The Ski Lodge Mystery: Part Two
Jaellana sped towards the igloo with Revan at her heels. When they burst open the door, vials and books were scattered everywhere. Luckily, Jaellana had placed the History of the Ski Lodge V1 in Revan’s backpack after reading it. Revan saw one of the cupboard doors trembling and pointed to it. Jaellana nodded and opened the door, revealing a small purple Grundo cowering in fear.
Steam shot out of Revan’s dark nostrils and he assumed an air of confidence as he spoke with a deep voice. “Why are you here?”
The Grundo shuffled his feet and burst into tears. “He made us do it! Oh, master, forgive me, for I have said too much!” The Grundo began slapping himself in the head. “Bad Grundo. Bad Grundo!”
Jaellana sighed, taking the small purple hand in hers and spoke gently. “What is your name, sweetheart?”
A big green glob of snot hung from his runny nose as he gazed up at her with amazement.
“Caelyx,” he replied with a trembling voice.
“Caelyx, you have to help us stop Dr. Sloth. He is planning something dangerous and we need your help. What do you know about the Ski Lodge?”
The Grundo looked anxiously around and whispered in her ear, “He’s building a mind control device. He calls it the Mind Melter 2000, patent pending. It creates a really loud noise that causes everyone who hears it to be under his control. He built one on the space station but knew he would never be able to sneak it into Neopia without being caught.”
“That must be how he captured the space faerie!” Jaellana cried.
Caelyx nodded. “Once he captured her, she was able to get him into the Ski Lodge. He has been building the device for the past few months and now it is nearly complete. Your father came snooping around Terror Mountain and Master was able to catch him. Master had been looking for Taryn for weeks. Rumours had spread that Taryn had gotten a hold of a book my master held very dearly. However, Master was angry, very angry that Taryn did not have the book with him. But, now that you are here with the book, Master can ensure the uninterrupted completion of his impressive-” Revan growled at this, causing Caelyx to cower behind Jaellana. “I mean, horrifying machine,” Caelyx stuttered.
Suddenly a pink shimmer of light and pale blue smoke filled the room and the faerie queen Fyora and the snow faerie Taelia appeared. Upon seeing the two great faeries, Caelyx gasped and promptly fainted. A look of bewildered amusement crossed the sisters’ faces. Jaellana and Revan ran up to them and explained what had happened.
“Revan, if you are to go up against Dr. Sloth, you will need our help,” Fyora stated. “I would take an army to the Ski Lodge at this moment, but if Dr. Sloth gets word that we are on to him, we may never see Mira or Taryn again. Taelia and I can take care of him,” Her voice sounded like a lullaby and calmed their worried hearts.
“We can help! Caelyx can too, right?” Jaellana urged as she peered over at Caelyx snoring peacefully.
Taelia sighed. With the mountaintop sealed off, who else could help?
“I suppose we can use all the help we can get at this point. Now listen carefully, the plan is simple: we will discretly follow Caelyx into the lodge. And once there, we will find the machine and destroy it before Sloth takes over all of the Neopian Lands!"
“Here’s the catch,” Taelia smirked. “I’m going to have to send you guys on a quest to find some items. We’re going to have to make some invisibility potions in order to get through the front door without being noticed. If you check the shops, I’m sure you’ll be able to find what I need.”
Revan’s ears perked up at the job. The thought of trading again was enough to bring a smirk to his face. Taelia scribbled down a list and a threw Revan a sack of neopoints.
“We’ll stay here and keep an eye on you two. You’ll be safe with us watching. We can’t let Fyora or I be seen or people will get suspicious.”
Jaellana and Revan set off to retrieve the items.
By the time the pair had left Taelia’s igloo, the icy mountaintop was covered in a dark sheet of night. Stars sparkled against the backdrop of a crisp, black sky, while a soft bitter breeze nipped at their furry cheeks.
Due to the recent avalanche, many of the shops reopened and offered supplies for those in need. Revan pulled out the parchment and his eyes widened. Taelia’s writing was barely legible. He cursed under his breath and handed the list to Jaellana to decipher.
Jaellana raised her eyebrows at Revan’s confusion. “The list is clear as day, Revan. Can’t you read?” Revan rolled his eyes as Jaellana proudly recited the list of items. Revan ran ahead to the shops and smiled back at her, “Now I’ll do what I do best,” he laughed, and disappeared into the crowd.
Jaellana stood at the back of the shop and watched as Revan won the hearts of the shopkeepers with his charm. He somehow managed to get all the items on the list with half the neopoints Taelia had given him. Son of a trader,Jaellana mused.
When Revan and Jaellana returned to the igloo, Taelia, Fyora, and Caelyx leaned over a huge table and were sketching a map of the updated underground lab. Taelia clapped her hands at the return of the items and gleefully concocted potions of invisibility for them to use. They each took one and ventured off toward the Ski Lodge.
Caelyx mumbled a marching chant to himself as his little purple feet stumbled along the thick snow toward the Ski Lodge. The others followed closely behind, walking in his footsteps. While he appeared to be walking toward an empty field and mountainside, as Caelyx neared closer to the location, a few Grundos could be seen peeking from behind the tall evergreens. Caelyx walked up to the side of the mountain and pressed his palm to a flat piece of metal that jutted out from the rock. Suddenly, a boulder shifted away from the mountain and revealed a small, Grundo-sized passage into the lodge.
Caelyx led the way, while the rest of the group crawled through the tunnel toward a soft, white light. When they emerged from the tunnel, Jaellana gasped at the sight of the underground lab.
Large glass canisters that once held gruesome experiments still stood ominously along the grey, cavernous pathways. The blinding fluorescent lights above hummed in unison with the deep, mechanical bellowing coming from behind a large, black door. A few Grundos hurried along the paths with a serious look on their face, but a hollow sadness in their eyes.
Fyora and Taelia glanced around the lab, looking for any sign of their missing sister. They looked at each other for a quick moment before nodding in agreement.
“We have to split up,” Fyora whispered, “Taelia and I will go find Mira and the three of you can try to find the machine and Taryn. Taelia and I can cause a distraction to give you a chance to get through the door undetected.” When Revan rose to object, Fyora placed a warm hand on his shoulder, “Don’t worry about us, Revan. We can take care of ourselves. The invisibility potion will wear off soon, so we can’t linger. Good luck, my friends. We will see each other soon.”
The faeries took off toward the east corridor while Caelyx, Revan and Jaellana ventured down to the large, black door housing Sloth’s machine. Revan and Jaellana pressed themselves against the rock wall and waited.
Suddenly, a dark cloud rose from the depths of the cavern and surrounded the underground lab. The Grundos froze in shock and wailed at the darkness as deafening alarm bells began to sound and blinding red lights flashed along the walls.
Moments later, a huge mutant Grundo burst through the door, with fists clenched and crimson pupils scouring the lab for intruders. Caelyx grabbed Revan’s invisible hand and pulled him through the large door before the beast could notice them. The door closed quickly behind them and they froze in place, hearing him leap toward the eastern corridor.
Jaellana let out a deep sigh of relief and Caelyx gave her a dopey smile as he continued along the dark path toward the sound of the machine.
“That was Jax,” Caelyx whispered, “he is master’s personal guard. He is big and scary. We must be wary and not cross his path.”
“Well, that’s the plan,” Revan mumbled grimly. “Come on. We don’t have much time. With a little luck, we can find my father and free him and wait to assist Fyora and Taelia with the destruction of the machine and then get out of here.”
“A little luck,” Jaellana repeated with a huff. “You make it sound so simple.”
“We don’t have time to bicker,” Revan insisted, pulling Jaellana along.
Caelyx trotted behind them, his eyes nervously darting around.“The Ski Lodge is vast, but without the book, even master does not know all its secrets. We remain confined in the lab and some of the area surrounding it that has been deemed safe. If your father was not in the lab, he must be nearby.”
They exited the lab and walked briskly, but with caution, until they came across a restricted area.
“Oh,” Jaellana whimpered. “Look at those poor neopets! They’re in cages, Rev.”
Sure enough, there were a row of large cages lined up against the wall, each filled with a despondent looking creature. Some were sleeping, some simply staring into space.
Taryn, though, did not fall in either category. He stood resolutely, his face pressed up against the cage, looking out.
“Father!” Revan exclaimed softly, rushing forward.
“How are you going to get him out?” Jaellana whispered.
Revan rolled his eyes in response and shot her a look. “Please. I’m almost offended. How many times have I broken into your room and then read your diary? I can do anything, really.”
“Too many times,” Jaellana muttered. “It’s an incredible invasion of privacy but never mind that now, point acknowledged. His cage is last in the row. Let's free everyone along the way!”
Revan nodded and approached each cage, picking each lock one by one. Jaellana and Caelyx helped him rouse the sleeping and unalert neopets and briefly explain their invisibility to calm the alarmed individuals.
Taryn, craned his head, attempting to see what was happening. Who was freeing them, he wondered.
“Father,” Revan hissed, unlocking the cage and pulling his father into a hug. Taryn instinctively held his son, though invisible.
“I knew you’d come,” he said gratefully. “You always come through for me.”
Revan swallowed hard and smiled through tears, thankful that no one could see him. He coughed a few times before speaking. “Of course, father. Now come - we must go!”
Jaellana, Caelyx, Revan, and Taryn led the crowd of frightened neopets back into the lab where the Mind Melter 2000 was.
“There are enough of us to block access to this terrible machine. Everyone form a circle around it and call upon all your battling skills,” Jaellana instructed. “Use any talent or ability gifted by the faeries. Do not let Dr. Sloth or his minions get near this thing. I know it seems difficult but we are not alone - Fyora, Taelia, and Mira will come help!”
Everyone muttered nervously but took their places. And not a moment too soon.
Dr. Sloth burst in, clad in his personal body army. “Who dares to trespass and intrude upon my plans? Foolish Neopians, I will destroy each and every single one of you!”
“No, you will not,” Fyora said sharply, entering the lab, Taelia and Mira at her side.
The battle that ensued was difficult, but not impossible. Thankfully, Sloth had not been anticipating an invasion, and many of his minions were scattered across Terror Mountains scouting for more Neopians to convert into lab experiments and other supplies. All Sloth had was Jax and a few smaller lost looking grundos.
“We’re still invisible, even though the faeries are not!” Revan whispered excitedly. “Follow my lead, Jae.”
The two crept up to Sloth and took a part his armor, casting aside the pieces far out of reach.
Sloth turned around in a circle, confusion and fear flashing across his eyes. “How is this happening? Who is doing this?”
“Good people who do not wish to see you win. You may have capured me once, but I will not allow you to do harm again,” Mira said firmly, yielding her wand of the space faerie and casting it in his direction.
A flash of brilliant blue light exploded from the wand and paralyzed Sloth and his minions, bringing them to a freezing hault.
Immediately, cheers of the formerly captured Neopians rang out.
Fyora smiled softly. “You have all done well. We have done it. Mira, Taelia, Revan, Jaellana, Taryn, and even little Caelyx - a special thank you to each and every one of you for stepping up in our land’s time of need. Now, let’s clear the space. I must destroy this machine, lock up Sloth and his minions, and seal off the Ski Lodge. It remains dangerous and unfit for visitors!"***
Jaellana giggled and licked her rainbow chia pop. “Brain freeze!” She shrieked.
Revan chuckled fondly. “You and those chia pops. Terror Mountain just held a parade in our honor, and you’re more excited by the chia pops!”
“It’s the little things in life,” Jaellana replied solemnly, her eyes twinkling.
“I prefer the ice cream cart,” Revan insisted.
“Of course, you prefer the merchant that insists upon using coupons. A true trader’s son, as I like to say!”
Taryn appeared from behind them, berry blend slushie in hand. “That Revan is! He’s my son and I’m very proud of him,” he said, tossing his free arm around Revan’s shoulders and smiling down at him. “You did something heroic and I will never forget it. Neither will Terror Mountain.”
"Thanks, father," Revan replied shy. "It all happened so fast in the end," he admitted. "I see where the phrase Thank Fyora comes from. She really is incredible and she and her sisters made all the difference."
“And it's not just Terror Mountain that won't forget,” Jaellana chimed in. “No one will! We were featured in the 700th issue of The Neopian Times, can you imagine that! That’s how big the news was! The book is back and safe in with Fyora, The Ski Lodge is off limits again, and all the snow has been cleared to free the pathways to other Neopian Lands. All is well once more.”
“All is once well once more,” Revan echoed. “Talk about an adventure. So - too soon to try that ski lift again, or…”
Jaellana smacked the back of his head.