Enter the Snowflake's lair... Circulation: 128,614,511 Issue: 257 | 15th day of Gathering, Y8
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The Music Box

by zephra0916


Donnie picked the newly repaired plushie up off his workbench. "Here you are, lad," he said in his husky voice, handing the plushie to a baby Scorchio. "Remember to take better care of it."

      "Thank you, Donnie. How much do I owe you?" the young Scorchio's mother asked, reaching into her pocket.

      "Don't worry about that, lassie. It was just a mere rip in the seam." He opened the heavy wood door to let her out.

      "Thank you," she said again, holding the happy little bundle tight as she stepped into the harsh cold of Terror Mountain.

      Donnie closed the door and locked the door behind her. He flipped the open sign to closed and sighed heavily as he peered out the door's window at the fresh blanket of snow.

      "Hello, Donnie," came a soft voice behind him.

      "Taelia?" he inquired, still staring out the window.

      "How have you been?" she asked soothingly.

      "I have a few aches and pains, but I guess that just comes with my age," he said with a slight laugh.

      She giggled softly.

      Donnie turned to face the raven haired faerie, flashing a small grin at her. It was then he noticed a small bundle in her left hand. "What do you have there?" he asked staring at it curiously.

      "Oh!" she exclaimed, unwrapping the blanket. "It's my music box."

      He watched as the faerie took out the beautiful wooden box. "What seems to be the problem?" he inquired, taking the delicate bow from the faerie.

      "It no longer plays its song."

      The Bori nodded knowingly as he carried it to his workbench. "Make yourself at home. Would you like some tea?"

      Taelia took a seat in an old easy chair near the workbench. "If it's not too much trouble."

      Donnie left the box next to his tool kit and walked slowly to the kitchen. Within moments he reappeared carrying a tray with a tea service and plate of cookies.

      "Here you are," he said, pouring her a cup and reaching it to her.

      "Thank you."

      "Now, let's see what the problem is with this old music box." He opened the box and peered inside. "I'm surprised you still have this," he said, taking a small screwdriver from his tool kit.

      "Why wouldn't I?" she asked taking a small sip of her tea. "It was a gift from a dear friend after all."

      The Bori paused shortly. "Go on."

      "I remember it like it was yesterday," she began. "I was making my usual rounds on the mountain when I came across a wounded traveler." She paused briefly to take another sip of her tea. "I leaned down and scooped up the poor creature. His body was so cold, I wondered how long he had been there. I remember he wore a bright red scarf and a very heavy worn out backpack. His coat a very thick but soft leather. He had been scratched numerous times and he had several scars. Carrying him back to my home, I couldn't help but wonder what had happened to him.

      "For the next few weeks I sat at his bedside making sure that he was as comfortable as possible. I fluffed his pillow and brought him hot water bottles. I tried my best to make sure he would survive this ordeal. I made him some special broth that would help bring his strength up, and I would feed it to him. I would bring him water and help him drink it. I wanted him to know that someone was there for him so I would often read to him and sometimes I would just talk. I don't know if he heard me but it seemed comforting to me to have him there. He was like an old friend, even though we hadn't officially met.

      "One day, I was cleaning the house. When I clean I always have to sing. I don't know why, but it seems to make the work go faster. When I finished mopping, I decided to check in on my friend. It was then I noticed that he had a small smile. Tears of joy filled my eyes as I wished and hoped that my song was the cause of the smile.

      "The next day, I checked his wounds. By now, some of them were almost completely healed. As I was cleaning and redressing the deeper scratches, I noticed one of his eyes twitching slightly. I leaned over him, watching him intently. Slowly, they started to open. He blinked a few times, letting his eyes adjust to the light. His eyes were fixed on the ceiling for several minutes. I believe I was holding my breath the whole time. His eyes began to scan the ceiling, traveling the length of every beam slowly. I began to cry softly and that's when he first noticed I was there. We stared at each other for a long time before he finally spoke.

      "'Thank you.' His voice was raspy and forced. He coughed slightly before laying his head upon his pillow and falling asleep.

      "'You're welcome,' I responded through my tears. I reached over and squeezed his hand gently before I left his bedside.

      "The next day, I peeked into his room. He was sitting up and had his pillows stacked behind him. He was staring out the window at the vast blanket of white.

      "'Come on in,' he told me without turning away from the window.

      "I started to apologize to him but he merely brushed it off.

      "'You saved my life,' he stated. His eyes fixed on the window. 'I'm very grateful.'

      I was fighting the urge to ask him what had happened. It had been on my mind for so long, even the simplest of answers would satisfy me. As if he were reading my mind, he finally commanded, 'Ask what you want to ask.'

      I blurted out the question before I could even catch myself. The question had been on my mind since I had found him unconscious in the snow.

      "'I was attacked by the Snowager. You see, I wanted a treasure from his pile but he didn't want me to have it. Blasted me clear through the ceiling, he did.'

      "The traveler began to recount the ordeal to me in very vivid detail. I was mesmerized by his story. When he was finished telling me everything he remembered I just stared at him with my mouth agape. He just smiled slyly at me then rolled onto his side, facing away from me. I waited a few minutes for him to say something, staring hard at his back. The silence was only met by loud snoring.

      "For weeks after, I would bring him his meals in bed and listen to one fascinating story after another about his travels around Neopia. We became very close friends and each day he would regain more and more of his strength. Then one morning when I was bringing him his breakfast, I only found an empty bed on which laid a beautiful wooden box and a note which read:

          Dear Taelia,

      I'm sorry to leave like this, but I hate long goodbyes. I hate to leave but I have to get back to my travels. Maybe someday I will return but for now I'll leave you with this music box that I plundered from the Snowager. Yes, this small box is the reason for our friendship. I hope that every time you listen to its song it will remind you of me. I hope to return someday. Thank you for everything.

      "I picked up the box and opened the lid. It began to play..." Suddenly the music box started to play a beautiful Neopian lullaby. "That..." she whispered softly.

      Donnie closed the box and picked it up gingerly. He carried it over to Taelia and reached it to her. "Here you are. Good as new."

      "Thank you, Donnie."

      "Thank you for telling me that story again."

      Taelia smiled at him softly. "How much do I owe you?"

      "Don't you worry about that. That's what old friends are for."

      Taelia smiled again and began to walk toward the door. Donnie opened it for her to let her out. "Oh, and Taelia?"

      "Yes, Donnie?"

      "Your songs and other words... They got through."

      Tears of joy streamed down her cheeks. She leaned over and hugged the Bori tightly. The same Bori that she had found lying in the snow so long ago.

The End

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