The Not-So-Great Terror Mountain Expedition
Every second we climbed, I wanted to turn back. But I couldn’t let Kyle know that. He was always about adventure: the danger, the risk, the reward. The unknown.
Back home on Mystery Island, I never took any risks. I brushed and flossed my teeth every night, I always left way before I had to be anywhere. It was Kyle who always had the crazy ideas. He was the one who convinced me to get a Spotted paint job for a while, and to enroll in the Mystery Island Training School. Now, we were on another adventure-- a pointless adventure with little hope for success.
Our adventure began when Kyle burst through the door, into my room. He was panting, but there was a gleam in his eye that told me he had yet another of his crazy plans. He was a yellow Kyrii, and he practically bounced up and down as he spoke.
“Al,” He began. “Snowager, Al.” He threw his arms up as if he had just unveiled a mystery of the universe. He collapsed into one of my beanbag chairs while I stared at the floor.
“The Snowager?” I repeated dumbly.
“YES,” He grinned and raised his eyebrows. “Think about Al, he’s gotta have treasure in there, man! He’s a giant ice… thingy. He has to have treasure! And, here’s the important thing, Al. People go in, and they only grab one thing. One thing, Al! We can go in, and just, like, take as much as we can carry!”
I wish I could say I put up more of a fight, but within the hour I was packing a heavy coat, galoshes, and getting tickets for the earliest ship to Terror Mountain.
The initial trek was a breeze. “All we have to do,” Kyle had said, “is walk through Happy Valley, climb a small rock wall into the Ice Caves, and make our way through to the Snowager’s Lair.” And sure, the walk through Happy Valley was cheerful and fun. We were still full of energy and excitement, ready to explore our new surroundings.
The locals had been almost too happy and friendly. The Ice Cream Cart owner had given us a couple of free ice cream cones, asking, “So, what are a couple of ‘pets like you doing up here at this time of year?”
Before I could answer, Kyle had blurted out, “We’re going to steal from the Snowager!”
“Oh,” the Lutari replied, his smile dimming slightly, “Well, it was nice meeting you two, anyway.” I had been second- and third-guessing our plans ever since.
“Just a little bit further, and we’ll be in the Ice Caves!” called out Kyle, who had power-climbed ahead of me.
I struggled to keep up with him. The snow had picked up, and my paws kept slipping on the ice and rocks. The snow soon hid Kyle from me, and I was disoriented in the blinding white storm. I struggled blindly forward, regretting all of the decisions that had led up to this point. Why had I even gone along with Kyle’s plan? My owner earned enough Neopoints to keep us fed and buy the occasional expensive book or two. Sure, I wasn’t painted (anymore). I was just your run-of-the-mill Blue Aisha. But, I was happy! I didn’t need any of the Snowager’s treasure. He had probably earned it! And now I was freezing cold on the side of Terror Mountain.
It was too steep to go backwards down the mountain-- back down to Happy Valley with its hot chocolate, warm fires, and sweet ice cream. I kept going, putting one foot in front of (above?) the other, until I came to a flat slab of ice. I found my footing and slumped down, exhausted.
“Taking a little nap there, Al?” Kyle said casually.
“What?” I cried, jumping to my feet. Kyle was standing quietly and calmly, against a wall of ice. Actually, a mountain of ice. The snow began to clear and I realized that we had reached the heart of the Ice Caves: the home of the Snowager.
Kyle smoothed down his fur and started walking along the wall. “Come on, Al! We’re almost there. If you see a pile of paint brushes in there, grab me a Darigan one!” And with that he slipped around the side of the mountain.
I looked down the steep side of the mountain I had climbed up. The snow had cleared up a little, and I could make out Happy Valley down the slope. I thought I could almost make out the Ice Cream Cart Lutari, but it could have just been another Blue Lutari. Still, it would be easier to get back down if I had Kyle with me. He was obviously better at maneuvering over the slopes, and I started walking the same way I had seen Kyle go. He was probably right about the Snowager. We would just sneak in there, grab a Negg or two, then head back home. We’d probably look back on it as a great adventure!
I turned into the giant mouth of the Snowager’s Cave. I saw that Kyle was standing on top of a giant pile of neggs and was entertaining himself by throwing them one at a time against one of the towering ice walls of the cave. This was concerning, but even more so was that the Snowager was nowhere to be seen. Somehow that was worse. If I could see the Snowager then I could deal with it. But I couldn’t see it. And that meant that he could be anywhere. Under the pile of trinkets, or under the pile of clothes, or even under the pile of neggs Kyle was fooling around on!
“Kyle, come down here!” I said as loud as I dared, not wanting to attract the Snowager’s attention.
Kyle looked like he was going to ignore me and keep throwing Neggs, but he must have seen how actually scared I was, because he dropped the Negg of Everlasting Fire that he had been holding and skidded down the mountain of Neggs.
“Everything okay there, Al?” he asked.
I was about to whisper at Kyle that we needed to get out of there. That this entire adventure was stupid and badly planned and that we could get hurt, that the Snowager could be anywhere, under any of these suspicious piles of items. But, I never got to say any of that stuff. As it turned out, the Snowager wasn’t under the pile of clothes, or the pile of trinkets, and he wasn’t under the pile of neggs Kyle had been standing on. The Snowager was the wall of ice that Kyle had been throwing Neggs at.
Kyle must have noticed first because his jaw dropped, in excitement or fear I am still unsure, and he grabbed my arm and tried to pull me out the entrance of the cave. The Snowager was faster, and as it opened its mouth to blast me with ice, I was amazed that something so big could move so fast. I tried to move, but my legs seemed frozen. A second later, they were.***
I awoke sometime later. Surprisingly, I wasn’t a frozen statue in the Snowager’s lair. I was in my room, comfortably tucked into my bed. Kyle was sitting in the same bean bag he always sat in. He didn’t seem to notice that I was awake, as he was just sitting there, staring at the floor.
“Everything okay?” I asked.
He glanced up, his easy smile sliding easily into place. “I should be asking you that. It took me half an hour to chisel you out of the ice after the Snowager blasted you. Even after all that I kind of… completely forgot to grab any treasure.”
“Oh,” I said. “I guess that whole adventure was kind of a waste?”
Kyle smirked. “Not really. Check your avatar collection.”
I pulled it up, confused. Right there as a new addition was a Snowager - Rawr! Avatar. I stared hard at my new avatar. I smiled. It had totally been worth it.