Enchanted Stories: Terror on the Mountain - Part One
I hummed as I set the table for breakfast. Things were looking up. I had finally secured Chloe a new piece of weaponry I had been after for months. She needed stronger stuff to take on the next DoN challenger. Chloe was a labbie who was ever after new challenges. It was a day filled with sunshine, promise, and, though I did not know it then, a new chapter of our lives. Yes, that day was the start of something greater than any of us could have imagined.
I suppose I should say something about my family and before I go any further with this story. I had six pets at the time. In order of their joining were Elise, a faerie Cybunny, Chloe, a blue Cybunny at the time, Princess, a desert Uni, Bluejay, a starry Pteri and the only boy, Yanli, a green Zafara, and finally Anita, a blue Aisha.
It was a seemingly normal morning. My hyper beam of sunshine skipped into the kitchen first and shouted, “Good morning, Kristy!”
“Good morning, Yanli. Are your sisters almost ready to come down?”
It was in the days when my Neohome was a mess due to the poor planning from my early days resulting in complicated floor plans from my many additions to suit my growing family. Elise, Chloe, Anita, and Yanli had bedrooms on the first floor while Princess, Bluejay, and I had bedrooms on the ground level.
“Yep, I saw Princess putting books back in the family room on my way here. I’ll bet Blue is oversleeping. I’ll go wake him for you!” Yanli cried.
“Gently, please!” I cried after her, knowing it was in vain.
The kitchen was at the front of the house and Bluejay’s room at the very back but I heard the bed creak as Yanli landed on it with her exuberant wake up call. I cringed for my poor boy and I flipped the eggs. Yanli knew no medium in her enthusiasm.
Chloe came into the kitchen I pointed at the table. She stumbled over to the table. She refused to walk on all fours no matter what she was and was learning to use her new feet. Being a Grundo from birth until the last seven months, she considered it unnatural to walk any other way. The fact that her faerie sister had mastered the art years ago didn’t help.
She opened the gift-wrapped bundle and cried out in joy. I grinned with pleasure at her reaction. She hopped over to me and gave me a hug.
“Thank you! I can retire the Foreman Cudgel now!” Chloe cried.
“Yeah, it’s cool. Put the cudgel in my room. It’s an important piece of family history. I’ll hang it somewhere later,” I replied.
Princess came into the room then, her nose buried deep in some old scroll that made me want to sneeze just looking at it. Yanli raced in past her and cried, “He’s awake! Come on, pokey bird! Your worms will get away.”
Bluejay dragged himself into the kitchen, looking dazed. The other two soon found their way to the kitchen and I served breakfast. The meal consisted of the usual day planning and random chatter. Finally breakfast was cleared away and I bid goodbye to my pets as I headed off to the marketplace to do some much needed shopping.
I returned home about two hours later and slipped into the kitchen thinking I was safe. However, a wild cry broke the silence and I was ambushed by bright blue eyes. With feigned reluctance, I handed over the gum Yanli had been waiting for and laughed as she ran singing out of the kitchen.
I set about putting away the groceries when I heard a familiar thump behind me. I turned and found a book sitting on the table. I loved the random way things appeared in Neopia and I hurriedly picked it up. It was a book. The book was bound with red cloth and on the spine its title was etched in gold letters.
Terror on the Mountain.
I was immediately interested. It was very different from any book I had ever seen. I figured it must be very new. I opened it up to the title page to see the author’s name, but there was none. Out of curiosity I went down to the Shop Wizard to see what he had to say about it.
After waiting in line, I finally got to him. I held out the book and said, “Could you please look up the price of this book for me?”
He took it and looked it over. “Kristykimmy, where did you get this? I know all items in Neopia and this doesn’t exist in my records.”
“It appeared in my house just a few minutes ago,” I replied.
“Well, that is strange. No author, stranger still. Well, I can’t help you, and I can’t allow you to sell this, do you understand? Go down to the bookstore; maybe the shopkeeper knows something,” the Shop Wizard said.
“All right, thanks.”
I headed for the bookstore feeling a little odd. The Shop Wizard always knew about things in advance, so the fact that he didn’t know was bizarre to say the least. I went into the bookshop and handed over the book and explained the situation to the keeper.
“Well, no, I can’t say I know anything about it. Have you read it?”
“No, should I?”
“What else are books for? By the way, I’ll look into this and if I find anything, I’ll let you know. Tell me how the story is later.”
I thanked him and promised to and left. The only thing left to do was go home and read it to my pets. I didn’t read it to them immediately. First, I did some researching to see if anyone else had or had heard of the book, but all I hit were dead ends.
My pets could tell something was up when I served dinner that night. I was never good at keeping secrets from them and I'm still no good at it. Birthdays, Christmas, April Fools Day, forget it; I have to be super spontaneous to pull one on them.
“So,” Elise said drawing out the ‘so’ unbearably long, “What’s up, Kristy?”
“Well, it’s weird. This book dropped out of nowhere and it doesn’t technically exist. Wanna read it with me after dinner?” I tried to sound causal and failed.
The four older girls exchanged grins. It was time for teasing.
“I don’t know, I have a lot of studying.”
“I owe my cousin a letter.”
“I’ve really got to practice with my new weapon.”
“I really should clean my room; it’s gotten to a shocking state.”
Yanli rolled her eyes at her big sisters and said, “What is wrong with you guys? You’d rather do all that boring stuff instead of listening to a story no one else has ever read? Whatever, Blue and I are totally there, Kristy.”
Yanli always volunteered Bluejay for anything she was doing and he never protested. He was just happy to have a playmate close to his age.
I stood up and took my plate to the sink, saying, “Well, I guess it’s just us three then, huh?”
It was then that the older four started chiming in that they could find the time to listen. Soon dinner was wrapped up and cleaned up after and we were all seated in the family room. The fireplace was lit and we sat by the warmth of it and I opened the book and began to read.
It happened years ago as I remember it. It was the year of the Great Snows. There is always snow and ice on Terror Mountain, but that year it was greater than any other since a hundred years ago. We haven’t had a year that bad since. In spite of the heavy snow and raging blizzards, it was one of the best years I can remember. It was the year the heroes came to the mountain and rescued us.
Blanc Town was a little town located two days walk west from Happy Valley. It wasn’t a big town, but it was a cheerful town and filled with color in spite of its name. The people there worked hard and helped each other and were always welcoming to strangers. They didn’t deserve what happened.
On the first day of winter they always had a great celebration. It was the day that Blanc Town was formed. As the day grew late and the fires lit, ominous figures watched the townspeople activities from the shadows. After the last of the light slipped over the edge of the world they made their move.
Springing from the darkness they destroyed the decorations, flipped over tables, brandished their weapons, creating just what they wanted, fear. They rounded up the townspeople and the village leaders realized these ruffians must be the bandits they had been hearing about for a long while now.
To be continued...