The Unlucky One: Part Six
“I love this part!” Kanuah laughed.
“I hate this part.” Racon groaned.
Dayna adjusted her parachute. “It's not that bad, Racon. They smoothed out the chute and it's a straight shot to Moltara.”
Kanuah and Dayna wore the parachutes while Racon was strapped to Dayna's chest.
Narona had her wings pulled in halfway so she fell at the same rate as the two parachuters. She smiled mischievously. “Don't worry, Racon, just don't think of the ground a mile below your feet.”
Racon, of course, did and looked down. He couldn't see the ground, just a dark hole that went down and down and down.
“Racon?” Dayna looked down at her pet.
Narona flew in close and looked at the Aisha. “He fainted.”
“Narona!” Dayna gave her a dark look.
“I did him a favor,” the faerie said defensively. “Now he'll skip the trip down.”
Dayna pulled in her parachute to go faster. “Well, now that we don't have to worry about him we can speed this up.”
Kanuah pulled in his chute also and speed down the long tunnel. “Wooo hooo!”
“Racon?” Dayna stroked her pet. “Come on, buddy, wake up.”
Racon groaned and opened his eyes. “Is it over yet?”
“You're on solid ground,” Dayna told him as she helped him sit up.
Narona hovered impatiently over Racon. “About time you got up; we've got to go.”
Racon stretched and walked carefully a few steps. “I'm ready.” He touched the ankh around his neck to make sure it was still there.
Kanuah was busy packing the two parachutes back into their bags. “Done!” He put the two bag in a nook in the rocky wall. “Let's go!”
Racon looked around as they walked. He had been in Moltara only once. The heavy clank of machinery filled the dim atmosphere. A cloud of steam hovered above them. Narona was having a ball flying around and exploring everything as they walked towards the tunnel that led to the caves.
“It's fantastic!” she kept murmuring to herself as she touched the rocks and machines.
She looked over the shoulder of a Moltaran Chomby who was working in the obsidian mine.
“Ohhh! What is that?” she asked him.
The Chomby laughed and tossed her a chuck of shiny obsidian. “See for yourself.”
Kanuah sidestepped a piece of glowing rock. “Who would think that a dark faerie would act so excited.”
Narona glared at him as she polished her obsidian but remained silent.
“Here's the tunnel to the caves.” Dana reached the doorway. “Are we ready?”
Racon clutched his ankh with one hand. “Ready!”
“Is it just me or did it just get really hot?” Narona asked.
“We're closer to the core of Neopia. The caves of Moltara are almost as hot as the Lost Desert, just not as sunny,” replied Dayna as they walked down the tunnel.
“What's that red glow ahead?” asked Racon.
“The caves.” Kanuah loped ahead of the group.
“Wow!” gasped Racon as they entered the caves. Everything had a red tint to it. Caves carved out of stone were highlighted in red rock that glowed. The neopets that walked around were colored black lined with red lava. Racon shrank away from a Moltaran Bruce who came too close.
“Don't worry,” Dayna reassured him. “They won't light you on fire if they touch you.”
“I knew that,” Racon lied.
“There's the Magma Pool!” Kanuah pointed.
In a corner of the cave, there was a large pool of molten rock. It was guarded at the entrance point by a Moltaran Tonu and two stone statues of Hissies.
“Well, let's see if he'll let us in.” Dayna nudged Racon forward with her foot.
Racon walked slowly forward. He still wasn't sure about these lava colored pets. He approached the Tonu. “Umm, Sir?”
The Tonu blocked the opening with his spear. “I'm sorry, only those well-versed in the ways of Moltara are permitted to enter the pool. Learn more and try again later.”
“But I don't want to be painted, I just want to dip...”
“I'm sorry, only those well-versed in the ways of Moltara are permitted to enter the pool. Learn more and try again later.”
The Tonu glared at him. “Don't make me repeat myself again.”
Racon's antennas drooped as he walked back to the group. “He won't let me in.”
Dayna squared her jaw. “I didn't come all this way for nothing.” She walked up to the guard. “You must get very bored standing here all day.”
The Tonu sighed. “You have no idea.”
Dayna pulled out her dueling deck. “How about a game? If I win, you'll let my Aisha into the pool, if I lose, I'll give you this.” She held up her gold handled katana.
The Tonu eyed her katana. “Well....”
“It's for a good cause,” Dayna promised.
“Alright!” The Tonu sat down on the ground and leaned his spear against the stone statue.
“Right! Let's go!” Dayna sat down across from him and cut the deck.
“Great, the fate of this whole trip comes down to a card game,” Narona grumbled.
“I wouldn't sound too down.” Kanuah lay down and put his head on his paws. “I haven't beat her in a duel yet.”
“Ixi Raider's courage.” Dayna started off the duel.
“Queen Fyora's charisma.”
A half an hour later the game was still going. The two sides had gotten ahead and fallen behind. The Tonu had almost one once but Ylana Skyfire had pulled Dayna out of danger at the last moment.
“Is this ever going to end?” Racon paced nervously.
Even the apathetic Narona seemed slightly nervous. She continually polished her piece of obsidian.
Only Kanuah seemed relaxed. “Be patient.”
“You're down to your last point,” Dayna pointed out smugly.
The Tonu looked thoughtfully down at his last card. “I have a proposal. Since I am not supposed to let you in and this is in your favor, how about a one card wins all.”
“I thought that is what we're down to.”
“A different kind. We both shuffle our deck and draw one card, you decide the attribute we compare, and then we flip up the cards. Winner takes all.”
Dayna shuffled her deck. “Deal.”
She placed her cards face down on the ground. “Courage, because that's what's got us here.”
“Alright, flip them!” The Tonu commanded.
He flipped up Ixi Raider; Dayna flipped up Ylana Skyfire. “I win.”
The three onlookers cheered as the Tonu handed back the cards. “You won fair and square. The Aisha can enter.”
Racon came forward holding the ankh to his chest. The rest of the group waited where the Tonu was. “Just dip it in, make sure you get all of it!'” called Dayna.
“All of it, right.” Racon muttered to himself. The pool bubbled below him. “Here goes everything.” He took hold of the chain the ankh was looped on and dipped it into the pool. When he pulled it out again, it glowed red. “Quick, Narona, a darkness curse!”
Narona murmured a spell and cast a ball of darkness toward the ankh. As it hit the ankh, the darkness surrounded the talisman for a moment then was sent out in a blinding red light. It knocked Racon off balance and with a cry he fell into the pool.
“Racon!” Dayna brushed past the guard and ran to the edge. She fished Racon out with a metal hook that was lying on the side of the pool left there to pull out stragglers. “Are you okay?” She checked her pet to make sure he was breathing.
“Yes,” he gasped. He held up the ankh. “I have it.”
Kanuah, from the shore, burst out laughing.
“What's so funny?” Racon glared at his brother.
“You, look at yourself!”
Racon looked at his paws and gave a cry of alarm. He was glowing black and red; he was a Moltaran Aisha. “Bad luck? This didn't do anything!” He wailed at his ankh.
“Bad luck!?” The Tonu shouted. “Becoming a Moltaran is a very rare and special occasion; it's considered good luck if you actually get in!”
Racon held up his ankh and looked at it. “Did it actually work?” He stood up and tripped over something. He picked up an Eo codestone. “Where did this come from?”
Dayna smiled and hugged her pet. “You just got lucky!”
Narona crossed her arms. “I know what happened.”
“Then you can explain to us,” the confused Tonu said.
“When an ankh is hit by anything bad, it absorbs it and the back luck dissipates, but when an ankh is heated to the degree that the magma pool puts it at, the ankh can't absorb the luck back, so it reflects it. When the ankh sent out good luck to reflect the bad luck, it released it to Racon, driving out the bad luck.” She turned to Kanuah. “Now about that mark.”
“I was thinking about a Hissi,” he replied with a sharp-toothed smile.
“Let's go, gang.” Dayna picked up Racon and set him on her shoulders. “We have one last thing to do.”
“Right where I found it?” Sirenia asked.
“Right where you found it,” Dayna replied.
Sirenia made a graceful dive and disappeared into Kiko Lake.
“Why are we back here?” asked Racon.
“Think about it. The only reason that we lifted your curse is because we found the ankh in the lake. If the Aisha before you kept it, you would have been lost. There's going to be another Aisha along the line that needs the bad luck lifted, and we're going to leave that ankh there for that Aisha to find.”
“I didn't think of that,” Racon admitted.
“Hey, Dayna, what do you think?” Kanuah showed Dayna his foreleg.
“It's interesting.” Dayna inspected his leg. On his black fur was a gray profile of a hissi with a band that ran around his leg.
“Not bad, I thought.” Narona hovered above Kanuah's head.
“Thank you for everything, Narona,” Racon said.
Narona actually smiled and ruffled his ears. “I might come by and check on you from time to time. And I still have one thing to do.” She placed one hand on his forehead. “I give you the ability of Nighttime.”
“Bye!” They all waved as the dark faerie flew off.
Sirenia surfaced. “Done!”
Ashalyia threw her arms around Racon's neck. “You're free!”
Kanuah rubbed a paw over his new mark. “What are you going to do first?”
Racon smiled. “Go spin all the wheels!”