Spiral: Part Three
Part 3: Terror Mountain
S ubzero winds pelted the plains in the four friend’s path. Placing one foot at a time in front of the other, the comrades braced themselves as they held onto each one in their group. The water was in sight now. Reaching the landmass’s edge, Cree, Frostrym, Charmifire and Blaz leapt across the ice floe. The sheets wobbled slightly with every bound. Eventually, the four made it onto the fluffy, powder-soft snow of the mountain’s base.
Glistening white sparkles glittered onto the four friends. Drifting behind a mountain’s slope, Blaz, Charmifire, Frostrym and Cree caught a glimpse of what seemed to be mauve, almost lavender. And had they been positively sure, they may have even mentioned seeing the slightest hint of what seemed to be sky blue wings. Snowflakes glimmered as they floated down from the sky. The four friends walked a little further. Between the snow-capped trees, Neopians hid behind sturdy, coarse trunks, avoiding the projectile spheres of snow being thrown by their friends. Giggles could be heard as the trees intercepted an onslaught of snowballs launched via catapult. Racing down some nearby hills, Neopians steered their sleds as far along as they could across a frosty field at each mound’s foot. Far from the hills were more Neopians. A lake which had frozen over served as an ice rink, where many young, budding ice skaters danced loops around a faerie Xweetok who was having trouble getting up. Stopping to help, a robust desert Lutari supported the faerie Xweetok up.
Hearing steel striking against ice and stone the four friends furrowed their brows. Looking about them, they could not seem to find the source. Dust and specks of debris trickled down from up above. Shielding their faces with their arms Cree, Blast, Charmifire and Frostrym looked up. Hammering into the side of the mountain, a Tonu wearing a woollen cap latched onto the icy rock with the pick of his ice axe. Noticing them, the Tonu spoke
“Hi young Neopians!” his voice boomed. The mountain began to quake. The Tonu winced.
“Sorry” the Tonu apologized in a much softer tone. “Where are you off to?” he asked
“The top of Terror Mountain” Frostrym answered him.
“Hmm, it looks like you’re out of luck” the Tonu pointed. In the distance a Cybunny was asking citizens and tourists alike to step back from the entrance of the Ice Caves which had been sealed off by a collapsed mound of snow. Around her, workers were doing their best to shovel away the heavy pile of powder ice.
“Oh no” Cree panicked
“If any of you are good at climin’ there’s a mountaineering stall just to the left o’ ya” the Tonu mentioned “If not, perhaps the villagers will lend you a hand, there’s a Gnorbu somewhere who excels at mountaineering” the Tonu smiled
“Thank you” Charmifire expressed, appreciating the Tonu’s advice. The Tonu waved as he continued his ascent. Circling the mountain, the four friends searched for the Gnorbu.
“Hi” a friendly faced Bori greeted a while later
“Hello” Charmifire waved back
“Did you need some assistance? You looked worried” the green Bori queried
“Do you know where we might find a Gnorbu who excels at mountaineering? We need to get to the top of the mountain” Blaz explained
“Oh, he’s currently helping some others at the moment. The side of the mountain is ravaged by storms most of the time, but today it seems quite calm, how strange” the Bori said “You’re welcome to my cabin in the village, let me just talk to my roommate” heading over to a blue Vandagyre, an inaudible conversation took place that involved a lot of expressions and pointing “He says OK” the Bori said as he came back. Hiking up the trail, the path seemed to grip their shoes.
“Extra friction dirt” the Bori seemed about to laugh. Arriving at the village, a stone and wood cottage was approached by the Vandagyre and Bori. Turning the key, the two roommates welcomed their guests in before closing the door.
“Well at least we won’t have to worry about running into old frosty grumps” Cree mentioned
“Who? The Snowager?” the Bori asked, looking back as he nipped his coat between his claws and shook. Without waiting for a reply he continued “The Snowager’s just a little misunderstood, that’s all”
“Here we go” the Vandagyre stated cynically, rolling his coat into a wrap
“When my great grandmother was a young girl, she and her dad found a tiny frail icy serpent by the side of the mountains. Back in those days most regarded such a creature as legend, so, they took it in, cared for it, read it stories, played games with toys they’d bought for it, fed it Neggs and snowballs, though, initially the snowballs were for playing with, but anyway, word got round about the rare creature, and one night, thieves broke into my great-great-grandpa’s home. After a struggle my great-great-grandpa accidently unmasked one of the thieves; a wealthy man from the village. The man escaped, but the next day, the rich man had used his influence to turn the story around, saying that the Snowager was dangerous, that it tried to attack him, and that it was the culprit behind the sudden rise in blizzards they’d been having. My great-great-granpa, his wife and daughter tried to convince the Snowager to flee, but it wouldn’t leave them. So, they did the only thing they could do for it at the time, they scared it away. It made its home in a cavern, and grew to a gargantuan size, its bad reputation persisting until present day. But somehow I think the Snowager knew what his friends had done for it that day” the Bori’s expression expressed melancholy “But…time goes by, and unfortunately sometimes…” he couldn’t bring himself to finish his sentence
“Anyway, they say there’s a secret passage somewhere in the village that leads directly to the Snowager’s cavern, but it’s never been found. C’mon, I’m sure our guests are freezing, let’s go make them some tea” The Vandagyre suggested. The Bori followed him into the kitchen.
“So that’s why it must collect all those books, Neggs, snowballs and toys” Charmifire gathered. Noticing a scrolled up issue of the Neopian Times Charmifire spotted an interesting article “Is it alright if we read the paper on your living room table?” he called out. “Go ahead” the Bori responded from inside their kitchen. On the front page was a news report on current attacks “S. P. Rightly says that he is most proud to have filled the lobby’s cabinet with awards” this statement was accompanied by a picture of shoes, watches and a trophy case, in another report, a pageant contestant had won another contest in a landslide, winning with shocking results, in the background, the judges held up their scores, two 10s and a 9
“On this win, this is what the pretty Miss had to say”
“Oh my gosh! I can’t believe it” the article read.
“This had come after both Neopians suffered earlier attacks by a mysterious figure”
“They didn’t hurt me, but…”
“I was just too fast for them, couldn’t lay a single paw on me”
“What’d you find Charmifire” Blaz asked
“The watches in the first photo, they read 3:01 and 3:02. Those weren’t clocks, they were stopwatches, S. P. Rightly got slower. The pageant winner wasn’t in disbelief because of winning or the high scores, it was because she was used to getting all 10s. The Usul is stealing traits. Remember, back in our previous encounter, the Usul was confident that they wouldn’t get hit, but their expression changed when they did. I think it has something to do with that artefact around their wrist”
“Tea’s ready” the Bori said returning to the lounge with the Vandagyre in tow
“Ahh” came a high-pitched scream from outside. Locks flailing in a vicious storm, the white haired Usul hissed, their fangs glinting at the maiden fleeing out of fear.
“Come out, come out, wherever you are…I KNOW YOU’RE HERE” the Usul growled.
‘’I’m sorry, we have to leave” Cree apologized to the Bori and Vandagyre as the four friends rushed out the door. The golden winding artefact on the Usul’s arm now contained its original light-green jewel, a new pink jewel and a new light-blue jewel.
Zapping the maiden, she dropped her basket. The pink jewel glowed. Slowly their enemy’s newly formed minion began to advance towards them
“That must represent beauty or influence” Charmifire whispered to the others.
“Oh no! What do we do now?” Cree asked
“We can’t hurt them” Frostrym added
“Blaz, Cree you go that way. Frostrym, we’ll go in the opposite direction. Follow my lead” Charmifire planned.
“Hey! Over here” Charmifire yelled. He nodded at Blaz
“No, no. Over here!” Blaz called. The minion stopped unsure of what to do.
“Rrrrr” the Usul growled in frustration. The minion drifted out of the Usul’s control.
“Go, run, NOW” Frostrym instructed. The former minion ran into a nearby cottage and bolted her door. Cree had flown up and pelted the Usul with an icy gust whilst they were distracted. The Usul’s eye, facing Cree, glinted. Like lightning, their foe seized Cree, pinning her to the mountain side. The light-blue jewel glowed. Blaz thrusted forth his pocket-watch. The Usul’s eyes shifted. In an instant the Usul teleported, only to appear by Blaz’s side. The Usul pushed him into the way of a falling Cree. Charmifire sent out a blast of sparkling water from his stave. The light-blue jewel glowed again as the Usul dashed out of the way.
“They’re too fast” Frostrym said “Ah” Frostrym yelled as their enemy struck her towards Cree and Blaz with their wing. Inadvertently Charmifire now stood in the same line as his friends. The pink jewel on their adversary’s brace glowed as an avalanche pummelled onto the four friends, sending them toppling, unconscious, off of the mountain. A ghostly fog, in the shape of a Lupe, engulfed them.
At Terror mountain’s base, by the sea, four friends, unmoving, eyes shut
Emerging from the water, a being; complexion fair with brightest hair, was accompanied by an Eyrie and Uni…
“They breathe” she said
To be continued…