The Great Race: Part Two
“Thank you, Captain.” Kanuah shook the captain's paw as they left the ship.
The Captain laughed. “My pleasure.” He pulled out a woolen cap and plunked it on Kanuah's head. “Ya might be needn' this. Safe travels!”
Kanuah adjusted his pack as he walked down the dock. “Do you think the other team made it yet?” Sirenia asked her brother.
Kanuah was about to reply when something caught Sirenia's eye. She ran over to a sign on the end of the dock that announced travel times. “Oh, they're here, alright,” she ground through her teeth.
Kanuah examined the sign. Next to the carved letters was “Ankhele was here” scribbled in charcoal. “I'm guessing they made it across then. Sirenia?” He turned around; she was nowhere to be found.
“Come on! We don't have time to waste!” Sirenia was already running down the path to Happy Valley.
Kanuah ran after her. “I see this going nowhere good.”
“Took you long enough.”
Sirenia sat impatiently on a snow covered log waiting for her brother to catch up.
“You ran fast enough. We have to do this as a team.”
“They're already ahead!” Sirenia protested as she began to walk again.
“Rushing things isn't going to help.” Kanuah was looking at a map of Terror Mountain. “If we go left at the Ice Cream Machine then we should be at the Ice Caves soon.”
Sirenia watched young Neopets skate around the Ice Rink. “Ashalyia would like it here.”
“Mmhmm.” Kanuah was still reading his map. “Hey!” He was snapped out of his concentration when a white snowball hit his shoulder contrasting sharply with his black fur.
A small Acara, who meant to hit her friend with the ball, ran up to apologize. “I... I...” She looked up at Kanuah. From his katana to his tattoo and ear piercings to his black fur and amber eyes, he didn't cut the friendliest character. “I'm sorry,” she whispered.
Kanuah smiled at her and brushed off the snow. “No problem. Is this the path to the Ice Caves?”
The Acara smiled shyly back. He didn't look so mean when he smiled. “Yeah, the entrance is just past that light post.” She pointed to a red and white pole in the distance.
“Thanks!” Kanuah waved goodbye as Sirenia practically pulled him along.
“Honestly, Kanuah, we'll never if you stop to chat with all the locals,” Sirenia teased.
“I was going to say the same about you and weapon shops.”
“There's a weapon shop here?!” Sirenia whipped her head around looking for one.
Kanuah laughed as he jogged along. “There's a magic crystal shop in the caves. That's the extent of their weapons. I'm more worried when we get to the Lost Desert and Tyrannia.”
“Wow!” Sirenia turned in circles as they entered the Ice Caves. “Everything sparkles!”
Kanuah pulled out his new katana. “The floor's slick. I would be careful if I were you. You have only two hooves for traction.”
He handed her his katana. “Be careful with that. I just got it.”
Sirenia tested the blade in the ice. It would be enough to stop her from sliding. “Thanks.”
The bluish light that filtered down into the cave reflected off of the ice, bouncing in all directions. Even the shops and houses were made out of ice.
The two continued their slow and careful accent to the top of the icy path. They were almost to the top when Sirenia spotted a path that led to a large cave. “What's that?”
Kanuah looked where she pointed. “That's the Snowager's Cave.”
Sirenia craned her neck to try to look in. “Really?! I saw him on the list of challengers at the Battledome, he's really powerful!”
“So he is; let's keep moving.” Kanuah turned his back on the cave.
But Sirenia's curiosity got the better of her sense to hurry. She crept closer to the cave.
Kanuah turned around. “Sirenia, don't!” He skidded on the ice as he tried to stop his sister.
Sirenia was already at the mouth of the cavern with her mouth hanging open. Mounds of rare items lay everywhere “Look at all of it!”
Kanuah finally caught up. He breathed a sigh of relief. The Snowager was asleep. “He hoards them. People try to steal stuff when he's asleep, but he's a very light sleeper.”
Sirenia was already creeping forward.
“Sirenia!” Kanuah hissed.
Sirenia watched the moving, icy coils of the sleeping beast carefully as she advanced. She reached for a lightening wand. She had her hand on it when a sixth sense tingled. She looked up and straight into a glassy eye. The Snowager was awake! He rose up and let out an air-shattering bellow. Sirenia dove for the cave entrance, sliding on the ice. The Snowager sent out a blast of ice shards that were close on her tail. She dug Kanuah's katana into the ice and with a heavy pull, flew free of the cave just as the ice shards had caught up with her. She shot out of the mouth of the cave began to slide back down the icy path. She dug in the katana and the spikes on her tail. She came to a slow, screeching halt.
Kanuah skidding down next to her. “Are you alright?!” He pulled her up.
Sirenia smiled triumphantly and held up the wand. “Got it!”
Kanuah shook his head and pulled her up the path. “You're impossible. Let's get out of here before you get into any more trouble.”
“Fresh air!” Kanuah smiled as he came out of the cave and onto the top of Terror Mountain. Sirenia ran over him to dive into the snow. “And just as the sun's setting!” She handed Kanuah back his katana. “Where does our contact live?”
“Her name is Rem. She lives next....”
“Pardon me, sorry!” A Hissi slithered by in a hurry with assorted food items in his arms.
“Where's he going in such a hurry?” asked Sirenia.
“The snow faerie; he must be running out of time on his quest. But as I was saying, she lives next to the toy repair shop.”
“There's the repair shop.” Sirenia pointed through the flurries of snow.
“And there's Rem's house.” Kanuah pointed to a small cottage next to the shop.
Sirenia looked at the mailbox. “Yourfriend64?”
Kanuah knocked on the door. “That's her username.”
The door swung open and they were admitted by a Christmas Gelert. “Hey, you guys must be Sirenia and Kanuah.” He ushered them into a living room that had a warm crackling fire. “Rem is busy making dinner, she'll be done in about five. Make yourselves comfortable.”
Sirenia set down her pack. “He reminds me of Ash.”
Kanuah was busy writing a letter. “Mmhmm.”
A young girl burst into the room with four trays balanced on different parts of her body. “Hey, guys! Welcome to Terror Mountain!” She slid two trays in front of the travelers. “Eat up. You two must be tired. You can get some rest after you eat.”
Kanuah finished his letter to home and handed it to Rem. “Thank you. When you have the chance, could you mail this to Dayna?”
Rem set the letter on the counter. “Sure thing, I'll send it when I send mine saying you got here.”
She touched the metal circlet on Sirenia's head. “That's definitely Dayna's.”
Kanuah continued to ask questions as he ate. “What time would be the best to leave?”
Rem turned to her Gelert. “Do you sense anything in the weather?”
The Gelert frowned. “Now that you mention it, there's something out there.”
Rem smiled as her Gelert walked out the door. “He's got a nose for the weather. He comes in handy up here where the weather runs rampant.”
“A blizzard's coming. I would say it's going to hit about an hour after midnight.”
Rem stirred her coffee thoughtfully. “You could catch a couple hours sleep and go down the mountain before it hits.”
Kanuah turned to his sister. “We could be stuck here for a while if we sleep all night.”
Sirenia was hurriedly finishing her dinner. “I choose a couple hours sleep.”
Kanuah helped collect the dishes. “Thank you for the rest and the meal.”
Rem snatched the dishes from him. “You're very welcome. Now stop messing around with the dishes; you need as much rest as possible.”
Kanuah didn't argue. He let the Gelert show him to the room that they would be sleeping in. He was asleep before he hit the bed.
“Not now, I'm sleeping.”
“The blizzard is going to be here soon. You two need to leave now!”
Kanuah snapped awake. Rem's Gelert was shaking his shoulder. Kanuah leapt out of bed and began to dress. “Thanks. Can you wake up Sirenia?”
“Who's waking me up?” Sirenia mumbled.
Kanuah tossed her cloak to her. “We have to go.”
Rem was waiting for them at the door. She handed them their packs. “I added some food and here.” She handed them two wooden staves. “You may need them to get down the mountain.” She hugged Sirenia and shook Kanuah's paw. “Good luck.”
Her Gelert opened the door. “I'll show you to the path down the mountain. It's steep but it's the fastest way down.”
“Let's go!” Sirenia charged out the door.
“Grab that root, then swing yourself onto this ledge.” Kanuah leaned out to help his sister onto the ledge. Snow had been falling steadily for the past three hours. They had left the Gelert two hours ago after he had shown them the path.
Sirenia grabbed the root and scrambled onto the ledge. “For once I wish I had four legs.”
Kanuah helped her down a icy slope. “Then you would be a Uni.”
Sirenia thought about the few Unis she knew, all of them prissy and afraid of getting their hooves dirty. “Never mind.”
Kanuah laughed then looked around. “Hey, is it just me or is the snow starting to lighten up?”
Sirenia looked around at the thinning snow. “We must be getting closer to Tyrannia.”
Kanuah's foot hit hard earth. He brushed off the snow, the color of the ground was a light tan. “I'd say you're right.”
Sirenia used her staff to steady her descent. “Do you think the others got out before the blizzard?”
“What do you mean we can't go?” Luke asked his host.
Justin, their host, pulled back the window curtain. The only thing visible was white. “I'm not going to let you guys get yourselves killed over a race. You can leave when the blizzard's over. Sorry.”
Ankhele crossed her arms on the window sill and put her head on her arms. “I guess all we can do is wait.”
“And drink hot cocoa,” Luke answered from the kitchen.
To be continued...