The Iced Curse: Part Two
"So, Lodo, do you have any sibling or relatives or anything?" Flames asked as we walked into her small kitchen.
"Not really," I said, shrugging my shoulders.
"Oh," Flames said as she reached for a few mugs. "That's sad. Do you wish you had siblings?"
"No," I said. "I'm okay with not having siblings. I get into fewer arguments that way."
"Oh, I understand," Flames said with a giggle. "Trust me, Pacina, Harpier, and Aluendi argue so much I wish I could put tape over their mouths. But I couldn't bring myself to do that. You know, just get them to-"
"Can I not have any hot chocolate?" I interjected. "I mean, just water would be fine."
"Really?" Flames asked. "It's so cold out, and you want ice cold water instead of nice, warm hot chocolate?"
"Yeah, I'm sure," I said. "I don't really like chocolate."
"Well, I hope you like other sweet things or omelettes," Flames said. "Because all we have to eat right now is some Battledome food, a bunch of random omelettes, and some different jellies."
"No, that's fine," I said. "Omelettes are pretty good, as long as they are the right flavor. And I don't think that I've ever had jelly before, but I guess it that I could try some. It might be good."
"Okay," Flames said, handing me a clear glass of ice water. "Here's your water. I knew Lutaris liked water and all that, but this is just ridiculous."
I stopped in my tracks, thinking about what she said. I should have changed my order before I got it. As casually as I could manage to make it, I tipped the glass to my mouth and slurped an ice cube out. It slid icily down my throat, making me feel all cold on the inside, which I guess was supposed to be a good thing. Pacina and Flames stared at me in confusion. "Uhhh, are you eating just the ice?" Flames asked. "Because we could have gotten you a glass of just that."
"No, no," I said. "I'm drinking the water too, don't worry." I took a sip of water to prove myself right, even though it froze halfway down my throat and nearly got stuck. I gulped it down painfully, which caused more staring from Pacina and Flames.
"Ooookkkaaaaaaaay..." Pacina said. "Can I have my hot chocolate now, Flames? I'm freezing cold from the snow we just ran through. Even my ears are frozen!"
"Here you go," Flames said, handing Pacina a steaming mug. "We didn't have any hot chocolate, but we did have borovan I made a while back when I was still deciding where to build my Neohome."
"Bleah," Pacina said, sticking her tongue out. "I hate borovan, it's disgusting. You can just give this to Harpier."
"Pacina, just throw it out if you aren't going to drink it," Flames said, glaring at Pacina. She turned to me as Pacina dumped her borovan down the drain. "So, Lodo, I suppose I should introduce you to the rest of our little family."
Once flames said that, I remembered Pacina saying that she had a sister and a cousin. I didn't know how long I could stay here with even more Neopets in this house.
The Shadow Eyrie from before walked into the room, and Flames smiled. "Oh, Harpier, perfect timing."
"Who's the short stuff?" The Eyrie asked, barely even glancing at me. I scowled because I hated it when people talked like I wasn't even there.
"Harpier, this is Lodo," Flames said as she gestured at me with her hands while Harpier grunted. "And Lodo, this Shadow Eyrie is Harpier, my first Neopet. I'm pretty sure I got her name on a purge, but I'm not entirely positive. She used to be a blue Kougra that got zapped by Boochi, but after being baby Harpier decided she hated it and would rather be an Eyrie, so I saved up all my Neopoints and morphed her, and then painted her using the Shadow Paint Brush I got from Fruit Machine. The day I got that paint brush was the best day ever."
"And thanks for telling some random stranger my entire history, Flames, honestly. I can't get any privacy around here with you," Harpier complained.
"Sorry, I don't think about these things. Do you really think that Lodo is a stranger?" Flames asked, still ignoring the fact I was standing right next to her and she could have asked me what I thought. I sighed.
"Yeah, she is," Harpier said as she rolled her eyes. "I'm gonna go get some omelette."
"Okay," Flames called after her. "Just don't eat the chocolate omelette, I need to throw it out. I think its gone bad."
"And a giant omelette sitting in the sun on a raised plateau for days hasn't gone bad by now?" Harpier asked sarcastically. "And that's where we get all of our omelettes anyways, so as long as we don't get any omelettes specifically labeled rotten, I'm good for eating them. And besides, I'm not having a chocolate omelette. That's gross. I'm having a bite of one of our sausage and pepperoni omelettes."
"Oh, she complains about everything," Flames told me. "Now I need to introduce you to Aluendi." She looked out of the kitchen and down the small hallway. Aluendi! Get down here!"
"Down here?" a Yellow Cybunny wearing a lavender sweatshirt and worn, faded blue jeans walked into the room, fingering a small gold crown perched atop her head. "What do you mean, 'down?' Our house only has one floor."
"Well, yeah, I guess so," Flames said. "Anyways, this is our houseguest for the time being. Her name is Lodo and I thought you should get to know her better while she is here."
"Okay," the Cybunny said, happily extending a fuzzy white paw out to me. "My name is Aluendi. But everyone just calls me Alu, unless it's Flames when she gets uber mad at me." Alu smirked at Flames and shot her a sarcastic smile.
Flames smiled back at Aluendi and turned around, gesturing to the kitchen. "Thanks for being nicer to Lodo than Harpier was. And there's plenty of stuff in the kitchen, feel free to heat up some omelette or make yourself a nice mug of borovan. We're all out of hot chocolate."
"Fiine," Aluendi sighed, walking towards the kitchen. "But I hate borovan."
"I hate borovan too," Flames said to me. "I only made some once before, and I hated it. Hot chocolate and asparagus just do not go well together."
"Yeah," I said, although I had never had borovan, hot chocolate, or asparagus.
"Okay, I suppose I should show you around," Flames said as she turned to face me. Her smile stretched across her face. She looked extremely kind, but I could never be too careful. I mean, I had just met her and all.
She led me into a small room off of the kitchen. Bits and baubles coated the floor and shelves. A small, worn wooden desk covered with crumpled blank papers and a large white feather pen sat quaintly in the right-hand corner of the room. An overflowing trashcan was settled next to the right side of the desk, and written-on papers crumpled into balls poured over the edges of the trash can onto the carpet. The carpet was bright white with black lines on it that were probably supposed to resemble the writing on a page of a story. The walls were lined with shelves, and the shelves were lined with what seemed like every Neopian Times issue ever printed, as well as a few assorted books and various Neopian Times and White Weewoo themed trinkets.
Flames smiled and started walking towards the desk. She beckoned me to follow, and I curiously walked after her. She opened a tiny drawer and took out a fairly large booklet of writing.
"The Royal Reputation," I read aloud. That was the title in big, bold black letters on very first page. I assumed the writing started on the next page. "What's this?"
"This was the first series I got into the Neopian Times," Flames explained to me. "Aluendi told me this story when she first came to my Neohome all alone, saying that she was Harpier and Pacina's distant cousin. I was so fascinated by her story of how she lived with a brother and sister, and then got banished, that I decided to write a six part series on it all, word for word as Aluendi told us. I don't think I wrote it very well, but I tried my best."
"That's cool," I said. "It sounds interesting."
"I can show you the six issues it was in, I have every issue," Flames said with delight. Her eyes sparkled. "I love the Neopian Times so much."
I reached into the drawer and pulled out a small book of papers, much smaller than the first. The cover read Some Bonds are Never Broken.
Flames smiled and clasped her hands together lovingly. "That was my very first Neopian Times story. It got in to the Neopian Times and made possibly my best memory ever, I nearly fainted. And it was entered into the special valentine's edition of the Neopian Times no less. I will always cherish that moment."
Wow. I hadn't read even one issue of the Neopian Times. I guess it was time to get started since I could read every issue here if I wanted too. But I wasn't going to spend that much time here since I was messing with the weather patterns and disturbing all the locals and tourists. This place could be as desolate as the place where I live. Or I had lived, before I fled in hopes to leave the ice and snow behind. So much for that plan.
"So this is my writing room, if you hadn't already guessed," Flames said as she waved a hand at the room.
She turned and walked out, leading me into a slightly larger room next to the kitchen. There was a small couch, a low table, a fireplace and a fluffy dark blue rug resting on a wooden floor. A few boring pictures of fruits and of Flames's Neopets hung on the walls, but besides that and a few pretty accents on the table, there wasn't really anything of much interest in the room.
"This is the living room," Flames said. She scratched her head thoughtfully. "We've been meaning to do something with it, maybe jazz it up a little, but we really don't have the motivation to do anything so far. So it remains this boring, quaint little room, and yet this is always where we seem to lounge around anyways."
"You should paint the walls a different color, something flashy," I suggested absentmindedly. "Maybe a bright icy blue, to contrast with the dark colors."
Flames nodded her head. "Yeah, that's a good idea. I've never been that good with colors and stuff, since everything in this house mismatches in some way or another. You know, like having a dark brown coffee table with a dark blue rug, it just doesn't match." She shrugged her shoulders and sighed. "What are you going to do?"
"Okay," I said. I only suggested that because I was used to the bright but somewhat monochrome colors of ice and snow. It gets pretty boring, pretty fast.
"So all that's really left is Aluendi's, Harpier's, and Pacina's bedrooms," Flames told me. She ran a hand through her long, still frazzled hair. "We don't have an extra bedroom, since our Neohome is so small. So I'm afraid you'll have to sleep on the couch. And the smallest clothes we have are Pacina's clothes, and even those might be a little big for you. But that'll be the best we can do until you can get out of this snow storm and back to your real owner. They can get you some new clothes that fit you and get rid of your rumpled and torn ones."
"Okay," I said even though I knew full and well that those clothes would be serving me for a long time, for I had no owner.
Flames led me into a small room with two beds. I could only imagine that this must have been Pacina's room, along with one other Neopet. There were two small, identical tables next to the two identical beds with two identical lamps lit on them. A small closet door resided on each side of the walls next to the beds, one for each of the two Neopets.
"This is Pacina and Harpier's room," Flames explained. "It's not the biggest room ever and it doesn't have the fanciest things, and it certainly doesn't have walk-in closets. But it's a nice room for them as long as they can quit arguing."
Flames led me to one of the doors and opened it. It was stuffed full of clothes, shoes and various accessories. "This is Pacina's closet," she said. "It has smaller clothes than in Harpier's closet, obviously."
She handed me a rumpled, long-sleeve shirt that seemed just a bit smaller than the rest of the frilly clothes in there, which I was grateful to not have to wear. She also handed me an old pair of sweatpants with a small hole in the left knee.
"Pacina!" Flames shouted down the hallway. Her voice rang annoyingly loud in my small yet sensitive ears.
Pacina bounded into the room moments later, blueberry jelly smeared across her mouth and cheeks. "Yes, Flames?" she asked happily as she fluttered her fake golden wings.
Flames frowned at her. "I can always tell what you've been eating, Pacina," Flames said. She grabbed a tissue from a nearby side table and wiped it across Pacina's face. "Don't eat too much jelly, you always go on a crazy sugar rush and then your tummy hurts."
"Okay," Pacina said, and then pushed Flames's hand away. "So, what was it that you called me in here for?"
"I wanted to ask you if it was alright if Lodo had these pants and this shirt. I was pretty sure that you didn't use them anymore and they might fit Lodo better than your other clothing," Flames explained.
"Sure!" Pacina said in a happy, bubbly way. "You're right, I don't use them anymore. They're a bit too small for me, so I'd be happy to give them to Lodowaty." She smiled at me.
"Lodowaty?" Flames asked.
"Duh, it's the Lutari standing right next to you," Pacina said, waving her arms at me. "Oh, right." She smacked her forehead. "Lodo told me her real name is Lodowaty, but she wants everyone to call her Lodo, because that's her nickname. I guess I forgot to tell you want her actual name was. Sorry about that."
"Oh, that's okay," Flames said. She handed me the clothes. Well, more like shoved them in my face. "You can take these and go change, and then I'll go find a blanket and get you set up on the couch. I'll see if I can scrounge up an extra pillow too but I can't make any promises."
"Oh no," I said, waving my hands. "That's okay as long as you have a warm blanket. I'm a bit sensitive to the cold."
"And yet you live where it's wicked cold and snowy?" Pacina asked. "That's all topsy-turvy. You should be living in a nice warm place like Mystery Island when there aren't random snowstorms."
"Yeah," I said, twirling my hands to demonstrate topsy-turvy. "I really do want to live somewhere nice and warm and sunny, but it's really complicated. So I just have to live where I do right now."
"Oh, okay," Pacina said, nodding her head. "Well, anytime you want to come visit us here on Mystery Island to take a break from all of that ice and snow, come right on in. I'm sure no one here would mind, right Flames?"
"That's right," Flames replied. "Come on in, be our guest. You can even bring your owner or your petpet if you have one."
"I don't have a petpet," I said quickly, thinking about how annoying Snow Cloud is. "And I don't think my owner would like to come. She's, um, a... she's a bit sensitive to the heat. She gets really hot really fast, so she prefers to live in the cold. Which is why I live there too."
"Well, you can come anytime at least," Flames said. She smiled. What was with all of the smiling here?
I fidgeted uncomfortably in the sudden silence. "So, um, where do I go to change into these?" I held up the sweatpants and shirt and then pointed to my tattered clothes. Thankfully they weren't completely torn into shreds.
"Oh, let me show you," Flames said, walking to the door. She led me to a small room. "You can change in here."
I looked at her thankfully, and stepped inside to change. I shut the door that was painted white like every other door in this house.
"When you come out you can make your way into the living room," Flames called through the wood. "I'll have a pillow and a cozy blanket waiting for you. Feel free to get a glass of water in the kitchen if you need to, or anything else you could possibly need. And if you need one of us just wake me up. Harpier and Alu sleep at least ten solid, possibly more if I don't wake them up earlier to go training or to Coltzan's Shrine. And Pacina needs as much sleep as she can get because she gets extremely cranky when she doesn't get at least a fair amount of sleep."
"Okay," I said. "And, um, just in case I need it, where do you keep the extra blankets?"
I walked out of the small room quite content, quietly whistling a tune. My new clothes were so warm and fuzzy I nearly hugged myself. I plopped onto the couch and shut off the blue lamp resting on the low-lying table. Snuggling into the blanket, I realized that it was just as warm and cozy as my new clothes, and that made me even happier as I and propped the large pillow behind my head. I yawned tiredly, as my day of running away had left me weary.
My head shot up in surprise. I whirled my head around, back and forth in the pitch-black room. I burrowed farther underneath my blanket so only the top of my eyes were visible. I shivered.
I was the only one in the darkness from what my eyes could see. But somehow I had a creeping feeling that someone else was now in the room with me.
Shock and fear washed over me as the door splintered into millions of tiny wooden shards. I ducked under the blanket as sharp splintery wood blasted against me. Cold air rushed inside and I shivered violently as snow blew against my face. A thick coating of powdery white snow buried the living room instantly.
"Lodo, are you okay in there?"
I heard Flame's voice all the way down the hallway and through the bedroom door. "Oh no!" I whispered fervently.
"Yeah, everything's fine," I shouted. "Just howling for pleasure."
"Well, try to keep it down a bit, okay?"
"Sure," I called back, not at all believing that Flames bought that. How gullible was she?
I ran over to the door shivering more than I ever had before. I looked over and noticed the small fireplace in the room. There was a miniscule amount of firewood stacked next to it, but I didn't see any matches or anything to start a fire with though. And even if I could start I fire, it couldn't evaporate all the water from the snow that would have melted before morning. It was times like this that I wished I lived in a thermal steel fortress with no worries in the world.
Grabbing the blanket and hastily wrapping it around my shoulders, I struggled my way back to the door through the freezing winds. I had, in the process, grabbed the measly logs settled next to the fireplace. I jammed the logs into the doorframe and blocked the entryway so no more snow would blow inside, even though I didn't do a great job and had to stuff some random trinkets in the cracks in the wood. That was about as much as I could handle.
Sure, I could possibly clean up the snow, but the door was a whole other matter. I was by no means a carpenter, and had no tools to work with. I slumped down against the wood and sighed, wondering if I could possibly glue the pieces of the door back together, but I quickly dismissed it as impossible. There was no way I could say that nothing happened now.
I stared at the snow covered room and thought about the sink in the kitchen. An idea popped into my head.
Handful by handful, I picked up the snow mounds and carried them into the kitchen, dropping them into the sink where they would melt and flood down the drain. The living room was starting to look less snow covered, as if the only evidence anything at all happened was the random stuff jammed in the door.
But in reality, something had happened, and it was because of me. The whole thing was terrifying. I looked at the last handful of snow as I dropped it into the sink. It reminded me of me actually, as if sort-of looked like a Lutari. But that was crazy talk.
I shoved it down deep into the pile of snow so I would never have to see it again.
And I realized that was exactly where I should be. Back at home, buried under mountains of snow and ice.
To be continued...