The Misadventures of a Neopian Times Reporter III
An Icy Interview with the Snow Faerie
Oh sweet Fyora, do I hate winter. I hate everything to do with snow and temperatures below sixty. Except ice, of course. I seem to remember liking snow as a small child, though. To be honest, I have no clue how I came to hate winter so, but I’m sure she was part of the reason. I’m doing it again, getting ahead of myself, so I had better start from the beginning.
It had been three months since my almost disastrous interview with Dr. Sloth. I had tried hard to stay out of trouble and had been doing well, so trouble came looking for me. It started on Terror Mountain. Well, really, it started years ago when I was a newbie in Neopia, but in the same place. I somehow managed to make an enemy of the Snow Faerie. How I did that, I may never know, but one day she started playing pranks on me whenever I was on the mountain.
“I’m soooooooooooooooo cold!” I wailed.
My Blue Cybunny looked up at me with a frown on her face.
“You were the one who wanted a scratchcard,” Elise reminded me.
“But it’s soooooooooooooooooooo cold!” I whined.
“Yeah, it is. It’s called the Ice Caves. Did you think it was going to turn tropical? We’ve been here before dozens of times; it’s not going to change any time soon.” Even at two months old, Elise had developed her sarcastic sense of humor. She just didn’t throw it at me so often back then.
“You’re soooooooooooooooooo unsympathetic!” I complained.
“If you draw out your ‘so’ one more time, I swear I’ll do it too and I’ll never stop doing it,” Elise threatened.
“Sooooooooooooooooooooo what?” I teased.
“You’ll rue this day,” was her prophetic retort.
We walked up to the Scratchcard Kiosk and I bought my card and started scratching away. Just as I was on my last one, a horrific chill slid down my back. I crumpled to the ground in shock and lay there unable to think. I became aware that someone was laughing hysterically above me. I looked up and there was Taelia. She grinned malevolently down at me and disappeared in a puff of snow.
“Are you okay?” Elise asked.
“No.” I shivered.
“Well, at least you won a snowball,” the Kiosk Wocky said in an attempt to comfort me.
I curled into a ball and cried.
That was the very beginning. It only got worse from there. Also, Elise has stuck to her threat, it’s been almost ten years since that day and still she draws out that word when she talks to me. Anyway, there I was in on the top of the mountain buying ice pops for my darlings, alone. Chloe had been with me, but the lab ray had been very kind to her speed stats lately and she decided that since the Snowager was napping she was going to run in there and slap him on the nose and see if she could get out unscathed. I told her that her medical bills were coming out of her allowance and let her go.
So there I was all alone and twenty feet from Taelia’s house. I walked down the path that would take me back into the Ice Caves. Suddenly with a puff of snow, there she was, blocking my path down the mountain.
“Hi there, Kris!” she said a little too nicely, in spite of the fact that she called me Kris, which I hate.
“Hey, there, Tae. It’s so nice to see you, but I’ve got to go haul Chloe’s broken body out of Snowy’s mouth and to the nearest hospital. Have a good day,” I said trying to edge past her.
She blocked my path again and said, “You haven’t asked me what I want.”
“I’m not buying you a Thyora’s Tear!” I shouted. “All you’ll give me is a Dung Slushie!”
“I don’t want a Thyora’s Tear, Kris,” Taelia said, with that horrible grin frozen on her face.
“I’m not going to ‘borrow’ Fyora’s staff for you, either.”
“I don’t want you to do that, either, Kris,” Taelia continued.
She was still blocking my way down the mountain. The only way I was going to end this was to ask her what she wanted.
“What do you want?” I asked.
“I want you to interview me.” Her grin grew truly frightening.
“What? How did you learn about that?” I cried.
Her grin disappeared as she stared at me incredulity.
“You’re not really that dumb, are you? You wrote an article about the dangers of the Snowager for Happy Valley’s paper last week. Something you know about first hand,” Taelia explained.
I felt irritated and sheepish at the same time. “Yeah, I know a lot about it thanks to you. I spent two weeks in the hospital, and I lost that cool Negg. Thanks for bringing that up. Go bug the Snowager.”
I pushed past her and walked into the caves. However, Taelia wasn’t about to give up. She followed me down whining the entire time. I came to the entrance to Snowy’s cave and found Chloe waiting.
“Have you done it already?” I asked, trying to ignore Tae.
“Yep, he almost caught me too, but I ducked behind this Chia who was standing there gawking, and well, it seemed to appease Snowy,” my Starry Grundo told me.
“Chloe!” I screamed.
“Chill out, Kristy. Honestly, like I’d ever really do that. You are remarkably gullible,” Chloe laughed.
“Come on, let’s get out of here,” I fumed.
So we walked into Happy Valley and to the dock. Chloe didn’t act as if she noticed Taelia, who was still following me pestering at a rate that would put Yanli to shame. We got on the ship that was headed back to Neopia Central and Taelia stood there on the dock pouting after us. I just waved goodbye conceitedly, thinking it was over and I’d won. I am an idiot.
By the next morning I had forgotten about Taelia. I was awakened by my alarm. Before I could open my eyes it shut off.
“Rise and shine, sleeping, er, something or other.”
I opened my eyes and there was the Snow Faerie hovering over me. I screamed at the top of my lungs and she recoiled.
“Whoa, girl. You need to do something about that morning breath. You could kill an Air Faerie with it,” Taelia said.
“You’re in Neopia Central,” I gasped.
“You’re in my room!”
“I’m in my pajamas!”
“Get out, Get out, GetoutgetoutGETOUT!” I screamed.
“Only if you agree to interview me,” Taelia replied.
“Yeah, if Faerieland falls out of the sky!”
It did happen, though years later, and when it happened I admittedly felt a little guilty.
“You don’t mean that,” Taelia said condescendingly.
I ran into my bathroom and locked the door and took a very long time getting ready for the day, hoping she would go away. However, she didn’t. I knew this because she stood outside the door and hummed a Blue Kacheek Group song the entire time. I could never bear that song ever again.
I went downstairs to make breakfast. Anita, a blue Aisha from Sakhmet, was staying with us at that point, it was before she officially became part of the family. The others all knew about Tae and me, but even they were surprised to find her following me around. The entire day went like this.
Tae: “You will.”
Me: “I won’t!”
Tae: “Oh, yes, you will.”
Me: “Oh, no, I won’t. You can’t break me.”
Tae: “Yes, I can. You on the other hand, you can’t get through a normal day without a mental meltdown. You’re going to give in.”
Me: “Nu-uh, you’re going to crying to your mummy.”
Tae: “If you keep up the ‘mummy’ cracks I’m going to go see your mother and tell her that you support evil organizations that feed Warfs to Florg.”
Bickering and bantering I passed the day trying to go about with my daily life. Taelia was right, though; I’m not really mentally stable. So finally, I cracked. After dinner I couldn’t take it any longer.
“Fine! I’ll do it. I’ll be there at two in the afternoon on Wednesday. Just leave me alone!” I screamed.
Taelia grinned and said, “I’ll be waiting, and don’t you dare not show. You know what happens when you make me mad.”
She disappeared and I sat down and cried. That was Monday night. Tuesday morning found us in Meridell. I was certain I was going to die tomorrow and I wanted to spend my last day in my favorite place in the world. I dropped in on Illusen. She was outside tending to her plants and giving out quests.
“Wow, you look like the Pant Devil stole your Wand of Supernova, Kristy,” Illusen commented as I approached.
“It’s worse than that,” I replied.
“The Pant Devil stole your Wand of Supernova and Elise was ‘I told you so’ about it?” Illusen guessed.
“I agreed to interview Taelia for an article tomorrow. This is my last day on Neopia. She’s totally plotting to kill me,” I moped.
“Oh, come on now. Taelia may prank you, and prank you good, but if she killed you, she couldn’t prank you any longer. I’m sure you’ll have a few new emotional scars, but you’ll live. All she really wants is attention from you; you’ve done pretty well at avoiding her over the past year. Tae may be mean to you, but she really is a very good faerie; think of how many lives she has saved. Besides, you’ll forget about whatever happens tomorrow the moment you see a new Jeran plushie,” Illusen consoled me.
“Gah, not in Meridell, Illusen! I don’t care if you tease me, but not where someone who doesn’t know you’re teasing could hear and communicate that to him. I really don’t want Sir Jeran to think I’m some creepy stalker fangirl! I like being friends with Lisha; that will end if that happens,” I cried.
“You’re so weird, Kristy.” Illusen laughed. “You need to stop working yourself up over silly things; you’ll live longer if you do.”
“Yeah, my dad says that too, but I was born weird, I can’t fix that,” I groused.
Illusen handed me a basket and said, “Go pick berries for me. While you do that, I’m going to spoil Yanli rotten with sugar laden cookies.”
“Gah, all the faeries are out to get me!” I complained as I went off to pick berries.
Illusen is also a genius. A walk through the peaceful sunlit woods during midsummer is a cure-all. By the time I returned with my basket full of voidberries I was feeling much more optimistic. My Green Zafara Yanli bounced up to me and threw her arms around my waist and smiled at me. There were crumbs on her cheeks.
“Illusen gave me cookies! She watched me while you were gone. The girls took Anita to see the Castle! Can you believe how much Anita has traveled and she has never gone to see the castle? Bluejay is kissing Mortogs,” she told me.
“I am not!” came my Starry Pteri’s indignant voice from within the forest.
Yanli laughed and ran back to Illusen’s cottage.
The next day came way too soon for my taste. I decided to treat this as I would any other interview and do my best to write a good article. I was not going to let Taelia get the better of me. I was a journalist and journalists have to be impartial and respectful and professional at all times.
So at exactly two in the afternoon I knocked on her door, ready to go. Taelia opened the door and greeted me and Chloe.
“Why, hello there, Kris and Chloe. Come in, you must be freezing. I’m so honored that you want to write an article about me,” Taelia cried.
I nearly suffocated myself trying not scream. I forced out a polite smile and replied, “Well, despite any differences we have had in the past, it doesn’t change the fact that you are an extremely interesting person and a bit of a celebrity here on the mountain.”
She grinned wickedly. She was loving watching me humble myself in front of her for my profession.
We sat down and I pulled out my notepad and pencil and said, “All right, I’m going to start now. Is that okay?”
“Of course it is, silly! Why else would you be here?” Taelia said; condescension was on the very edge of her tone.
“Of course, that was a silly thing to say,” I said, choking on my desire to say something super sarcastic. “All right, how long have you been on the Mountain now, Taelia?”
“About a hundred years,” Taelia answered.
“Why did you decide to come live here in the first place? Was it because you are the only Snow Faerie or was there some reason for leaving Faerieland?”
“Well, not really. I really just decided that I preferred Terror Mountain to Faerieland so I left. I also decided that I could far more good living here,” Taelia explained.
“Yes, it is well-known that you have saved many lives over the years. So, it must be hard getting ingredients for your alchemy experiments, which is why you give out the quests, but does that really help you enough?”
“Oh, yes. My questers are so generous and they try so hard to get me the items I need in the time period I need them. I really don’t know what I would do without them and I’m very grateful to them.”
“So, let’s talk about the Draik morphing potions and dark battle ducks. Why did you decide to give those out in the first place and why did you stop?”
“Well, I only had a limited number of them. Kauvara gave me the potions to thank me for a favor I did her and the battle ducks I found in a box of random things I had bought on impulse at Mika and Carassa’s garage sale. So, when I ran out, I was out.”
“I see. So, let’s talk about the incident with Hannah and the Ice Caves.”
“Let’s not. I spent weeks frozen in a block of ice because of that horrible little Mynci! I’m very glad I could save Hannah, but otherwise, I don’t like to talk about that.”
I repressed a snicker, but I guess Tae could read my face. Things were about to go downhill fast.
“So, besides alchemy, do you have any other hobbies?” I asked.
“Well, yes, actually I do, and I’ll admit that I on occasion like to play pranks.”
I decided I should change the subject fast. “So, everyone knows you help people who have been hurt or lost, but how do you find them?”
“Well, sometimes it’s a good guess or I use a spell if I know who is missing. Sometimes, I just get lucky. Like the time I happened upon this girl who had been hit on the head by a book that had been dropped by the traveling library. She was muttering about neggs and slushies and ice-skating Skeiths. That was hilarious!”
I turned totally crimson. That girl had been me and Tae had spread my mutterings to the entire Valley. It was months before people would stop snickering as they told me to watch out for falling books.
“Kristy...” Chloe warned, but I was pushed past the point of no return. My big mouth was about to get the better of me once again.
“So, Taelia,” I asked. “Did you get rid of those streaks under your eyes because they weren’t fooling anyone?”
“Why, you little...” Taelia fumed.
“Or because they made you look more like a Darigan Acara than you do already?” I quipped.
“You little Mortog! I’ll make you look like a Darigan Acara!” Taelia roared.
She stood up and raised her wand and my last memory was of thinking, “I think I went too far this time.”
I woke up in a room in the hospital in Neopia Central. Illusen was sitting by my bedside.
“You’re awake, that’s good. How do you feel?” Illusen asked.
“Like dung,” I replied.
“It took them twelve hours to thaw you out. Someday, you’re going to go too far,” Illusen told.
“I know, but a funeral is probably cheaper than my medical bills,” I replied.
Illusen just laughed and shook her head.
“Chloe and Elise are going to kill you when you get home, they told me so.”
“I suppose I deserve that.”
“Well, I’m glad you’re okay. I’ve got to get back to Meridell. See you soon.”
Illusen left and a nurse came in. She was carrying a vase with flowers in it.
“Someone sent you these,” she said as she set them on the bedside table.
I reached over and took the card off them to see who had sent it.
‘From your BFF, much love, Taelia.’