The Secret of Geraptiku: Part Three
“Akeelyla,” a voice muttered, “Wake up.” Someone shook my shoulders. “Come on now, just open your eyes.” I frowned and opened my eyes.
“What?” I muttered. It was the yellow Gelert again. He was the same when I first saw him; worried, sad, and afraid for something.
“Good,” Milk sighed relieved. “You’re awake again; it took me like, forever. You got me worried there.”
“I just wish she would stop making me fall unconscious, or asleep, or whatever it is.” I groaned. “That's VERY annoying.”
“It must be.” He sounded amused, I saw him smile slightly.
“Okay then, yeah. So, how can I get my Petpet, owner and myself out of here?”
Milk sighed again. “You just have to trust me.” I bit my lip. How was I going to do that when he just called the dark faerie ‘mistress?’
“And why should I do that?”
He stared. "Why should you not?"
"Well, hello! You just showed right in front of me that you're the servant of a dark faerie! A dark faerie! I don't know about you, but I've heard plenty of stories about them being evil."
"I'm not her servant," Milk said sincerely. "And if I'm going to do something bad to you, why would I go into all this trouble to ask you to follow me if I can simply call her down?" I hesitated. He did have a point...
I glanced up. “Why doesn’t she come down now? I thought if you talk about her she comes down...”
“That only worked that one time,” Milk explained. “It won’t work anymore; nothing will happen if you talk about her.”
"Why did it only work that one time then?" I challenged.
"That was for me to lead you into a trap-"
"Aha! So you ARE her servant!"
"It was for me to lead you somewhere, trying to convince you I'm on your side, and then I would mention the dark faerie, and you would say something like 'Yeah, I hate the dark faerie too,' and she would come down completely unexpected."
"Is it true?"
"No, I already told you, I'm on your side; I want to get out of here just as much as you."
"Well, you just gave away your trap to me, so I guess I'll..." I trailed off, thinking of something.
"A trap! That's what this is! A trap!"
Milk frowned at me like I was insane. "I just told you the trap, and it didn't work."
"But maybe this is a trap! Maybe you were trying to act like my friend, show you're a servant of the dark faerie, then tell me sincerely that you just want to help me so I'd trust you, and even give away a trap that was never going to work, just to lead me into another trap! And I would be trusting you the whole time, so then it would be really shocking, and I'd be too confused to be expecting it and do anything about it, but I know now!" I concluded triumphantly. Milk just stared at me the entire time.
"Really, do you think, even if there was a trap, that it'd be that elaborate?"
Milk just continued staring at me incredulously, then he shook his head. "I'm telling the truth; how can I get you to believe me?"
"I dunno," I sighed, shaking my head.
"Just follow me for now,” Milk suggested.
I hesitated. "Okay... but if you're lying, you owe me."
Milk grinned. "Alright, if we make it out here, you owe me 1,000 neopoints."
"Deal," I laughed.
"Come on," he said, smiling at me openly.
I hesitated again, like before. “Okay,” I decided. “I’ll follow you.”
He turned around and head for the side of the room directly across from the silver and black throne, which must be the faerie's, I reminded myself. I followed him and he stopped at a blank spot in the wall. He put up his paw and touched it. He breathed out slowly, and closed his eyes.
For a few seconds, nothing happened. Milk just looked slightly dumb with his paw on the wall and his eyes closed. I resisted the urge to giggle.
But then the wall changed.
What was once before solid, blank, dark stone was now a wall of what looked like water! It was rainbow and sparking with unseen light and took up just enough room for him to pass through, and it had no stopping point. It simply faded away gradually into stone. He turned around and grinned at my wide-eyed open-mouth expression.
“Is it... water?" I wondered out loud. "Whoa, it was like, rock, not it's like..."
“Different? Yep, real, liquid, water."
“Can I drink some of it?”
“Sure, go ahead.” His answer took me by surprise. I thought he would say no and say it was magic water, or that it was bad for me or something. I didn’t want to look like a coward, so I walk forward and with my paw, brushed it and held it up to my mouth.
I spat it out quickly. It tasted like a rock! Well, I thought, it was a rock before...
Milk chuckled at the disgusted face I was making. Then he just walked through it. I gazed in amazement. Then I rolled my eyes at my own stupidity; it's just water! Anyone could walk through it! I closed my eyes, held my breath and followed.
I could feel a slight soothing coolness caress my fur for a few seconds while I walked through the foot thick doorway. Instantly, I could tell the temperature change. What before had been warm, almost hot, stifling air was now colder, still musty and a little stale. I breathed again and opened my eyes.
It was like a room made of solid water! Or ice! It was the same shape and size as the room I had just left, but ice lined the walls in fantastic patterns and swirls, and it looked amazingly beautiful and complex.
As I gazed around in wonder, I noticed a peculiar carving up ahead. I cocked my head, and strode towards it. Milk was behind me, still facing the doorway. Now it was water smoothly blending into ice.
As I neared it, the shape I could only just make out appeared more obvious than from far away. It looked like a monster, a huge beast made of eternally sharp ice. It looked rather like a giant Cybunny, with each piece of fur like a quill of ice.
“Hey, Milk?” I called out to him, making him turn around. “What’s that?” He froze.
“Akee, don’t touch it,” he warned frantically. “It’ll come alive if you do.” I glanced at the carving again.
“Okay,” I breathed. I was within a few inches of it. It towered above my head. Six, seven, probably eight times my height if I stood on my hind legs. Milk had walked a distance; he was now almost at the other side of the room. I began to walk towards him, but I slipped and fell before I even went any distance. I immediately stretched out my big furry Xweetok tail to catch my balance, but as I did that, my tail brushed something icy cold and still.
Time seemed to freeze in the few seconds after I had touched the Cybunny. Milk’s face was scared, his eyes wide. I probably looked the same. Slowly, very slowly I turned my head up. The ice Cybunny moved and opened its eyes.
Its burning crimson eyes.
The Cybunny shifted its feet and eyed Milk and me. I darted away towards the wall, near the space we had come in. Milk dashed around the edge towards me.
“What do we do?” I whispered. It was pointless to whisper; the Cybunny had already seen us, but I was scared, and couldn’t think coherently.
The Cybunny was eyeing us hungrily. Milk simply stood very still.
“I’m not sure what to do,” he muttered. “It hasn’t woken for almost a century, and I can’t just make another door out of here, magic doesn’t work while that ice Cybunny is alive. Persuading it won't do any good; it'll only listen to the dark faerie. So I don’t really know.”
“Is it going to eat us?” I whispered frantically. Milk gave me a long slow stare. I gasped. “Really?! So wha-"
“Shhh,” he snapped. “Don’t shout. It only aggravates it.”
“Aggravates it?” I squeaked. “It’s already seen us. It's looking at us. Right at us!”
“Shhh,” he hissed again. “Just stay still. Totally, completely still.”
I tried doing that. But try staying still when a monster who can step on you with huge feet without really making an effort is standing a few yards away. Even if he missed us, his fur was probably cold enough to freeze us. My tail had a coating of frost when I'd scarcely touched it, and his quills sharp enough to hurt. Try thinking about how many ways he could kill you, stepping on you, stabbing you with his jagged quills, eating you, freezing you with his frozen icy fur, or even chasing you to exhaustion. Keeping all that in mind, I tried not to scream.
Somehow I did it. I was frozen with fear, and so was Milk beside me. We were both about to pee ourselves even, but we didn’t move.
After about a minute, or it could’ve been several hours, maybe even a few days, the monster turned around and lumbered to the other side of the room.
“What do we do?” I mouthed.
Milk frowned. “Maybe we could-"
The sound of the ice Cybunny's roar made me jump out of my fur, and I could swear it made my heart stop for a few beats. It had a similar effect on Milk, when I glanced at him, his eyes were huge, and looked in danger of falling out.
“Run!” Milk and I screamed at the same time. We took off in opposite directions, me along the left wall, and Milk on the right.
I sprinted as fast as I could, but the ice Cybunny still saw both of us. It walked towards Milk first, then hesitated, and lumbered towards me. But then I thought saw a look of confusion in the eternally angry face, it turned, and headed after Milk. We were both almost halfway around the room, so Milk was as almost far from me as possible. Once again, the ice Cybunny hesitated, it turned to me, and I definitely saw a puzzled look in the mad expression. It stood in the middle of the room, unsure of what to do.
Milk and I were a little over halfway around the room now, running as fast as we could, and I was pretty tired. We both stopped to catch our breath at the same time. The Cybunny was still in the middle, trying to think. When I glanced at Milk some distance away, he looked like he was concentrating on something, and like it was on the verge of him finding out whatever it was, and still unknown. But then his face lit up, and he stared at me, and smiled, the last thing I felt like doing.
“You just have to touch it again!” he shouted. “When you touched it the first time, it came alive, so when you touch it again... Well, hopefully it’ll work!”
I took a deep breath, and edged over to the ice Cybunny. It was still staring at Milk hungrily. I was trying to be as silent and stealthy on the slippery ice as I could.
When I was within a few inches, I spun around, and swept my tail towards it as fast as I could, in fear that it would freeze my tail. It turned around, enraged, and glanced around at its own height, but didn’t see anything, so then slowly, oh so slowly, it looked straight down where I was standing. And its scarlet eyes burned with anger.
I shook in terror. “Milk,” I hissed. “It didn’t work.”
He stood very still, and gazed, frightened, at me. “It should have worked,” he mused, more to himself than to me. “What went wrong?”
I felt petrified. At any moment, the ice Cybunny could just lift up that big paw of his and...
I forced myself not to think that, because getting scared gets in the way of being brave. However, the ice Cybunny was still standing still. It didn’t make any sense; it saw me and it was looking right at me, so why hadn’t it moved? It turned around and looked at the still thinking Milk. I took in a breath sharply. I hadn’t realized I’d been holding it until I got dizzy and everything was fuzzy. The ice Cybunny lumbered to Milk. He glanced up, fear plainly in his face, at the beast that could turn him into a nice little Gelert snack in a few seconds.
“Hey you!” I screamed.
The ice Cybunny turned slowly around again, and peered at me. I dashed to the edge of the room and fast as I could, but no matter how quick I could run, the ice Cybunny could simply take one step for every twenty of mine.
“Hey!” Milk called stupidly, “come chase me!”
After a moment of hesitation, the ice Cybunny turned towards Milk.
“No!” I shrieked after a few seconds, catching on. “Over here!”
The ice monster turned in circles, confused.
“Come on! Over here!” Milk yelled.
“No way! Chase me!”
I felt a moment of pity for the ice Cybunny; he looked terribly confused. But then he just simply gave up, like making an effort of finding out which one of us to eat first was too much of a chore. He wandered over to where he had been slumped over, and resumed the same position, with one small slight difference. There was a very good chance that someone who hadn't seen it before wouldn't notice it; giant Cybunny expressions aren't always the easiest to read.
The anger was now puzzlement.
And once again, the ice Cybunny will sit there slumped over for who knows how long, to wait for someone to accidentally brush him again.
To be continued...