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As the Clouds Clear: Part Five


by puppy200010

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She screamed as she fell. Fortunately, she stopped falling fairly quickly. After opening her eyes, she realized that she had been ridiculous; she was only up to her waist in snow! Quickly she climbed out of the hole and continued on her ascent. Though the path seemed to stretch on forever, she was determined to reach the top and complete her quest.

     It was several more hours before the peak of the mountain came into view. Once she reached it, Nili wasted no time in grabbing one of the ice crystals and stuffing it into the small, portable cooler she had brought with her.

     On her way down the mountain, she was deep in thought about a problem she hadn’t considered before. How would she get back to the island? Nili was pretty sure she had discovered how to leave the island, but how to get there still posed a problem. By the time she reached Happy Valley again, she proposed to go back to the cave on Mystery Island.

     By the time Nili reached the ferry dock where the Mystery Island ferry left, night was starting to fall.

     “One ticket for a ferry ride to Mystery Island, please,” Nili asked of one of the pets working at the dock.

     “Sorry. No more trips until tomorrow,” the pet responded in a gruff tone.

     “Please!” Nili begged.

     “Oh, fine,” said the pet, giving in. “Ya look so sad already; I wouldn’t wanna give ya any more reason to be depressed. Follow me,” he said, motioning. “I’m the captain of this ‘ere ship. Hop aboard!”

     “So why is it,” started the captain once they were on the water, “that ya so desperately need ta get ta Mystery Island?” Nili tried to explain to him the best she could. When she finished, the captain said, “Wow, yer one slice of cheese short of a ham sandwich, ain’t ya?”

     “That’s certainly what everyone seems to think lately!”

     “Well, yer story’s not exactly the most believable thing I’ve ever heard,” he said, docking the ship on Mystery Island’s shore. “Good luck with yer... yer quest thing.”

    ***

     Nili easily found her way back to the cave. Everything inside the cave appeared to be still and exactly as it had been in the afternoon. She waited anxiously for any sign of scenery change, but there weren’t any. Disappointed, she lay down on the familiar, cold, damp floor of the cave and slept.

     The sound of heavy raindrops woke her the morning. A single glance out the cave’s entrance proved that she had been transported back to the island overnight while she had been sleeping. Silently she scanned the cave. Something was missing! Nili realized what it was as Jake and the Tuskaninny strode into the cave. Clutched in the Tuskaninny’s hands was the cooler with her ice crystal!

     “Why, good morning, Nilika! Have a nice night of sleep?” He gave one of his familiar fake grins. “You’ve been quite a good pet recently. You collected this lovely ice crystal for me, I see. It’ll go to quite good use when I cast that constant thunderstorm spell!” He opened the cooler and fingered the crystal gently. “Oh, I guess since you’re obviously trapped on this island, due to the destruction of the transporter hut, I may as well explain the history of my ingenious plan. Or rather, our ingenious plan. Jacob here has been helping me quite a bit throughout this scheme of mine.”

     “Jake, he’s got you under mind control or something!” she yelped.

     Jake laughed evilly while the Tuskaninny responded, “Of course he’s not. He isn’t now nor has he ever been. Jake’s been on my side since the beginning! I simply sent him off the island to fool you into coming back. He’s quite a good actor, you know.”

     “So Jake... you lied? You’ve been lying the whole time?”

     “I never lied to you,” said Jake, chuckling. “Everything I said had some truth in it.”

     “Oh yeah? What about that whole ‘living in this cave’ thing?”

     “I did live in this cave, and I still do. That’s completely truthful.” He stopped, but saw a confused look on Nili’s face and continued. “Oh, you’re confused about why you never saw me, I bet. I was painted invisible, Nili. Invisible. Before I was sent back to Neopia, I was painted grey. My job was to lead you back here. You made my job so easy, though. You ended up leading yourself back! Don’t look at me like that. I gave you chances to save yourself. All you did was seal your own fate.”

     “And your fate is,” the Tuskaninny cut in, “to live here, on this island of constant rain–and soon constant thunderstorms–for the rest of your life. Oh, what joy I get from imprisoning you here! You and all those other sorry neopets.” He laughed an eerie, spine-tingling laugh. “They never did think I could handle the power, you know. They laughed in my face when I revealed that I wanted to rule Mystery Island. They mocked me. So, I did what I could to get back on them and prove to them that I could handle it. First, I plotted my revenge. It took long days and weeks before I came up with any plan good or thorough enough to work. Then, I found a sorceress. After some threatening and bribery, she handed over her spell book. Using it, I cast a spell over the island! Oh, and my dear, you know all about this spell.

     “No one was concerned about the rain for awhile. They figured it was some kind of weird weather pattern; why would they think otherwise? Eventually, they got suspicious. Since I had ‘miraculously’ appeared back on the island at the time when the rain started, I was blamed. Was I ever stupid to provide such a clue about the origin of the rain! Angry mobs of neopets started to chase me whenever I was in sight. And trust me, I wasn’t then nor am I now, particularly fit and in shape.” The Tuskaninny patted his stomach. “So I needed to solve that problem. I cast another spell, this one on myself. This spell gave me all the qualities of being a ghost, without being a ghost or painted that color. After that spell, I started to browse through that spell book a bit, which was when I discovered my next big plan.

     “I discovered a way to cast some magical rain,” said the Tuskaninny nobly as if it were something to be admired. “And do you know where I sent this rain?” he asked Nili, speaking down to her. “It was sent to your town, and you were the only one to feel its effects. It drew you away from reality and brought you here. Of course, you know the rest of the story. It’s ingenious, don’t you agree? Flawless planning.”

     While the Tuskaninny continued gloating about his plan, Nili slowly edged backwards. Her escape plan had to be executed lightning fast. Quickly, she grabbed a charred log and a handful of ashes from the fireplace and hurled them at the rambling Tuskaninny and Jake. They were momentarily blinded, and she took advantage of it, grabbing the cooler containing the crystal and darting out of the cave.

     She sprinted towards the town as fast as she could. Once she arrived, she noticed several buildings in ruin. The town was in utter chaos. Nili somehow managed to catch one of the grey pets and told them to get some nets and go to the cave. Nili ran through the town and next stopped at the sorceress, who looked to be quite concerned about the destruction of the town.

     “I have your crystal,” said Nili breathlessly, handing over the ice.

     “Thank you! Now, what kind of spell would you like me to cast?”

     “Eternal sunshine!” she replied without thinking.

     “Silly girl! Even though eternal rain is horrible, so is eternal sunshine. Little plants and such will need rain. Too much of a good thing can be bad.” The Gelert sorceress smiled. “I think I’ve got the perfect spell for you.” She turned around and mixed several ingredients. Produced was a bit of lavender-colored powder. The sorceress handed it to her, along with a scroll. “Recite the words on this scroll, then blow the powder into the air.”

     Nili stood under the awning of the sorceress’s hut. She followed the directions she had been given and read the strange jumble of letters on the parchment scroll. She took a deep breath and blew the purple powder off her paw and into the air. Gradually, the rain stopped and the clouds parted. For the first time since she had been there, the sun shone down on the entire island. Pets stopped scrambling around in confusion and celebrated the weather change. Soon, color started to poke through their grey fur. After a few minutes, not a grey pet was in sight! She squealed with joy as her shadow coloring returned. Not soon after, she started to fade. The island disappeared.

    ***

     Algebra homework. A restless study hall on a Friday afternoon. Obnoxious laughter from pets seated somewhere behind her. Nili smiled. She was right back where she had been before the island. Outside, rain was falling, but she felt safe, knowing that it wasn’t magical. She had been granted a rare thing–a second chance. A chance to live through what she had missed while she was on the island. Silently, Nili promised the long-gone Gelert sorceress that she wouldn’t waste it.

The End

 
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Other Episodes


» As the Clouds Clear: Part One
» As the Clouds Clear: Part Two
» As the Clouds Clear: Part Three
» As the Clouds Clear: Part Four



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