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Heart of Ice


by dancingpetal

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My youngest neopet, HasarahLiam, came to me with a book one night.

     “Jordy, I found this old book in the attic.” HasarahLiam handed me a dusty, old blue book. “What does the cover say?”

     The book was quite old; it was hard to make out the words on the cover. “It says, Heart of Ice,” I made out with a smile, my mind flooding with old memories. “I loved this book, back when your older sister was your age,” I murmured, running my hand over the raised designs on the leather binding. “It’s a fairy tale, nothing truly extraordinary. But—do you want me to read it to you?”

     “Yes—and don’t skip any scary bits.”

     “There aren’t many scary bits. But there is one very, very discontent faerie...”

      ************

     Furia struck the wall with her pale, bony fist.

     “I hate this cave,” Furia whispered to the icicles. “I hate it. Hate, hate, hate...” The young faerie, no more than twelve years old, chanted the word in a fervent whisper, growing louder until, overcome by a sudden passion, she threw back her head and shrieked, “HATE! Do you hear, icicles? Do you hear, you loathsome piles of snow? Do you hear, you stupid blocks of ice”—here she kicked one of these blocks, making it crash against a frozen wall and shatter—“and do you hear, most horrid SNOWAGER?” She addressed the massive monster beside her, who lay curled in the middle of the ill-lighted chamber of icy stone.

     The Snowager did nothing but stare darkly at the figure before him, and soon silenced her with a glare like cold fire. I will tolerate none, his voice sounded evenly in her mind, of your tantrums.

     The suppressed wrath in his voice only served to make Furia angrier; how could he speak with such indifference, such calmness, when she felt like exploding? “I don’t care what you will tolerate,” she snapped at him. “Why should I listen to you, anyway? You can’t be my master! You’re not even a faerie!”

     I may not be a faerie, my weakling, the great beast hissed, but I have the power to destroy you—the power to make every one of your precious white limbs freeze and melt away to nothing. Do YOU hear, weakling? I can bring death to you, just as I brought life to you years ago, when I found you abandoned, half-frozen, at the mouth of my cave. Worthless, ungrateful wretch! I should have left you as you were and eaten you like you deserved—but instead I brought you up, gave you power. For that, wretch, you owe me your life. Now GO, he covered her with chilling breath, and do your rounds.

      “Yes, Sire,” Furia answered, voice heavy with both fear and sarcasm. With one final blow at the icy walls of the cave, Furia hunched up her shoulders and became invisible, shooting out of the Snowager’s cave. Every day she went on rounds for the Snowager, darting invisibly through Neopia, stealing items for her master’s hoard. Whenever an unusual, cold breeze rushed through Neopia, it was not unlikely that Furia was doing her rounds.

      She was stealing a key ring from the toy shop when two young faeries about her age fluttered right by her, chattering and giggling. Furia watched them, almost entranced, and a corner of her heart filled painfully with longing. A sudden urge grew inside her, an urge to join the young faeries, and never return to the Snowager.

     Furia studied herself in a mirror that she had stolen from the Beauty Shop—and, after a moment, put it away in despair. Her hair resembled hard icicles, and her face was as pale as almost-transparent snow. Her eyes had almost no colour, and her icy-blue robe and jagged grey wings were like no other faerie’s. She didn’t even know what kind of faerie she was; how would she ever be accepted as a regular faerie? She knew nothing about living in Neopia by herself, and she had grown strangely attached to her evil master; he was the only one who’d ever taken care of her, who’d taken pity—if that was what he’d done. Sure, he’d saved her, but for what? To be his slave? Still, she owed him her life...

     After one last look at the other faeries, Furia shook off the urge and flew away, back to the Snowager’s lair. Back home.

     For the rest of the cold afternoon, Furia watched her master breathe icy blasts onto neopets, then fall asleep, and then breathe more blasts on more poor neopets. When her master fell asleep for the eighth time, Furia made an impulsive decision.

     The moment she heard the Snowager begin to snore, she materialized out of the cave and reappeared in the clouds over Terror Mountain, en route to Faerieland. She had never been to Faerieland, not even on rounds, because the Snowager had forbidden her—fearing that she would never come back. Excitement filled the Ice Faerie as she neared the glowing clouds. On arriving, she looked around for what seemed like ages, gazing at the pink houses and lavender shops. Most neopets and their owners were headed in one direction – the Healing Springs.

     “Well, I might as well see it; there must be something—somewhere—that can help me.” Furia flew towards the Springs. She felt very uncomfortable, as many people stared at the unusual pale faerie. She wasn’t used to being seen, and she glared at anybody who gazed for more than a second. By the time she’d reached her destination, she felt as if all the eyes had bored holes in her. Shuddering, Furia entered the Healing Springs.

     “Welcome, new faerie.” A gentle looking water faerie smiled at Furia.

     Furia didn’t smile back. “Look, I need some help. I’m from the Ice Caves... I’m the Snowager’s ward.”

     The Water Faerie could not hide her surprise, starting to back away. “Oh... I... I see. Yes, I have heard something of a... a ward of the Snowager, but I did not expect the stories to be—” She broke off, and then rejoined, incredulous “You’re sure you are the Snowager’s ward?”

     Furia rolled her eyes. “Yes, I’m the Snowager’s ward. Called Furia. Is there something wrong?”

     The water faerie looked puzzled for a moment. “Oh, no, nothing is wrong, I... I just thought that you would... well... look different if you were his ward.”

      “Do you think that I would be a beast like him?”

      “Well... yes... I guess so.”

      Furia sighed and told The Water Faerie her story, about how the Snowager saved her, and how she ran away. “So, anyway, I need some help. I want to stay here among other faeries, but I don’t think I would be accepted, since my essence isn’t—well—I don’t know what it is. Will you help me?”

     The water faerie thought for a moment, and then she replied, “No, this is a job for the Faerie Queen.” The Water Faerie pointed in the direction of the faerie castle, bid her farewell. Before she stepped out of the Springs, Furia turned herself invisible to avoid the curious stare of the neopets and their owners, and only then headed towards the faerie castle. Inside castle’s main hall, there was a wooden sign with an arrow pointing down the hall that read “THRONE ROOM.”

     The Ice Faerie followed the arrow until she reached an enormous, purple, heavily decorated room with a red carpet leading up to a golden, glowing throne. In it sat Fyora, the Faerie Queen. Furia made herself visible.

     “Good heavens, you are an odd-looking one!” exclaimed Fyora. “I’ve never seen a faerie with hair like icicles, dear. And your skin—it’s paler than Taelia’s! Tell me, dear, what is your essence?”

     Furia glared at Fyora. She wasn’t used to anyone fretting about her appearance. But then, she wasn’t used to anyone seeing her, either. “I don’t know.”

      Fyora frowned. “What did you say, dear?”

      “I don’t know,” Furia repeated, a little less certain. “Nobody’s ever told me, and... my powers are a bit unusual.” She pointed a finger in the air and made an icicle materialize.

     The Faerie Queen’s eyes widened. “Good gracious, you must be the faerie Taelia was telling me about. The Snow Faerie saw you go into the Ice Crystal shop in the Ice Caves, and come out with your arms full of crystals. Then she saw you dart inside to the Snowager’s cave. She says that you stole the crystals, because when she asked the shopkeeper if he had seen you, he said, no, he hadn’t, but he had mysteriously just gone out of stock. Other faeries have seen you too, and they all said that you looked like the Snow Faerie, except paler... like ice.”

     Furia felt her back stiffen. Had other faeries really seen her stealing? Furia had heard that there were severe punishments for a faerie who stole. Then she remembered she'd made herself invisible every time she went on her rounds. “No, it couldn’t have been me,” said Furia shakily. “I always make myself invisible before I go steal- I mean, before I go out.”

     Fyora shook her head. “A faerie can only make herself invisible to non-magical creatures. Any other faerie can see you.”

     For a moment Furia’s world went spotty, and then she fell to her knees. “I’m sorry, Your Majesty,” Furia sobbed bitterly. “I only stole things because the Snowager told me to, and he’s—he was my master, he gave me everything, even my power. I obeyed him because I lived with him, and if I came home empty-handed, he might have kicked me out, and I didn’t have anywhere else to go!” Furia ended this series of babbling with louder sobs, unable to gain control of her tears for several moments more.

     Fyora shook her head disapprovingly, but after a thoughtful minute she raised her wand. Furia saw a warm light surround her, and then she started to sweat, and her body started to drip rapidly on the marble palace floor. She was melting! Was this her punishment? Suddenly, the heat stopped. She no longer had pale skin, or icicle hair, or colourless eyes, or... legs! In place of her legs, she had a beautiful, sky blue fishtail. Pink, soft skin covered her body, and blond, wavy, flowing hair cascaded down her back. She looked at her reflection in the marble floor with deep blue eyes.

     Fyora beamed. “Your heart was made of ice, child, but now you may begin again. Once again you have a soft, unhardened heart, as you must have had once, and you may start life afresh. Only take care that hatred, and wrongdoing, does not cause your heart to freeze again.

     Furia could do nothing but nod; her heart was full.

     “What is your name, child?”

     “Furia... my name is Furia.”

     Fyora shook her head. “That’s not a water faerie name. Your new name is Rainya.”

     “It’s... beautiful.”

     “You’re welcome, dear. Now I will summon the Rainbow Fountain Faerie; I sure she would not mind another ward... goodbye and good luck, dear Rainya.”

The End

Thanks for reading, cherished readers! ~~Jordy

 
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