The Iced Curse: Part One
I stumbled out of the dense forest, my claws catching on a tree root hidden by the shriveled, falling leaves that marked my path. I fell to the ground with a thump, sending sparks of pain bolting down my legs and back.
The ice was now surrounding me, a new entity forming out of the frost. It appeared in the form of an Ice Draik, but I knew that that wasn't actually what it was. The faint shape glared at me menacingly as I cowered on the ground.
Shards of ice, tiny but strong, stabbed through my already torn clothes and my hair, pinning me tightly to the dirt below me no matter how much I struggled. The Ice Draik reached down with one claw extended out, lowered the tip down, and...
I jolted awake as I felt something sharp jab me in the cheek.
"Are you dead?"
I bolted upright and whirled my whole body around in fear to see myself standing face-to-face with a Desert Aisha. She had a pointy brown stick in her paw.
"Are you dead?" she asked again, even though I clearly wasn't. My light blue eyes weren't even closed anymore.
I cowered backwards, slamming my back into a palm tree trunk and smacking the back of my head against the rough bark as well.
"I'll take that as a no," the Aisha said, and then laughed delightedly at me. "Although, I can't be sure now that you just whacked your head hard enough to knock someone out."
The Aisha stared at me, waiting for a response. I gingerly rubbed the back of my head in pain, wanting to ask why she was poking me with a stick, but I couldn't get the sound to come out of my terrified mouth.
"Wow, I've never seen a Lutari before," the Aisha said. I scrunched up even farther against the tree at this, hoping she wouldn't harm me, even though she didn't look to be much older than me. Probably only by a year or two.
"So, are all Lutaris mute, or is it just you?" the Aisha asked me. "Well, anyways, my name is Pacina. Can you possibly tell me what your name is?"
I finally caught up with Pacina's train of thought. "M-My name i-is Lodo," I stuttered out.
"Lodo?" Pacina asked. "That's a funny name."
I blushed. No one had bothered to ask my name, so I hadn't heard how ridiculous it sounded much. "It's short for Lodowaty."
"That's still a weird name," Pacina pointed out. "But it is cool to have a nickname, those are awesome. My nickname is Pac, and that's what my sister, owner, and cousin all call me sometimes. I wish they would call me that more, but they don't. It's still cool though."
"Yeah," I said weakly, feeling faint from the sudden heat.
"Well, do you live on Mystery Island?" Pacina asked me.
I looked at her confusedly. Mystery Island? Why would I live here? "Uhhh..." I stuttered. "No, I don't. I live where it is really cold and snowy, I can barely go outside because the wind would knock me over." I neglected to mention that it was probably my fault there were constant storms going on.
"Oh," Pacina said. "I would have thought you would have lived on Lutari Island or something, even though the terrible storm there seems unbearable. I mean that a lot of Lutaris even left."
Pacina stared at me. "Have you never been to Lutari Island? Well, we could always take you there, if you would like."
I slowly got to my feet, sweating even more from the heat. I put a warm hand on the palm tree trunk, and the bark froze underneath my claws, sticking my hand to the tree. Pacina looked at me like I had three heads, so I quickly ripped my hand away from the ice, smashed it with my claws, and turned around to Pacina. "Wow, that was weird, how did that happen?" I lied.
"I-I don't know," Pacina said. She shied away from me, and pulled her paws in. "I can take you to my Neohome, I guess. You look like you need sleep."
"Yeah," I said tiredly, and threw in a yawn for effect. "Let's go."
Pacina led me through the remainder of the palm tree forest as the sun started to sink lower in the sky. Wherever I walked, the leaves started to wilt and crumble to the ground. Gale winds started to howl through the overgrown plants, nearly knocking Pacina and me over. The ground started to freeze under my feet, and I shivered.
"Man, this is really weird weather we're having," Pacina remarked. "It's usually so warm and peaceful here." She shuddered.
I looked up to see a white, puffy cloud forming over my head. "Snow Cloud!" I whispered fervently. "Go away, what if Pacina catches you?" Snow cloud tiled his head, or what I thought was his head. He looked at Pacina like she was no threat.
Snow Cloud finally got the hint from me waving my claws at him, and he disappeared.
Snow began to fall from the clouds blocking out the sky, and I shivered again. I nearly fell over more than a dozen times from being stuck to the ground, since the ice under my feet was getting really thick. I broke the icy holds and caught up to Pacina, who was looking more and more worriedly up at the clouds brewing in the sky. "This is so weird," she said. "Mystery Island has never gotten snow as long as my family has been around, and probably not in all of the island's history. I just don't get this at all."
"Me neither," I lied, hoping she'd buy my bluff.
"We should get to my house faster, before we get snowed out here," Pacina said. "We should probably start running if we want to make it."
"Okay," I said, although I wasn't very athletic. It turns out that Pacina isn't very athletic either.
We ran for about five minutes, and though I was a little tired, the cold air perked me up slightly and I managed to catch up to Pacina. The poor Aisha was huffing and puffing, gasping for air, and when she actually did breathe, it came out in short, rough, uneven bursts. The cold weather didn't seem to be faring well for Pacina, and ice was starting to form on her super-sensitive pair of extra ears. She dropped to all fours to run faster, and I did the same. I wasn't about to get trapped in the snow, even though it was my fault.
A particularly strong wind blew across the freezing sands, and Pacina nearly blew away. She gained her composure again as best as she could with her freezing breath and continued to run after me. "We're almost there," she gasped out heavily.
"Okay," I yelled, but the wind whipped the words away and Pacina didn't hear me. "Can you keep running?"
"Running?" Pacina yelled. "Yeah, I can keep going!"
"Are you sure?" I screamed back. "Because if you can't, I think I can take you on my back!"
"No!" Pacina yelled back tiredly. "I can keep going, and besides, I don't want to add all that extra weight to you! You're already smaller than me, it would be unfair!"
"Okay!" I screeched.
The back of my fur bristled like Dandans scuttling down it as I felt something lightly tickle my tattered shirt. I nearly smashed into a stray palm tree as Snow Cloud floated out in front of me. "Snow Cloud?!" What are you even doing here, I told you to go away in case Pacina sees you!"
Snow Cloud leaped off my face as I kept running and purred at me. He settled himself right above my head, and snow began to lightly dust my hair. "Snow Cloud," I whined. "It's as if I'm not getting snowed on enough!"
Snow Cloud kept his position, so I grunted and ran through it. The snow was finally drifting into my lungs and everything, and combined with all the exercise, this was a recipe for disaster. My lungs were dying for the crisp, clear air that wasn't readily available in a storm like this one.
Snow Cloud kept purring slightly. I had heard from lost Neopets travelling the snowy landscape say they saw Snow Cloud and muttered about the pesky 'Christmas Cirrus' trying to bury them in snow. I didn't really know if Snow Cloud was a Christmas Cirrus, or just a cloud. But whatever it was, it happened to follow me around.
I was so busy worrying about Snow Cloud, I apparently missed Pacina yelling only a few more feet, and I crashed into a door that I couldn't tell if it was painted white or if the snow had completely coated it. I put a paw over my injured head, right when Pacina barreled through me to get to the door. "Knockity Knock-Knock!" she shouted, pounding on the door. No snow fell off, so I figured that it was painted white.
Pacina stepped back and bumped into me. She turned around quickly and said sorry.
A clicking sound occurred from inside the door, and I assumed someone was unlocking it. I looked up at the wood nervously. What if Pacina's owner was really mean and rude and hated Lutaris? Or was so crazy about getting a Lutari that they would lock me up? I also racked my brain trying to remember if Pacina had said anything about having any siblings, relatives, or any other Neopets in the Neohome besides her.
"Pacina," I asked, "how does your owner feel about Lutaris?"
"Well," Pacina said. "She used to really, really want a Lutari, so bad that she would have given away all of her pets to get one." I shuddered. "But that sort of mad lust kind of disappeared, and now she wants one, but not nearly as bad as she used to. So, she likes them to a point, I guess."
"Okay," I said blankly, trying to sound unworried even though I was trembling in my torn boots. I hoped that she wasn't snoopy; she could question me and ask if I knew anything about the storm.
"Just a second," a voice called from behind the door. "This stupid lock is frozen shut; I have no idea how to fix it. I've never had to; it's never been frozen before."
"Got it!" the voice shouted triumphantly after about a minute. The door swung open to reveal a tall Shadow Eyrie wrapped in a striped blanket. "Oh, Pacina, Flames is going to be so glad that you're alive. I'm sorry to say that I can't say the same." The Eyrie started cracking up at her own joke, which I thought was more cruel than funny.
"Yeah, yeah, Harpier," Pacina said. "I need to see Flames before I come in."
I shivered and scrunched myself up behind Pacina, trying to make myself unseen from the Eyrie's perspective.
"Fine. Flames! Get out here!"
A fairly young owner, probably a juvenile, dashed out of a random room next to what looked like a kitchen, her hair frazzled and her clothes rumpled. Her glasses were crooked.
"Oh thank Fyora!" she yelled, and raced over to Pacina. She scooped the Aisha up into a death-grip hug, revealing my hiding place. Pacina wheezed and scrambled to get free. The girl finally noticed, and let the poor desert Aisha go.
"I've been so worried about you, Pacina! With this unexplainable storm starting, I thought you would be trapped in the snow forever, and I went crazy!"
"Don't be silly, Flames," Pacina said. "Snow storms don't last forever. And besides, I was only gone for like twelve minutes."
I shifted uncomfortably on my feet.
"But I do have something to tell you," Pacina said. "I found this Lutari named Lodo sleeping next to a palm tree deep in the woods. I figured I would bring her home for the storm, give her some new clothes, and let her sleep. You know, get reoriented."
"A Lutari, you say?" the girl, Flames apparently, asked. "I used to want a Lutari. But I can't keep you here forever, so once you get back on your feet, and this storm stops, we can send you on your way. Why don't you come in for some hot chocolate? I don't know if we have any since we live on a tropical island, but it would sure help us now if we did have some."
I looked up at Flames. She sure didn't look like the snoopy type. But sooner or later, she was bound to ask me what I knew about the storm, and I would have to tell her the truth.
Storms can last forever.
To be continued...
Author's Note: Hiya guys! I'm back again, hopefully to get the story of Lodowaty into the NT for you to read. I hope you enjoy :3 -Flames