A Waffle Paradise Circulation: 185,375,383 Issue: 496 | 27th day of Hunting, Y13
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by 77thbigby


Lofty was at home for once. He rarely was, but he liked it. No traveling to some distant land, meeting strange Neopians and experiencing something other than normal. He realized that most Neopians did exactly what he was doing now: sitting in a wooden chair in his living room in Neopia Central, watching the world pass him by. Though, this wouldn’t last for long for Trouble, his blue Babyca, was always up to something.

      It was just at that moment that Lofty heard a commotion coming from the kitchen. Then, the doorbell rang. Lofty had a choice to make: kitchen or door? The door was closer and he opened it to find a Neomail addressed to him. Lofty didn’t pause to read the Neomail until he cleaned up the mess in the kitchen.

      Dear Lofty,

      You have never heard of me, but I am Frostburn the Chia. I am an explorer, much like you. I have heard of your skills amongst all of the lands, particular Terror Mountain. That is my next destination and I do hope that you decide to come with me on my expedition as my guide. If your answer is yes, then please meet me in Tyrannia as soon as possible.

      Your Friend,

      Frostburn the Chia

      Lofty smiled. This was going to be fun! He tossed the Neomail in the trash and made sure that Trouble followed him as they dashed off to Tyrannia. They arrived soon and Lofty began his search for the blue Chia. It didn’t take long, for the famous explorer was happily playing a game of Chia Bomber.

      Lofty waited patiently for the game to end and Frostburn turned, catching Lofty’s gaze. The Chia hurried over, a wide smile spreading over his face. Lofty got to his paws, making sure Trouble was there before going to meet the explorer. They stood quietly for a moment, studying each other. They both needed to be certain of their choice of traveling companion.

      “It's nice to meet you, Frostburn,” Lofty said with a smile.

      “It's great to meet you at last, Lofty! Now, I have everything ready. Let's go,” Frostburn cried.

      Lofty grinned and led the way, past the main area of Tyrannia. It would be about a day at the pace they were going before they reached the Terror Mountain border. Lofty always traveled at a great speed, so he never took so long to get anywhere, but with Frostburn, things were quite different. The two were great traveling companions, bold and friendly. Almost at once, Frostburn struck up a friendly conversation with Lofty and the two chatted the entire time.

      Lofty, meanwhile, kept an eye on Trouble. The day passed quickly enough and they made camp at the border between Tyrannia and Terror Mountain, residing on the Tyrannian side for the night. Lofty marveled at the snow and fierce winds that came over the border but with his thick fur, he didn’t have to worry about being cold. Frostburn was as excited as Lofty, yet with only a fur cape for protection, he shivered as the wind pierced his clothing. Lofty didn’t notice his companion’s condition and they slept the night away.

      Bright and early the two awoke to a blizzard raging in Terror Mountain. Lofty grinned with pleasure, but Frostburn showed trepidation in his face and manner as he prepared breakfast as slowly as possible. He was also starting to shiver almost uncontrollably now. This time, Lofty did notice the Chia’s hesitation. Lofty frowned, immediately concerned.

      “Frostburn, we don’t have to go to Terror Mountain,” Lofty said, hoping he wouldn’t offend the prideful Chia.

      Frostburn shook his head, blue hair flying, vehement. “No! We will still go on to Terror Mountain, no matter what. That’s what explorers do.”

      Lofty could see that Frostburn had his mind made up and said no more on the matter. After breakfast, Lofty led the way into the blizzard, wondering what traveling at such a slow pace would be like. He knew he wouldn’t feel the cold right away, because of his thick fur. Trouble was snuggled deep within the thick fur on his back, the only time the blue Babyca ever behaved. Lofty had hoped that Frostburn would stick in his shadow but that didn’t seem to be the case.

      The blue Chia was following in Lofty’s paw steps, but almost as soon as he'd stepped in them, the wind filled them up again and Frostburn was having a hard time of it. Lofty kept looking back, fearful that the Chia would be lost in the blizzard. They traveled this way for hours until Lofty knew that night had fallen. He was exhausted, going at such a cold pace and the cold had torn into him. He looked back and Frostburn was almost frozen.

      Lofty quickly dug into the deep drifts of snow and found a Bori tunnel. He dashed to Frostburn and guided the Chia underground, where it was safe and warm. Lofty had no problem seeing in the dark tunnel and he instructed Frostburn to hang onto his thick back fur while Lofty guided them to a common area for Boris and Lofty, who had befriended the subterranean livers a long time ago. Lofty could seek shelter in tunnels whenever he needed to, though it was rare. He was thankful for this now as he realized that Frostburn was worse off than he'd realized.

      There was no large fire underground, for it had no exit. The only warmth available was blankets and such things. So, Lofty and Frostburn stayed stationary, Lofty sharing his plentiful heat with Frostburn as well as he possibly could. An hour passed and Frostburn finally showed some signs of life. He fidgeted away from Lofty, but didn’t do much more than that.

      It took time, but slowly, Frostburn began to come around. He blinked lots of times and shook his head, as if coming out of a fog. Bracing against Lofty’s side, he stood to his feet. He looked at the baby Yurble and smiled. The blue Chia explorer was back!

      Lofty got to his paws and led the way, making sure Frostburn kept a firm hold on his thick fur. No more traveling in the terrible blizzard. From now on, their path would be underground. They walked for only an hour before Lofty once again poked his head above surface. He smiled with glee, for they were in the Ice Caves!

      Every once in a while a great wind would whip through, but there were no blizzards here. Lofty led the way and Frostburn emerged, blinking in the light.

      “I believe you can make your own way from here, Frostburn,” Lofty said.

      Frostburn nodded his head. “I want you to stick close by, Lofty. I need a guide to get back to Tyrannia once I’m finished.”

      Lofty nodded his head in the affirmative. Even with the subtraction of snow, the ice was still chilly to the paws. Trouble stayed in Lofty’s thick back fur, enjoying the warmth he received. Lofty began his own tour of the Ice Caves, having not visited in a few months. The first place he visited was the Ice Crystal Shop.

      Lofty wasn’t a fighter, though he could be if he wanted. He liked looking at all of the interesting things in the Ice Crystal Shop. It fascinated him the way the Terror Mountainites could make weapons out of their surroundings, even if it seemed as simple as ice and snow. When he entered the shop, the Shoyru Shopkeeper greeted him by name. Lofty traveled so much, especially to Terror Mountain, that the shopkeepers now knew him by name.

      Having had his fill of the things in the Ice Crystal Shop, Lofty made his leave. He then visited the Neggery, wondering about the different Neggs’ abilities. Having also finished there, for he had not been authorized to buy anything by his Momma, he went off in search of Frostburn. He found the Chia, slipping and sliding his way past the Snowager’s cavern. Poor Frostburn looked tired.

      “Frostburn, are you alright?” Lofty asked, looking into Frostburn’s eyes with concern.

      “I’m alright, boy. Just, the Ice Caves can take a lot out of a Chia. I’ve seen all there is to see here. I think it's best I return to Tyrannia, to recover,” Frostburn said slowly, his voice weak.

      Frostburn was wobbling slightly so Lofty stayed by his side as they headed back to the tunnels, even though a blizzard wasn’t raging outside for once. Frostburn couldn’t handle the strong winds that were typical of Terror Mountain when a blizzard wasn’t. They made it into the tunnels with no problem, but they had to stop in a Bori main area to rest for an hour or two before Frostburn could go on. After his rest, Frostburn seemed much better and able to go on. They made good time, with no snow to contend with to slow them down and they didn’t meet any Boris in passing.

      It seemed like a short time later that they made it out of the tunnels and to the Tyrannian border. Frostburn was joyous to see the sun again and to feel the baking heat of the jungle and plateau. He stood there a moment, the sun shining down on his blue hair, eyes closed. He looked so peaceful and Lofty smiled. This was Frostburn the Chia’s true element.

      Frostburn turned to Lofty and ruffled his head fondly, “Thank you, Lofty. You were an excellent guide. I shall never visit the Ice Caves again, but I shall always be able to say that I did visit them. I will also mention that without a certain baby Yurble I wouldn’t have made it there. I believe this is where we part ways. Good-bye!”

      With that, Frostburn turned away from Lofty, destination unknown. Lofty grinned, watching the Chia until he disappeared from sight and then turned to look behind him into the ever-going Terror Mountain blizzard. With eagerness he dashed into the whiteness and was soon lost to sight.

The End

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