Chapter 1

“Paper’s here!” called Sleepy’s butler, Strange Servant. Sleepy didn’t have to be called twice – she raced down the stairs eagerly to meet the butler carrying the Daily Pop.

“Thanks, Strange,” she said, taking the newspaper and eagerly unfolding it. Her face fell when she saw the front page, which proclaimed in big letters that there was STILL NO NEWS ABOUT MISSING CARNIVAL VISITORS.

“I’m sorry, Miss Feather,” said Strange. “Perhaps there will be news tomorrow. Golden can’t go missing forever.”

Sleepy nodded. “We just have to keep on hoping, right, Strange?” she replied quietly, but even she didn’t seem too sure.

“Right, Miss Feather,” Strange replied, heading off to do…whatever butlers do.

Sleepy turned and headed in the direction of the dining room, worried. Last month, her sister, her sister’s best friend, and Sleepy’s own best friend had all gone missing, among other people. Sleepy was one of the only people in the world who knew that there was something sinister on Carnival Island.

The only other people who knew were the missing people, and Sleepy’s other best friend, Spotted Dragon, who was sitting in the dining room eating breakfast. Sleepy and Spotted had met at school – or, rather, they had been introduced by Silver.

“Any news?” Spotted – who preferred to be called Spots – asked, and was answered with Sleepy’s mournful expression and a shake of her head. “I thought not. If I’d told you before –”

Sleepy cut her friend off. “No, Spots. It’s not your fault.”

“If I told her about Da – I mean, the Ringmaster – Silver would still be here,” Spots shot back.

Sleepy felt guilty. Spots’ father was the Ringmaster of the Monster Carnival, and while she and her mother left Carnival Island, Spots still remembered it vividly. The night that Golden and Silver had gone to the carnival, Spots had told Sleepy everything – about her father, who was trying to make a serum to turn Poptropicans into monsters, and about his plot to transform everyone on the planet into a vicious beast. But she bravely tried to make a point. “That wouldn’t have stopped all those other Poptropicans.”

“But Silver would be with us to figure out what to do,” Spots replied.

“We don’t need Silver. I figured it out,” Sleepy said, and told her friend about her plan. “We get Zippy to fly us there, and we infiltrate his place and stop him. Simple.”

Spots stared at her skeptically. “It won’t be that easy. He’ll want to turn us into monsters.”

“We can get some cure or whatever from Elyana,” Sleepy replied. Elyana was the name of the princess that the three of them had saved in Astro-Knights Island. They were good friends with Elyana, and Sleepy was sure that the princess would help them.

“It’ll still be dangerous,” Spots said.

“We’re going to have to risk it. To get them back,” Sleepy answered, and Spots was quiet for a while.

“Okay,” she said finally. “Let’s do it.”

Sleepy smiled for a second, but her grin evaporated moments later. “Zippy will be in the back. Probably.”

The duo got ready, collecting things that they thought they would need in their backpacks, and then headed for the front door. “Where are you headed, Miss Feather,” said a voice behind them.

Sleepy shrieked and turned, only to see Strange standing there holding a tray.  “Just to Astro-Knights, to see Elyana,” she replied. It wasn’t technically a lie, but Sleepy still felt guilty about saying it. Even if he was creepy sometimes (more like all the time), Strange was more than a butler. He was a family friend.

Plus, Sleepy had morals about lying.

The two girls headed for the helipad in the back garden, where they found Zippy Scorpion, Sleepy’s pilot, in a shirt and tie. “Going out somewhere, Zippy?” she asked.

Zippy turned. “Ah. Miss Feather. No, I’m not going anywhere special. Are you two going out somewhere, though?”

Sleepy nodded. “Could you take us to Astro-Knights? We have something we want to do there.”

Zippy smiled. “This wouldn’t be on the way to Carnival Island, would it?” he asked jokingly.

Sleepy shook her head. “No, we just want to see Elyana.”

Zippy gave her a look that showed that he didn’t believe her, but replied, “Okay then. Get in, both of you.” He opened the door of the helicopter for Spots and Sleepy to go in.

An hour later, they were flying over the open sea towards Astro-Knights Island. The helicopter’s passengers were all very quiet, not least because of the lightning and thunder shaking the vehicle.

“Zippy! What’s happening?” Sleepy asked.

“Just some light turbulen-aaaah!” Zippy replied, but was cut off by the helicopter taking an unexpected dive. “You’re going to have to jump!” he yelled, pulling out two parachutes. But before he could pass them to Spots and Sleepy, the helicopter turned on its side. The door flew open and the two tumbled out.

Spots managed to grab one of the parachutes and open it. “Sleepy!” she yelled. Her friend had fallen first, and had not managed to grab a parachute.

Then Spots heard a tearing sound. Her parachute had ripped. “Oh no,” she said to herself as she went plunging down to the big blue ocean below her.

Written By: Sleepy Feather

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