Stand behind yer sheriff Circulation: 111,611,307 Issue: 221 | 22nd day of Celebrating, Y7
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by chia625_2001


Also by precious_katuch14

The snow whirled around the prosperous kingdom of Meridell like a great white monster. It was only several days before Christmas, and the few who would dare expose themselves to the icy weather were all bundled up in large coats and layers of clothing.

     However, even as business staggered through the harsh conditions, nobody took notice of two huddled figures beside a bare bush. The smaller one was leaning beside the larger one, benefiting from the little warmth they had. The former gently stirred.

     The older pet hugged his sibling closer, patting her softly. "There, there," he said in his weak voice, picking up a few breadcrumbs that had been carelessly spilt on the snow by somebody. He slowly slipped them into her mouth, helping her to chew and swallow, as she let out a soft whimper.

     "Shush, now," the yellow Techo whispered, as if there might be someone watching them. He was actually glad that the little one was awake- it sometimes frightened him to see her asleep, and he might hold her tight, only to sigh in relief as he could hear and feel her little heart pounding.

     "Jabir...I'm scared." The baby Lupe felt the tears coming to her eyes. "What's going to happen to us?

     "I don't know, Sasha," he replied grimly. "You seem cold. Do you want my scarf?"

     Sasha shook her head. "But what about you? You've already given me your cloak and your hat...don't. I don't want my brother to freeze and become a big ice sculpture in the middle of Meridell."

     "Quiet," said Jabir gently. "Talking uses up some of your energy. We can't get exhausted and faint out here in the middle of all this snow."

     As if on cue, a very inhospitable gale blew past them. The baby Lupe's teeth chattered, and before she could object, her older sibling had finally pulled off his scarf and wound it around her neck.

     "But Jabir..." the young one protested.

     "Shush, I'm fine," Jabir said, trying very hard not to shiver. "Now come on, let's get somewhere warmer." He picked up his little sister, and staggered into one of the alleys, where the wind wasn't blowing. He sank down, exhausted. The truth was, he had been giving a large portion of his food to Sasha, and he was actually doing a very good job of not showing how weak he was.

     "Jabir?" the Baby Lupe asked. "Are you alright?"

     "I'm fine, Sasha," he lied. "Now come on." He dug through some of the trash in a garbage bin, pulling out an old stale loaf of bread. He broke it, giving the larger part to his sister. "Now come on, eat. We need to get our strength up."

     Sasha frowned again. "Your part is smaller than mine," she pointed out. "I'll share if you're still hungry."

     The Techo looked up from where he had finally devoured his portion. "No, need that. You're younger than I am, so it follows that you need more strength."

     "Jabir, don't be so chivalrous," said the Lupe. "If you're hungry, then eat. Sheesh." Her eyes lingered on her brother, who was starting to shiver but tried to suppress the shivering anyway. "Shall I give you back your cloak, or your scarf? I daresay you need the cloak."

     "Keep it with you, Sasha," said Jabir defiantly as he wrapped his arms around himself in an effort to warm himself up. "I don't mind, really!"

     Sasha just rolled her eyes. She chewed her bread, then cuddled up next to her brother, trying to share some warmth. He smiled, holding her close.

     At that moment, the wind got even harsher. Both of them shivered, but for Jabir it was noticeably worse, no matter how much he tried to hide it. Sasha was now just as worried for her brother as he had been for her; as young as she was, she knew he wasn't getting his fair share of food, and she had noticed him coughing sometimes when she pretended she wasn't looking. Sasha was sure that her older brother was sick. If only he wasn't such an overprotective person... She thought as she snuggled up against him, as he smiled at the gesture.


     Night fell over the land like a spreading black blanket. Sasha was asleep, warmly wrapped in all the stuff her brother had given up. Meanwhile, Jabir couldn't even close his eyes even for a while. For one thing, he was too nervous about his sister, and he was getting really cold. There was nothing else edible in the vicinity, and the Techo was even more fearful not for himself, but for the baby Lupe.

     Jabir coughed some more. His cold was getting worse, but he didn't want Sasha to know. They already had enough to worry about. He decided to get up and walk a little to build up some heat. He didn't get very far before coughing some more, falling down, holding Sasha tightly. He was already eating much less than usual, and his cold had only made him weaker.

     He got limply to his feet, clinging onto Sasha. Suddenly, he heard voices. Who would be out in this blizzard? He strained to hear, as the voices got closer...

     "Who goes there at this time of night? Eve, do you see anyone?"

     "I can barely see anything! We have to get home before this blizzard gets even worse!"

     Upon closer look, the Techo saw two tall Gelerts walking in the snow, both of them holding a smaller yellow Gelert.

     Jabir had absolutely no idea whether these were helpful folks or not. But he decided to take his chances. Still hanging on to the snoozing Sasha, he braved the gathering storm and pursued the trio.

     Lune the blue Gelert strained his eyes and ears. He was sure he had heard someone; Gelerts were well-known for their sharp hearing. But his compatriot beside him was right; even with their natural fur coats they had decided to bring think coats and scarfs out with them, and they would have to get home before the blizzard got worse.


     Lune's ears perked up. Now that was definitely something. He turned to Eve, the shadow Gelert. "Now I'm sure you heard that!"

     Eve looked back. "Well, yeah... but are you sure it wasn't the wind or anything?"


     Lune stared blankly back at her. She sighed. "Alright, let's go." That roast is getting cold, she thought as Lune and her, she still carrying their child, slowly walked to the source of the cries.

     But Dawn, the smallest of the bunch, was planting her feet into the snow.

     "We can't go yet! I think someone out here needs help!"

     "Don't be silly," said Lune. "We can't hang around here any longer or else we'll be buried alive!"

     Eve shook her head. "She has a point. I hear something too..."

     "Alright." Lune sighed. All of them strained their ears, trying to catch another sound of the voice.

     "Please... help..." The faint sound of a hacking cough followed after the stuttered speech.

     "It's over there!" the yellow Gelert cried, jumping forward.

     "Dawn, wait!" Lune and Eve chased after her, who was running frantically towards where she had heard the voice.

     "Oh my..." Dawn stopped, the two larger ones soon after, staring at the yellow Techo holding a Baby Lupe, having collapsed face down in the snow.

     The blue Gelert and the shadow Gelert ran towards their daughter. She was bent over and examining something.

     "Eve, she might be on to something," said Lune anxiously. His shadow comrade gasped as she drew closer as well.

     "Why, the poor things have fainted!" Eve took the baby Lupe in her arms. "This one seems to be asleep." While she gently cuddled Sasha and lulled her back to sleep as she was about to stir, the yellow Gelert gently shook Jabir.

     He blinked wet slush out of his eyes. "Who - who are you?"

     "Never mind that for now," said Lune tersely. "You two need to be warmed up."

     Jabir smiled briefly, then collapsed into a coughing fit.

     "Oh dear, are you alright?" Lune asked, helping him stagger to his feet.

     "I-I'm fine," the Techo said, his voice weak and hoarse. "We've got to get out of here before-"

     As if on cue, the wind got harsher, causing involuntary shivers from all of them. Sasha whimpered a little in her sleep, and Jabir collapsed onto his knees again, before slowly getting up.

     "I have to go," he managed to croak out. "Keep Sasha...with you...she needs you..."

     Dawn brushed a bit of fur away from the baby Lupe's eyes as she looked at her. "As you wish, sir. But what about you?"

     "Don't worry about me...just go. Maybe I'll follow..."

     "'Maybe'?" said Lune, slightly outraged. The blue Gelert bristled. "You have to come with us! Look at you, you're just in a sorry state!"

     But Jabir had turned his back on them, walking back into the blizzard and leaving Sasha with the family. Eve raised an arm to wave and call, but Lune shook his head. "We can't stay out here any longer," he said grimly. "This youngster needs us right now. Come on." The shadow Gelert and Dawn followed, each of them looking back for any sign of a Techo running to them. But all they got was a bleak, hostile environment.

     Eve sighed as they walked into their quaint little home, managing to shut the door quickly and left the blizzard still raging outside

     "Is she gonna be alright?" Dawn asked, looking at the little Lupe worriedly.

     "I hope so, Dawn," Lune said. Suddenly, Sasha struggled a little, opening her eyes. She was greeted by three concerned, unfamiliar faces, and she leapt down, shocked.

     "W-Who are you? Where's Jabir? Where is this place?" she rattled question after question at the trio, shaking nervously.

     The shadow Gelert smiled as she patted the baby Lupe on the head. "My name is Eve," she said. "This is Lune, and that's our daughter Dawn. You are currently in our home in Meridell, because of your brother. He entrusted you to us."

     Sasha pouted. "Why? Why did he leave me here? Why didn't he come?"

     Lune's blue paws gently took off the battered scarf snaking its way around her neck. "You may be inquisitive, but none of us can answer all your queries." He wrapped a thick quilt around Sasha, warming her up instantly.

     "In short, we don't know either why your brother left you with us," said Dawn. "One thing was for sure, it was probably for your sake."

     "Jabir..." The Lupe's voice trailed off. She bit her lip and she began to sob. "Oh no..."

     The yellow Gelert hugged her. "There, there, I'm sure everything will be all right. Maybe he'll return someday. Or he just went to find something for that nasty cold of his."

     Three weeks later...

     "Sasha, come on!" Dawn laughed as she bounded through the snow, the yellow Gelert tightly wrapped up.

     "Coming, coming!" Sasha ran outside, all bundled up as well. "Dawn, where are yo- Oof!" the Lupe cried as she was hit in the side by a snowball, the guilty culprit laughing as she raced off.

     "Oh, I'm gonna-" Sasha was scooping up a snowball when she noticed something from the corner of her eye. She whirled around, the snowball falling from her paw.

     "What are you staring at?"

     Sasha gestured wordlessly at something hovering over the snow. Its transparency made the snow seem darker. But what struck her most was what the ghostly figure looked like. He was the faint outline of a Techo, but his eyes seemed to speak to her...even though his mouth did not...

     Dawn saw it too. For a few moments, both of them were transfixed upon this supernatural vision. But as the Lupe slowly stepped forward to touch it, the figure disappeared as fast as it came. The yellow Gelert watched her gaze after it, even though it had vanished into thin air.

     Sasha only had to utter one word for her to get it.


The End

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