The Travels of Mijjol Lightwielder: Part Five
Part Five: Tolerance
The kidnapped Bori looked up as his rescuer dashed in, stopped short, whirled around and slammed the door shut. A great crash was heard outside. The door shook in its frame, and pieces of mysterious substance drifted down from the ceiling.
The two Neopets in the cabin looked at each other. The Mynci was flattened against the rocking door, long katana in hand, while the Bori was tied up on the ground.
“Uh,” said Mijjol, struggling to keep the door still. “I’ve come.” BOOM. “To rescue.” BOOM. “You.” BOOM. BOOM.
Donny nodded. His mouth was sealed with a roll of cloth.
Mijjol laughed sheepishly, a wobbly, apologetic laugh. The door continued to assault his back as he spoke. “I don’t.” BOOM. “Think I’ve.” BOOM. “Done a.” BOOM. “Very good.” BOOM. “Job, have I?”
The bound and gagged Bori merely nodded again, staring at him expectantly.
Mijjol had come to dread that bright, expectant stare. It was what the citizens of Terror Mountain had given him when he’d stood in the centre of the crowd, next to the repairbori’s empty shop. He never actually said he would bring Donny back, but the looks in those eyes...
The trouble was, there was never time to think. Not when two guards were kicking at a flimsy wooden door two centimetres away from him.
Mijjol sighed. He would have to fight again.
“Hang on!” he shouted to the prisoner, and leapt back from the door.
The guards burst in.
Mijjol remembered that first day in the weapons shop, when he had picked up the gold-handled katana and felt raw power coursing through his veins. It was almost as if his entire body had become wind and light. Now, faced with the two chunky Tonu guards, he let that whirlwind take hold of him... and everything faded away except for those two opponents.
When they were both flat upon the ground, he lifted the katana slowly, reverentially. Another job well done. Now he merely needed to grab the prisoner, escape, and restore the Bori back to Terror Mountain where hundreds of innocent Neopets were waiting...
It was then that he felt the blow on the top of his head.
He turned, bewildered, staggering in the spinning world, and saw in its vortex the fierce face of Donny the repairbori.
And then the world went black.
The ache came from everywhere, hard, penetrating. The red Mynci struggled to open his eyes, but for some reason his eyelids felt like gravity. Slivers of light shivered in his vision, and then condensed into the forms of Cap’n Skeith, a vaguely familiar brown Lupe, and Donny the repairbori. The ground rocked; he realized that they were still on the vessel.
He felt automatically for his katana, and it was not there. At his waist there was only rope – thick rope that bound him to a pillar.
“Why...?” his throat scratched dryly as he tried to speak.
“Not feeling so good now, hmm?” the tall brown Lupe leaned forward, snarling. “You thought you’d get away that easily with beating me in front of a crowd, huh?”
“You were bullying the Kiosk Wocky,” Mijjol murmured.
“Oh? Oh?” the Lupe raged, but the grey Skeith held him back.
“Tell me, laddie,” said Cap’n Skeith, teeth leaking out of his wide grin, “what is the meaning of this – stowing away on my vessel, stealing my supplies—”
“—defeating me in front of a crowd?” the Lupe growled.
Mijjol stared weakly at them, his mind whirling. “I don’t know,” he thought. “How would I know?!”
Then he noticed that the room had gone deadly quiet.
His mouth had just said, “Because I wanted to be a hero.”
“Now I’ve done it,” the young Mynci thought desperately, “now they’re going to kill me...”
But nothing happened. Mijjol opened his scrunched-up eyes and saw three pairs of eyes shining brightly at him.
“That was what I wanted to be, too,” the Lupe breathed. “A hero. The greatest hero ever to have lived on the face of Neopia. And I was a hero... until you came and defeated me.”
“I’m sorry,” said Mijjol, boldly, “but you weren’t a hero at all. You were a bully.”
“HOW DARE YOU!!” the Lupe surged forward. “You nasty, dirty little—”
“Calm down, calm down,” said the Skeith, dragging him back, “there’s no need to be so—”
“I WANT MY REVENGE!” bawled the Lupe, wriggling in Cap’n Skeith’s grasp.
His grip unwavering, the Skeith turned to Mijjol. “Now, look here, laddie—”
“My name is Mijjol Lightwielder,” the Mynci repeated loudly.
“You hear that?” the Lupe roared. “He thinks he’s oh so great! Lightwielder indeed! Just how heroic do you think you are, hmm?”
“I’ve only just started out,” said Mijjol, hurt. “It’s true I haven’t done much... sorry for saying this, but I think the first heroic deed I did was saving the Kiosk Wocky from your bullying.”
“Hold on a second.” The Bori, who had been sitting quietly by himself all this time, spoke up. “What is going on here? They told me you were making trouble on Terror Mountain and I couldn’t have that happening to my home, now, could I?”
He scrutinized the young Mynci, then turned and glared at the Lupe. “Now, bosses, you don’t mean to say you’ve been lying to me about this here Mynci, do you?”
“What did you tell him I was?” Mijjol turned angrily to the Lupe.
The Lupe reddened. “A bully making trouble on Terror Mountain, which you were, in a way.”
Mijjol thought about retaliating, but what was the point? He sighed and looked at the Bori, who was standing helplessly to one side.
“There’s a big group of customers waiting for you, Donny,” said Mijjol. “You’d best be getting back.”
Donny nodded. “Thank you, young Mynci. I... I’m sorry. I’ll be more careful about listening to rumours next time.” He made his way dejectedly towards the gangway.
“Now.” Mijjol turned to the Skeith. “My katana, please.”
“You’re a tough lad, indeed.” Cap’n Skeith frowned. “Ya haven’t repaid my cargo.”
“I need my katana.” It was a statement, simple as that.
“So that you can beat me up again, hmm?” the Lupe growled.
Cap’n Skeith shook him. “Calm down, won’t you! What’s the use of getting all angry? We’ve caught the Mynci; he’s turned out to be just a young laddie looking for adventure, now what? He’s got nothing he can pay us back with!”
The Lupe sagged, and Cap’n Skeith put him back down.
There was a period of silence.
Mijjol squirmed uneasily. “All right,” he said to the Skeith, “I’ll try to make up for the cargo that I threw overboard...” He produced his money pouch. “Will 8000 Neopoints be enough?”
“That’s about a quarter of it,” said the captain, accepting the pouch.
“I’ll work for you on your vessel to make up for the rest,” said the Mynci. “And as for you,” he looked directly at the Lupe, “we’ll probably never agree on who was the bully and who the hero. But for now, just untie me, will you?”
Grudgingly, the Lupe stepped forward and undid the ropes. Mijjol got to his feet.
“Maybe we could both become heroes,” the Lupe muttered. “Let’s just leave Terror Mountain behind.”
“So you’re both going to work on my vessel?” Cap’n Skeith looked pleased.
“Yes,” said the Mynci and the Lupe together.
The Skeith smiled. He produced the gold-handled katana, wrapped in its silken belt, which he returned to Mijjol. “A token of trust, Mijjol Lightwielder.”
The cool air glittered over the Terror Mountain harbour. It was past noon when Cap’n Skeith’s vessel pulled out towards the great sea. On deck, the three Neopets lunched together, enjoying the refreshing sea breeze. The two Tonu sailors steered the vessel.
“When we reach Altador,” said Cap’n Skeith, slurping his drink, “you two will help deliver the goods to my clients.” He tapped a map of Altador that lay beside the fruit basket.
Mijjol studied the map as he chewed on a snorange. The map highlighted a path through the green outskirts of Altador, up to a hidden mansion. Much of the journey would be through semi-inhabited wilderness... it reminded him of his past life in Shenkuu, trekking with his master through strange, surreal places in quest of remedies.
“I see,” said Mijjol, tracing the path with his finger. “It’s a quest for deliverance.”
“Doesn’t sound like a heroic deed to me,” the brown Lupe remarked gruffly.
“Mind ya, it isn’t something anybody can do,” said Cap’n Skeith. “These are rare ice crystals from Terror Mountain, specially preserved for the rich un’s collection. You could meet with thieves in Altador. It’s not an easy task, protectin’ the goods.”
The Lupe brightened. “Ah, so we get to fight real bullies?”
“Don’t get too cocky, now,” the Skeith warned. “Those thieves can be really powerful. One in five times they’ve defeated my Tonus. But you... if you’ll pay attention to the task, I trust you’ll succeed.”
The Mynci and the Lupe shared a glance. Neither of them had proven very trustworthy, but oh well. Sometimes untrustworthy Neopets could turn out to be very trustworthy indeed.
To be continued...