All For One and One For All
The morning rays of warm sunlight beamed down on the sleeping world of Neopia. Most dared not open their eyes to greet the morning, well, almost.
Brayden was a chipper young Usul. In his head sat two round Sapphire eyes set fixed on nothing but the bowl of Asteroid Puffs Cereal that sat in front of him and the silver spoon in his hand.
Chowing down he laughed triumphantly to himself. "A healthy breakfast is a good start to any day" he managed through mouthfuls of soggy cereal.
With a spring in his step (and now a belly full of Asteroid Puffs), Brayden made his way to the front door. The citizens of Neopia had begun to stir.
Some were already bustling in and out of houses setting up shops for the day in Neopia Central, the "Capital of Neopia" as the locals liked to call it and the place Brayden had called home for many years.
But he had not taken one step from his house when an all to familiar voice sounded in his ear. "Hey Bray-bum" The voice carried the slight tone of arrogance.
Brayden turned on his heel to face the voice, the pink Aisha Mitzi.
"Mitzi, I'm not in the mood today." He sighed, pressing forwards, the Aisha following close behind.
"Hey, you buyin' more dolls today, huh Braydy-boo?" Mitzi chuckled.
"Don't. Call. Me. Brady. Boo." Brayden huffed, irritated. "...and they're called Usukis".
"So you ARE buying more dolls!" The Aisha let out another chuckle. "Oh, are ya' getting the new release, huh?"
Brayden paused for a moment, turning to Mitzi, face stern. "Yes, if you must know...Now leave me alone, okay?" He pressed ahead, leaving Mitzi in his tracks.
Of course she'd know. Brayden thought to himself as he walked. But she's the kind of person that'd know everyone's secrets here. Actually, I wouldn't be surprised if she did.
He let out a chuckle of his own.
By the time Brayden had reached the entrance of Usuki Land, the Bazaar was alive with the sound of chirping birds and the mouth watering smell of Huberts legendary hot dogs mixed
with the sweet scent of freshly baked goods in the bakery all ready for sale.
Brayden pushed open the Usuki Land door, listening for the familiar "ding" it made each time you'd enter.
He found himself greeted by the warm smile of the shop keeper, seated behind the counter. "Oh Brayden, my favorite customer!" She beamed "Oh do I have something for you, yes I do!"
The shop keeper pulled out a tiny, rectangular package from under the counter. "Just knew you'd be in early, yes, just opened the store and here you are! Go on, take it."
She offered the package to the usul, who took it from her with shaking hands. "Go on, open it here! I just know you'll love it, dear".
Taking care not to damage the precious contents of the package, Brayden ripped open the brown paper encasing it to reveal his brand new...actually, he wasn't sure what this was.
It looked more like a plushie than a Usuki. A blue plushie snake to be precise coiled around what looked to be a very frightened usul indeed.
"Why the sad face?" The shop keeper sounded almost more disappointed than Brayden felt. "Wasn't what you were expecting, was it?" She added.
"N-no" Brayden stuttered, struggling to reassure her. "It's just, I don't get it. Why is this...snake-thing wrapped around my Usuki?"
"That's our new Snowager Usuki" The shop keeper grinned.
"Snowanger" she pressed on. "Something to be feared that Snowwager is, oh yes. Not nearly as soft and cute as the one in your hand though, Brayden. The terrible creature lives
up in the ice caves of terror mountain. Hordes a whole lot of loot too, all kinds of things!"
"Like, Usukis maybe?" Brayden added, a hint of curiosity in his voice.
"Oh there's no telling!" The shop keeper boomed, arms raised above her head. "I'd go show that thing a thing or two, but, that's a job for a real hero, now isn't it?"
That's all he needed to hear. With a glint in his eye (and crumby Usuki in hand), Brayden stepped out of the store, the door chimed to signify the start of his journey.
But it wasn't long before Mitzi was at his side again, eyes wide and full of curiosity.
"Hey Bray-boo. Got the new doll huh?" She mocked. "Hey what is that thing? Oh come on Bray-bum, show me!". Brayden turned to face Mitzi.
"Mitz, what's the fastest way to Terror mountain?" He asked.
"Why?". Mitzi titled her head catching a glimpse of the Snowager Usuki. "Brayden, you can't be serious!"
"Look, there's no telling what treasures this guy has. Usukis the world hasn't seen for years!" Brayden explained.
"You know, you're kind of crazy" Mitzi joked halfheartedly. "But I like you and you're not going alone. I'm coming with you!"
"I can't let you, Mitzi" Brayden pressed. "Come on, you said this'd be dangerous, didn't you? What kind of friend would I be i-". His words were cut off by the Aisha's reply.
"And what kind of friend would I be if I let you go alone? We go together, okay Bray-bum?"
"Alright, fine." Brayden huffed "Just as long as you stop calling me that, deal?". Mitzi was beaming from ear to ear.
"Deal! Now lets go, we have a lot of ground to make before we get to Terror mountain".
Days of Travelling past slowly for Brayden, with the talkative Aisha at his ear.
Upon heading North, the two spotted a small raft bobbing up and down in the waters just off the shores of Terror Mountain which could be seen looming overhead.
Brayden rushed over to the raft, testing it with his foot until a gruff voice from the shadows caused him to jump and lose his footing, sending him slashing in to the cold water below.
"Oi, what are ye doing to me ship!" The voice called. Out stepped a pirate Krawk. A black bandanna was tied around his neck and one eye bore quite a gruesome looking scar.
Brayden pulled himself from the water, wringing out his tale. 'Your what?" He asked "Oh, the raft. Well you could hardly call this a ship."
The krawk seemed obvious the Brayden's comment. "So what do ye want with me fine ship? Travelling 'cross the sea, are ye?"
"Well, yeah" Mitzi nodded. "You wouldn't mind taking us across, would you?"
The Krawk paused for a moment, stroking his chin. "Yar, I could take ye two 'cross I suppose." He offered. "Jump aboard! Hope ye two don't get sea sick. Har har har!".
So with carefully footing, Brayden and Mizti stepped on to the raft and it tilted slightly beneath their weight. The krawk grabbed an old beaten paddle buried under the sand at the shoreline and joined them.
The trio traveled slowly across the ocean on the raft. The krawk sang old sea tunes as they went. "So what business do ye two have at Terror Mountain, hm?" He asked as he stroked the water with the paddle.
"Oh, nothing special I guess" she mocked. "My good friend here just wants to bring the Snowager to justice...For a bunch oh dolls". She let out a sarcastic chuckle.
"And ye be dumb enough to join him?" The krawk laughed hardily. "Oh, ye are being serious!" He shook his head "Ye must be pretty dedicated lad, I'll give ye that."
Soon enough, and many paddle strokes later, they had all arrived safely at the shoreline of Terror mountain. "Take care, you two!" The krawk beamed, waving as the two stepped from the raft.
"Thanks man!" Mitzi smiled, raising a foot to wave back at him.
"Yes thank you." Brayden added and the pair began their trek up the mountain as the krawk made his way back over to the other side with his raft.
"Nice guy, that krawk." Said Mitzi and they both disappeared in to the clouds.
Mitzi and Brayden soon found themselves wandering through Happy Valley, only stopping for a slushie each before making their way up to the Ice Caves.
"We're...Nearly there." Mitzi gulped, taking in a deep breath of icey air.
"Yep" Brayden mumbled. "You're not scared, are you Mitz?" he joked.
"No, of course not!" the aisha grumbled, but the fear was audible in her voice.
The two quickly became silent as a low growl echoed from inside one of the caves that branched off.
"This way" Brayden ushered Mitzi in the direction of the growl.
They both entered the small cave and found themselves standing face to face with the monster.
"So that's the Snowager? He's HUGE!" Mitzi exclaimed. Brayden quickly through a hand over her mouth.
"Shh, Mitzi!". But the beast appeared to be fast asleep.
"Alright, Alright." Mitzi groaned as Brayden made his way closer to the Snowager. "But lets make this quick".
Upon closer inspection, Brayden noticed a large mound of treasures hidden beneath the Snowager. Some sparkled while others almost seemed glass-like and reflected the image of the icey walls surrounding them.
Leaning in slowly, Brayden reached out to touch a piece of the loot but was interrupted by a bone-chilling growl.
Frozen in place he heard Mitzi scream "Look out!". But it was too late. The usul was knocked against the cave wall by the quick "whack" of the Snowagers tail.
Mitzi quickly rushed over to aid her friend. "You alright, Braybum?" She looked him over quickly for injuries.
"I'm fine" Brayden assured climbing to his feet.
Meanwhile the Snowager had awoken and was looking the two down with a fierce look in it's eyes. It reared it's head before bearing down on them with a quick snap.
Luckily, both Mitzi and Brayden managed to jump out of the way in time in to a large crack in the wall where the beast could not reach them.
"What do we do" Mitzi sobbed "This thing will eat us alive if we don't get out of here! Brayden, we have to go now!"
Braydens attention was else where, though. His eyes were fixed on what appeared to be a big yellow fluffy tail burried in the Snowagers stash of loot. A usuki doll. 'Mitz, I have a plan, but you have to do everything I say, alright? Or we'll both be snake food."
Mitzi gave a nod in agreement. "Okay I'm with you, what do I have to do?"
Brayden scratched his chin for a second. "This is what's going to happen." He looked up to the ceiling of the cave above the Snowager. "See that ceiling, Mitz. It doesn't look very stable. If we can make a big enough bump, it'll come tumbling down on that thing and we can make and escape. So, when I give the signal, make a dash to the exit. Got it?"
Mitzi nodded. "Wait, but how will we make a bang to get the cieling to collapse?" She questioned.
"We don't" Brayden smirked "We get the Snowager to do it. But before mitzi could reply, Brayden grabbed her hand and pulled them both from the crack so they where both standing with their backs against the icy wall, facing the Snowager.
"Oi, stupid!" Brayden called. The Snowager turned his head, making a very displeased growl as he raced to much up the two Neopians.
Brayden quickly pushed Mitzi aside then threw himself the other way, causing the Snowager's attack to miss and send his large head hitting the wall.
"Go Mitzi run!" Brayden called. Mitzi made a dash to the exit as the brittle ceiling began to collapse around them.
A large chunk of ice managed to hit the Snowager on the head, knocking it to the ground. Brayden, managing to dodge falling bits of ice ran to the pile of treasures, pulling the usuki he had seen from earlier an making his escape to the exit to join his friend.
Soon enough, the whole entrance to the Snowagers lair had been complexly covered in blankets of snow and chunks of ice.
Both Mitzi and Brayden stood safely in the main area of the Ice Caves huffing and shaking.
"We did it!" Mitzi exlaimed jumping up and down, giving Brayden a swift hug. "And it's all thanks to you. Come on, lets head back down to Happy Valley".
Without another word, Mitzi and Brayden clambered out of the Ice Caves, both dusting off snow from their pelts. Mitzi looked over at Brayden's hands where he was carrying his trophy.
"Hey what's that?" She asked. Brayden took his first look at the Usuki.
"It a Usuki Musketeer" He said, his voice obviously strained from the recent events.
"I think that's perfect, isn't it?" Mitzi gleamed "He looks all brave, just like you, Brayden".
Brayden grinned "I guess you're right Mitz" he agreed "You know, Mitzi...I'm glad you came with me".