There are ants in my Lucky Green Boots Circulation: 175,202,370 Issue: 369 | 21st day of Storing, Y10
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The Protectors


by sheyda_sheyda

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He paused for a moment, and decided that it would be best for him to rest for a second or two in the midst of the dreary ocean of snow. Wearing a white parka, the blue Aisha was protected from the freezing temperatures of the blizzard, while covering his entire face (except for his dark eyes) and body with an assortment of mismatched scarves, gloves, and boots. He took a small sip from his warm thermos, and made sure to put it back in his coat where it would stay heated. It was healthier for him to drink warm water in this climate.

      The horizon from all angles was the same; it was bleak, white and dead. There were boulders and spruce trees scattered here and there, but other than that, the land was basically desolate. Of course, the Aisha knew where he was going. He had a compass after all... he wouldn’t get lost, would he?

      He kept trudging on.

      The Aisha began pondering the reason why he even came to this dreary spot in the first place. Oh yes, he wanted to catch wild petpets to sell in the marketplace. He had gotten tips from a neopet from Happy Valley that the wilderness here was abundant with petpets.

      Obviously, that was not the case.

      He hadn’t seen a single petpet all day, minus the stray Snicklebeast that chased him down for interrupting its sleep. The Aisha laughed to himself at how funny he must have looked, running and flailing his arms because of a little Snicklebeast. Oh goodness, he wouldn’t ever tell anyone that story.

      Finally, he approached a very wooded area. The blizzard was dying down a bit, so he decided to take a little shelter in the cozy pine forest. The snow here was thinner, and that meant that this would be an easier route to explore. On the ground were a series of little tracks.

      Ah. Petpet tracks.

      He followed them quietly, making sure not to startle any other denizens of the quiet forest. At last, the tracks came to a stop at a meadow. He quietly hid behind a fallen log, and waited for the petpets to appear.

      Sooner than he expected, a few heads popped out of the snow. Snowbunnies! They carefully sniffed the air, with one looking rather worried. The Aisha slouched down behind the log a little more; he didn’t want to be spotted... yet. He had his nets with him, packed deep in his bag. How he would take them out without making too much noise, he didn’t know.

      The Aisha decided to keep observing these petpets anyway. He could get the nets out later.

      He counted the Snowbunnies. There were eight of them. They began playing, romping in the snowy meadow, and occasionally disappearing when the snow was too deep. Only one of them wasn’t playing, and that was the Snowbunny who looked worried earlier. She kept watch over the other little Snowbunnies like a worried mother.

      Suddenly, she jumped!

      The horrified Aisha thought she spotted him, but it was a Candychan who had startled her! The Aisha stared at this petpet, one of the most sought-after petpets ever. He would have to catch this one. The other Snowbunnies began playing with the Candychan, kicking snow at him and playing a game of chase.

      Eventually, more and more petpets began to gather. The Aisha was amazed at how many there were, and at all the different kinds. Raindorfs, Polarchucks, Bikas, Feepits, and even a few little Tasus. He didn’t even know it was possible for all these petpets to gather like this. How strange.

      Then he spotted the same Snicklebeast who had chased him earlier that day. The Aisha winced, thinking of how painful it would be to have actually been caught and attacked by that little vicious petpet. The Snicklebeast sat down in the snow, and started throwing little snowballs at some of the other petpets. They all joined in together, playing a very exciting snowball fight.

      The Aisha felt guilty about taking any of these petpets away from their home. They were all friends with each other; it was only obvious to him. Why else would they all gather together like this?

      He heard a tiny “crunch” beside him. He looked down, only to see a terrified-looking Snowbunny standing on a snapped twig. The Snowbunny squeaked.

      Immediately, the games stopped. All the petpets looked in his direction, staring at him with horrified expressions. The Aisha held his breath, but it was futile at this point. The petpets all scattered in the blink of an eye, and the meadow was silent. He got up, deciding that it would be best to leave. He could earn NP doing something else, not by interrupting the happiness of this large family of petpets.

      So he turned around, and began following his tracks back through the forest. Behind him he heard a tiny pitter-patter sound, so he turned around. Right behind him was the little Snowbunny who he had startled earlier, looking up at him curiously. She didn’t look terrified anymore, just curious. They both stood there, awkwardly looking at each other. He was bracing himself for another petpet attack, but it never came.

      Instead, the Snowbunny cautiously trotted up to him, and got on her hind legs and sniffed his gloves. He carefully stroked the fur behind her ears, and she flinched for a second, but then looked at ease. Some of the other petpets started coming out of their hiding spots, observing what was going on. One-by-one, they all started gathering around the blue Aisha, carefully sniffing him like the little Snowbunny had, and then they began playing again.

      For a brief second, he considered the fact that this would be the best moment to snatch a few petpets, but he decided against that notion. He wouldn’t – couldn’t take any of them. They were all so closely knit together, and the Aisha felt happy for them.

      Dusk started falling, so he decided that it would be best to start heading back. Night in Terror Mountain was rather chilly. He continued walking through the snow, until he was out of the forest. The petpets stayed where they were, deep in the shelter of the trees, probably heading off to bed by now.

      The Aisha heard a deep rumbling growl from a few yards ahead of him. He couldn’t clearly see the figure in front of him, but it was huge.

      It was a snowbeast!

      He began running back, but he was too slow; the snowbeast took a swipe at him and he flew a few feet forward, landing with a dull thud in the snow. He tried to cry out for help, but he couldn’t find his voice. Besides, there was no one else up here on the mountain. He was hopeless! He was going to be mauled by this snowbeast! He was going to-

      Suddenly, the little Snicklebeast appeared out of the mist of the blizzard, growing and snarling at the snowbeast, who made a deep sound that sounded like laughing. The Snicklebeast lunged at the snowbeast, piercing his sharp little teeth into the leg of it. The monster cried out in shock, trying to shake off the little Snicklebeast, but didn’t succeed. He had a good grip, and he wasn’t planning on letting go.

      Seconds later, the rest of the other petpets appeared out of the mist, all attacking this monstrous snowbeast. The Candychan was throwing snow into its eyes, the snowbunnies were trying to kick it, and the Tasus were all using their claws to their advantage.

      Eventually, the snowbeast gave up, and started running away. The petpets all came up to the shaken Aisha after quickly rejoicing, and he looked at all of them with the most sincere look of gratitude on his face. There would be no way he could ever repay them for their kindness. He didn’t even know that these petpets were even capable of doing something like that.

     ***

      The Aisha was sitting at a table in the warm Slushie Shop, silently sipping a Lime Slushie. The inviting fire was a nice reprieve to the harsh coldness outside, and it crackled quietly.

      “Hey!” a familiar-looking Pteri asked him.

      The Aisha looked up.

      “Did you ever catch any petpets?” he asked.

      “Nope. Weren’t any up there,” the Aisha said.

      “You sure about that?”

      “Yeah.”

      The Pteri looked disappointed for a moment, and then he spoke again.

      “I guess that means that there aren’t any petpets up there anymore. All these petpet-catchers probably took every last one. I guess there won’t be any more business for them, ay? I might as well tell them all. Such a shame.”

      “Yeah, what a shame.”

The End

 
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