by the anger of what he had witnessed the longer he looked at his crops. His eyes collected the visual damage of his damaged crops. His nostrils exhaled heavily and deeply, as he felt his anger grew every second. Something bad turned his soils, possibly by flinging around or kicking around. The ruined asparagus got bent, broken, or missing in where their roots planted. Not to mention, he had zero idea who or what caused this madness. He had just returned from his second breakfast of Hot Crossed Buns and Thick Creamy Porridge, after he finished tilling new soils early this morning.
The farmer sighed, feeling defeated, and figured today was just his bad day. He thought quite a few, random idea on what might have happened: maybe a wind had blew by and shook his fragile, fledgling crops; or one of them Shoyrus flew by quickly, and the wind wavered his stalks; or perhaps an angry air faerie blew his crops with magic, except he could not thought of any air faerie whom he had upset recently. He took another deep breath, and held his pitchfork firmly for a few seconds before redoing this morning’s work. He would have to repair the damage on his crops. The Kacheek took the whole day to redo his farm, and he was extra tired when the sun had gone down. He went to bed and fell asleep soundly from his fatigue.
The next morning, after he had got back from his second breakfast again, he saw the same ravage happened. Frustrated and confused, he muttered a curse under his breath, and wondered, what kind of unfortunate things he did in the past to receive such bad luck. He had not seen any Meowclops lurking around in Meridell, or broken any mirrors. His mind ran wild with more random speculations on what might have caused this, but the voice of a friendly neighbor farmer snapped him out of that speculating trance.
“Hey there, you alright?” A green Gelert farmer spoke, howling loudly to call the Kacheek.
“Huh?” The Kacheek froze, recollecting his thoughts before replying again. “Yesterday I came back from my second breakfast and I saw my farm got destroyed! And it had happened again today!”
“Oooh?” The Gelert chimed in, and smiled. “I actually came here to talk about this. My farm had been attacked today and yesterday as well.”
“So, it’s not just me?” The Kacheek asked, feeling a bit relieved that it wasn’t just his bad luck or something.
“No…” The Gelert paused, trying to time his next thought. “I’ve talked to other farmers around Meridell. It seemed like only our farms are affected.”
The Kacheek silently listened as he was processing the latest scoop, but the Gelert continued after a few seconds. “The strangest part is, I don’t even know why only our farms are affected, then. I went to check with the other farmers to see maybe if the Darigans or some wraiths attacked again, but nope. I tried talking to some of the guards in Meridell, but they didn’t have any report of a criminal on the loose. I also tried finding Illusens, but I think she had gone to Faerieland for something.”
The Kacheek chuckled for a bit, well at least the Gelert had some other wild idea going on, like the Darigans attacking! Though he did remembered they were on a truce, for a very, very long time. However, hearing the mention of faerie, the Kacheek thought maybe there was something else he could try.
“Hey Isaac?” The yellow Kacheek began speaking. “What about other faeries? Maybe they could help us?”
“Hm? I wouldn’t try to bother them, since they would only look for us if they wanted to give us a quest. Why would you think some faeries are going to cast some magic for some Meridell farmers?” Isaac the Gelert responded, sounding his skepticism about seeking magical help.
“Well, fine then. I’ll go find a faerie myself. I’ll ask her to help with your farm too, but you’ll owe me one bushel of potatoes!” The stubborn Kacheek retorted, standing on his ground that a faerie would surely help them.
“Heh. It looks like whatever that destroyed our farms must be something small and not big like a Darigan attack. I’ll go look around the area myself, then. If I find the culprit, then you owe me one bushel of asparagus!” Isaac also stood his ground that they didn’t need magical assistance. While they both agreed that this destruction was specifically targeting those two farms, they had different methods to reach a solution.
“Well, mind if I take a look at your farm first? I’ve already look through my farm this morning and yesterday,” The Gelert requested, breaking the silence of the feud on finding the solution earlier.
“Sure, why not? And I’ll put down my pitchfork really quick and visit Illusen!” The Kacheek grinned, and hurriedly place down his farm tool in a shed. The Gelert, however, tried his best to sniff for a culprit, as well as poking around the ground for clues.
The yellow Kacheek took a bit of time to reach Illusen’s Glade. The area was vibrant with foliage, a result of the elegant earth faerie Illusen’s mastery of gardening.
“Hello? Illusen are you here? My farm is in trouble!” He yelled out loud, but only silence responded. He could only hear the sound of some petpets playing inside this dense glade, and some sound of leaves and branches rustling.
Several seconds later, the farmer did heard a loud angry shout, except it didn’t sound like Illusen’s voice. From within the glade, an earth faerie fluttered close to the farmer, with an upset expression on her face.
“What do you want? Didn’t you read the sign that Illusen was out for now?” The earth faerie angrily hollered, trying to shoo uninvited visitor to the glade.
“Oh, I know that!” The yellow Kacheek defended himself, but he technically had only heard from his neighboring farmer Gelert, and missed the sign himself. “My farm and my neighbor’s farm were destroyed, but this situation seemed like it was only our farms.”
“Oh?” The earth faerie perked up her voice, sounding unamused by this mundane affair. “What do you want me to do? I’m an earth faerie. If you need to catch a criminal, ask the Meridell guards!”
Realizing that perhaps Isaac was right, the Kacheek’s heart sunk a little upon hearing the faerie’s rejection, but he wanted to persist about asking for a faerie’s help. “Oh. Um… Can you use your faerie magic to revitalize our farms then?” He also wanted to convince his friend that faeries DO help Neopians, but his belief wavered with this grouchy earth faerie.
The green faerie moved her head between the yellow Kacheek and surrounding plants, and hummed a bit as she was thinking. She smirked, and then made a proposal. “I can help you, but in exchange you’ll have to give me something in return, like a quest. Except, unlike regular quest, I will be blessing you and your friend’s farm with my magic instead of improving your own individual fighting power. I don’t cast my magic for free! Second, I am going to need one item for each farm that I will be using my magic. You may return once you find both items, I will be here watching Illusen for a bit, even after she had returned.”
The yellow Kacheek nodded, and listened intently to what items she was seeking. She looked around the garden once more to decide what she wanted. “Bring me an Exploding Pod Plant and a Budseed.”
The Neopets smiled, but he hadn’t budge yet. The faerie stared at him, confused why he hasn’t gone yet after finally giving out this special earth magic quest.
“What’s the matter? I thought you wanted to save your farm,” The faerie chimed again.
“Thank you for your help… It’s just that I don’t know what they looked like.” He replied, smiling embarrassingly, after all, all he knew was crops, pests, weather, and not ornamental garden plants.
“Well, first of all you’re the one looking for a quest and not me, so the circumstances changed a little bit. If I was asking you though, I would be asking for some magic potions of course! Now, let me show you what they looks like. Come follow me!” She beckoned the naïve farmer, and moved toward different parts of the glade until she found the plants, and pointed those plants to him, showing him what they actually looked like.
After showing the farmer the plants, he had finally left on his quest. The earth faerie waited for a while before sighing and muttering, “Phew! He finally left! Now, why isn’t this potion working?” Her face frowned as she returned to the potion mixing table.
Isaac, on the other hand, finished examining the Yellow Kacheek’s farm. While the unknown had caused obvious signs of damage, he had not find any new clues. The Kacheek’s house or the shed showed no signs of damage. He stood with his pitchfork with a puzzled look on his face. He mentally piece together what he had seen in his own farm and the Kacheek’s, but he did not recall any useful clues. He got frustrated, and howled to release his anger.
Then, he made another walk on the Kacheek’s farm again. He had already walked his own farm a few times, but no clue was popping out. He surveyed the damaged asparaguses, the tilted soil, and unsightly trampling of the crops. He fixed his eyes downward, as he examined the destroyed stalks of asparaguses. He wondered what could have went wrong that caused such a damage. He wondered if this would happen again tomorrow, if he did not catch the culprit today. After all, he did not have a choice to give up his farm! Something had to be amiss. His thinking probably missed something, as crops do not have a mind of its own. Soil, dirt, mud, asparagus, sprouts, seeds—he stared down on the ground, and saw some partial footprints on the soil, and they led to the fences.
He looked up and noticed the fences. He knew that the Kacheek’s fences had to be made of sturdy materials to withstand the occasional Skeiths running around or rampaging Neopets. However, some of the fences got a bit of damage too. The poor fence struggled to stay linked and nailed with the adjacent fences. If the plank got smack by a Turmaculus it would split into two!
Perhaps, he had found the very clue he sought! His eyes lit up with enthusiasm, and he made his way to the other side of the fence, to look for the next clue. Now he stood outside the farm, where wild grass fed off from healthy amount of rain and water runoffs and sunshine. He saw a stream flowing in the distance, and with some instinct, he decided he would head over there first.
He passed by the grasses wavering to the gentle blow of wind. He saw no signs of trees, except by the river. He also spotted occasional flowers growing in the wild Meridell plains: the flowers came in different variations of colors, shapes, and types. Isaac was almost immersed in the beauty of Meridell outside of his farm and village, which he almost forget he was on a mission to find the culprit who damaged his farm (and his neighbor’s farm). He closed his eyes to shake his head for a few seconds, shaking off the thought of how majestic Meridell was for now. When he reopened his eyes, he noticed the flowers in front of him, blooming between the tall, unchecked growth of wild grasses, were trampled flat to the ground and had their petals almost falling apart. He walked around that flower and wondered who would have done it.
Isaac arrived at the stream, but instead of finding the criminal, he found a familiar sight, a Yellow Kacheek.
“”Roland?” He hollered at his neighbor, who seemed to be doing something at the stream. The Kacheek waved back, and resumed whatever he was doing by the stream.
“Roland, what are you doing here?” asked the Gelert, when he approached the questing Kacheek,
“I am looking for two plants for an earth faerie, but she’s not Illusens! I actually forgot to ask her name, but I remember what she looked like. Anyways, an earth faerie said she’ll help restore our farms if I could find two plants for her,” he replied, smiling with optimism.
Isaac asked again to make sure he heard that right. Apparently, the Kacheek managed to get a faerie’s help, and they were exchanging plants for some magical assistance. He nodded understandably to how the Kacheek got into this unusual quest. The Gelert smiled and resumed trekking whoever responsible for the damages, and parted way from the Kacheek, since they were heading in two different directions.
The Kacheek was looking for two plants: Budseed was a small plant, but with a round bulb that explodes when they’re ready, and Exploding Pod Plant has black and yellow head that explodes when they’re also ready. Whatever the earth faerie was doing, she needed plants with explosive power.
The plants by the stream was particularly taller, blessed by water run-off from usual precipitation in Meridell. Roland was lucky to saw the Exploding Pod Plant first, as the plants require water to nurture the exploding buds, and to give the plants energy to explode as far as possible. He carefully pulled like three plants off the ground, using strength he built from his farming career. Just when he thought he had finished, his body brushed by a ready plant that exploded seeds at high speed. He sneezed loudly from the sudden pollen getting close to him in close range, but he held the plants firmly to avoid the ones he plucked from exploding.
That was an intense moment. He sighed deeply when he realized he didn’t hear any more plants exploding. He double checked his plants on hand to make sure they did not explode. Phew!
With the black and yellow plant taken care of, now Roland needed to find the Budseed. He did not recall this plant growing by the stream, but for some strange reason he remembered seeing the plant. Where did he see them before? He kept thinking in his head, but he did not remember. After a while, he realized he was just standing out in the sun, and decided to turn in the Exploding Pod Plant first, and he made his way back to Illusen’s Glade.
Carrying the explosive plants his hands, Roland saw the Rubbish Dump from far away, where the stinky smell could travel for quite a long distance. Next to the Rubbish Dump was a small lake, and adjacent to that was the Guess the Marrow. When he reached the area, the stench coming from the Rubbish Dump thickened, but he saw a bunch of little tan colored dots by the lake. Curious, he carefully made his way to the small lake, and was surprised to see all the Budseeds growing healthily.
Although the area smelled horrendous and nauseating, doing this for his farm was worth the trouble. He carefully laid down his exploding plants, and then began pulling some of them carefully. Thankfully, this time, none of them wanted to explode in his face and made him sneezed. After a good work of pulling the plants, he gathered up his quest items, and returned to Illusen’s Glade.
Isaac the Gelert had a different mission: he wanted to find the source of the damage to the farms. With broken fence and partial footprints as his clues, he decided to venture out to the streams. Holding his pitchfork, he continued on by the river, walking further and further from the farms. He felt like he had walked forever, but time probably just passed by an hour.
Eventually he got to a part of the river where a couple big boulders with moss lied on the wet land. A few more humongous trees, fed by the river, towered over him and provided shade from the sun. He had never been in this far from his farm before, and he found this atmosphere absolutely splendid. However, his environmental appreciation was interrupted by a coarse squawk. Normally, anyone in Meridell would hear occasional sounds of petpets moving about, but this one just did not sound normal. He kept on walking to get close to the source of the sound, and found three Wibreth. When the petpets saw him, they squawked loudly, just like their reputation. Two of them were regular sized WIbreth, but one of them looked smaller, younger, and hungrier. Judging by the situation, he thought maybe the Wibreth was a family. The young one seemed rather frail, barely struggling to stand. He looked carefully and saw the two regular Wibreth have some asparagus and his crops laying on the ground. Whatever was going on, the Wibreth was struggling for food, and they could be the ones who ransacked the farms, and then fled away. Their mouth looked like they can’t hold much, as well.
Sighing, Isaac decided he needed to do something.
He approached the group. He lowered his body, and laid out a hand. The gesture confused the Wibreth initially, but one of the parent approached the hand, carefully placing its talons on the hand to test the water. The Gelert didn’t budge, and remained still. After several seconds, the parents put the younger Wibreth on his hand, deciding to trust him. However, as he went back to standing, they followed after him. He thought, alright, he was going to take care of this Wibreth, with the parents following. He now made his way back to the farm.
When Roland saw Illusens’s Glade in front of him, he wanted to run and find the earth faerie, but then he remembered that he was holding explosive plants sensitive to sudden and big movements. He hollered out a “Hello”, with excitement in his voice, and hoping to see the earth faerie again.
He received no response at first, and he hollered again. This time, the earth faerie who had promised his quest flew over, and looked a little annoyed. When she saw the plants in his hands though, she lit up a little. She exclaimed and clapped her hands excitedly, “Ooh, you got what I was looking for! Let’s see…”
She approached and examined the plants, Budseed and Exploding Pod Plants. Yup, these were the ones. She waved her hand, and the plants disappeared from the Kacheek’s hands, with teleportation magic. “Thank you, I was getting a bit frustrated… waiting for those plants. Now, I have promised some plant magic on your farm. Why don’t’ you hurry and show the way.”
Although she sounded a bit rude, she began following after the yellow Kacheek. When they arrived at the farm, they had coincidentally met up with the green Gelert, who was holding a pitchfork with one hand, and a small frail Wibreth with another, followed by two Wibreth. The two Neopets greeted and exchanged quick notes about what happened. Isaac, however, was having an indecisive moment to ask for the earth faerie’s help to treat the Wibreth.
“Roland, how about you have the earth faerie take care of your farm first. I’m going to see if I can treat this petpet. I saw them far out by the river, they might be the ones attacking our farms.” Isaac spoke, concerned about these random petpets he just picked up.
The earth faerie though, just noticed something odd about the Wibreth. She bent down to examine the sick petpet. “Hmm… Originally, I had promised to just use my magic for both of your farms. But—“she put a strong emphasis on the consonant T.”—it looks like these poor Wibreth were the ones causing you trouble, huh? The little one right here have a case of Neogitus, that’s why it wasn’t eating and the Wibreth parents just thought it needed better food or something. Don’t ask me how I know a petpet can get sick, that’s outside my scope of magic and knowledge right now.” She winked, charmingly.
She snapped her fingers with her left hand, and then approached the sick petpet. Bending down, she used her left hand to rub the head of the frail petpet, and then casually slapped its belly once. In a few seconds, the Wibreth seemed to be better, squawking without that sickly, coarse sound. It ran around for a good several seconds before stopping. The two farmers stared in awe at the recovered fowl petpet.
“Now, your farms, just take me there,” She chimed, reminding them. The Gelert offered to show his farm first. When the earth faerie arrived, she commented on the amount of damage caused by the petpet. Then, she basically clapped her hands and waved her arms in some strange fashion. The soil shifted back in their right spot, or even tilted on their own. The fallen and injured crops were planted upright, and have their colors back on them. Roland wowed at the sight of the earth faerie’s magic, and readily led the way to his farm next. The earth faerie’s magic did the same thing in the Kacheek’s farm, but commented that he would have to fix the fence himself. He was glad to have the crops back in good condition, and thanked the faerie for her amazing magic.
When all that earth magic was done, she flew back to Illusens’s Glade without even saying goodbye. She went back to her apothecary table with the plants the Kacheek had given her. Now, she would like to make one of these explosive potion work for her training.
“Wow… I have no words. I’ve never seen such a fine display of earth faerie magic!” The Gelert broke the silence after seeing the faerie flew off. “I did not expected the earth faerie agree to this!”
“Indeed. I did not plan to fly a Uni to Neopian Central and wait for the garden shop to restock,” Roland chuckled. “I am still surprised you found these Wibreth, how were you sure they’re the ones who destroyed our farms again?”
“Let’s start with the asparagus… Well, past few days had been such an adventure, and these Wibreth—“Isaac looked around, and walked around, trying to find the petpets. “It seemed like they got better and found their way back? How about we have a nice chat about what happened tonight? Because tomorrow we got work to do.” The Kacheek agreed, and the two neighbors strengthened their friendship from this adventure, with story to share over potato, laughter over soup, and tears of joy over asparagus.