Several days had passed since I had talked my way out of a long prison sentence.
The affair of the avalanches in the Terror Mountains had gone on to resolve
itself without me, much to my relief. By the time we had settled everything,
I received six thousand Neopoints, plus expenses, which mostly paid for the
wear and tear on my nerves. I had even given some of it to blchocobo for his
But on the evening I'm talking about, all three of us were sacked out in the
living room watching the TV news. I was curled up in my favorite chair. Blchocobo
was stretched out on the floor in front of me, and our owner was sprawled on
the couch munching popcorn.
Some things had changed. Blchocobo was now a desert Blumaroo. I thought his
new mask did a good job of accenting his calm and thoughtful personality. Other
things hadn't changed. I was still stuck as a Faerie Cybunny. The lab ray, having
made me that, seemed content to leave me that way, regardless of my desire to
be something more suitable for my gender. (Which is male, thank you very much!!!)
The only sounds in the room were crunching coming from the couch, and the
TV's audio as we all watched.
"On the six o'clock news tonight, residents of Terror Mountain are still picking
up the pieces from the series of devastating avalanches in the past few weeks.
Life seems to be returning to normal, as the government sends in relief provisions
and provides funds to help rebuild shattered homes and businesses. With a report
from the scene, we go to Bill. Bill?"
"Maya, residents here in the Blumaroo town of Berinda cheered today as
Councilor BelindaU not only promised financial aid, but actually took the time
to help dig out the broken remains of one family's home. We managed to speak
with the Councilor afterwards..."
Reporter: Councilor, there's been a major push on lately to repay the Blumaroos
for lost property and businesses. What prompted this change of heart?
BelindaU: No change of heart was involved, Bill. We have always been devoted
to all citizens of Terror Mountain, no matter what type. The fact that these
are Blumaroos does not change at all the helping hand that we stretch forth
to any citizen in need.
Reporter: What about charges of neglect in the past?
BelindaU: Those allegations are certainly regrettable, but we are devoted
to changing the present and future, and we ask all citizens to help us pull
together in times of tragedy such as this.
Reporter: Councilor, there have been reports that the Lupe which was sentenced
to hard labor a couple of days ago was not the only one involved in the plot
to create these avalanches. What do you say to that?
BelindaU: Well, pets will just have to use their own judgment as to what
may or may not have happened behind the scenes. No one can argue with any credibility
that the Lupe in question was guilty of horrible crimes---
Reporter: Yes, but was he forced to take the hit for someone else?
BelindaU: Certainly not. He is properly paying for the actions he has committed.
Reporter: But isn't it true that there are a lot of unhappy pets when they
hear that such things can happen?
BelindaU: Such things can happen anywhere, but Terror Mountain is definitely
more fortunate than most. I would like to point out that the criminal in question
comes not from here, but from Central Neopia- and that the Central Neopian government
has been noticeably silent as regards any sort of plea for him. It would appear
obvious that they can not object to our justice, and I wouldn't be surprised
if many pets there weren't applauding the quick and certain action of our justice
Reporter: What about allegations that former Councilor Bloriarity was behind
BelindaU: I've heard them, but I can't comment on them. Now, if you don't
mind, I have some pets to help. Good day...
I grinned slightly as the news anchor back at the central desk came onto the
"There are many stories surrounding the events of the past few days, and most
of them center on the Lupe who pleaded guilty in court Monday to various charges
of sabotage and destruction of property. Attempts to talk to the central figure
in the controversy, however, failed to produce any results."
The voice-over continued as the scene flicked to a quarry. k9evil1 was exerting
his tremendous strength in hauling rocks up a slope. When he saw the camera,
he reached back into his cart, pulled out a rock, and threw at the camera, which
"Hah, that's the way to show 'em" came from the couch. I rolled my eyes, because
I'd noted in the last split second that the rock was still in the Lupe's hand.
He hadn't actually thrown it, but bluffed the TV camerapet out.
"Local residents are definitely supportive of the new initiatives, however,
as our talk with a resident in Berinda showed."
Reporter: So, what do you think of the actions from the government?
Blumaroo: Hey, it's great to see these pets in the flesh. You know, I never
actually saw any of the council members before today? They just sat down there
in the capital all the time.
Reporter: So, do you like what they're doing?
Blumaroo: It's great! I think we'll be back on our feet in no time, what
with the extra help in getting dug out and the loans to get our business afloat
Reporter: Do you ever worry that there may be some sort of cover-up going
on, that there is more to the story than the Lupe?
Blumaroo: Nah, I know he did it. Two of my cousins were in on the teams
that saw him try to start that last one. He was good at it, I guess, but not
good enough to outsmart the pets of Terror Mountain!
"Maya, not all residents were as happy about the possible plot cover-up
as this one was, but most seem to agree that what's in the past should stay
there. In the meantime, though, one of the more bizarre features of this event
is being dug up at the scene where the teams intercepted the Lupe in his last
The scene flicked to a familiar looking slope which was now covered with equipment.
I frowned a bit in puzzlement. Almost no snow was left downslope of the area
where the Lupe had been digging, and there were slings all along that route.
I almost choked when the voice-over came back on, and I realised what I'd forgotten.
"That's right, Bill. What could have been the largest piece of evidence ever
submitted in a Neopian court missed it's day of fame when the Lupe, k9evil1,
pleaded guilty, leaving this huge block of snow unneeded. Experts say that the
snow, soaked in brown sauce, has become a hundred foot slab of high explosive.
It's estimated that it has the equivalent power of thousands of exploding snowballs.
Indeed, it IS an exploding snowball of tremendous size. Explosives teams are
just now carefully pulling it out of its resting place, and are being faced
with the problem of how to dispose of it. It can't be broken up, since this
explosive goes off when it is struck with an object. Current speculations are
that heated wires will be needed to gently melt it apart. It's possible that
the smaller pieces will be sold as Battledome items, so any pets out there who
are going to be fighting in the near future, watch out for those jagged chunks
of snow, they're going to hurt if they hit!"
A whistle came from behind us as our owner watched the huge chunk of snow being
hauled out. I was mentally kicking myself for not remembering it sooner. But
it looked like there was more to the story.
"Our next story is on a related topic. Documents obtained by NTV staff show
that the Neopoints used in the attempt was obtained through a corporation called
Sikeston Mining Company. The papers appear to be bank records which also show
former Councilor Bloriarity as the secretary and treasurer of the corporation.
Bank officials refused to comment on the validity of these findings, but NTV
managed to talk with Bloriarity at his vacation home in Mystery Island. Joetta
Acara has the story for us."
Joetta: Maya, Councilor Bloriarity, now former Councilor, has angrily protested
that any reports linking him to the sabotage in Terror Mountain come from forged
documents. I spoke with him about them earlier today:
Joetta: Councilor Bloriarity, what is your take on the reports linking
you to the Lupe who is alleged to have created the avalanches which destroyed
so much property in the Terror Mountains?
Bloriarity: Joetta, it pains me to see such an obvious lie coming from
this government. I have warned pets for years about their incompetence, but
even I failed to estimate the extent of their treachery. This is simply a transparent
attempt to discredit all of the hard work that I have done over the years, and
to keep the Blumaroos of Terror Mountain in their accustomed position of second-class
Joetta: but what about the new programs that are designed to help the victims
of these avalanches?
Bloriarity: it's nice to see them trying to do something right for once,
and I truly hope that they continue. But past experience has taught me the hard
way that the council is not governed by true ideals, but by political expediency.
What they see as a necessary initiative today will almost certainly be in the
wastebasket once it is no longer needed to help secure their reelection.
Joetta: You are still a staunch advocate for Blumaroo rights, then--
Joetta: But you've left your position of power to in effect be an exile
from your own country. Why?
Bloriarity: Because I had one small piece of fortune in this whole tragic
affair, Joetta. I had a source who came to me and showed me the forged documents
that they had prepared, framing me with this whole thing. I knew then that there
was no hope for justice with a government who did that, and also that their
efforts to destroy me had taken a nasty turn. I don't mind the thought of going
to prison in my fight to help my people, but if they stoop this low, how much
lower is an assassin's blow in the dark?
Joetta: That's certainly a good reason. Tell me, who was this source that
let you know what was coming down?
Bloriarity: Please, Joetta, you can't believe that I would betray a confidence.
I wouldn't put a decent and moral NeoPet like that in danger by revealing their
identity. In fact, I can not even tell you whether it was a he or a she.
I squirmed as he looked at the camera and gave that last line a meaningful
double tone. I knew then he hadn't forgiven me for forcing him into exile. A
snort sounded below me which sounded suspiciously like a choked off snicker.
I glared down at blchocobo, whose expression was annoyingly hidden behind his
"Yeahhh riigghhht," our owner said sarcastically as he flipped the TV off and
stood up. "They're never going to know what really happened. No one involved
wants to talk, and anyone who does is someone you can't trust not to have their
I bridled at his dismissive tone and my eyes narrowed with annoyance. "In
that case," I said, "I've got an interesting story to tell you...."