Moltara's Winter: Part Three
Also by saltsman
The Turner's library is a gigantic room stocked with books on shelves that seem to go on forever. Jon, who had never been here before, felt small compared to the greatness of it. Luna, on the other hand, had no time for admirations, and started to look for something on the upper rows with the help of a sliding ladder.
"Don't worry, buddy." Paul sat down next to Jon on a beanbag. "We're going to bring them back. We'll avert this."
"I just feel so guilty," Jon confessed, trying hard to hold the tears in.
"Why would you feel guilty?"
"Because I'm an idiot! Earlier today, my parents and I had this huge fight and I blamed them for whatever it is that happened at the pool. And I wasn't able to recognize that, for these past ten months they've done nothing more than to please me. I was disrespectful and rude. And if they're gone... I don't know if I can handle feeling like this forever. I need to apologize."
Sarah scooted over and hugged Jon.
"We'll bring them back. Rest assured. You'll have plenty of time to apologize and celebrate with them once this is all over."
"Yeah, mate!" Sarah tried to cheer Jon up.
"Thank you, guys. You're my best friends, do you know that, right?"
"Yeah, we do." Sarah giggled. "And we love you very much."
Their emotional moment was interrupted by Luna.
"Here." She showed them a hardcover book the color of obsidian. It was thick and about one thousand pages. "Uses of Obsidian."
"Are you sure this will be useful, Mom?" Paul wondered. "I mean..."
"This features every single use obsidian has, such as the classic ones like lighting up and stuff and more mythological ones. I've read this a long time ago for a history essay I had to write, but I remember it most clearly that some references are made to a certain ice entity."
"An ice entity?"
"Yeah," Luna explained. "Here: 'Obsidian can also be used to fight forces of darkness. It is believed that about one hundred years ago, before the Neopian civilization was built, this was the main weapon used on Terror Mountain by the ice caves men to protect themselves from the Icy entity.'"
"Does it say exactly what it is?"
"No." Despite the negative response, Luna doesn't slow down. "But, lucky for us, I bought a lot of books about Terror Mountain's history when we went there last year, so we'll have a lot to read."
She guided them to a section about ancient history. Jon was impressed by how organized everything was, with categories and subcategories. Each one of them picked up and book and started reading about how was life years and years ago, when darkness monsters still roamed the earth and governed lands. They stayed up reading all night long, not without noticing, however, the frosty layer that started to substitute the marble floor polished brightness. It seemed as though it didn't matter how many books they read, the answer was nowhere to be found. Mentions of the icy monster were frequent, but information about it was scarce and relatively useless.
Sarah was the one to break through.
"YES!" She jumped out of the beanbag. Morning was dawning and the room was already cold enough to force them to wear strong wintry clothes. "Found it!"
"What?" Luna asked. She had a cup of coffee on her hands.
"Read it for us then." Paul dropped his book and looked up to his sister.
"'Of all the darkness forces that assailed the earth, the Icy Entity was perhaps, the worst. No one knows how exactly it came to be, but some believe it was created by a powerful icy witch that decided to lash out on her own land after newcomers threatened her. The Icy Entity attacked Terror Mountain natives during the night. On their sleep, the Entity, a dense steam monster, created ice and controlled it in a way that it enveloped people and froze them into a coma. On daytime, it just simply hid as a mist atop the Mountain, lurking, picking its victims. Natives started to suspect and kept watches to prevent this sort of happenings. During those watches, one of them discovered that Obsidian was able to break through the frost created, a hailed discovery, since fire didn't work. Despite their attempts to save the townsfolk, nothing worked and the Entity progressed day by day, contaminating more and more people and objects, turning every single village into a frozen realm, indifferent to heat or any other weapon besides the Obsidian. But, if anyone grew close enough to try and threaten the lively ice, they would freeze them as well and scatter the threat.'"
"Is that it?" Jon demanded. "And there's no way to stop it?"
"No, there's more, I just really needed to breathe." Sarah laughed. "Ok, hmm... 'The icy monster managed to crystallize over thirty villages on Terror Mountain, but the ice caves man atop the mountain suspected the mist and started to plot ways to put an end to that nasty monster. Aware that obsidian was dangerous to the Entity, they built a machine that managed to trap the steam inside. Since there was no known way of actually killing it, they opted to imprison it. The machine, made of obsidian rocks, had at its center a device created by a powerful witch that lived with them. The device worked as a vacuum cleaner, and it sucked in the Entity, trapping it in there. The machine, about six feet tall and heavy managed to trap every bit of the Entity, thus leading to the unfreezing of villages and people. It is known that the Entity can't cross obsidian, that way it is trapped in there forever. The machine was sealed with a magical gilded key sculptured by the ice cave men. Both machine and key were buried on different places of Neopia to never be found again. The Icy Entity easy powers of reproduction could mean the end of Neopia as we know if unleashed again, since the majority of the population is unaware on how to defend themselves from it.'"
They all fell silent after Sarah finished reading.
"Well... I'll call it a lucky guess that I randomly decided to poke at you with the first thing I saw, and call it an even more random one that the first thing I saw was an Obsidian dagger!" Paul bragged.
"What are the chances this machine was buried under Moltara? It would explain the fact that it is coming through the pipes," Luna pondered.
"Yeah, but someone used the key to open it," Sarah pointed out.
"Isn't that risky? I mean, how did that people survive the eye-bulging cold?" Jon doubted. "And why would someone use the machine? What's the point if it's going to end up dooming everyone, themselves included?"
"Maybe they've found a way to protect themselves from it," Paul suggested.
"Well, isn't it clear?" Luna scoffed. "As for the reasons, I'm not sure, but whoever set this up is probably using some sort of obsidian-made hazmat suit."
"We need to stop it. We need to go down there and stop it," Sarah urged.
"You guys are not going anywhere."
"And what would you have us do, mom? Stay here and freeze to death? If you haven't noticed, the whole floor is crystallized, and I think we should get out of here before it creeps up our legs," Paul pointed out.
"He's right," Jon said. "I don't know what you guys are going to do but I'm going down the caves and I'm going to find this machine wherever it is. You've heard the story. It will reverse everything, and it is the only chance I have to bring my parents back." Jon stood up. "I'm going to get myself one of those obsidian-made hazmat suits, wherever they are."
"I'm coming with you." Luna hurried.
"Well, if you are, so are we!" Paul and Sarah demanded in unison. Talking in unison was indeed their thing.
Together, the four of them left the Turner's house. Once they reached the outside, they noticed something altogether unexpected - it was snowing.
"No one mentioned snow on the books," said Sarah.
"It doesn't matter." Luna stopped. "Guys, the steam is probably on the ventilation system by now. Moltara will be done for in less than hours, I'd say. The snow will freeze everything it touches."
Way above them, the rocks at the ceiling of Moltara were already turned into dangerous and pointy icebergs. Snowflakes were looming ever closer.
"We really need to run before it freezes us."
"If it freezes us, it's over. We're the only ones who know about this," Jon said.
"That's unwise," Luna explained. "If we get frozen doing this, no one else has a clue. We need to alert other people."
"We don't have time, Luna! You're the one who said these are the super snowflakes of doom. We can't get it wrong. The stakes are high here," Jon debated, harsh on his voice tone. "We need to start running."
"Where?" Luna asked.
"The only safe place." Jon breathed out, but he needn't answer.
"The Obsidian Quarry," said Paul and Sarah, in unison.
To be continued...