Where there's a Weewoo, there's a way Circulation: 197,796,040 Issue: 1004 | 22nd day of Running, Y26
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Seasons Change

by surging


Illusen was walking through the forests of Meridell taking it all in. The cold was becoming a distant memory as new vibrant colours peppered the dreary brown and grey.

     This was her time. Taelia had her run of Neopia, blanketing it in despair and cold. She would retreat to Terror Mountain for the next few seasons while Illusen would bring the rest of Neopia back to perfection. Faint chirps and scurries made her feel at peace. With one touch of a branch she was able to speed along the process, changing from boring brown to colourful shades of green sprinkled with pink and purple flowers. Neopia would thank her, as it often did, for turning the light back on in the world. But she often liked to start in her own community. It gave her a sense of community, of purpose, of importance. And eventually it would breed enough inspiration for her to create life in other areas, including Haunted Woods. It may feel counterintuitive to some, but not to Illusen. She knew just what that area needed.

     But their time would come. For now Illusen walked through plotting, planning, and humming to herself. It was a blissful day.

     Until she heard a faint muffled scream.

     “What was that?”

     More muffled sounds. Someone was trying to say something. But who? What?

     “Who’s there? Are you hurt?”

     Muffled screaming.

     “Keep going, I’ll find you!”

     Illusen followed the desperate muffled sounds until she tripped over a rock.

     Or what she thought was a rock.

     It was a little Raindorf completely encased in ice.

     The Raindorf continued trying to scream at her.

     “Oh you poor thing. Let’s get you thawed out. It’s spring now, it’s time to heal.”

          The Raindorf looked annoyed.

     “Although I do suppose that’s why you were trying to get my attention…”

     The Raindorf tried to sigh.

     “No matter, let’s go.”

     Illusen picked up the ball of ice. It was cold to the touch. This wasn’t something she normally dealt with. It hurt. She wondered how the Raindorf was feeling in there; probably much worse than this.

     She brought the Raindorf back to her glade. She started a small fire and placed the ice ball in front of it. She then went to fix some tea and grabbed some warm clothes and a blanket. Although the clothes would probably be too big, she figured it would be better for the Raindorf to be warm.

     It was very unusual to see Raindorfs in Meridell at any time of year no matter the season. To see one in spring was unheard of. She was concerned how it made its way down to Meridell. She considered contacting Taelia to see if she could help but was concerned about the weather being too warm for her. Illusen was curious what the Raindorf would have to say when it warmed up.

     He chirped up at her.

     “Aw, you’re all thawed out. How are you feeling, little one?”

     He shivered.

     She handed him the tea and draped the blanket around him.

     “I have clothes too if you want them.”

     The Raindorf sipped his tea.

     “They might not fit though.”

     He blinked at her.

     “Can you tell me why you’re here? And why you were still frozen?”

     He blinked again, took another sip of tea, and sighed.

     “I don’t remember.”

     “What is the last thing you do remember?”

     Well, I was helping out at the advent calendar. But I can’t remember what day. I was handing out items. But I can’t remember what. Then I heard something. I turned around. And then.. Then really just…” he paused. He looked down at the floor. “I really just don’t know what happened. I heard you humming and I knew something wasn’t right. It was like time just skipped.”

     “Maybe it did. You were frozen somehow. Maybe it just stopped for a while while you were in there.”

     The Raindorf sighed again and sat down.

     “Do you want to go back to Terror Mountain? I can get Taelia to come get you.

     “No. Yes. Maybe? I honestly don’t know.” He shook his head with despair. Illusen wasn’t sure how to help him.

     “Do you want to go back out with me? After Taelia has her fun blanketing Neopia in snow and cold, I come through and bring it back to life with colour and warmth.”

     “You seem to be good at that,” he smiled up at her cautiously.

     Illusen giggled. “I suppose I am. Come with me, it may be fun.”

     They went back out into Meridell. Illusen slowly worked on finishing the forest, bringing trees back to life and giving them vibrant colours that seemed like a fantasy. The Raindorf watched in awe. Raindorfs aren’t known to be around places in the springtime; they are cold weather Petpets and try to stay in Terror Mountain much of the year. It was definitely like nothing he had ever seen before.

     Suddenly snow start blowing in a singular small spot of the forest. The Raindorf shuddered. Illusen realised Taelia was about to appear. She stopped turning the forest on.

     “Illusen, good to see you,” Taelia said as she trickled in.

     “Good afternoon, Taelia,” Illusen said. She shivered. Taelia made it cold, as she always does. This was not Illusen’s idea of comfort.

     “I’m sorry, I understand it is your time here and I am bringing Terror Mountain back to you. But I believe you have something, or someONE who belongs to me.”

     The Raindorf gulped.

     “I found him and he was just frozen in a ball of ice. He was so scared and so cold.”

     “Ah well, there was a mistake up north during the advent. I blew in too much snow while gifts were being passed out one morning. Many Petpets got frozen. Some went missing. I thought I had found them all, but this one was hiding.”

     The Raindorf looked around nervously.

     “Taelia, listen, I’m not sure he wants to go back with you…”

     “Nonsense, Illusen. He’s a cold weather Petpet. He may be fine during your time, but what is gonna happen in another few months? He will be suffering worse than he was suffering in that ice ball.”

         The Raindorf took a step back.

     Taelia bent down and her eyes met the Raindorf’s. “Buddy, we have so many Raindorfs awaiting your return back home. You’ve been missing for months. It was hard to track you in that ice. I’m glad you’re safe. We have ice cream!”

     The Raindorf perked his ears up. He did love ice cream.

     Illusen looked down at them. “Do you want to go back?”

     The Raindorf shifted back and forth for a minute. “I don’t know. I think I do. My memory is very foggy. But I think I do. It is very pretty here and you’re so magical Miss Illusen but it is a little hot for me. What I do remember from the advent calendar was I enjoyed it. I think she’s right, I do belong there.”

     Taelia smiled at the Raindorf and stood up. She turned to Illusen. “You do make it very objectively pretty. But it isn’t for me. I thrive in the cold, in the dreary, in the beauty of emptiness and stillness. That is what makes my heart sing.”

     Illusen smiled. “You bring value too. We can’t have vibrant colors nor can we appreciate them without what you do for Neopia.”

     The Raindorf chirped.

     “Let’s go, buddy.” Taelia picked up the Raindorf and they were off.

     Illusen smiled. Then she looked down and scowled.

     “Oh, Taelia!” She exclaimed and she bent down to touch the grass, changing it from brown and wet to bright green and lush.

     Illusen loved helping all creatures, even those that were not meant for her expertise. It made her feel needed and loved.

     She continued on her way through Meridell for the rest of the day. The next several days were for other lands and perhaps even more friends and adventures.

     The End.

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