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Petpet Name: Blossom
Pet Name: Cybur
Breed: Spring Snowbunny
We had talked about it for years, dreamed about adventuring and finding lost treasures, building the Ice Caves up to be this legendary place in our minds. When we got there, it was nothing like I had dreamed.
Excited by this new place that was to be our home, my siblings and I rushed off in every direction. We found large forests of pine and spruce covered in drifts of snow, even as the summer sun poured over the landscape. The sun's rays set everything aglow with reflected light, making the whole mountain look like some giant gemstone on the crown of Neopia. We weren't on the top of the world, but we were as close as anyone could get.
The crisp air burned my lungs and cold breezes pinched my face, turning it blue with cold. I wrapped my fur coat tighter around me and stumbled off through the powdery snow, my hands pressed tight into my deep pockets. Oh, I had dreamed of adventure, and I would find it here on Terror Mountain, but I would also learn the difference between telling a story and being in one.
It was a hard lesson for a young Kacheek full of big ideas to learn, but my head was full of grand ideas and girlish fancies about daring heroes and fearless heroines. Having been left behind by my brothers and sisters, I decided to explore the place on my own. Ignoring every warning I had ever been given, I stepped off the forest path and moved into the maze of trees and underbrush. After all, who had ever found adventure by following the straight and narrow?
In the mountains, the sun sets very early in the day, the reason being that the peaks that tower above us mere mortals are so high that they blot out the late afternoon sun and wrap half the mountains in encroaching darkness. So, by the time the sun was coasting the peaks, I was thoroughly lost, tired, hungry, cold, and more than a little scared. Adventure was supposed to be exciting. I hadn't counted on the large stretches of time that must logically elapse between the major plot points of a good fireside tale of gallantry.
It was only when I had stopped to sit on a fallen log that I began to notice small movements in the underbrush. At first I thought it was only a trick of the light, or perhaps my imagination, but when I watched for the small twitches, I saw them plain as day. I froze, fear coursing through my veins and making my heart pound frantically in my chest. I stayed statue-still like that until a tiny furry Petpet emerged from the thick brambles.
That was the first time I met Blossom. She looked inquisitively at me, her ears perking up and swiveling to catch any sound I might make. I relaxed and almost laughed out loud with relief, but my sudden action startled the little Snowbunny and she bounded back into the bushes. It was a full half hour before she'd relaxed enough to emerge once again, and another few minutes before she came close enough for me to see her clearly in the dim light.
I reached into my pocket and pulled out the wrapper of a candy bar I had brought along, the sum total of my provisions for my long and arduous journey. There were still some crumbs in the packet, so I folded it outward and offered it to the Petpet. She took a careful hop forward, then another, and before long she was sitting inches away, her paws resting on my hand and her little tongue lapping up the tiny morsels.
"Do you have a name?" I asked her, glad for some company in the rapidly darkening forest. I was sure that, if I waited long enough, someone would find me. I knew from experience that the best way to be found is to stay put. I had left some fairly obvious tracks, so I wasn't overly worried. Still, a forest at nighttime is a terrifying thing at the best of times.
The Snowbunny quirked her ears at the sound, glancing up at me before returning to her mission of extracting every last crumb of my candy.
"Well, how about I call you Sally?"
The Snowbunny's claws dug ever so slightly into my hand. No, Sally would not do.
Another gentle squeeze.
"Okay, well what would you like to be called?" I asked, quirking a smile. The Snowbunny looked almost affronted by the question, as if the answer was as easy as breathing.
"Yes, of course," I said. "You're Blossom, aren't you?"
That earned me a gentle lick on the tip of my finger. I reached out with my other hand, intending to stroke her soft fur, but the motion alarmed her. She backed away from me quickly, then turned and vanished into the darkness.
"Don’t leave me!" I cried out, starting off after her. I was already more scared than I had ever been in my life, and my only comfort had been Blossom's presence. I didn't want to lose her reassurance. It was foolish of me, but I tore after her as if my life depended on it.
I had hardly gone a handful of steps when the ground beneath me gave way. All of a sudden I was sliding, flailing, falling... tumbling over and over as a layer of snow slid away to reveal a small gully. It was about four feet deep and would have been easy to climb out of, except that at some point during my careen down the slope my foot had caught on something -- probably a tree root -- twisted violently, and cracked.
I lay there in the ice and snow, my leg broken and unmovable. I then cried, as much for my situation as for the pain. My tears grew cold on my face and I brushed them away as best I could. There was nothing more I could do except try to stay warm and wait. I shuffled around gingerly and propped myself up against a large rock protruding from the little wall of the gully and tried not to think about how stupid I had been to run off into the dark. It was hard not to.
Just as I felt the hot prickling behind my eyes again, I felt something warm and soft brush against my hand. I jumped in fright and yelped in pain as the motion pulled at my leg, but then I saw Blossom sitting in the snow next to me.
She had a look about her that I couldn't quite place. Pity? Guilt? Whatever the reason, she had come back to me. She crawled into my lap and settled down, staring up at me gently. I stroked her luxuriously soft alpine fur and then buried my cold hands in her coat. She snuffled gently, almost as if in approval.
She sat with me during the long hours of the night. She kept me company, helped me to keep my hands warm, and when I began to shiver and cry sometime in the early hours of the morning, she crawled up to my neck and wrapped herself around me like a scarf. It was gloriously warm and comforting, and just a little bit ridiculous, so that I forgot my tears and even managed to laugh a little.
At first she stayed out of guilt. Then, when I began to tell her stories to pass the time, she stayed out of interest. By the next morning, she stayed out of love.
My siblings found me about an hour after sunrise. They pulled me out of the gully, apologized for leaving me on my own, chastised me for wandering away from the path, and then carried me back to the little town where a doctor patched me up, setting my leg and giving me a Cup of Hot Boravan to stave off a mild case of chills.
All the while, Blossom stayed with me, and every day since then, we have been the best of friends... and most cautious of adventurers.
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