Neopia, Year 200: The Beginning - Part Ten
Chapter Ten: On The Run
Once they were a safe distance from the Rebels’ headquarters, Kayna turned to the rest of the group. “Okay, guys. What do we do now?”
“Well, we should drink these elixirs first,” said Yorick, “and then find out where Rheani is. I’m guessing that we need to use the Keys somehow to defeat her.”
Everyone nodded and promptly drained the vials of their contents, then buried them in the snow to avoid giving away their current location. They were about to leave, when Kayna spoke up.
“Hold on, guys,” she said urgently. “I think I know where Rheani might be.”
“Where?” asked Layla.
The Zafara paused. “Remember what Rheani was imprisoned for?”
“Yeah,” said Yorick. “Causing a volcano to erupt.”
Kayna nodded. “So, who’s to say she won’t try it again? Except with a much larger mountain?”
Cillo gulped as he looked up and saw the peak of Terror Mountain, sinister-looking against the dark sky. “You mean...?”
His Zafara sister nodded solemnly. Cillo gulped again, this time more audibly.
“Let’s start walking, then.”
“Mistress!” hissed the silvery-cloaked figure. “They are coming, and will soon be nearing the Frozen Caldera. Shall I dispose of them?”
Rheani cackled; her earrings fashioned of charcoal and pine needles twisting and turning in the mountain breeze, which was oddly calm compared to the evil the Faerie radiated. “Thank you for all your help, but I think I can take four puny pets and a clueless Faerie on by myself. Keep watch by all the Caldera’s entrances; take that Uni and Usul with you. They don’t seem to be much good doing anything else!”
The cloaked figure nodded as a pink Uni and yellow Usul stepped forward, blank expressions on both their faces.
“Girls, come with me.” As they were led off, Rheani sat back in her icy throne, in front of which was a shimmering map of the entire mountain, with everyone represented by coloured dots. Large clusters of these dots were at the foot of the mountain in the village known as Happy Valley, in shades of red and blue and gold, but five of these dots were slowly progressing up the mountain, and as they continued their trek, the Fire Faerie began to sing in a voice that was part insane and part melodic.
Rheani placed her finger on a spot a few feet away from Yorick, Kayna, Cillo, Layla and Brianne’s dots, and then made a sweeping motion towards them with her chosen digit.
“Down came the rain...”
Kayna looked up at the sky with concern, which was starting to be covered by an ominous blanket of grey, saturated cloud.
“Guys,” she said nervously, “look at the sky.”
Everyone else looked up. Yorick sighed. “Oh, it’s probably just a little snow, that’s all. Nothing to worry about.”
Then a bolt of lightning flashed across the sky, its unexpected, blinding yellow light making causing everyone to jump a few feet.
“What was that?” Layla asked with her eyes full of fear. As the Aisha was at such a young age, thunder and lightning still made her nervous.
“Nothing,” said Cillo bravely, attempting to assume the position of leader. “Let’s keep walking.”
Then the rain came, crashing down upon the mountainside in sheets of freezing water and soaking the five adventurers. In the below-freezing temperature of Terror Mountain, this was definitely not a good thing.
“QUICK!” yelled Yorick as thunder began to roar across the sky. “Run for the nearest cave!” The five adventurers began to search their surroundings for some sort of shelter, but nothing seemed to be showing up, even amidst the bright white snow. Eventually, Cillo spotted a small, dark cavern mouth nestled between two trees, and everyone ran inside.
As everyone tried to become used to their pitch-black surroundings, a magical fire suddenly appeared in the cavern’s center. With its light, everyone could see that Brianne had discarded her Nimmo costume to reveal the blazing orange clothing underneath.
“Brianne!” said Kayna, gaping. “Your costume—!”
The Fire Faerie shrugged. “I think I’ll be more mobile in my own clothes, thanks. And besides, it’s not as if it’s needed anymore, since we’ve got the invisibility elixirs to keep me hidden. Right?”
Everyone silently agreed, but Yorick was frowning. “How exactly are we going to fight Rheani, let alone make it up the rest of the mountain, in this weather?”
“I know!” said Brianne brightly. “I’ll cast a spell to help us out! I learned all sorts of basic weather enchantments at the Faerie Academy in Spellcasting 101, although I nearly failed when I tripped on my teacher’s shoes and sent her wand flying through the nearby window.” She closed her eyes and went through a mental list in her head. “Hmm, let’s see... Solarius brello!”
Nothing happened. Brianne screwed her eyes shut and tried again. “Um... Banisha precipitati!”
Yet again, nothing. The Fire Faerie sighed, stepped outside, and thrust her arms into the sky in a last-ditch effort to make something actually work. “Brello shelterus!”
The effect was immediate. A large, glistening shield of Faerie magic hovered above Brianne, causing all rain in the general area to splash off said shield and forcefully hit the nearby trees. The Fire Faerie looked back in the cave at the four pets. “Guys, it’s working.”
Now that the rain had been taken care of, the trek continued without interference, although all five adventurers still got the feeling every once and a while like someone was watching their every move...
“WHAT?!” Rheani screamed as she saw the five dots moving further up the mountainside. “How could she DO that? I thought she was out of commission!”
Fuming, she sat back. “Those guards at the Caldera’s entrances had better do what they’re supposed to do, or I’m going to be one angry Faerie. And I’m not pretty when I’m mad...”
Twenty minutes later, the mountain’s peak appeared closer and closer. With the weather shield Brianne had conjured up, the five adventurers had made excellent progress against the otherwise unrelenting snow and rain, and were almost near the peak. Unfortunately, there was still one little thing standing in their way...
“Hey,” said Layla, pointing up ahead with a stubby arm. “Who’s that?”
“Looks like a Uni,” said Yorick, frowning. “But what would a Uni be doing up here?”
As they drew closer, Yorick noted that the Uni’s facial features were relatively expressionless, and, as they got even closer, that it was starting to charge at them.
“I guess this answers my question, then,” he said. “RUN!” All four pets dove for cover, leaving Brianne to stand alone against the charging Uni. The Faerie gritted her teeth and shouted at the top of her lungs, “DOMESTA MENTALIA!”
The Uni stopped in the middle of charging and her expression immediately became one of confusion as the calming spell took effect. “Um, like, what am I doing in the snow? Why am I running? And, like, why are none of you wearing plaid?”
“We’ll explain later,” said Yorick quickly. “Right now, we have a Faerie to defeat. See you later!”
As Brianne, Yorick, Cillo, Layla and Kayna ran off, they left Daphne standing there, still confused.
“Hel-LO! Is no one going to even TELL me what exactly is going ON?”
Rheani cackled as the adventurers dashed into the Frozen Caldera, which her icy throne was situated in the middle of on a shining platform above the boiling lava that gave the Caldera its name.
“Why, hello there!” she said, grinning. “It’s so nice to meet you five at last!”
“You knew we were coming?” asked Yorick, confused. Rheani cackled.
“Of course I knew!” said Rheani, grinning insanely. “Don’t lose your head over it, poor Yorick! You too, Kayna, Layla, Cillo and Brianne!”
“You know our names?” Kayna was shocked.
Rheani grinned. “I sure do! But that’s not important. The real question is, how come your little invisibility elixirs aren’t working anymore?”
Horrified, the pets and Brianne looked down at themselves to realize what they had, in the commotion caused by the rain, forgotten: they were no longer invisible.
“Hang on,” said Cillo, catching on faster than the others, “how do you know about the invisibility elixirs?”
The Fire Faerie grinned, twirling one of her charcoal earrings with a finger nonchalantly. “The same way I know that Brianne was masquerading as a Nimmo named Alice. The same way I know that you were coming here. The same way I knew exactly where that pathetic little band of rebels was meeting.”
“How?” everyone asked in unison. Rheani grinned.
“Dear,” she said, calling out to the west, “it’s time to let everyone know who you are!”
The five adventurers’ heads slowly turned to the west, where they could see a figure shrouded in a silver cloak standing there.
Slowly, and with great deliberation, the figure lifted up the hood of his cloak. When he did, Kayna screamed in shock.
It was Luther.
To be continued...