Book of Wisdom: Part Five
“You idiot!” Hannah yelled. “Why on earth did you do that!?!”
Awohi stood and brushed himself off. “If I didn’t, you would have made us all go to Altador, when we really need to concentrate on this quest!”
“WE DIDN’T EVEN GET SUPPLIES! AND WE LOST ARMIN!” Hannah was yelling so loud, her lungs hurt from the effort. “Did it ever occur to you that we weren’t going to go to Altador immediately, even if you hadn’t done such a stupid thing as to drag us all here!?!” For the first time, she observed her surroundings.
They were standing on flat stone, overlooking the Tyrannian Plateau. From here, they could see the Concert Hall, the ticket booth, Kacheekers, the Tyrannian Arena, Go! Go! Go!, the weapon shop, the Town Hall, Destruct-o-Match 2, Tyrannian styles, the Wheel of Monotony, and the giant omelette. Awohi groaned. He had thought that after leaving, he would never have to return. Unfortunately, it seemed that he would have to stay a while. Behind them was the dreaded lair of the beast.
“Well?” asked Hannah, gesturing toward the cave. “I don’t think there’s any other great beast in Tyrannia.” They walked closer to the cave. Hannah saw it, and knew that it was probably dark deeper into the cave. Also, a frigid breeze emanated from the cave. Hannah stepped inside. Awohi didn’t move.
“M-maybe I should stay out here and watch Belle...” he stuttered.
Hannah scowled. “You’re right, she can’t go in. I’ll watch her; you can go get the next key.”
Awohi inched into the cave, shaking violently.
“Oh, come on! It’s a piece of cake!” Hannah laughed.
“If y-you think so, why d-don’t you do it yours-s-self?” he stuttered.
“Because,” Hannah said, knowing that it was most certainly not a piece of cake. “You started this, so I’m going to make you finish it.” Awohi moved no further. Hannah waited patiently, but he still refused to budge. She rolled her eyes.
“Watch Belle,” she muttered, walking into the cave. The cave was dark, but light still poured in from the large entrance. As she walked, the light began to fade. She felt something on her face and sputtered. Spyder webs lined the stony walls. She held her hands out to brush through them. Her hands suddenly hit a wall. She almost laughed.
There was no beast! It was just a load of rumors, made to scare people so Tyrannian children could dare each other to enter! Her eyes stopped on something on the wall. It was a rope. She stopped smiling. She had learned how to climb ropes when she was in the Pirate Caves, so it was no problem. She climbed to the top, and saw that the rope was tied to a large rock. She had climbed through a hole, coming to a stone platform.
At the end, there was a hole in the wall. Spyder webs covered it, but Hannah could tell that after a few feet, there was no light in the tunnel whatsoever. She hesitated in front of it. If she went in, there might not be any escape. The key was hidden in the darkness, and you never knew where the beast was.
She realized that she didn’t even have a weapon. What am I doing? she thought. I should be in Altador! Finneus will be expecting me in a day or two. Even if I left now, I would never make it in time! She turned around, and began walking. Suddenly, a thought came to her. I can’t act like doing this sort of thing is easy, and then go in here and come out empty-handed! She stopped. No, she couldn’t leave after she had made such a big deal about how easy it was.
She walked back to the hole. Pushing the cobwebs away, she stepped into it. A deep rumble escaped the cavern. She took another step. She was breathing hard. Suddenly, a flash of razor-sharp teeth flew at her. She screamed, and jumped back. The beast had already retreated. She shook convulsively, and stepped forward again. A leathery red wing emerged, quick as lighting. The claw on the end of it swung at Hannah and hit her across the face.
By the time she had stood again, she could see nothing. A huge head flew out, white eyes blazing. Saliva flew from its open moth as it roared. Despair hit Hannah like a stone wall. A golden key, much like the one in her pocket, was on a chain around the beast’s neck. She almost fell to the ground. It was nearly impossible to get the key. The chain was thin, and Hannah was sure that she could easily break it, but she could never get so close!
Suddenly, she had an idea. She slowly removed the key from her pocket with a shaking hand. The beast must not have had very good vision, because it failed to notice that this one had the snowager on top. It stopped roaring, and slowly extended its mouth towards Hannah’s shaking hand. It was confused. It did not understand how the treasure that it guarded was in the hand of this small creature. It came closer, until Hannah could feel its breath. In a lightning-fast movement, it grabbed the chain with its teeth, and pulled.
Hannah lost her grip, but clasped the chain around the beast’s neck. As it yanked its mighty head back, the chain broke. The key came off in her hand. She stuffed it into a pocket and tried to run. She ran in her mind, and silently screamed, but stayed where she was, paralyzed with fear. The beast realized what had happened, and slowly stepped forward threateningly. Hannah trembled, but still could not move. She screamed in her mind again, and her lip twitched.
* * *
Armin stood in front of Taelia, the snow faerie. Her face was white, like a sheet of paper, and her eyes were an icy blue. She wore a huge, fluffy coat, and two white and blue wings sprouted from her back.
“I want a New Year Bunt Cake and a Scorchio Spice Cake,” she said. “You have one hour to find these items.” Armin walked away, grumbling to himself. If he had those things, he would not have done the quest in the first place. The only reason he was doing a quest was so that he could get coupons, and with the coupons, get ice cream, since there was no other food at all. Now that Taelia wanted nothing but food, he had no intention of ever returning. He could not find a solution to his food problem.
He returned to the ice caves, hoping to find a collapsed house that he could take food from. As he walked, he saw a small bump in the snow. Not really noticing it, he stepped onto it. He yelled and fell into a large hole. He realized that he had fallen into Hannah’s temporary home, which she covered with a piece of leather. Snow had fallen, so the leather must have been concealed. Excitedly, he looked around. To his disappointment, all he found was a pile of blackened logs and a stone slate. He suddenly remembered how Hannah kept her food from going bad.
He dug through the snow, until he found a wooden box, cooled by the snow and ice. He slowly opened the box. It was not locked, and he sighed with relief. The box was filled with food. Not just ice cream, but bread, cheese, onions, apples, and carrots. It did not look very appetizing, but Armin could definitely survive eating it. He pulled out an apple. It was red and had not been bruised from the cave’s collapse. He shined it on his shirt, and ate it.
He was sure Hannah wouldn’t mind. After all, he needed the food. Hannah... Where was she? Armin only remembered that Awohi had started to use the book, Uggtep, as a portal to the second picture. Hannah had grabbed Belle and tried to stop him. They all disappeared into... That’s where Armin didn’t know anything. He didn’t quite remember the second picture.
Armin sighed. He climbed out of the small hole and left the caves. Happy Valley had not seemed to notice that the ice caves were destroyed. No one must have come in after the disaster took place. Armin knew that he should probably tell someone, but he didn’t want to be the one to break the news. He started the long walk down the mountain. By mid-afternoon, he could see the point where snow and ice turned into sand and dirt. It didn’t slowly fade into a different terrain, but changed drastically, leaving a distinctive line between Terror Mountain and Tyrannia. At the line, there was a sign that read, very clearly,
Welcome to Tyrannia
Uggapet ur ugga-ug
Armin guessed that the Tyrannian words below must be a translation of the regular sentence above. He walked past the sign, stepping onto dry dirt. Turning around, he saw a message on the back of the sign:
Welcome to Terror Mountain
Uggapet ur agg-upp-ug
He looked back the way he had come. The mountain loomed above him, casting a long shadow across the plains. He had angled around the side of the mountain, around the edge of the Ice Caves. He would arrive in the Tyrannian Plateau, rather than the regular passage from Terror Mountain which led into the Tyrannian jungle. He saw the plateau close by, but his view was restricted by a large cave, known widely as the Lair of the Beast. As far as Armin knew, no one had ever entered and come out alive. Actually, as far as he knew, no one had entered at all.
“Superstition,” he muttered to himself. The cave was probably empty. People were so serious about it, though, even the elders of the Tyrannian village. Of course, it was always hard to make out what any Tyrannian was saying. They always spoke in their funny ugga-uggh sort of language. He could see the entire plateau now, and he stood directly over the whole area. He could even see part of the jungle. Suddenly, he heard his name being called.
“Armin! What are you doing here?” Armin turned to see Awohi standing at the edge of the cave. Belle stood next to him, clutching his upper-paw. Armin gaped.
“Awohi? Belle? What are you doing here?” he asked, shocked.
“Apparently, we have to get the next key here.”
Panic flooded through Armin as he realized that something was wrong. “Where’s Hannah?” he asked, voicing his worry.
Awohi pointed inside the cave.
Armin yelped. “How long has she been in there?” he asked.
“About twenty minutes,” Awohi answered, shrugging.
Armin swore. He pulled out his icicle that he had turned into a dagger. He quickly ran into the cave. It was dark and wet inside. He stopped when he came to a rope. He silently descended it, watching his vision slowly fade as he made his way through the darkness. He came to a dead end as he ran. He heard roaring far behind him. He quickly turned around, and ran the other direction. This end had a hole in the stone wall. Hannah stood in front of it, motionless.
The beast was a terrible creature. It was orange, and reminded Armin of a Pteri without feathers. It had scaly skin, and jagged blue stripes ran down its bony back. The beak was long, and lined with sharp, uneven teeth. A white eye was set on either side of its long head. It reared back and roared.
“Hannah!” Armin called over the noise. She didn’t even look at him. She stood there, paralyzed with fear. Armin saw something in her hand. It was a golden chain, which led to a key, glimmering even in the dim light. The beast lunged toward her, saliva flying from its mouth. Armin jumped on its head, holding on for dear life. The creature looked confused, and then jerked back. Armin removed the icicle dagger from his pocket and held it above the creature’s head. He drove it down as hard as he could, but the thing jerked again.
Armin’s icicle protruded from the beast’s eye as he was thrown back. It flapped its wings fervently, and roared. Its tail lashed out, but missed with its limited eyesight.
“Come on!” he yelled, and grabbed Hannah’s shoulder. She stirred, and then ran after him. Once they were in a slightly lighter area of the cave, they stopped, sure that the creature had not followed them.
“Did you get the key?” he asked. She held up the key on the golden chain. Armin saw that a chunk of gold shaped like the beast’s head was at the top of the twisting key.
“Yes, but I lost the other one.” She sounded tired, yet relieved at the same time.
“That’s alright. You already unlocked the first lock, right?” he inquired. Hannah nodded. They slowly stepped out into daylight.
To be continued...