As the Clouds Clear: Part Five
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
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!”
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
“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’
“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
“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.