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|More from SaeryenKatten||Romance/Adventure||PG||Positive|
|Fire, Song and a Snowstorm Chapter 3|
The next day, Elsi awoke, still feeling cold from the excursion she had taken the night before. Mihoshi and Leyka had to know what was going on, if indeed the forest was still frozen.
It was no longer snowing, but there were clouds in the sky and no grass could be seen. The entire ground was covered in four inches of snow.
Elsi couldn't quite remember where it was. She had pushed against the snow last night, but today it all looked different. Trees one after another, all looking the same. Clearings with houses interspersed between them. The place she sought she knew to be in the deep forest where no people lived, but she couldn't even seem to find a way out of the village.
"Elsi? What are you doing?"
It was Leyka. "Oh! Leyka! Hi, hello. I was...um..."
"Mihoshi's been looking for you," Leyka interrupted. "Why are you wandering around?"
Elsi approached Leyka and got down on her knees.
"Listen," she said quietly. "I found something very strange, but you can't say a word to anyone but Mihoshi."
Leyka nodded, her eyes wide with curiosity.
"Deep in the forest there's a place that's trapped in ice. All the trees are frozen together. I think someone's hiding something there."
Leyka's blank expression quickly turned upward into a wide grin.
"Yes, I will take you there if I am able to find it," Elsi replied, sighing as she spoke the last bit.
Leyka ran off toward the clearing where her and Elsi's homes were.
"Mihoshi!" she cried. "Mihoshi!"
"So last night, you think the snow was pushing against you?" Mihoshi asked Elsi.
"Exactly," Elsi said as she, Mihoshi and Leyka entered the northern forest. "It didn't feel like air at all. It felt like tiny, cold...things...that were pushing me away from there."
"Things?" Mihoshi asked.
"What else would you call them? Frozen ant-flies?" "Look!" Leyka shouted suddenly.
The two of them turned to where she was pointing. Among stark, leafless tress and a few evergreens was a wall of ice the color of the summer sky.
"I don't like the look of this," Mihoshi muttered, approaching the wall.
"Wait!" she said, running after Mihoshi with Leyka following.
Mihoshi took a look at the wall. The ice encased adjacent tree trunks for up to at least twelve feet, and in between those trunks the ice was thick and strong. Mihoshi kicked a part of the wall between the tree trunks five times, but the ice did not even crack.
"Give it up," said Elsi. "That stuff is harder than metal."
"Strange..." Mihoshi murmured, not listening. She began to walk to the right, following the circle the wall made.
Then, she reached the first part of the barrier Elsi had seen.
"Whoa," said Mihoshi. Elsi and Leyka agreed; their eyes widened as they saw the barrier in daylight.
The briars and tree branches could be clearly seen through the ice. With the ice holding them in place, some of them looked as though they were suspended in midair.
"Let's go!" Mihoshi whispered in excitement.
"Let's go?" Elsi said. "We don't know what's beyond there! Besides, how could we even get in? The whole place is blocked by ice!"
Mihoshi and Leyka both looked at Elsi. "What?" Elsi said.
"You can break it," replied Mihoshi.
"But," Elsi continued, "I can't firebend here! What if I get caught? Besides, what if something really really bad is behind there?"
"No one's here!" Leyka said. "It's just us!" Elsi looked at Leyka's excited face, then she turned to Mihoshi.
Suddenly, something sparked inside Elsi. There was just something about Mihoshi. Something about how happy and bright-eyed she looked. Something about how Elsi didn't feel right letting her down.
"Okay," she said. "Stand back."
Mihoshi and Leyka backed away from the ice wall, and Elsi shot a stream of orange fire into the middle of it.
The wall began to turn slowly into water, then into steam. A hole appeared in it, and it expanded, letting loose briars and branches. After a few minutes, the ice wall had been split in two – there was a gap in the middle of it, marked by wood sitting in a puddle of water.
Mihoshi stepped through and beckoned Elsi and Leyka.
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