The Quest to Rescue Baelia: Part Two
Part 2 - And the Journey Begins!
The road was a dangerous one for the pair of adventurers as they set out from Terror Mountain. On their third day of hiking through the snow and battling the vicious storms, Alecienic and Grace made it to the Ice Caves. Now this was extremely dangerous territory as this was the land of the Snowager. As legend had it, the Snowager was a horrific creature that lived deep in the largest cave on the Mountain side. The Snowager was cursed to live out his life guarding his spectacular treasure and only being allowed to rest twice a day. Alecienic and Grace would need to pass by the Snowager during one of the times that he would be found sleeping; otherwise they would be frozen for eternity by one of his bone-chilling ice blasts. The duo approached the entrance of the Snowager's cave cautiously, carefully peaking their heads around the side to see inside. There, in the dank dark of the cave, sat the Snowager, curled up around an enormous pile of treasure glinting in the soft light cast off from the Snowager's icy skin.
"How lucky are we!" whispered Alecienic to Grace.
"We couldn't have planned it better if we tried. But wait, I see something...," said Grace.
Grace gently proceeded into the cave, as Alecienic cried, "No, Grace – don't go in there!"
Grace placed her paw in front of her mouth, motioning for Alecienic to be quiet. Grace hugged the cave wall closely as she moved towards the looming pile of treasure and the sleeping beast before her. Something had caught her eye from the door way, a shiny object at the base of the treasure. She knew this would help them on their journey to save Baelia so she mustered all of her courage and darted towards the treasure. Alecienic had never seen anything move so quickly before – in the blink of an eye Grace had grabbed something from the treasure pile and was on her way back to Alecienic's side.
"Grace, that was extremely risky! What if you had awoken the Snowager? You would have been done for!" said Alecienic.
"I knew I could be fast enough to grab what I had seen and escape without waking the beast. Besides, this will help us immensely on our quest," said Grace as she displayed the object she had stolen from the Snowager.
Grace handed the item to Alecienic, and in the crisp air on the Mountain side a beautiful sword caught the sunlight on its cold blade. This was the ancient sword of Domar, said to bring good battle fortune to all those who wield it. Alecienic shifted the weight of the sword in her hoof, and in that moment she knew that she was holding an item of great value and mystery.
"With this sword we will surely be able to succeed in our quest!" said Alecienic as she sheathed the sword through her belt.
With that the two companions made their passage through the Ice Caves, past the Snowager into much safer territory. The road was icy and treacherous, but Alecienic had little trouble navigating through the slick terrain as her hooves were built for mountain climbing. Grace, on the other hand, was having great difficulty making her way through the waist-deep snow with her short legs. Alecienic noticed the trouble Grace was having and decided it would be easier and safer for both of them if she carried Grace on her back down the Mountain.
The pair passed many Wintery pets down the Mountain side, the Snow-muncher was roaming around gathering snow to munch, Hannah was practicing her ice sliding skills, and there was a Christmas Bruce taking a ride down a steep ice sheet. Alecienic knew that they must be very close to the bottom of the Mountain since they were seeing an increased amount of activity. The two decided to make camp for the night in the cleft of a snow bank, the morning would come quickly so they tried to regain some of their strength.
As the sun rose over the Mountain side, its rays caught a large crystalline structure in the distance. The bright glow woke Grace and she stared in wonder at the vision before her. Not a few hundred yards away large ice-crystals poked out of the snow and glistened in the early morning sunlight. There were so many colors; it was like fireworks in the snow. Grace poked Alecienic to wake up and pointed out to the brilliant sight below them.
"Isn't that magnificent?" said Grace.
Alecienic had to let her eyes adjust to the bright colors before her. When she could see properly, she said, "That has got to be the Ice Crystal Shop. We are nearly to Happy Valley!"
With renewed strength the duo set out towards the Ice Crystal Shop. The morning was calm and cool, which was perfect weather for travelling down a Mountain side. It was not much before noon by the time Alecienic and Grace arrived at the doors of the Ice Crystal Shop. They decided they would just stop in to get warmed up and say hello to Grace's friend Shyaru the Shoyru who was the shopkeeper at the Ice Crystal shop.
Inside the shop the weapons made of ice and stone that were on display sparkled and shone under the soft light from outside. Shyaru poked his head out from behind the counter when he heard the door open.
"Good Morning! How can I help you today?" he said.
"Shyaru – has it been so long that you don't recognize me anymore?" asked Grace.
"Oh my goodness! Grace, it has been far too long!" exclaimed Shyaru.
Grace hugged her old friend and began to explain the story of how she and Alecienic came to be at Shyaru's shop. While Grace was telling the story, Shyaru was rummaging through some papers behind the counter.
"Where is that darn note...," he muttered to himself.
Grace and Alecienic exchanged confused looks, they weren't sure what Shyaru was searching for so urgently. Shyaru disappeared for a moment under a pile of papers and bags. He emerged a second later with a tattered note clutched in his hand.
"I knew it was somewhere! And I had thought that it was all some silly prank – what a good job that I saved it!" said Shyaru.
"Saved what? What are you going on about?" asked Grace.
Shyaru laid out the worn paper on the countertop as he began to read it aloud.
"The morning dawn will break, and before the mid-day two destined souls will come. They will be on a great quest but they will not know why they come to you. They seek this information although they may not realize it. Find the shop of icy liquid and when there seek the green Chia with the red cape. He will be your passage across the Neopian Sea."
The three were silent while they contemplated the meaning of this message. Who sent this note? How had they known about the quest? Could it be that there was some greater power watching over them?
"The shop of icy liquid? What could that mean?" puzzled Shyaru.
Grace thought about the possibilities and the meaning of the note. Then it came to her, like a lightning bolt from the sky.
"The Slushie Shop in Happy Valley! That has got to be it! Icy liquid could only be a Slushie!"
"I think you're right Grace! Clearly that is where we are meant to head next," said Alecienic.
Shyaru was totally amazed at what he had become a part of. These two seemingly normal creatures obviously had some greater power watching over them and guiding them on an important journey. Shyaru prepared a bag of food and water for the two to take with them on their way to Happy Valley.
As he hugged Grace, he said, "Be careful on your quest; it appears as though the path before you has been secured, but you never know the dangers that hide in the shadows."
With a wave good-bye Grace and Alecienic began to make the trek to Happy Valley. The air became more still with only light snowflakes falling from the sky. The path to Happy Valley was considerably more smooth and better travelled than the trial from Terror Mountain, so both Alecienic and Grace were thankful to be making their way into civilization again. The snow covered roofs rose out of the distance before them with their chimneys releasing wisps of smoke into the cool winter air. Happy Valley was a quaint Mountainside village inhabited by many winter Neopians and frequented by tourists who enjoyed visiting the Rink Runner Rink for skating year round and the Merry Outfits store where Christmas clothes were all the rage from the month of Sleeping to the month of Celebrating and every month in between.
When Alecienic and Grace entered the village it was bustling with activity. They quickly made their way through the town to the Slushie Shop. When they reached the shop there was a line out the door of Neopians waiting to purchase the world renown Slushies that were made here. Alecienic and Grace joined the line with the rest of the shoppers and before long they were inside the doors of the store. Alecienic saw a lot of movement happening at the counter in front of her, there was a striped Eyrie slinging slushies one after another to the customers in line. Before they knew it the Eyrie was staring them down.
"Well! What'll it be?"
"Ah... well, you see, we really weren't looking to get a slushie...," said Alecienic.
"What do you mean you don't want a slushie?? You're in line at the slushie shop don't ya know? Don't be wasting my time! I'm a very busy Eyrie!"
"We are so sorry! We were told to come here and find a gr-...", started Alecienic but stopped quickly when she saw a flicker of green out of the corner of her eye.
Behind the counter there was a bustle of movement as slushies were being slung from below to the waiting customers.
"Who's that behind the counter, kind Eyrie?" asked Alecienic.
"Quitaso, get over here! There is someone here asking about you," bellowed the Eyrie.
There was a flash of green and red that leapt from behind the counter on to the top. Small in stature but ever mighty stood Quitaso the Pea Chia. The breeze from the open door caught his cape and it flowed out behind him giving the appearance that he was flying.
"Hello? Who is looking for me?" asked Quitaso.
"We are!! Can you please come with us outside so we can talk?" said Alecienic.
"I suppose so – but you had better make it quick," replied Quitaso.
The trio stepped out of the store and proceeded into the center of the village where they all sat on a bench in front of the skating rink. Alecienic explained the whole story (again) to the Pea while Grace nodded in agreement to everything that was being said. After the long tale was told, Quitaso looked longingly towards the Slushie shop.
"I know that I was meant to help you. I was bequeathed my super flying powers so that I might grant you passage to Shenkuu. Without me you would be destined to travel by boat which would have taken you a much longer time than you have. It pains me to leave Eyrie but it must be done."
Quitaso went into the shop to say good-bye to his friend, he didn't know when, or if, he would return but he swore that he would do his best to make it back to Happy Valley. The trio was ready to make their trip to Shenkuu and meet their next companion.
To be continued...