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Neopia's Fill in the Blank News Source | 8th day of Running, Yr 23
The Neopian Times Week 48 > Continuing Series > Usuls Don't Snowboard: Part Two

Usuls Don't Snowboard: Part Two

by shelleylow


WE HAD RIDDEN up Blue Lulu to Kabuggles Pass when I stopped. Angel looked at me curiously.

        "Holly, what's wrong?"

        "I can't take it, Angel. Not being able to ski, that is. I'm letting my parents down, and myself down, while I'm at it. I'm going to try Kabuggles Pass now."

        "All right, Holly, but just let me pace you."

        "Angel, I'm going to do this by myself. I'm decided about it."

        I looked down the slope to Kabuggles, leaning on my poles, and tried not to gulp. It looked so steep and dangerous, despite the blue square painted on a nearby snow-topped boulder. Stop it, I told myself firmly. If you want to get back and laugh in Angel's face you're going to have to work at it. I swallowed down my fear and pushed off. This time I shot straight down a snow bank and landed in a heap in the soft powder at the bottom.

        "Oh, Holly." I looked up to see Angel's head with its fine ears framed against the sky.

        "Can you get up? That bank's very steep." I tried, finding that I could, to climb up the bank's walls, and found I couldn't.

        "Holly, you're stuck!"

        "No, I'm not, I just need to…get a better grip…" I took off my skis, and grabbing them in one paw tried to pull myself up, without success. Angel shook her head.

        "Holly, admit it for once, you are well and truly stuck. Hang on; I'll get down to Kougra Bite where the Ski Patrol is. They'll come and rescue you." Her head disappeared and I heard her swooping away downhill. Then all was silent. I sat down and examined my surroundings. There was actually another part of the mountain that I had not been down before. For a moment I had the fleeting thought that I might manage to get down it, even with my meagre ability, but I noticed the black double-diamond painted on a tree trunk at the top and that idea died. It was one of the hardest slopes on our mountain. Sighing, I sat down to wait for Angel.

        "Snowballs cry, are you listening,
        On Terror's peaks, snow is glistening,
        A beautiful sight, we're sleighing tonight
        Flying through a winter wonderland."

        Quite suddenly, a high clear voice rang out through the snow. It was a young voice, seeming to belong to a pet of about my age.

        "Gone away, is the 'doodle,
        Here to stay, are the Poogles,
        They jump, play and roll, as onward we stroll,
        Flying through a winter wonderland."

        I stood up and looked in the direction of the voice. To my surprise I saw its owner, a bright scarlet figure floating over the snow.

        She seemed quite as young as she had sounded, about a year old. Only she was not an Usul. For one thing, she was warmly wrapped in scarf and hat, something that Usuls rarely need to do, owing to our thick fur. Secondly, in place of that thick fur she had a coat of bright red scales and on her back were a pair of large, leathery wings. Also, instead of skis, she was gliding across the white expanse on something quite the same, and yet not.

        I had seen several species during my last Happy Valley Snow Sports Festival a year ago, and Shoyrus had been one of them that I remembered, despite how young I had been. I waved.

        "In Happy Valley we can build a snowman,
        And pretend that he's a Chia clown,
        We'll have lots of fun with Mr Snowman,
        Until some Lupes come by and knock him down..."

        "Hey," I yelled. "Hey!" The Shoyru looked in my direction with surprise. She floated over the snow and came to a stop beside me.

        "Need help? You fell down the slope up there did you?" I nodded. "Could you help me up there?" The Shoyru smiled and held out a paw. "I'll fly you up. Take hold!"

        I grasped her scaly paw in both my furred-ones and held on. The Shoyru's dragon wings flapped and with a kick from her hindlegs we were in the air and on top of the bank quite quickly.

        The young Shoyress smiled at me. "Well, you'd better watch out for those snow banks. I won't be here to help you next time."

        I looked curiously at the object in one of her paws. It was a broad, flat board, painted forest green. Scratched into the surface were the initials J.J. I had seen pets riding them down the slopes at my last Snow Festival but hadn't really thought about their names.

        "What's that?" The Shoyress glanced at me, incredulously, and then laughed.

        "Oh, you Usuls spend so much time on your skis you don't have time to look at anything else."

        I was about to protest at the irony of this remark when she held up a paw.

        "Never mind, don't take offence. It's a snowboard."

        I admired the board. For some reason, it looked much more secure than my own skis.

        "Could I try it?"

        "What about your skis?"

        I hesitated before replying.

        "I can't ski, all right? Now could I try it?" The Shoyress seemed taken aback. "A Usul that can't ski?"

        "Yes, that's right, rub it in!" I was getting rather worked up, but the Shoyress placed a calming red paw on my shoulder.

        "I am sorry, sometimes I talk without thinking. I didn't mean any harm. Listen, why don't we meet back here tomorrow, same time, and I'll teach you to snowboard. Maybe you'd be better at that."


        She laughed her merry laugh again and lifted a paw and a wing. "Shoyru's honour! See you then." She got back onto her board and I watched her coast down the slope.

        "Wait!" I called. "What's your name?" She paused and looked back with her large rose-coloured eyes, a red spot on the land gleaming white in the cloud-sifted sunlight, and I heard her answering shout float up to me.

        "It's JibJamma. Just call me J.J." She skimmed away and I managed to catch the faint strains of her song dying into the distance.

        "Later on, we'll conspire,
        Eating Juppies by the fire,
        And think how we played,
        With the friends that we've made,
        Flying through a winter wonderland."

        The sound of skis brushing snow made me turn around. Angel and several strong looking Usuls were heading towards me.

        "She went down just about here," Angel was saying, and then stopped. "Holly! Thank Fyora you're okay!" One of the Ski Patrol Usuls approached me. "You're all right?"

        "Yes, I'm fine. A little bruised, but fine." The Usul smiled warmly, the grin spreading across his fine-featured face. "We'll be off then." He and the patrol skied off into the distance. Angel looked at me questioningly. "How in the world did you get up from there?"

        "I had help."

        "What kind?"

        "I'll tell you tomorrow."

        "Holly, what--"

        "Trust me, I'll tell you tomorrow. I'll even show you."

        "Show me?"

        "Yes, she's coming again."


        "Angel, please."

        Angel, I could see, was still mystified, but she was not the interrogative sort and merely nodded her head. We had a fun day of skiing, at any rate, despite the fact that we did it in tandem, and by the end of the day, when the setting sun spread its brilliant saffron and fuchsia blanket of light across the snow covered peaks, we were back at Frost Promise Usullyrn. Angel still looked at me strangely as she said goodbye and went off with her parents.

        "Well, we hope you had a good day with the young Skyleap Usuless," said Father.

        "Yes, dear," said Mother. "The snow was excellent." The twins, chattering behind us, were too full of their happily spent day to hear Mother's remark, though I am sure they would have agreed with her had they noticed.

        I smiled. I wasn't about to tell them about the Shoyress. The only time Usullyrn Usuls ever associated with pets of other species was during the Festival, which happened to be only a few weeks away. And even then, they were generally seen as competitors.

        "Yeah," I said. "The snow was fantastic."

To be continued...

Previous Episodes

Usuls Don't Snowboard: Part One

Usuls Don't Snowboard: Part Three

Usuls Don't Snowboard: Part Four

Usuls Don't Snowboard: Part Five

Usuls Don't Snowboard: Part Six

Usuls Don't Snowboard II: The Ridge of the Vanishing Usuls - Part One

Usuls Don't Snowboard II: The Ridge of the Vanishing Usuls - Part Two

Usuls Don't Snowboard II: The Ridge of the Vanishing Usuls - Part Three

Usuls Don't Snowboard II: The Ridge of the Vanishing Usuls - Part Four

Usuls Don't Snowboard II: The Ridge of the Vanishing Usuls - Part Five

Usuls Don't Snowboard II: The Ridge of the Vanishing Usuls - Part Six

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