The Snow Kougra
Kira dashed out the door of the Soup Kitchen with her precious bundle in her hands. The bowl of soup was wrapped carefully to go and it kept her fingers warm through her threadbare gloves. The soup of the day was potato and sweetcorn, one of Kira's favorites. Usually the Soup Kitchen only gave out food to hungry Neopets, but there was one exception to that rule.
Three times a week children from the orphanage were allowed to volunteer at the Soup Kitchen handing out food to the neopets or cooking and cleaning. As a thank you, the Soup Faerie always made sure they left with one big bowl each. It was a nice change from the orphanage food which usually consisted of a lot of omelettes. It had been a busy day and Kira had stayed late after closing to help clean so the Soup Faerie gave her an extra big portion today.
As Kira rounded the corner of the Soup Kitchen building she paused, catching sight of a young Neopian with her four pets. The girl was crouched over her Kougra, stroking its head trying to comfort him while her other pets huddled around.
"I'm so sorry, Tai. We will come back first thing in the morning when they open again. We still have some omelette left at home. I'm sure not all of it is rotten." The girl fretted helplessly over her hungry pet.
Kira glanced down at her soup and back at the group of pets and their owner. She didn't need another second to decide what to do and so she marched up to the group.
"Excuse me... are you guys hungry? The Soup Faerie had one more bowl left and asked me to bring it to you." Kira held her wrapped soup out to the Neopian girl and watched as the Kougra's face lit up. The sight of his face breaking into a smile was worth more to Kira than pleasing her tastebuds tonight.
"Really?! Oh thank you so much, this is wonderful! We went to the omelette today but the piece we managed to get was rotten so we had to travel all the way here." The girl switched her attention to her Kougra with the growling stomach. "Here, Tai, look, we finally got some luck! Let's find a place to sit inside and eat." The five of them scampered off with renewed spirits, throwing many more thank yous back at Kira as they left. No one noticed the curtains fluttering in the window behind Kira's back as the Soup Faerie watched from inside.
It was a long hike from the Soup Kitchen back to the orphanage which lay at the base of Terror Mountain. The trek gave Kira plenty of time to think about all the cute pets she had met that day and served soup to. Unfortunately, it just fed her own desire to have a pet of her own. Neopets weren't allowed to live at the orphanage because there wasn't enough space for them so none of the children living there had a neopet to call their own.
Kira breathed a sigh of relief as she came up to the front gate of the large building she lived it with the other kids. It had begun snowing and she was chilled to her core. Closing the front door behind her, she made her way to the family room where a fire burned brightly in the stove. She held her hands out and warmed them in the glow. The sound of heavy footsteps coming down the stairs broke the silence in the house. A stampede of her housemates came running down them, shouting and laughing.
Tom, a boy just a year younger then Kira's age of fifteen paused at the door to the kitchen.
"Hey, Kira! You're back from the Soup Kitchen? Come play with us outside! It's snowing and we are going up the mountain to go sledding!" he called to her.
"Hi, Tom, sure! Just let me get another pair of gloves!" Kira raced up the stairs, grabbed her extra pair of fresh gloves and ran to catch up with the other kids.
Moments later they had made their way up the mountain and were taking turns sledding down a hill on the two sleds they had. Kira was having a great time with her friends but her mind kept wandering to earlier at the Soup Kitchen. She couldn't shake the image of the hungry Kougra that she gave her soup to. Kougras were her favorite neopet and she couldn't wait until she was old enough to move out and have one of her own.
Kira wandered off from the sledding, lost in thought and longing for a neopet. She crouched in the snow and began pushing it together between her hands, packing it tightly and building a mound of it. Maybe if she kept her hands busy, it would keep her from dwelling too intensely on her desire for a neopet. Minutes flew by and Kira lost feeling in her fingers from the cold long ago by the time she finally sat back and admired her work. In front of her stood a Kougra sculpted out of snow sitting proudly with a smile on its face. Its tail curled comfortably around its big paws. Its eyes and nose were a bit lifeless, as she didn't have anything to use to make them stand out. After studying her sculpture for a while, Kira was pleased with with how it turned out and she sat idly tracing the stripes she etched into the snow on its back.
A squeak sounded from Kira's lips and she jumped as three pieces of coal fell from the sky in front of her. She whipped her head up to look at the sky and was met by a woman's face. She had short jet black hair and her eyes and lips were outlined in an icy blue color. She wore a large blue fur coat that looked like it could keep anyone warm on the coldest of nights. Kira stared in wonder at the strange lady, unable to find words.
"Well? Aren't you going to finish your snow sculpture?" the woman asked expectantly.
"I... uh..." Kira looked down at the coal and picked them up, realization dawning on her that they were the eyes and nose to her Kougra. "Yes, thank you! But um... who are you?"
The woman smiled gently. "You can just call me Lia. Your Kougra is very beautiful. Why did you make it?" Lia asked as Kira adjusted the coal pieces on the Kougra's face carefully.
"I saw a Kougra today and they are my favorite neopet. I really wish I could have one but I can't so I thought I'd just make one out of snow," Kira answered solemnly.
"Why can't you have a neopet?" Lia asked gently.
"We aren't allowed to have them in the orphanage; there isn't enough room for every kid to have a pet so no one is allowed to have one."
Lia watched Kira carefully and thought for a moment. "Well, it's good that this one is made of snow then. She can live outside without any trouble. She wouldn't feel cold at all and you can come out to play with her every day.
Kira smiled sadly and played along. "Ah ha... yeah, we could... if she was real of course."
"May I add something to your sculpture?"
Kira looked up at the mysterious woman from her spot on the ground and nodded her head. Slowly, Lia reached into her pocket and pulled out some sort of jewelry. Carefully, she leaned forward and lay a flower and jewel circlet around the snow Kougra's forehead, muttering some words under her breath. She stood back for a moment and smiled as Kira stared in awe, before backing away from her. The flower and jewel circlet glittered beautifully in the sunlight, its colors reflecting the snow brilliantly.
"Wow..." Kira said breathlessly and turned around to thank Lia but the woman was gone. "What...?" Kira looked around frantically. No one could just disappear like that. Continuing to look around her for Lia, she noticed that there weren't even footprints in the snow where the woman had stood.
"Who are you looking for?" a voice called from behind her.
Kira squealed and fell back in the snow in surprise, rolling down the hill a little bit. She tumbled and scrambled, getting covered in cold snow. When she came to a halt she struggled to sit up and brushed snow from her face. Finally cleaning herself off she opened her eyes and let out another strangled yell. A snow Kougra sat at her feet patiently, its tail waving happily. Kira whipped her head around to where she had made her sculpture and found the spot empty. She stared again at the Kougra in front of her. It wore the flower and jewel circlet that Lia had put on her sculpture.
Slowly the Kougra took a step forward, causing Kira to scramble backward in disbelief while her mind tried to process what was really happening.
"What's your name?" the snow Kougra asked, pouncing forward before Kira could move farther away.
"K-Kira," she answered nervously. Slowly she reach a hand forward and tentatively touched the snow Kougra's head. She jerked in surprise when the Kougra let out a deep purr and pressed its head into her hand.
"What will my name be?" it asked between purrs.
"You don't have a name?"
"No, silly, you created me; you still have to give me a name!"
"You are really real? How? I made you out of snow! How is this happening?" Kira asked, finally getting a grasp on reality and accepting it.
"I think this jewelry is blessed by the Snow Faerie. I can feel power inside of it. Have you done any good deeds for a faerie lately? Who knows! Either way, I am yours now. Can we go play?"
Kira stared wide-eyed at the snow Kougra bouncing on her paws in front of her. "Sure. Can I call you Frostfur?"
"Of course you can, I love it!" Frostfur exclaimed and ran around Kira in a circle, flicking her tail under Kira's nose playfully.
"Hey! That was cold!!"
"Well, I am a snow Kougra, silly! C'mon, let's go!" Frostfur called as she bounded down the hilltop towards her new home.
Kira got to her feet shakily. Her fingers no longer felt cold. There was a warmth growing from the center of her chest and her joy swelled as she fully realized that she had her own neopet, her own friend to play, eat, adventure with and love. She was no longer alone and she could keep Frostfur without upsetting the orphanage rules. She couldn't fathom what she had done to deserve her most dearest wish to come true but she wasn't going to question it.
"Wait up, Frostfur!" she called as she ran off after her friend.
Inspired by my new snow Kougra that I adopted from the pound and in honor of Kougra Day. Thank you, VelKroz!