Moltara's Winter: Part Seven
Also by saltsman
With the key in his possession, Jon slithered on the dirty floor, emerging seconds later on the Obsidian Quarry. He looked around - no more possessed snowflakes, no more frozen rooftops. Moltara was up and about. He disposed of his obsidian hazmat suit and undressed, those winter clothes weren't for Moltara.
"Rhoman, do you have any idea where they might have taken my children?" Luna asked.
"No, I'm sorry." Rhoman sighed. "But I'm sure your children are fine. They were given orders to protect both of them. When you showed up at the quarry claiming to be heroes, they contacted Vaughn and they plotted everything. I heard him saying that no harm should come to the children because they'd somehow be useful."
"Yeah, but that'll probably change once they realize that the Entity is not with us anymore." Jon scratched his head. "What do we do now?"
"I'm not sure, but we need to figure something out. Where could they be?" Luna looked at the hidden house beneath the obsidians. "Maybe we'll discover something in there?" She pointed.
"Yeah, it's worth the shot."
Inside, they found nothing. The cabinet was completely empty and apparently there was sign of struggle, as some of the desks were broken.
"What happened here?" Luna's voice quivered.
"We went on our own adventure!" answered Paul, jumping out on them. "How did you do it?" he asked enthusiastically.
"How did you escape?" Luna asked. "I injected you with a sleeping potion that lasts 24 hours!"
"You injected us the sleeping potion that lasts one hour, mom," Sarah said.
"I can't believe it," said Luna, flustered.
"Yeah, epic fail. Actually, it's very rude of you to inject us with something without any further warning. But I guess it was for the best in the end. Did you know those weird guys worked for that Vaughn freak? Turns out they were going to take us to Faerieland!"
"How did you know?" Jon questioned.
"When we woke up, they were here," Sarah began. "But the pair of you weren't. We talked to each other quietly and then decided to pretend we were still out. When they got close enough, Paul hit them in their chin. I stood up and sacked the weapon cabinet. It was messy, but we won in the end."
"If you won, where are they now?" Luna eyed the place suspiciously.
"Believe it or not, they ran away after we beat them up. And, of course, after they noticed that the snow was getting sent to wherever it is it came from."
"So they escaped?" Jon sounded bitter.
"You can't win all the time, but cheers mate! Let's go find your parents!" Paul grabbed him by the hand and they started running down the quarry.
When Jon got home, his mom and dad were pacing on the living room, utterly bewildered and nervous. The minute he entered they stopped to look at him as though he was some painting in a museum.
"Guys," Jon began. "I love you very much, and I'm so, so sorry for everything I said the other day. I just really want you to know that."
"Jon!" His mom hugged him tightly, and his father hushed to do the same.
It was one of those moments that could last forever. Jon felt whole again, with his parents here, by his side. Loved. All the fears and pain dissipated once again, giving way to peace and tenderness to settle down inside him.
Later that day, there was a Moltara assembly at the front of the Town Hall. The Mayor gathered everyone to talk about the incident and Jon was invited to talk alongside Luna, Paul and Sarah. Together, the four of them told everything, from beginning to end, but Jon's was the bigger praise.
"Everything I did, I did for my parents. When they froze, I didn't know what would happen to me, how I would survive. All I knew is that I had to undo it. Because that's what true love is about. It is about making sacrifices for the people you care. It is about giving yourself entirely to that feeling. And that is what they've been doing to me ever since they took me out of the pound and gave me a new life here. Today, I truly feel like a Moltaran and I'd like to say that there is no other place on Neopia that I'd rather be with. This is my home!" They all cheered him. Sarah and Luna cried and Paul flew around him throwing confetti. "And I've realized that this town... It is just like me. Know why? Because it has a dark past it tries to hide, but somehow it just keeps coming back. I know what it is like. I've known suffering before just like you, but we pushed through and we're all here now. We are victorious. And, it doesn't matter how hard it is to leave the past in the past, we need to do it. I'm starting to do it today and I'd like to invite you to do the same."
Applause roared through the entire town.
"Well, in name of our victory and of course if the mayor allows, I'd like to invite you all to a pool party, down at the Magma pool!" Paul said with a smile.
The mayor's nod was the confirmation they needed to start the festivities.
Before heading down to the magma pool, the four of them stopped by Jon's house. In his bedroom, hidden beneath his pillow, they found the key.
"You didn't dispose of it yet?" questioned Sarah.
"No, but I've already decided where to put it."
"And where's that?"
"Well, a place only true Moltarans can enter: the magma pool. And I want to be the one to do the honors, dip deep, place it at the bottom and, hopefully, emerge Magma!"
"Looks like a plan." Paul smiled. "Now, LET'S GO!"
The magma pool was crowded when they arrived there and even the guard allowed himself a break to go for a swim. Jon met up with his parents near the edge, noticing from a distance that Rhoman was having fun on the pool as well with some others Kacheeks he didn't recognize.
"You guys are the best, you know that?" Jon asked, smiling.
"No, you are. You save us all, son. You were very brave and smart!"
They hugged once again.
"What's that on your hand?" asked Gale.
"Oh, that's the key that sets free the Entity. I'm going to put it deep into the Magma Pool, that way, only true Moltarans will have access to it. Not that anyone will know it is here, it is a big secret. That machine is too dangerous."
"Our big hero," boasted his mom.
"Well, let's dive headfirst together, shall we?" suggested Gale.
"One... Two... Three!"
They jumped. This time, it was completely different. The heat engrossed Jon's body and he felt the changing happen. He opened his hand and allowed the gilded key to sink further and further and then emerged. He was Magma.
"OHH, look at him all magma!" Sarah chuckled, jumping in.
"You look good that way, Jon." Luna didn't feel like swimming, so she sat up on the edge of the pool, with her feet dangling inside the lava.
"Know what I never understood, Luna?"
"Why you helped me. I mean, I've came to you all desperate and you were so supportive.Thank you, really. It was you who saved us all. Sorry to involve you in something you didn't need to be involved."
"I'm an adventurer, Jon. I travel a lot; I like to get myself in danger. That's just me." she giggled. "Of course this kind of danger was too much, but I'm happy I helped you. I'm feeling really good about myself right now."
"So am I." Jon nodded. "We do make a good team, don't we? I mean, I think we should start going on dangerous travels, uncovering treasures..."
"Maybe someday." Luna smiled. "I think some rest is overdue."
"Tell me about it. Well, next travel you take with my best friends, count me in and we'll all explore Neopia together! Except, of course, if you want to go to Terror Mountain. I'm never going to that place!"
Sarah and Paul approached.
"What are you discussing?" inquired Sarah.
"Future travels we're making," Luna answered.
"YAY!" the twins exclaimed in unison.
Jon signaled his parents to come over. When they did, he mounted on his father's back and started waving at people. Everyone praised him that night for overcoming not only a darkness force from the past but also a great enemy of Moltara's. In fact, he didn't care for the fame or the praise. He only cared for that moment, in the pool with his best friends and his parents - the people that he loved the most in life. Despite the thrills, the recognition wasn't the payoff: that moment was.
He looked around trying to memorize everything: the way the obsidians shone down on them from the mountains surrounding them, the color of the lava, his mom's bathing suit, the way Luna's half-moon glasses were crooked. Of this night, he wanted to remember everything.
He wouldn't bear missing a thing of the happiest day of his life.