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Neopia's Fill in the Blank News Source | 8th day of Running, Yr 23
The Neopian Times Week 36 > Continuing Series > Icequake: Part Two

Icequake: Part Two

by scriptfox

After I'd been scared sick by the mysterious threat I'd accidentally discovered in my office, you'd think that I would have set out to solve what it was immediately. But no! A threat seen by a magical cloud, even if it was a cloud I had made myself, didn't compare to the host of urgent things to do that faced me. Getting zapped by the Lab Ray had thrown more than just my body out of whack. I spent the next week dividing my time between trying to get my investigation business built back up and going to the Training Academy.

Training Academy. I shudder even now at the thought of how that place consumed my time then. The Lab Ray had left me in poor shape on level- I had actually lost level- and now I had over thirty levels to make up before I could start learning anything else. I was spending almost twenty four hours a day at the feet of the Techo Master, as he initiated me into the secrets and ways that went into what Neopet owners call level. Much of what I learned had to do with magic- which should be no surprise to the perceptive owner, since level is what lets us catch and hold a Faerie blessing. I began to understand that I was still only a newbie when it came to really advanced magic, but I learned- oh how I learned!

It was the next Thursday evening as I closed my business for the day. The darkness was chilly, and some small part of me that remembered my Kiko days almost pitied the wild aquatic Neopets in their freezing waters. Mostly, though, I was too tired to do much more than lock the door and prepare to go to the academy. I had another session there before I could sleep for the night, but I'd already put in a hard day and my defenses were non-existent about then. Perhaps that is why I felt the first tremor. My stomach suddenly tied itself into a knot, and I looked up rather blearily in the direction the shaking seemed to have come from. A bright blue-white flicker in the northern sky brought me back to wakefulness. Something dangerous? The incident a week earlier suddenly clicked back into place, and wakefulness became alarm. Forget training for now, this needed seeing to immediately. I ran to the nearest neotube and caught the first one heading north.

On the way up, with my stomach still doing loops, I realized that the quake and light hadn't had any physical effect- only magical. Whatever this was hadn't started doing anything physical yet, but the tremors in the magical environment suggested something big was about to break- and soon. As I crossed over on the ferry, the tension warred with exhaustion, and my stomach was the loser. The snack that I'd had earlier wound up in the ocean, but I felt better for it.

I got off of the ferry, staggering only slightly from the combined effects of seasickness, magical buffeting and physical exhaustion. I looked up and the trouble area wasn't hard to spot- it was in the hills above. Quickly passing through the shops, with their Brucey and Blumaroo owners and customers dwindling into a last thin stream, I reached the crevasses of the Ice Caves.

Entering into the fractured valley, I trembled at the sight that met my eyes. Although calm physically, the whole valley was lit up with a bright blue-white wall of fire- and it was centered on the Snowager's den. The surreal threat from that dark hole was made only worse by the fact that no one else around was affected by it. I stared at them all incredulously as I made my way down towards the main crevasse and the cave on the other side. A door closed beside me, and I almost bumped into a stranger before I saw him. Stepping back, I stuttered apologies to the tunic-clad fairy. He accepted them without any comment beyond a nod and a slight frown, but before he could brush me off and go on I suddenly realized that here was a light sent opportunity to check my senses.

"Wait! Uhh... before you leave, I have to ask... can you see anything odd?"

The frown deepened. "Odd? What do you mean?"

"Well, ummm..." I waved vaguely towards the bright chaos on the other side of the valley, "anything different just sort of around here?"

He looked around for a couple of seconds before shaking his head firmly. "Nope. Everything's normal. Now if you'll excuse me..."

There was no mistaking the warning that his patience was almost gone. I just nodded and muttered another quick apology which was ignored as he left. I sighed and began trudging towards what appeared to be my own private vision. It proved to nearly be my end as another wall of something hit me, knocking me off my feet and into the crevasse that bisected the small valley. My hooves flailed but failed to get any purchase- they only pushed me out further into space! I screamed at the top of my lungs and closed my eyes as I instinctively fought to escape the awful plummet that I had gone into. I suddenly felt lighter, and fuller. I opened my eyes to see that I was coming up onto the other edge of the crevasse! Grabbing onto it, I burped and let out a huge ball of light. I shuddered, realizing that I had been saved by a Faerie magic trick that had been drilled into my subconscious mind only the day before.

So it was that as I approached the edge of the cavern that led to the Snowager's den, my nerves were rubbed raw and open to just about anything. The brightness was so much that I held my arm in front of my eyes to shield them, only to find it overwhelming even through my flesh. If I'd had any illusions about this being a physical light, that banished them. I pushed into the cave and heard the roaring and hissing. Peeping into the cavern, I almost choked with fear as I saw the huge icy coils of the Snowager flowing through the cavern. He was exploding with the pulsating light, and he was so huge that I almost lost my last shreds of courage. I'd seen him before, but this! This was beyond anything that I could have imagined in my worst dreams. The cavern shook and at first I thought it was from more magical explosions. Then I realized things really were shaking! The Snowager was ignoring me in my little hole of an entrance and was busily ramming and crushing his way into the solid ice walls of the cavern! They shook again as he bashed his way a bit farther into the huge excavation that he was creating.

I'd had enough. I fled for my life... and sanity. It wasn't until I gasped as the air warmed and grew drier that I realized what I'd done. In my panicky instinct to be out of the area, I had dived into the tunnel that led into Tyrannia! I pushed aside the last few leaves that covered the Tyrannian end and climbed out into a clear starlit sky. My skin was still quivering and jumping from nervous tension, but my thoughts had cleared enough to realize who I had to consult next. Tekeli-Li!

Tekeli-Li, I mused as I headed towards his little hut. He had been my first magic teacher during the Tyrannian war, had in fact been in charge of all spells and potions for the entire army, not just me. I'd always admired his knowledge almost as much as I'd been irritated by his total lack of emotion. Not that he didn't have any; he just never showed it, and I'd never seen him surprised or shaken. Taken aback, yes. But never truly shaken. Somehow, the more I thought about it, the more I realized he was the perfect candidate for helping me regain my balance in all of this.

Tekeli-Li answered my knock quickly. As I had suspected, he wasn't asleep yet. He nodded when he saw me. "MonoKeras. Come in."

I followed him into the house with my thoughts tumbling through my head, trying to figure out how to put what came next. He hadn't reacted to my being a golden Uni again, but I hadn't expected him to. He simply waved me over to a chair and sat down opposite it, calmly waiting for whatever I had to say.

I took a deep breath. "I've just come from the Snowager's cave, and there's something horribly wrong!"

Tekeli-Li didn't react to my blurted statement beyond a simple, "Oh?"

"Yes! It's causing ripples that can be seen magically halfway around Neopia, and when I went to see it was so bad I nearly lost all control" Had lost all control, I thought to myself. "He's gotten a lot bigger, and he's busy tunneling out. I'm not sure where he's going or what he's about to do, but all of the signs point towards big trouble!"

"I see." Tekeli-Li's flat tone indicated that he didn't. But then a thought seemed to strike him. "Have you been taking courses in level lately?"

"Yeah, I have, and it's a good thing or otherwise I'd be dead--"

Tekeli-Li raised a hand to stop me. "Ok. No need to go on, I understand now."

"Oh good! Then what do we do to stop this?"

"Stop? Nothing. There's nothing to stop."

I'm not proud of what happened next. Blame it on my nerves being stretched to the breaking point, or maybe just my own foolishness. But after a couple of seconds, the shock turned to anger. "So that's it! You think I made it up. I'm just imagining things because I took too much level!"

"I didn't say that."

"You didn't need to! I can tell... I come here and tell you that the Snowager is absolutely huge now and is breaking out into the rest of Neopia. No telling where he's going to pop out at or what sort of havoc he'll wreak, and you just sit there, bump on the log, and tell me there's nothing to it!"

"I didn't..."

"Yes you did! Well I'll tell you something Mr. nothing to stop, I'm not imagining things, I know what I saw, and if you won't help protect Neopia from this, I will!!"

Tekeli-Li might have said something in reply, but I didn't hear it. I'd already left by the time he opened his mouth. My speed carried me back all the way to the tunnel to Terror Mountain before I cooled off enough to think. I sighed and sat down on the tunnel lip, hooves clicking softly against the rock walls as I swung my legs and stared into space. All well and good to declare I was going to "do something", but what?

Analyze this logically, I told myself. First, is there any way to stop the Snowager from breaking out? I shuddered as I recalled the huge hole that he was creating. No, definitely not. Was there a way to kill the Snowager? I had to laugh at that thought; if there was, some adventurer would have made himself rich a long time ago. Was there a way to guide where the Snowager went? Now there was some food for thought...

Fifteen minutes or so later, I had my plan lined out. I could affect where the Snowager went, simply by creating some explosions of magical nature that, well... the details are better left unmentioned. Let's just say that I could make the Snowager want to head away from certain areas. And not only that, but I realized that if I headed him south, the heat might melt him! For all of his power and size, he was still ice, wasn't he? Yes, it just might work at that... head him south, and let the warm ocean waters do the rest. By the time he reached central Neopia- if he did- he'd be too weak and/or small to do anything.

I headed off to gather my materials, and was almost back home before I realized I'd forgotten something. I sighed in irritation as I backtracked and headed towards the academy for another round of training... in level, of course.

To be continued...

Previous Episodes

Icequake: Part One

Icequake: Part Three

Icequake: Part Four

Icequake: Part Five

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