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The Perils of a New Brother: Part Two


by steelseatimber

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Clenching the letter from Seth in his hand, Jaeger sprinted off to Shenkuu’s Lunar Temple, his feet hammering against a drawstring bridge and climbing up the steep path that the Lunar Temple rested atop of. Behind him, his large Quetzal slithered determinedly, easily keeping up with Jaeger’s lightning-quick pace. The green Lupe finally stopped before the wise old Gnorbu, gasping for breath.

     “This note... could it contain a code?” Jaeger wheezed, handing the paper to the Gnorbu.

     “A code? I am not what you would call a code breaker, boy,” the Gnorbu said modestly, holding the piece of paper.

     “Please, it’s very important. Suppose a normal person wrote this note -- why would it contain so many spelling errors?” Jaeger inquired, desperate.

     “Well...” The Gnorbu inspected the note closely for a moment, and then his eyes lit up. “In fact, there is an ancient code that uses spelling errors. For every spelling error, you take the letter that should be in its place and write it down, until all the misplaced letters make a word, or a phrase. Let’s try it. The letter reads:

      Dear Steel and Jaeger,

      I am runnung away bekause iverything I do is kussed at by Jieger, eben though I try to be good. I’m going to Mystiry Iland. Don’t try to find me.

      Seth Cooper”

     “The first word should be spelled ‘running’, so I’ll write down an ‘I’.” Jaeger said quickly. As they went through the letter, Jaeger wrote down C, E, C, A, V, E, and S.

     “Ice Caves,” Jaeger muttered softly. “Someone must have kidnapped him and taken him to the Ice Caves, and forced him to write this note!” It was all coming together in his mind, and he spoke aloud as he thought. “They made him write that he was going to Mystery Island, just to throw us off. We never would have found him, unless he gave us a code that the kidnappers couldn’t crack.” Under his breath, he added, “Smart kid.”

     “Oh, dear,” the Gnorbu whispered. “You must go. Go find this Seth Cooper,” the wise old dweller of the Lunar Temple ordered, his expression grave.

     “I will. Thank you.” Jaeger quickly gave him a polite Shenkuu bow, then turned and ran out of the temple. Kar the Quetzal followed his master faithfully, although the Lupe was too preoccupied even to notice the big snake-like creature tagging along behind him.

     Jaeger walked into the Shenkuu sky harbor, which wasn’t too crowded at the time. He rushed to the front counter, and the dainty female Acara behind the desk screamed when she saw a massive serpent climb up Jaeger’s body and perch on his shoulders. Kar just gave the Acara a confused look.

     “Relax, he’s friendly,” Jaeger said, although he himself was a little surprised to see that his Quetzal had followed him all this way. “I need to know when the next ship leaves for Terror Mountain.”

     The Acara behind the desk regained her composure, and then looked down a list of departure times written on a scroll.

     “Ah, it seems that the next ship for Terror Mountain leaves in five minutes. You better hurry to get on it.”

     “Great, thanks,” Jaeger said, spinning on his heel to go and find the ship.

     “But sir,” the Acara called out quickly, “no petpets are allowed on board unless they wear a collar and leash.”

     “Hmm.” Jaeger paused thoughtfully for a moment, and then lifted the heavy petpet off his shoulders. He walked up to the Acara and suspended Kar right in front of her, as if he was going to put the Quetzal in her lap. “Can you keep him here then?”

     The Acara let out a small yelp, backing away from Kar fearfully. “You know, I’m sure we can make this one exception,” she said with a nervous smile and laugh.

     “Wonderful, thanks.” Jaeger hove the Quetzal back onto his shoulders and ran towards the ship going to Terror Mountain.

     “Final boarding call for Terror Mountain! Final boarding call!” the bearded Ruki captain roared. Jaeger whizzed past him and up the gangplank to the ship hovering in the sky.

     The ship took off through the afternoon sky, when Jaeger remembered that he hadn’t even told Steel what he was doing. He decided to send him a neomail, which read:

     Steel,

     I have decoded the message in Seth’s runaway letter, “ICE CAVES”, and it has led me to believe that Seth has been kidnapped. I am now on a ship headed for Terror Mountain. Get to Neopia Central as soon as possible and alert the Defenders of Neopia about the situation.

     -Jaeger

     Jaeger sealed the envelope and slipped it into a slot in the ship, which would send the neomail to steelseatimber, or Steel. The Lupe then took a seat with his Quetzal, as that was all he could do as he waited for the ship to arrive in Happy Valley.

     * * *

     He felt coldness as he was thrown against a soft substance. Seth was trapped in a large sack, together with his new Juma, Taze. He had been in that sack for what felt like a very long time, and he was frightened. The red Kougra cub had no idea what was going to happen to him.

     “HELP!” Seth cried out, hoping that someone would hear him.

     “Let the little brat out of the bag,” a gruff voice said. “Just keep him quiet.”

     Daylight poured in through the bag as one of the kidnappers opened it. Blinding white snow was everywhere, something that Seth had never really seen before. Normally, he would have been overjoyed at a new place to visit -- but now he only felt scared and confused.

     “Out of the bag, runt,” an orange Skeith in gloves, a toque, and a heavy jacket ordered.

     Seth crawled out from the bag, still squinting his eyes as he adjusted to the brightness. He didn’t have a chance to make a break for freedom, because the Skeith grabbed the scruff of his neck and slipped his head into a loop of rope, tightening it around his neck. At first Seth worried that he was going to attempt to strangle him, but then he realized it was to act as a collar.

     “Are you an idiot?” a blue Kyrii said angrily to the Skeith. “He could get out of that with his hands.”

     “Alright, kid, stand up on your two feet. I’ll tie your wrists together,” the Skeith growled.

     “But I prefer to stand on my four paws,” Seth objected.

     “These stinkin’ quad pets are so hard to hold hostage,” the Skeith griped.

     “Here, Dexter, use this.” The Kyrii handed the Skeith an iron collar with a lock on it.

     “Now that’s more like it.” Dexter locked the iron collar around Seth’s neck, hooked it up to a light chain, and shoved the small key in his pocket. “Thanks, Rocko.”

     “Rocko! Dexter! Would you leave the Kougra cub alone and help unload the goods?” the third neopet commanded the Kyrii and Skeith. Seth turned to see that he was a very muscular and intimidating mutant Lenny. Seth had never expected to see a Lenny worth fearing, but this one fit the bill.

     The mutant Lenny wore an unbuttoned brown vest revealing a brawny torso, some loose black trousers, a red headband, and heavy combat boots. Around his waste was a thick belt with various expensive-looking weapons hanging from it. He was evidently the leader of the three. The Lenny stood beside several large wooden crates stacked on top of one another. They opened them one by one, each crate containing many weapons. Seth recognized many of the weapons to be from Shenkuu, including gold handled katana, enchanted pudaos, and golden handled long swords. He remembered the last time he had seen the weapons, he was watching these three neopets load them onto a sky ship after robbing a weapons shop. That’s when they found him and captured him, forcing him to write a runaway note to his owner.

     “Hurry it up, boys,” the Lenny barked as the three of them moved swiftly to unpack the crates into a toboggan. “The sooner we get the goods to Niro, the sooner we get paid, and we can get out of this frozen wasteland.”

     “But Jack, what do we do with the kid?” Dexter asked.

     “We’ll throw him into the cave of some Snowbeast. But only after we take the goods to Niro,” the Lenny, called Jack, declared. “We’re late enough already because of this unfortunate little witness. And Niro isn’t happy with late deliveries.”

     Seth listened in horror as the head criminal described his fate. He didn’t know what to do, so he remained silent. If he tried to scream or yell for help, they would probably tape his mouth shut. He decided to save his voice for when he might be able to use it.

     The three criminals and Seth had landed on a remote part of Happy Valley, with no neopets in sight or earshot. They headed north to the Ice Caves, not bothering to cover their tracks, since the heavy snowfall would wind up doing that for them within a short period of time.

     Seth suddenly remembered the Juma, who was still unconscious in the hefty sack back in the snow. The Kougra looked over his shoulder longingly, hoping that the little petpet would be alright.

     “Taze...” Seth mumbled as he thought about it.

     “You say something, you little moach?” Rocko, the blue Kyrii, snarled.

     Seth sighed. If he mentioned the Juma, they might go back and bring her along just to sell her off. He knew she was better off free.

     “No.”

     The four neopets continued marching onward through the powdery snow, with Dexter the muscular Skeith pulling the toboggan load of goods. Soon they reached an icy opening in a rock face. Seth stared intriguingly at his surroundings as they entered the icy cave. He had never seen anything like it. As they ventured further into the cave, they came to an increasing number of forks in the path, with two or more different directions to choose. But Jack, Rocko, and Dexter seemed to know exactly where they were going. It was a good place for a secret meeting, because any do-gooder would get lost trying to find the place.

     “Flying meepits!” Jack bellowed angrily. Seth looked up to see what the mutant Lenny was so mad at.

     Jack was holding a note, and his viciously curved beak was bent in a miserable frown as his eyes scanned over its contents. Finally he planted the note in his pants pocket and looked at his henchmen.

     “Niro got impatient waiting for us. He’s arranged a new meeting up near the peak of Terror Mountain.” Jack growled, something that Seth was unaware a Lenny could do. “We might as well turn back and head up there.”

     The four neopets turned back and headed out of the Ice Caves, with Dexter grunting as he pulled the toboggan loaded with weaponry. Soon they were back in the snow, and Seth was shocked to see that their previous tracks were completely covered up. He wondered how anyone would be able to find him. Quietly, the Kougra cub was resolved to remain benign until he had a real chance of escaping.

     Hiking up the mountain was difficult. The higher they got, the harder the wind and snow blew against them, and the snow was now quite deep and difficult to trudge through. It was a barren area of the mountain. They didn’t see any other neopets or life at all, with the exception of the odd wild Snowbunny that bounded frightfully across their path.

     A pine tree beside them dropped a pile of snow unexpectedly. Seth looked at it with concern, and then jumped as he saw a flash of white fur behind it.

     “I think there’s something there,” the Kougra alerted his kidnappers.

     “Quiet, kid, just keep moving.” Rocko the Kyrii yanked Seth’s leash forward. As the Kyrii turned back to his path, he saw with horror a massive snowbeast staring down at him. Rocko screamed as the monster picked him up and threw him into the snow.

     The white, furry creature was furious, and looked to be unstoppable. With Rocko headfirst in a snow bank, and Jack and Dexter preoccupied with the snowbeast, Seth was free! He braced himself to run, but just as he did, Jack grabbed the rope attached to his collar. In one swift motion, the mutant Lenny snatched up an enchanted pudao from the toboggan of goods and hurled it at the beast. The weapon struck the creature in the leg, and it fell. Ripping the pudao from its leg, the snowbeast struggled to its feet and ran away, leaving the enchanted pudao neatly snapped in half in the snow.

     “No...” Jack bent down in the snow, picking up the two pieces to the weapon with a look of dread. “Niro will be furious if he doesn’t have this weapon.”

     “Why don’t you go to Donny’s Toy Repair Shop?” Seth suggested meekly.

     “Did someone ask you a question, runt?” Rocko, now out of the snow bank, readied his hand to slap the Kougra cub.

     “No, Rocko,” Jack stopped him, “maybe he has a point. Let’s go see Donny.”

To be continued...

 
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Other Episodes


» The Perils of a New Brother: Part One
» The Perils of a New Brother: Part Three
» The Perils of a New Brother: Part Four



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