A Terror (Mountain) Christmas
42468 Illusen's Forest Drive, Meridell, is the home of four best friends: first, there's Chartreuse-Acara; though she is the oldest, this green Acara is the silliest of the group. Then there's Orpheus Draco; though he's a blue Shoyru, he's a pirate at heart. No one disputes that he's the best and bravest leader when times get rough. Mermaid-Isca is the second oldest and takes care of the group of friends like a mother would--when she's not playing as Isca and dressing her friends up as heroes from the Curse of Maraqua plot. Finally there's Arpheo, this yellow Xweetok can be a bit of a scaredy, and would rather roam the streets of Altador than set foot in the Haunted Woods.
None of these Neopets has a mother or father; they were all adopted by aisha_enchantress110. When she's not taking them to their favorite spots in Neopia, she's off on her own adventures. Sometimes she stops to visit their home, resting in the Meridell-themed Guest Room, but aisha_enchantress110 doesn't live with them. Don't be sad, though; the four friends get by just fine on their own. Together they are a family; and it's especially true around the Month of Celebrating...
"Come on, Arpheo, the tree looks fine the way it is," Orpheus said. He wrapped a warm scarf around his neck. "Char, Isca, and I are going up to the Advent Calendar. You're coming, right?"
Arpheo was hanging a shiny, red bulb ornament on the friends' holiday tree. "I'll be right there... it's got to be PERFECT. Ah, there!" He stepped back to admire the glittering tree.
"Great, let's go." Orpheus grabbed Arpheo's paw, and dragged him through the kitchen, to the front hall where Char and Isca waited.
Char jumped and wiggled. "I can't wait to see what Holly the Christmas Aisha is giving out today. Yea!"
"There's the Winter Uni Carriage," Mermaid-Isca sang out. "We better hurry before it sets off for Terror Mountain without us."
The carriage was already full of Neopets, also on their way to Terror Mountain in the North, where it'd stop in Happy Valley, right in front of the Advent Calendar Cottage.
"Ow! Hey! Watch it!" a cranky red Kyrii snapped at Orpheus. "What are YOU doing here? Can't you FLY to Terror Mountain? Your wings are flapping in my face."
"Oh, sorry. I'm with ny friends, and none of them can fly--we always go to the Advent Calendar TOGETHER."
"Hmph!" snorted the Kyrii. "Then keep your wings in check."
"Touchy," Arpheo muttered.
"And it's Christmas too," Char sniffed. "He should be more happier."
"Boy... the line sure is long, huh?" Mermaid-Isca said, as the four stepped off of the Winter Uni Carriage.
"Who cares?" Char said. "It's the Advent Calendar! The wait's worth it!"
"SOMETIMES," Arpheo said. "I didn't care much for that scary Chia clown poster two years back. Brr..."
"The Humbug candies were delicious," Char said.
The line went fairly quickly, and soon Holly was handing out the prizes, for that day, to Orpheus and his friends: "Here's your bag of three hundred neopoints,"--Arpheo took that, "your Giant Petpetpets, and How to Take Care of Them, by Lilian Fairweather," --Char was handed that, "and your Giant Cooty Plushie." Isca was tackled by that. "Enjoy, and have a wonderful holiday."
"Thanks!" Char waved good-bye for now.
"Oomf! Hey, Orpheus, could you please take this," Isca said. The giant plushie was threatening to squash the blue Aisha.
"Sure. Ugly thing, isn't it?" the Shoyru examined the toy.
"I don't know, it's kind of cute," Char said.
"At least it's not as big as the ones Lilian Fairweather and her father encountered," Arpheo said.
"This book is really fascinating." Isca flipped through the book Giant Petpetpets, and How to Take Care of Them. "Though it's hard to believe that monster-size petpetpets could exist."
The tome was put away for further reading.
"So what do we do now?" Char asked.
Orpheus looked at his watch. "The Snowager is still asleep; why don't we go see if we can take something from his lair?" A devilish grin spread across his face.
"Let's not and say we did already." Arpheo didn't like to steal. Especially from a giant snow worm.
"Ah, no need to fret, Arpheo," Orpheus said. "Isca's wearing the Snowager Cap, if he wakes up, maybe he'll think she's a Snowickle."
"Hey now," Isca warned. "Let's not do anything dangerous."
"I say we go see Taelia," Char voted.
"I second that," Arpheo said.
However, the fastest route to the Snow Faerie's home was through the Ice Caves, so Orpheus Draco got to stop by the Snowager's lair.
"Why are we here?" Arpheo complained.
Orpheus was tip-toeing over to the sleeping Snowager.
"Be careful," Isca whispered to the Shoyru.
"Just a bit further," Orpheus mumbled to himself, "Slowly... slowly... Ah! I think I have something."
"Ooh, isn't this exciting?" Char said to Arpheo.
"It's too close to his Wake-up Time." Arpheo shook his head.
"Nah, Draco has a good fifteen minutes left," Char, ever cheerful, said.
"Yes, here we are..." Orpheus stared at what he picked out of the Snowager's pile of treasure. "Ah man, not another Rainbow Gun, I've got enough of those. I need something stronger for the Battledome."
"Too loud, you're too loud, Draco," Arpheo said.
The Snowager shifted its body.
"It's waking up," Isca warned.
The Snowager lifted its head up, but its gaze was glassy, unfocused.
"AHHHH!!" Arpheo screamed.
The Snowager's eyes snapped wide open.
"Arpheo!!" the others shouted.
The beast lunged for Orpheus, but stopped, mesmerized by the hat Isca wore.
"Run, you guys," Orpheus told the others. He whipped the Giant Cooty Plushie out.
The Snowager roared, then buried its head in the treasure he slept around.
Orpheus then ran himself, finding his friends just outside the Snowager's cave.
"Good going, Arpheo," Char was saying. "The Snowager didn't see us until you had to yell."
"Oh, Orpheus, I'm glad you're okay," Mermaid-Isca said.
The Shoyru grinned. "Yeah. I'm beginning to like this plushie." He saw how downcast Arpheo was. "You don't have to feel bad, Arpheo, it was just as much my fault. Let's forget about this and go see Taelia."
"Yeah!" Char was happy to forget anything if a visit to a Faerie was involved.
The Snow Faerie lived in an igloo mansion, and since Christmas was her favorite holiday, her home was decked out with snowflake garlands; blue, sparkling lights; mistletoe wreaths sprinkled with snow; raindorf figures prancing on the roof; and her tree was covered in white, white snow and adorned with blue ornaments.
"Well, hello," Taelia greeted the four friends. "And happy Month of Celebrating. Come in, sit down. Would you like one of my sundaes?"
"It's a little cold for that," Isca said, hugging herself for warmth.
"Ah, but there's a secret to my special sundaes that few know about," Taelia said. "When it's hot out, it's the perfect dessert to cool you down. Yet, when it's cold out, it warms you right up."
"Then I'll have one!" Char said. "Taelia, you're so cool!"
"She is? Aren't you THE biggest fan of Illusen?" Orpheus asked.
"I am! But in Faerieland I like Fyora; in Mystery Island, Jhuidah; and up here, in Terror Mountain, Taelia!"
"Char likes ALL Faeries," Isca said.
Taelia smiled. She placed a sundae in front of each guest. "Are you having a nice holiday season?"
"Yeah, it's been pretty peaceful," Arpheo said, happily munching on a chocolate, wing-shaped cookie from the desert.
"We still need a tree in our Altador Room, though," Char said. "And in our Taelia Hallway--I insisted we have a section of the house named after you. I said 'If Draco can have his Spooky Hallway, then I should have a Taelia Hallway'."
"Spooky Hallway?" the Snow Faerie turned to Orpheus.
The Shoyru just shrugged.
"He wanted a bit of a haunted house effect," Arpheo said. "And he JUST had to pick the corridor that leads to my homage of Altador room." The Xweetok shivered. "That holiday Brain Tree gives me the creeps every time I have to pass it."
"Ah, yes, the Decorated Artificial Brain Tree," Taelia said, "it was given out as an Advent prize last year, huh?" She laughed. "Say, would you four like to do a Quest for me? I need just three more ingredients. What do you say?" She winked at Char. "I know you want to help."
"Oh! Can we? Mermaid-Isca? Draco? Arpheo?" Char pleaded. She knew the others wouldn't be so eager, since oftentimes the items Taelia wanted were super expensive, and her rewards were not nearly as grand. Char just liked to help Taelia; she didn't care if she was rewarded or not.
"Well..." Isca said. "You treated us to your sundaes, Taelia, so... we'll help."
"Oh, thank you. I'd get them myself, but I got a message from Armin that there are some Neopets that need my help." She shook her head. "When will they ever learn...?
"So, I will need a Negg of Purity +1, a Hot Snow Soup, and a Heart Crystal--it's like the Bori's Heart of the Mountain gem, but a lot less powerful, and therefore a lot less popular with treasure hunters.
"You'll only have two hours and sixteen minutes, when I'll be back to finish making the spell; so please hurry." Taelia donned her fur-trimmed coat and stepped outside, where the snow twirled around her.
"The first two items are easy to get," Arpheo said, "but I've never heard of a Heart Crystal."
"Neither have I," Orpheus said. "But let's worry about that later. Maybe Taelia will find it while she's out."
So it was to the Neggery. The spiky-green-haired Negg Faerie was at her counter, painting a Christmas Negg, when the four entered.
Stockings, wreaths, garlands, and Christmas-decorated neggs were everywhere; and on the Negg Faerie's counter was a little tree hung with mini neggs.
"May I help you?" the Negg Faerie asked. She put her brush behind her ear. "Come to trade, or buy?"
"Buy." Isca put ten negg tokens down. "We'd like a Negg of Purity +1, please."
"I was saving those tokens for a Witchy Negg," Orpheus sniffed.
"You know the Negg of Purity +1 has the possibility of raising your defense, right?" The Negg Faerie handed Isca the winged, white negg.
"A SMALL possibility," Orpheus said. "This one's for Taelia."
"Oh... Good luck with her Quest, then."
"Thanks!" Char waved.
"The Super Happy Icy Fun Snow Shop should have the Hot Snow Soup," Isca told her friends.
Said shop was across from Taelia's home. The four had to shrug at why the Snow Faerie couldn't get that particular ingredient herself.
"Hey! Hi oh! How ya doing!?" the super happy Lenny said to every customer that came to his store of icy treats. "What do ya need? Hm? Puffs? Snow cakes? Brucicles? Chia pops?" He was going to suggest more, but Arpheo spoke up before the Lenny could:
"Hot Snow Soup, please."
"Ah, Hot Snow Soup, hm? Miracle it can be hot and solid snow at the same time, huh? That'll be one thousand NP."
"I-I didn't bring that much with me." Arpheo turned to Mermaid-Isca.
The Aisha asked what Char and Orpheus had, and together they mustered up the correct amount.
"Great!" the Lenny said. "So ya gonna share? Ya know, I think it makes you hot AND cold, Hot Snow Soup does. Yummy, though. Sure ya don't want anything else? Hm?"
Arpheo shook his head and the four hurried out of the shop.
"Whew, you can never get a word in with that Lenny," Arpheo said. "He's much too hyper."
Now it was time to search for the Heart Crystal.
Tarla was the best choice to ask about the unknown item; the Ixi knew much about different things. Problem was, she was a very mysterious Neopet...
"A Heart Crystal? Like the Bori's Heart of the Mountain? But smaller, you say?" Tarla asked.
"Yes," Orpheus nodded. "Have you heard of it? Seen one? Maybe even HAVE one?"
"Well, I don't know, perhaps," Tarla replied. "To find out, you'll have to buy one of my Mystery Bags. Hee, hee."
The four groaned.
"Last time I bought one of those," Isca said to just the three, "I got a bag of gravel--and it cost me a THOUSAND NP!"
"I got a Rainbow Gun for four hundred," Orpheus said.
"Yeah, you can never tell by the prices," Char nodded. "Something only worth one NP could be in a bag costing fourteen hundred NP--and vise versa."
"Let's go try some place else," Arpheo said.
The others agreed.
"Very well, suit yourselves," snickered Tarla when they left. "You'll never know now whether I had it or not."
"We'd never have known anyway," muttered Orpheus.
Chartreuse-Acara, Orpheus Draco, Mermaid-Isca, and Arpheo looked high and low for the Heart Crystal. They even tried asked Donny the toy-mender, but he kept coughing and calling them flea-bitten furballs.
It was especially hard since none of them knew what the item looked like. Was it shaped like a heart? Was it red, or some other color? Maybe it was crystal white and was straight, or oval...
"This is hopeless," Orpheus said, when they still had an hour before Taelia got home.
"We can't give up," Char said.
"But look where we are, Char," Arpheo said. They stood at the edge of a snowy cliff; Happy Valley far, far, far below. "There's nowhere left to search."
"Only HERE," insisted the Acara.
"An hour is hardly enough to--Look out!" Orpheus shouted.
"Huh?" Char cocked her head. "Does that make sense--? Oh!" She saw the thing that alarmed the Shoyru: a big, bouncing snowball falling/rolling in THEIR direction!
"Aahh!" Arpheo screamed, offering no help.
"A cave!" Isca pointed.
Orpheus acted on instinct. He grabbed his friends and pushed them into the cave, just as the giant snowball crashed down onto the cliff. Powder flew everywhere, then it became unnaturally quiet.
"We're in trouble."
Orpheus went over to the cave's entrance. Yep, they were definitely trapped.
"What was that noise?" a girl asked, from deep within the cave tunnel.
"It sounded like a cave-in," a male said.
The four heard feet crunching on snow. Three faces came into view.
"It's YOU!" the very same Kyrii from the carriage said.
"You know these Neopets, Tremain?" the girl, a red Lenny, asked the Kyrii.
Disgusted, Tremain nodded.
"Well? So, who are they then?" a green Gelert questioned.
Mermaid-Isca stepped forward, she introduced herself and the rest. "What are you doing here?"
"None of YOUR business," Tremain snorted. "We were just fine until you trapped us all in here!"
"Now, now, Tremain," the Gelert said. "I can guess, quite accurately, that we would have been trapped without their help. The snow boulder would have still come.
"My name is Nova Wizard, that grumpy Kyrii is Tremain, and the lovely Lenny is Bell-Leaf." He lead everyone down the tunnel, to an opened cavern.
For some reason, none knew, the place glowed warmly.
"Come sit down," Nova Wizard said. "I came here in search of a rare flower, said to only grow at the tip of Terror Mountain. Bell-Leaf came with me. When we didn't come back, Tremain followed after us. You see, I got lost, blinded by a snow storm. It has since cleared up, but we still couldn't go back down because Bell here got a broken wing."
"And now we can't go because we're trapped!" Tremain glared at Orpheus. "You're bad luck."
"Hey! I know!" Char exclaimed. "We should put up a holiday tree!"
"What does that have to do with the situation?" Tremain demanded.
Bell-Leaf laughed. "I like that idea. Char, was it? Let's go look for something to use as a tree."
"Ridiculous..." Tremain now glared at Char, as she skipped by.
"On the contrary," Nova Wizard said. "A Christmas tree would certainly lighten the mood of our dire situation."
Char found a fir branch and stuck it in the center of the room; and Bell decorated it with snowflakes and miniature snowballs.
Char clapped her hands. "Oh, it's so pretty." She plopped down and sang: "O holiday tree, O holiday tree, you're just as grand as the five seas; O holiday tree, it's me you see... uh, lalalalalalalala!" She shrugged. "I forgot the rest."
"You're an idiot," Tremain said.
"Tremain!" Bell chided.
"Actually, my IQ is 45; I'm a super genius," Char replied. She went to simply humming a tune.
Tremain shook his head. Orpheus hit him. "That was rude. What's wrong with you, Mr. Cranky?"
"GUESS, why don't you? I, Tremain the Brave, goes after his sister and brother, who are lost, only to get trapped in an ice cave. And by the time we get out, Christmas will have passed. Some holiday!"
"Why are you so upset about that?" Char asked. "You're with your family, people that you love. And when it comes to Christmas, that is all that really matters: being with those you cherish--no matter where you are."
"True," Nova Wizard nodded.
"Hmph!" Tremain folded his arms.
"Hey, what's this?" Arpheo went over to a wall that glowed faintly red. He dug his claws into the icy wall--and a red stone, shaped like a heart, fell to the floor. "It's warm."
"Ah, so THAT is what has kept Bell and me cozy here," Nova Wizard observed.
There was a crackly noise from the cave entrance, then there stood Taelia, and Armin the Bori.
"So, you found the Heart Crystal," Taelia said.
"We're saved!" Arpheo leaped.
Armin took the Heart Crystal. "This is a shard of the main Heart of the Mountain crystal. They're scattered throughout Terror Mountain."
"Nova Wizard and Bell must be the ones Taelia needed to rescue," Isca said to Orpheus. "How lucky we were."
"Oh! Thank Queen Fyora!" Tremain hugged Taelia.
Back at Taelia's, with the ingredients the four found, Bell-Leaf's wing was healed.
"Why don't you three come celebrate the holidays with us," Char suggested. "We have a big neohome."
Nova Wizard nodded. "Yes, we would be honored."
On the 25th of Celebrating, the seven new friends would come back to Terror Mountain; to build snow-Bruces, make snowforts, and eat all the ice treats they could handle from the Super Happy Icy Fun Snow Shop.