My Name is Lavendrette: Part Three
Lavy jumped up, taking the blanket with her, and stuffed it quickly into her backpack. Without even any hesitation, she crawled onto the cold snow and pressed the side of her head against the ground. Sure enough, the scraping, trudging sound continued. Lavy realized with a jolt,
There's someone down there.
She whirled around and ripped the pack open, digging through it. She shook her head as she realized that she had carelessly neglected to bring any type or form of shovel with her. Instead, the purple Grundo had to improvise. She took out two blankets, the one she had had just a moment before, and a different one, and wrapped them tightly and cleanly around her hands. She then plunged her hands into the snow, digging furiously, tossing aside the dusty white particles, listening all the while, her heart pounding in her chest as the noise stopped every once in a while.
Lavy kept digging, flinging snow all around her, until she saw a yellow pelt, clearly visible in contrast to the white snow. Lavy gasped and dug even harder now, and once the icy snow had been packed away, she grabbed the shoulders of what could only be Nisceron, and shook him. His eyes stayed closed, his breathing shallow and raspy. Lavy, in a daze, hurriedly heaved the yellow Xweetok up onto the hard packed snow of the ground, so he wasn't inside of the hole anymore. She felt his hands, which were freezing cold, and unwound the blankets she had tied around her own hands and draped them both over her foster brother. Nisceron didn't move, but his eyelids flickered.
Lavy felt hope soar inside of her chest as she went back to her sack. More flurries of snow were beginning to drift across the land, and Lavy had to wipe her face more often than not. She hoisted the pack up onto her shoulders, and helped Nisceron to stand.
"Come on, Nisc," she said, wanting him to wake up. She patted his cheek, which was as cold as his hands were, and then harder, she slapped him, not wanting to hurt him, but having no other choice. Nisceron winced, but it wasn't very heart-felt.
"At least you can feel," she told him as if he would listen.
Flipping his right arm over her shoulder, she tried to help him down the mountain, but with vision becoming limited due to the approaching snowstorm, the steep hillside, the dead weight, and the heaviness of her pack, Lavy found it was really hard to get Nisceron down the mountain. She could just barely see the lights of Carassa's and Mika's igloo, shining like a beacon for all those that were lost, but the snow was buffeting her, and the lights were becoming dimmer and dimmer, as if she were going in the opposite direction.
Lavy almost tripped as she hustled herself down the mountain, losing her balance quickly. She regained herself, grabbing onto Nisceron as tightly as she could, so that he didn't go barreling down the mountain, and felt undeniable panic as she realized sullenly that... she didn't know where she was.
The snow was picking up, and it seemed almost as if a blizzard were beginning to howl and whine, wind flying at her and grabbing at her skin, pinching it with cold. With a sigh, Lavy realized that she'd probably have to sit down and wait for the storm to be over; although she was so terribly close to the igloo—probably not even a few feet away—she couldn't see it, and wouldn't be able to get to it.
Turning to Nisceron, she said to him, "Nisceron, we're going to have to wait out the storm!" Nisceron didn't respond, as she'd expected, and Lavy just dragged him, with a tad bit of difficulty, over towards a crevice in the cavern's walls; she shoved Nisceron in gently, propping him up against one of the crevice's sides, and then Lavy hurried in. She dug into her backpack, grabbed a towel that Mika had insisted she bring to dry themselves, and hurriedly tucked the ends into the frozen cracks in the wall. The towel fluttered and flapped hastily in the loud, whining wind, but at least the storm wasn't getting inside of the crevice.
Lavy let out a sigh, both of relief and of disappointment. She turned to Nisceron, who was now beginning to rouse, his eyes tensing and moving about underneath his eyelids. Lavy, now that she was out of the bitter cold and her adrenaline had gone down considerably, felt the bitter cold that seeped up through her body. She found the third and final blanket inside of her pack, and wrapped it tightly around herself, and shuffled over to Nisceron. She sat there, watching him, for the longest time, almost drifting off to sleep herself, before the yellow Xweetok finally cracked open his eyes, and darted them around. He looked as if he wanted to say something, but Lavy knew that he would be incapable of doing so for at least a little while.
"Just rest," she offered gently, nodding to him, and Nisceron stared at her, almost in surprise, but then stiffly nodded a bit.
The two stayed in that crevice for a while, leaning against one another in an effort to get warm. Nisceron was still shivering violently from the chilly air circulating around them, buffeting in through the towel, even though it was covering most, if not all, of the entrance. Lavy gritted her teeth, realizing that Nisceron was just growing colder and colder by the minute. His entire body felt chilled to the bone when she leaned up against him, and it froze her own body.
Finally, Lavy stood ceremoniously and announced, "Nisceron, you can't stay here; you're going to freeze to death—we need to get back to the igloo."
Nisceron shook his head, teeth chattering. "N-no, Lavend-drette... it's too c-cold out there for b-both of us."
Lavy shook her head. "No," she said firmly. "We'll both die of cold if we stay here much longer—let's go."
She grabbed Nisceron's hand and hoisted him up; his legs were shaking, and his hands weren't much better, and Lavy could only hand him her blanket as well; she considered taking off her coat, and adding it to the one that she had placed on him, but that would kill her faster than the cold would Nisceron.
Lavy quickly tore down the towel covering the entrance, stuffed it in the pack, and pulled that over her shoulder, than turned to Nisceron and nodded, leading the way out of the cavern.
The winds hit them like a blast of spikes head-on. It bit at the two Neopets and smacked them, buffeting their skin. Nisceron's fur whipped about, and he wrapped his tail tightly around his body. Lavy wasn't sure which way was which, and she had absolutely no sense of direction whatsoever at the moment; she had to squeeze her eyes shut momentarily to keep out of the dusty, stinging snow.
"Which way do you think is the right way?!" she shouted over the loud roaring of the blizzard. She didn't get any answer from Nisceron but a blurry shrug, and Lavy had kind of expected that much.
The purple Grundo squinted her eyes and tried to peer forward, and could very faintly see a dim light in the distance.
"There!" she shouted, afraid that Nisceron might not be able to hear her. "I think I see the igloo!" She hastily dragged Nisceron as the land steadily sloped downward, growing steeper and steeper until it abruptly ended, and Lavy began to sprint, not letting go of Nisceron's hand.
"Linhe!" she shouted, reaching out for the door. "Linhe!"
Lavy then tripped, letting go of Nisceron's paw, and sprawling out onto the ground; stars exploded in front of her mind as her head smashed against the ground, and blackness seeped slowly in front of her eyes...
"What's happened?" Lavy was leaning up against the wall of the igloo, one of the blankets covering her shoulders.
"You fell outside," Kess explained gently, sighing. "You're fine now, but you hit your head pretty hard."
Nisceron was sleeping beside Lavy, his head pressed against the wall.
Mika nodded, standing beside Linhe, who was set back a few steps. The red Flotsam nodded, smiling half-heartedly.
"I think it best we all hurry home, anyway," Kess told Nisceron and Lavy after a few moments of silence. Lavy nodded stiffly, but didn't say anything. Nisceron opened his eyes somewhat, looking up at Kess, and didn't say anything either.
Linhe whispered something to Mika, and he nodded, pulling a grimace. The blue Chia nodded, turned on his heel, and hustled away outside of the igloo.
Linhe shuffled forward, watching Lavy; she then offered, "I'll walk with you home, Lavy, if that's okay with you."
Kess looked back, smiling. "No thank you, Linhe." She sighed. "I think we'll be okay."
Lavy nodded in return, her orange eyes searching Linhe's. "Yeah," she agreed. "And besides, we're family—families have got to stick together."
Linhe's half-smile disappeared, although she tried to resurrect it again. "Sure," she murmured. "No problem."
Lavy stood, her body feeling a bit warmer, but, even so, she tied the blanket around herself. She put a hand on Linhe's shoulder and sighed, "Linhe... I'll always be your friend."
Linhe looked up from the ground at the purple Grundo. "I know," she breathed. "I know."
"How are things going, Lavy?"
The purple Grundo looked up at Hataro; the two were at the slushie shop at the bottom of the mountain; Lavy had her hands cupped around a black cherry slushie, and Hataro was fiddling with the straw of his raspberry slushie. Neither were drinking.
"Things are going fine," Lavy admitted, and they had. Since a few weeks ago, when Nisceron had needed rescuing, Clari had been more tolerant towards her new sister, and Lavy more tolerant towards Clari. The purple Grundo had also grown more tolerant to the cold—she could now go down the mountain and back without having a huge silk jacket wrapped around her.
"So... everything's fine?" Hataro asked incredulously, flicking a fleck of dirt off of his tan, down-laden coat.
Lavy shrugged. "Yeah. Hey, how's Icatrip?"
Hataro laughed. "Icatrip? He's fine as usual. I keep telling him to take a new partner because you're not coming back, but he keeps saying, 'I want Lavy to know that I'm still waiting for her so we can finish our game'."
Now it was Lavy's turn to laugh. "That sounds like Icatrip," she commented, taking a sip of her slushie through the straw.
Hataro glanced at his watch for a moment, then sighed, shaking his head. "Sorry, Lavendrette, but it's almost time for the new recruits to come in—I can't be late."
Lavy nodded, pulling her lips into a thin line. "No worries," she stated. "I have somewhere to be, too."
Both Lavy and Hataro stood, pushing their chairs in. Lavy collected the slushie cups as the red Scorchio turned to leave. As she was depositing them into the trash, Hataro paused at the door and looked over his shoulder. "Say, Lavy, I have one more question for you."
Lavy looked up as well. "Yeah?" she asked.
With a smirk, Hataro queried, "How can you stand this cold?"
Lavy shrugged earnestly, smiling. "I dunno, Hataro... beats me."
Hataro rolled his eyes, and exited through the door, leaving a cold gust of biting wind in his wake.
"Sure beats me."
The purple Grundo put on her sweater, zipping it up to her chin, and hurried out to brave the cold. Besides... she had a date tonight. Kess, Nisceron, Clari, and she were going sledding... and she just couldn't afford to be late.