For an easier life Circulation: 102,975,150 Issue: 203 | 12th day of Hiding, Y7
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Saving A Life


by dudettijr

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"Alright guys, let's start from the beginning. Everyone pick a partner!" the Flotsam lifeguard called out. Megan, a shy but gentle and kind Maraquan Kau, immediately stepped beside Miriam, a strong-willed fun-loving Island Koi. The two had grown up together and were the pets of two very close friends (hence their 'M' starting names and three-letter K species). They were indeed opposites - but like everyone says, opposites attract!

      The two had been enrolled in one of the advanced water lifesaving courses, led by the one and only infamous Flotsam lifeguard. Everyone called her Miss, or Miss Lifeguard. No one knew her real name. Right now, she looked at her class to see if anyone was left over. Thankfully, there was an even number of students.

      "Okay then, choose a victim and a rescuer between yourselves. Then begin from the first step," she instructed. Miriam, being sly and agile, quickly appointed Megan rescuer and promptly lay down on the sand, looking up at the blue clouds.

      "Area check…" Megan whispered softly. "No fire, no wire, no gas, no glass." She smiled and then moved on, walking around Miriam's body twice, yelling at her to see if she was just asleep. The Koi smiled as she adjusted the flower on her head, and paid no attention to Megan, pretending to be unconscious. Megan got down on her knees and tapped the ground beside Miriam's ears. "Hello, hello?! Are you asleep?" she asked. In the background, many other voices and fits of laughter could be heard from the other pupils. Miriam smiled at her friend, who had now "opened her airway". Megan weakly smiled back, and then continued. "One one thousand, two one thousand, three one thousand…nine one thousand, ten one thousand!" She lightly pinched the victim's nose and pretended to give Miriam two breaths. After that, she counted to ten once more while listening and looking to see if she was breathing.

      Miriam chuckled and said loudly, "Megan, you forgot to check my pulse for ten seconds!" The Kau's face flushed red and she backtracked a step to check the pulse. She often forgot to do that, and Miriam couldn't help teasing her for it. Soon they were finished with the CPR and breathing session and went on to ice safety.

      "Okay, who can tell me what not to do if you break through ice and fall into the water?" Miss Flotsam asked. Several hands, including Miriam's, shot up. "Go ahead, Miriam." Miss Lifeguard favoured Miriam, since she was the only Koi in the class, of a native water species and she was particularly good in swimming and life guarding too, with Megan close behind, although Megan was but another charge for her.

      "You shouldn't freak out, you should stay calm. And blow your whistle, since you're always supposed to bring a whistle with you if you're going to go on ice," Miriam stated proudly. Miss Lifeguard nodded.

      "Yes, the young Koi is correct. Now, what should you do next?" Megan timidly raised her hand, after Miriam elbowed her. Miss Lifeguard pointed at her. "The Maraquan Kau over there," she clarified.

      "You should try to break the ice around you by hacking away at it," she said, her voice very soft and nervous. The certified lifeguard and the other students strained their necks to catch her words.

      "Would you repeat that please, young one?" asked Miss Lifeguard, a little grin playing about on her face. Megan shrank under her gaze and Miriam quickly answered for her,

      "She said you should try to break the ice around you by hacking away at it, Miss." Megan's eyes thanked her silently, and Miriam winked.

      "And then?" the Flotsam prompted. Another student, a blue Jetsam, spoke up.

      "Then you kick with your legs to keep yourself on the surface and then slowly climb onto the ice, still lying down to spread out the weight, so that you won't fall in again," he recited. The lifeguard nodded.

      "Next you roll towards the shore still lying down and if you fall again you just try that all over another time, and so on," Miriam piped up. The lesson weaned on, and after another tiring hour, their owners came to pick them up. Before they left, Miriam was presented a plaque which said, 'Best Youth Lifeguard Award of the Class' and an official certificate. Megan also received the official certificate (which certifies that they had passed the level and were somewhat a lifeguard) but no plaque. She was extremely happy for her friend, but was secretly discouraged at the fact that she had excelled so well while she had not.

      "Megan, want to go with me to Happy Valley? My owner wants me to do some quests for Taelia, but I can play around a bit before heading up the mountain," Miriam's bold voice said, shattering her thoughts. The Kau quickly shook out of it and nodded.

      "Let's go home and get prepared first, Miriam," she suggested, turning around to follow their owners back home. The Koi grabbed her arm to stop her.

      "Nah, we don't need anything, just ourselves. Our inborn insulators will help us keep warm," she said impatiently. "Let's go, I want to go see the Bruces skate and then we can skate too, after the program." Megan yanked her arm away.

      "Miriam, come on! Don't you remember all our classes? We have to always dress warmly when we go out in the cold or else we could get hypothermia - Sneezles, D'achoo, Kikoughela, and the Neo Flu, too!! Just to be safe, Miriam, come on," she coaxed. Miriam sighed.

      "Ok, look, if you want to waste your time getting a jacket, then fine. Hurry up, I'll wait for you over there at the bench," she said, indicating a nice wooden bench underneath a shady tree. It was a nice day on Mystery Island, and Miriam relaxed and took a rest as Megan made her way home to get dressed.

      Only after nearly half an hour did Megan return. When she did, Miriam could barely recognize her. The reason why she took so long was extremely obvious, and Miriam rushed to her friend's side.

      "Megan, what have you done to yourself?!" she cried, sitting her down on the bench and unzipping her outer wool coat. Megan grunted and reached to pull the zipper back up. She mumbled something, and the Island Koi looked at her weirdly. "Pardon?" Megan wriggled her head out of a toque and said loudly,

      "I said, I got very warmly dressed! Now can we go? I'm getting really stuffy in here!" Miriam looked at her strangely, and then laughed.

      "Oh, for Heavens' sake, take off a couple layers, will you?! It's not that cold up there! It's just eight times colder than it is here, and Megan, you only need one warm coat. I don't even absolutely NEED one. Here, let me help you," Miriam offered, still laughing. Megan hesitated, and then immediately squirmed out of a jacket. Miriam grinned evilly and attacked her head, yanking off hundreds of earmuffs and hats. Soon Megan's clothing was reduced to two sweaters and a woollen coat, one warm hat, one pair of earmuffs and water-proof mittens. The Island Koi wiped a drop of sweat off her forehead.

      "Boy, Megan, do you dress like that every time you go up to the mountain? Wow…"

      "Well…no, but this time we're staying longer than usual…" Megan whispered nervously. Miriam giggled and patted her friend on her back.

      "Well, come on, let's go. We should have been gone a while ago."

      The moment the two friends arrived at the cold, windy but extremely joyous town of Happy Valley, the Island Koi rushed to the slushie store. Before Megan could reach her she appeared back outside, with two Bubble Gum Slushies. Miriam motioned for her to come over and handed her one while she slurped her own. The Kau examined it slowly, and then made a face.

      "Miriam, remember? I can't and don't eat or drink anything to do with Bubble Gum. My allergy…?" she reminded her friend. Miriam's eyebrows went up and she nodded.

      "Right, right! I almost forgot. Here." In seconds Miriam had snatched the drink from Megan's hands, went back inside the store, and came out again, this time with a Pineapple Slushie. Megan nodded at her thankfully and sipped her drink, savouring the wonderful taste. It was cold, of course, but with her clothing on, it felt like drinking lemonade in the summertime. Before she could take another sip, however, Miriam had finished and was dragging her towards the ice rink.

      "Come on, the show's gonna start soon! Hey, there's my cousin!" Miriam cried. She let go of Megan's arm and ran towards an Electric Bruce. The Maraquan Kau looked after her, and then sighed. She found two empty seats in the stands and resumed sipping her drink, waiting for the Koi to return. But the show started - and Miriam still wasn't there! Megan decided she was probably still talking to her cousin, so she stayed there. It was hard to see the performers, but listening to the background music and the cheers were enough. The show ended and there was still no sight of Miriam. Groaning, Megan threw away the plastic slushie cup and then walked around the rink to see if Miriam could be any where. It wasn't until an hour and a half of searching did the two find each other again. Megan had circled the rink and the area around thousands of times, and was just sitting down to rest when she saw something running towards her in the distance. As the object came into view, she could tell it had to be Miriam! She ran towards her as well, and they met midway.

      "Miriam!"

      "Megan!" they both said at once, their faces filled with relief. Miriam laughed and then looked at the Kau seriously.

      "Megan, where were you? I was looking everywhere for you - the shops, the ice cream cart, the advent calendar, the Merry Outfits, the gift tag place, every place! And this rink millions of times too!" Miriam cried. Megan gaped.

      "What?? I was at this rink the whole time, looking for YOU! Where were you?!"

      "Me? I was sitting in the front row over there with my cousin! He's one of the performers in the next show!" she explained, indicating a different stand. "I saved a spot for you, but I didn't know where you were!"

      "I saved a spot for you, but you didn't show up! You're supposed to tell me and find me so I'll know, Miriam! You don't just…just SIT there and assume I know where you are!" Megan roared, her shyness disappearing, her voice rising. Miriam's jaw dropped and her eyes flared.

      "What?! You were supposed to be behind me! You don't just GO off without letting me know!" she retorted, her face turning red from anger. The two breathed heavily with overflowing anger. Megan was the first to speak again this time.

      "Well, you know what, MIRIAM?! I don't want to go skating with you. If you want to go, go by yourself. I'm going home!" she declared, turning around furiously. Miriam yelled after her,

      "See if I care! I wouldn't want to skate with you anyways! Oh, and I don't want to be friends anymore…farewell, EX-BEST FRIEND!!" She turned around as well, and stomped away. Seeing that since she had spent her time looking for her ex-best friend the whole rink was busy and filled, she moaned and began trudging up the mountain, dragging her skates. But just as she began the ascent, she spotted a little frozen pond nearby. Not a single Neopian was there, and there were also nice little tree stumps around it. Miriam joyfully skipped to the pond, and quickly strapped on her skates. Then she stepped eagerly onto the ice.

      Meanwhile, Megan was sniffing back tears as she walked towards the base of the mountain. Yes, she intended to go home, but she wanted to rest and think it all over before leaving. She had been best friends - almost sisters - with Miriam since their creation, and never had they ever fought. Not even once. Well, maybe a few times over what game to play or what to do, but those were just minor verbal arguments. As she sat down on a snow mound, a piercing, terror-filled shriek cut through her thoughts, making her spring up in alarm. Her kind hormones kicked in, and in a flash she was sprinting towards the direction in which the scream had come from. No one else heard - it was noisy and bustling, with visitors and citizens alike running about. No one really cared, either - they were busy. Besides, maybe it was just a joke, like the Boy Who Cried Lupe…or something.

      Megan stopped when the cries did, and listened carefully. Amid the hustle bustle, she heard splashing of water. She frowned. Water? 'No, it's too cold, all the ponds should be frozen…but perhaps I should look and check just in cause, just to be safe…' Megan thought. She followed the splashing; pausing every so often to make sure she was headed the right way. Soon she came to a clearing, and the sight bedazzled her. There, in front of her, was a small but reasonably large pond, one that hadn't completely frozen over yet. How could she tell, you ask? Well, there were hundreds of tiny cracks leading from the shores to the middle, each crack growing larger and larger. And who was flapping around wildly, going under the water, and then bobbing back up crying?

      "MIRIAM!!" she yelled. By one look she could tell that the Koi was weakening. Her skin was now pale and bluish, and her cries were getting quieter and quieter. Without even thinking, she jumped out of her coat, pulled off a sweater (she did this because she knew the clothes would only make the rescue work slower) and ran to the side of the pond, not daring to get on it. The exhausted Koi was shivering like crazy, and her terror-stricken face was turning deathly white and blue. She opened her eyes momentarily to look at Megan.

      "Help me…" she breathed. Megan looked around desperately for something to give her to hold onto while she pulled her in. She was close enough to reach with a long stick. Then she spotted a long fallen branch, covered in a new layer of snow. Rushing and heart pounding, she quickly dragged it along to the shore, and brushed off most of the snow. Then she heaved it onto the pond, and the impact of its weight broke the thin ice immediately. For a moment Megan thought it was still too short to reach Miriam, but it was that second when she felt a strong weight on the other end. She saw the weak Koi use her last bits of strength to pull herself onto the floating branch.

      "Hold on tight, Miriam! Stay with me, don't go!!" Megan cried. Tears flowed freely down her cheeks as she pulled hard and long to finally get Miriam into arm's reach. Lifting her and supporting her weight the best she could, Megan laid her friend's now frail body down on top of the sweater she had taken off earlier. Quickly the Kau covered most of Miriam's shivering structure with her long wool coat. It was indeed warming her up, but still not enough. Megan now reran the lifesaving classes through her head quickly as she tilted Miriam's head up and opened her mouth to clear her airway. The Koi's eyes were now closed, and after checking for ten seconds, Megan decided that she wasn't breathing. Scared now, she gave her two real breaths. Then she counted again and did the cycle for another while…and then she found out that the breaths actually worked! Miriam's eyes fluttered open and she smiled weakly as she said, her voice barely above a whisper,

      "You forgot to check my pulse…"

     * * *

      A few weeks later, Megan stood onstage wearing a bright smile, with a shiny Lifesaver medal around her neck. In the audience were hundreds of Neopians and of course, her owner, family and friends.

      "Today we are gathered to honour a very brave young Maraquan Kau, who, despite the bitter cold and a recent argument with the victim, saved her friend from the ice cold waters of a half-frozen pond. She revived the other young pet, and kept her alive by taking her own winter clothes off to warm up the other. When the paramedics came, her friend was immediately taken off to the hospital, and this very Kau was also examined and found ill with a mild form of hypothermia. Thankfully she was only the doctors' care for a few days, and was soon returned triumphantly and joyfully to her family. I give you, Megan the Brave Maraquan Kau!" the Neopian official cried gleefully. The crowd erupted in cheers, and flowers and confetti and thrown up everywhere. Miriam rushed onstage and hugged her friend long and hard.

      "I owe my life to you," she whispered. Megan smiled gently.

      "Oh, Miriam, it's nothing. I didn't take lifesaving classes for nothing!" The celebrations went on, and after awhile, Megan gasped. "Excuse me everyone, but I have to go, it's my lifeguard shift over at the Mystery Island Beach! Thanks for everything and bye!" With that said, she was gone just like that. Miriam laughed and, curtsying to the official, left quickly after her friend.

The End

Author's Note: I really did take a lifesaving class before. All the info about saving and ice safety is true…=P Comments appreciated!!!

 
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