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part seven.
IP: 95.149.91.50


PART SEVEN

Like the rest of Shaman, the majority of the mountain has submerged; only the very tallest peak remains above the surface of the water. As a combined result of the high altitude, the winter season and the ash cloud blotting out the sun, the rocky land is concealed beneath a thick blanket of snow which is almost as cold as the sharp wind rolling in from the sea. Compared to this, the heavy cold from earlier seems like a light chill.

Aura folds her arms across her chest and shivers uncontrollably. As Penguin the Great Dane draws nearer, his barks take on a different, more aggressive tone, and One Ear squeals loudly. Daunted by the large dog, the little rat swiftly scales up Aura’s clothes and nestles himself in her pocket, poking his whiskered nose out cautiously. She backs up as the dog charges forward, holding her hands out to make him slow and stop at a reasonable distance.

“Enough,” she says sternly. “This little rat helped me escape the flood. Without him I might have died.”

One Ear twitches his whiskers, looking amused. “Her.”

Penguin sniggers. Aura looks mortified. “I – I’m sorry, it’s difficult to tell...”

“Us guys think the same of you, yup yup.”

“Epic fail,” giggles the dog.

“Wait,” Aura frowns at him, “how can you speak? Has the second curse ended?”

“No. It can’t have, because I still can’t feel Poppy.”

Strange... when the second curse struck, the link between fairies and familiars was completely broken. That doesn’t just mean the telepathic bond, it also means the ability of familiars to communicate verbally – if the curse is still operating, Penguin shouldn’t be able to talk. He doesn’t have access to Poppy’s divinity either, so he can’t be bypassing the curse magically. How? Something tugs at Aura’s sleeve and she looks down to see One Ear scuttling out of her pocket and up her arm onto her shoulder. A light bulb flashes on in the deity’s brain.

“One Ear,” she breathes, “you’re not talking. You have reverse polylingual abilities!”

“Huh?”

“Reverse polylingual abilities. All animals in the immediate vicinity will instantly be able to understand all languages, so they’ll be able to converse. That’s how we’re all able to talk to each other.” She gives Penguin a very hard look, and he ducks his head in acceptance.

The three come to the mutual, silent agreement that there’s no sense in staying at the water’s edge, and begin the slow but sure traipse around the mountain peak in search of a cave to spend the night in. Easily the fastest and least susceptible to the cold, Penguin goes on ahead, dropping back occasionally to report that there’s nothing to report. As night begins to fall on the second day, the situation becomes increasingly desperate; Aura (with One Ear on her shoulder) pushes herself to walk as fast as she can while contending with the cold and the old pain from her broken rib while the dog goes further and further afield in search of somewhere warm and dry to stay. On one such venture he’s gone for such a long time that she allows herself to build her hopes, thinking that he may have found a cave and settled in it, but her optimism is shattered when she rounds a corner and finds him digging at the snow drifts at the base of the mountain. At first she’s annoyed, thinking that he’s wasting his time and energy to chase some small harmless mammal, when she realises what he’s doing and hurries forward to help. Together, the pair of them dig for about twenty or thirty minutes (with One Ear squeaking encouragement from Aura’s shoulder; if she’s honest, she’s probably about as helpful as the rat. The Great Dane’s strength and the power in his limbs is enough to shame the two girls, and it’s he who can claim the majority of the credit.) until a small snow-cave is formed. As one, they crawl in, curl up together and drop instantly into dreamless sleep.

---


Replies:
    • part six. -
    • part five. -
    • part four. -
    • part three. -
    • part two. -
    • part one. -


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