Caution: Quills may be sharp Circulation: 177,384,889 Issue: 314 | 19th day of Collecting, Y9
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The Ties That Bind: Part One


by sytra

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This is a sequel to 'They'll Never Hear a Word We Say'. You don’t need to read that series in order to understand this story, but it is recommended that you do.

          -

So, this is how it started. For the second time around. People used to say Mel and Sam weren't really friends at all, but I think differently. I KNOW differently. After all this, how could they not? The threads of friendship that held them together were eternal. Never fraying, never breaking.

     Entwined forever.

     -

     Mel the yellow Usul never thought she'd hear from her old best friend ever again.

     Yet, yesterday when she had been sent out to get the mail, she found a letter addressed to her from the faerie Uni. It had been sealed shut with a heart shaped sticker, and smelled of Aurora Lily perfume.

     Yep. Definitely Sam.

     Mel read the letter to discover that her old best friend Sam would be visiting Terror Mountain for spring break.

     Goody.

     It was Thursday, and spring break started as soon as school let out on Friday, so that meant Sam would be arriving soon.

     In any normal circumstances, Mel would have been overjoyed to hear that her old best friend would be visiting. But ever since Sam moved to Mystery Island from Terror Mountain a year and a half ago, they hadn't kept in touch very well. Sure, Mel sent letters, and Sam responded for a while. But then she just stopped replying altogether.

     Of course, Mel wasn't the forgiving type, so she'd been holding this against Sam for a long while already. Naturally, she wasn't too thrilled that her best friend (who had so rudely ignored her neomail) was coming up for vacation.

     Mel sighed, clutching Sam's letter in her hand. She wanted to crumple it up into a ball, but at the same time, she didn't want to ruin what might later become a precious keepsake of her old best friend.

     The snow fell rapidly around her, frosting the tops of the trees. She was in the schoolyard, waiting under a great pine tree for her friend Garret. She had told him at lunch that there was something important he needed to see, and to meet her right after the bell rang at the usual place they rendezvoused.

     And he was late. Typical.

     Mel heard the flapping of wings and soon Garret landed clumsily in the snow next to her, smashing large claw prints in the powdery white snow. The Usul looked up at the yellow Eyrie, who grinned down at her.

     "Hello, Mel," he said merrily, folding in his large wings as he sat down in the snow. He wasn't wearing any extremely warm clothes -- only a thick scarf made of Gnorbu wool. The cold didn't seem to bother him, anyway, the Usul thought, as she rubbed her hands together for heat.

     "Hi, Garret," she said in simple reply. She sighed with pleasant relief as she rubbed her paws together for warmth.

     The Eyrie smiled again, looking down at her over and over again. He kept grinning like a goof, unable to wipe the stupid smile off of his face.

     "So," he began lightly, "what did you want to talk to me about?"

     The day before, Mel had told Garret to meet her on the mountain at the place they usually met when they wanted to talk. There was some shocking news she had been meaning to tell him and her other friends, but she didn't want to go around broadcasting it all at once. It would probably cause too much shock around the school.

     Without speaking, Mel handed the letter from Sam over to Garret slowly, and the Eyrie took it in his large claws with gentle grace.

     "It's about Sam. She... she, um, sent me a letter."

     "And...?" Garret questioned, beginning to open the envelope.

     "...She's coming back."

     The Eyrie froze, his eyes widening. He almost dropped the letter, letting it fly through the schoolyard with the harsh winds, but thankfully he kept himself from doing so. He slowly peeled the heart-shaped sticker up and opened the letter. It was just a regular old piece of notebook paper, and the note was written in purple pen, nothing too special, especially for Sam. He looked back over at Mel before reading.

     "You mean... coming back for good?" He gulped. If Sam returned to Terror Mountain permanently from her home in Mystery Island where she had moved a year and a half ago, who knew what would happen. Someone would probably burn down the school. But we'll get to that later.

     "No," Mel assured him. "Look, just read it already!"

     Dear Mel,

     Okay, so I know we haven't talked in such a long time or whatever, but I have the craziest news for you. You might want to sit down before you read this! Haha, I'm just kidding.

     My owner told me yesterday that we're coming back to Terror Mountain! We aren't moving back or anything like that; it's just a vacation for a week or so. Spring break is going to be so awesome! I can't wait! So write me back, and hopefully we can arrange some plans. We're staying at a lodge down in Happy Valley, so if we want to get together it might be a little difficult, since you're up on top of the mountain, but still. We'll work something out, right?

     Love love!

     Sam

     Garret snorted, rolling his eyes. "'Love love'? That doesn't sound like Sam--"

     "I know," Mel interrupted, folding her arms across her chest. She glared down at Happy Valley below. "But hey, it's been a long time since we've seen each other. She'll probably think I've changed a lot, too." The Usul glanced up at Garret, forcing a tight smile. "Just think. In a few days, Sam will be here..." She sighed, shivering at the thought of it.

     It wasn't that she didn't like Sam. Mel was just a little disappointed with her friend. After Sam moved away and stopped replying to Mel's letters, the Usul just figured it was the end of their friendship. And now Sam was all of a sudden sending Mel mail as if they were still best friends.

     Garret nodded. "I wonder how everyone will react..." He trailed off, thinking of his friends Chad and Mikey, the two troublemakers of the school. They had been good friends with Sam back in the day. Or what about Krystal, the evil red Krawk who had brainwashed Sam into hating Mel in seventh grade?

     "I don't even want to think about it." Mel shook her head. "Ugh."

     "Well... anyway, want a ride home?" Garret spread out his two large Eyrie wings; Mel nodded gratefully and hopped on his back.

     Garret then took flight into the wintry skies of Terror Mountain, and Mel covered her eyes as the wind whipped her face violently, covering her with icy snowflakes. They flew over the Ski Lodge and neared a small neighborhood a few blocks away from it. Garret descended as he neared a modest house on Ski Lodge Close, and landed right in front of Mel's neohome. She jumped off his back and nodded thankfully.

     Garret smiled. "See you tomorrow at school?"

     "Yeah. Bye." She waved at Garret, and then he flew off again.

     Mel muttered angrily to herself as she thumbed around in her pockets for the house keys. "I can't believe this... Sam's actually coming to visit... acting like she's still my best friend and whatnot..." She found the key and brought it up to the lock on the door, but she froze and dropped the keys to the ground when she heard a voice from behind her.

     "Hey, Mel!"

     Mel's eyes widened, and the yellow Usul slowly turned around. The voice had been friendly, excited, and girly sounding. It was all too familiar.

     Mel spun around and sure enough, a faerie Uni was standing a few feet away, clutching a pink handbag and smiling widely.

     "S-Sam," Mel stammered, trying to sound at least somewhat happy that her friend she hadn't seen in more than a year was standing a few feet in front of her. "Where did you come from?!"

     Sam raised an eyebrow at her, looking at the Usul weirdly.

     "Err, I mean, hey! This is such a surprise! I... thought you wouldn't be coming for another few days...?" Mel bent down and picked the keys back up, unlocking the door to the house and stepping inside. "I mean, I got your letter on Tuesday. Oh, come on in."

     The faerie Uni nodded, walking up to the door and going inside like it was her own house. Her cheeks were flushed from the cold, which she wasn't used to now, after living in Mystery Island for a year and a half.

     "Thanks." Sam grinned. "Oh, well, school got canceled down there because we had a huge thunderstorm and a tree fell down on the school and it started on fire. So that's why I'm here early!" She smiled, showing off her insanely white teeth.

     "Oh... interesting," Mel said, leading Sam into the kitchen. Her owner, a black-haired teen named Kim, peered up at them from her usual seat where she folded origami: a puffy white couch by the fireplace. The second she saw Sam she jumped up and dropped the steaming cup of coffee she had been drinking all over the carpet.

     "AHHH! It's Sam!" Kim exclaimed, running up to the faerie Uni. "Holy Fyora, what are you doing here?!" She hugged the Uni's neck, giggling excitedly. Kim jumped around in circles, clapping her hands, causing Mel to blush in embarrassment. The Usul growled bitterly.

     Everybody loved Sam. Everybody missed Sam. Now that Sam was back, everything was going to be Sam, Sam, Sam.

     It wasn't a guess. It was the truth. If Kim was that excited about Sam being back, just think how Mel's whole class would react. The Usul rolled her eyes and went to clean up the spilled coffee, since Kim wasn't going to be doing it any time soon.

     "So, what are you doing back? Oh man, I haven't seen you in such a long time! How's the Island life? I'm so jealous of you," Kim whined, still bouncing up and down.

     Sam chuckled. She couldn't help it that people loved her so much. But it was just plain weird that Mel didn't seem to be that excited. She peered over at the Usul, who was down on her knees scrubbing the carpet.

     "Oh, well, we're just on a little vacation, you know," the faerie Uni started. "For Spring Break. Hasn't Mel told you? I sent the letter like a week ago." Sam frowned, a little let down. She really was expecting Mel to be bouncing off the walls when she'd shown up at her house so unexpectedly.

     "How cool! Our Spring Break doesn't start until next week! Or did you just get extra days off because your owner decided to spoil you? Hee-hee! A vacation up here is nice once in a while! And you'll even be able to see all of your old friends!" Kim continued to blabber as she made her way over to the kitchen cupboards and pulled a bunch of ingredients out. "I'm going to make some cookies to celebrate! Ooh, how 'bout those peanut butter ones with the chocolate in the middle? Those are so yummy!"

     "Err... yeah, I guess so," Sam responded, a little freaked out. She slowly walked over to the hallway and admired the photos of Mel and her younger siblings that were hanging from the walls. Mel hadn't really changed. She still didn't wear make-up, she still had that same smile she'd had since first grade... but there something different about her... Sam couldn't put her hoof on it, but Mel just wasn't quite the same for some reason.

     Mel finished cleaning the carpet and disposed of the empty coffee cup in the garbage. "I think I got most of it out, Kim," she snapped at her owner. "And you're welcome." The Usul angrily puffed out her lips and took Sam by the arm, leading her down the hallway and turning up the stairs into her room.

     "So," Sam said slyly, sitting down on top of Mel's twin-sized bed and crossing her legs. She grinned up at Mel mischievously. "Garret. You still hang out with that goober?"

     Mel quickly sneered at Sam before turning around and arranging some notes that were hanging from pins on her bulletin board. "Yeah," she replied tiredly. She was sort of guilty for not being all that thrilled Sam was there, but she honestly wasn't happy at all. About anything.

     "Hm." Sam nodded as she reached over to Mel's nightstand and grabbed an old magazine, flipping through the pages. "No way," she gasped, giggling as she looked through it, remembering reading it with Mel a number of years ago. "You still have this old thing lying around? I remember staying up all night going through this with you... we picked out the best stuff, remember?"

     Mel didn't reply at first. She didn't want to remember when they stayed up for hours looking at dumb magazines. She sat down on her bed next to Sam, running her paws through the Uni's soft tail. "Yeah... of course I remember," she finally said.

     "Mel, what in the world has gotten into you?" said Sam suddenly, dropping the magazine off the edge of the bed. She sat up, looking quite serious. "I mean, you don't seem happy that I'm here! What's wrong with you? Is it something I did?"

     "Nah..."

     "What? It's the boys that have gotten into you, isn't it?" Sam joked, a wide grin spreading out on her face.

     "Sam..." Mel trailed off, tiredly looking up at her old friend. "We aren't best friends anymore, okay? So stop acting like it. You never replied to the neomails I sent you, and then out of nowhere you send me a letter acting like you're my best friend again? And on top of all that, you just decide to randomly show up at my house without a warning!"

     Sam was silent as she looked down at the ground. She didn't know what to say.

     "And guess what?! While you were gone I made a new best friend." Angrily, Mel reached down below her bed and pulled out a worn shoe box. She opened it, revealing tons of letters and notes stuffed inside. She pulled a photo out, showing it to Sam.

     The Uni's eyes glossed over as she looked at the photo. Mel was hugging another pet. They were both happy, and the other girl was a very pretty Island Zafara. Much prettier and better than Sam. Sam narrowed her eyes and stood up abruptly, glaring down at Mel.

     "Fine. I'll just be going, then." The faerie Uni exited Mel's room and stormed out of the house without another word.

     Walking down the silent snowy streets, Sam snorted loudly. "Pah. If that's the way she wants to play, fine. I'll get back at her... she'll be sorry she ever questioned our friendship."

     Talking aloud to herself wasn't something Sam did very often. Only when she was insanely angry and brewing an evil plan in her mind. Sam spread out her faerie wings and took flight, trying to remember where exactly Garret lived.

To be continued...

 
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