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Midwinter War: Part One


by shadowcristal

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The sky looked dull and gray, as if it was going to rain. Charmond kicked a stone as he stared at his essay. The anger flared up inside him as the Fire Scorchio scrunched the paper into a small ball and threw it away. He tried to keep on walking, but changed his mind and picked up the crumpled essay. To be truthful, the Scorchio wasn't really mad about his grades. No, it was Felix who made him mad.

     Felix. Perfect little Felix. He would probably go to a music class after the extra study class he was attending right now, Charmond thought. It was always about Felix. The Scorchio unfolded the wet paper and glared at the grade. Felix would've beaten this average grade by ten times...

     Charmond looked at the sky and sighed. He'd never be as good as Felix was. Felix the gifted Kougra... It just wasn't fair! Some people didn't have any talents.

     "But they do live happily," a voice said in Charmond's mind.

     The Scorchio snorted. It wasn't as if he could do anything about his brother... And Alice, always encouraging the genius. Charmond thought of his owner. She was probably just as wonderful as his talented brother.

     "Don't forget that she's nice to you too, ungrateful little pet," his conscience nagged.

     Charmond felt like throwing away everything and running to the world's end. It wasn't that his family was bad or anything, just that they were so annoying! Always so nice and flawless, the ideal family... Except for him.

     He was the one who stood out... or rather, turned invisible. Shaded by a successful brother, all they could do was to hide him... Poke him into the tiniest corner so no one would notice this stain of imperfection glued upon the perfect glass...

     The Scorchio groaned and whined mentally a few more times. The way home was slippery and snowy, and the sky didn't look any better. He sighed again.

     "You're gonna turn gray if you do that," the annoying voice commented.

     Charmond stomped off, mad at his own mind. Why was everyone against him? As the Scorchio reached the white picket fence of his home, he felt something cold on his head. The slushy snow had begun to fall, and its speed was increasing every second. As Charmond ran the last meters home, he was bombarded with big balls of ice.

     "Welcome home!" Alice said as she helped her pet in. "Look how wet you got yourself today!" she reprimanded as she gave Charmond a towel.

     The Scorchio grabbed the towel and sat down in the living room.

     "Do you want help with your homework?" his owner asked as she opened her books.

     "I'm not a little kid," he muttered as he dried himself. "I don't need help."

     "I'll leave then," Alice said quietly as she exited the room.

     Good. Now she was gone. Charmond took out the wet notebooks from his backpack and put them on the table. He looked at the bowl of fruits in front of him and grinned. The Scorchio didn't feel like doing his homework today, so he'd do something else...

     But first he had to think. Charmond looked around to make sure no one was around, then skipped over to the big, nice chair. He sat down and sunk in its big folds as he contemplated.

     Hmm... Maybe a joke? Nah, done that too often... Suddenly he felt a bit thirsty, despite the fact that it was winter and cold outside. Charmond opened the fridge and poked his head inside. The light reflected on a plastic package of Cheese and two cans of NeoCola. There were also some Funky Carrots, icky food for Cybunnies only.

     As the Scorchio grabbed a can of NeoCola, he found his inspiration. He double-checked to make sure there was another one, then ran over to the kitchen counter and took out some supplies. Charmond grinned as he made the trap, it would be a fun one. When he was done putting the little bag in the fruit bowl, the Scorchio drank the rest of the cola and returned to the comfy chair.

     He was tired after all that running around and plotting. Charmond grabbed notebooks as he heard Alice reminding of him of the homework. He looked at the first book, Basic Algebra.

     "What's the use of algebra?" The Scorchio forced himself to open his math book and start writing. As he tried to figure out what x and y were, his mind wandered off...

      The sky darkened as hundreds of Neopets stood in lines, impatiently waiting for a signal. Tiny raindrops grew bigger as the pets stomped and tapped with their feet, ready for the battle. Then, finally... The whistle of a silver flute came from the other side and the pets started running.

     Now he was above them all, watching as black and white fought. At first, it would seem that white was winning, but then the blacks recuperated and gathered their shattered forces to hit the whites hard. Swords scratched, spears whooshed through the air... And he felt all of that excitement rushing through his fur and making his heart beat faster and faster...

     Suddenly he fell down, in the middle of combat. Confused, he grabbed his sword and shield, holding them up until the battle sense had arrived. Then, as an indigo-colored bird swooped down, he realized what his target was. He dropped the metal weapons and took out a longbow. In five seconds he had released the arrow, and the bird fell down with a shriek... And then the whole battlefield turned black...

     "Char? You there?" A voice woke the Scorchio up.

     "Felix?" Charmond asked, somewhat dazzled.

     "You seemed to be half-sleeping," the yellow Kougra said as he sat down beside Charmond.

     "Hey! Get out of here!" the Scorchio squirmed as the big sofa wasn't big enough to hold the two of them.

     "You get out," Felix replied. "You've been occupying it the whole afternoon and I just came home, so it's only fair that I get to sit in it."

     "Nothing is ever fair!" Charmond scoffed at his naive brother as he shoved the Kougra out of the chair.

     "What kind of horrible thing did I do now?" Felix asked as he picked up Charmond's math notebook. "By the way, these are all wrong. It's supposed to be only one variable, not two."

     "Who cares?" the Scorchio asked scornfully as he scanned his brother for signs... Yes! Caching Felix Unawares, Trap 12 had worked! Apparently the Kougra had attempted to wash away all that cola, but a few stains remained. Charmond couldn't help but to let out a little laugh. Felix turned around and glared at him.

     "It was very funny," the Kougra said in a sarcastic voice. "Oh, and get me a can of NeoCola while you're at it."

     "I'm not your servant!" Charmond exclaimed as he snatched his notebook back and erased all of the problems that Felix had pointed out. Even though he despised it, Felix was almost always right about everything.

     "With that attitude, you ought to be..." Felix muttered under his breath as he peeled an orange.

     "I'll just pretend I didn't hear that," the Scorchio said as he redid the math problems. This was turning out to be a nightmare, and it was not a math's one.

     "That's the first step to recovery. Admitting it." The Kougra nodded wisely as he put all of his books into his backpack. Even though the tension was building, Charmond couldn't help to be curious...

     "You already did all of your homework?" he asked, mind-boggled.

     "Of course," Felix said. "Now, get out of that chair. I'm the one with the privileges..."

     The Scorchio muttered a few curses as he got out of the chair. It was an unwritten rule that if one completed his daily tasks, he could sit in the chair. As one would expect, it would be Felix nine out of ten times.

     "You should be grateful that Alice went out shopping for groceries," the Kougra commented. Charmond groaned. Every word that came out of Felix' mouth today seemed to be an insult. He simply had to get out of this room! The Scorchio got up and poked his head in the fridge. To his shock, it was gone!

     "FELIX! You drank my can of NeoCola!" the Scorchio screamed as he came running back into the living room.

     "Oh, I'm caught again?" the Kougra said mockingly. "Help me!" he continued in a high-pitched tone, "The great Char is going to punish me for drinking the last drop of his NeoCola!"

     "It's not that funny," Charmond mumbled as he walked over to his brother. The cola had been his. One can had been used to play a practical joke, so it was only fair that he would drink the other one.

     "Hey, it's only fair," Felix said as he grinned. His brother was always so bad-tempered. That little Char, trying to outwit him. But he had to give it to him this time... the trick with the cola in a fruit bowl was totally new.

     "Don't you try talking about what's fair and what's not!" the Scorchio shouted as he slammed his fist in the coffee table.

     "Take it easy, Char," the Kougra said. It was beginning to get serious, and he didn't like it. He sighed. Everything about this life was perfect, except for their brotherhood. If only little Char could learn...

     "I hate it when you do that! Actually, I hate everything about you!" Charmond spat, "You're despicable! Always perfect and smiling as if nothing had happened!" There! He had said what was on his mind. Now...

     "Char..." Felix didn't finish the sentence as Char ran out of the door and into the snow. The Kougra stopped and looked at the distance between them. It was probably too late to make him turn back. "How foolish, forgetting to bring supplies and items... Well, that's Char in a nutshell for you," Felix thought as he closed the door. "He'll probably come home frozen, begging forgiveness..."

     -

     The Scorchio ran as fast as he could, away from everything. The annoyance that had been building up inside him had now subsided and was growing colder every second. For every step, he moved away from what once was his home.

     The snow fell behind him, as if urging him to move even faster. Charmond thought of the past. Always like that... Always perfectly aggravating, that was Felix. The anger flared up again inside him and he hurried up.

     "If only I could be in a cool war like that," he remembered his dream, "then I'd show him!"

     Charmond kept running, past the borders of Neopia Central and into a dark forest. The chilling wind had turned against him, and now wanted him to go back as if there was something he had missed...

     "I must be going insane," he thought as he slowed down. The rage had died out, and soon he was walking. The Scorchio quickly turned analytical as curiosity bubbled inside him. How far had he run? How long time had it been? Were they worried? No, he thought, that was only fair for them...

     A small growl emitted from Charmond's stomach as he wandered around. The serene snow that fell slowly was scaring him. There was nothing but to face the facts. He was lost, cold and hungry.

     "Why didn't I take something with me when I left?" he thought as he slowly trudged through the piles of snow.

     "Because you were in such a bad mood," the annoying voice told him. "It wasn't nice to leave your brother like that..."

     "Clamp it," the Scorchio told his voice in his head and kept walking, hoping to find something edible in this forest. An idea hit him. Of course! He could fly!

     "Why didn't I think of it before?" he asked himself, but stopped before the annoying voice could interrupt again. Spreading his wings, the Scorchio flew. Slowly but steadily he climbed in altitude until he could see the whole forest below him. He scanned the area and stopped suddenly at a glowing dot.

     What was that? The curiosity awakened inside him once again as Charmond descended. Lower... No... A little bit more... Now he was only about five meters away from it. It wasn't a dot, but a globe. The globe glowed with soft, eerie green light. It was calling out to him...

     "Do you want to battle?"

     "Yes!" Charmond almost shouted.

     "Then follow me..." The sphere grew larger and larger until it was bigger than Charmond. Without knowing why, but feeling it was right, the Scorchio stepped into it. Then everything whirled before his eyes and turned dark...

To be continued...

 
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