A Beast of an Adventure
“Why in the world did I build a neohome on Terror Mountain?” Kasper grumbled to himself, as he went out yet again to clear fluffy snow away from his doorstep. “I can’t stand the cold, and a snowdrift is no place for a fire Lupe to play.”
When he had first built his neohome, Kasper had envisioned snowball fights with his friends and days spent exploring the Ice Caves for treasure, followed by a warm cup of cocoa enjoyed before his fireplace. He had not counted on the seemingly endless snowfall, or the bitter cold wind. Just as he cleared the last flakes from his doorstep, a new round of snow began. The snowflakes sizzled as they settled into his fur. His fiery fur kept most of the cold away, but when the wind picked up and began to send snow drifting, he knew he would have to return inside. And that he would be out again within the hour to scrape away the new round of snow. He did not think about the already frozen puddle that had formed at his feet, but turned and prepared to go back inside.
His paws flew out in every direction as the ground came up to meet him. He lay there for a moment, wishing he could melt himself into the ground, until he heard a snickering coming from above his head. He stood carefully, and turned to glare at his audience.
Three young Bruces stood before him with their flippers held in front of their beaks. They had lived on the mountain all of their lives, and knew how hard it was for new Neopians who came to live there. Fire pets were always their favorite, since they always had the biggest problems adjusting to the snow.
“What are you laughing at? Don’t you know how ferocious Lupes are? To me you look like raspberry, lime, and lemon brucicles.”
This only made the little Bruces laugh harder, since they knew how easily they could get away from this clumsy Lupe if they wanted to.
The yellow one spoke up. “You wouldn’t want to hurt us, puddle paws. We know where a grand treasure is buried in these mountains. With it, you could buy enough lamps for your home to turn it into a mystery island styled house. But if you would rather sit there and freeze, we certainly won’t try to stop you.”
Kasper couldn’t help being interested. He was used to going to the soup faerie or taking away chunks of omelette. A treasure certainly sounded good to him.
“Where is this splendid treasure you speak of, and why hasn’t it already been found?”
“Well, few are brave enough to challenge the snow beast to a fight, but he sits in front of a cave that is filled with neopoints. Help us by keeping his attention for a while and we will reward you quite well.”
Of course Kasper had heard of the giant snow beast which lived near the top of the mountain, but never had he dreamed of a fight with him. The snow beast’s strength could help him to easily bring down three Elephantes.
“Fighting the snow beast is a tough enough job, but winning is very unlikely. Even if you manage to get his treasure out while I distract him, how do I know you won’t leave me to the fight and steal the treasure for yourselves?”
This time it was the green Bruce who spoke. “If you trust us so little, there really is no reason for us to trust you.”
“Without me you would all be snow beast chow.”
The three smiled knowingly to each other, and this time the blue one spoke. “It is true we need you, but so you know we will not steal from you, I will stay behind here at your home. You can lock me inside so you know I will not be able to leave, and when you have all gotten the treasure, we will split our shares here.”
Kasper could see nothing wrong with this plan, and agreed to go along with the Bruces to Terror Mountain. The climb was long, but not all that difficult. The snow was lightening up again, and the wind had died away. As the peak came into view, a terrible sound could be heard. It sounded as if twenty angry gruslens had been put into a small box together and were all growling their opinion about it. The snow beast was fast asleep in front of the cave entrance. His snores ripped through the frigid air, removing any doubt that he was not a monster. His head was laid on his hairy arms, and his long teeth could be seen through his partially opened mouth. He did not even hear the three who approached him.
“You need to wake him up,” the yellow Bruce said to Kasper. “As soon as he jumps for you, we will enter the cave and start collecting treasure. When we are done, I will wave my flipper three times, and you can run. He will think the treasure is still safe inside and go back to his nap.”
Kasper leapt forward with a mighty battle cry. The snow beast lifted his head to look on the intruder in front of him, never noticing the two small Bruces who came up behind him. His roar shook the snow off of the nearby trees as he jumped forward to attack.
The battle was a fierce one. The snow beast was very strong, and able to give to Kasper a good number of blows, but his large size made him awkward, giving Kasper the advantage of agility and speed. The Bruces made short work of their collecting, and were soon exiting the cave through a back door only they knew about. They found a nearby boulder to hide behind, and watched the fight.
Kasper knew he could not continue much longer. Though he had always thought of himself as a fairly good fighter, with the snow beast he was outmatched. The snow beast caught him in a lucky move, throwing the beaten Lupe into the air with his shiny horns. He gave a final roar of triumph, and went back to guarding his cave.
This was the very boulder that the Bruces were hiding behind. The yellow one crept out as soon as the snow beast had shut his eyes, and carefully slipped Kasper’s house key off of the string around his neck. “Sweet dreams, you silly snow beast snack.”
He and his friend took up the treasure and returned to Kasper’s house, where the three of them happily celebrated their success.
Taelia had heard the roars of the snow beast from her ice palace, and decided to go and see what had gotten him so upset. When she saw Kasper lying there, with the snow melting all around him, she carefully lifted him up and took him away to her home. Because she was a faerie, she had created the palace to be able to stand even with a fire neopet present. She gave Kasper a strong healing potion, and he was soon on his feet again. But when he saw that the Bruces had taken his home from him, he was very upset.
“My neohome is all that I have. My food is all stored there, as are the few other items I own. Without my house key, I can’t return there, and those greedy Bruces will have both my home and all of the treasure I helped them to steal.”
“I will help you to return to your home, and the treasure will be yours, but first you must bring me a few items.”
He soon returned with all of the items on her list, and she told him of her plan.
* * *
The three Bruces were living well. Their new home was cozy and well stocked with many flavors of omelet. They rarely had anything to eat but snow food, and quite enjoyed the change. Before them were three fat sacks of neopoints, which they were eagerly planning how they would spend. The yellow Bruce wanted a new set of Battledome weapons. The green Bruce thought a royal paint brush would make him look splendid. And the blue Bruce was eager to sample some of the food shop’s more rare dishes.
All three were startled when they heard a knock at the door. Thinking it would be Kasper come back to his home, the yellow one called out, “Who are you and what do you want? Don’t you know night is coming? Only creatures of the Haunted Woods visit each other at night.”
“Will you deny entrance to Taelia? I have brought a gift for the three of this house.”
The greedy Bruces had no thoughts for why Taelia would know they lived there. They only thought of their own good fortune, and how another bit of luck had come their way.
When they opened the door, a huge wrapped gift sat before them. They brought the package in with smiles on their faces. Taelia was smiling too as she turned from the door and flew away. They pulled hard at the ribbon, causing the sides of the package to fall to the floor. Kasper stood before them, aiming a frost cannon directly at the three Bruces. Soon frost and flippers were flying, and the Bruces were running for the door in terror.
Taelia returned to see Kasper looking into the large bags of neopoints. He wanted to give her something for her help, but she would not take anything. She only asked that he return now and then to help her with her quests. He was soon happy with his life on Terror Mountain, and often invited his friends to his well decorated neohome to play in the snow.
As for the Bruces, they never went back to bother Kasper. And every time they heard anything close to the sound of a canon, they could be found burrowing into the nearest snowdrift, sure the fire Lupe was after them again, or that Taelia would next be sending the snow beast to get them.