The Frozen Skeith - A Princess Airy Tale: Part One
The cliché idea of a princess being too dainty to go on adventures pushes Princess Airyeadrop (Airy) over the edge and she decides to leave home to seek her own adventures. Right away, she stumbles into one; a Scorchio is torching a village and needs to be stopped. However, when she finds the Scorchio, she finds that he’s a baby with cactus spines in his back that needs help. So, she pulls out each spine and is rewarded by a daring flying rescue from Towsier, the Baby Scorchio, when her parents’ guard tries to capture her to return her back home. This tale begins during that flight, what an adventure she shall have.
Despite being a Baby Scorchio, Towsier was actually capable of flying for long distances, which worked out for Princess Airy. She sat upon him, surveying the landscape and feeling such a sense of freedom it made her chest tighten. She’d always dreamed of flying, what with her being a Faerie Ixi and all, but until she received her powers, her wings were useless.
Towsier called up to her, “How are you doing up there?”
A laugh escaped her. “Great, how are you doing down there?” Towsier laughed back, but it wasn’t long before he began to circle the treetops, looking for a place to land. Each circle brought them closer to the bright green branches which seemed to be reaching for them until they found a small clearing. After doing a couple more circles to make sure that there wasn’t anything waiting for them, Towsier landed and Airy jumped off onto the ground.
“Oh my,” she gasped. “That was so exciting. You’re a really good flyer.” Towsier blushed and shyly looked at the ground, clearly not used to receiving compliments.
“Um, thanks for getting those spines out of my back.” He ruffled his wings to show that he was all better. After looking around at the clearing, he suddenly inquired, “Well, now what?”
Airy was startled at the question; she hadn’t really thought about it. Velcro yawned and stretched, digging his little claws into her back, and she fought the urge to shake him off. Not only did she now have a Kadoatie to share in her adventures, but it seemed that the young Scorchio wanted to join too. She wasn’t sure that she wanted that, but when she thought of the long night spent alone and in fear, she decided that she couldn’t say no to him.
“Well, I guess we need to find a new quest to accomplish. You were my first mission and now that you’re not bothering the village anymore, I’d say that it was successful.” She smiled and Towsier again blushed. Airy looked around at the surrounding forest and gave a slight shudder. The woods were dark and dense, filtering out the sunlight so that it only came through in slight streams here and there. Silence clung heavily to the air except for the occasional caw of some bird in the foliage and the wind moving through the tree limbs. It wasn’t a very inviting place.
“I think we need to find our way out of here,” she replied, gazing at the shadows lurking underneath the tree trunks and at the thick weeds that seemed to fill every available space.
Towsier looked uncomfortable and then announced, “I’m way too tired to fly anymore. Can we walk?”
“Looks like we’re going to have to,” she responded, which really was okay. Up until Towsier had taken her on the exhilarating flight, she had walked, so it wasn’t as if it were going to be something that she wasn’t used to. Walking shoulder to shoulder, they began their journey through the dark forest, each sharing the tale of their life up until this point. Towsier’s mom or dad had abandoned him upon creation and he’d been forced to fend for himself. He’d been doing okay until he landed in the cactus patch and then he had tried to get help but clearly, that had not gone too well. It made Airy realize that despite how smothering her parents were, they really did love her and were trying to do what they thought was best for her.
After sharing their life stories, they strode into another clearing to find a little cottage, squatting in the weeds with shuttered windows and a thatched roof. It would have been almost quaint in any other location, but here, it just seemed to ooze malevolence.
“Maybe they will have food,” Towsier barked excitedly, making Airy realize exactly how hungry she was. She was filled with misgivings but their hunger was overpowering, and so they walked up to the peeling door and knocked. The sound was hollow and empty, making the door seem as if it were really backed up against a wall. Airy had the feeling that no one was going to answer and though she was hungry, that was a relief.
As if to prove her wrong, the door opened a crack so that they could just make out the face of a sickly Green Quiggle in a dark black dress and a ring of black flowers on her head.
“What do you want?” she croaked darkly, eyeing them both suspiciously.
“Pardon us for bothering you but we are lost and hungry and were hoping that you would be willing to help us out.” Airy curtsied and smiled as politely as she possibly could.
“Why would I want to do that?” the Quiggle questioned, something in her voice suggesting that she already had a reason but wanted to see what they would come up with. The two looked at each other, seeking an answer to her question, but neither one could really think up a good one.
Finally Airy turned to her and offered up, “Helping us out would be the right thing to do and would be very helpful.”
“I don’t help Neopians out of the goodness of my heart,” the Quiggle scoffed, then shrugged her shoulders. “Tell you what, come in for some milk and chocolate covered Mortog legs and we’ll discuss what you can do for me for my help.” Airy tried to hide her revulsion, Mortog legs? She’d had friends that had been transformed from Mortogs but she knew that beggars cannot be choosers so she nodded her head and followed the Quiggle through the now fully open door. Towsier followed her but she could feel his hesitance to do so; he didn’t like the Quiggle and neither did she.
The cottage appeared small from the outside, but was actually very grandiose. The Quiggle lead them into the main living room which had a lush flowered couch and an ornate coffee table next to a beautiful china cabinet filled with expensive dishware. It wasn’t what they were expecting from the humble outside or from the Quiggle.
She noticed them looking around in awe at her splendor and laughed. “Just because I look poor doesn’t mean that I am.” Airy wanted to argue that it wasn’t about looking poor; it was that it didn’t look big enough to house the living room, much less any other rooms, but she didn’t want to offend the green Neopian. The Quiggle disappeared through another doorway and returned with a tray laden with three cups and a plateful of what looked to be chocolate cookies.
“Help yourself,” she offered as she set the tray on the table and sat in an oversized armchair next to the couch. After taking one of the chocolate goodies, she introduced herself. “My name is Calucilo and not many folks pass this way. Who are you and why is that you’ve chanced into my neck of the woods?”
“Well, I’m Airy and this is my friend, Towsier. We were flying around and got disoriented, so we landed in a clearing a ways from here. We would have continued flying, but my dear friend is exhausted, so it just isn’t possible that we continue in that manner.” Airy was careful to leave out the fact that she was a princess and that they were fleeing from the royal guard. Either Towsier didn’t want to talk or he didn’t want to mess up her version of the tale because he didn’t add a word in.
“Ah, sounds very exciting. Have a chocolate covered Mortog leg,” she urged, pushing the tray towards them. Towsier looked slightly ill and Airy took a deep breath before reaching forward and taking one. Trying not to think about it, she bit into the crispy treat and was pleasantly surprised. It tasted just like a cookie with no hint of Mortog at all. Not that she knew what a Mortog’s leg tasted like to compare it to, but still, it wasn’t what she was expecting.
The Quiggle continued, “Now that I’ve fed you, I would like some of your help. Once you help me out, I will set you on your way in the right direction to wherever you’re heading.” Airy balked at that thought, she didn’t know where they were heading so what was the right direction. Calucilo either didn’t notice her start or chose to ignore it because she continued, “There is a plant out in the woods called “Blue Fan Flower” that only grows near the cave of the Forest Skeith. The problem is that there are petpets that scream when it is plucked and wakes up the Skeith. He doesn’t like to be woken up. I need some of that blossom for a potion that I’m putting together. If you can get me that weed, I will give you my aid.”
Towsier seemed far from excited at the idea but Airy was confident that they could do it. After all, she’d been terrified of saving a village from a fiery Scorchio and look how that had gone down. Perhaps the Skeith was simply as misunderstood as her new friend. If so, it would be another easy adventure set down for her to brag about to her parents.
“We will do it,” she announced and then added, “Just point us in the right direction.”
A smile, almost cruel, curved across the Quiggle’s features. “Good,” she purred, “That’s what I hoped to hear.”
To be continued...