The Search for Snowflake: Part Three
When we last left our favorite green Kyrii (a Kyrii commonly
known as "Hawkins"), he had just fallen into an underground river and was being
gently swept away by the current to a calm, peaceful place of happiness.
As in, a calm, peaceful place of happiness for
those who consider rapids and jagged rocks "calm", "peaceful", and/or "happy".
Not that there're many of those people left, mind you - many of them are dead,
mostly from tragic accidents involving rapids and jagged rocks.
So this is where we now find Hawkins - flowing
down an underground river towards rapids and jagged rocks. Which, as is usually
the case, were neither "calm", "peaceful", nor "happy".
"Oh crap!" Hawkins shouted over the roar, flopping
wildly as he tried to keep himself above the surface of the ever-increasing
current of the river. "I have a feeling that the fact that the river is speeding
up isn't a good sign!"
Hawkins, trying his best to stay afloat in the
now swiftly-flowing river, managed to catch a sight of what was just down stream
of him - a huge set of jagged rocks and accompanying rapids.
"Awww, man!" Hawkins cried. "This is really
not a good sign! Oh, I'd like to say that I'm surprised I'm gonna die this way,
but to be honest, I'm really not! And who the heck am I talking to?!"
In spite of Hawkins' pathetic flailing and attempts
to tread water, it was all in vain. The strong current kept sucking the green
Kyrii under, throwing him back up, then sucking him back under again as it dragged
him ever closer towards the ominous rocks ahead. Hawkins tried to shout out,
but that too was futile - every time he'd try to cry out, water would rush back
into his lungs, choking him.
It looked like this was it. This was how Hawkins
the Kyrii would die. A horrible death smashed to death against rocks and rapids
in an underground river. Oh, horrid death! Oh, terrible! Oh how gruesome! How-
But just then, Hawkins felt someone grab on
to his arms! With an agonizing effort, Hawkins felt himself get pulled from
the suction of the river and its current and up onto dry land.
Coughing and sputtering up water from his lungs,
the soaked Kyrii lay there for a moment, gasping for air. After a minute, still
hacking up the last bits of water, Hawkins glanced up to see who it was that
had saved him - a certain red Lenny that Hawkins knew all too well: Lennert!
"Le-Lennert?!" Hawkins cried out in surprise,
still on his paws and knees as he hacked up another lungful of water.
Yes, silly - Lennert! The one and only! That
oh-so loveable, often odd, always amicable Lenny and roommate of Hawkins!
Lennert let loose one of his signature grins.
"Hiya, Hawkins! Funny we should meet like this, huh?"
Hawkins gave another hacking cough before slowly
staggering to his feet. "Lennert, what are you doing here?"
The red Lenny gave a shrug. "I'm not really
sure, to be honest. I guess maybe I should start from the beginning…"
"Yeah, you should."
The Lenny blinked. "Yeah, I know… That's what
I said… You see, I was just about to start reminiscing when you, ya know, butted
Hawkins nodded. "Oh! Alright then - go ahead."
An awkward pause ensued between the two. "…You
done yapping?" the Lenny finally asked.
Hawkins' eyes shifted side to side, confused.
Lennert nodded. "Okay, then! Now, like I was
It was the most glorious of days in Neopia Central
- especially for a certain red Lenny named Lennert as he swaggered down the
yellow streets of the city, past buildings, shops, and apartments of all varieties.
He had been given a great new job at the Neopian Times - and an awesome
press pass to wear around his neck!
And so, now, under a cloud-less sky, Lennert
strutted happily, content and high-spirited as any Lenny could be, showing off
his new press pass to every and all pets that passed him by.
Lennert grabbed one random passing blue Bruce
and pulled him off to the side. "Hiya! Wanna see my new press pass? It's all
laminated and it hangs around my neck!"
The blue Bruce glanced down at the pass, then
up at the Lenny, unsure what to think. "Umm, please leave me alone, crazy Lenny…"
he muttered, before turning and hurrying off down the street as quickly as possible.
Lennert, oblivious to the Bruce's fear, continued
down the sidewalk, the soles of his feet still as light as always (or, at least
they would've been light had he been wearing shoes). He was jolly! He was merry!
He was on top of the world! He wa--
Suddenly, Lennert fell into a hole and disappeared.
A moment later, two Kacheeks, one orange, one
brown, though both dressed in orange reflective construction vests and hard
hats, approached the hole.
"Hmm…" the orange one mused aloud, examining
the hole. "Ya know, in retrospect, maybe it wasn't such a great idea to cover
up this construction hole with leaves and sticks. It seems as if that would
actually cause more pets to fall down it, seeing as how they can't see
it and all." He looked up at his partner. "Do you think it might help if instead
of just trying to cover up the holes so that no one can see them, we put up
big warning signs around them?"
The brown Kacheek thought for a moment, then
shrugged. "Meh - I fail to see the logic in that. Besides, that seems more like
a union thing, anyways. Let them handle it."
The first Kacheek returned the shrug. "Eh, whatever.
Wanna go get some more lunch?"
Back in the Catacombs…
Lennert nodded. "So, that's pretty much it -
I fell down the hole, then wandered around for a while until I heard you screaming
and rescued you! And now, I'm here telling you the story about it all! The end!"
Hawkins shook his head. "Lennert, that's…"
"Ironic? Cool? Lucky? Umm… Ironic?"
Hawkins shrugged carelessly. "Whatever."
Lennert smiled. "So, Hawkins, what're you
doing here, huh?"
Hawkins took a deep breath, turning and starting
off down a nearby tunnel to who-knew-where. "C'mon Lennert, let's go - I'll
explain on the way." As they started off down the passageway, the Kyrii glanced
over and noticed the laminated press pass hanging around Lennert's neck. "Hey,
where'd that come from?" Hawkins asked, pointing at the I.D.
"Oh, this?" Lennert held up the pass, examining
it as if he'd just noticed it hanging there. "I dunno! I can't really remember!
Ah well - I probably found it on the ground somewhere or something."
Underground tunnels tend to be very dark. Pitch
black, in fact. And such was this particular tunnel Hawkins and Lennert - the
dubious duo, the rowdy roommates - now traversed. With no light to see by, the
two had to find their way via the guide of the wall. And yet, as hard as Hawkins
tried to concentrate on not running into anything, the other member of the group
was making it difficult…
"So anyways, that was the time I found green
fungus growing on my foot!" Lennert ended, finally finished with his story.
"Hey Hawkins, you wanna hear about the time when I found green fungus growing
on my foot?"
Hawkins stopped, spinning around and facing
where he thought Lennert stood (though, of course, he couldn't see him in the
darkness). "Lennert, you just told that story! And like I said back when you
asked the first time - No! I told you I didn't want to hear it the first time
you asked! I continued telling you I didn't want to hear it ever twenty seconds
while you were telling it! And I'm telling you again now - I don't want to
hear about the green fungus you found growing on your foot!"
There was a momentary pause in the darkness.
"So…" Lennert finally replied. "Just to clarify - that's a no?"
"Gah!" Hawkins threw his arms up in the air
(an act that couldn't be seen) and turned back around (an act that, again, couldn't
be seen), only to notice something off in the distance - a dim ray of light!
"Lennert, Look! Light! Come on, let's go!" And with that, he took off down the
tunnel towards the light.
As the two ran further down the passageway,
the light grew brighter and brighter. Closer and closer they came to the light
until finally, the pair burst out into a large, open chamber.
All around the cavern, lights were strung up
- on the walls, on the roof, and on the floor all along the edge of the wall.
For however pitch dark the preceding tunnel was, this room was exactly the opposite.
And located on the other end of the chamber
was a pair of large, heavy wooden double-doors - wide enough to take up almost
the entire wall and tall enough to nearly reach the ceiling.
Hawkins began to approach the doors, slowly
inching towards it, eyes wide and mouth agape in awe and wonder. Step after
step he took towards it, moving slowly, carefully. Could it be? Was this is?
Was this the office of the Snowflake? Might he have found it after all?
As he grew closer, the Kyrii noticed a plaque
set into the wall just to the right of the doors. It was a golden bronze with
black lettering - lettering which read:
Editor-in-Chief, Neopian Times
"Lennert…" Hawkins muttered, eyes glued to the
plaque as he read it over and over again, lest it be a mirage and disappear.
"Lennert, we did it! We did it, Lennert! We finally found it! We finally found
Snowflake!" He turned to his partner, grinning ear-to-ear. "We made it!"
Lennert nodded, giving a quiet, proud grin.
"Hawkins," he replied, putting his wing on his roommate's shoulder and looking
him straight in the eye. "I just want you to know that no matter what happens
when you step through those doors… I have no idea what's going on here."
Hawkins blinked. "…Thanks, Lennert…" He turned
back to have two large, looming doors before him. The Kyrii took a deep breath,
rolled his neck once to crack the bones and loosen the muscles, and pushed open
…To find himself standing in an office. A large,
spacious office for sure, but an office all the same. The walls were covered,
not in fancy wallpaper or coated in a brilliant shade of paint, but in copies
of old issues of the Neopian Times. The same for the floor - instead of plush
carpeting, the ground beneath Hawkins was covered in the old stories of Child_dragon
and Al_the_Chia. And they weren't glued down, either; more, old 'Times issues
had simply been spread around like the papers of an animal's cage.
The office was far from neat and tidy, too.
Random quills and bottles of ink (some empty, some with dried ink lying next
to it where it had spilled out) lay scatted around. A black couch sat against
one wall, with a few bookcases standing on the opposite wall. In the far left
corner was a silver staircase twisting upwards into the ceiling in a tight circle.
And against that same wall, opposite the large doors Hawkins had just entered
through, sat a large brown desk. And behind that, a large black, leather chair
with its back turned towards the Kyrii.
Another deep breath and Hawkins took a few steps
towards the desk. The papers under his feet crinkled with each step he took.
Step by step, the Kyrii inched closer to the desk. The blood was pulsing in
his ears. With each step he forced his legs to take, he brought himself just
a little bit closer to his goal.
His breath grew ragged and fast. His eyes wide
with anticipation. Hawkins stepped slowly, carefully around the side of the
desk. He was so close to the chair now!
And then, he was there - Hawkins was finally
standing behind the large, leather seat. And sitting in that seat was Snowflake,
the Editor of the Neopian Times. All he had to do was reach out and touch it.
He grabbed ahold of the leather back, and spun
--To find nothing but an envelope - a simple,
white envelope. The type one might mail a letter in. Just sitting there on the
seat, propped up against the backrest.
Hawkins bent down and quickly snatched up the
envelope, feverishly tearing it open and pulling out the enclosed letter, which
Greetings! I'm sure you've made quite a journey
here to find me. And I bet you were really excited to finally meet me. However,
I'm sorry to disappoint you, but at the moment I'm away on important Neopian
Of course, I wouldn't want to make your whole
trip here a big waste of time! Enclosed with this letter is the form allowing
for Issue two-hundred's publication. Please tell Brintle that, in the future,
he should stop being a wimp and actually do something on his own. Following
the rules is good, but honestly - this rule is just plain stupid. And so is
any moron who follows it to the letter. I hired him to do a job - please let
him know I expect him to grow a spine and do it properly.
To get back up to the surface, simply take
the stairway in the corner of my office - it'll lead you directly up to the
street above. Take care and safe travels in the future, Hawkins!
Snowflake, Editor-in-Chief, Neopian Times
Hawkins turned the letter over and found, stapled
to the back of it, a form with Snowflake's signature at the bottom. Looking
up, a quiet, proud smile spread across the Kyrii's face - Snowflake! She had
mentioned him by name! The Editor of the Neopian Times knew him, a simple,
unimportant green Kyrii! And yet, suddenly, he was important enough to be mentioned
- no matter how briefly - in a letter from Snowflake! The most he could offer
in response was a silent smile of pride.
Hawkins glanced over at Lennert on the other
side of the room. The Lenny was sitting down on the ground, cross-legged, calmly
reading a newspaper he'd picked up from the floor. The Kyrii shook his head,
sighing - he'd never understand.
"Lennert," Hawkins called out. "Come on - let's
get out of here." And he started for the stairs.
Brintle sat at his desk, staring down disdainfully
at the bowl of salad sitting before him. He glanced up at a green Usul who was
standing in front of him, rubbing her arms and shuffling from side-to-side nervously.
"You call this a salad?!" Brintle shouted,
motioning to the bowl of green lettuce before him. "This isn't a salad - where's
the toss?! It's obvious that this salad was not tossed! I sense no tossing here!
I asked for a tossed salad! And when I say 'tossed', I mean tossed - not 'chucked',
not 'slung' and not 'twirled', tossed!" Brintle picked up the bowl of un-tossed
salad and tossed (Oh come on! Like I could've used any other word!) it to the
Usul, who just barely managed to catch it. "Get out!" the white Blumaroo shouted,
pointing to the door, infuriated. "And don't come back until you learn to toss
The Usul turned and scurried out of the room,
sobbing pitifully. As she burst through the doorway, she just missed running
into Hawkins and Lennert as she turned hurried down the hallway in tears. Hawkins
watched her as she rounded the corner, then turned and entered Brintle's office,
striding right up to the Assistant Editor's desk and slapping the signed form
right on top.
"There!" Hawkins said, smiling proudly. "Mission
complete, sir!" The Kyrii stopped himself, thinking about what he'd just said.
"…Did I really just say that? Wow, I'm really getting too into this…"
Brintle looked down at the paper, nodding. "Very
good, Hawkeeners!!" He looked up at the two, frowning. "Hey, where's that other
guy? That green Pteri… thing?"
"Umm… Yeah…" Hawkins began, rubbing the back
of his head nervously. "See, he was sorta… captured by the cannibalistic pets
who live in the Catacombs…"
Brintle nodded understandingly, then gave a
shrug. "Ah well - it was bound to happen sooner or later, I guess. Frankly,
I think he had it coming." Brintle gave a sigh as he moved the signed form off
to the side, looking Hawkins straight in the eye. "However, I'm afraid we may
have a problem, Hoysers. You see, while you were gone, I hired a replacement
to take your place." The A.E. motioned towards Lennert, who was standing just
off to the side leaning against a bookcase.
Hawkins glanced over at Lennert, his brow furled
and his mouth agape in a type of surprised confusion. "…What?!" He turned back
to Brintle. "But, that doesn't make any sense! I was only gone for five hours!
And anyways, I was out doing something you told me to do!"
Brintle gave another weak shrug in response.
"What can I do? I mean, he's really amazing - he's made such great changes to
this place in the short time he's been here!"
"Like… He picked up the pen I dropped on the
floor! I know you wouldn't have done that, would you Hookins? No, you wouldn't
have! But Lennert did!"
'Hookins' rolled his eyes. "Oh yeah, you get
his name right…"
"But look, I think I've got a solution to this!"
Brintle continued, not catching Hawkins' last comment. "We'll just see which
of you is the better writer! Whichever one has written the better piece will
get the job!" He turned to Lennert. "Okay, Lennert, let's see the article you
Lennert nodded. "Yes."
Brintle blinked. "…What? No, your article! The
one you were supposed to write as a food critic? Critiquing all the local restaurants
and the food they served?"
"…I was supposed to write an article?"
The Blumaroo sighed, putting his face in his
paws. "Lennert, why did you think I sent you to all those restaurants and paid
for you to eat there?"
The Lenny shrugged. "I dunno - you gave me a
job and let me eat at places for free. I wasn't gonna question it."
Brintle shook his head sadly. "Lennert, I'm
afraid we can't have anyone working here who doesn't know what they're doing--"
"Then what're you doing here?" Hawkins piped
"What? I'm sorry, I didn't catch that."
Hawkins shook his head. "Nothing."
Brintle nodded, turning back to the Lenny. "Anyways,
as I was saying - I'm sorry, but I'm going to have to let you go."
Lennert continued to stare back blankly without
"…That means I'm firing you…"
"...That means you don't work here anymore."
"Aww!" A dejected look appeared on the Lenny's
face. He sighed. "Ah well." And with that, turned and shuffled towards the office
"Ahem!" Brintle stood up from his seat, reaching
out with his paw, palm up. "Your press pass, please."
Lennert stood with his back to the Blumroo for
a few seconds. Finally, he turned back towards him, squinting, with a deep fire
of determination burning in the Lenny's eyes. "You want it? You'll have to pry
it from my cold, dead wings," he replied calmly yet sternly, ready for a fight.
Brintle reached under his desk and pulled out
two large, gleaming swords. He held them, one in each paw, at the ready, prepared
to hop over the desk and cut Lennert to bits at any second. "How do you wanna
do this?" he asked steadily, a glint flashing in his eye and a smirk crawling
across his face.
The two pets stood there, solid and tense as
statues, eyes locked onto those of the other, with poor Hawkins standing between
them, caught in the middle of the stupidest stand-off in history - over a simple
press pass. The Kyrii glanced from Lennert to Brintle, finally putting his face
in his paws and sighing exasperatedly. "I'm never gonna make it home in time
for dinner at this rate…"
Back in the Catacombs…
It was time for the ceremony to begin.
A few scattered campfires burned about the cavern
- just enough to give the residents light. All of the crazy pets of the Catacombs
- about 25 or so - were gathered around in a big circle in the middle of the
large chamber; each of them held a lit, flaming torch. In the middle of the
circle stood a large, wooden pole surrounded by a huge mound of dried branches,
sticks, and other random pieces of wood; tied to the pole was a certain green
The blue Draik stood on the top of the pile
of wood next to the Pteri, waving his claws in the air and trying to get everyone's
attention. "Okay, people! Now, when I tell you to, we're going to light the
wood on fire and burn the Pteri!"
"Excuse me!" called out a blue Shoyru from the
group. "Umm, yeah, when're we going to be eating his flesh?"
The Draik sighed. "We aren't eating his flesh
- we're simply burning him alive and taking pleasure in his slow, incredibly
painful demise. Honestly, people, it's not that complicated!" He shook his head
sadly. "Anyways, go ahead and put on your party hats!"
"Hey, do I get a party hat?" the certain green
Pteri asked, straining to look over at the Draik with his wings tied behind
"You're the sacrificial Pteri," the Draik replied.
"You don't get a party hat."
"Aww… Why not?"
The Draik shrugged. "It's against the rules."
No party hats for sacrificial Pteris? Some rules
just don't make any sense…