A Candychan Game
After a long night, it was time to go into morning routine mode: rub my eyes, stretch, grumble about it being morning. The usual.
I looked around for Androcles, who usually was lying about near where I slept. When I didn’t see him, I left the Ice Caves and went up around Terror Mountain. Often, when he had free time, he would hang around a frozen pond and stare at his reflection to see if it could possibly get any better. (The usual consensus was “no.”)
I swooped down when the pond came into sight, but the Snow Candychan was nowhere to be seen. Instead, sitting on the frozen water was a small envelope, wrapped up in bubble paper to keep it from getting wet.
Approaching it with a bit of suspicion and a bit of intrigue, I opened it carefully. Scrawled in a choppy handwriting it read:
Hello, dear Sidekick!
I have a game for you to play. Across Neopia, I have left you several notes that will lead you to the best prize known to Neopian kind. Unfortunately, I cannot play with you, as I have better things to do. Enjoy! - Androcles
‘Round and ‘round I go
When I stop, no one knows.
Cloud, yellow, green or pink,
Choose wisely; it’s harder than you think.
This didn’t sound like something Androcles would do – it required work and thought. Well, thought beyond, “Has the world seen better charcoal eyes?”
I let a sigh escape, but tucked the paper away anyway. I suppose I could participate, since I had nothing more exciting to do. Before I left, though, I caught a glimpse of myself in the pond.
My stripes looked extra chocolatey today, with a mix of milk and dark chocolate. My eyes were a dark, sweet color, with a glint in them, as if they were plotting something. My wings were of the richest white color, extra fluffy and dusted with a light coating of cocoa powder. Whatever Androcles may say, chocolate is truly the best Candychan color. I could see why he spent so much time here. Not only was it peaceful, but the reflection in the ice was very kind.
Leaving reluctantly, I went back to the Ice Caves. We lived high in the Caves, among hidden ridges and dark cliffs. The top of Terror Mountain was nice, but exposed. This let us hide and view things. Candychans who couldn’t hide well were called “petpets.” And no self-respecting Candychan wanted that.
I rolled out a map of Neopia that Androcles had stuffed away. We didn’t leave the mountain often, but if he left notes all over, then I’d need it. So, let’s see, what goes around in all of Neopia?
In Terror Mountain, I suppose there’s Rink Runner, where the skaters glide around the ice, and the colors could be a reference to Neopets’ colors, but he’d have to get awfully close to a Neopet to leave a note. Knowing him, he didn’t leave the next note here near home. In Tyrannia, there’s the Wheel of Monotony, but it’s not very colorful, so that’s also ruled out. Going south, there’s Roo Island, and the Merry Go Round. I’m not sure what the colors of the Unis are, but it’s possible they are the ones listed in the note. Always worth a shot. If it’s wrong, I can just mentally regroup there!
I rolled up the map and also tucked it away, with the first clue. Leaving the Ice Caves behind, I flapped my wings and headed for the small island.
It doesn’t take long to get anywhere in Neopia, so after a short flight through some fluffy clouds, I arrived.
There was quite a line of pets waiting to get on, but that’s no problem for me. I wouldn’t be allowed on, and the Neopians wouldn’t pay any attention to me, which meant I could do whatever I pleased.
“Cloud, yellow, green or pink...” I muttered to myself. There was a fifth Uni, a shadow one, on the other side, but since he wasn’t listed... Well, I’d probably better start there.
I checked on the seat, on the Uni’s head, and underneath, but couldn’t spot the next note. I decided to run through the others in order, but after checking all five possible rides, I came up with nothing. Propping myself up on the tail of the Shadow Uni, I had been so sure, once I saw the ride, this was what he was referencing.
With a deep sigh, I rolled my eyes back and glanced at the ceiling. Just as the carousel turned the corner, I saw a bit of paper near the center. Lifting up, I rose up to the next clue and freed it from its taped confines.
Quickly, I left the ride, before any pets decided to take notice of me. Settling in the nearby bushes, I rolled out the map in front of me, once again, and read the note.
Good job, Keir! Here’s the next one.
Sticks and stones break my bones,
And fire will make me flee.
That bird is threatening,
But we got rid of him, see?
I blinked in surprise. Androcles almost never called me by my real name, and was awfully possessive of it as well – to the point that pretty much no one knew what my name actually was. I finished reading the note – I wonder if he came up with these relatively subpar poems by himself – and pondered the next clue.
Sticks and stones, a clear reference to the popular band, and the only place to see the band is in Tyrannia. Tyrannia also has a lot of rocks, which further supports my idea. Fire... not sure what to do with that, but maybe when I get there it will narrow things down.
Tucking things away, I headed off to the new land. I settled down in front of the ticket booth, which said in bold letters, “TODAY'S BAND : Yes Boy Ice-Cream.” So, the next clue isn’t here, and therefore, the Concert Hall can also be ruled out.
Flying up above the Plateau, I tried to get a better idea of things. It probably wasn’t a very good idea to have ignored the last two lines. Off to the right, some Pteri were playing a game of attack, but there wasn’t any fire. Another option was the local Battledome, but that would be too dangerous for a small Candychan, if he was even let in to place the next clue. And then there was the town hall, also called a group of elders sitting on a plateau around a fire. They had gotten rid of the threat of a raptor or something a while back, which may be what the last lines were referring to. So, the clue was with one of the elders, but which one?
I flew down to the “hall” and hid behind a rock. Peering up around it, I got a better look at things. There were six members, a Mynci, Lupe, Flotsam, Usul, Grarrl and Techo. They each had their weapons, but the Techo was holding fire. I hope I don’t get burnt.
Crawling on hands and knees, I approached the Master of Spells and Potions. I figured the next clue would be among the furs he was wearing, seeing as how Androcles loves things that are fashionable. While I found the item quite hideous, it would probably be considered stylish in this land.
I got right next to his left foot, when he looked down suddenly and noticed me. “Nah-de!” he exclaimed.
Widening my eyes, I gave him my best, “I’m the most adorable thing you’ll ever lay eyes on” look, and it seemed to distract him. Huddling a bit closer and sidestepping as slowly as possible, I reached into the bottom inch of his robes and felt my hand touch paper pretty much instantly. Quickly, I grabbed it out, grinned at the elder, and fled.
I decided to settle down next to the Giant Omelette. It was rotting today, and I didn’t think anyone would want to come that close to it. Following the procedure, I set the map down in front of me, and read the next clue.
I’m surprised you managed to get this far! But I suppose that’s why you’re my sidekick.
My waters are pure
But they do not cure.
Floating with the blues,
Is your next clue.
Ignoring the comment directed toward me, a grin spread across my face, these were getting easier. The next clue had to be in Faerieland, and it was obviously in the Rainbow Fountain.
Racing there, the clouds seemed to greet me with a smile, as the sun bounced off the water droplets and unleashed a rainbow of colors in the sky. No wonder so many Neopians worked so hard to get wings and fly here. Luckily, Candychans already could.
Hoping from cloud to cloud, I approached the faerie who watched over the fountain. “I’m sorry, but my beautiful fountain is not working,” she sang out in an ethereal voice.
I pulled myself up over the edge and peered in, expecting to see some bubble paper floating about, with my next clue in it. But, it wasn’t there. “Did you see a Snow Candychan come here, in the last couple of days, perhaps?” I asked her.
She granted me an indulging smile, but shook her head. How could I have been wrong?
Sitting on the cloud, I pulled out the clue again, and reread it once and then a second time, for good measure. The Rainbow Fountain made perfect sense. It couldn’t be the Healing Springs, because the second line said they weren’t.
I pulled out the map again, and scanned it carefully this time. Maraqua would be impossible. Candychans may be great, but they can’t hang out underwater for too long. I’d run out of breath before I even got close. Where else? I ruled out Kiko Lake on the basis that there would be no good place to put a clue. There are a couple of houses and a lake tour, but that’s about it. We had recently visited Mystery Island (and may have accidentally killed a petpet, but that depends on who you ask), so I don’t think Androcles would visit there so soon again. That leaves Altador and Shenkuu. Shenkuu has some rivers that run through it, but they would all plummet into the ocean from its high peaks. Through elimination, that left Altador.
Packing up, I waved at the faerie, she looked kind of bored, and dove across the sky toward Altador. Swooping gracefully through the air, I landed on the beach. I put a hand over my eyes to shield them from the bright glare of the sun, and eyed the waters. This was going to take forever.
“I can’t believe you actually checked Faerieland first,” a voice said behind me.
Smiling, I turned around to face Androcles. “I thought there was supposed to be another clue here,” I called out.
He approached me and shrugged, “I thought about it, but decided I had you running around enough. Besides, took you long enough to figure out the last clue.” He eyed me knowingly.
“Hmph! Faerieland made perfect sense. I can’t help it if I’m more logical than you are,” I said in defense. “Where’s my prize? The first clue promised a prize.”
“Whaaa? You can’t tell what your prize is?” Androcles frowned in mock hurt.
Of course, the prize was seeing him. “I was hoping for a snack or something,” I said instead.
He threw an arm around my shoulder. “Do tell me, what’s better than being with me?”
“Fish pops.” I grinned. Although, I suppose being with your best friend is pretty good.