The Peophin Incident: Part Four
Kaerhas' mind went blank. Somewhere to his left, the Bori
heard a voice, screaming incoherently. To the right of him, he heard another voice
screaming, Run, you fool! But he couldn't run. All he could do was stand
there, terrified, his eyes shut tightly, waiting for the Snowager to come and
The Snowager didn't come. Dimly, Kaerhas was
aware of someone tugging at his paw, trying to pull him away.
"Kaerhas! Come on!"
"Ow!" Kaerhas felt a sharp pain on the top of
his head. The Bori opened his eyes and saw, to his surprise, that his stepbrother
Chaelian was trying desperately to drag him away from the Snowager. The smaller
Xweetok was struggling, and had, apparently, hit Kaerhas on the head in an attempt
to bring the Bori out of his trance.
"The Snowager!" Kaerhas twisted around, trying
to get a glimpse of the ice worm.
"Keep moving," Chaelian snapped. Kaerhas could
hear the tension in the Xweetok's voice as the two of them dashed over to where
Teirryn was waiting, half concealed behind one of the Snowager's massive piles
Another scream sounded from behind the three
pets, along with another furious-sounding roar from the Snowager. Kaerhas whipped
his head around again, but Chaelian grabbed his paw and pulled so hard that
Kaerhas almost lost his balance and tripped. The Bori decided to look forward
and concentrate on where he was going after that.
Behind his pile of treasure, Teirryn glanced
anxiously at the Snowager. It seemed to be pretty occupied with the Cybunny
that had conveniently entered just as Kaerhas knocked over the goblet, but that
wouldn't last for long. Already, the Cybunny's panicked footsteps were fading
down the tunnel, and the Snowager gave one last warning roar after the poor
pet. If it turned around now, it would see Chaelian and Kaerhas sprinting across
the piles of gold.
The Tyrannian Peophin tore his eyes away from
the ice worm and looked around for his two companions. They were running at
full speed, coming straight towards him. Teirryn quickly caught Chaelian as
he dashed by, breaking the Xweetok's momentum. Kaerhas followed close behind
"Go down!" Teirryn hissed, pointing at the fissure
in the frozen ground that was the supposed shortcut to Tyrannia. Kaerhas looked
at it doubtfully. The icy crack looked far too narrow for any one of them to
fit through, and the Bori most certainly did not want to be stuck in the floor
of the Snowager's cavern.
Chaelian, on the other hand, harbored no doubts
and immediately dived in. Kaerhas watched as the tip of his brother's green
and brown tail disappeared through the fissure, and decided that if the Xweetok
could do it, he could, too. This decision was hastened by the fact that the
Bori could hear the Snowager slowly sliding back to its bed of treasure.
Kaerhas jumped down into the crevice. He was
surprised to find that it was much bigger than it had appeared from the top.
The Bori fit into it easily, and was at first relieved to find that he wouldn't
get stuck in the fissure. This changed when he felt himself start to fall. Kaerhas
panicked, quickly looking down. Fortunately, the bottom of the tunnel was only
a few feet below him. Unfortunately, someone was already there.
"Ow! That was my tail!" Chaelian hissed furiously
as his brother landed beside him. The Xweetok pushed Kaerhas off.
"Well if you'd just had the sense to move out
of the way, this wouldn't have happened." Kaerhas stood and stepped back from
the spot where he had landed. Chaelian quickly followed him. A split second
later, Teirryn landed in the exact spot where Kaerhas had been standing.
"Good, you're both all right," Teirryn whispered.
A rumbling snore sounded from above the Peophin.
"That thing falls asleep fast," Kaerhas muttered.
"Let's get out of here as fast as possible. I don't want to spend another minute
in this place."
The three pets turned around as best as they
could (considering they were crammed together in the small space at the bottom
of the chute they'd just fallen down), taking note of their new surroundings.
A hole in the side of the wall seemed to be the only other way out of the small
chute they were in. Kaerhas groaned.
"What is it with this place and tunnels?" the
"Well, at least there's no massive ice worm waiting
for you at the end of it," Teirryn answered. The Peophin pulled a torch from
his pack with some difficulty and lit it with a tinderbox before moving inside
the tunnel. The flame of the torch caused flickering light to dance over the
ice-covered walls, making them shine like crystal.
"Wow, that's really shiny!" Kaerhas dashed over
to the entrance of the tunnel and peered in. Clearly, the Bori had completely
recovered from his experience with the Snowager.
Chaelian frowned, unimpressed. "Wouldn't it be
more practical to use a flashlight?"
Teirryn turned and grinned at the Xweetok before
moving further down the tunnel. "It's more fun this way!"
Chaelian sighed as he followed the Peophin. "You
sound like Kyrinn."
"Kyrinn? Who's that?" Teirryn asked curiously
as the little group moved further down the tunnel.
"She's our owner," Kaerhas explained, still staring
around at the shimmering walls. "She's really nice."
"You guys have an owner? Do you think she'll
be worried that you're gone?" The Peophin paused, turning back slightly to face
his two companions.
"Probably not," Chaelian replied with a shrug.
"She most likely won't be home any time soon anyway. She tends to come and go
whenever she wants to. The RoboPet Shop, on the other hand, may not be quite
so lenient. I just hope I don't get fired for this."
"He has a job at the RoboPet Shop," Kaerhas said,
in reply to Teirryn's questioning look. "And besides, Chaelian, why would you
want to go back? That place gets pretty boring if you go there every day, and
the shopkeeper's kinda grumpy anyway."
"Well, if you'd like to live off of omelette
every day, then yes, I can quit my job," Chaelian responded. "Either that, or
you can go out and find some way of making Neopoints. Oh, and you still owe
me the parts I need to fix Neji."
"What?" Kaerhas turned to look back at his stepbrother.
"I would think that with all the trouble you got us into, you'd pay for your
Griefer's repairs yourself!"
"Might I remind you that it was you who broke
him in the first place-" Chaelian started, but was cut off by Teirryn.
"Haven't you two been through this before?" the
Peophin muttered. Chaelian and Kaerhas exchanged glances.
"Okay, what about this alternative: we blame
Teirryn for this whole thing?" Chaelian suggested.
"Works for me," Kaerhas agreed. Teirryn laughed.
"If we find the treasure, you two can thank me,"
the Peophin said. "If we die in the process, then you can blame me."
"Deal," Chaelian and Kaerhas said in unison.
As the three companions traveled deeper down
the tunnel, Chaelian noticed that the tunnel floor was gradually leading downwards.
The talking dwindled to nothing, until the only sounds that could be heard were
a dripping noise, as of water falling to the ground, and the quiet crackle of
the torch that Teirryn held aloft, leading the way. Chaelian had lost all sense
of time. It could have been a day, or only a few hours, since they had left
the Snowager's lair.
"If this tunnel goes on for much longer, we'll
come out to find ourselves on Mystery Island," Chaelian grumbled, after what
felt like hours later.
Kaerhas sighed. "Yeah, I'm bored."
"This tunnel should be ending soon," Teirryn
reassured his companions. "Still, let's stop for a bit."
Kaerhas and Chaelian sat down thankfully as they
took off their packs. Teirryn looked around thoughtfully as his companions searched
their backpacks for their water bottles.
"This tunnel isn't natural, you know." The Peophin
spoke up, breaking the momentary silence. "I wonder who made it?"
"Someone with far too much time on his hands,"
Chaelian replied. His large green eyes flashed in the light of the torch that
Teirryn was still holding. The Xweetok followed Teirryn's example, glancing
towards the wall. "Look."
Teirryn and Kaerhas both looked in the direction
the Xweetok was pointing. It was at a bare stretch of gray wall.
"It's a stone wall," Kaerhas remarked, sounding
"Your powers of observation astound me," Chaelian
said dryly. "Yes, it is a stone wall. What you failed to mention is that it's
not covered in ice."
"Now that you mention it," Teirryn said, looking
towards Chaelian, "it feels a lot warmer than before."
"So that must mean this tunnel is almost ended!"
Kaerhas concluded excitedly. "I can't wait to get out of here!"
"Neither can I," Chaelian added. "Let's go!"
Filled with new determination, the three pets
started down the tunnel again. Eager to leave the confines of the dark channel,
and hopeful that they would reach Tyrannia soon, the group moved with much more
enthusiasm than they had previously. Their hope was confirmed by the fact that
the tunnel was slowly sloping upwards, all the while getting warmer and more
humid, until the heat forced Chaelian and Kaerhas to take off their jackets
and stuff them in their bags. Teirryn kept his dark, tattered cloak on, refusing
to take it off. However, despite the heat (or because of it), the Peophin looked
more encouraged, and announced that they were most definitely not in the Terror
Mountain territory anymore.
Chaelian and Kaerhas did have doubts about the
treasure, which they voiced, but Teirryn was absolutely certain that it would
be there. The stepbrothers eventually gave up trying to dissuade the Peophin's
enthusiasm, and joined in Teirryn's optimism, laughing and talking of all the
dangers they would face, the treasure that they'd find, and what they'd do when
they arrived back in Neopia Central with whole hoards of treasure.
Suddenly, Kaerhas stopped talking in the middle
of a joke that he'd been telling. The Bori turned left, seeming to smell something.
"What is it?" Chaelian asked curiously.
Kaerhas walked over to the wall. "I smell fresh
air." The Bori leaned over to peer at a shadowed spot on the wall, then turned
back to his companions, looking excited.
"I was right! There's a hole in the wall right
here. I bet this leads out of the tunnel! Come on, let's go look!"
Without waiting for a response, the Bori wormed
his way into the hole he had found and disappeared from sight. Chaelian called
after his brother, concerned.
"Hey! Kaerhas, wait up!"
Kaerhas didn't answer. Chaelian sighed and leaned
in close to the wall where the Bori had disappeared. Kaerhas had been right:
Chaelian could feel a gentle breeze on his face. The Xweetok's sharp eyes spotted
the crack in the wall where the draft of air was coming from. The shadowed area
had been hidden by the flickering torchlight, and the companions would have
passed it if it hadn't been for Kaerhas.
Chaelian took a deep breath of fresh air. It
was especially welcoming after breathing the stale, musty tunnel air for so
long. The Xweetok turned to Teirryn. "What do you think?"
Teirryn eyed the crack doubtfully. "I don't think
I can fit in there. And the main tunnel hasn't ended yet."
"Go take a look down the main tunnel then," Chaelian
suggested. "Not too far though. I'll go investigate this place with Kaerhas."
Teirryn nodded and dropped his bag near the crack.
"I'll leave that there to mark this spot." The Peophin turned and started down
the main tunnel again. The light of his torch was soon swallowed by the darkness.
Chaelian quickly entered the crack in the wall
before he forgot where it was. The Xweetok went in easily and found himself
in a tunnel that was similar to the one he'd just left, if only a bit smaller.
The breeze felt stronger here.
"Chaelian! Teirryn! You guys have got to see
this!" Kaerhas' voice echoed around the tunnel.
"Coming," Chaelian called back, running lightly
down the tunnel. The Xweetok had no light source, but he had pretty good night
vision, and he noticed that the tunnel seemed to be getting brighter.
The tunnel was short. Chaelian hadn't been running
for five minutes when the Xweetok rounded a bend in the tunnel and caught sight
of his brother. Kaerhas turned to look at Chaelian, his brown eyes glowing.
"We made it!"
Just a few feet from where Kaerhas was standing,
Chaelian saw that the tunnel ended in a stone wall. But a bright light shone
from the top of the tunnel, where a large hole was situated. Along with the
light came a gentle breeze, laden with a scent that Chaelian recognized as belonging
"Hey, where's Teirryn?" Kaerhas asked, tapping
Chaelian on the shoulder with a claw.
Chaelian turned to look back down the tunnel.
"He went to investigate the main tunnel. I hope he doesn't go too far. Come
on, let's go wait for him."
Chaelian and Kaerhas went back to the crack that
led to the main tunnel and waited. It wasn't long before they heard the sound
of hoof beats on stone.
"Teirryn! We found the exit! You don't need the
torch anymore!" Kaerhas called.
"Good!" came the response. "I took a look further
down the tunnel, and it was completely blocked. Apparently there was a cave-in."
"How are you going to get over here?" Chaelian
asked, quite certain that the Peophin couldn't get through the crack. There
was a slight pause as Teirryn examined the small fissure.
"You guys had better go further down the tunnel
a bit," Teirryn warned. "I hope I don't cause another cave-in here."
Kaerhas and Chaelian quickly retreated down the
tunnel. A loud noise issued from the fissure, mingled with the sound of crumbling
rock. It sounded like the Peophin had charged the entrance. The noise sounded
again. This time, Teirryn emerged from the crevice, covered in rock dust.
"I broke some of the rocks around the crack with
my tail," Teirryn explained. "Now come on! Let's get out of here!"
Kaerhas proudly led the way back to the exit
he'd found. Teirryn, being the tallest, managed to pull himself up, then lowered
a rope down for his companions.
Chaelian climbed up after his brother. He found
himself emerging from a small jumble of rocks that formed a small cave entrance.
Blinking in the sudden bright sunlight, he waited until his vision cleared.
What the Xweetok saw made him gasp in amazement.
Teirryn smiled. "Welcome to Tyrannia."
To be continued...