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Neopia's Fill in the Blank News Source | 25th day of Hiding, Yr 21
The Neopian Times Week 50 > Continuing Series > Usuls Don't Snowboard: Part Four

Usuls Don't Snowboard: Part Four

by shelleylow

A Chance for Acceptance and Unexpected Sentiments

WITHIN THE SPACE of a few days my progress was rapid. J.J. was genuinely starting to look impressed as she watched me. Angel and Tokum, despite their misgivings, could not help looking proud. And as for me, I was quite over the moon. I had known from the minute I tried it that snowboarding was the thing I wanted to do and keep doing as long as I was able. We covered slopes on the other mountains as well, always taking care to keep out of sight of the others with Tokum and Angel acting as front and rear guards. Soon I was even covering expert level slopes with joyous ease. After the failure of so many days of attempted skiing I was reveling in the success of snowboarding. One day J.J. surprised me by passing me a flat, broad package wrapped in brown paper. I looked at her curiously.

     "What's this?"

     "A little present from me. You deserve it, every bit of it."

     A hope gripped me as I examined the parcel's shape and size. With trembling paws I tore open the wrapping and let out a squeal of joy.

Inside was a snowboard of my very own, coloured a cheery, sunny shade of butter-yellow. On the bottom was painted an intricate decoration of dark green prick-edged leaves intermixed with bright blood-red berries. The slots on the top of it were just the right size and shape for Usul feet.

     "Oh, J.J, it's beautiful!" Angel exclaimed. Tokum agreed. "It looks like it was made for her."

     "It was," J.J. said, grinning. "I made it for her."

     All three of us turned to her in shock.

     She laughed. "Yup, I make snowboards. I made my own when I was younger. My owner, the other pets and I own the snowboard shop down in Happy Valley. She taught me to snowboard, you know." We hadn't really imagined or pictured J.J. having an owner, being wild pets ourselves. It had only been the reopening of the Rainbow Fountain that had led to some of us getting painted.

     J.J. grinned at our faces. "Anyway, that's just the first surprise. I have one more." Angel looked at her suspiciously. "What's that?"

     "Well, the Happy Valley Snow Fest is a few weeks away yet, and at the rate Holly is going, she's shaping up to be a real expert. I even think we can start learning tricks tomorrow."

     I suppressed my second squeal of excitement that day but it must have shown on my face because J.J. beamed at me. "Yup, you heard right, Holly. Tricks tomorrow, at the halfpipe."

     "What does that have to do with the Snow Fest?" Tokum inquired.

     "I was getting to that. I signed Holly up for the beginners' snowboarding competition."

     "What!" all three of us shouted.

     "You're right, I did. Hollyfrost Snowpaw, that's your name isn't it?"

     "Yes, J.J, but do you really think I can do it?"

     "Of course I do! You'll wipe them all off the charts!"

     "But J.J," Angel protested, "what about Holly's parents? They're going to be there. The whole Usullyrn will be there, to compete in the ski events!"

     "Yes, Angel, I know. In fact that's another reason I signed Holly up. When her parents see her completely rocking out there, they'll have to be impressed. They might even give boarding the OK! It's foolproof!"

     "Well…" Angel still seemed doubtful. "Holly, do you think your parents will buy it?"

     "Yes!" I yelled, without even thinking about what would happen if the whole plot backfired. I also happened to be thinking of what Chillbane would think once he saw me in my true element. "They'll have to! If I do win, can you imagine?"

     "Yup," J.J. laughed. "Which means we gotta lot of training to do."

     "Right! Let's get started!"

     "You know," said Tokum thoughtfully, "how about we have a little party tomorrow night on the snow, just to celebrate?"

     "Well, Toke, it is worth celebrating that Holly's finally gonna get some respect around the Usullyrn," J.J. agreed. "I'll ask my owner. Let's each of us bring some snacks and we'll meet each other at usual spot at the foot of Kabuggles, say, a bit after sunset."

     "Holly," whispered a voice, making me nearly jump out of my fur. "What took you?" I looked round to see a lone figure approaching. It was Tokum. He was carrying a box of Snow Puffs in one paw and his skis poles in the other. His skis were on his feet.

     "Don't scare me like that," I hissed back. "And why are you still here too?"

     "Angel went on. I told her to find J.J. and tell her I was waiting for you."

     "I know how to get to Kabuggles, Tokum."

     "I thought you might want company."

     "You thought I might-"

     "Come on, Holly, they're waiting." I might have argued more, but something in his manner stopped me. "Well… all right, I guess."

     "Can you board all right with that pizza?"

     "I can manage. Let's go."

     We skied and boarded off together, easily keeping pace with each other. I actually found myself, to my surprise, grateful that he had waited. His presence was comforting, somehow. We slid in silence for several minutes and finally boarded Blue Lulu and headed up together. The chair was a simple mechanical structure that never stopped moving.

     "I really admire what you've been doing," he said finally.


     "Well, Holly, let me be honest with you. I want to learn how to board."

     "Well then, why don't you?"

     "Because... because I heard you telling. About the Usullyrn and what they'd think. And I got scared, Holly. Scared of being banished, ostracised, shunned, everything. I don't dare learn for the consequences." He turned to face me. "But you! You're purposely doing something you know they won't approve of for the sake of something you love to do. And that's really showing me how much you love doing it. I really respect that, Holly."

     I felt very hot all of a sudden, and annoyed with myself because of it, but all too soon the chair had reached the top overlooking Kabuggles. We went the rest of the way in silence, met J.J. And Angel, and at last sat down to eat. For some reason I kept thinking about the things he had said on the chair the entire night.

To be continued...

Previous Episodes

Usuls Don't Snowboard: Part One

Usuls Don't Snowboard: Part Two

Usuls Don't Snowboard: Part Three

Usuls Don't Snowboard: Part Five

Usuls Don't Snowboard: Part Six

Usuls Don't Snowboard II: The Ridge of the Vanishing Usuls - Part One

Usuls Don't Snowboard II: The Ridge of the Vanishing Usuls - Part Two

Usuls Don't Snowboard II: The Ridge of the Vanishing Usuls - Part Three

Usuls Don't Snowboard II: The Ridge of the Vanishing Usuls - Part Four

Usuls Don't Snowboard II: The Ridge of the Vanishing Usuls - Part Five

Usuls Don't Snowboard II: The Ridge of the Vanishing Usuls - Part Six

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