The Snow Faerie's Quest: Part One
"You missed me!”
Sammy crouched behind a huge pile of snow. The young Shoyru quickly grabbed a handful of the white fluff around him and shaped it into a ball. He set it aside, and began to make a few more. He couldn’t let Jack win this time.
“Do you give up?” he heard Jack yell from across the street. Sammy glanced up, peering over the snow pile. Jack, his Yurble friend, was hanging from the branch of a large tree that sat in front of their neighbor Miss Galley’s house. There was a mound of perfectly round snowballs by his feet. “If you don’t hit me soon, then I’ll be the winner of this snowball fight!” Jack called out to him, laughing in delight.
Sammy would not let Jack be the winner of this fight. Jack was a year older than Sammy, so the Yurble loved to boast that he was the best at everything they did. They lived in Terror Mountain, so the weather was always perfect for snow games. Usually, Jack was the champion at whatever they played. But this time, Sammy was determined to beat him in the fight. If only he could hit him with a snowball hard enough to knock him off of that branch…
Sammy launched one of the snowballs towards Jack. It hit the tree trunk next to him. “You missed again!” Jack gloated and dropped to the ground. He scooped up a few of the snowballs by his feet and started running towards Sammy. The Shoyru gasped and quickly collected as many of his own snowballs as he could hold, and he dashed away from his protective snow wall, out into the open. He was no longer protected, but maybe he could get a better angle to smack his friend with a snowball or two.
Suddenly, he saw a blur of white coming his way. He ducked his head, and Jack’s launched snowball went right over him. “Ha! You can’t hit me, either!” Sammy smirked. He turned over to where Jack was standing, expecting another snowball to come his way, but instead there was a look of dismay on his face. “What’s your problem?” Sammy taunted. “Are you shocked that you couldn’t hit me?”
But Jack didn’t say a word, and his expression didn’t change. His eyes grew even wider, and he lifted up one hand to point at something that was behind Sammy. Sammy swallowed nervously, afraid to turn around to see what his friend was pointing at. But before he could even move his body, he heard a loud shrill behind him.
“YOU BOYS ARE IN BIG TROUBLE!” the voice shrieked. Sammy spun around to see their neighbor, Miss Galley, standing on her front porch. Miss Galley was an elderly Ixi who had been living in the neighborhood for as long as anyone could remember. She was known for sitting on her porch knitting and scowling at the young Neopets who played around on the streets. The older Neopians insisted that she was kind-hearted under her wrinkly scowls and sharp remarks, but Sammy thought she was just an old grouch with nothing better to do than criticize him and his friends.
Miss Galley was wiping something off of her face, something that looked quite similar to the blur of white that had whizzed above Sammy’s head just a few moments before. Jack’s snowball had hit her right in the face! No wonder Jack had been looking horrified.
“You boys get over here, right now!” Miss Galley spat angrily. Sammy glanced at Jack nervously, took a deep breath, and led the way across the street and into Miss Galley’s yard. His feet felt like they weighed thirty tons, but he forced them to keep stepping closer and closer to where Miss Galley stood on her porch. He knew that she was angry at them, but he didn’t want to see just how furious she would be if they didn’t follow her orders. After what felt like an hour of walking, Sammy and Jack were standing right in front of the old Ixi.
By now, Miss Galley had finished wiping the snow from her face. The remains of the snowball were in her hand, melting slowly. She held it out for the two boys to see. “How could you be so careless?” Miss Galley screeched at them. Sammy noticed that Jack hung his head down low, avoiding any eye contact. Sammy took a deep breath, knowing that he was going to have to be the one to apologize.
“We’re really sorry, Miss Galley,” he started to say. “We really didn’t mean for it to hit you, or even come anywhere near you!” Miss Galley didn’t say a word, but continued to scowl menacingly at them. Sammy felt nervous at the uncomfortable silence. “It won’t happen again!” he assured her, and took a step backwards, hoping to leave without getting in any trouble. “Have a nice da-”
“Oh, no you don’t,” Miss Galley growled. “You boys aren’t leaving just yet. You two are going to have to do something to make up for your rowdiness and carelessness!”
Sammy heard Jack groan. He shot his friend a look, warning him not to complain. If Miss Galley thought that they were making a fuss over a punishment, she might decide to make it even harsher.
“What’s our punishment?” Sammy sighed, trying his best not to sound nervous.
Miss Galley suddenly smiled wickedly. “Oh, I don’t consider this to be a punishment,” she laughed. “It might seem like a punishment to you ungrateful, entitled young’uns, but I want to make sure that you boys learn a lesson! I want you two to be able to learn the value of service towards others!” Sammy and Jack glanced at each other, wondering what in the world their elderly neighbor was talking about. She continued, “You boys are going to complete a quest for an old friend of mine: Taelia, the Snow Faerie!”
“What?!” Jack burst out. “That has nothing at all to do with accidentally hitting you with a snowball! We were just playing around; why do we have to complete a quest for a faerie?”
“You should be more grateful,” Miss Galley scowled again. “I could have punished you however I liked, but instead I’m letting you off easy by doing a good deed for someone else.”
Sammy bit his lip so that he wouldn’t complain like Jack had. He agreed with his friend; why did they have to complete a quest for Taelia just because of a misfired snowball at their neighbor? Sammy had heard stories about Neopets who volunteered their time to complete quests for the Snow Faerie. It sounded boring and even very difficult, especially when an item she wanted was seemingly impossible to find. Sammy had never met Taelia, but what if she was just as much of a grouch as Miss Galley and made them hunt down dozens of items that they would spend all week trying to find?
But Sammy knew he could not argue. If he did, he would risk receiving an even harder task from Miss Galley. “Okay, we’ll do it,” he replied sullenly. Jack opened his mouth to object, but Sammy elbowed him in order to silence him.
“Good,” Miss Galley grunted. “No waiting around—go do that right now! And I’ll know if you didn’t because Taelia will tell me so!” Without waiting for a response, she spun around and made her way back into her house and out of sight.
Jack pushed Sammy’s shoulder angrily. “Why did you tell her we’ll do it?” he demanded.
“I didn’t want to risk getting a harsher task!” Sammy explained. “I don’t want to do it either, but we may as well just get it over with, and never go near Miss Galley’s house ever again.” Jack grumbled at him, unwilling to argue even more. “Well, let’s go find Taelia, I guess,” Sammy said.
The pair of friends made their way down their street and out of their neighborhood. They traveled around Terror Mountain occasionally, though they preferred to play with each other near their own homes. Taelia lived at the very top of the mountain, so they had to travel through the Ice Caves in order to get there. It had been a while since they last journeyed through those parts. Sammy wished that he could fly for part of the trip in order to make it faster, but Jack was a Yurble and did not have wings, so he did not want to leave his friend behind. The two pressed onwards, arriving in Ice Caves before very long.
The town was covered completely in ice, unlike the snow covered hills in Happy Valley and their neighborhood near it. There was a beautiful crystal shop in the center of the town, and Sammy noticed a pair of Bori sliding down an icy trail with their petpets. “Why don’t we ever come here more often?” Sammy asked. “It looks kind of fun to be able to slide around all the ice.”
“Are you crazy?” Jack said. “I’d avoid this part of Terror Mountain entirely if we didn’t have to come this way to get to Taelia’s home!”
“Why?” Sammy asked, puzzled as to why his friend was so quick to dismiss the notion of playing here.
“Because of THAT, that’s why.”
Jack pointed in front of them. Nearby, there was a giant cave made entirely of ice. The inside was so dark that Sammy could not see what it contained.
“What is it?” Sammy inquired.
“The Snowager’s cave,” Jack replied knowingly. “Haven’t you heard of it?” When Sammy shook his head, Jack explained. “The Snowager is a giant worm, no, a MASSIVE worm, made entirely of ice. Seriously, it’s huge; it’s probably at least twenty times bigger than you or me. It guards a pile of rare treasure that it has collected, and it blasts shards of ice from its mouth if anyone goes near it!”
Sammy snorted in disbelief. “A giant ice worm? Guarding rare items? Stop listening to faerie tales, Jack.”
“No, seriously!” Jack insisted. “Sometimes Neopets go inside to try to steal an item while the Snowager is sleeping. If they are quiet enough, they can escape with some treasure. If it wakes up, well…hopefully they are fast enough to escape the cave before the Snowager sees them…”
As if on cue, a scream echoed from within the cave. A moment later, a Kougra bounded out of the cave, eyes wide in terror. The Kougra came to a halt outside of the cave, trying to catch its breath, before sprinting off a few seconds later.
“See?” Jack said with a touch of fear in his voice. “That Kougra wasn’t successful in stealing treasure, but he made it out without getting blasted.”
Sammy did not know what to say in response. Could Jack’s tale about the Snowager really be true? He wasn’t sure that he wanted to find out. “Let’s go,” Sammy finally said. “Taelia’s home is right up ahead.”
The two friends found themselves in front of a large, snow-covered dome. They approached the door in unison, and Sammy reached his hand out to knock. After a few moments, the door swung open, revealing the face of the beautiful faerie whom they had been hoping to find: Taelia!
“Are you two here to help me?” Taelia asked immediately.
“So much for saying hello,” Jack muttered under his breath. Sammy shot him a warning glance. They could not afford to mess up now, after coming all this way.
“Yes, we’d like to help you out on a quest,” Sammy answered Taelia. “We know that you’re very busy and we can help you find something that you need.”
“Ah, perfect!” Taelia exclaimed. “I actually do need something. I’ve been meaning to pick up a negg because it is the Negg Faerie Kari’s birthday tomorrow. Could you boys run off and find one for me? I think an Orange Negg would be best.” Sammy and Jack nodded, trying their best to look enthusiastic about the job. “Don’t keep me waiting for too long!” Taelia warned. “And promise me something—do not go anywhere near the Snowager’s cave in your search for this item!”
To be continued…