There are ants in my Lucky Green Boots Circulation: 194,192,475 Issue: 745 | 19th day of Hiding, Y18
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Orlitz and the Search for the Emerald Crown: Part Seven


by josephinefarine

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      "Would any of you like some tea?” a Brown bori pushing a tea cart addressed Iskeen, Faye, and Julian who looked up from their board game. Iskeen appreciated the interruption. They had been rattling dice and moving tiny figurines over a cardboard path for nearly half an hour now. Iskeen enjoyed board games as much as the next Neopet, but her tolerance did have a limit. Besides, it didn’t help that Julian had a competitive streak larger than the Snowager.

      “Yes please!” she smiled at the waiter, who poured them three mugs of hot water and handed them a remarkably diverse assortment of tea bags. Iskeen requested one more cup of tea. She figured that Orlitz must be hungry. She hadn’t returned after she ran out of the dining hall, but the Island Ixi assumed her friend was up solving mysteries in her room.

      “Do you know where Orlitz is?” she asked, dipping a tea bag into her cup.

      “I bet she still running around the lodge, looking for that crown,” answered Faye, “that Cybunny is determined.”

      Julian shook his head, “we looked everywhere. There are few places we could have missed,” he interjected.

      “It’s getting late,” Iskeen said, “I bet she’s in her room, I’ll go get her.” The Ixi prepared the fourth mug with tea before she stood up. She assured them not to pause the board game on her behalf before leaving the dining hall and heading upstairs. At the fourth floor, she knocked at her friend’s door.

      “Orlitz, it’s Iskeen, I brought you some tea!” There was no answer, but Iskeen wasn’t exactly surprised. This wasn’t the first time Orlitz had gotten so absorbed in her worked that she blocked out all outside noises. She reached for the door handle, surprised to find it unlocked and entered the room.

      The chilly temperature caught Iskeen off guard. Across the room, the window had been left open, wind and snow billowing through the curtains. Shivering, she looked around, a sinking feeling of dread in her chest. Her friend was nowhere to be found. Setting the cooling tea on the table, the Ixi hurried to close the window.

      “Orlitz?” she called out, noticing the Cybunny’s bag on her bed. Now Iskeen was really concerned. Her best friend never, ever left somewhere without her bag. It contained things she would never go out without. Panicking, the Ixi grabbed the bag and rushed back downstairs. Julian and Faye grinned at her, but they quit smiling when they noticed the troubled look in Iskeen’s eyes.

      “What’s wrong?” Julian asked, concerned.

      “It’s Orlitz,” Iskeen replied in dismay, holding up the Cybunny's bag, “she’s gone!”

      Anxiety swelled in her heart. What if Orlitz had gone out into the blizzard? The Ixi looked out the window, but she couldn’t see a thing outside apart from billowing snow. Even though Orlitz was reckless enough to walk out during a snow storm, it seemed very out of character for her to leave without her bag, and without telling her friends. Where could she have gone?

      “Remember the cabin Orlitz was always talking about?” offered Faye, “I’ll bet you anything she’s there.”

      Iskeen and Julian agreed that the cabin was the only plausible location she could have gone to. They recalled the Cybunny mentioning that Emilia would be meeting a buyer for the crown today at 5:30. The Ixi checked the clock hanging from the wall above them. It was 6 o’clock. Orlitz could have left more than thirty minutes ago.

      “Do you guys know where that cabin is?” she demanded, slamming her hands on the table. The gesture startled everyone in the vicinity as tiny figurines from the board game flew in every direction.

      “N-no,” admitted Julian, sinking back into his seat.

      The Ixi threw Orlitz’s bag onto the tablet and furiously rummaged through its contents. Eventually, she yanked out a little notepad. Iskeen knew Orlitz well enough to recall that the Cybunny scribbled down all sorts of information into it at all times. She flipped through the pages until she found what she was looking for.

      “Hoorah!” she laughed hysterically, “I knew Orlitz would write the address down somewhere!” She waved the notepad, on which had been jotted the address to the cabin.

      Faye and Julian eyed the Ixi expectantly, waiting for her to add something.

      “Right” she stammered, her mind racing, “okay, uh, Faye, you’re going to go to the front desk and have them contact the Defenders of Neopia. Tell them it’s an emergency, tell them Orlitz is in the blizzard and in danger, tell them anything! Just make them hurry and get the Defenders right away. Julian and I are going to that cabin, and we’re going to find Orlitz!”

      Without as much as a complaint, her friends leapt into action. As Faye ran to the front desk, Iskeen and Julian ran to their rooms to find their warmest clothes. Not a minute had past before they reemerged, hidden beneath layers and layers of winter apparel. They shoved past the employees assigned to the front door and disappeared into the blizzard.

      Amidst the blinding storm, the pair pressed onwards, fighting against the forces of wind and snow. They trudged along, taking care to stay in the right direction. They passed houses and the ice skating pond, now hidden under a blanket of snow. Eventually, fewer houses dotted the way. Iskeen hoped they hadn’t veered off course, but it was impossible to see more than two feet in front of her. Suddenly, a flash of pink caught her attention. She stumbled towards it, recognizing the flapping material.

      “Orlitz’s scarf!” she hollered at Julian, who had chased after her, “we’re on the right track!”

* * * * *

      Orlitz tried to appear as calm and collected as possible. Unfortunately, that plan wouldn’t garner much success if she kept shaking so hard. A damp skirt and blouse did little to trap heat, the Cybunny concluded, glaring at her captors. One Lutari (named Soran, as she had found out during the trip to the cabin) held her firmly by the arm while the other Lutari, Alvah, confronted Emilia.

      They had found the cabin as desolate and cold as ever upon entering it, but Alvah knew about the house’s secret room, and had confidently marched up to the hidden door and kicked it in. When they entered the secret library, they had found Emilia standing amidst the fallen books and shelves, holding the glimmering emerald crown in her hands. The look on her face when the Lutaris and Orlitz filed into the room evidently proved that her unexpected visitors weren’t the ones she had had in mind.

      From this point on, things would only get worse. Utilising Orlitz as a negotiation pawn, Alvah demanded the aisha hand over the crown, or else.

      “The choice you have to make is quite simple,” explained Alvah, The Lutari approached Emilia, forcing her to back away. “You either hand us that crown and we return your friend unscathed,” she said, gesturing towards the shivering Cybunny, “or, you don’t give us the crown, and we throw this Cybunny right out the window. I can assure that she won’t last long in this weather.”

      Emilia’s grip of the crown tightened and her jaw clenched.

      “You’re making this much too hard for yourself. Fine, we’ll sweeten the deal,” continued Alvah. She grabbed Orlitz and shoved her into the aisha, and both tumbled against a dusty bookshelf, “Here’s your friend back. You hand that crown over, or we will take it from you, and then throw you both outside!”

      “Come on,” interjected Soran, who was growing impatient, “we have several buyers interested in that item, and you’re making things extremely difficult for us!”

      Emilia did not speak. Orlitz assumed the aisha was upset that her buyer had deceived her, never showing up at their meeting spot. The aisha may be a thief, but she certainly wasn’t evil. It was obvious she didn’t want any harm to come to herself or Orlitz. The Cybunny eyed the silver crown, mesmerized by its shiny emeralds. It looked heavy in Emilia’s hands. Orlitz wondered what it would feel like if worn…

      An idea occurred. Without hesitation, she ripped the headpiece out of Emilia’s startled hands and flung it with all her force at the unsuspecting Alvah.

      “You want the crown, here you go!” she yelled at the Lutari. The crown hit Alvah’s head with a metallic clang, and the Lutari collapsed into a pile of books.

      “Lovely coronation,” the aisha winked. She grabbed a heavy tome on the floor and threw it at Soran, who backed away defensively. The pair continued threatening the Lutari with books (Orlitz found the scenario rather ridiculous, honestly), but by that time, Alvah had recovered and held a thick book.

      A hard force it Orlitz on the back of the head, and she crumbled into a heap on the floor. The next instant, she regained consciousness, freezing. Orlitz blinked, trying to recognize where she was. Her head spun, and her eyes couldn’t see past the dense flurry of snow and wind. Her fingers felt numb, and her breaths raspy. A splitting headache drummed at the back of her head. Slowly, she realized she had been thrown outside into the snowstorm. Shakily, the disoriented Cybunny tried to stand up, but her pain and dizziness forced her to sink back into the snow. She was no longer shivering, but the Cybunny felt so numb and drowsy, she closed her eyes…

* * * * *

      Iskeen kicked in the front door of the cabin. She and Julian stumbled in, catching their breath and brushing the snowflakes out of their hair. The Island Ixi looked around worriedly, afraid the emptiness of the house meant that they were too late. She noticed a jagged hole in the wall opposite from her, and cautiously approached it. Inside, she could hear muffled voices. She turned to Julian, who had followed her. The Pastel lupe held up a gloved hand. On the count of three…

      “HEY!” the yelled, running into the hidden room. Before them, in stunned silence, stood two menacing-looking Lutaris and a red-headed Blue aisha. Iskeen glanced up at the aisha in confusion. She had managed to climb on top of an upright bookcase. In her hands was a glittering crown. The Lutaris were in the process of pushing the bookcase over, but had stopped at the unexpected intrusion. Iskeen wanted to laugh at the ridiculous scene, but had to stop herself as the bigger of the two Lutaris marched toward her.

      The good news was, Iskeen trained and volunteered a lot at the Mystery Island Training Academy. The bad news was, the Lutari she had chosen to throw herself at was much heavier than she was. The Lutari struggled as Iskeen fought to pin him down. Julian came to her aid and tackled the Lutari, who came crashing down into the books. Using Orlitz’s scarf, the Ixi tied his hands behind his back. As she did so, Julian turned his attention to the meaner of the two Lutaris. He tried gaining an offencive advantage, but his chance only came when the Blue aisha joined the fight. Soon, the two had also tackled the second Lutari to the ground. Julian used his own scarf to bind the lutari’s hands tightly behind her back.

      Iskeen stood triumphantly over the two defeated Lutaris, but her smile faded.

      “Where’s Orlitz” she demanded, glaring at the Lutaris. They smirked and tightened their jaws definitely.

      “Outside!” the aisha stammered, pointing at the only window in the room, “she was knocked out, and they threw her outside!”

      Iskeen scrambled to the window and climbed out. She stumbled in the snow, hysterically searching for her best friend; a task easier said than done, as Orlitz’s pelt was as white as fresh snow. It was snowing so hard, the Cybunny was likely covered in snow by now. Suddenly, the Ixi heard a faint grown. She frantically spun around, and found Orlitz huddled under a tree, her eyes shut.

      “Orlitz!” the Ixi yelled, running to her friend. The Cybunny was cold as ice and did not respond. “We need to get you inside.”

      With Julian and the Aisha's help, they carried the freezing Cybunny into the cabin. As Emilia attempted to build a fire in the cabin’s tiny fireplace and Julian watched over the Lutaris, Iskeen tried to rouse Orlitz. The Ixi lent her one of the many coats she was wearing, and even shoved a hat over her ears. Eventually, Orlitz regained consciousness, and slowly opened her eyes.

      “What happened?” she mumbled, disoriented.

      “You were freezing outside but we saved the day and stopped the bad guys,” the Ixi grinned in return.

      The front door abruptly opened, allowing a flurry of snow to sweep through the cabin. A tall Fire Kyrii in a bright orange winter coat entered the house, followed by an enormous Shadow eyrie in a similar getup. Following them was Faye, brushing out the snowflakes from her green mane. Iskeen breathed a sigh of relief. They were saved!

      “Captain Tora, Chet!” she exclaimed in surprise, recognizing the two Defenders of Neopia. The Kyrii smiled at her and nodded. A while ago, when Orlitz was unraveling the mystery behind the strange petpet disappearances in Geraptiku on Mystery Island, the very same Defenders had come to their aid. The Ixi scrambled up and shook hands with them.

      “Miss Faye here is the one who called us,” explained the Kyrii, “she’s lucky we were in the area maintaining public safety during this blizzard, or it might have taken hours before a Defender would have arrived.”

      “It seems you have already averted all danger,” observed Chet, the enormous Shadow eyrie, eyeing the two restrained Lutaris, “care to tell us what is going on?”

      Orlitz, having regained some of her strength, gladly told the Defenders all of the events that had taken place on Terror Mountain; from her accidental encounter with Emilia and the Lutaris, to her discovery of the stolen Brightvalian crown. She explained that Emilia had been hired by Alvah and Soran to steal the crown on display in the Brightvale Library. Instead of handing the crown to them for a small reward, however, the Aisha found a wealthier buyer to sell it to. She used the abandoned log cabin first as a place to conceal the crown, and then as a rendezvous point for the buyer. Meanwhile, the Lutaris, intent on selling the priceless crown on a black market, tracked the Aisha all the way to Happy Valley. When Emilia was finally able to set up a meeting time with her intended buyer, she returned to the cabin, but the buyer never appeared.

      Captain Tora and Chet listened intently to the Cloud Cybunny's story, only asking questions when she had finished speaking.

      “This buyer,” Captain Tora turned to address Emilia, “do you know who they are?”

      Abashed, the Aisha shook her head “no”.

      “No matter, the crown is returned.”

      “It seems you’ve solved this strange mystery,” Chet added, “we’ll take it from here. We will be taking Emilia, Alvah, and Soren back to headquarters for judgement on their crimes, and escorting you lot back to the lodge. Rest assured, the crown will be restored to Brightvale.”

      “We arrived on a sled,” Faye grinned, “so we’ll be back in no time!”

* * * * *

      Orlitz awoke as sunlight trickled into her room through a gap in the curtains. She was covered in layer after layer of blankets, and enough pillows to build several pillow forts. The Cloud Cybunny remembered snippets of the previous night. She remembered confronting the Lutaris, and then being awoken by Iskeen, and the Defenders of Neopia barging into the cabin. She even recalled being on a sled, but her memory felt hazy. She must have slept through most of the ride back to the lodge. She stretched, wincing slightly at the throbbing pain in her head. Seeing as the sun had broken through the cloud, she must have slept for hours as the storm passed. The clock by her bed read 11 o’clock. She sat up, and was suddenly made very aware of her very runny nose. The Cybunny sneezed and tumbled out of bed.

      “Sneezles,” she muttered, grabbing a tissue from the box that had kindly been left on her bedside table. After she had showered and was dressed in warm clothes, the Cybunny dragged herself downstairs and entered the dining hall. There, her friends greeted her with beaming smiles.

      “We saved you some pancakes” Iskeen smiled, pushing a plate of hot chococherry Pancakes at her friend, “we were worried you wouldn’t wake up for a while!”

      “You were out there in the storm for so long, you’re lucky you just got the sneezles,” added Julian.

      “We’re happy to have you back with us,” Faye hugged the dazed Cybunny.

      Between mouthfuls of food, Orlitz apologized for all the trouble she’d caused on their holiday. Iskeen would hear none of it, and told her that she could make up for it by joining the group on a ski trip at the summit. Orlitz happily obliged, agreeing that their vacation would soon end, and they should fulfill Iskeen’s wish of skiing down Terror Mountain. She reached for an issue of the Neopian Times sitting at the table, and flipped through its pages.

      “Emerald Crown Recovered, Thief and Shady Merchants Caught,” she read through a stuffy nose, “Orlitz Livia, Iskeen Mirand, Faye Reese, and Julian Tohen are the vacationers responsible for recovering the missing crown in Happy Valley.”

      “Any idea what happened to that Aisha-thief, Emilia?” asked Julian, “she wasn’t that bad, she was just a hired thief. I hope they let her off the hook.”

      Orlitz agreed, adding that the Aisha was ultimately a very kind individual with nifty acrobatic skills. The group shared their stories over pancakes, laughing at the absurdity of the whole ordeal.

      After breakfast, Orlitz admitted she felt much better. The four friends stepped outside, amazed at the amount of snow that had accumulated, but glad for the sunlight kissing their faces. They made their way to the sleigh station, and traveled all the way up to the mountain’s peak. High above Happy Valley, the group adorned their skis and headed for the slopes.

      “This is much steeper than I expected,” Orlitz admitted, glancing worriedly down the steep and snowy hill from where she stood.

      “Oh please,” chided Iskeen, whizzing past her, “you’ve done things far more dangerous than this!”

      The End.

 
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Other Episodes


» Orlitz and the Search for the Emerald Crown: Part One
» Orlitz and the Search for the Emerald Crown: Part Two
» Orlitz and the Search for the Emerald Crown: Part Three
» Orlitz and the Search for the Emerald Crown: Part Four
» Orlitz and the Search for the Emerald Crown: Part Five
» Orlitz and the Search for the Emerald Crown: Part Six



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