Everyone has heard about the monstrous Snowager who lives in a cave on Terror Mountain. Everyone knows that he has a pile of treasure in that cave and that he guards it day and night. But has anybody ever seen him leave that cave? Has anyone ever seen a huge ice snake slithering around Neopia looking for more treasures?
Of course not, because he never leaves his cave. But how come the pile seems to get bigger every day? Well, that's where I step in. I'm the one who gathers more and more items to add to that pile. But only a few know of my existence, and those who do call me Snowager's Shadow, because the only thing they can see is someone sneaking in the shadows near Snowager's cave.
I've lived with Snowager for a very long time now but I can still remember the day when I first met him. Or half of it, to be exact. I remember waking up in a strange place covered in snow and shivering uncontrollably. I had no idea where I was or even who I was. I knew I was a Darigan Aisha, but that was it. I couldn't even remember my own name. I felt a dull ache on my temple though and I knew it had to be the reason for my amnesia.
But there I was, sitting all alone in a snow drift. Darkness was already falling and the temperature was dropping by the minute. I knew I couldn't stay in the snow or I would be an Ice Aisha by morning, so I stood up and started walking. I wandered aimlessly around for some time until I came to a cave opening. The cave looked quite frightening but it had started snowing and I thought that it could give me shelter at least for the night. So I entered the cave and walked deeper into it.
After a while of walking I suddenly got a feeling that I wasn't alone. I stopped right in my tracks and held my breath. I could hear someone or something breathing on my left. Slowly I turned around and saw two big malicious eyes glowing in the dark, looking straight at me. A bit below them I could see a row of sharp, long teeth. And then I did something that a Darigan Aisha should never do. I started crying. I was lost, I didn't know who I was and now some icy snake was going to attack me. It was all just too much, so I closed my eyes and wept while I waited for the beast to finish me off.
But the attack never came. Those sharp teeth never touched me. Hesitantly I opened my eyes again and saw the beast looking at me, confused by my reaction. For a while we stood there staring at each other. Then he lowered his head and very gently poked me with it. I did the only thing that came into my mind and hugged him.
He let me sleep in the cave that night and I was truly grateful for that. So grateful that I wanted to make it up to him somehow. And with my memory gone I had nowhere else to go so I decided to stay with him and help him in any way I could. Soon after the first night I found some neggs around Terror Mountain and I brought them to him. He seemed to like it so I kept bringing them and when I couldn't find neggs anymore, I started stealing things. I stole everything I could: neggs, weapons and even plushies.
Stealing wasn't easy at first, though, and I got caught quite often. But I always managed to escape and slowly I started to master the art of theft. I could sneak in the shadows without anyone noticing. I could steal anything I wanted and nobody even knew that I had been there. I had become Snowager's Shadow. I had become my new self.
Now that I was a master thief it was becoming harder and harder to find something worth stealing. Neggs and plushies just wouldn't do it anymore. It was too easy, like stealing a Blueberry Fish Pop from a Baby Bruce. I wanted challenges to keep my skills sharp and right now I was staring at one.
A Darigan Lupe had just moved into Happy Valley and he seemed to have a huge collection of Paint Brushes. I had been spying on him for a couple of days now and I knew he was really protective of his collection. He was just the challenge I had been looking for and tonight I was going to break into his house and steal a Paint Brush or two. I could hardly wait for the night to fall!
As the sun finally disappeared behind the horizon I left Snowager's cave. As I silently walked towards the newcomer's house I wiped my footprints with my tail. It was a rookie mistake to leave tracks that could be followed, a lesson I had learned a long time ago. In a matter of minutes I could see the house. I found my usual spot in the shadows of the trees and observed it. There was no need to rush in if there was a chance that the Lupe was still awake. But I couldn't detect any sound or movement and all the lights were out so he had to be asleep.
Carefully, I walked closer and sneaked to the backdoor. I peeked through the window and saw no-one in the room so I lifted my front paw and picked at the lock with my claw. After a satisfying click I pushed the door open and stepped in. I knew the collection was in the next room and with confident steps I made my way there. The view that opened before me warmed my heart. There, before me, on a beautifully crafted shelf, lay about twenty Paint Brushes. Now it was just the matter of choosing which ones to steal. It seemed like this wasn't a challenge after all.
”Lukitar? Is that you?” a hesitant voice suddenly asked from the doorway behind me.
I jumped a little when I heard the voice and turned around. The Lupe was standing there, looking at me. How could this be? Nobody had caught me for years! But that name, Lukitar, it sounded somehow familiar. It stirred something in my memory. Was it my name?
The Lupe stepped closer. ”It is you! I knew you were here, that's what woke me up. I was so worried when you disappeared all those years ago.”
I blinked and kept staring at him. I didn't have the slightest idea of what he was talking about. He stopped walking and sorrow filled his eyes. ”You don't remember me, do you?” he asked. ”I'm your friend, Anjowis.”
That clicked something in my memory and suddenly I could remember everything! Lukitar was indeed my name and that Lupe before me had been my best friend since my early childhood. We had been visiting Terror Mountain together on that fateful day when I met Snowager. We had fought and stormed off to different directions. I had slipped on an icy hill and hit my head, which had caused my amnesia.
”I remember!” I cried out and Anjowis quickly ran up to me and enveloped me in a fierce hug.
”I knew you would,” he whispered into my ear. ”I always knew you would come back to me some day.” Then he stepped away and looked at me with affection.
”What about now? Will you move in with me? I have an extra room; it could be yours if you want!”
I looked at him sadly and shook my head. ”I'm sorry, Anjowis, I can't. I'm not who I used to be. I've changed too much.” I could see the sorrow come back to his eyes, but at the same time he seemed to understand me.
”It's okay, do what you have to do. It's just... Will I ever see you again?”
”Of course you will!” I exclaimed. ”I'll visit you every day if you want!”
”I'd like that,” he said and his eyes shone with happiness. ”I'd like that a lot.” Then he hugged me once more and for a long time we stood there embracing each other. When he finally let go of me he turned me around and pushed me towards the door. ”Now go be Snowager's Shadow,” he said with a final pat on my back.
I smiled as I walked out of the house. Yes, I was Snowager's Shadow now, but a part of me would always be Lukitar, and that part would be Anjowis' best friend till the end of time.