Chet Flash wuz here Circulation: 164,193,775 Issue: 173 | 14th day of Sleeping, Y7
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Frozen Hearts


by worldcool

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It was one of those typical Terror Mountain mornings. Fresh air that nearly condensed with its chill, snowy plains that blindingly glittered in the morning sun, shreds of foggy clouds that enveloped the mountain tops. Taelia sighed with pleasure as she ploughed through the snow on her usual morning walk. Her stance was casual, her billowing furry robe pulled tight against the cold, her feathery wings occasionally giving a happy flap and a somewhat wintry smile playing around her pale lips. Her icy blue eyes darted around, forever guarding her precious mountain, but this was the only thing about her that hinted of tension. She loved her morning strolls, and though she did them every day, she always took them in fully. There was nothing she loved more than feeling her foot sink into the icy snow, feeling a chilly breeze slap her face and wake her up, and best of all, seeing all those glimmering, shimmering snowy plains that spread out as far as the eye could see, rising into mountains, diving into valleys. She sighed once more, her eyes closing with the sheer joy of it all.

She had been trudging along for a while now, traveling pretty far from her icy house, and the sun was steadily beginning to climb. She glanced up at it, frowning, before halting. The sun was not something she favored, so she decided to wheel around and return to her home right away. Pulling up the furry folds of her robe, she turned with slight difficulty, having to take huge steps to fully get round.

"Someone had better come asking for a quest," she murmured under her breath. "I'm practically starving, but my money for food has run out…" Covering her raven tresses with her hood she set off again, her bulky frame hunched from the sun.

She was halfway to her house, having just passed the Garage Sale, when the sun disappeared. It disappeared quickly, plunged beneath the clouds and left Taelia in darkness. Confused, and slightly wary, she looked up, spotting the enormous, stormy-grey clouds covering the sky. As the first icy cold drops of snow fell on her she groaned loudly, wings quivering in frustration. These weren't fluffy, innocent little snowflakes, but rough, angry little pebbles of ice.

"A snowstorm, oh great…" The ice fairy attempted to cover her head with her hood even more, without result, knowing that on the top of the mountain the snowstorms could be nasty. Shivering now, although she usually didn't mind the cold, she tried to start walking again, but the wind was picking up with fierce determination and almost blew her back. Snow was whipping her face, and all around her the loud howling and screaming of the storm was the only thing to be heard. Struggling, she wrapped her cloak harder around her, its wooly insides seemingly doing nothing to warm her up.

"Help!" she yelled to no one in particular, her cry disappearing amidst the whirling rage of snow and wind. She'd been in snowstorms before, but none this severe. She started getting slightly traumatized, and although she tried her hardest not to panic, her resolution to remain calm soon broke into pieces. She threw herself dramatically on the ground; eyes closed against the bitter gusts, and fought her way through the squall, crawling along on all four so that she didn't blow away. Her pale face crumbled with angry tears, and the blustery weather tore at her clothes and hair so strongly that she was positive she would be ripped apart and be no more.

"Great Fayore, what have I done to deserve this?" she mumbled, sniffling into the icy ground, face buried in the snow. "I shall die here, in the mountains I once loved, killed by the snow that I was so loyal to…what shall become of me? Death, that's what…"

In one last desperate gesture, she pulled herself forwards, grabbing the ledges of some rock underneath the snow and pulling herself up, up, away from the storm. She just wanted to come home. She gave one last tug, feeling her robe rip on some sharp edge, and then just lay there, letting a swirling, stifling blackness swallow her up…

*

"Taelia."

Thalia lay still, not wanting to move. The ground was soft, and she was feeling incredibly warm inside, something she had not cherished for ages. Although her mind stirred, feeling as though she was awakening from a dream, her frozen limbs didn't budge.

"Taelia!"

She grew dimly aware of a voice, far away, in another world, another dimension, another eternity. She twitched her foot slightly, but did nothing else. Why would she even worry?

"Taelia!"

Now she could sense impatience in the voice. Dangerous impatience, like impatience just before a person reaches breaking point. She also sensed the voice being strict and powerful, and she felt a kind of desperate willingness to obey it. So she blinked, forcing her stiff eyelids open and exercising them. They snapped open so quickly that she felt dizzy and disorientated at first. Then she tried opening her eyes again, because she wasn't sure if she had the first time; all around her was pitch-black.

"Over here, Taelia."

The voice sounded calmer, but still demanding. Taelia recognized it coming from the other side, so very slowly and painfully, she turned over. When she did, she immediately shut her eyes. On the other side the darkness was eliminated by a blinding, horribly bright light that was unbearable to look at.

"Taelia, open your eyes. I am not going to hurt you."

Taelia let her eyes open a tiny bit, and squinted at the light. It seemed less bright now, maybe because the voice's anger seemed to have mostly disappeared, so she opened her eyes fully, this time feeling no need to shut them. She looked suspiciously at the light, opening her mouth and managing to speak despite her giddy state.

"What are you, a Light Faerie?" she asked huskily, doubting her question even as she spoke it; the light was a ghastly silver rather than the warm yellow of a Light Faerie. She could almost hear the voice shake its head.

"No. Not a Faerie."

That was all it said. Taelia was puzzled, but not so much as scared now. The voice was surprisingly like the gruff bark of a Lupe, and immediately a horrible image of the feared Balthazar came to her mind. Had he traveled here to catch her; a trophy among the other common Faeries? Was he carrying a light so she should not recognize him? This thought seemed so likely that she flapped her wings violently and flew to her feet, stumbled a bit, but soon stood straight.

"What do you wish to do with me?" she thundered, an icy storm brewing from the midst of her cupped hands. Just as she was about to shoot the ice beam, however, she fell to the ground, weakened. The voice seemed calm.

"Do not expose yourself to the cold just yet, Taelia," it advised her. "I know I must seem suspicious to you, but you must understand that I want nothing more than to help you." Taelia scoffed at this, but she didn't do anymore; she was both afraid and weak, and decided to just let this creature speak before she attacked again. There was a pause, and the silence filled the unfamiliar area like gas before the voice spoke again, hesitantly this time. "I suppose I must reveal myself to you to gain your trust, Taelia. But when I do I ask you do believe me and do as I say to help you get home."

This sounded like a fair deal to Taelia, so she nodded faintly, and soon the light was beginning to fade. It didn't fade completely; it seemed to be part of the creature, but it faded enough for her to see what it was.

When she saw the figure standing before her clearly now she knew that she had been right; it was a Lupe, however not Balthazar. The Lupe was big and burly, mighty and powerful in appearance, but there was something strange about it. It was sort of transparent and seemed to forever float off in the distance, as though it was made up of smoke. But most horrific was its eyes. They were large and blood-red. They pierced her like arrows, made her feel even weaker and frozen. A shudder was sent down her back as she realized who she was looking at.

"The Ghost Lupe?" She almost spat it out, stuttering and disbelieving. She crawled backwards in horror, her ice blue eyes staying on the strange Lupe before her. "How can you help me? You're in the Gallery of Evil! You…you're evil!"

These words had a devastating effect on the Ghost Lupe. He suddenly lost his power, he seemed to almost shrink, and his deadly eyes grew sad. He hung his nuzzle in loneliness for a moment, but then glared back at Taelia. A low and throaty growl rang through the area.

"I shall never forgive them for putting me in there. I am a fine knight; only to be feared when I am angry." He paused, and Taelia could suddenly recognize the nobility he spoke of. He was a beautiful creature, really; his fur shone with the brightness of the moon, his eyes with the warmth of the sun, and he seemed to contain the very essence of the wind and the making of the earth. Taelia sighed, and shook her head, crawling forwards again.

"I…I'm sorry."

The Ghost Lupe glanced at her. His rage and sorrow both seemed to have calmed down. His tail swished as he took a few paces forwards. For being a mere Neopet, he was much bigger than Taelia, and she couldn't help but shiver even though she knew he wasn't to hurt her.

"That's alright. I can understand where your view is coming from." There was a slight misery in his words, but he did his best to be brave. Taelia nodded, starting to feel dizzy and feeble again. "Now, Taelia- listen closely. I want you to follow me…don't let go…follow…me…."

His voice dimmed out, and Taelia felt herself lose consciousness. The warmth inside her died, and she was filled with cold again. Her vision was once again obscured by blackness, and she felt herself slowly drift away…

*

"E-excuse me, Miss Taelia?"

Taelia awoke with a jerk. She felt surprisingly warm and comfortable, although dizzy and perplexed. She shook her head, bewildered, and focused her vision on the timid-looking red Yurble in front of her. She couldn't grasp the present very well at all, what covered her mind was just a feeling of struggle and something in front of her that was the only thing that kept her going…a shining light it was, bright and fine…

"What?" she slurred to the Neopet in front of her. It looked alarmed.

"Um, well, I wondered…could I ask for a quest?"

Taelia felt weak and confused. "A quest?" she asked no one in particular, putting a pale hand on her cold forehead and falling back on the sofa she was sitting in. She couldn't remember anything very well. The Yurble looked very nervous now.

"Yes. A quest, you know, when I get you something and you give me something in return…"

Taelia still felt clueless. She didn't rise from her position, just closed her eyes painfully in an attempt to still the constant pounding in her head. "Get me some hot soup then," she ordered indistinctly. "The Soup Faerie will give you some, she's my friend…"

It was only when the Yurble had (somewhat surprised) scurried away that she opened her eyes again. Everything was just a blur. Only the light remained clearly in her memory. She sighed, rubbing her temples. Somehow she felt as though she had died and then relived again.

The howling of the wind suddenly caused her head to jerk upwards. When she saw the flailing snowflakes outside, everything suddenly came back to her. The storm, the struggling, the coldness…she remembered it all with a shudder, and hoped with all her might that the soup would come soon as she snuggled deeper into her warm robe. She vaguely noticed that it was torn at the hem.

"How did I get back here?" she muttered with a sigh. "I can't remember anything about that…"

Giving up on trying to recollect she settled down in the sofa, gaze falling out of the window. Night time, she noted. The moon was shining, full and shimmering, together with the stars. She closed her eyes as she waited, and heard the howl of a Lupe…it sounded ghastly, spooky, yet familiar…she exhaled, letting sleep come to her again.

The End

 
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