Terror Mountain - in Trouble!: Part Two
Jatalle led the way as the three pets snuck out of the Neolodge, keeping an eye out for their owner as they went. It was a long walk back up to Terror Mountain, but a lot easier in daylight and they bounced happily along, enjoying the sunshine and the lack of responsibility, although the Aisha was a little less carefree than the Lupes. Her mind was focused on getting to the bottom of the mystery and solving it to her content. She thought as she walked. At last they reached the foot of the mountain, and faced a slippery slope of rapidly melting water in order to ascend. Vilmori glanced at Jatalle, his tail now between his legs. But she smiled at the green Lupe encouragingly. Their claws cut into the ice as they began to climb. Wroulf the baby Lupe began to struggle but was half helped and half carried by his siblings to reach the top. They followed the stream of water running down the peak. Eventually it leveled out and Jatalle spotted a cave. Just outside the cave, the ice was melting and causing the destruction. Trying to be braver than she felt, she strode into the darkness, her brothers following.
But it wasn’t dark at all. In fact, Jatalle had to shield her eyes from a bright redness which suddenly seared them. Once her eyes had adjusted, she looked out from behind her paw. In front of her was one of the strangest sights she had ever seen. There was a massive flock of fire petpets; baby fireballs and moltenores stretched out in front of her in a blinding sea of orange flame. She spotted a fire Blumaroo bending down to feed a petpet, and strode up to him.
“What are you doing?!” she asked. “All this fire is melting the mountain; it destroyed our home and half of Terror Mountain itself, and it’s only getting worse!”
The Blumaroo looked at her in bewilderment. “But, the prize!” he said. It was now Jatalle’s turn to look confused. He tried to clarify.
“One million NP is a lot of points, you know! And I’m to be given it if I look after these petpets up here til the time is up.”
“Well, can’t the time be up now?” piped up Wroulf. “You can go and the mountain will refreeze and we can go back to our house!”
The Blumaroo looked regretful. “Well, sorry, but I can’t do anything about that. I’m not leaving until the boss comes back, gives me my reward and tells me I can go. Nothing can budge me until then! I have as much right as you to be up here.”
Jatalle’s face turned red with frustration, but the stubborn pet would not move. “It’s a scam!” she yelled. “No-one’s paying you a million neopoints just to raise petpets on the top of Terror Mountain; it’s just a trick to try and destroy it! Who is your boss, anyway? He’s behind all this and I want a word with him.”
But the fire Blumaroo shut his mouth resolutely and suddenly began very preoccupied with tending to a moltenore which was blowing fire onto his shoes.
Vilmori had silently watched the exchange between his sister and the pet, but couldn’t think of a way to help! He fell in behind Jatalle as she turned angrily away, and looked resignedly at Wroulf. The baby pet looked tired now, and was stumbling over his feet as they left the brightly-lit cave. The green Lupe didn’t know who to believe now. But it did seem unlikely that a herd of fire petpets melting Terror Mountain was an accident. They trudged back to the Neolodge.
Luckily they got back before their owner returned, and were dejectedly playing a silent game of Bilge Dice. But even Jatalle’s face had to light up when their owner returned burdened under a pile of food, games and new clothes for them all. They helped her unpack and sat down to a hasty meal of omelette and jelly. Over dinner they discussed what to do with the Fountain Faerie Quest they had completed the week before. The item was cheap and easy to get, and now a free paint awaited one of them! But funnily enough, none were that keen for the honour and they kept teasing each other about it.
Jatalle fingered her headdress. She never wanted to be any colour but island! And Vilmori was completely happy being green forever, and vehemently opposed anyone who suggested a different shade. Wroulf was Wroulf. He was the baby of the family and no-one could visualize him as anything else. “Hmm... we’ll just leave it for now then!” their owner said happily. “And in the future if any of you change your minds, the Fountain is open for us.” It cheered them all up, at least.
But as she went to sleep, Jatalle’s mind drifted back to the fire Blumaroo melting their mountain where they lived, and wondered who had put him up to it. She would find out, she decided.
The next day she awoke with a plan which she launched at breakfast. “I think we should go and see the Island Mystic today,” she announced. “It’s been awhile and maybe he can help us!”
“Help us?” her owner replied. “I’m not sure that being told I’ll be chased by a pack of green Poogles is going to help us rebuild our house, to be honest.”
But the Aisha was insistent and no-one could come up with a better idea how to spend the day. The family grabbed a boat over to Mystery Island and came to the hut. Wroulf was excited; he’d never been in here before! Vilmori was just happy that Jatalle appeared to be a bit more relaxed today. Jatalle was expectant. She had no idea where to start the search for whoever was destroying the mountain, and this seemed the best place to find an answer. They all squeezed inside and Wroulf gasped at the impressive Kyrii standing before them. He closed his eyes and the family waited. After a few minutes of complete silence apart from the sound of the waves lapping outside, the Kyrii opened them again. He opened his mouth to speak. Jatalle found that she was holding her breath.
“Forty two,” said the Kyrii.
“I beg your pardon,” blurted out Jatalle before she could stop herself, bewildered.
“Forty two,” repeated the mystic. Vilmori smiled his thanks and quickly led the family out, dragging a spluttering Jatalle with him.
“What did he say that for?!” she protested. “No help at all. I thought he’d give us an answer, some help... anything!” It was a dead end.
“Alright, now we’re here I might as well do some shopping. The Tiki Tack store has some amazing bargains, so I’m going to go grab some stuff... anyone coming?” said their owner. Vilmori and Wroulf glanced over at Jatalle, sitting by herself in the sand and sadly drawing circles. They shook their heads, waved and went to sit by their sister.
“Where do we go from here?” she asked them. Vilmori couldn’t think of something. And Wroulf, who was normally chatty and happy, had barely spoken since they had left their home days before. But Jatalle looked at their faces and just became even more determined to find out what was going on. She wanted to help them! To get things back to normal once more. And all they had to go on was a number.
She began to draw in the sand, the number over and over again. Trying to make any sense of it at all. Ideas began to spring up, and she wrote faster and faster, her brothers watching her write.
“Right, we have a few things to try anyway. Let’s get started!” she declared.
First the trio headed off to the Mystery Island Training School. Jatalle was the only one of them slightly trained. Level 41 in fact. Vilmori grabbed some of his hoarded neopoints and bought a few codestones, and Jatalle went in for one more training session. While she was inside, Vilmori began to spin on the spot while Wroulf counted. He reached forty-two rotations and promptly fell over. He looked up to see several images of Wroulf’s head spinning above his own. “Anything different, any great realizations?” asked the baby Lupe. Vilmori shook his head and tried several times to stand up. He’d just managed to when Jatalle rejoined them, looking tired but having more success at walking in a straight line than her brother. “Anything?” the Lupes chorused.
She shook her head. “I’m level 42 now and haven’t thought up something new. How did you get on?” Wroulf indicated the shaky Vilmori, who was still looking around dazedly. Jatalle slumped.
Just then they heard a voice coming from across the beach. “Jatalle, Vilmori, Wroulf!” And they looked around to see a yellow Chia running across the sand towards them, which was soon identifiable as Thor.
“What are you doing here? Where’s your owner?” asked Jatalle.
“I want to help! I know things! And... she pounded me,” replied Thor.
“What?!” exclaimed the three pets together, unsure which part of the sentence was more confusing. Jatalle went for the more important one first. “Your owner... what happened?”
Thor's face crumpled. “She just didn’t want a pet anymore. And I didn’t know what to do. So I ran away just after she pounded me and well...” He stopped. “But I thought that what happened up on the Mountain was wrong, so I did a bit of investigating. I know where we can start!”
Jatalle looked shocked, but was impressed with Thor’s courage. “Well, we tried a bit ourselves, but we were told forty two...”
The Chia waved her on impatiently. “What? Oh no, that can’t be important. But I’ve found out where we can go to find out who’s behind this!” He enjoyed the expectant looks before finishing.
“Moltara! The land of industry and fire, obviously! I’ve been getting some help, and I’m sure that’s where we find the answer.” Jatalle grinned happily. Finally, a decent lead! She suddenly felt light and relaxed again.
“Lead on!” she cried, as the four set off in search of an answer.
To be continued...