Living In Terror... Mountain
I remember someone once said, “I can see clearly now the rain has gone.” But nobody ever told me about snow; that crystal-like sea of white can be blinding. For something as cold as ice, it takes much more than sunglasses to reach clarity.
This all started yesterday, as I was on the market for a new Neohome. After scouting through potential locales, Terror Mountain happened to grab my attention. I love winter. Something about it brings out the Advent Calendar in me. I mean, the serenity you feel as you walk out onto an untouched field of snow is beautiful.
But this is Terror Mountain; I had an obstacle to overcome. What makes Terror Mountain so terrifying? I needed to find out before I could call this place home.
When you hear Happy Valley, what visual pops into your head? Perhaps multi-flavoured popsicles and chubby Bruces wearing scarves a size too small. I thought that too. But finding the perfect home isn’t as easy as choosing a plot of land for 15,000 NP and calling it half a day.
From an outside perspective, Happy Valley looks like the place to be. You got a public skating rink at one end, slushie shop at the other and an ice cream cart right in the middle. Needless to say, that association is a LIE! Look closely at what Happy Valley forces you to do as a tourist and you’ll see the truth.
Say you want an Ice Cream and go to the Ice Cream Cart. Oh, wait a second; you need a coupon! As far as I recall, coupons are used to discount a full priced purchase.
...So I have to pay full price for a coupon to trade for my ice cream? How does that give me any sort of discount whatsoever!? Then he hints at the Snow Faerie liking ice cream, so visiting her would be a good idea. At this point, he’s not giving me Ice Cream, he’s giving me employment.
You slowly begin realize what Happy Valley is all about.
The Slushie Shop has all sorts of weird flavours for you to try. Cool right? So tell me, when would you ever want a Cheesy Pizza Slushie? Never! At least add some condiments; throw in some mushrooms or something. If you’re going to make a gross slushie, at least put some effort into it.
You might think you’ll find some relaxation at the skating rink. That is until you realize that Bruce has been skating there FOREVERRR! Does he have a family? Is he lonely? Hey, I’ll adopt him! What kind of sick coach has this guy trying to create a black hole on ice? We don’t need a Pteri chirping to wake us up; the sound of him breaking ice every morning is perfect.
They’ve designed a machine to throw scoops of ice cream at you. Can you get it in a cone? No. How about a cup? No. Apparently, having huge scoops of ice cream hurled at your head is the only option. Suddenly, Double Chocolate Chip sounds kind of dangerous. But some people need their ice cream fix and casualties ensue.
But the thing that gave it away was the Advent Calendar. “How could the advent calendar be suspect?” you ask. This community decides to give away items every holiday season, because they’re generous like that... the same community who wants you to buy coupons.
These items don’t go through safety checks or quality control, and the only sort of warranty system is feedback. I was never good at math, but the addition here was painless. You soon discover that Happy Valley is a cruel place, created for the sole purpose of market research. What would we do for an ice cream bar? They want to know and for years we’ve been telling them.
So I stood there, knee-high in a pile of snow muddling in my thoughts. I couldn’t live in this ice cream machine of a town. I was at the base of the mountain and things had already become petrifying. But I knew I had to find somewhere to live, and so I began my ascent into the heart of the mountain.
I arrived at the Ice Caves and straight up, there’s no way I was living there; that place is a death trap!
Just look around; half the ground is missing! It makes you wonder what their community maintenance budget is; it’s probably in the negatives. This place has gone to the gutter, and with violence being on a steady incline it doesn’t look like it’ll improve anytime soon.
Snowball fights break out on a daily basis. Scratch that, these are ICE BALLS! Not friendly in the least bit. You have a huge ice monster calling this place his home, a Polarchuck eating a hole through the foundation of the mountain, and an Elephante trying to obliterate the pathways. Where are the authorities!?
They probably tumbled down to Tyrannia, and I wasn’t willing to join them. It was a no go for the Ice Caves, so I continued making my way to the very top.
When you’re at the peak of a mountain, you can watch the world below you. The journey to the top was tiring and I had become a sceptic. Why was Terror Mountain so chaotic? It didn’t remind me of the cool serene environment I had dreamed of. I wanted to understand her secrets; it was time for some undercover detective work.
I decided to disguise myself in a big blue bag, and lay in wait outside Tarla’s shop. It wasn’t long after that she noticed me there and took me inside. Just as I expected, she went to store me in the backroom... except we didn’t go to a backroom, we were headed down. Into a cellar or a dungeon, I didn’t know; but it would be ten minutes later until I had to chance to see.
By the time I got out of the bag, Tarla had taken me a far bit. Disoriented, I pushed my way out of the bag and what I saw will stick with me forever.
If you’ve ever wondered where all the items come from, one only has to glance at Mika and Carassa. You see their “garage” isn’t really a garage; it’s more like a huge factory fixed into the mountain itself. They create products that appeal to the masses for low-low prices and distribute them to residents above.
Terror Mountain isn’t a world, it’s a corporation.
I was in shock. This place I wanted to call home was nothing but a gigantic production line. I felt so out of place at that moment, and then I noticed something; something that was also out of place.
The Super Happy Icy Fun Snow Shop.
Surrounded by a community of deception and greed, lies a little shop promoting joy and comfort. Why was this one not like the others? I needed to know.
I walked inside and an enthusiastic Lenny wearing sporting gear greeted me. “If you are feeling cold, why not feel even colder with these icy treats!?”
If I was someone that loved Summer, that would have blown on empty ears. I finally understood, and all I could do was stumble out of the store laughing. I fell onto the snow, and stared up into the sky.
I wanted to live on Terror Mountain because it reminds me of winter, a season where you find yourself navigating through the most simple of terrains. An adventure every time you follow a trail of snowy footprints. I realized the only scary thing about Terror Mountain was the neighbours, not the neighbourhood.
All I wanted was to find real estate; instead I found a home. It took a while to find somewhere to belong, but I’m glad I’m finally here. You should come visit me sometime.
Just remember, before the mountain there was a hill; and no matter what, you still have to climb.