Stand behind yer sheriff Circulation: 177,384,953 Issue: 307 | 31st day of Hiding, Y9
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The Voyage of the Fair Mortog: Part Four


by ilovetoread_247

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I ran to the front of the ship and hopped off onto the heaped up sand around the prow.

     Carew had gone first, after ditching the sword and flag for some icy snowflakes, and appeared to be... oh no...

     “LAND! SWEET LAND! OHHHHHH, LAND! YOUR SANDY SHORES ARE...”

     Singing. He hadn’t improved. He was just louder, now sounding like multiple hungry Tapiras with sore throats.

     I heard a thump as another pet exited the ship.

     “Carew!” came Anglifae’s voice. “That was... incredible! Oh- and be sure to put the bit about the storm in your diary!”

     “Anglifae, it wasn’t a storm,” I said.

     She ignored me, or almost. She did pause to glare at me.

     “Got it...” said Carew, whipping out his journal. “Storm has washed us ashore...”

     Anglifae glared at me again, and then wandered off.

     I turned to see where she was going, but what-

     A Mynci in a ninja costume had just emerged from the branches of a tree in front of me.

     “What the- Lightning, do you know these guys?”

     An island Wocky, around the same size as my sister, came out from behind a tree. She wore a colorful outfit made of some strange sort of fabric.

     “Trust me,” she said, “they aren’t from here or Geraptiku, and I think it’s safe to assume that they aren’t coconuts.”

     “My name’s Ambry,” I said. “Hold up- ya’ll speak Neopian?”

     “Yeah, duh.”

     I supposed it sort of made sense... No, not really. But whatever.

     I needed to ask where Jhuidah was, but... Lightning?...was talking again.

     “I’m Lightning, and I’m in training to be a sahcahtoa, which mean I sew stuff. Sewing’s fun, but you probably are aware of that fact, as you have a very pretty outfit. I love the tunic! Anyway, I get threadberries-” The Wocky pulled a few strange spindle-like berries out of her hair “-and I unravel them, and...”

     “Awesome!” I said. “You remind me of my sister. But where is-”

     “I’m not DONE,” said Lightning. “Hibiscus, tell her I’m not done.”

     The Mynci sighed. “I’m Hibiscus,” she said, “the smart one. I’m a ninja!”

     “You are SO not the smart one,” said Lightning.

     Hibiscus rolled her eyes. “Hey, Ambry, you’re new around here?”

     Sort of. I mean, Mystery Island seemed different. No Tombola, no tours...

     “You’ll need these.” The ninja Mynci handed me a small blowdart thing. “They’ll stun someone, or prevent them from using their feet, or whatever.”

     “Um, cool!”

     A strange scuffling noise came from down the beach.

     “What was that?” enquired Ferdinand. I looked up to see that my companions were also chatting with various Islanders.

     A Kyrii shrugged. “It was nothing. Just some petpets, probably.”

     “I dunno,” said a Uni. “It could be something worse- witch doctor!”

     “Ooh,” said Carew. “Witch doctor!”

     He took out his journal.

     “HEALER,” said the Kyrii.

     “Witch doctor,” said the Uni.

     “They’re brother and sister,” whispered Lightning. “They always fight, it’s funny. But he still bandages her hoof and stuff when she’s hurt.”

     Jhuidah. I needed to find Jhuidah. I wanted my family back. And my own warring siblings, Kitty and Faylval.

     “Hey, Lightning, Hibiscus, where does the Island Faerie-”

     “Never heard of her,” interrupted Hibiscus. “Sorry.”

     I wasn’t done. Clearly, Hibiscus had heard of an Island Faerie.

     “Hey,” said Lightning, “what’s with that Cybunny?”

     Anglifae was sidling down the beach, the direction she must have been going when she wandered away. Even Carew hadn’t noticed her. He was deep in conversation with the healer/witch doctor and the Uni.

     Hibiscus and Lightning stared after me as I started to follow her down the beach.

     Why did I do that? Because that’s when it all started. If I was into blaming myself, that’s the moment that I’d lie awake about at night.

     As usual with these things, though, if I hadn’t followed her I’d stay up about it too.

     Because as I followed, the Cybunny crawled under a branch and crouched behind a shrub.

     “You are the magic-mirror princess?” inquired someone. I slowly edged forward, bending down.

     Anglifae appeared to be conversing with... coconuts. Coconut JubJubs.

     “Yes. Is everything going as planned?”

     “Exactly as you laid it out. The starry one and the others were intercepted.”

     “Remember to let them go. They’re not the ones that I want out of the way.”

     These coconuts had Steelstorm and Eileano and the other crew guys?

     Anglifae continued. “Just get that blue- why, here she is now.”

     A curse upon all snappy twigs!

     *~*

     After about ten minutes being dragged through the jungle, during which I really wished 247 had spent more time Battledoming us, I was now tied to a tree.

     And Anglifae was outlining her plan in a manner clearly borrowed from Sloth. “And then, I used that magic mirror to contact them, it was such a coincidence that you showed up in it, but you are the only thing standing between me and the Iyssfloe fortune and my own title, and...”

     I used the opportunity to practice one of my Meerca brother Faylval’s pretend snores.

     “Forget it,” said Anglifae. “You obviously don’t care, but Carew listens to you too much and you-”

     She screamed at me.

     “What did I do to you?” I finally said.

     I had to say that. Because I had tried. Really tried to be nice to her.

     I had!

     But, of course, she wandered away, returning to the beach before Carew noticed she was gone.

     He noticed I was gone.

     Why did he have to notice I was gone?

     The stars were coming out above the clearing, and I drifted asleep to nightmares. As I came awake and the stars faded, behind one of the logs came a familiar starry shape.

     “Cap’n Steelstorm!” I whispered.

     “Ambreona! Here, I’ll untie you! Run!”

     He dashed off, leaving one vine rope still tied. I wrenched it apart, glad I could now move my paws.

     Then I sprinted, trying to follow Steelstorm.

     A coconut leapt in front of me, and I ran the opposite way.

     Just as Carew had said, my shield Lupe skirt stretched, and I ran quite fast.

     The coconuts followed just as quickly, but I had a head start. Branches tore at the hem of my Tombola tee shirt.

     Something hit my shoulder. I turned off the makeshift path into wild jungle.

     Slowly I began to shake the coconuts off. I couldn’t tell why- it was as if they were leaving on purpose to do something else.

     They were.

     But I didn’t know what was going on. I just kept crashing through the jungle, finally stopping as I gasped for breath. There was no one following me now.

     I slowed down. Now I just needed to return to the beach. Somehow or other. Carew and the others were probably concerned about me now. But Steelstorm could tell them about Anglifae... He wasn’t there when she was imitating Sloth!

     I was the only one of the Fair Mortog crew and passengers who had heard her. The only one aware of the part she’d played in all this.

     Maybe Ferdinand would guess. The ambassador was an astute guy.

     Or I’d find Jhuidah. That was goal two. If she was here, and not like the Darkest Faerie or something.

     Why had Hibiscus pretended not to have heard of her?

     I wandered on. I was so oblivious. In the jungle, I could pretend that all was well, even pretend that I was at home.

     I could just be alone with the questions and the petpets and everything else.

     I was so oblivious.

     An oblivious fool, quite honestly. I was still being chased by evil coconuts, for all I knew, Anglifae was evil, I couldn’t find the beach, and the worst problem was waiting up ahead.

     Every step brought me closer to the worst moment of my life.

     And I still had no idea. I couldn’t guess it because it hadn’t happened yet- in the future I’d come from, I mean.

     I’d changed the past, and had no clue that I’d done so.

     My mind felt like it was trying to open a door, as memories shifted around. Time travel was officially starting to annoy me, and now my head hurt. Or maybe I was just dehydrated. I could see a spot up ahead where the trees thinned out- water? Or a clearing? Maybe the beach?

     I stumbled forward, not stopping to see paw prints in the ground, a scrap of yellow cloth on a bent twig. JubJub foot prints following the other prints.

     “Hey!” I yelled. “Carew! Ferdinand! Ya’ll!”

     Never mind, I realized, stepping out of the trees. It was just a clearing.

     With a Terror Mountain shield lying on one side, where it had been dropped next to Carew’s sword.

     Torn bushes formed a path leading out of the clearing, as if something...

     I closed my eyes as tight as they could close, and new memories began to form as time shifted.

     “I don’t believe that the Ghost Lupe is evil,” a blue Lupe just out of the pound... me... was saying to her brown haired, bespectacled owner. “Why’s he in that evil gallery thingy?”

     “You’re just saying that because you’re a Lupe,” accused a green Gelert, newly created... Rex.

     “No I’m not!” I had yelled.

     “Rex, stop antagonizing your sister,” sighed 247...

     The Ghost Lupe.

     Carew.

To be continued...

 
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Other Episodes


» The Voyage of the Fair Mortog: Part One
» The Voyage of the Fair Mortog: Part Two
» The Voyage of the Fair Mortog: Part Three
» The Voyage of the Fair Mortog: Part Five



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