To those who read my last story: Aymissa's nickname is Amica. Amica and Arkan are the same characters from last story.
When I said I wanted to go to Terror Mountain for vacation, I didn't mean this.
In front of me were glittering ice formations, dozens upon dozens, all gracefully reaching up towards the ceiling that was littered with pointed stalactites. There seemed to be worn down paths of flat ice stretching out ahead, leading to who knows where. To say it was cold was an understatement, this had to be the coldest place on Neopia! At least we were wearing coats. Though my nose still felt like it was turning to ice. When I turned to look at the brown Kougra who brought me here, he just stood there, seemingly unaffected by the polar conditions and taking in the sights instead.
I stood for a second, glaring at him before I exploded. "Where are we?!"
He seemed surprised at the outburst. "Where do you think? You can't say this isn't Terror Mountain."
For a few moments I considered what he said. We had traveled all the way to Terror Mountain yesterday before settling down in Happy Valley, so we couldn't have gone too far. The conditions here would seem unusual anywhere other than Terror Mountain. In the end I decided on staying quiet.
"It's the Ice Caves. People do live here, you know. The place isn't completely inhospitable." With that, he continued up the path we were on, only slipping a little.
I panicked before yelling, "Arkan! Hey, wait up!" As much as I didn't want to travel further into the fabled Ice Caves, I sure as heck didn't want to be left alone there. With that, I ran to catch up with him.
Well, that is until I slipped a few times. Running turned out to be more like run, slip, and repeat. Walking very carefully on spots of the ice that weren't exposed to light turned out to be my best bet. I had no clue how people live in the ice caves and have to walk on this stuff everyday. However, as I continued walking, I started to get used to knowing where to put my feet.
Once I caught up to Arkan, he stopped walking. "What now?" I asked, exasperated. He looked over at me, a thoughtful look on his face.
"You sure are grumpy a lot. It's impressive." Arkan smiled a knowing smile before continuing. "There's a fork in the path here. Would you rather go into the vast unknown or civilization?"
"Do you really need to ask?"
He grinned. "Of course not, just wanted to make sure." I shook my head before I saw him start to walk down the path of doom.
"Just kidding." Arkan stepped back a couple steps before striding down the right path. I really wouldn't put it past him to want to go down a path where he didn't know where he was going. The last time Arkan made me go on an adventure was in Geraptiku, which I definitely did not agree to. We managed to make it out of the deserted tomb with our fur still attached, but we only got a measly piece of fruit out of there. Who knows how long it sat in that tomb!
Now that I had thought about it... "You do know for sure where you are going, right?"
The Kougra smiled at me nervously. "Uh, yeah, of course I do."
My expression must have changed dramatically in the two seconds it took him to say that, as he quickly pulled a map of the ice caves out of his coat pocket and showed it to me. "Geez, I was kidding. I have the map right here, this is where we are," he pointed to a part of the map, "and this is where we are going." Once again he pointed to the map, this time to a place a little farther north. It had the words 'Ice Caves Village' printed where his paw was.
I nodded, relieved that he was just goofing around. For once, my brother actually came prepared.
Satisfied that everything was okay, we continued our journey through the ice caves.
"You know that Hannah saved the entire species of Bori here, right Amica?
"Yes, Arkan, I know."
Before he could pester me any more about action heroes and the likes, we saw a flash of color in the desolate cave. It was a weathered old sign, and we hurried to read it, trying not to slip on the ice. We managed to get there free of injury, and read the sign. It read 'Welcome to the Ice Caves'.
There was a short pause before I spoke up. "Isn't it a bit late for that?"
Arkan burst out laughing at that, thinking it was the funniest thing he had ever heard. I thought it was pretty amusing too, otherwise I wouldn't have said it, and I laughed a little too.
Still laughing, the two of us stepped forward into the icy epicenter of the caves. Immediately we saw the Neggery and ice crystal shop, a glistening arrangement of ice shards making up its structure. Looking a little farther, we observed a few young neopets attempting to skate on the ice, before they got yelled at by an elder telling them it would scratch up the ice. Up and ahead was the spectacular view of the enormous ice arena. So far, the ice caves didn't seem so bad. I had already gotten used to the cold, and if Arkan hadn't, he wasn't saying anything.
"What now?" I asked.
The Kougra looked around. "I actually came here for the Snowager. I heard he's usually sleeping around this time." He looked back to me. "He sleeps in a pile of treasure, Amica. You know what that means."
I did know what that meant, and I really wish I didn't. "Why do you always have to take me on your treasure hunting trips?"
"Because I need a sidekick."
Rolling my eyes and shaking my head, I reluctantly followed him up the path to the Snowager's lair.
Eventually we made it up the hill of ice, albeit we were tired and already regretting it. There was no point in not finishing our quest this far in though. So, the two of us quietly toed to the entrance of the large cave, making sure the Snowager wouldn't hear us. Once we were flush against the wall of ice separating us and the beast, Arkan looked over to me.
"Okay, so the plan is to poke our heads into the entrance and see if the Snowager is really sleeping or not," he whispered. "If he is, we'll look at the items around the edge of him, only the edge. I don't want to get too close. Then we flee. Sound good?"
I nodded. It was as good a plan as any. Arkan took my approval as the go and cautiously leaned over into the entrance. After a few seconds, the Kougra looked back at me, a bright smile adorning his face.
"He's asleep!" he whispered excitedly, before looking back into the cave. I moved up next to him to see what he was seeing. The Snowager was indeed curled up on a huge pile of treasure, small puffs of icy air appearing every time he breathed. I saw a few items of value littered around the edges, a Sloth Negg being one of them. I pointed it out to Arkan and he nodded. He signaled it was time to investigate.
We got in the entrance easily enough, but then the Snowager stirred slightly, a horrible sound of grinding ice filling the cave. Terror filled me and I squeaked and grabbed the closest item next to me before running away and out.
Outside of the cave, Arkan took stock of what I had grabbed. A purple negg. Not quite what I wanted, but not bad either.
"What did you nab?" I asked him.
"Oh, I didn't grab anything."
"Don't you know you can only steal one item per day from the Snowager? The locals say its horrible bad luck to grab multiples and there is no way you'll get out unnoticed." Arkan smiled. "I knew you had some of that Lupe bravery in you!"
I just shook my head at him, disapproving. This was what I got for being the little sister. Looking down into his hands I saw the purple negg I grabbed just a minute ago.
"Let's go to the Neggery, dim-wit. I'm hungry."