Grundo on Ice: Part One
Finally, the month of Celebrating! Fallicina smiled when turning the last page of the calendar on her neohome wall. The little Grundo girl had waited for this month all year long! She loved decorating her neohome for holidays and she didn't want to wait any longer to do that. Fallicina ran up the stairs, opened the door and entered the attic.
The attic was very messy, even messier than Fallicina's baby brother's room. Fallicina knew that the box with Christmas decorations should be somewhere there, among tens of other boxes, old furniture, bags with clothes and drawers filled with the most random items from all over Neopia. Fallicina started looking around...
After several hours of digging in the stuff, Fallicina spotted a string of abominable snowball lights sticking out from a box. "Ha! That must be the box with Christmas decorations!" Fallicina told to herself while trying to reach for the box. She stood on tiptoes and leaned forward... only a couple inches more... she was very close to grabbing it, when suddenly – BANG! A big red box fell from a shelf, nearly hit the little Grundo's right antenna and landed on the floor, upside down.
Fallicina took a moment to recover and then glanced at the fallen box. It had written "Advent Calendar gifts from year 8" on it. "Oohh, there might be lots of Christmas stuff," Fallicina thought and moved the red box. Her face turned full of joy, because she had found something much better than she had expected. In the middle of snowglobes, ornaments and Christmas plushies, she saw a pair of blue ice skates! The skates had never been used before and they even had a tag attached. The tag said: "One size fits most paws." Fallicina took the skates and started excitedly trying them on.
Fallicina's younger sister had heard the noise from attic and she had come to check out what had caused it.
"Are you alright, Fal?" asked the blond long-haired Techo from the doorway.
"Never been better, Nora!" replied Fallicina while trying to stand up with the skates on. "You'll never guess what I just foO-O-U-U-U-U-N-nd!!"
While saying that, Fallicina had stumbled upon some garland on the floor and she fell down. Her sister jumped over the items on the floor to go have a closer look at the skates. "They sure look awesome, but if they fit you, they're definitely too big for me..." said the younger sister, with a disappointed tone in her voice. Fallicina was trying to untie the skate laces and answered:
"If you really wish to get your own skates, you could go wish for them at the Wishing Well or write a letter to Santa – it's Christmas soon!" She winked and added: "But I have an impression that you actually never liked any sporty activities... I don't remember seeing you using the red bike you got for birthday... or the tennis set you were gifted on Techo Day... or the skis you got for Christmas last year... or..."
"Okay, okay, you're right! I actually DID use them a couple of times, but you're right, I am not much into sports," Norabet admitted.
And Fallicina added: "I'm sure you could also rent a pair of skates if you really want to go ice skating."
She had taken the blue skates off and wanted to go skating right away. She had forgotten long ago what was the reason that had brought her to the attic in first place. The purple Grundo took her new skates and rushed downstairs, her sister following her.
Their little brother, a baby Wocky named Mustafaakene, was sitting on the living room sofa and coloring a picture in Doglefox Colouring Book. He was so focused on the picture that he didn't even notice his sisters entering the room.
Norabet said: "Hey, Musta, we're gonna go try Fal's new skates on ice! Wanna join us?"
The little Wocky was too obsessed with his picture. He switched a yellow pencil to blue pencil, shook his head and continued coloring, the tip of his tongue sticking out from a corner of his mouth.
"I take it as a "no" then," said Norabet.
"He's too little anyway," Fallicina told her. "He might get cold or get hurt on the ice rink."
Both girls had warm clothes on and were ready to head outside. Mustafaakene, still focused on the colouring book, finally shouted: "But I thought you were going to decorate the house...?"
But it was already too late to get an answer to that – the girls had left.
First, the sisters decided to go visit a friend, who was living in the same neighborhood. The friend, an orange Aisha, had recently invited them over and boasted with a new star shaped ice skating rink in her neogarden. Girls thought that their friend wouldn't mind them using that ice rink. When they got to the friend's house, they saw that all windows were dark and nobody answered the doorbell which was at the gate.
"Looks like nobody's at home," said Norabet. "What do we do now?"
Fallicina reached for the gate handle and pushed it. The gate creaked and moved slightly. Fallicina whispered to her sister, "The gate is not locked. Maybe we could go in and I could skate in the backyard for a little bit? Do you think our friend would mind?" Norabet shrugged her shoulders. The girls pushed the gate open, stepped into the garden and started walking around the house toward the backyard. Suddenly, Norabet stopped and asked:
"What was that sound?"
Fallicina hadn't heard anything and kept going further. Norabet took a couple more steps, but then stopped again. She was sure she had heard a low, scary growling. She called her sister:
"Fal, please, I'm getting scared! I heard some scary sound and I'm sure something or someone is watching us! Please, can we just leave?"
Fallicina was already next to the skating rink, but since her younger sister sounded very scared, she decided that her duty was to go back and figure out what had frightened her sibling. When Fallicina stepped out from behind the corner of the house, she saw something that frightened her, too! Norabet was surrounded by two growling creatures, both of them looking very unfriendly. Fallicina couldn't even tell their exact shape or color, but they were dark, with wings, horns, claws, teeth and a long tail. Fallicina started to feel fer heartbeat in her stomach and her feet turned weak. She knew if something would happen to her little sister, she would be responsible for it and would never forgive herself. She began running, grabbed her sister's arm and together they ran toward the exit, two monsters after them. Fortunately they hadn't closed the gate behind them earlier, so they could easily slip out and shut the gate behind them.
It took almost half an hour until the siblings stopped panting and shaking and even though they were still pale, they were able to talk again.
"W-what w-were they?" asked Norabet.
Fallicina said that they reminded her of some spooky petpets, but she hadn't seen them before. Then she noticed a fancy sign above the gate. It said:
"Warning! Captive shadow wraiths guarding the house!"
"So that's what they were!" shouted both girls and started slowly walking away.
Fallicina started to realize that she would not have any chance to try her blue skates that day. She offered her sister to go visit the smoothie store at the bazaar. She agreed to buy a refreshing smoothie for both of them.
When they were sitting in the smoothie store, drinking large Honey Lemon smoothies and looking out of the window, the Neopian Garden Center caught Fallicina's eye. And when they finished their smoothies and left the store, Fallicina wanted to stop by at the garden store. She knew that they used to sell skating rinks for neogardens and Fallicina was curious to see how much they cost. Norabet was already tired, but since the Garden center was close and she had enjoyed the smoothie, she agreed to go with her sister.
The shopkeeper, a green Blumaroo, greeted the girls and announced that the seasonal items – all kinds of Christmas trees and ice rinks had just arrived to the store. The curved ice skating rink was on sale for 4,000 NP and the shopkeeper said it was even possible to haggle! The price wasn't too bad. Fallicina had some savings in the bank and she also thought about all the unnecessary stuff in their attic which they could sell for more neopoints. Her mood improved and now she was ready to go home and ask their mom if they could possibly purchase an ice rink to their backyard. She called her sister, who had been admiring holiday tiki trees, and they started heading toward the exit. They passed a notice board on the wall. Somehow, an icy blue poster on the board caught Fallicina's attention and she stopped to read it. While the Grundo was reading, her eyes turned big, her jaw dropped and she started to beam excitement. The advertisement said:
THE ANNUAL HAPPY VALLEY SKATING COMPETITION is not far away!
It's time for you to practice some of your best moves on ice! Three experienced judges – Sir Kacheek, Ms. Wocky and Mr. Kyrii will be judging every performance to find out who will be the best Neopian on ice this year. If you think YOU have the skills, speed, and elegance, if you think YOU have what it takes to compete for the trophy, sign up today!
The Annual Happy Valley Skating competition will be held on the Happy Valley open ice rink on the Day of Giving (25th day of Celebrating), Year 13.
"But, Fal..." Norabet said, "everybody knows that only Bruces have been champions in figure skating. And I don't think this year will be an exception! Besides, you have never been ice skating before. You have never even tried those new skates! Needless to say you haven't got a costume, a skating routine nor a coach! You aren't seriously thinking about participating, are you?!?"
Fallicina's eyes were still focused on the advertisement, but with a mysterious glance and a smile, she whispered: "I am."
To be continued...