The Perils of a New Brother: Part Four
Jaeger’s heart sank as he took note of how far ahead Seth and his three kidnappers were. They had probably a whole half-hour advantage on him or even more, since it would take him a long time to trek down the mountain through all the deep snow to reach them. Jaeger looked around desperately for something to aid the situation, and then he saw it.
A couple of Wocky kids were playing outside in their yard, and one of them was holding something familiar to Jaeger -- a Shenkuu River Rush board with a winter theme. He had one of his own from the Advent Calendar. The green Lupe sprinted over to the two kids, and he quickly explained that he needed the board badly. A little reluctant to refuse to such a desperate-looking Lupe, they gave it up.
Jaeger set the board on the ground at the top of the hill and took a deep breath. His Quetzal hastily slithered up the Lupe’s body, and he picked up the Juma with one arm. Then, he put both feet on the river rush board and let gravity do the rest.
Jaeger plummeted down the snowy slope on the river board, and the only thing to stop him from screaming was the fact that he couldn’t breathe. Freezing air filled his mouth and wind whistled loudly in his ears from the speed. Everything was whizzing past him as he straight bombed the hill. He felt Kar constrict around his chest, and it reminded him to hold on tightly to the Juma in his arms.
Shifting his weight on the board, Jaeger began carving up the snow, and felt better once he gained some control. He was covering ground amazingly quickly, and soon he was coming right up to the three villains and Seth. Jack, the mutant Lenny, turned around, causing all the rest to turn as well. Seth’s face beamed as soon as he caught sight of Jaeger racing towards them.
Suddenly, Jack hurled an enchanted pudao directly at the river board, pinning it to the ground and sending Jaeger tumbling off of his ride. When he finally stopped rolling, Jaeger lay on his stomach in the snow, unable to get up.
* * *
Jaeger’s heavy eyelids slowly lifted, revealing groggy, bloodshot yellow eyes. He let out a long groan as he tried to figure out where he was. When he tried to move his arms, he soon discovered that he was tied up. Not just tied up, but tied to a pillar of ice inside an ice cave. His eyes quickly became more alert, and he saw that straight ahead of him was the exit to the cave, where outdoor light poured in. The sun was setting fast, though, and Jaeger knew that soon he would be out of daylight.
“Jaeger!” a familiar voice chirped happily. Arching his neck around, Jaeger saw that Seth was also tied to the ice pillar.
“Seth! I’m so glad I found you!” Jaeger exclaimed. No matter what happened, he was now reunited with his little brother. He had done it.
“Jae, I can’t believe you came for me! I mean, that is so cool! For a while I was wondering if anyone was going to find me, and then you showed up, and I thought you would be the last person to rescue me, since you’ve been...”
“Okay, okay,” Jaeger interrupted Seth, who was prone to ramble. “Seth, I’ve been meaning to say...” Jaeger swallowed, having a hard time finishing his sentence. “Sorry. I’ve been a real jerk to you since you came, even though you never really did anything wrong.”
For once, there was actually a silence from Seth. The red Kougra seemed to be pondering those words for several seconds. Finally, he spoke.
“That’s okay, Jae. But we really need to get out of this cave. Jack said that a snowbeast comes out every day at dusk,” Seth commented.
Jaeger looked out the cave’s entrance at the evening sky, which was turning marbled shades of pink and blue and yellow. Dusk was already upon them.
But then a small head poked around the corner of the entrance to the cave. It was a serpentine head, with large blue feathers sprouting from the top. The feathers rose even higher when the creature caught sight of its owner.
“Kar! Come on, little mate! See if you can get us out of here.” Jaeger brightened, happy to see his Quetzal found him and was completely unharmed. Jaeger knew having a tough Geraptiku petpet would pay off. It already had, many times.
Kar cheerily slithered along the floor of ice toward Jaeger. Behind him, a Juma came with a long stick in her mouth. On the end of the stick was a small blanket wrapped around some belongings. On seeing Jaeger and Seth, she began bounding towards the Lupe and Kougra with the oversized stick.
“Taze! Good girl, you brought my stuff!” Jaeger had never been so happy to see the two petpets.
“Taze? She’s all right?” Seth turned around with an ear-to-ear grin. As soon as the Juma saw Seth, she abandoned the stick and jumped up on the Kougra, licking his face happily.
“Taze, no! Go back and get the stick!” Jaeger said exasperatedly while Seth laughed.
Taze began heading towards the stick and stood over it, confused.
“Pick it up, Taze! Bring the stick here!” Jaeger said frantically.
Finally the Juma seemed to understand. She picked up the stick with the blanket and brought it all the way to Jaeger, dropping it within his reach despite being tied up. The Lupe felt his way through the goods and came out with a golden compass. Aiming the device at the ropes, the compass shot out a blast of brilliant light, singeing the ropes and causing them to instantly come apart. From deep in the cave, a roar echoed. The snowbeast was near.
Jaeger and Seth quickly got up, ready to depart from the dangerous cave. Before they did, though, Jaeger handed Seth a woolen cap.
“Is this for me?” Seth looked at the woolen cap with pure joy, as if it was the best present he had ever seen.
“Well, it didn’t fit me, so... yeah,” Jaeger said nonchalantly. “But hurry up and put it on so we can go.”
Seth pulled the brown toque down snugly over his head, dropped to four legs, and ran for the exit alongside Jaeger.
“Jaeger, you’re running on four legs?” Seth observed as they ran together.
“Will you be quiet and run?” the Lupe snapped, a little irritated.
Jaeger and Seth were now safely distanced outside the cave, standing as quadrupeds in the snow on the outskirts of Happy Valley. Kar and Taze were with them. They were finally a complete group that could go home.
“So what do we do now?” Seth asked.
“Lesson one in Lupehood, Seth: the bad guys can never get away unpunished,” Jaeger said darkly, his eyes bent with determination. The Lupe took in a deep breath, then threw his head back and howled long and hard. It was the first time he had really done such a thing, and Seth was taken aback.
Within moments, though, there was a reply. Another Lupe wasn’t far off from them.
“What’s going on?” Seth asked, puzzled.
“I met someone who might be able to help us,” Jaeger explained. Sure enough, a white Lupe appeared before them, so blended in with the snow that they hadn’t seen him coming.
“You were this close to us the whole time?” Jaeger inquired of the Lupe.
“I’ve been keeping close for a reason,” the Lupe, named Amille, replied. “I’ve been keeping tabs on a traitor of the Snowblaze Pack. For the past year, he’s been buying stolen weapons, for some unknown purpose. His name is Niro.”
“Niro? He’s Jack’s boss! That’s who they are selling the weapons to,” Seth said, excited that he could contribute something.
“Yes, I know,” Amille responded coolly.
“So, do you have a plan to take him and his goons down?” Jaeger asked eagerly, still angry at how Jack had pinned his snow board to the ground and made him wipe out.
“Yes. The Defenders of Neopia showed up near the Ice Caves, apparently brought by a human. If someone can go lead them over to us, I can wait here and make sure nobody leaves Niro’s secret trading cave.” Amille explained.
“Steel... he did it,” Jaeger muttered under his breath. “Then there’s no time to lose. Seth, come with me. We’ll bring them here!” Jaeger rushed forward like a warrior into battle, with Seth quickly following, along with both Kar and Taze.
And so, everything worked out. Niro, Jack, and his two gangly henchmen were all hauled off to imprisonment. Jaeger discovered an inner wild self that he had formerly been denying. And best of all, Jaeger and Seth each gained a brother in one another, that they both had been needing all along.