Searching For Paradise: Part Nine
Tye watched as Allehya sniffed at the snowy ground. Lifting
her head, the shadow Kougra said, "Nothing, Tye."
"Can you even get scents in the snow?" Tye asked.
Her own smelling was far from great.
Allehya shrugged. "Sort of. You can get a bit
of scent if it's fresh."
Tye looked around. It had been two days since
they'd stopped in Zeno's cavern. The Korbat had been gone when they'd woken
up and they couldn't afford to wait. As Tye had suggested, the faerie Ixi and
shadow Kougra built snow caves to sleep in. Their days were spent looking for
traces of the real thieves.
Unfortunately, there seemed to be no sign of
the Kougra, Ixi, and Kau who'd taken the Orb. Tye was quickly becoming frustrated,
and worried that the police would catch her and Allehya before the real thieves
Allehya sighed. "It's getting dark," she said,
green eyes glinting in the fading light. "We'd better head back to the caves."
Tye narrowed her eyes and kicked at the snow.
"Fine," she said grudgingly.
Allehya's tail flicked sympathetically. "We'll
find them," she said, although she didn't sound very sure.
"Not if the police arrest us first." Allehya
had nothing to say to that.
They trudged along in silence, the sun setting
slowly behind them. A peak came into view ahead. Tye and Allehya had discovered
that this peak gave an excellent view of Happy Valley. For a while, they had
switched between watching the valley and looking around the mountain. But they
were soon convinced that the thieves had already gone through the Valley, or
had just gone around.
Tye trudged toward the peak, her hooves grinding
into the snow angrily. She sat down on the cold stone of the peak and looked
down. A few Bruces were running toward a house with smoke billowing from its
chimney. They were wet, but looked happy. A Christmas Lupe had just bought something
from one of the shops, and was trotting toward the ferry. A starry Kyrii and
a human were heading toward the ferry as well, the Kyrii showing something to
Tye noticed Allehya glaring at the human. "Allehya,"
she said softly. "That was one human. They're not all bad."
Allehya's angry frown deepened. "Doesn't matter,"
she grunted. "I'll never be able to trust one after-"
Her ears suddenly shot up. Tye strained her ears
as well, but couldn't make anything out. She watched as Allehya's ears moved
around. She stood up slowly and silently, motioning with a paw for Tye to follow
Slowly, they crept through the thick snow, Allehya's
ears stiff and tail tense. A second peak came into view. Allehya carefully peered
over the edge. Tye slipped next to her, barely breathing as she looked down
The peak overlooked the opposite side of Terror
mountain. Below, on another ledge, were three pets. Tye narrowed her eyes, and
felt her heart begin to pump harder. There was a shadow Kougra, a yellow Kau,
and a faerie Ixi on the peak below.
Quickly, Tye and Allehya pulled their heads back.
"What should we do?" Tye hissed.
Allehya frowned thoughtfully. Her jade eyes suddenly
lit up. "What if we attack them from above?"
"You mean…jump from this ledge to that one?"
Tye eyed the peak's edge. "Sounds suicidal."
"Do you want to catch them, or not?"
Tye sighed. "Fine. We'll try it."
Allehya slunk to the peak's edge and looked down.
With a flick of her long tail, the shadow Kougra disappeared over the edge.
Hastily, Tye followed, spreading her wings slightly to control her speed. They
landed side by side on the ledge below, Tye's hooves making a loud clack
noise on the stone.
The three pets whirled around. Tye realized that
the faerie Ixi was huge, bigger than her father, even. The yellow Kau had a
crescent shaped scar over its dark left eye, and was pawing the ground and tossing
its head dangerously.
The shadow Kougra was the most surprising thing
of all. It had green eyes, just like Allehya. But what was even weirder were
the two golden bands around its front legs.
The shadow Kougra snarled, "What're you doing
Allehya narrowed her eyes. "Getting the Orb back,
The faerie Ixi snorted. "Like you could get it?"
she scoffed. Tye, though frightened, stared the Ixi in the eye.
The Kougra thief laughed. "We're pros," he said
with a wicked grin. "We don' get caught by stupid teenagers."
"You tell 'em, boss," the yellow Kau said in
a deep voice. He took a threatening step toward Tye, who tossed her own head
The faerie Ixi thief yawned. "Are you guys done
blabbering away? 'Cause we really need ta kill them before they spill to the
The shadow Kougra turned to the Ixi, his grin
widening. "They can't talk, Ness," he said.
Ness raised an eyebrow. "An' why's that?"
"The police think these two did it," he explained.
Allehya growled, "You did it on purpose, didn't
you? Wearing the bands so you could frame me."
The shadow Kougra rolled his eyes. "Duh! You
were the only other shadow Kougra around. Who else could I blame it on?"
Allehya roared angrily and stepped forward. The
Kougra thief sighed.
"They're all yours, Charger," he said to the
"You got it, boss," Charger said. He stepped
forward, tossing his head threateningly.
Tye and Allehya backed up. Looking behind them,
Tye saw the edge coming closer and closer. She doubted that there was a ledge
"Wait!" Ness shouted as Charger prepared to knock
Tye and Allehya off the peak. "The Ixi-she's got wings!"
But it was too late. Charger had already plowed
forward, and Allehya and Tye had stepped back. Looking down, Tye saw massive
snow piles waiting for them below. She knew from her books that landing in one
of the piles actually could kill you, either on impact or by burying you alive.
She was glad none of them had realized her wings
until the last second. Spreading her blue, leaf shaped wings, Tye slowed herself
down. She dove toward Allehya, who was trying to keep her paws pointing toward
the ground. Her tail was windmilling frantically, and her green eyes were wide.
Tye caught Allehya. She couldn't support the
Kougra's weight enough to make a heroic landing, but they were slowed down enough
to land with the snow up to their chests rather than over their heads.
Allehya struggled to free herself from the snow.
"Thanks," she said, freeing her gold banded front legs.
Tye shoveled snow away from her with her head.
"Don't mention it," she grunted, yanking out her hooves. In a few moment, Allehya
and Tye were shaking the snow from their fur.
Tye looked up at the sheer mountain side before
them. "I doubt we can get up that," she said with a scowl.
Allehya studied the mountain side. "I think we
can," she said slowly. "It'll just take some planning."
"Planning?" Tye repeated dubiously.
"Yeah," Allehya said. "See that rock jutting
out of the side? Use that to start. From there, we just need to take a moment
and plan our next move. How else could the thieves've gotten up there?"
"Going up the side of the mountain we did?"
"There isn't time," Allehya snapped. "The sunlight's
almost gone. This is the fastest way to go, and unless you stop arguing, you're
going to be on the side of Terror mountain, without night vision, when it gets
"Fine," Tye grumbled. "Let's hurry then."
Allehya turned and leapt onto the rock. She quickly
scanned the stones above her, selecting a hard edged stone to pull herself up
with. Tye followed reluctantly.
They were about halfway up when the sun disappeared,
leaving black darkness behind. Tye immediately stopped, blinking in the dark.
She heard Allehya stop as well. The Kougra sighed.
"I should've grabbed candles from the general
store," Allehya grumbled.
Tye shrugged. "We couldn't have climbed with
them anyways." She was disappointed. For a moment, she'd believed that they
would catch up with the thieves before the sunlight disappeared.
Suddenly, yellow light reflected off the snow,
lighting up the cliff side in front of Tye. She looked to the left, right, and
down the mountain. Then she turned to look behind them. The ferry was docking,
fiery torches blazing. Tye grinned. Just enough light to see by.
"Hurry!" she hissed at Allehya. "I don't know
how long those torches are gonna stay lit!" Tye and Allehya scrambled up the
After almost a half hour of hard, slow climbing,
the ledge Charger had driven Allehya and Tye off of was in view. Tye turned
to look back at the ferry, but immediately turned back around. She'd gotten
a glimpse of the snow covered land far, far below. Tye wasn't exactly afraid
of heights, but falling off of a humungous mountain was another matter entirely.
She wasn't that eager to see the ship.
"I can't believe the torches are still lit!"
Tye remarked. "And that the lights are stretching so far."
Allehya turned toward the ferry. "Well," she
said, "It's stretching so far because the fire's up about half a foot." She
gave Tye a speculative glance. "Is that really safe?"
"No," Tye answered, "But neither is climbing
a mountain in the middle of the night."
"It's not the middle of the night," Allehya protested,
but she turned back around and continued climbing.
Allehya and Tye reached the ledge minutes later,
and sat for a moment to catch their breath. To their relief, the thieves were
gone. With them out of the way, Tye and Allehya saw that there was a tiny cavern
in the stone wall.
Allehya stood to check it out. "Maybe that's
where the thieves went," she suggested.
"Wait," Tye said, squinting. "I can't go that
far. It's too dark!"
Allehya sighed. "We'll think of something," she
assured Tye. "I'm going to check the cave real quick."
To the shadow Kougra's disappointment, the tiny
cavern was just a round indentation in the wall. There was no secret tunnel
leading to the thieves' hideout. Allehya shook her head and turned to leave.
Tye, sitting glumly on the ledge, suddenly heard
Allehya hiss in surprise. Leaping to her hooves, the Ixi ran forward blindly,
nearly crashing into Allehya.
"What is it?" Tye asked breathlessly.
"I stepped on something," Allehya said, giving
Tye a puzzled look. "No big deal." She picked something up. Even in the darkness,
Tye could tell that it was a stone.
"And here's another one!" Allehya picked up another
stone. She studied them for a moment, and her eyes widened.
"What?" Tye asked nervously.
"Hold on a second," Allehya said, turning and
disappearing into the darkness. She returned a moment later with a large stick.
Tye could just barely make out the grin on her face.
"We can get light now!" she hissed excitedly.
"I'm not following you…" Tye said, stepping closer.
"Just hold the stick," Allehya said, passing
it to Tye. The Ixi held it as still as she could. Allehya picked up the rocks
and began rubbing them together. A grinding noise filled the air. Allehya held
the rocks close to the stick, her tongue between her teeth.
Suddenly, the two rocks created a spark. The
spark leapt onto the branch, and in an instant, Tye had a torch in her hooves.
"How'd you do that?" she demanded.
Allehya grinned, her teeth shimmering in the
fire light. "These are flint stones," she said. "If you rub them together really
hard, they'll make a spark."
"Cool," Tye said, looking around at the snowy
"I'll bet the thieves were trying to make a fire,"
Allehya said slowly. "Then we leapt down and attacked. When we got pushed off
the peak, they probably left."
Tye nodded. "I just wonder why they left. I was
afraid that faerie Ixi was going to fly down and spear us."
Allehya shrugged. "They're thieves, not murderers."
"The Kau chased us off a peak, Allehya!" Tye
exclaimed. "Are you nuts?"
"Well, if they'd knocked us off the peak and
the police found our bodies, it would've looked like an accident. But if we'd
been stabbed, the police would know right off we hadn't just fallen off the
"Besides," she added, "Ixi horns aren't made
for stabbing things."
Tye scowled. "Thanks," she said coldly. "Now,
are we going to try and find the thieves or not?"
"It'd help if we knew where to look," Allehya
grumbled, looking around.
"Think you could get a scent?"
Allehya shook her head. "It's been at least half
an hour," she said. "The scent's definitely faded away by now."
Tye frowned. She looked around the peak again.
"Hey!" she said. "Look at this!" She pointed with her free hoof toward what
looked like a trail of gray dust winding through the snow.
"What's that?" Allehya muttered, sniffing at
it. Her green eyes suddenly widened. She grinned.
"Flint," Allehya and Tye said in unison.
"One of them probably got it stuck in a hoof,"
Tye said slowly, "and it loosened and fell out when they left."
Allehya nodded. "So now we've got a trail."
Tye grinned. "Yep. Come on." Wrapping one of
her wings around the torch's base, she stepped forward, following the flint
Allehya shook her head. "They can't have just
Tye smacked the stone wall in frustration. "It
leads to a wall!" she hissed. "How can they just vanish into a wall?"
Allehya sniffed at the end of the flint speck
trail, then at the cave wall. "Leads here," she said, drawing a large oval in
the air with her claw. Rearing onto her hind legs, she sniffed above the imaginary
oval. "They didn't go up. There's no scent above here."
Tye shook her head. "This is ridiculous! We followed
these stupid rocks to a wall! Another half hour climb to get to a wall!"
"Tye, they're thieves! They know what they're
"But they can't just disappear!" Tye protested.
"I didn't say that," Allehya replied, running
a paw along the stones.
Tye closed her eyes in exasperation. "What, you
think there's just going to be some a hidden door, and it'll have a tunnel leading
right to the thieves' hideout?"
Something suddenly crunched and ground loudly.
Tye's eyes snapped open. Allehya was standing on her hind legs, paw pressing
a rock into the wall. She was standing next to a large oval shaped entrance
into an icy cavern with a brown stone floor.
The shadow Kougra raised an eyebrow. "What were
you saying about hidden doors and tunnels?" she said casually, falling back
onto four legs.
"Nothing," Tye grumbled. "It's way too cliché,
Allehya flicked her tail, and entered the tunnels,
grinning the whole time. Tye smiled slightly as they entered. She wasn't surprised
when the door slid shut behind them, thankfully with almost no noise.
Allehya turned and shook her head. "Great. A
trite way into a thief's hideout."
"Keep moving," Tye suggested. "If it's anything
like what I've heard about Geraptiku's tomb, there are tons of bobby traps.
Oddly enough, they didn't run into any traps
or monsters. Tye felt a growing sense of unease about this, although she couldn't
understand why. A lack of monsters usually was a good thing.
Allehya froze suddenly, and it took all of Tye's
effort to stop herself from slamming into Allehya. The shadow Kougra had paused
with one paw raised and her ears pricked. Tye lifted her own ears, and to her
surprise she could make out what Allehya had heard. She hastily stepped in front
of the flames so their flickering light wouldn't bounce off the ice walls.
"It'll be worth a lot, 'cording to the Shop Wiz,"
said a gruff voice Tye recognized as Charger's.
"Did he recognize you?"
"No, Ness. The guy's got prices ta check all
the time. He prob'ly doesn't know an Orb was stolen at all!"
"Good," came the smooth voice of the Kougra thief.
The sound of clinking metal met Tye's ears. "I can finally take these stupid
The thieves continued their conversation, but
Allehya turned to Tye and nodded her head towards the direction they'd come.
Tye and Allehya silently backtracked, stopping when the voices were out of range.
"Well, we found them. Now what?" Allehya asked.
"Try to steal the Orb?" Tye suggested.
Allehya rolled her eyes. "Right in front of a
trio of thieves?"
"Do you have a better plan?"
"No," Allehya admitted, "But I think I know how
we can do your plan."
Allehya grinned and whispered something to Tye.
The faerie Ixi gave Allehya an astonished look.
"No way!" she hissed.
Allehya shrugged. "It was your idea."
"'Til you mutilated it!"
"Look, do you want to get that Orb or not?"
Tye narrowed her eyes. "Alright," she grumbled.
"But I'm not doing this willingly. Got it?"
Allehya stood. "Whatever," she whispered, leading
the way back down the tunnel.
Tye couldn't stop the burning, bubbling feeling
in her stomach as she stood, back pressed against the ice wall, at the corner
of the ice tunnel and the room the thieves were in.
Allehya's plan involved the distraction to run
across the room, as if they were going to attack and beat all three of the thieves.
The distraction would keep the thieves' focus away from the Orb while the other
pet snuck toward its location and snatched the Orb. As soon as the pet had the
Orb, the other would come running. Then, they would leap from the peak, Tye
flying while Allehya traversed the steep, rocky mountain side.
Of course, Tye was the distraction. Allehya reasoned
that if the thieves hadn't seen Tye catch her, they would assume the Kougra
was dead. Therefore, they would only be expecting Tye to be in the cave.
Allehya, crouched farther down the tunnel, held
up three claws. One by one, she sheathed them, until the last claw vanished,
and Tye raced into the room.
She caught a glimpse of the thieves standing
around a table, admiring a bright blue-white Orb on a gold cushion, before she
tripped. Seconds later, Tye was in the air, caught in a massive rope net.
The Kougra thief looked up, unsurprised. "That
took longer than I thought," he remarked, shaking his head.
Charger and Ness grinned nastily up at Tye, who
began squirming in the net, trying to get out. She only succeeded in getting
her self even more tangled up. She wished she hadn't left the torch with Allehya.
"Allehya, don't come in!" Tye thought
desperately, glaring down at the thieves.
Seconds later, a loud roar echoed through the
air, and a black shape appeared in the tunnel entrance. It leapt over the rope
Tye had tripped on, and landed, growling at the thieves.
"See?" Ness said to the Kougra thief. "I told
you the Ixi would catch her!"
The Kougra thief rolled his eyes. "It doesn't
matter," he snapped. "She's here now."
The three thieves began moving in on Allehya,
who stepped back, tail flicking, claws out.
"Allehya, don't!" Tye called from above. Allehya
ignored Tye, her tail flicking.
Charger suddenly raced toward her, causing Allehya
to back up near another tightly strung rope.
"LOOK OUT!" Tye shouted, but it was too late.
Allehya had stumbled over the rope and landed on a net, which immediately shot
into the air, closing the shadow Kougra into a net like Tye's.
The Kougra thief looked up at them, grinning
nastily. "That'll teach you kids to mess with Wring, the ultimate thief!"
"How about givin' us some credit?" Ness grumbled.
Wring ignored them. "I'd like to see you get
out of that," he said with satisfaction.
Tye and Allehya struggled, but there was no breaking
the super-strong ropes holding the two pets far above the ground of the ice
covered cavern, even with Allehya's claws.
"Well," Wring said after a moment, "As much as
I'd love to let Charger and Ness drop you two to your deaths, we have some crimes
to cover up." He went to the table and jabbed something. Large steel bars immediately
surrounded the Orb.
"They're unbreakable," Wring said proudly, nodding
toward the cage surrounding the Orb. "Have fun," he sneered, as the three thieves
left the room.
Wring's laughter echoed through the chamber for
several long, agonizing minutes, as Allehya and Tye hung, trapped and defeated,
from the ceiling.
To be continued...