Fire, Song and a Snowstorm Chapter 7
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Fire, Song and a Snowstorm



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Fire, Song and a Snowstorm Chapter 8

Elsi was leaning against the ice wall of the top room in Aira's fort. Mihoshi paced nearby.

The ice wall blocking the door to the descending staircase was gone, but both girls knew that Aira was guarding the main door. Elsi was exhausted; twice she had tried melting the door with her firebending and both times Aira had been repairing all the damage she did before she could slip out. Elsi had noticed that though Aira wasn't hesitant about her icebending, she neglected to put her hands on Elsi. In fact, she seemed to be consciously not touching anyone other than Ket-Ket.

"Do you believe her?" Elsi asked Mihoshi. "Aira, I mean."

"Yeah," Mihoshi replied. "I don't know why I wouldn't."

Elsi shrugged.

"I don't believe her," she said. "I mean, Leyka doesn't seem to." She was somewhat right. Leyka didn't entirely trust Aira, but she didn't know if she disbelieved her either. She did, however, trust Ket-Ket, who was currently exploring the fort with her.

Elsi sighed.

"Elsi, are you okay?" Mihoshi asked.

"I want to go home," Elsi admitted. "I hate that we're trapped here."

"Me too," Mihoshi said. She squeezed Elsi's hand.

Elsi squeezed back.

"I'm glad you're here, Mi'shi," said Elsi. "You're being here makes this whole thing bearable."

Mihoshi nodded.

"I don't know where I would be if you weren't here, Els."

"I'm scared, Mi'shi," Elsi continued. "I've flaunted my firebending in front of Aira and Ket-Ket, which means my secret's out if they tell. And I'm scared for Leyka...I think Aira turned Ket-Ket into an ice person like her and will do the same to Leyka and us if we don't get out of here."

Mihoshi said nothing of her suspicions that Aira wasn't behind it. She knew her best friend needed a listening ear.

After a silence, Mihoshi turned to Elsi.

"I'm sorry, Els," she said. "We wouldn't be here if it weren't for me."

"What are you talking about?"

"I'm the one who told you to open the ice barrier. If I hadn't, we wouldn't have ever encountered the snow warriors and Leyka wouldn't have been taken, and we wouldn't be here. Oh Elsi...I miss my home already. I miss Mom and Dad and Liu...Mom and Dad, Els! They must be so worried about me! And Leyka too! I want to go home to them, both of us, or at least somehow tell them we're alright –"

She was cut off by Elsi suddenly pulling her into an embrace.

"Mi'shi...please," Elsi said. "Don't blame yourself. It's Aira, or whoever made the snow warriors, that person did this. Besides, you didn't open the barrier. I did."

Mihoshi sighed as her arms hugged Elsi.

"I would get us out of here if I could, but these walls are too thick to melt, and Aira is at the door," Elsi sighed. "Believe me, I want to go home too. Aunt Meimu must be scared to death about where I am."

Elsi looked at Mihoshi and gasped quietly. She had only just know realized how close they were. A moment after, Mihoshi came to the same realization and the two broke the embrace and stepped back, still staring at each other.

As Elsi looked at Mihoshi, she felt as though she was seeing her for the first time. Mihoshi was beautiful and so, so kind. Her face was friendly and her expression was full of compassion. She reminded Elsi of a flower in spring. She was, in Elsi's mind, perfect.

And Mihoshi stared back at Elsi. All Mihoshi could think about was the glow of Elsi's eyes and the warmth of her smile. And she was good and kind and brave, like the sun that never failed to rise. She was perfect to Mihoshi.

Both girls felt memories come to the surface. Those days when Elsi and Mihoshi had run through the tall grass as children, played in the pond, and written songs. The day Mihoshi's father had given her the liuqin and the joy she had shared with Elsi. The day Mihoshi had become a big sister and Elsi felt like she had too. Elsi creating spectacular light shows just for Mihoshi; the time when Elsi had accidentally burned a corner of her cat painting and Mihoshi had framed it anyway; when they had tried to get lost in the woods only to find that the old abandoned house belonged to Elsi and her aunt. All the games, songs, fire and snowball fights burned in their minds.

That was the moment when Mihoshi knew she loved Elsi.

She felt shocked – not that she loved her, but that she had loved her all her life and not known it. In the next moment, Elsi was taken aback by the knowledge that she loved Mihoshi, and had loved her ever since they were children.

"Elsi..." Mihoshi said, "I..."

And in that moment her lips touched Elsi's, and the two of them sank into a kiss.

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