Book of Wisdom: Part Eight
Hannah stood up. Or at least, she thought that she did. Finneus had pulled her back onto her feet. She groaned.
“What happened!?!” Finneus asked. Hannah shook her head and picked up the book again.
“Hannah, you aren’t really going to try—”
She jabbed her finger into the picture again. Finneus jumped forward, but she disappeared. She saw the flash of light fade into black much more quickly this time, and was soon in Meridell. Turi was there, standing in front of her. She whirled around to face Hannah.
“Back for more? Already?” She looked down and saw the book in Hannah’s hands.
“And you have brought that nice little book with you. Good.” She leapt at Hannah, but she dodged the attack. Hannah opened the book, breathing hard. She found a page with the picture that she needed. She made sure that Turi saw where she was going.
“If you want this book,” Hannah said, holding it up with the picture visible, “you’ll have to follow me!” She thrust her entire arm into the picture. In a flash, she was in the air. She didn’t have very far to fall, only a few feet. She landed on something very cold. She gasped, and held the book above the water that she was in. She had forgotten that it could not get wet.
For a while, there was complete silence. Nothing but the small waves from her impact, and the wind. She floated in Kiko Lake, looking down at the coloring page building, which was made of coral underwater. When Turi came, she would dive down and enter the small building, where there was plenty of oxygen. Turi was scared of water, but she would go far for the book, Hannah was sure. Once under water, though, Turi might begin to panic.
Hannah planned to take the key from her then, while she was powerless under water. With Hannah on top of her, she wouldn’t be able to surface. Hannah would let her live, but she would take the third key and use the book before she could stop her. The only problem was, she couldn’t get the book under water, and Turi could be there any minute. There was a flash of red light far above her, and Hannah realized that she had no choice. She dived down under water, and swam toward the coral building.
Already the pages began to become soggy. A few came off and floated toward the surface. Hannah fought back panic, assuring herself that it didn’t matter, as long as she got the locked pages. A splash came in the water behind her. Turi was now in the water. Hannah couldn’t attack her now, though, because she needed to get the book to a dry place. She dove into the coral cave, threw down the book, then jumped back into the water. Turi was swimming toward her. Hannah needed to get the third key before Turi got too close to the book.
She swam up to her and saw that the key was around her neck. She grabbed it, and attempted to pull it off of the leather cord that held it in place. A hand clasped her wrist, stopping its descent. Hannah looked up. Turi showed no sign of panic. She punched Hannah hard in the stomach, and she had to try to keep from breathing in. Unfortunately, she gasped when she was hit, letting in a stream of water. All of her panic stopped. She had breathed in water, which usually meant that she was going to drown.
Despite the circumstances, she felt completely relaxed, unaware of her surroundings as she sank. She felt as if nothing mattered, and she was lying on a soft bed, slowly drifting into sleep. She could have smiled, if she had the energy. For the first time after leaving the ice caves, she felt... happy. She wasn’t going to die. She was just going to go to sleep, and never wake up. She would be completely relaxed.
Her relaxation ended abruptly when a hand reached up and hit her in the face. She reached out and felt something. It was the third key! She held it tight, and it broke off of the leather cord. If she was going to drown, and leave the book for Turi to get, she might as well take the key with her. To her surprise, she felt herself land on hard ground. She was in the coral cave for coloring pages! She still couldn’t breathe, though. Suddenly, a Kiko leapt out of the shadows and landed on her chest.
She coughed, and water spurted out, forming a puddle around her. She gasped, taking in a breath of much needed oxygen. The Kiko stared down at her, surprised.
“Are you okay?” it asked. Hannah nodded quickly jumped up. Turi was swimming for the cave. Hannah opened the book, and frantically flipped through the pages. She found a picture of Altador, and did something she had never done before. She put her head into the picture. With it, her shoulders, and her arms, until the upper half of her was in it. She landed in Altador head first, and hit the cold marble floor with a thump.
“What happened?” Finneus cried. Hannah stood up and pulled a piece of seaweed from her hair. After setting the book down on a table, she fumbled with her coat for the third and final key. She felt a leather cord, and pulled. She held it up, and smiled. Finneus didn’t look as Hannah thought he would look. She expected him to be overjoyed, excited that they could finally unlock a thousand years that could otherwise never be known. Instead, he looked horrified. He was staring at the key hopelessly, as if something had gone terribly wrong.
For the first time, Hannah’s steel blue eyes fell upon the key. On the top was a gold depiction of Turmaculus. What had horrified Finneus, however, was what was below that. The shaft was only about a half-inch long, and ended in a jagged stump. Two inches of the key had been broken off, and those two inches were probably somewhere at the bottom of Kiko Lake... or in Turi’s hands.
“Oh!” Hannah cried in anguish. “Oh, oh no!” She fell to her knees, and dropped the key on the floor. It clinked as it bounced off of the white marble. Its reflective surface gleamed in the sunlight pouring in through the open window. A single tear fell from her eye. All of the work from the past week had led up to this... a dead end. With the key broken, and several parts missing, it was impossible to access the long-lost history of Neopia. She looked up at Finneus.
He stared down at her with a creased brow. The book lay on the cold tile, unnoticed. Hannah glanced down at it, and picked it up. It was mostly pictures of places in Neopia. She recognized the Fungus Caves on Krawk Island, and Techo Mountain on Mystery Island. She saw Kiko Lake, and Brightvale. Faerie City, the heart of Faerie Land was cast upon one of the pictures, as well as Coltzan’s Shrine in the Lost Desert.
“That book would make an excellent addition to the archives,” Finneus said softly. “Even though its most valuable asset is not accessible, people would line up just to stare at it.” Hannah was inconsolable.
“Why would they?” she said through a burst of tears. “It’s just an old-looking book.”
“Something doesn’t have to look great to be great.” Finneus said no more. Hannah closed the book. There was a long pause. After what seemed like hours, she finally stood up and dusted off the cover. She held out the book in front of her, in Finneus’s general direction.
“You take it. Put it in the archives,” she said, wiping her eyes. Finneus’s face softened. He smiled, and took the book. “Wait,” she said, and took it back. “I need it one more time.” Finneus looked confused. She flipped through the pages. Kiko Lake passed, as well as Altador, the Ice Caves, and Tyrannia. She finally found what she was looking for. There, on the page near the middle, was a picture of grass. She placed her palm on the picture, and began to fade. Her stomach turned upside-down as she was drawn nearer. Even after the numerous times she had used the book for teleportation, she still felt queasy when she repeated the act.
It was like when she would sled down Terror Mountain, from the top, even if she was being adventurous. Like the time she had been on a boat from Krawk Island, and a wave hit its structure, making it rock unexpectedly. The feeling also reminded her of when she had seen the beast, deep in the cave of Tyrannia. That excited feeling of adrenaline. She felt it now, as the book invited her into its complex spell, allowing her to feel she could go wherever she wanted. Anywhere...
Her vision melted into the image of Meridell. She stood at the top of the Cheeseroller hill. Meridell Castle was visible in the distance, and a huge wheel-shaped piece of cheese could be seen rolling down the steep hill. The finish line was clear in her sharp eyes, along with Turmaculus. But something was wrong. Turmaculus had moved over the door in the ground! That meant that Armin and Awohi were still stuck in the hole!
She ran frantically toward the sleeping turmac. She saw a corner of the wooden door protruding from underneath Turmaculus. She ran up to it, and knocked on the cedar.
“Armin! Awohi! Can you hear me?” she yelled. No answer came. She panicked, and pounded on Turmaculus’s side. “WAKE UP, YOU STUPID FAT EXCUSE FOR A PETPET!” she shouted at the top of her lungs. She wondered why that wasn’t an option on the dropdown list to try to wake Turmaculus. A growl reverberated from him, slowly turning into a thundering roar. The turmac reared his head, and turned it to face Hannah straight in the eye.
* * *
Armin curled up into a ball, and tried to make some space for him so that he didn’t have to be pressed up against Awohi. The whole area was extremely confined, and probably not built for a Bori and a Kougra to both be in at once with the door closed. Before either of them could have reacted, a roar came from outside, followed by a heavy thud. After that, neither of them could open the door. They had been like this for almost a half an hour, and Armin was getting tired of it.
“Where’s Hannah?” Awohi complained. He snorted, and then answered his own question. “Probably using that dumb book again.” There was a long pause.
“Maybe Turmaculus is on top of the door,” Armin suggested. Awohi snorted again.
“’Ya think?” he said sarcastically. “What gave you that idea? The fact that with our strength combined, we can’t even open the door a centimeter?”
“Yes,” Armin answered stubbornly, despite the question being rhetorical. He removed his icicle/knife from its leather sheath and scratched aimlessly at the stone walls of the hole. He saw that the sharp tip had left scribbles on the gray rock. His eyes fell on the sharp icicle that he held in his small hand. Excited, he struck the wooden door. It did not go through, but he was overjoyed to see that it had made a large gash in the wood.
“What are you doing?” Awohi asked, annoyed.
“I’m getting us out of here!” Armin replied gleefully.
Awohi was unimpressed. He saw the gash in the door, and his nonchalant look changed into a surprised one. After a short pause, he said, “Hit it again.” Armin struck the wood again, and this time, saw green skin, with purple spots on it.
“Sorry, Turmy,” he said, and pulled his icicle back. He thrust it through the hole, provoking an explosive roar. Turmaculus stood up, surprised. Armin and Awohi quickly jumped out of the hole, and dove out of the way just as Turmaculus sat down again. Awohi whooped, and held up his paw. Armin gave him a high-five and laughed. They stopped celebrating long enough to realize that they had no idea what to do next.
“What do we do now?” asked Awohi. “I don’t want Hannah to come back here and wonder where we are, but she may not come back for weeks if she’s lost possession of the book!”
Armin thought about it, and said, “Let’s go into Merifoods. I’m hungry, and it’s shady in there.” Awohi agreed, and they walked toward the small building. A decapitated hog was tied to a wooded pole, roasting over the blazing fire. They opened the door, and went inside. The room was empty of people, except for a purple Meerca in a leather vest. They sat down at a table near the door.
“Well,” Awohi said. “We could just go back home. I could grab a boat back to Mystery Island, and you could go back to the Ice Caves.”
Armin scratched behind one of his ears. “We could,” he said. “But we may never see Hannah again.”
Awohi sighed. “We already went over this! If Hannah no longer has the book, she could be gone for weeks! For all we know, Hannah might be dead!” Awohi shut his mouth, wishing he hadn’t said that last comment. There was a long, uncomfortable silence. Armin stared out the window to distract himself. He watched someone run down the cheeseroller hill toward Turmaculus. They pounded on the ground, and yelled something that Armin couldn’t hear. Then, they stood up and started beating the turmac’s side, yelling something even louder as mousey-brown hair flew up around the figure, and Armin realized who it was.
“Hannah?” he said disbelievingly. Awohi turned around and stared out the window. Sure enough, Hannah was there, sitting on the ground in defeat. “Hannah!” Armin dashed out of the restaurant and ran toward her.
Hannah stood, and saw a small figure racing toward her from Merifoods. They were calling her name.
“Hannah!” She stared at the figure.
“Armin?” Another figure bounded beside him. “Awohi?” They reached her and stopped running. She laughed.
“How did you get out on your own?” she asked.
“Oh, I used my icicle to make a hole in the door and jabbed Turmaculus with it. He got up for us after that,” Armin said laughing.
“We finally found you,” said Awohi. “Now I can go back to Mystery Island!” Hannah laughed.
That is the end of this adventure, but I will clear up some details before I finish. Hannah used the book to go back to Altador, where Finneus kept it for his archives. After that, she took a boat back to Krawk Island, where she continued to serve drinks to the lively pirate folk. Armin made it safely back to the Ice Caves, which had been cleared up by volunteers, who also sprayed water onto the walls. In such cold, the water froze, making the caves in Terror Mountain the “Ice Caves” again. Awohi went back to Mystery Island, and told all of his friends the amazing story, which no one really believed that much. Everything returned to normal, and Hannah’s third adventure was over.