A Legend Is Born
A cool afternoon breeze drifted on the snow-scented air, whispering through the Ice Caves, chilling many Neopians to the bone. Ah, it was this wind that the Mountains loved the most, the lunch time chill. It could mean only one thing...
Shivering slightly, a young Bori scuffed up random flakes of dirty snow at his feet, deep in thought.
“The Snowager is asleep!” cried a Desert Aisha, running past him. “Go steal some treasure!! Hurry, before he awakens!!” She was carrying an expensive-looking negg, and was looking very proud of herself. She paused to look over her shoulder pityingly at him, before hurrying past, clutching her prize possessively to her chest.
Asleep? At lunch time?
Sayde had heard of the mystical Snowager, but had never had the courage to enter his cave.
He wasn’t a thief, and the thought of stealing some of the feared predator's treasure hadn’t even occurred to him. But Sayde was the sort of fellow who couldn’t resist knowing, even if it meant sticking his nose into things. He wasn’t downright nosy, so to speak, but he liked knowing what was going on. He wouldn’t bother risking the Snowager's Cave if he didn’t think it would be worth his while. After all, a homeless, poor Neopet like himself could not afford food, let alone a journey across the Caves.
He just wanted to find out if the Snowager really was as bad as the legends told, and he was determined to do so.
Ever since his family had abandoned him in the Ice Caves, three years ago, he had never thought he could ever be happy ever again. But that was about to change, in a few short minutes...
* * * *
So off he trudged, through snow and mud, all the way to the Snowager’s cave, all the way at the other end of the Ice Caves. But at last he arrived, and Neopets of all kinds were streaming out of his den, laughing at their good fortune, and laughing at the Snowager's stupidity as to fall asleep with such riches and treasure in his cave for everyone to see and steal.
Entering as quickly and quietly as he could, Sayde nimbly dodged the hundreds of Neopets and their owners who had come to see what their luck would be.
Shaking in fear as well as the cold, Sayde gasped in amazement.
Surrounding him was endless jewels and treasures, probably more wealth than in the whole of Neopia.
Neggs and dubloons, codestone, even PAINT BRUSHES!
“Wow!” he breathed in awe.
“Have you come to steal my treasure?” a deep voice boomed, echoing against the ice walls. All of the neopets and their owners ran out screaming,
“He’s awake!! Run for your lives!!”
But Sayde did not budge. Maybe he was crazy. Maybe he was too scared. Or maybe both.
Sayde had detected the slightest bit of loneliness in the Snowager's deep, frightening voice, whilst the others plainly had not.
“No, I haven’t,” he said, more bravely than he felt inside, his legs trembling with the cold. “I have come to see for myself if the legends I have heard are true.”
Out of the shadows slithered the one and only, the Snowager. He was nothing like what Sayde had imagined. Instead of fierce eyes and angry outbursts, the large eyes of the Snowager showed sadness and misery. His head hung low, drooping as though he hadn’t the will or the strength to hold it up anymore.
“Legends?” he asked, his voice soft when no longer shouting..
“Yes... that you eat Neopets that disturb you.” Sayde had not meant to say it so bluntly, but it was too late to take his words back now.
“What?! Eww!” the Snowager cried, rising to his full height. “I’d never do that!” he whispered, tears welling up in his wide eyes. Embarrassed, he tossed his head to regain control of his emotions.
Speechless, Sayde looked away. That wasn’t the response he had been expecting. Maybe the Snowager wasn’t so bad after all. He certainly looked like a pretty decent guy.
“Why did you come here?” he asked.
“I just wanted to live a some what normal life! After I was zapped by the Lab Ray, I changed from a handsome young Scorchio to this! My owner took one look at me and left me to die here in the Ice Caves.” The Snowager paused, taking a deep breath, his anger evident. “And I found this cave.” He continued, swallowing hard, seemingly finding it hard to believe he was pouring his heart out to a total stranger. “So I came up here to start a new life. I changed my name, and started over. Then I found all this treasure! Hidden away in this cave. I thought that luck was finally on my side. But no. One day a Desert Aisha came up here, when I was sleeping. She stole a Codestone. She ran around telling everyone that they could steal my stuff, and ever since that day I have had Neopets of all kinds coming to try and steal my treasure.”
“Oh,” was all Sayde could say.
“But I suppose you live in a Neomansion with your rich owner, and eat expensive gourmet neggs for dinner every night,” the Snowager said bitterly. “All I get is people stealing my things.”
“Actually...” Sayde began softly. “I have no home. I make do with what \ever I can find. My owner... abandoned me three years ago.”
“Gee, sorry, I just assumed you were like the other millions of neopets that try to steal my stuff. Please forgive my rudeness.” The Snowager’s face lit up. “I know!!” he exclaimed excitedly. “Why don’t... oh, never mind. I’m just off my rocker. I’m sure you have more important things to do, so I won’t hold you up.” He turned away, his face red.
“What is it?” Sayde could not help but ask.
“I... well, I was wondering, as you have no home... should you like to stay here? As in, live with me? You can protect my things, and in return you can live here and eat what ever you like! It just gets so cold and lonely here by myself. I can understand, of course,” he added hastily, “If you wouldn’t like to, I mean, I guess you’re afraid of me also, right?
A small voice in Sayde’s told him to listen to reason, but just this once he didn’t want to.
“Well, actually, I’m not, really. I think you are just sad and, like myself, have no one else. Nobody has ever said any thing like that to me before,” he said, wiping a tear from his eye. “And I would love to stay here with you...”
And so to this very day, the friendship of a young Bori and the Snowager remains as strong as ever. Maybe one day when you venture into the Snowager’s ice cave, you might be told to go away by a certain little Neopian. Maybe, maybe not.
Most times you will be lucky, and escape with some treasure, but other times, watch out!!
I mean, how would you like total strangers coming to you home and stealing your things? You wouldn’t feel very special, would you? So look out for Sayde, who will no doubt be standing boldly, protecting his best friend’s treasure. Or maybe, instead of trying to thieve some wealth, maybe you should stop and say hello to Sayde. I hear he’s a very sweet young Bori...