Three Wishes: Part Five
This time it was a sharp kick to Ellie’s ribs that woke her up. She grunted in pain, then heard a voice speak.
“This one’s woken up, eh,” came the rough voice of an unknown pet. But somehow it was a sort of friendly roughness.
“I think this one just moved as well,” said another voice to her right. She opened her eyes.
“Ow,” said Ophir as she woke up and clambered to her hooves.
Ellie lay still and surveyed the two new pets. The first one, with the rough voice, was a tough looking Christmas Bruce with wide eyes. He was standing over Ellie, but facing Ophir. She moved her head slightly and saw Ko lying in a sprawled heap on the ground. A snow Poogle was standing over him with worry lit in her eyes. He did look like he was in a rather uncomfortable position – but that was just how he slept.
“Oo’ are you, eh?” the Bruce grunted as he folded his large flippers and frowned, but it made him look rather comical.
“I’m Ophir,” Ophir moaned, and Ellie felt her pain in the massive headache throbbing inside her head. “I don’t know what happened.” She glanced around and saw that Ellie was awake. “Ellie, what happened?”
Ellie heaved herself to her paws and the Bruce looked rather startled and took a step away. “I dunno. I just got this massive... reeling and then I don’t remember anything.” She rubbed her temples.
“So you do realise that you’re one metre away from the tunnel leading to the Snowager’s den?” the Poogle asked in a soft voice, so different from her friends. “Three steps more and he would have been able to see you.”
“He?” said Ellie, then let the matter drop. “Who are you?”
“Locals comin’ to check if the Snowager’s ‘aving ‘is little nap right now,” said the Bruce and patted the Raindorf that Ellie only just noticed on his shoulder. He held out a flipper with a grin. “The name’s Kai, and this little ‘un ‘ere’s Dot.” Ellie hesitated, but to her surprise Ophir stepped forward and shook it vigorously without any hint of her usual shyness.
“Pleased to make your acquaintance,” she said.
“Acquain-what, eh?” Kai said in response. “Ah, don’t use too many big words on me. They make me ‘ead ‘urt.”
The Poogle giggled and shook Ophir’s hoof with one paw. “Don’t listen to him. He understands big words perfectly. He just thinks it’s an insult to be intellectual. I’m Maryl.”
Kai shot her an evil glare and patted Dot again. Maryl then pulled out a Polarchuck from where he had been loitering around her ankles, hard to see against her fur. “And this is Snowball. We were hoping to get one of the Snowager’s treasures, but from the looks of you it doesn’t look like he’ll be sleeping right now.”
“That’s true,” Ellie muttered.
“So Oo’s the one still nappin’ on the ice there, eh?” Kai asked. “He looks out o’ place ‘ere.”
“Oh, that’s just Kodovak,” Ellie said as she padded over to him and prodded him in the stomach. The Lupe moaned and turned over. “Call him Ko for short.”
Suddenly Ko gave a curiously strangled howl and leapt to his paws, his eyes wide open. “What did I miss?” he asked. Then, without waiting for an answer he launched on. “I just had the weirdest dream where a giant desert Draik went to every pet and human on Neopia and touched them on the forehead and that we were the only ones he didn’t touch. And that, and that... Sylkon was being chased him and wanted to get away but he just couldn’t.” He paused for breath in the stunned silence, then noticed the newcomers.
“What happened? Who are these pets?”
“That’s Kai, Dot, Maryl and Snowball,” Ophir explained patiently. “They found us here and we had all fainted. I don’t know why.”
“So what do we do now?” Ko asked. “Do we go find Frosti?”
“I guess,” Ellie sighed.
“What are you talking about?” Maryl asked.
Ellie saw Ophir exchange a glance with Ko and felt a bit left out. Finally the striped Kau spoke.
“We’re not meant to be on Terror Mountain,” she said. “We’re supposed to be in the Lost Desert, but we were transported here by magic. A Genie.”
Kai’s eye widened. “A Genie, eh?” he asked in awe. “That’s a bi’ wow.”
“Are you sure?” Maryl asked. To Ellie’s irritation they both believed her siblings. Was she the only one who didn’t believe in this sort of junk?
“Yes, we’re sure,” Ko said. “We saw it changing shape. It was really freaky.” He gave a big shudder.
Snowball was shuffling anxiously by the snow Poogle’s paws and Maryl laid a paw on his head.
“I think we should get out of here. Snowball feels nervous about staying so near to the Snowager.”
Kai twitched and gave a nod. “I agree with me sister, eh,” he muttered.
“Are you siblings?” Ko burst out at an extremely loud volume. All the assembled pets and petpets cringed.
“Don’t be so loud,” Ellie scolded.
Ko looked ashamed, and Maryl looked amused. “You don’t look like siblings either, if it makes you feel any better,” she said. “Not many people can tell because of Kai’s unusual accent.”
“Eh?” said Kai, looking affronted. Then he shrugged his big shoulders. “If you say so.”
Ko shivered. “Is there anywhere on this mountain that’s warm?”
Kai nodded. “’ndeed there is. Our ‘ouse is nearby. Just follow us.” He set off at a swift jog and Maryl raced to catch up with him. Ellie could hear every word they were saying.
“Are you sure Justin won’t mind if we turn up with three strangers unannounced?” she asked him.
“‘E won’t mind. ‘E probably won’t even notice. An’ if ‘e does ‘e won’t mind.”
Maryl sighed and gave in.
A few minutes later Ko was sighing with satisfaction as he lay in front of a massive hearth. Nearby Ophir and Maryl were stationed on one of the couches while Ellie towelled off her sodden fur. Kai was somewhere in the kitchen, humming.
A door clicked open and a teenager came in, his curly blonde hair ruffled from the wind outside. He paused, did a double take, then his jaw dropped open.
“What in Neopia...?” he began.
Maryl was already on her feet when she heard the door opening, and now she padded over to her owner. “Hey Justin. These are just a few friends... from neoschool.”
Justin shook his head and leaned against the doorframe. “I’ve never met them before,” he said slowly, his unusual brown eyes frowning.
“I’m sure you ‘ave.” Kai trotted out of the kitchen with five steaming mugs of hot chocolate. “You just forgot.” He set the tray on the table. “I left yours on the kitchen back.”
Justin blinked once, twice, then shook his head helplessly and wandered into the kitchen, pulling out a copy of the Neopian Times from his pocket as he did so.
“I just got the latest issue. Hot off the press. Apparently Prince Sylkon from the Lost Desert declared war on the Haunted Woods.”
“What?!” said Ellie, Ko and Ophir at the exact same time as they exchanged a startled glance. Sylkon.
“What?!” Sylkon roared as he kicked the air with his hooves. “You declared war on the Haunted Woods?!”
“I was under the impression that you wanted to rule Neopia,” Maleficus said nonchalantly. “And I helped you along, even without you wishing for it.”
“How dare you!” Sylkon stormed up to his ‘Royal Advisor’ and shoved his nose in the Draik’s face. “I have the lamp. You had no right.”
“You can make me take it back. All you need to say are the magic words,” the Genie replied, smirking.
Sylkon jabbed a hoof into the Genie’s Draik form, and took instant satisfaction from the hissing noise as the Genie dissolved into smoke and resolved a metre away.
“I thought I told you not to touch me,” he hissed.
“Like I told you not to call me ‘little Uni’,” Sylkon quipped. “I guess we both have short-term memory loss.”
He was almost surprised when the Genie began to sulk, but then his face cleared. “But now you must prepare yourself for war, Your Highness. I doubt that the undead will be easy to conquer.”
“And it’s all your fault!” Sylkon snapped. “Now, if you excuse me, I’m going to talk to my real Advisors and see what they have to say about this.” Maleficus just shrugged as he stormed out of the room.
Only one more day and he would come to full power, even having wasted magic on the puny Uni’s wish. But when that day was over...
“I know. He just destroyed decades of peacekeeping,” Justin continued, misinterpreting their shock.
“Not that!” Ko half-howled as he launched himself from his position by the fire and snatched the newspaper in his paws.
“Now, young man, that’s not very polite,” Justin began, but Ellie silenced him with her gasp.
“That’s him,” she whispered as she saw the royal Uni staring imperiously out of the picture.
“Who?” Justin asked, confused.
“Our brother,” Ophir explained.
“But that’s not possible.” Justin’s eyes narrowed. “Prince Sylkon is an only child.” He looked at his pets, clearly asking them if their friends were entirely sane.
“He used another wish!” Ko exclaimed. “He must have. That’s why we fainted.”
“So how many does he have left?” Ophir asked quietly.
“Obviously one. Genies only give out three wishes.”
“Is that your brother?” Maryl interrupted. “And we didn’t faint.”
“Maybe it’s because we had already been near the Genie,” Ophir said.
“What in the blazes are you talking about?!” Justin cried over all the din. Then he threw up his hands in a helpless gesture. “On second thought, I give up.” Then he stormed up the stairs, leaving the newspaper floating to the ground in his wake.
There was a stunned silence.
“Told you ‘e wouldn’t mind,” stated Kai.
Maryl stared at him uncomprehendingly. Meanwhile, Ellie was ranting.
“I can’t believe he just went and made himself King, no Prince, of the Lost Desert!”
“Shush,” said Ophir quietly. “We have to go to the Lost Desert and make him see sense as soon as possible.”
“I’ll go with you,” Maryl volunteered. “You’ll need help getting down the mountain.”
“An’ then when you git to the Lost Desert you’ll just melt,” Kai piped in. “You can’t go with your colour. I’ll go instead.”
Ophir looked at him with shining eyes. “Thank you,” she said. Ko mumbled something along those lines and Ellie nodded her agreement, though she wondered just how well Kai could guide them.
“Then we should all git some rest and then set off in the mornin’, eh,” Kai said. “But first you got to drink your ‘ot chocolate. That took me an age to make.”
To be continued...