Saving Terror Mountain: Part One
Nella had always loved the snow; after all, she was a Christmas Bori. The snow enchanted her like a new bit of information. Her people originally came from the frozen peaks of Terror Mountain, the snowiest part of Neopia. But now they were spreading across all of the lands. However, Nella had been born here, so it was her favorite place in the world.
And something was wrong. Something was changing on their precious mountain homeland. Even the Keeper of Time was worried for Terror Mountain, and he was the leader of the Bori Tribe. The snow was starting to melt and disappear, the Ice Caves were not as glimmering as in the past, and the top of the mountain was constantly pounded by wind.
She scaled the side of the mountain as soon as she emerged from the caves. Nella was totally surprised by the lack of snow on the top. The wind had blown most of it away so that now only a few low snow drifts scattered across the peaks.
Nella used her claws to finish her climb, wincing at the stinging wind that pushed at her body. The pine trees were bent under the force, and she scrambled to get beneath one of them for any sort of protection. What was killing the mountain? That was her job—to discover what, or who was breaking down their home. A messenger from the Keeper had given her this quest. She had to save the mountain. Nella frowned and peered out at the surrounding trees, looking to see if she saw any one else on the top with her. The tiny, shivering shadow in the distance made her leap out from beneath her protection.
To her surprise, the shadows turned out to be three small Neopian children. A small silver Gelert, a young red Xweetok, and a Kau in the mountains—an unusual sight for the occurrences here as of recently. “What are you three doing here?” she asked them anxiously.
“We got trapped when we came here to see Taelia,” the Gelert said shakily. The three of them shivered in the bitter cold. Their types of Neopians were not normally comfortable in the cold for long periods of time.
“What are your names?” Nella asked the shivering children. “How long have you three been up here alone?”
“I’m Delinda,” the Xweetok said through chattering teeth. “This is Elsie and Gary. We were stuck here for a few days.... We aren’t sure how long exactly.”
“Gary, why didn’t you go and get help for your friends earlier?” Nella asked the Gelert.
“I could not leave them alone,” Gary replied sadly. Gelerts were known for their loyalty and their bravery, and were also known for treasuring their friends. “What if something had happened when I had left?”
“Well, it does not matter now,” Nella stated. “I will take you over to the Ice Caves and you can walk down to Happy Valley,” she told them. “Have you seen anybody else up here with you?” she asked after a pause.
“We did, but he did not come over here. We were scared of him when we heard him talking to the other one,” Elsie said with worry.
“What did he look like?”
“He was a Darigan Bori,” Delinda replied.
Nella frowned slightly. “Thank you for telling me. Come on. Let’s get you three to the caves.” The children followed her through the wind, blinking and shivering in the extreme cold. Nella shook her head, grateful for the scales protecting her back.
As soon as they got to the caves, she felt relieved. “Go down to the valley and find some help,” she told the three.
“What about you?” Gary asked with worry.
Nella almost smiled at the child’s obvious concern. “I am the one they sent to find whoever is doing this to the mountain. I am staying here for now. Good luck, you three,” she said simply. She pounced off back to the trees, leaving the three to enter the darkening caves and escape the icy wind.
Why would one of her own people be on the mountain when no one was allowed up here since two days ago? She knew that the children could have been here for three or four days, but the Boris had been scared to come up at all, so why would the children stay? But if he had been a Darigan Bori, perhaps he was working with someone to hurt the mountain. The big question that needed answered was why. Why would you try to destroy the Terror Mountain? What profit could it bring whoever it was?
Even Taelia had left the top of the mountain when the wind had started. Nella pulled the red chinaberry from the small leather pack across her shoulders and took a bite. Food always seemed to help her think. But it didn’t help her find a cause. She sat down against one of the creaking trees and frowned. She settled down to watch what little snow was in the air swirl over the ground.
As she watched, a dark shape came towards her in the snow. Frowning, Nella shrank down in the snow and studied the figure. It was a Bori, that she could tell, and when it was nearly to her, he turned and went back towards a cluster of four or five trees. She sighed when it disappeared. Settling down for the night, she stared out at the darkness. Her memories kept her company.
Nella’s mother had passed away six years ago, her father lived on Krawk Island, and her sister and two brothers lived in Faerieland. She was the oldest of the four children, and had always been the most responsible. Her father had always taught her how to fight in the Battledomes and she had trained for many long years to help defeat the Pant Devil. She didn’t know why the Keeper had chosen her for the quest, but she prayed silently that she would not be a disappointment to Neopia and be unable to help her favorite place in the whole world.
Nella had always admired King Hagan in Brightvale for his wisdom, and had visited the Brightvale Castle occasionally to listen to people tell him their knowledge and win prizes if they told the king something new. Her second favorite spot in Neopia, however, was the City of Sakhmet in the Lost Desert. That is where she had gotten Rema, her Horus.
To Nella’s surprise, there was a cheep from her pack and Rema popped into sight. “Rema! What are you doing here? Didn’t I tell you to stay home and wait for me to come back?” she demanded.
“Sorry, Nella, but I thought you were in danger...” Rema said quietly, her golden eyes watching her owner.
Nella hesitated. “You sensed it?” she asked her petpet. Rema nodded in agreement. Nella knew Rema was good at sensing danger before it came to her owner. “I guess it won’t hurt for you to stay,” she said at last.
Rema beamed at Nella happily. “Great! That means so much to me!” she said with a relieved sigh.
“Not great. For either of you,” a voice growled.
Nella looked up at the Darigan Bori with surprise. She swallowed when she saw the Ruby Sword in his fist and then winced when she realized it was pointed at her chest. With a frown, she stood. “Who are you?”
“Does it matter? You are one of my people...” he said quietly. “Why are you on Terror Mountain?” he demanded, still not lowering the sword.
“It is my quest to find who is killing our homeland,” Nella replied boldly. She drew her own Lightweight Bori Sword.
“And you think I am that person?” he asked her, grinning. “Well, you are wrong. I was sent about two weeks ago to help as well, and I think I found out who it is, just tonight, actually,” he stated and returned his sword to his sheath.
Nella sighed with relief when he lowered it. “Who is doing this?” she asked, putting her own sword away. “And what is your name?” Nella was sure to add.
“My name is Lionel,” he told her. “And I am almost sure that it is Jhudora.”
“The Dark Faerie?” Nella asked anxiously. Jhudora was known for sitting on her cloud in Faerieland giving Neopians quests. But many knew that she was doing evil at night, but feared to tell anyone what they saw. Jhudora was a very convincing faerie. “Why would she be trying to destroy the mountain?”
“I don’t know yet, but I am sure that it is her,” Lionel said. He sighed and yawned before speaking again. “I may be Darigan, but I am not evil, my friend. I have my own petpet, a Red Stego. Jace sure is an active little guy. And you still have not told me your own name.”
“My name is Nella,” she replied, lifting Rema to her shoulder. And then she thought of something. “Rema, fly to Jhudora’s cloud and see if she is still sending out quests,” she told the petpet. “And then come back as soon as you figure out what she is sending Neopets to do.”
“Of course,” Rema agreed. The Horus sighed and lifted off into the gloomy night sky with her powerful wings. She swept down towards Meridell with ease. It took her no time to fly over it and then the sea and up to Faerieland. The stars helped guide her, along with Kreludor’s light.
Rema used the air currents to float up above Faerieland. Jhudora’s cloud was the darkest spot in the area. Tucking her wings in, the Horus dove and landed near Jhudora’s home. The Dark Faerie stood over her cauldron. Rema paled when she realized what the potion and the chant the faerie muttered were for. “Oh no!” she whispered with a fear filled squeak.
Jhudora looked up in surprise and her violet-eyed gaze rose to meet Rema’s. “What is a Horus doing here?” the faerie demanded in a low voice.
Rema cried out in alarm and vanished from the Dark Faerie’s sight.
To be continued...