RELIEVED, LUPINA WALKED over and slumped beside her friends.
"Not now!" Lily cried. "We have to stop that
"I'll figure out the wiring and how to mess
it up so that it works for our purposes instead," Emala offered. The others
nodded. She was the technical genius of the four. "While I'm doing that, why
don't you guys figure out how to stop the blizzard ring?"
"All right." Rosy spoke for them all. She bounded
up to the chair by the small platform holding the blizzard ring. "C'mon, what're
you waiting for?" Lily hurried up after her. Lupina paused a moment, bringing
both her bodies into one, and followed. Emala trotted to the part of the machine
that seemed to be a mass of wires and burrowed into them, emerging directly
"Ah!" she declared. "This part's easy enough."
Lupina turned to see what she was doing. There
was a knob on a metal plate that Emala had turned one notch. Lupina read the
options. "You changed it from soul-suck to destroy!" she cried. "You want to
"You'll see what I'm doing," Emala replied,
turning back to the wires. At Lupina's glare, she sighed. "Really. You have
to trust me. I know what I'm doing."
Lupina held her stare a moment longer, then
turned to help Lily and Rosy with the blizzard ring. After a few minutes, though,
she decided that they didn't need her and went to lie down for a bit. She was
A little while later, the other three came over
"I've got it figured out," Emala started. "See,
I've rewired the thing so that, instead of going to the device on the front
that will focus the beam on Neopia, the thing will be short-circuited and self-destruct,
because I set the dial to destruct. There's only one problem. When it self-destructs,
it will also destroy us, the cave, and maybe even the top half of the mountain.
We have to ward it. Do you have any magic left? Just a little bit?" She looked
"No. I'm tapped. Sucked dry. Can't you make
it so that it just won't do anything?" Lupina asked.
Emala's face fell. "I could've before, but now
there's no time. My hopes were resting on wards."
"Wait!" said Rosy. "What if you could get
a little magic? Couldn't you ward it then?"
"Probably," Lupina said curiously. "But where
would I get the magic?"
"From the blizzard ring," Lily said simply.
"It would solve both problems. The ring wouldn't have any more magic to power
up the storm, and you would have magic to ward the machine."
Lupina's face brightened. "All right! I'll do
my best!" She bounded up to the ring and slowly lowered her paw to rest on it.
It struggled against her grasp, but she held the magic in with the same kind
of dam she used when building up her own magic.
No, she thought. This won't work.
I have to bring the magic into me, not just hold it back.
Slowly, she felt the magic building against
her dam, and changed the dam's properties. Now instead of blocking, it was working
like a magnet, sucking up all the magic in the ring, and giving it to her. Suddenly,
she had power again. She released the ring. The beam that kept the storm going
was gone, and it had no magical aura around it. She turned and grinned at her
"Hurry!" Emala cried. "There's no time to waste!"
Lupina sprang to the ground walked in a circle around the contraption, trailing
a little magic. When the circle was complete, she placed her paws on the stone
and pushed her magic out, forming a bubble of bluish light around the machine.
She took a second to assure it was sound. Behind her sounded Rosy's voice.
"Five seconds, four, three, two, one..." With
a massive bang, the machine exploded. For a moment, the world hung upside down.
Lupina's eardrums rang. Slowly, everything blurred into focus again. Within
her shield lay the charred and smoking remnants of Sinisitra's contraption.
Lupina turned to her friends, smiling. "We did
it!" she cried with her last store of energy, and fell to the ground, unconscious.
When she woke up, the storm outside was over.
Emala, Rosy, and Lily were sitting nearby, around something that looked like
an oddly shaped fire. It seemed to be emanating heat.
"What's that?" she asked groggily, sitting up.
"A Firestorm Bottle," Rosy replied. "We found
it in Sinisitra's special supply of weapons. It gives out a LOT of heat."
Gratefully, Lupina moved closer, allowing the
heat to wash over her body in waves of warmth. The heat filled her, and her
energy bubbled, doubling, tripling, to maximum amount. Sighing, she sat between
Lily and Rosy. "That magic, that Vister was using - what was it?"
"He was draining your strength, with a leeching
spell," Rosy replied.
Lupina sighed. "It's over."
"Not quite." Lily's face was clouded. "We still
have to get back."
"Well, then, let's go," Lupina said.
"Not so simple," Rosy replied. "See, there's
so much snow, we could never get down."
"Unless we try this!" Emala called. She was
standing next to a pile of Battledome weapons - shields, Lupina realised.
"How'll those help?" Lily asked doubtfully.
"Here, take this." Emala passed Lily a Small
Metal Shield. In turn, she gave Rosy a Shield of Reflection and Lupina a Force
Shield. For herself, she kept a Large Metal Shield.
"I don't see your plan, Emala," Lupina said
"I do!" exclaimed Rosy. "We'll use the shields
as sleds, and sled all the way down to the village!"
"That's right!" Emala said proudly. "Come on.
We're all ready, aren't we?" This question was mostly directed at Lupina, who
"Here, you take this," Rosy told Lupina. "Just
in case." Lupina nodded and pocketed the Firestorm Bottle. She picked up the
Force Shield and walked to the cave entrance, climbing up the side of the huge
snow pile. The others followed. At the top, they all set their shields face
down on the snow and climbed on.
"Ready?" Rosy asked.
"Ready!" they chorused. Lupina set her paws
and shoved off, closely followed by the others.
They rocketed down the mountainside, hurtling
past obstacles. An ice boulder appeared directly in Lupina's path. She leaned
as far right as she could. Her shield swerved, narrowly missing the ice. Glancing
back, she saw the others, steering their shields in the same fashion. Lily,
however, was having trouble avoiding the same ice boulder Lupina had just avoided.
Her weight was not enough to swerve her shield. Lupina could see her face pale
with panic. Hardly thinking, she teleported one of her bodies onto Lily's shield,
leaning as far as she could out to the side. The sharp edge of the shield sliced
a bit of the boulder as they missed by a narrow margin. Lupina returned to her
other body and concentrated on avoiding another obstacle.
As they rocketed downward, it came to Lupina
that the fierce cold and great wind could be freezing the others, even though
she herself was warm from the Firestorm Bottle. Routinely, she teleported between
sleds, allowing each of her friends to warm themselves before she proceeded
to the next.
She had just returned to herself after her third
round when she noticed a dark line up ahead. With sickening reality she remembered
the ice cliff they had scaled. There was nothing she could do - it was too late.
The others, close behind her realised soon after
she did. Their speed was too great, they couldn't stop. The cliff was fast approaching.
Lupina gripped her shield, face a light gray rather than the usual black.
She was on the brink now - she was flying! Her
momentum carried her through the air, hurtling in space. Wind whipped in her
face, her heart jumped to her throat. She sailed downwards, landing in the deep
snow with a muffled yell. She could hear the others landing nearby.
It was then that the snow began to move.
Her landing had upset the crust of hard snow
beneath the newer powder. Slowly, it shifted, picking up speed. She was thrown
to the surface, where she could see the others, panic-stricken, floundering.
The avalanche roared down the hill. Remembering
her survival classes, Lupina tried to swim in the snow, staying on the surface.
The others were doing the same. The giant river of snow roared and frothed,
trying to bring her beneath the surface. She was weakening quickly. To her left,
Lily disappeared beneath the snow. Tears stung her eyes. Rosy, too, had disappeared.
It was only her and Emala. There was nothing she could do - nothing! Even with
the Firestorm Bottle, she was chilled to the bone. She looked back again. Emala
was gone. Grief tore at her, and the snow pulled her down into its icy grasp.
She lay there a while, breathing shallowly from
the limited air supply in her small pocket. Then realisation came to her. She
had to do something! But her consciousness was ebbing, as was her life force.
Her Lupe Moon Charm was, though, full of power. She closed her eyes and gave
her strength to the Charm - whatever it would choose to do.
She found her mouth forming words. "Lily, Rosy,
Emala - wherever you are, take this shield of power, live, thrive beneath the
snow. And from the heat, protect yourself." From the heat? she thought.
There is no heat. It's all gone. But her Charm was in the power, not
herself. She felt magic rushing from her to each of her friends, creating a
shield around them, and another on herself.
Then, she took the Firestorm Bottle from her
pocket. It was intact and just as hot as always. "Flame, take this power, become
heat beyond all heat, be strong, melt, destroy." The rest of her magic flowed
through her paws, filling the bottle with heat. The glow from it became blinding.
And she pulled the cork from the bottle.
Searing heat rushed out of the bottle. Lupina
knew that if it weren't for her shield, she would be a charred scrap in moments.
But instead, the fire unleashed upon the snow. Such heat did not melt the snow,
it caused it to evaporate, leaving bare ground for miles around. And then the
heat was gone, and Lupina was standing, sucking in gasps of fresh air. She looked
up the hill, and saw a trail of her friends, rising. They had survived the avalanche!
They rushed down to her. But the best sight of all was a clear path down to
the village - safety, warmth. Joyfully, she rushed downward, heart singing.
She had done it - and she had returned.