The Amulet's Curse: Part Six
Today was the day. Amira desperately suppressed her nerves as she thought about what was coming ahead. Up until this point, her only thought was about protecting Neopia. She was afraid to admit it, even to herself, but she was scared. What if something goes wrong? What will happen? She refused to answer those questions, concentrate on the positives, she remembered.
“Hey, Princess, ready to go?” It was Hannah, somehow brightly smiling despite the circumstances - and the fact it was 3o’clock in the morning.
“Of course.” She replied, trying her best to cover her doubts. She could tell Hannah sensed her fear, but the pair didn’t mention anything as they walked toward Aethia, Queen Fyora and Reginald, already exchanging goodbyes on Faerieland’s shore.
“You really all have to visit us all again soon, I would love to give you all a proper tour of Faerieland myself.” Offered Queen Fyora. The trio smiled at the offer.
“That sounds wonderful, truly. I hope to return as soon as possible.” Smiled Amira. Thinking of pleasant things to come greatly eased her fear.
“I look forward to the day.” Replied Queen Fyora.
The trio stepped onto their boat, ready for the journey to Terror Mountain. Aethia and Fyora were soon out of sight, and Hannah and Reginald started getting the boat on track.
“It’s quiet today.” Noted Reginald.
“Like the calm before a storm.” Hannah replied. Reginald looked out to the sky. It was still very much night time, the sun wouldn’t be out for two hours at least, yet you could still see it was slightly lighter than the middle of the night.
“Hannah, being the expert on Terror Mountain, where should we head first?” Princess Amira asked, a map of the mountain in her delicate hands.
She thought of her answer for a moment. “I guess if we get there around 6, we’ll start off in Happy Valley. I have a friend who owns the petpet shop there. He can give us breakfast and we can hopefully get some ideas on where to head next.” Said Hannah.
“Sounds like a plan.” Smiled Princess Amira.---
“Is that it in the distance?” Reginald asked, hopeful.
Hannah looked out into the distance. “It is, but…”
“But what?” Asked Reginald, curious.
She paused, hesitating. “Usually the water starts turning to ice around here.” She leant over the side of the boat, putting her hand in the water. “It’s warm.” She said, astounded.
Princess Amira, hearing their conversation, walked over and put her hand in too. “Wow.” She said simply.
“This curse is pretty serious; I’ve been underestimating it this whole time.” Said Reginald.
Princess Amira smiled grimly. “Me too.”
“Terror Mountain melting felt like some kind of rumour, seeing it for ourselves will be something. My home, melting. I never would have believed it.” said Hannah.
“None of us would of Hannah, none of us would.” Stated Princess Amira. There was silence among the three as they looked out to the mountain.---
“It’s so different.” Hannah said as she looked around Happy Valley. They’d arrived in Terror Mountain a short time ago. Around 6 o’clock, just as predicted, you could see the sun slowly rising behind the mountain.
Hannah sighed. “I miss the snow. Look at all this grass!” She said as she kicked the ground.
Princess Amira patted her back as a sign of comfort. Hannah smiled.
“So where did you say your friend lived?” Asked Reginald.
“I almost forgot.” Hannah laughed. “I just can’t believe the changes this place has gone through in 3 days.” She shook her head. “It’s just ahead.”
Princess Amira and Reginald looked ahead in the direction Hannah pointed out. The cosy, round building with the sign Wintery Petpets lay ahead. When they reached it, Hannah knocked on the door. Not two seconds later a short, blue bruce answered.
“Hannah!” He exclaimed. “I knew you’d be here to help Terror Mountain soon enough!” He said as he opened the door fully to let the trio inside. He led them past the shop and up a flight of stairs to a small lounge room with barely enough room for the four of them.
“You have to let me know all that has been happening around here!” He babbled on. “It’s so strange not seeing snow everywhere, I know my petpet sales are down quite a lot with the welcoming weather. Everybody’s just not used to the warmth!”
Reginald gazed around the small room as the bruce continued talking. The room was obviously made to deal with cold conditions. Small, thick windows to keep out the cold, thick carpets, and on the left hand side of the room a giant fireplace took up half a wall.
“Reginald?” Asked Hannah.
He turned around, slightly surprised. Hannah smiled. “I was just introducing you to Ernest.” She said gesturing to the Bruce.
Reginald got out of his seat and shook hands with him. “Nice to meet you.” He said, nodding.
Ernest smiled back welcomingly. “The pleasure is mine. A friend of Hannah’s is certainly a friend of mine.” Reginald sat back down next to Princess Amira. Ernest then turned back to Hannah. “What is it that brings you to the bottom of the mountain and into my house, my old friend. You’re certainly not just here to introduce me to some friends of yours.” He chuckled.
Hannah smiled in return. “Yes you’re quite right. I’ve been away for a few days; I actually came here to ask you what’s been happening around here recently. No one is as observant as you.”
Ernest blushed slightly. “Why thank you! I’m afraid though I can’t say good things. Besides the obvious, the mountain is a mess. People are panicking, we’re all not quite sure of what’s been happening ourselves. Those that live at the top have moved down here. They all won’t say anything though; they just look at us with scared eyes whenever someone asks. It’s not just the neopets that have gone crazy, the Snowager too has been roaring as if he’s in pain. I didn’t think anything could hurt a beast such as him, but I guess he is partly made of ice, and with the warm weather…” Ernest shuddered. “It’s been utter chaos. No one’s seen Taelia in a week either.” Ernest shook his head.
“People have been moving down from the top of the mountain? Doesn’t Taelia live on the top? Could they possible connected?” Asked Reginald.
“You raise an interesting point, Reginald. They could very much be connected.” Said Princess Amira.
“This Shkanum-da business really is getting out of hand.” Hannah muttered, shaking her head as she looked down at the carpet. “We need to go up there. It’s the only lead we’ve got.” She said, looking up at the other two.
Princess Amira sighed. “You’re right.”
“To the top?” Asked Reginald.
“To the top.” Replied the other two.---
The wind was against them as the trio climbed to the top. I’m not sure I can take this much longer, Amira thought to herself as they trekked up the mountain. The conditions were awful; with the wind in their eyes, it was almost impossible to see.
“We’re nearly there!” Hannah had to scream. Amira pushed harder, noting the feel of the muscles in her legs straining from the extra effort. It wasn’t a minute longer until the trio did finally make it to the flat clearing at the top. “I can barely recognize it…” Hannah said, disbelief in her voice.
Amira had seen a picture of the top of the mountain before. A picture full of life and colour, of a small bustling city, but this was completely different. It was deserted. It was as if the colour had faded from everything, and all that remained were the remnants of what used to be.
“I think we were right in coming up here, there’s something about it, like something has happened.” Said Reginald.
“We need to scout the area. It may seem deserted, but something’s here.” Stated Hannah.
“Do you think we should split up?” Asked Amira, uneasy at the prospect.
“I think it’s the only way we’re going to cover the area. Reginald, I think you should head over to the Super Happy Icy Fun Snow Shop. Amira, you can start heading towards the Ice Caves.” Directed Hannah.
“Where will you be going?” Asked Reginald.
“I’ll be heading towards Snow Faerie Quests. Taelia not being seen in a week is worrying me. Once we’re done scouting, we’ll all meet near the Toy Repair Shop. If anything happens, scream.” Steadying herself, Hannah started marching on leaving Reginald and Amira staring after her.
“This is it I guess.” Sighed Reginald.
“It?” Questioned Amira.
“Where the danger happens, near the end of the journey. That’s how it always happens in the books, anyway.” He smiled shyly at Amira.
“Yes, you’re right.” Said Amira, smiling back. They stared at each other for a moment.
“I suppose I better get going.” Said Reginald awkwardly, breaking the silence.
“Oh, ah, yes. See you soon Reginald.” Amira waved as she walked towards the caves.
That was interesting, Amira thought as she continued on her scouting mission. She was only walking a minute when she heard it. A scream.
“Hannah.” Amira whispered, her head turning in the direction of the sound. A moment later, another yell, this time from another direction. Reginald.
She wasn’t sure what to do, who to run for, when she heard the footsteps. Fearing something was to happen to her next, she ran. The snow and the fog in front of her were preventing her from seeing much, until up ahead she saw a light. The caves! She thought, relieved. Nearly exhausted, she kept running, near collapsing when she finally reached the caves entrance.
Taking a moment to catch her breath, Amira considered what exactly just happened. She didn’t know much, except for the fact Hannah and Reginald were in danger, most likely captured she assumed thinking of the footsteps that almost caught her.
I need to get to them, I need –, a giant roar interrupted her thoughts. The Snowager’s sounds of pain, she realized.
She crept along the ice silently. One sound and she’d be discovered - all of their effort would be for nothing. Carefully, she thought as she delicately walked across the slippery floor. If something were to happen to her it would be all over, everything would be lost.
Creeping forward, she caught her first glimpse of the Snowager. He’s huge, she noted. His eyes were closed, as he writhed in pain. Amira desperately wanted to help him, but knew any efforts made by her would be futile. Inching closer still she watched as The Snowager thrashed upon his pile of treasure. Not taking note of her own footing, Amira tripped on a forgotten plushie, causing her to collapse on the ground, a startled yelp emitting from her mouth as she did. As soon as she’d recovered, Amira instantly regretted her decision. There was silence throughout the caves. The Snowager had become aware of her presence.
To be continued…