Fire, Song and a Snowstorm Chapter 2
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Fire, Song and a Snowstorm



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Fire, Song and a Snowstorm Chapter 1

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Fire, Song and a Snowstorm Chapter 3

A velvety dark blue-gray covered the skies over Midori as Elsi, Mihoshi and Leyka retreated from the outdoors, where it was still snowing. Night had fallen, and the cloud cover guaranteed more snow to come.

Liu the quinn napped in a corner near the fireplace, for which Elsi quickly provided flames. At that same moment, Liu rolled sleepily over and snored.

"I can't believe you tried to make a snow fort," Mihoshi laughed. "I honestly thought snow feared you, Els."

Elsi giggled in reply.

"Leyka's too good for either of us to outsmart her, you know that, Mi'shi," she said. Leyka looked at the two of them with a triumphant, slightly haughty face.

"Don't think you've won the whole winter," Elsi said to Leyka. "Mihoshi is right, snow does fear me—"

"Unless I'm the girl behind the snow!" Leyka shouted back.

Just then, the wind whistled and one of the windows came open. Immediately, plentiful cold air swooped in, putting out the fire and bringing with it some snow, which at that moment did not seem very frightened of Elsi or anyone else.

Mihoshi went to the door and opened it.

"Whoa!" she said. "There's quite a blizzard out here!"

Elsi and Leyka rushed to the door to take a look. Mihoshi was right; the grass that had been poking out that morning was completely covered, as were the roots of the many trees that interspersed with their village. The lowest steps of both Elsi and Mihoshi's porch stairways were also blanketed in white cold.

"I should go back," Mihoshi said. "Mama and Papa will be worried if I stay out in a big storm too long."

She grabbed Leyka's wrist and started to walk through the ever-piling snow to the house next door. Elsi could still hear Leyka's protests after she closed the door.

Elsi tried many times to relight the fire and close the window, but it couldn't be helped. This blizzard was unusually strong.

A little too strong...

She looked over into her aunt's room. Meimu was sitting in a chair with a now flameless candle, trying to read a book without light.

Elsi decided it was safe to slip out.

As she stepped outside, she discovered her suspicions were true: there was no way this could be a normal blizzard, even in winters like this. She felt as though her whole body was being pushed by the cold wind, away from a certain point. She looked in the direction from which the wind was trying to keep her and saw, to her shock and somewhat terror, that solid ice was creeping up a cluster of trees.

Elsi pushed against the wind towards the trees. As she did so, she discovered that it wasn't the wind that was doing this – it was the snow.

The snowflakes were flying at her and pushing against her. They were not going down, as snow normally did – they were flying in all directions from that point outward. Something was forcing them away so much that they were unstoppably piling into houses. It had to be an outside force, because snow couldn't have secrets or vendettas – could it?

Nevertheless, Elsi pressed on against the snow, and as she drew nearer, the pressure lifted. Oh, the winds were still strong and relentless, but the snow was no longer being pushed away. Now, as typical of a blizzard, it had no discernable way to go. Elsi noticed Midori residents closing their windows successfully at long last.

When she was sure she was far away from any group of houses, Elsi lit a small flame in her hand to be her light. She approached the spot the snow had forbidden anyone access to and yelped.

A large cluster of broken tree branches and briars was stacked high up, much taller than any person, between two trees. The whole thing, and its tree neighbors, were covered entirely in solid ice. Elsi kicked it, but the ice was very hard. The trees surrounding the area were extremely close together, close enough for thick walls of ice to be between them.

She walked in a circle around the particular area of Midori Forest, only to find that all the trees and everything in between was covered in ice. An entire section of forest had been cut off. Why?

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