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Legend Seekers: Destiny Discovered - Part Three


by yatomiyuka

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Pemero was still alone.

     He'd searched high and low for his best friend, but there was no sign of her - not even a whisker. Finally, he'd tucked the parchment into his pocket and moved on in the hope that Jen would turn up later.

     You shouldn't have left her behind, said a voice in his mind. You're no friend to Jennifer at all. What if something's happened to her?

     Shaking his head to clear the thought, the silver cub marched on, determined to ignore the voice of his conscience. It would do no good to think that way, he realised - she would probably be waiting for him further along.

     There was the matter of the Light Faerie he'd left behind, too - it was very irresponsible, really, but what else could he have done? It was too far to run for help, and searching was only good for so long. Even so, he wished he'd tried harder to find them.

     It was painfully humid again - the spring was long gone now. How much longer would he be travelling alone? It hurt to think of Jen - lost somewhere, hurt, in need of help - so Pemero didn't think. He just walked, and walked, and walked some more until the sunset came.

     Well - time to turn in for the night. He searched for a low branch to sleep on, and found one without much difficulty. It was a clear night, according to the patchy sky - there were stars out. Actually, it was only one star, but that lonely star was so bright and pretty that it didn't matter.

     "Goodnight, Jen," Pemero said as he drifted into sleep.

     ***

     It was still dark when Pemero opened his eyes for the morning. It had rained during the night, and the ground was soaked - his fur would get muddy again, but it wasn't an issue. Pulling his rucksack back onto his shoulders, he clambered down and set off again.

     The star was gone now, but so were the rainclouds. The forest was thinning out slightly; the trail was wider, and the trees were smaller and more scarce. Soon, Pemero would arrive - where, he didn't know, but it would be a relief to leave the forest behind.

     The leaves were a more vibrant green in this part of the forest, and it was much more pleasant overall. It was all so strange, so much to take in - did this happen on an average adventure? The answer might be just over the next horizon - but it might be laced with danger or even death. Should he continue, or turn back and wonder forever?

     For an adventurous cub like Pemero, the answer was obvious.

     Pemero turned the corner to see the sun rising on a field of jet black. The forest stretched into nothing, only to be replaced by a desert of black sand. It stretched out for miles, broken only by the occasional dead tree or slate of pale grey stone.

     On the horizon, the silhouette of a mountain was barely visible. It wasn't Techo Mountain... but Pemero had never heard about any other mountains on Mystery Island. It was made of stone as black as the endless desert before him, and towered fifty miles into the sky.

     "Wow," he muttered to himself. This was the perfect destination for his big adventure! What would he find on the top of the mountain? Riches? Paint Brushes? Magic? There was only one way to find out...

     ***

     With renewed enthusiasm, the cub set off across the dusty dark plain, stopping along the way to drink from his water bottle. Within half an hour, he looked more like a shadow Kougra than silver - not that he minded. Camouflage might be useful if he was attacked, or if he needed to hide for some other reason.

     The sun beat down in a constant, heavy haze, and Pemero had to drink more and more as the sun rose towards the centre of the sky. By noon, he was almost out of water, and had to start eating Juppies for their juice.

     "I wish I had thought of this sooner," said the cub to himself as he munched down his third Juppie. "They really hold a lot more juice than just water."

     "Do they?"

     Pemero whirled around to face the source of the voice, but nothing was there.

     "Who-who's there?" stuttered the bewildered Kougra.

     "I'm no one. Just a guide. You can't see me yet - and the only reason for that is that you're just not ready."

     "Oh... okay," said Pemero. "I understand." In actuality, he didn't understand, but he didn't want to make this mysterious creature angry by asking questions. According to legend, disembodied voices usually belonged to powerful beings, such as Faeries and elementals. According to reality, they shouldn't have existed at all - but this one did.

     The sunset came early that day, and Pemero curled up at the foot of a dead tree to examine the parchment again. He laid the sheet flat on the floor, and pinned it down with small rocks before lighting the magical torch.

     "I wonder what this means," Pemero said.

     "Put it away! That's a dangerous magical artifact!" came the reply.

     "No dice," the cub replied. "I found it, and I want to know what it means."

     "If you won't put it away..."

     "No, I won't." Pemero looked smug. After all, if this thing had no physical presence, how could it stop him from doing something?

     Looking back at the parchment, Pemero realised it was starting to get fainter, like a dying rainbow. A second or two later, it was gone completely.

     "I'll take care of this. Don't worry," the voice rushed out, since Pemero was panicking. "I haven't destroyed it. You can have it back later."

     "Okay, fine," Pemero grumbled. "Just don't pull any more weird tricks."

     ***

     As the pair travelled, the weather grew steadily worse. Every day for the next week, the clouds seemed to get thicker and the rain heavier, although there had been no storm. One more day would see them reach the foot of the mountain, if all went as planned. There was only one problem.

     "Oh, wait! I forgot to ask. Where are we going, exactly?"

     "...that mountain over there," Pemero replied cautiously. "Why does that concern you?"

     "Mountain? Oh, that's no mountain! It's a volcano! It hasn't erupted in years, but top scientists say it's getting more active all the time."

     "Well... it's too late to turn back now," sighed Pemero. "I wish I'd known earlier."

     "It won't affect you. I doubt you'll get into any real danger - if you do, I'll fly you to safety."

     "You can do that!? Wow!"

     "Well, I am a Faerie, you know..." muttered the voice.

     "A Faerie?" asked the cub, his voice laced with surprise.

     "...drat. I shouldn't have said that."

     "Oh, no! I'm not scared. Actually, that reminds me - I met a Faerie in the rainforest--" Pemero started.

     "--whatever!" the voice snapped. "We're almost at the foot of the volcano now - by tomorrow morning, we should be there."

     "Great. I wonder what's up there?"

     Pemero didn't hear it, but the strange voice replied.

     "You'll find out soon enough, my little friend..."

     ***

     Finally, he was there, at the foot of the volcano. It seemed bigger now than ever before, and a thousand times more daunting. Had he really believed it was possible to climb this?

     Squinting, the cub looked upwards. He could just about see the summit - so it wasn't completely impossible. Anyway, the word impossible isn't true - it's just a term people use for things that take a long time and are very difficult.

     Pemero had made it through the jungle, losing his best friend along the way, and now he was faced with a new obstacle. Had he expected a life of adventure to be easy and predictable? It was a simple thing to do, as many things are, but it was more difficult than anything he had ever faced.

     Still, he doubted his ability to reach the top. It was a volcano - and they were almost worse than mountains to climb, since they could erupt at any time. Besides, the words of his guardian came back to him, and he shuddered. He was almost ready to turn back now. Where was his spirit now?

     You've failed again, his mind sneered. What were you thinking, coming out here alone?

     But I'm not alone, he reminded himself. I have my guide with me. And I'm not turning back now.

     "Well, we're here," said Pemero, waiting for the voice to respond. No answer came. "Hello? Are you there?"

     It seemed the voice had left him for the time being. Or maybe it had never really been there. Maybe Pemero had conjured it up from his imagination to combat his loneliness and make him forget his guilt over Jen.

     "Ah, well," he sighed. "Better an adventure alone than none at all."

     And with that, he gripped the wall of the volcano and began to climb.

To be continued...

 
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Other Episodes


» Legend Seekers: Destiny Discovered - Part One
» Legend Seekers: Destiny Discovered - Part Two



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