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Searching For Paradise: Part Ten

by cpmtiger


Tye leaned her head against the ropes. She was exhausted from an hour of trying to get out of the net. All four of her legs were numb from their awkward, cramped positions. Allehya, too, stopped struggling.

     "We were so close!" the shadow Kougra said in a fierce whisper.

     "They were expecting us," Tye said, closing her eyes. "They knew we didn't die when Charger pushed us off the cliff, and they knew we would try and find them."

     "I'll bet they left the flint trail on purpose." Allehya slashed at the net once more. It continued to resist her efforts to tear it open.

     Tye watched sadly. Her horns hadn't been able to tear the net either. "Allehya, stop," she said. "Obviously your claws and my horns aren't going to help us out."

     Allehya narrowed her eyes. "What should we do, then?" she shot at the faerie Ixi.

     "Figure out how this trap works, and from there find a way out."

     Allehya sighed. "All right," she said, looking at the tunnel entrance. "There's a rope tied to two rocks," she said. "Probably the rocks were spread out, so the rope was tight."

     Tye craned her head to look. "There's a dip in the ice," she said, "Right where I tripped."

     "The net was there, probably held tight by some nails," Allehya reasoned.

     "Yep. See? They're on the floor. But why would the net go up?"

     Allehya twisted around to look behind her. She followed something up to the ceiling and grinned. "They tied a rock to the rope here," she said. "And the rock pulled you up as it went down. The rope's balanced on that hook above you."

     Tye looked up and saw a hook, like the one on a pirate Krawk sticking out of the ceiling. Experimentally, she stuck her hoof through the netting. It didn't go all the way through, but it would be enough.

     Tye pulled her hoof back into the net, then stuck it through a hole near the top.

     "What're you doing?" Allehya hissed.

     Tye smacked the hook hard. Her hoof stung, but she ignored the pain and began digging at the ice surrounding the hook. "I'm unburying the hook," she explained to Allehya. "Without the hook, the rope can't hold the net up. We'll fall, and I can get out that way!"

     The hook was dangerously loose now. Tye paused, checking to see how far her wings would spread, so she could slow her fall if necessary. Suddenly the hook dislodged from the ice, and the net fell along with it.

     Tye hit the ground hard, but she stood quickly, shaking off the net.

     "You okay?" Allehya whispered from her net.

     "Yeah, I'm fine. Come on!"

     Allehya began digging at her own hook. It fell from the ceiling with less surprise than Tye's, and Allehya shook off the net before landing on her feet.

     "Let's go," the shadow Kougra said, running toward the tunnel. Her golden bands glimmered in the light from the Orb.

     "Wait!" Tye said, running toward the table. "We have to get the Orb first!"

     "You heard Wring!" Allehya said, turning around. "The bars are unbreakable!"

     "And you believe him?"

     Allehya narrowed her eyes. "That'd be pretty stupid for a thief, relying on a lie to keep his treasure safe."

     "But it's not like he thought we'd be any trouble," Tye pointed out. "Hey….look at this!"

     "What?" Allehya asked skeptically, trotting toward the table.

     Tye pointed at her discovery. "Looks like claw holes. I think he just has to stick his claws in and the bars appear."

     "Maybe that's what he was doing earlier. I thought he was pressing a button."

     "So did I. Think you can get your claws in there?"

     Allehya unsheathed her claws. Stretching her 'fingers' wide, she tried to get a claw in each tiny opening. But as hard as she tried, she couldn't get her paw to stretch wide enough.

     "It's too big," she said at last. "Any other ideas?"

     Tye looked around the cavern for ideas. The second time, something glimmered from the bundle of ropes that had once been nets. Tye ran over to the rope and began digging through it. She came back, carrying something shiny in her left wing. Setting them on the table, she reveled what they were.

     "The hooks?" Allehya said, puzzled. "But why…" a look of understanding swam over her face.

     Grabbing one hook in each claw as if she were about to play drums, Tye said, "I'll take the two right holes. You do that one on the left."

     "Got it," Allehya said, unsheathing one of her silver claws and putting it in the hole. Tye stuck the tips of the two hooks into the second and third gaps, and the bars disappeared back into the table.

     "We got it!" Tye said happily, grabbing the Orb.

     Allehya ran over to one of the corners. "Here's their bag," she said, coming back and holding it open. Tye dumped the Orb in it and slung the black bag over her shoulder.

     "Now let's go get them!" Allehya said fiercely, running toward the tunnel. Tye followed close behind.

      As the two pets ran through the tunnel, Allehya scooped up the burnt out torch.

      "Do we have any flint?" Tye called ahead.

      "No, but if we find some I don't want to hunt for a stick!" Allehya replied.

      They burst out of the ice tunnel, and blinked in the daylight. The sun had almost fully risen.

     "Guess we won't need this," Allehya said, tossing aside the stick. She sniffed the ground.

     "Anything?" Tye asked, looking around.

     "No scent," Allehya said, lifting her head. "But there is flint."

     Tye paused. "Wait," she said. "Last time, they used the flint to lead us to the cave and into the traps. What if this is another trick?"

     "They think we're up in nets, remember?" Allehya retorted, beginning to follow the trail. "Come on, or we won't catch up to them."

     "Oh, really?" purred a sinister voice. Allehya and Tye jerked their heads up, and saw Wring, Charger, and Ness perched on ledges.

     Tye narrowed her eyes. "Another flint trail," she muttered angrily.

     Wring grinned. "I didn't think you'd fall for it a second time."

     "How did you know we'd escape?" Allehya demanded.

     "We didn't," Ness snapped. "But when we came back, we figured it'd be safest to see if you got out."

     Tye pawed the snowy ground angrily, and as she did so, several inches of snow was shoved aside, revealing a layer of thick, slippery ice. Tye glared at Wring, all the while thinking about the ice, and how wide the patch was.

     "Enough talk," Wring snarled. "Ness, Charger- I want these two dissected and served as appetizers."

     "You got it, boss," Charger said, leaping off the ledge and tossing his head angrily.

     "Allehya," Tye hissed, "There's a bunch of ice under the snow. If we can clear it-"

     Just then, Ness charged at Tye. Tye pushed herself backwards, dragging a pile of snow with her. Ness's hooves slid and clambered on the ice for a few precarious seconds, then the Ixi fell, stunned on the ice.

     Charger was barreling toward Allehya. The Kougra, whose back feet had been pushing snow away, leapt over the Kau, using his back like a spring. She landed on the ledge next to Wring.

     Charger's hooves slipped right away, causing the Kau to flip over and land on his back. Tye hastily clambered toward the peak, joining Allehya on the ledge.

     "Just give it up!" Allehya snarled. "We've got the Orb, your assistants are stunned on the ice, and you have no traps set."

     Wring's teeth were bared, and his claws were spread.

     Wring took a step back. Allehya and Tye took a step forward.

     Wring was now at the edge of the peak. A long fall awaited him below. The Kougra turned sideways, hissing angrily, eyes wide and fearful.

     Just then, a voice shouted, "NEOPIA POLICE!"

     Wring whirled around, and the three pets saw a fire Gelert, a purple Lenny, and the Techo officer all looking up at them. Wring gaped at them in disbelief, then said quickly, "I'm not the thief! They have the Orb! See?"

     He pointed at Allehya and Tye, who hastily tried to explain what had happened.

     "Oh, can it!" a familiar voice snapped. "You're caught! Now shut up and come down!"

     Ricki and Jack appeared behind the officers, both looking angry. Jack's suit was ripped in several places, and both of them had dirty fur.

     "Ricki?" Tye said in disbelief. "Jack?"

     "Wha-?" Wring growled angrily. He turned, glaring at Tye and Allehya. "This ends now!" he snarled, leaping forward.

     Tye leapt forward headfirst. She saw the Kougra's stomach getting closer and closer, then…

     WHAM! Wring fell backwards as Tye's horned head smacked him in the stomach. The Kougra rolled a few inches, then moved as if to stand.

     But Allehya had already leapt at him, pinning the Kougra to the ground. The purple Lenny quickly flew up to the ledge, two sets of paw cuffs in his feathers.

     Tye and Allehya went down the mountain side until they were in front of the fire Gelert and purple Techo. Allehya unzipped the bag, and Tye and Allehya pulled out the Air Faerie's Orb, which glimmered brightly in the morning light.

     "But how'd you two get up here?" Tye asked. She, Allehya, and the three officers were in one of the small inns in Happy Valley. There was a fire burning, and each of the pets had a blanket wrapped around them. Tye and Allehya had just told the officers, as well as Ricki and Jack, their story.

     "Well," Ricki said. "Your parents fired us for speaking out against their parenting skills."

     "No way!" Tye said, amazed.

     "Way," Jack said seriously. "We headed through the forest, and found the general store you two…er…borrowed food and supplies from."

     "Then we met a Korbat who said he'd seen you two," Ricki added.

     "Reno?" Allehya said, interested. "He told you where we were?"

     Ricki nodded. "On the way to the Ferry, we saw that the police were heading for Terror Mountain. We told them we knew the real thieves, and they helped us find you two, and of course Wring, Ness, and Charger."

      "And the Orb?" Allehya asked the purple Lenny.

     "It's on its way back home," the Lenny replied.

     "Er, sorry about that dung jelly," Tye said to the Techo cop.

     The Techo shrugged. "Hey. It was an emergency."

     After the officers left, there was a moment of uncomfortable silence.

     "So now what?" Tye muttered, standing and looking out the dark window. Snowflakes were coming down lightly now. "Do we just go back?"

     Jack sighed. "I don't think we can. Especially not Allehya."

     "Well, what can we do?" Allehya asked.

     "I have a lot of housekeeping savings," Ricki said. "We could buy a little house up here…live as a makeshift family."

     Tye gave Allehya an excited look. "Really?"

     Jack nodded. "And of course, I'd pitch in my savings."

     Allehya stood up. "That's a great offer," she said. "But Tye, we can't just live up here."

     "Why can't we?" Tye asked.

     "Because we're the Peacemakers. We're not just supposed to become friends. We're supposed to help other pets learn to accept each other, not just in the mountains, but in Neopia Central and Mystery Island."

     Tye sighed. "Yeah," she said, walking to the window and looking outside. "You're right."

     "That's what Reno meant about us closing a gap," Allehya said, joining her friend by the window.

     "So how do we do that?"

     Allehya shrugged. "The same thing you and I did for each other. Made the other understand."

     "Like I used to think all alley pets were thieves…"

     "And I thought rich pets were all snobby," Allehya said seriously. "But we don't think that now. That's what we need to make the strays and rich pets understand."

     "But how're you going to get off Terror Mountain? It costs a lot to travel Neopia," Ricki said.

     Just then, someone outside knocked loudly at the door. Jack went to open it, and outside was the Lenny cop, holding a tan leather sack.

     "We almost forgot," he said apologetically. "For catching the thieves and all." He tossed the bag to Allehya, who caught it. The Lenny nodded, then left, closing the door behind him.

     Everyone crowded around Allehya. She tugged the gold colored string loose, and opened the sack. They all gasped loudly. Inside was the fifty-thousand Neopoint reward money for catching the thieves.

     "Well, Ricki," Tye said at last, looking at the Bori. "I think we've got enough to get around Neopia."

     Several days later, while Allehya, Ricki, and Jack were playing the Neoquest board game they'd bought at the Igloo garage sale, Tye got out the quill and paper she'd gotten. Dipping the Eyrie feather into a barrel of black ink, she stared at the paper meditatively. The sound of a dice hitting the board seemed to coax forward the beginning.

     To My Family,

     This is Tye. I'm not telling you where I'm at. Even if I did, I doubt you'd do anything about it. I just wanted to let you know some things before I finally disappear from your lives.

     First off, Allehya and I didn't steal the Orb. By the time this arrives, you should have heard about it anyways. And guess what? We caught the thief.

     Who's Allehya? Well, here's my next bit of information. She's an alley Kougra. That's right, I made friends with an alley pet. I told you, I never could get along with the other pets at the boarding school. And I snuck out that night to help her. You know why? Because stray pets never wind up that way voluntarily. They deserve our help and friendship, not scorn.

     I'll bet you're yelling about strays being thieves. Well guess what? Strays aren't necessarily thieves, just like thieves aren't always strays. And you know what? I think of you four as thieves. No, what you do isn't illegal, but you're still hoarding the Neopoints you could use to help others so you can afford jewels and a fancy house and tablecloths. So sometimes the biggest thieves are the pets who have more than they need.

     Allehya, Ricki, Jack and I are living together here. Allehya and I won't be here much, however. We're going around, helping the strays, rich pets, and those in between realize that the others aren't so different, and that they CAN become friends. Maybe one day we'll come to Neopia Central.

     Hopefully this makes everyone happy; me, being with the pets I actually like, Allehya having a home, Ricki and Jack being treated the way they deserve, and you, with me gone forever.


     Tye sealed the envelope carefully, scribbling her parents' names and address onto the letter. She slipped out of the cabin, and stuck the letter in the mailbox. As she slammed the mailbox's door shut, she felt like she was slamming the door on her life as a rich pet.

     "Finally," she muttered, looking around at the snow, and the massive, icy mountain looming above. Finally, she was away from the boredom of her old life. The anxiety, the stress, the constant anger over her family's selfish, the feeling that she wasn't quite welcome. With a smile, Tye turned around, walking toward the cabin as defiantly as if she was walking away from her old life.

The End

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Other Episodes

» Searching For Paradise: Part One
» Searching For Paradise: Part Two
» Searching For Paradise: Part Three
» Searching For Paradise: Part Four
» Searching For Paradise: Part Five
» Searching For Paradise: Part Six
» Searching For Paradise: Part Seven
» Searching For Paradise: Part Eight
» Searching For Paradise: Part Nine

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