Falaren looked up at the sky, worried. The clouds had come swooping in quickly, bearing down upon the lonely onlooker far below. The red Kougra jumped over a fallen log, and landed on all four paws gracefully. He considered his situation as he walked slowly through the surrounding tropical rainforest. He was completely and utterly lost.
He had recently taken a vacation from the stress of running his Trading Card Shop in Pet Central. He had been the owner for many years and he had decided it was time to take a break. So, on impulse, he had chosen to go to the tropical Mystery Island. After a few rounds of Tombola and visiting the local mystic, he decided to go on a tiki tour. It was here, on the guided tour, that he had gotten lost.
Distracted by a passing flock of wild Petpets, Falaren had wandered off the path and become hopelessly lost. He now glanced once more towards the sky, feeling the first patters of an incoming tropical storm. He almost laughed out loud at the situation he was currently in. Not too long ago he had been calculating profits. Now he was lost in a rainforest on Mystery Island, trapped outside in a storm.
He had to look for cover; he knew it. But unfortunately needing to do something doesn’t make it happen. Falaren searched meticulously, looking for any nook or cranny to burrow into. There were none. As he approached a clearing, he finally got a clear view through the canopy. A mountain towered over him, higher than anything he had ever seen. He immediately knew what it was. The legendary volcano, Techo Mountain. At the base he knew sat the Training School. Shelter.
The rain began to pour down, completely drenching Falaren to the skin. It seemed like the world was dumping its sorrows upon him as he ran. The rain fell into his eyes, blurring his vision. At the few moments he could see the rain obscured everything. Only the looming shadow of the volcano above beckoned him on. The rain fell harder.
Thunder cracked above his head as a flash of light illuminated the surrounding forest. The mountain drew closer. It seemed like an age of ceaseless rain and deafening sounds before Falaren finally exited the forest, finding the famed Training School towering before him.
He ran towards it faster then he ever had in his life, adrenalin pumping in his veins as he raced nature itself to the doors of the school. The building grew closer. He could see the light emanating from the windows. He could almost feel the warmth inside. He had almost made it; he prepared to make the final leap.
A large bolt of lightning struck a nearby tree. It was a monster. It wasn’t like normal lightning. It was as if it had been thrown by the Air Faerie herself. Thunder instantly reverberated in all directions, louder than anything Falaren had ever heard. The shockwave threw Falaren off his feet, and he covered his sensitive ears with his paws. He curled up in a ball in the grass, completely unable to do anything.
The roaring of the rain could barely be heard through the ringing in his ears. The rain poured incessantly, its weight pinning him to the ground. Time wore on. He didn’t know how long had passed. All he could remember was the feeling of being wet through to the skin. The sound of ringing in his ears. Flash after flash of white brilliance lighting up the sky above, followed by a dull rumble which struck terror into his heart.
The rain continued. A small thought managed to fumble its way through his overloaded senses and tell him something. Tell him that he could die out here. He had to move. He struggled to lift a paw, just one paw. It curled feebly, struggling to rise off the ground. To defy the storm and gravity. But no matter how hard he tried, he just couldn’t. He slumped down on the ground once more, exhausted with just that effort.
At that moment, his life changed. A wooden pole landed with a snap next to his face, forcing him to open his eyes once more and look up. A red Nimmo leaned down, staring curiously into his face. Falaren didn’t even think that he could help. He just lay there. The red Nimmo reached down and grabbed the Kougra’s paw, pulling him up with such strength that he was forced to stand. He stood on his four paws, legs braced apart as if he would fall at any moment.
The Nimmo steadied him with a hand and they slowly walked through the storm until they reached the doors of the Training School. The Nimmo pushed open the doors and led the Kougra inside. The walk through the school was a blur. Falaren could only remember the Nimmo placing him down on a bed and touching his head softly, whispering something and departing. Then falling into a deep sleep.
He woke up, and was completely unaware as to how long he had been asleep. He struggled to stand, and found he could. Barely. He slowly stumbled out of his room and found himself in a small wooden room. A desk had been placed in the middle, and at this desk sat the Nimmo that had saved his life. Falaren sat on the ground and looked at the Nimmo.
“You saved my life,” he said quietly.
The Nimmo just nodded.
“What can I do in return?” asked Falaren, always wanting to pay off his debts.
“Nothing. Just answer this question. When one defies the world. When one faces the very forces of nature and survives, should he submit to his life, sinking into obscurity once more? Or should he rise, feeding his natural power. Becoming a great one. One that Neopets everywhere will remember throughout the ages?” the Nimmo asked quietly.
“He should rise,” Falaren replied.
“Exactly. I will ask you once. Will you train at the school? Leave your old life and take on that of a warrior, as you were meant to be?” the Nimmo asked, staring into Falaren’s eyes with such intensity that he felt that the Nimmo was staring into his very soul.
In that moment he discarded all his petty wants and needs from his previous life. He suddenly knew with a certainty that he had been destined to get lost that day in the forest. The journey and the storm had been a test. How far could he go? The prize was to survive, the penalty; death. He had survived, against all the odds. In a foreign land he knew barely anything about. He had fought and won. Everything he had held as such a high priority fell into the obscurities of his mind. He took the leap.
“Yes,” he said intensely, staring back at the Nimmo.
“The let the training begin,” he replied.
The days passed quickly, and as the weeks went by Falaren grew stronger and stronger. It seemed his strength knew no limits. He soon surpassed even his master, Ryshu, in strength. He would then go on a journey the likes of which the world has never seen. Nothing could stop him. But he would always remember the day he had been distracted by Petpets. The day he had been trapped in a storm. The most ferocious storm ever seen on Mystery Island, it was often said. The day when lightning had struck him down. The day he had met his master. Ryshu; the Nimmo.