The Iced Curse: Part Nine
I only stood mouth agape at Logan, Flames, Harpier, and Aluendi for a moment before lunging for Pacina, leaving Snow Cloud behind. I ran in front of her. Logan swung a balled-up fist at Pacina, but thanks to him being so angry, he missed completely and Pacina was unharmed. For now.
Logan opened his mouth to hit Pacina with a freezing blast of cold air, and unluckily, he had pretty good aim with his freezing breath, unlike the aim he had with physical attacks.
I ran over as fast as my legs would possibly carry me, slipping and sliding around like an ice skater without the skates. I slid up to Logan and sent my foot flying into his stomach, barely making him flinch but enough to make him pause for a second.
That second was all that I needed. I threw myself at him and he fell over backwards in surprise at how bold I was being. Truth be told, I was surprised at how bold I was being.
The freezing cold of Logan's ice skin sent shivers rattling down my spine and it felt like I nearly froze.
Logan stopped completely. His mouth closed and his tail stopped lashing across the ground. It was like I had just tackled a statue instead of an ice Draik-thing.
I slowly tumbled off of Logan, and I looked around the cave to realize that Pacina had scampered back to Flames, Harpier, and Aluendi, who were fawning over her as if she were the rarest Neopet in Neopia.
I had let my guard down for a moment, and in a daze, I stood there with a proud look on my face because I had just saved Pacina. So I was in utter shock when Logan suddenly gripped my shoulders, jolted me upright, and spun me around.
Flames, Aluendi, Pacina and Harpier all tensed and glared at Logan, ready to lunge at the Draik and protect me at the slightest gesture. They all took a giant step forward when Logan slashed his claws at my arms, but none of them could have been more surprised than me when he missed my fur and chopped the rope right in half, unbinding my hands.
I turned back around to Logan who was still towering over me, looking nothing at all like an ice Draik. I flexed my claws, enjoying the freedom.
Flames, Pacina, Harpier and Aluendi all walked up behind me, still staring at Logan. He looked very uncomfortable with all of the scrutiny.
Turning away, Logan walked slowly to the back wall. I was still staring him down suspiciously as he removed a loose rock that I hadn't noticed before from the icy cave wall and took out a small object, glaring at it as if it had just done something horrible.
Logan turned back to me and everyone else. His face hadn't softened at all, he actually looked madder now that he had whatever it was in his hand.
I nearly jumped out of my fur as Logan sent the item hurtling through the air and towards my face. I instinctively held my hands up in front of my face. The cold item slapped painfully into my palm and I closed my hands around it so that I wouldn't drop it and possibly break it.
I uncupped my hands as Flames, Harpier, Aluendi and Pacina came closer and peered over my shoulders to see what Logan had thrown at me. I looked down at it as well only to see that it was nothing more than a small, ice-covered silver key threaded onto a ribbon-like chain. There was a small note attached to the end of the chain, but I think that I was the only one who noticed it, so I quickly took it off and shoved it in my pocket.
"Is this a necklace?" I asked no one in particular, holding the key up to the light to examine it closer. It looked brittle, but at the same time it felt like the sturdiest thing in the world. There was a very intricate pattern carved delicately on the surface of the key, covering both sides with what seemed like an inscription of some sort.
"It's very pretty," Flames commented from behind me. "But what's an Ice Draik-like creature doing with jewelry hidden behind a rock in a cave wall?"
Logan snorted an icy blast at the ground, and it was obvious that he would rather be hitting Flames with it, but managed to restrain himself. "There's no use in keeping you imprisoned here anymore," he said coldly. "These Neopets and their owner just won't give up." He stormed towards the front of the cave, pushing past the five of us, snorting icy blasts at the already ice-covered ground along the way.
He stopped in the mouth of the cave, glaring back at me, snow whipping behind him. "I thought that you would be the one Neopet that would stay here, Lodowaty, and keep me from slipping into insanity from years of being alone." He paused, turning out to the snow, and taking a step forward.
"I guess I was wrong." He flapped his wings hard, whirling the snow inside the cave and flew off, disappearing into the snowstorm, leaving all of us staring after him in puzzlement. I guess that I was the most surprised, considering his drastic change in mood from just moments before.
Harpier turned back to the necklace that was still gripped in my hand. "So why did he give Lodowaty this necklace?"
"Did he ever mention anything about a key before, Lodo?" Aluendi asked as she poked a finger at the key strapped to the ribbon.
I turned the key over in my hand, examining the other side closely. Something was definitely written on it, but it was much too small for me to read. It also looked like it was in code. "I don't even remember that panel ever being there," I finally said, turning the key back over. "And Logan definitely never mentioned a key while I was imprisoned here."
"Was this really where you used to live?" Pacina asked, walking around the perimeter of the cave. "When I came in here, I thought this was where Logan had lived. I couldn't imagine you living in such a disgusting place as this."
"Yeah, I did use to live here," I said, walking up to her. "Although, it was more like I was trapped here and I wasn't allowed to ever leave."
"Did Logan really curse you, Lodowaty?" Aluendi asked. "Are you really destined to be cold and surrounded by ice forever?"
"Do you think that Logan is really an ice Draik?" Harpier asked, walking up to me. "Or was he always just a manifestation of ice? Do you think that his real name was Logan, or do you think that he's never actually had a real name?"
"Why did Logan—" Pacina started, but Flames cut her off.
"Guys, guys," she said, walking in front of me. "I think that it's been a pretty exhausting day for all of us, especially for Lodo. I mean, someone brings her back to her old cave, tears the place up, hands her a mysterious key on a ribbon that seems to have no meaning and then just leaves without explaining anything to her? I think that we should let Lodowaty relax a little bit and that means that we shouldn't be asking her a boatload of questions right now. I say we go home, get settled down, warm up a little and then we can have Lodo tell us all about what happened to her." Flames turned to me. "Does that sound like a good plan Lodo?"
"I definitely think that sound like a great plan," I said. "I could use some relaxation after all of this. Plus, when we get there, we can do some research on why Logan gave me this key and what purpose it serves, right?"
"I don't know if I'll have any books that talk about magical keys and ice Draiks that may not really be ice Draiks," Flames said, "but I can look."
"I could ask the locals," Harpier said. "They probably won't know anything, but it doesn't hurt to try."
"Well, let's get started back home," Flames said wisely.
I clutched the key necklace tight in my hand, glancing back at Pacina, who didn't even look shaken anymore, which surprised me. There was definitely something different about her.
"Pacina, what happened to your wings?" I blurted out; causing Harpier, Flames, and Aluendi t stare at her. She shifted uncomfortably.
"Whatever did happen to your wings, Pacina?" Flames asked. "I didn't even notice until Lodo said something. But you had them before we almost crashed into that mountain, right? You were flying with them."
"Funny story about that," Pacina said sheepishly. "I don't know how we'll be able to get home, because when I crash landed I didn't see where my wings went. They might have gone done the ravine, though."
"So, now we can't even get home?" Flames asked in a dismayed voice.
"Don't worry." I turned back to the entrance. "I've lived here long enough to find a way off of this mountain and to Happy Valley, even without wings. I did it once before. You just have to follow this really narrow icy path for a while and then go through a small cave and you'll end up next to the Slushie Shop. It might take longer than a week to get there and take a boat all the way back to Mystery Island because the path is really long, but we'll still get back to Mystery Island eventually."
"Longer than a week?" Pacina asked. "That's crazy! I can't go that long in this freezing cold weather. I'm from the Lost Desert. I'm not used to it."
"Well, get used to it." I walked out of the cave and to the entrance. It was still snowing exceptionally hard, but it seemed to have lightened up just the tiniest bit, because there was a bolt of sunlight that seemed like it shouldn't have reached this high up shining down on something half buried in the snow.
I looked in confusion at the ground. Whatever it was was shining extremely bright, making the snow sparkle like diamonds.
The three Neopets and Flames ran up behind me, obviously just as eager to get out of here as I was. They all looked tremendously freezing now. All I could hear was four sets of teeth chattering.
I knelt down next to the shiny object. It looked as if it were made of gold. But who in their right mind would come up here and on top of that lose something as precious and expensive as gold?
I swiped my hand across the object, brushing the snow off. It gradually became less and less snow covered, and soon, I could tell exactly what it was that was lying no longer covered in snow in front of me.
I stood up and stared at what I had uncovered.
Lying in front of me was a pair of shining golden wings, patched together in the middle with a blast of ice.
To be continued...