Petpet Adventures: Let It Snow - Part Five
Rushing to where her friends lay sleeping, Tvarla shook Emari awake, leaving Askar a moment more of sleep. Then she shook him as well. They both struggled awake, and she raced away from them to join the white Bori at the entrance to the cave.
Kliaod was waiting impatiently, or so it seemed. She was actually still deep in thought.
"I don't know what's making the smoke, because there is nothing to burn at this altitude." Her gaze was focused firmly on the mountainside.
"Do you think it could be... the power?" Tvarla asked uncertainly.
Kliaod's eyes flickered to meet hers. "You could be right," she said. "Otherwise..." she began muttering in the unknown language again. "Well, I'm not even sure what could happen."
"What's going on? Emari's groggy voice joined them out in the open air. "What did you have to wake me for?"
Tvarla pointed with one glossy hoof. "We need to get over there. Quickly. Is Askar awake?"
"Yes. You nearly shook my fur off," Askar grumbled loudly as he appeared, squinting as a shaft on sunlight struck him in the eye. But then he spotted the smoke. "Golly, what's that?" he asked.
"That's what we need to find out," Tvarla told him.
She looked up at the white Bori beside her. "Are you okay with going fast?" She eyed the cuts, which had healed overnight, but not by much.
The Bori gave her an incredulous look. "I don't think keeping up will be a problem. Excuse me for being rude, but I'm four times your size. And these wounds don't even bother me now. The cold night ensured that."
"So are we ready or not?" Askar sounded fiercely impatient.
Tvarla grinned at him. "Ready when you are."
"Ladies first," he replied. But when she tried to step forward, he blocked her way and waved Emari through. "Like I said, ladies f—"
He never finished his sentence, being too busy evading the annoyed Raindorf after him. Emari watched with amusement and padded alongside Kliaod, who was gingerly testing her front legs, taking more and more weight on them and finally walking normally. But she still had a slight limp.
Tvarla ended up on top of Askar, with Emari and Kliaod still walking steadily metres ahead of them. Askar struggled under her hooves.
"Okay, I give up, leave off!" he yelled.
She relinquished her grip. "Let that be a lesson to you," she said sternly, yet ruining the effect of self-righteous calm by giving him the evil eye.
He shook himself and climbed to his paws, hurrying up up to Kliaod, who had a faint smile on her face. He chose to ignore it.
"Do you know how close we are now?" he asked her.
"Yes. We are less than a kilometre away. We will make it there very soon."
She lapsed into silence, and Tvarla sidled up to Askar.
"So how did you work that negg, anyway?" she asked him.
"I was working it?" He sounded genuinely surprised. "I remember closing my eyes, and then the snow was gone, but I could still tell what was going on around me. I kept my eyes closed because I didn't want to see the storm."
Emari had joined them. "Wow, you looked like you were doing real magic," she said.
He shook his head. Then Kliaod turned around a put a claw to her lips, signalling silence. She pointed ahead, where a white Bori, clearly a sentry, sat watching the mountainside, ears and eyes pricked.
"What do we do?" Emari whispered, but Kliaod shook her head.
"You're being too loud. I'll deal with this." She disappeared.
Emari stared at her, then turned to Tvarla. "Too loud?" she asked in a surprised voice. "I thought I was being quiet."
"Not quiet enough, obviously," Askar said, then froze as the Bori sentry looked up, eyes searching the ice in their direction. They remained still for many minutes, hardly breathing. Then the sentry finally looked away, and Tvarla relaxed.
She scanned the ice, and saw Kliaod scaling the mountain behind the Bori. The momentary distraction had given her the perfect chance to sneak up. Tvarla watched breathless as Kliaod glided up behind the sentry, light as a cloud, and blending into the landscape so well that only her black claws could be clearly seen. Even then they looked like black pebbles on the mountain.
Her fur was clean after the snow had washed the blood away, and she looked considerably whiter than the other Bori, who still had not sensed her presence. When she was half a metre away it finally did, but it was too late, as Kliaod brought her paw down heavily on its head. It struggled, waving its forepaws in the air, before slowly sinking to the ground, unconscious.
Kliaod looked up at them, and beckoned, although Tvarla doubted that she could actually see them and was probably waving to mid air. She made her way slowly towards her companion, avoiding the Bori sentry sprawled on the ground.
"Didn't that hurt?" Emari asked, eyeing Kliaod's wounds.
The white Bori smiled gingerly. "Yes," she said, and then she smiled. "But not as much as it could have."
"You were great," said Askar. "I could hardly see you."
"That's why I'm white," she answered.
Tvarla looked around uncomfortably, a thought drifting into her head. "What if there was someone watching us, and we couldn't see them?" she asked.
Kliaod stilled and stared down at her. "Oh no," she whispered. "Knowing Vrailli, he'd probably have a hidden sentry."
And then there was a loud chuckle from behind them.
Simultaneously, all four turned to see the white Eyrie behind them, sharpening his claws nonchalantly on a nearby stone.
He looked straight at Kliaod, disregarding the three petpets on the ground. Or perhaps he just missed them. He said something in the unknown language, and Kliaod answered back sharply.
"What are they saying?" Askar asked sheepishly, instinctively crouching low.
"I have no idea," said Tvarla. "But I do know that light travels faster than sound. That's why most pets appear bright before you hear them speak."
"How can you be joking around at a time like this?" Emari asked her.
"I wasn't joking," Tvarla replied. "I was being dead set serious."
"Shhh..." said Emari suddenly, pointing at Askar.
Or rather, where he had been. He was now determinedly making his way towards the Eyrie, unobserved. He hadn't spotted the Bori behind Vrailli, who seemed to be the second sentry.
Vrailli and Kliaod were still having their heated argument. Askar was getting closer to the Eyrie, the same fierce look that he had displayed yesterday on his face. Tvarla wanted to call him back, but she didn't want to attract the attention of the other Bori, who hadn't appeared to notice them... yet.
Then Vrailli lunged at Kliaod, who stumbled backwards. His claws were outstretched and his face was twisted into a furious scowl. But then his face was buried in the snow as Askar seized his back legs and tripped him up, being dragged along by the large pet's strength. Vrailli struggled in the snow for a moment, wings flailing as he tried to get up, but the angry Polarchuck gripping his legs clung on tightly, unyielding.
Kliaod had regained her composure by then, and she leapt forward, intercepting the Bori who had rushed to the aid of his fallen master. The two collided with a loud crunch, and Kliaod was proven to be stronger despite her size as she tackled her adversary to the ground.
Then Vrailli managed to kick Askar off his back legs, and stood up with a snarl on his face as he located the Polarchuck. He spotted Askar teetering slightly as he got to his now unsteady paws. Then his brow furrowed, as if struggling to remember something.
But now Askar was charging forward, and he looked absurd, trying to attack an opponent more than five times his size. Vrailli seemed to see the humour as well, and he threw his head back in a bout of hideous laughter. Tvarla shivered, then started as a green and white steak raced past her.
She watched in amazement as Emari crashed into the large Eyrie, distracting his burst of humour and causing him to look down. Then Askar had cannoned into him, forcing him back a few steps. And even as Vrailli was regaining his bruised dignity at yielding to a blow given by a petpet, Kliaod was tearing at his feathers, shouting incomprehensible words in his face.
Tvarla felt pretty useless then, until she noticed the first of the sentries to be knocked unconscious by Kliaod stir, opening its eyes and blinking in the light. Then it seemed to take in the situation and struggled to rise.
Tvarla was upon it in a moment, cuffing it around the head with one hoof, until with a satisfying thud it landed back in the snow. She grinned at her achievement and turned to see what was happening.
She was shocked to see Emari and Askar lying dazed in the snow whilst Vrailli and Kliaod continued their argument, but this time rather a bit more recklessly for both sides. The larger combatant was having a hard time making contact with the faster and smaller one. But she in turn was having difficulty in coping with the blows when they did hit, and then delivering her own.
Finally Kliaod managed to avoid a swipe of talons and shout to them in Petpet.
"Go to the cave and you'll find the negg there. It's only guarded by one Bori."
She narrowly avoided another heavy talon, this time aimed at her legs, and delivered one back. Askar was glaring at Vrailli.
"I want to stay," he growled.
"No," said Emari firmly. "You have to come with us. You've made your point. And somehow I doubt that even Kliaod could hold that great lump off for longer than necessary. We have to find the negg."
Askar seemed ready to argue against her, but after a pause he finally nodded.
To be continued...