Armin: Finds Hope
Author's note: To fully understand this story you should read Armin: The Beginning
in week 176.
Armin had a hard time falling asleep that night. The
little hole was barely big enough for Armin by himself, and with Hannah he had
to scrunch himself into a little ball to make room. Armin knew it had to be
worse for Hannah who was taller.
"Hannah, are you awake?" Armin whispered.
There was no reply. When Armin listened closely
he could hear light breathing, so he knew the Usul had fallen asleep. Armin
quietly turned over and closed his eyes. After a few minutes of lying there
not thinking, barely breathing, he felt sleep come over him like a blanket.
This sleep was not an easy sleep, though. A
dark and meaningful dream penetrated his consciousness. It was of the shadow
of a hideous beast. The shadow moved closer to Armin and Armin felt an icy coldness
like had never felt before. Armin ran, but tripped on a stone and fell sprawling
to the ground. He scrambled behind a nearby rock and sat there with his knees
pulled up to his chest, keeping his breathing as quiet as possible. This was
to no avail. Armin heard the beast creaking on the ice, drawing ever nearer,
until Armin knew he was right next to the rock, ready to jump onto its prey.
Armin heard the sound of running, and braced himself for the worse. Just as
the beast was about to come around the rock and make its kill, Armin woke up
to his own screaming. Armin opened his eyes to see Hannah staring down at him
on her knees, a worried look on her face.
"Are you alright, Armin?" Hannah asked with
"I'm fine, just a bad dream," Armin mumbled,
embarrassed at his screaming and whatever else he did that made Hannah wake
"Oh, I had bad dreams too when I was younger.
What happened in it?"
Armin told Hannah about his dream. "I think
there was a meaning in it, like maybe we'll meet an icy beast," Armin concluded.
"That's very strange, I had a dream about a
beast that made me feel cold too; you must be right about it meaning something."
Hannah crawled out of the hole and started pacing,
obviously in deep thought. Armin crawled out after her to see the sky turning
a light pink.
"I'll go get some berries for breakfast," he
Hannah waved and continued her pacing. Armin
walked briskly to the bush with berries on it. He was thinking very hard about
his dream and not paying attention to the bushes while he picked the berries;
it was mindless work. He only barely noticed the rustling of the bushes as he
was so off in his own world. Only when the hand was clamped on his mouth and
the arm was squeezing his tiny body did he notice something.
"What are you, and what would your business
here be?" a voice hissed in his ear, and Armin felt the hand lifted from his
mouth, though not the arm from his stomach.
"I am a Bori named Armin and my business here
would be none of your business," Armin stated boldly.
The arm clamped tighter around his stomach.
Armin now found it hard to breath.
"Tell me why you are here or I will kill you.
I will make sure no one sees your body again after," the voice hissed in his
"You can't just dispose of me and think nothing
will come of it! My friend Hannah will wonder what has happened to me!" Armin
squeaked; the arm was clamping tighter and tighter on him.
The arm's hold slackened. Now Armin could breathe
normally, but he still had no hope of getting away.
"Is this Hannah you speak of a Usul?"
Armin nodded vigorously; he was so desperate
he didn't think that this mysterious thing may be an enemy of Hannah's.
"I have a deal for you. Take me to Hannah and
I will spare your life. Do you accept?"
Armin nodded so hard he nearly fell over.
"Good, right answer. I'm going to let go of
you now. If you so much as try to run away, you will be immediately dead. Now,
Armin felt the weight of the arm off his chest
and he started towards where Hannah was; now sitting in the snow. She looked
up as she heard the crunching of feet on snow. Armin saw a look of shock on
Hannah's face as she saw the mysterious figure behind Armin.
"Kanrik," Hannah whispered, standing up and
walking towards Armin and the now-identified Kanrik.
"You two know each other?" Armin asked, scuttling
out of the way of the two.
"I do know Kanrik, but that doesn't mean I want
to," Hannah said softly.
Armin glanced at Kanrik to see a green Gelert
with a cloak on and the hood up. There was a scar on his left eye. He was staring
down at Hannah as she stared up at him. Armin stared transfixed at the two until
Hannah kicked him in the stomach, hard. Kanrik doubled over in pain.
"You betrayer!" she shouted at the hunched figure.
"Hannah, let me explain!" Kanrik gasped.
"There is nothing to explain; you betrayed me
once, I will never trust you again!" she bellowed.
Hannah pulled her arm back, her fist clenched.
She started to punch a punch towards Kanrik's head that, when delivered by someone
with her fury, might be the last thing the receiver ever saw and felt. Armin
surprised himself by diving into Hannah and knocking her to the ground, right
before the punch made contact.
"Hannah, before you hurt or possibly kill Kanrik,
will you please let him explain his story and please explain to me what you
have against him?" Armin asked as calmly as he could muster, holding out a paw
to Hannah to help her up.
Hannah took the paw and, glaring at Kanrik,
picked up two nearby sticks and rubbed them together. Once a fire was made she
sat down on the ground next to it. Hannah then beckoned for Armin to sit next
to her. Kanrik sat down across from the two without invitation. Hannah still
glared at him.
"Why did you call him a betrayer Hannah?" Armin
asked, trying to keep calmness between the two.
"When I was in the Lost Desert, like I told
you someone pushed me off a cliff he was the one." Hannah spat the word
he out, like it pained her to say it.
"You were the one who pushed her off the cliff?"
Armin asked, suddenly not feeling that great about Kanrik either.
Kanrik groaned. "I thought you were going to
let me explain. Since nobody will give me a chance, I will just give myself
permission to explain."
"Just explain," Hannah snapped.
"I was sent to dispose of you by the Thieves'
guild. The punishment for not doing their will was death. When I went back an
evil Acara named Masila who I thought loved me asked me to dispose of the guild's
leader, Galem, by using a magical being called the Bringer. I was too wrapped
up in my own dreams of being leader to notice the flaws of that plan. I let
the bringer loose, but he turned bad and started fighting the thieves, bringing
ice skeletons with him. Luckily, the sun killed the ice skeletons but Galem
gained control of the Bringer. Masila put all the blame on me, her plan from
the start I learned, and she poisoned me and it knocked me out. When I woke
up I was near here. I started walking to no where and just happened to stumble
on Armin. Hannah, the thieves are in a cave near here. The Bringer showed them
a tremendous jewel, that when used in the wrong hands can bring destruction
to the whole of Neopia. I found that someone with the mark of Ta-Kutep can destroy
the jewel with just a single touch. Will you and Armin come with me to destroy
Hannah stared into space for a few minutes before
answering slowly. "I do not fully trust you, Kanrik, but I will come with you.
At the first sign of danger I am leaving you, though. I cannot say what Armin
"I'll come; I do not have anywhere else to go
anyways," Armin said quickly.
"We should leave immediately, then," Kanrik
said, standing up and starting to walk.
Armin and Hannah followed him promptly. Armin
glanced from Hannah to Kanrik as they walked. He could see on both of their
faces they didn't trust each other; he was good at reading people's expressions.
He could tell Hannah was worried that Kanrik was leading them into a trap and
Kanrik was worried Hannah would misread a falling piece of ice or one of the
thieves' guild members as Kanrik trying to hurt her. He could tell they both
had little hope in saving Neopia before the thieves got the jewel.
I just need some hope, anything to show me
things will turn out okay, Armin thought.
Armin tripped on a rock. He fell to the ground
and started scrambling up when he thought he saw a pair of eyes from a little
opening in the middle of the snow.
"Are you ok, Armin?" Hannah asked, reaching
her hand out.
Armin nodded and took her hand, but didn't move
his eyes from the opening. Suddenly, a tiny white Bori popped out of the hole
followed by a little bit bigger blue one.
"Armie?" the white Bori whispered tentatively.
"Chen! Mariah!" Armin shouted, picking up Mariah
and hugging Chen.
Armin knew his hope was found.