Preparing Neopia for the Meepits Circulation: 117,233,045 Issue: 233 | 31st day of Running, Y8
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by silent_snow


"It's just snow, kid. Now hurry up."

     But the yellow Wocky didn't follow her owner, the girl who was ducking her head down to hide from the snow while she began to hurry back to their Neohome. The Wocky just stood there, spellbound, in the doorway of the Game Center. Though her owner was calling for her sharply, the Wocky didn't respond. She had eyes only for the snowflakes, tumbling down from the sky, covering all of Neopia Central in a fine white mist.

     "Fine then." The Wocky's owner shrugged, a scowl growing on her face. "Just get back to the house soon. We've got work to do."

     The Wocky didn't even hear, nor did she care when her owner stomped off down the street, eventually disappearing in the flurries of snow. Snow. Beautiful, glorious snow. It was amazing how such a simple word, dropped so carelessly in her owner's first sentence, could now hold so much meaning. Incredible that four little letters could express the meaning of this new wonder, these beautiful specks that were floating down from the sky, as if by magic.

     The Wocky hesitantly put one foot outside of the doorway, then a second. Now, before her eyes, snow was taking up the world. Falling everywhere, lightly dancing down from the sky, all those millions of wonderful snowflakes. Without thinking, the Wocky jumped down the stairs that led to the grassy plot in front of the Game Center. She had confidence in this snow, this wonderful new sensation.

     And even though she hit the ground harshly, it did not hurt as it normally would have. The snow had cushioned her fall, padding her paws as they slammed into the ground. The Wocky lifted up a paw to examine it, and discovered that some of the snow had stuck to her fur, creating a shimmery effect against its usual dull yellow. Yet another wonderful change that the snow brought.

     The Wocky twirled around from where she was standing, and saw the world as she had never seen it before. Snow was covering all of Neopia Central, and changing all of the trees into splendid white towers. The grass and sidewalks were both covered by snow, creating a pure white expanse that stretched as far as she could see, only disrupted here and there by trails of marks- footprints, maybe? The Wocky had seen Neopets leave trails before, in mud mostly, but the marks in the snow seemed so much more dignified. And no matter where she turned, there was always more snow, silently plummeting down from the sky.

     Yes, silently, for this snow brought sound as well. Or rather, the absence of sound. Neopia Central was quieter than the Wocky had ever heard it before, covered by a soft blanket that dampened any noise. She could see pets and humans walking off in the distance, but though their mouths were moving, she couldn't hear what they said. It was as if the snow was causing the silence on purpose, so that she could finally think in peace. The Wocky smiled, and stepped forward.

     A new sound, now. The Wocky lifted up her front paw and experimentally set it back down on an undisturbed slice of snow. Yes, there was the sound again. A soft crunching, made by her paw? Yes- she could feel the reverberation, sending shivers up through her foot. The Wocky smiled in delight at this new sound and started running through the snow, not aiming for any particular destination. She merely wanted to hear more of the soft noise caused by her feet- and the snow.

     "HEY! Ya better watch out!"

     Now a voice cut through the snow, as did something else. The Wocky leaped up in surprise as something soft thumped on her back, and something cold dribbled down into her fur. She turned, and saw the thing that had hit her, lying there in the snow. It was more snow, but compacted, stuck together in a round shape. The Wocky picked it up, turning the creation over. A snowball.

     Then she looked in the direction where this snowball had come from, and managed to catch sight of a flicker of color. She was interested in this source of the snowball, and wanted to see who had made this marvelous new toy out of snow. So the Wocky bounded through the snow, the snow which was started to reach a height that was taller than before, and quickly discovered something new.

     A wall of snow, like the snowball, only much, much larger. And behind it, two Neopets. One, the bigger of the two, was examining her over the snow wall. He appeared to be a Lupe, though she really couldn't tell as he had on an excess of fluffy clothing.

     "Hi there! Sorry if we hit you too hard; we were just playing a game."

     "Not jus' a game!" A baby Ixi managed to stand herself up so that she could see over the snow wall. She was bundled up as well, with at least three layers of coats on. "We's defeating the evil ninja-bad-guys! We's PILOTS!"

     "Pirates, Minny, not pilots." The Lupe glanced at the little Ixi fondly, then shrugged to the Wocky with a helpless smile. "She's just a little kid, she doesn't know any better."

     "So, Ryan, you're still playing silly games with your baby sister? What a wimp."

     The smile on the Lupe's face disappeared like a puff of snow, though the Wocky couldn't tell why. All that had happened was that a Korbat had walked up, followed closely by a Grarrl and a Skeith. The Korbat smiled- or was it a smirk?- and the Wocky noticed that he was holding something in one of his fists. It was like a snowball, but not quite. There was something distinctly different about the circular object, something more menacing. The Wocky stared at it, befuddled. How could snow be bad?

     "Get out of here, Meldin," the Lupe spat, his paw curling around some of the snow that made up the wall, taking it away and crunching it into itself, making the snow more compact, "before I chase you out!"

     "Psh. As if you could." The Korbat smiled that mean smirk again, holding up his hand. "You should learn to play our way."

     The Wocky watched, frozen in her surprise, as the Korbat's arm shot out and the not-nice-snowball bulleted through the air, hitting the Lupe's chest with a loud crunch. The Lupe gasped and fell back, disappearing behind the wall, out of the Wocky's sight. Next to him, the little Ixi was trying to climb over the wall, all the while shouting at the other three.

     "You's meanies! You can't use ice! That's cheatin'! You all's are jus'- jus' big bullies, an' you're cheatin' cause you can't beat big brother, no matter if you try!"

     "Pipe down, brat." The Korbat rolled his eyes, and for the first time saw the Wocky, standing in the snow, watching the events without a sound. "Hey, you! What're you looking at?"

     The Wocky couldn't respond. Ice? She had some knowledge of ice, of the slippery cold stuff you put into drinks. Ice wasn't nice in the way that snow was. Ice was harsher, colder, unforgiving.

     "Freak." The Korbat flapped his wings and glanced back at the Grarrl. "Nail the Wocky. She might try to help."

     The Grarrl grunted something in reply, and then lifted up his arm. And now, another white ball was hurtling through the sky. The Wocky watched, mesmerized, unable to move.

     The ball made of ice struck her cheek.

     She was being thrown back, tumbling head-over-heels, seeing snow, then sky, then snow again. And there was pain. Where the snowball had been soft, the ice-ball was hard, and her cheek was smarting. The Wocky gave a small cry of surprise and stumbled to her feet, then started to run. She had to get away from the mean Korbat with the ice, of that she was certain. Once the ice-balls couldn't reach her, she would be safe.

     Eventually, the Wocky had to stop. She didn't know where she was. The snow was still falling, and the buildings around her had all been disguised with it. No Neopets were outside anymore, and the sky was becoming darker. The snow was still beautiful, but the Wocky now just wanted to go home. The smarting on her cheekbone was starting to fade, but it still throbbed persistently. Maybe the snow wasn't completely good. Maybe it would be better to go inside, to get away from the cold for a while.

     The Wocky didn't know for how long she walked. After a while, she realized that she could no longer feel her feet or her tail, but she no longer cared. All the houses looked the same, all covered with the snow. At one point in time, the streetlights outside flickered on, and the Wocky realized that darkness had fully taken over. From time to time, she stopped to smooth snow off of a mailbox, to see if she was close to her Neohome.

     Still, the snow fell from the sky.

     Finally, after what could have been hours or only minutes, the Wocky found her house number. With a tired smile, she started to walk into the plot of land. But then, she stopped. Something wasn't right. Her Neohome was composed of a few rooms made of sticks, but she couldn't see those rooms. She couldn't see anything there, for that matter. The house was gone. Her owner was nowhere to be seen. The Wocky was home- but her home, her little plot of land, was empty.

     The Wocky whimpered, and found a large snow bank to crawl under. She shoveled some of the snow away with her paws, and wished that they wouldn't ache so. As soon as she could, she crawled inside the hollow and closed her eyes. She wanted to sleep. Things had to look better in the morning.

          When the Wocky opened her eyes, something had changed. She crawled out of the snow, shaking herself. The plot of land was still empty, and now looked cold and unfeeling with its thick covering of snow. Everything she could see was covered in snow, and a large amount of it. But the snow was no longer falling, and people were coming outside. In other Neohomes, owners were sending their pets out to shovel the sidewalks, or vice versa. Young Neopets were cheering about their day off of Neoschool. All of Neopia was centered on the snow of the previous night, revolving around this change in the weather.

     The Wocky realized with some surprise that the snow on her fur would not come off.

     When she had first been created, the Wocky had heard of a strange place called Terror Mountain. She had heard that there was snow there, snow all the time. Now that the Wocky had discovered what snow truly was, she knew that she had to learn more about it. The questions of her home and her owner could be solved later. There were more important things to be done at the moment.

     The snow Wocky lifted up her head and walked out into the street, ready to learn all the answers.

The End

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