Raider of the Sky: Part Three
We were in the Lakelands by morning. Lake Everrest was
near the eastern side of them, but the only setback to our mission was this-the
lake was guarded by a monster. I was slightly interested, I had never seen a
real Monster-besides, hehe, Mothoaron- so I was kind of excited to see the rumored
"horrid" thing. It was rumored to be something so vile, so dangerous…the lake
was clear? We had just landed, but if the monster was vile and dangerous…that
made the lake clear? I stood beside Croshar, who was just as confused as I,
and we stared into the clear, blue, depthless Lake Everrest.
"Ah, well, I guess we ought to look for the
treasure," she suggested, and walked over to the banks. It was right at the
bottom (I suppose it was the bottom, anyway, the whole thing was sky-blue in
color) of the lake, a brownish, polished trunk. The floor of Lake Everrest was
blue and smooth. We were both quite shaken.
Croshar looked to me. "Um, we didn't come all
this way for nothing, did we? Maybe I should go get it…"
Before I could tell her not to, Croshar put one
tentative claw into the water. And with that one claw, the whole lake exploded
in clear, cold water and thrashing claws.
The creature that came out of the geyser-like
explosion was hideous, just as rumored in the taverns in Lananroam. It had a
long, sinewy, scale-covered body, which was dripping and slimy, webbed feet,
and it was as blue as the clear sky. It had twisted, warped claws and a blunted
snout. Somehow, it resembled a blue mutant Draik, but only its head really went
that direction. But that was all the time we had for staring. Croshar and I
tried to lift off, found our wings were pinned to our sides, and just ran. The
creature crawled onto the land and gave chase. It movements were slower than
ours and rather cumbersome, so maybe we could escape…
We had barely avoided being crushed by one huge,
clawed hand when the ground gave way beneath us. Croshar and I stared upward
as the trap door closed above. I was panting so hard my lungs burned. I heard
the ground shaking as the mutated creature thundered to a stop. Then it spoke,
in a deep, guttural voice.
"Yooou have gottennnn lucky thisssss time, thievesss.
Nexxt time I willll have yoooou…" It slithered off somewhere, probably back
into the lake. I shuddered.
Croshar got up and shook her green feathers.
"That was convenient. Well, we still have to get the treasure, so I say we follow
the light." I got up and shook myself also. "What ligh…oh," for there was indeed
some sort of glowing from up ahead. "Er, fine. C'mon." I was really kind of
against following glowing lights, but I had nowhere else to go. We started off
to follow the strange glowing through the tunnel we were in, some sort cave
built into the rock-hard ground.
About fifteen minutes later, we found ourselves
under a lake. No, the lake. Lake Everrest. The top of the cavern was gone, and
the lake was just there, up above, not coming down in to the cave, just hovering
as if it was trapped in a vacuum, which it probably was. As Croshar and I stared
up at in awe, I noticed that, although the treasure was there, the creature
was not. An idea formed itself in my mind.
Croshar rose on her hind legs and touched the
water. It just slid off her paw and floated to the floor of the cave. Strange,
it just floated downwards lazily instead of falling with the gravitational pull.
Croshar's eyes widened. "It's magic. If we could get to the treasure, and swim
to the top of the lake, then maybe we could get this over with," she said quietly.
"That's a very good idea," I commented, "but
you did notice we couldn't fly up there. We could get it, but we'd have to come
back down here."
She shook her head. "This is obviously that
creature's escape hole, and I think the only time we can't fly is when we're
around it. Just try it."
"We'll only have one chance, but if you think
so, I'll do it." I said. That girl and her crazy ideas…
"Finally." She said. "On the count of three,
jump up into the water. One, two…"
With no less than a sliding noise, we leapt into
the water. Once we were in it, though, it turned into regular water. I grabbed
the chest with the treasure and motioned Croshar upward, trying to hold my breath
long enough to make it up there. She laughed when we got up. "I told you it
I grinned. It most certainly had. I climbed
out of the lake and shook myself-right in the face of the Draik-creature.
"Going sssssomewherrre, thievesssss?" it asked,
and snorted. "Not annnymorrre. Yooou willlll never esssscape nnnow!"
I didn't even attempt to fly; I just ran, holding
tight to the treasure chest. Croshar ran to side, and I ran straight through
its legs, barely avoiding the thrashing tail. Then I thought as hard I could
of what is was like to fly, the freedom, the wind in my fur, and willed my wings
to work. To my immense relief, they did, but Croshar was still running. I held
out my paw to her.
"Croshar, jump! You can fly, just think about
doing it! Jump!"
She lunged upward, grabbed my paw, beat her
wings, and we took off. The creature roared his fury behind us, sending out
a spout of pungent water, but we were safe. We set our course to the fort of
the Lupe who had employed us to do the job, to safety, and away from any strange,
mutated, Draik-like creatures.
We flew over the Strilenough plain lands, towards
the fort where Morhoaron lived, which was located near the Garanel Forests by
a branch of the Branshlowne River.
I saw the fort ahead of us, a brown monument
on the amber-green plains, and signaled Croshar in that direction.
"Ah, so you have completed my request at last,"
Morhoaron the Lupe greeted us. "I trust neither of you were seriously injured?"
"No." I said flatly.
"Well, then. Here is your pay, and as you requested,
a portion of the treasure of Lake Everrest." The brown Lupe handed us three
pounds of the seventeen-pound treasure. I opened the bag he had put it in and
weighed in my mind. Morhoaron continued, however, "And here is the 30,000 Neopoints
you were promised. You can count it yourself." Croshar accepted it, weighed
it like I had the Everrest treasure, and we started to turn away.
"Wait one minute, you two," Morhoaron said,
"I have another thing you could attend to." We both turned back. I looked at
Morhoaron warily. His eyes were hard and serious. Hmm. Something dangerous,
perhaps? Suitable, the Lupe was always sending us off on the dangerous missions,
never any of his other thieves.
"Before you say anything, listen to me. I already
know it's the most dangerous place-to you-in Neopia. No, wait, listen to me,"
he stopped at our startled expressions, "But please, hear me out. I want you,"
he motioned to us, "to go to Kranslunar and retrieve the Moon Stone."
I was sure my beak fell open and my tail, which
I had held so carefully high, dropped. Croshar's eyes widened and her beak opened
"You want us," she said, incredulously, "to
go to Kranslunar!"
I knew the stories of Kranslunar. I knew overall
what they did when the caught their thieves. I also knew that they did not bother
to associate with anyone from the Valley Kingdoms. There were rumors of a war
coming between them and Kranslunar. It would be coming soon, and I had no wish
to be caught in the middle of it.
"Yes, I do," Morhoaron continued, "I have found
you two over the years the most amazingly accurate, courageous thieves who have
ever worked for me. I have complete confidence in you."
Croshar shook her head slowly, carefully. "We'll
be killed, Morhoaron. The Moon Stone is just as dangerous as those who hold
"No, just listen! I'm willing to pay you 60,000
NP just for that stone. I know the risks, I went there in my travels once before.
The only difference," he shrugged, "is that you're thieves."
I looked to Croshar. She didn't look worried,
just determined and ready for the hardest job of her life. I knew her choice
immediately. "We'll do it." We said in unison. We would go to the Lunar City
take the risks, and hopefully come out in one piece. Of all places, Kranslunar.
Croshar stormed out of Morhoaron's fort ahead
of me. I followed after, trying to look calm. She, however, looked ready to
"I can't believe I just accepted that!" she
shouted. I shook my head. "Settle down," I said, trying to calm her, "I'm sure
we'll be perfectly safe. I mean, what could go wrong-"
"Everything, Weatree! You've never been to the
Lunar City. I have. You don't want to know what they do if they catch you…"
she trailed off and looked at me meaningfully. I understood all too well.
To be continued…