Book of Wisdom: Part One
Hannah shivered, pulling her woolen coat around her. She winced as it brushed against the Ta-Kutep, a red mark depicting a sun with an eye in the center of it. This was the consequence of one of her latest adventures. Her eyes hurriedly swept the ice caves. It was early morning, and the scratch card kiosk Wocky was turning the closed sign on the door to open. An Aisha padded together a huge snowball and Hannah briefly wondered how they would lift it. She berated herself as she realized that it must be the beginning of a snowman.
A head seemingly made of tinted blue ice was sticking out of a large cave, peering at its surroundings. A brisk zephyr blew, sending powdery snow into Hannah’s face and forming icicles on her mousy-brown hair. She sighed, and buried her face in the fur edge of her hood. She wondered what she would do next. Being a treasure hunter wasn’t always easy. If there wasn’t any treasure around, she could get in a tangle pretty quickly. She knew, though, that there was always treasure.
She planned to buy supplies, and go to Altador, despite her meager supply of money. She had heard rumors of a great treasure lying in wait there somewhere. Apparently, it was a book written by an Altadorian artist. There was an almost photographic picture illustrated on each page. Somehow, people claimed that such pictures could be used as portals, and to travel to unknown areas of Neopia.
Hannah regarded such stories as nonsense, but decided that the book might sell for a lot of money. Even if it didn’t have portals in it—which was probably the case—it was very famous, and old. Most people saw old things as valuable, and would pay a great deal of money for it.
If you don’t already know about Hannah—which you should, because she is very famous and has two games starring her—she is an Usul with long, brown hair. That alone, really wouldn’t make her special, but she has a couple of stories, most of which I will abbreviate to save time. She was a serving girl at the Golden Dubloon, when she found a book, describing the location of hidden treasure.
She had many adventures in a mass of caves, and managed to escape alive with a mountain of gold, and the Mermaid’s Tear, a very valuable gem. Soon afterward, she had a second, similar adventure in the ice caves. She met Armin, a wandering Bori. She had done a lot, but she knew that the money would never last. One more, then I’ll go back to being a serving girl on Krawk Island, she told herself. She shivered again.
Armin hurried up to her.
“Hannah!” He caught his breath, and tried to keep up with her brisk pace. “Where are you going now?”
“I’m going to Altador to look for some more treasure. Want to come?”
Armin looked startled. “Now?” he inquired.
“No, I was going to wait a couple of days. But do you want to come with me when I do?”
Armin paused, and said, “No.” He spoke delicately. “I think I’ll stay here and build a house.”
Hannah could understand. She knew Armin enjoyed the cold, and she could imagine him living in the ice caves for a great deal of time. Although she knew he would say that, she had hoped he would accompany her. He was a good traveling companion, and could withstand many great adventures relatively unscathed.
He stopped, and stood there in the snow. Hannah pressed onward, and he watched her go before walking away. She stumbled to a large cave, which was lit brightly by candles. Tables scattered the room, and a boisterous crowd occupied most of them. Some people ate food, while others talked and sipped drinks. A bar sat at the end of the room. Hannah liked the tavern. It reminded her of the Golden Dubloon back on Krawk Island. She felt warmth seeping through her, and drew the hood of her coat back.
“Hannah!” A Skeith at the bar beamed at her, revealing yellowed teeth. “Haven’t seen you here in a while!”
“Good morning, Borthar!” Borthar smiled and put a white mug under a nozzle coming from the back of the counter. Thick, brown liquid cascaded into the cup, sending a beautiful aroma around it. He smiled again, and handed her the mug. She thanked him, and then trudged to an empty table. She sighed inwardly and plopped down onto the oak chair. Sometimes, she wished for a little less adventure. Her life had become busy enough.
She sat and quietly nursed her drink until the mug was empty. She swallowed the rest of the borovan, the warm liquid soothing her sore throat. Leaving the empty mug on the table, she slowly stood. As she stood at the entrance of the tavern, she braced herself and pulled her hood on again. Outside, the wind had stopped, and the snow sat peacefully. Confused, she pulled her hood off. She could have sworn that it had been snowing hard a minute ago.
A snowball hit the back of her coat. She whirled around, and saw two vanilla-colored ears poking up from a mound of snow. A smile crept across her face. She scooped up a handful of snow from the ground, and said,
“I see you, Armin.” Armin poked his head up, and was instantly hit with a burst of snow in his face. He reached down, and to Hannah’s surprise, threw a snowball at her quickly. She dove to the side, and managed to avoid it. Another one followed, and two more after that. She was stunned at how fast Armin could make snowballs, and then realized that he must have had a pile of pre-made balls.
She rolled to avoid a merciless barrage of snowballs, then stood up and caught one in her gloved hand. Seemingly of its own accord, her hand instantly pulled back, and released the snowball like a catapult. Armin ducked, and the snowball whizzed over his fort. It hit a nearby icicle, and broke the tip off. Armin looked up at the pointed tip of the icicle, falling through the air behind him. It landed noiselessly in the snow, disappearing in the untouched white blanket.
A smile danced across Armin’s face, then he hurled another snowball. Hannah ducked, but then realized he had not thrown it at her. He had thrown it directly up above him. He rushed away from his fort and up to Hannah, looking up. His snowball hit an icicle, which cracked and flew through the air like an arrow, sticking into the snow point-first. Armin smiled, and picked it up. He held it up like a dagger. Hannah laughed.
He ran in to the ice crystal shop. Hannah followed. The shop was a large igloo, filled with shelves displaying various ice weapons. The orange Shoyru at the shop smiled, and said,
“Good morning! What can I do for you?”
Armin pulled out the icicle, and asked, “How much would it be to fix this?” By fixed, he meant for the shop keeper to do what he did to all of the other ice weapons, so that it would stay eternally sharp and would never break.
“Not much. Say, five thousand neopoints? It would be ready by this afternoon.”
Armin agreed, handed the Shoyru the icicle, and paid him. “Come on, Hannah,” he said, leaving the shop.
Once they left, Hannah asked, “What are you going to do with it?”
Armin smiled. “I’m going to use it as a dagger. What else?”
Hannah said nothing. She wondered why in the world Armin would want a dagger. If he planned on living his life quietly in the ice caves, he wouldn’t need a dagger. Maybe, he would use it for whittling. From deep inside his coat, Armin produced a piece of leather. He rolled it up and fastened it with a piece of thin rope. In his hands he held a makeshift sheath. Hannah began walking away.
“I’ll see you later, Armin.” She had no idea where she planned to go. She slumped over with fatigue and slowly walked towards the makeshift shelter she had built. It was a large hole, covered with leather over the top for insulation. A pile of damp wood lay in the snow in the center of the hole. Hannah picked them up, black charcoal cracking off, and set it outside. She replaced the pile with a couple of dry logs.
“Always carry flint and steel,” she said to herself, slashing at the flint with her pocket knife. A shower of sparks cascaded onto the wood, setting it alight. She had repeated something her grandfather had taught her long ago, before she went to roam the pirate caves. Ultimately, that was the only reason she made it out alive. She removed her gloves and rubbed her hands together vigorously, warming them in front of the steadily flickering fountain of flames. After boiling and eating a small bowl of stew, she covered the fire with snow, and stepped outside.
To be continued...
Yay! My second NT story! A big thank-you to all of you who read and enjoyed my last story!