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 The Lehakian King of Winter: Part 2

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The Lehakian King of Winter: Part 2 Empty
PostSubject: The Lehakian King of Winter: Part 2   The Lehakian King of Winter: Part 2 Icon_minitimeSun Jul 02, 2017 9:21 pm

After Frostbite Ice proclaimed the beginning of his eternal interstellar ice age, he laughed maniacally.

"Seize him! Only he knows where Queen Alissa is!" the mayor ordered as he pointed at Frostbite Ice. Three penguin guards prepared to charge at Frostbite Ice.

"Just try to stop me, pathetic weaklings!" Frostbite Ice exclaimed as he fired a freeze ray at each of the guards while laughing maniacally. He used his wings to lift himself into the air and swiftly exit the town hall.

"You're not getting away with this!" exclaimed Aleera as she broke free of Midgel's grasp and chased after Frostbite Ice. However, he rushed so far ahead of her that she lost sight of him. She noticed Jason, Michelle, and Samantha running towards the library. She turned around and followed them close behind.

In the library, Samantha frantically searched through the bookshelves. "Ugh! How can I stop Frostbite Ice without the Elements of the Nine Cosmos Keepers?"

"What are those? And how do you know about Frostbite Ice?" asked Oceranne.

"I heard of the rumors about Frostbite Ice. Some mysterious objects called the Elements of the Nine Cosmos Keepers are the only things that can stop him, but I don't know what they are, where to find them, I don't even know what they do!" answered Samantha.

"The Elements of the Nine Cosmos Keepers: A Reference Guide," Aleera read from the bookshelf, "Interesting."

Samantha ran to the bookshelf and shoved her aside, "Where did you find that?!"

"I found it under 'E', you know, where all of the books with titles beginning with 'E' belong," answered Aleera.

"Right," Samantha replied. She took the book out of the shelf and began reading it. "Seven Elements of the Eleven Cosmos Keepers exist, but only six are known: Generosity, Loyalty, Diligence, Patience, Kindness, and Meekness. The seventh is a complete mystery. Rumors are, the last known location of the Elements was in the ancient castle of the royal Lehakian family. It is located in the Odarmus Peninsula on the Planet Lehakia."

As the Rockhopper flew towards its next destination, within its interior, Lt. Oceranne fiddled around with the various buttons in the communications center of the ship.

"So, where are the ship's weapon systems?" she asked.

"Oh, this ship doesn't have any weapons," Midgel answered, "We never had any need for them since we always travel to Federation planets."

"But what if a ship decides to fire on us? Then, we would be completely defenseless."

"We still have our shields," Midgel pointed out.

"And if the ship's shields are out, there's still no way to tell the other ship to back off."

"Oh, we don't have to do that since we can always retreat," Zidgel added. Oceranne turned back to face the communications center she was now in charge of and resumed her button fiddling.

"Note to self, issue a request for a weapons system for the U.F.P.S. Rockhopper," she said under her breath. Dr. Aleera stared at Fidgel's science center in disbelief.

"This is where I'll perform my duties as the ship's new doctor?" she questioned in a strong skeptical tone.

"Well, the Rockhopper doesn't have a sick bay," Fidgel responded, awkwardly tugging on his collar, "Besides, we both have the title of 'doctor', don't we?"

"Doctor, I'm a doctor, not a scientist," Aleera snapped, "Now I need to issue a request for a sick bay to be installed in this unfinished ship."

"Approaching Planet Lehakia, prepare for landing!" Midgel announced. The rest of the crew began their standard ship landing preparations. Fidgel, Jason, Michelle, and Samantha all used their feet to push the red buttons that activated their green air-filled chairs and wrapped their seat beats around them. Zidgel buckled himself in his captain's chair. Kevin jumped into his own chair away from the others. Oceranne led Aleera to her communications center and pressed a button that activated the seat beats that wrapped themselves around the two new crew members. The Rockhopper bounced up and down on the surface a few times before it skidded a couple a feet and came to a complete stop.

"Excellent landing, Midgel!" Zidgel complimented, "You are definitely showing improvement!"

"If that was a good landing, then I'm not a doctor," Aleera snided before she exited the ship with the rest of the crew.

As the Rockhopper crew began their trek across the peninsula, Zidgel caught glance at how many layers of clothing Aleera had on.

"Say, my good doctor, is there any reason why you have to wrap yourself up like a birthday present?" he asked.

"I hate the cold with a burning passion!" she yelled, her scarf wrapped around her beak muffling her voice. "And don't even think about making a comment how I'm not supposed to hate the cold because of what species I am!" Zidgel opened his beak and was about to say something when a cranky young adult female Chinstrap penguin clothed in a torn teal dress appeared out from behind a snow mound and hobbled towards them due to her back being hunched over a little.

"What do all of you want?!" she snapped.

"We're just on our way to a castle," answered Michelle. In response, the female penguin swung her fist at Michelle. Michelle yelped in fear and closed her eyes tight as she braced herself for the upcoming blow. When she slowly opened one eye, she saw Zidgel grabbing the female penguin's arm hard and pushing her back.

"What's the big idea, lady?!" exclaimed Zidgel.

"She has no idea on what you really want!" the female penguin retorted as she struggled to pull herself away from Zidgel's grip, "And my name is Heathrette!" After she finally broke free of his grasp, Kevin tried to get the others' attention by pointing at Heathrette. Zidgel paid no attention as he turned to Oceranne for some help.

"Oceranne, a little help over here? You're our new communications officer, after all!" he called out. Oceranne marched over to where Zidgel and Heathrette were stand with a huff.

"Why did you try to hit her when she answered your question?" she asked sternly.

"That little earthling girl is playing some sort of game," answered Heathrette, "but I'm not buying it!" she raised her arm to slap Oceranne across the face, but Oceranne ducked in order to dodge the slap. Kevin continued to point at Heathrette as Oceranne walked over to where Midgel was.

"Well, Midgel, you saw how well my first assignment on the Rockhopper turned out," she told him.

"Got it," he replied. He walked over to Heathrette. On his way, he went past Kevin, who was attempting to get his attention by waving a flag wildly.

"Why didn't you believe Michelle when she told you where we're going?" Midgel asked with his index finger pointed at Heathrette.

"There's no way you would really be going to a castle," she scoffed. Midgel immediately ran towards Fidgel and Aleera before Heathreatte could slap him.

"Fidgel, Aleera, she's all yours now," he said.

"Yippee," Aleera said with a lack of enthusiasm. She and Fidgel prepared to go over to Heathrette and give her a firm talking to.

"What's gotten into you right now?!" she demanded.

"Those other penguins are attempting to play along with this little girl, but I won't be a part of it!" Heathrette retorted.

"What makes you think this is all a game?!" Aleera asked. Heathrette opened her beak and was about to yell back at her when Kevin, who was fed up with the fact that no one paid attention to him, resorted to honking a horn. The others looked at him in confusion.

"What is it, Kevin?" asked Zidgel. Kevin answered by walking straight up to Heathrette and pointing at her back. Heathrette cried out in pain when Kevin pulled something out of her back. Kevin held up the object and revealed a sharp icicle.

"Oh, thanks!" Heathrette groaned in relief as she rubbed her back, "That was bothering me all day."

"So that's why you were so angry at me," Michelle said out loud.

"Yeah," Heathrette said sheepishly, "when you're in a great amount of pain, you tend to snap at people."

"If you feel like apologizing right now, don't worry about it, I know you don't usually act like that," Michelle reassured her.

"Anyway, do you know the way to the ruins of the castle?" Samantha asked.

"Ruins...castle," Heathrette pondered Samantha's question for a moment, "Oh, you mean the ruins of the castle where the Lehakian royal family used to live?"

"That's right," Samantha nodded her head.

"Well, all you have to do is walk up this path to the Stretching Plains and you won't have a hard time finding it," Heathrette explained.

"Thanks!" Samantha waved her hand as she and the others started to walk up the path.

"Anytime!" Heathrette waved back. When they reached a certain distance from her, Samantha turned to Kevin.

"How did you know about the icicle?" Samantha asked Kevin, who dropped the icicle.

"When she walked towards us, I saw something sticking out of her back," he replied. As soon as the Rockhopper crew was close to the Stretching Plains, Frostbite Ice emerged out of his hiding spot and stomped on the icicle in anger, completely shattering it. He started to fly behind the crew at a distance, glaring at Kevin in particular.

As the crew walked through the plains, they came upon a thick dust storm.

"What's a dust storm doing in the middle of a snowy area?" asked Oceranne. From a distance, they saw a dust devil spinning rapidly. Shielding their eyes from all the sand constantly blowing, they slowly walked towards it. They were about to take another step when the dust devil died down, as if it sensed their arrival, revealing a female penguin clothed in a light brown robe and a slightly darker brown veil that concealed everything on her head except for her eyes. She had a sand-like aura surrounding her.

"Brrr," she said in a thick Arabic accent with her teeth chattering, "t-t-there w-w-wasn't a-a-any s-s-snow w-w-where I-I-I c-c-came f-f-from!"

"Shahara?!" Fidgel asked in surprise, "what are you doing here?!"

"Oh, I don't know. I was just taking a little stroll, minding my own business, when snow suddenly appeared!" she answered, "I wanted to find its source, but it came so quickly that I started to freeze. Around here, I saw some coats and materials that are used to start a fire. I started to run towards them when someone fired a phaser gun at them and completely obliterated them! The matches and a few firewood were the only things not blown away, but every time I try to start a fire, it keeps going out because I don't have enough fuel for it!" After she finished explaining how she was in this situation, she turned into a dust devil in frustration and an attempt to keep herself warm. In doing so, some sand got into Samantha's and Midgel's eyes.

"Pffft! Some Cosmos Keeper you are," said Midgel, annoyed at the fact that she wasn't able to start a fire. He rubbed the sand out of his eyes.

"Seriously?! You can turn yourself into a tornado and yet you can't even stop any of that stuff from being blown away or even start a fire?!" asked Samantha, also annoyed as she rubbed the sand out of her eyes.

"Come on!" retorted Zidgel, "How can you be so insensitive? We all know that Cosmos Keepers are not omnipotent!"

"I couldn't have said it better myself!" Shahara replied.

"And since you don't have any power over fire and Hestia is nowhere to be found, neither of those can help warm you."

"True story!"

"Of course, you can't endure the cold because you have power over the deserts, not anywhere with ice and snow."

Shahara gasped, "Of course not!"

"And you can't turn into a dust devil forever."

"You speak words of truth! I can only remain in that form for so long!" she wailed.

"You're going to need some more fuel for that little fire!" exclaimed Zidgel. He then plucked a sharp ice piece off of a nearby rock.

"Captain, what are you-" Michelle asked when she saw Zidgel use the ice piece to cut something. Shahara's eye's widened when she saw that Zidgel cut off his own pompadour. He handed it over to Shahara with a smile on his face. "I don't think this is what you had in mind when you said you needed fuel, but it's better than nothing," he told her.

"Thank you! That fire won't go out now!" exclaimed Shahara, happy that her fire now has some fuel.

"Uh, Captain? You do realize that you don't have your pompadour anymore, right?" Midgel commented.

"Oh come on! When you want to be a true gentleman, er... penguin, you have to show generosity to a lady, especially if she's a Cosmos Keeper. Besides, it'll grow back. And I always keep at least one extra pompadour wig," replied Zidgel as he put a wig on his head. Shahara looked over her shoulder and saw a large pile of snow blocking the crew's path.

"I think I found a way to return the favor!" she exclaimed in delight. She transformed into a dust devil once more and blew away the snow pile.

"Thank you! We can continue on now!" Samantha told her as she and the others continued on their journey.

It wasn't too long until the crew came across a fork in the path. "Which way do we go?" Oceranne asked.

"Pfff! That's so obvious!" answered Zidgel. He prepared to walk on the left path when a voice stopped him.

"Wrong way! Wrong way!" The voice sounded like an old man. An elderly penguin clothed in a tattered light blue robe then appeared from the fog.

"If you walk this way, you will be doomed!"

"How do you know that?" asked Zidgel.

"Believe me, you do not want to go this way!" the old penguin answered.

"Out of the way, old man, uh, er, penguin! We have a place to go to!" scoffed Zidgel.

"Guys?" said Oceranne.

"You will regret walking down this path!" replied the old penguin. None of the crew members were pleased to hear that response. Midgel decided to butt in on this conversation.

"Look, we don't know who are, but we are in a hurry." He had no idea why this penguin wanted them to take the other path.

"Guys? Hello?" Oceranne asked.

"Let me handle this," Fidgel told Midgel. "Excuse me, sir. We hate to use force, but if you don't be reasonable and let us pass, we will have no other choice." His voice got stern as he spoke.

"You'd better take my advice and go the other way!" the old penguin retorted, still persisting in them taking the other path.

"Excuse me?" Oceranne spoke up a little louder than she did last time.

"Kevin? Can you come over here and give us a hand?" asked Fidgel. Kevin responded by walking up to the old penguin and saying,

"Hello!" The old penguin looked at him with a confused expression.

"Does that mean you will take the other path?" he asked. Aleera decided to march up to him to set him straight.

"Hey! We're here on a mission, and we don't need you to stall our completion of it!" she stated in a stern tone.

"Hello? Anyone?" asked Oceranne. She was starting to get irritated.

"I have wandered these ways for a much longer time than you have, madam," the old penguin replied. Oceranne became frustrated that everyone was ignoring her.

"Is anybody listening to me?!" she yelled. No sooner had she shouted than all the other penguins stared at her.

"Did you want to say something?" Zidgel asked.

"I've been trying to, but none of you would listen!" Oceranne answered with more frustration in her voice than before.

"Well, maybe you could speak louder!" retorted Zidgel.

"Quiet down and let the lass speak!" the old penguin replied in a stern manner. He then motioned at Oceranne to allow her to speak. In response, Oceranne walked slowly towards him.

"We will do as you say and go down the other path," she told him. The old penguin's eyebrows perked up when he noticed something about her tone. It was not stern, rude, or aggressive. It was calm, polite, and meek. He thought about what she said and how she said it for a moment. As soon as he decided how to respond, he did so,

"Well, since you were willing to obey my command unlike the other penguins, I think I can allow you could walk down this path, although you might regret it later on."

"Thank you, sir!" replied Oceranne, "You see, my fellow crew members and I are-"

"Oh, hey, look at the time!" Zidgel interrupted, "We'd better get going!" He and his crew then proceeded to walk down that very path. As they were walking out of the old penguin's sight, Aleera wanted to find out how Oceranne convinced the old penguin to let them pass.

"How come he let us walk down this path despite your willingness to obey him and not any of us despite our insistence to let us walk down this path?" she asked.

"Well, sometimes a little meekness is needed," Oceranne answered.

"I'm just glad she managed to get that old snake into letting us walk down that path," Zidgel commented. The crew continued their journey to the castle. However, they were unaware that the same old penguin that was mentioned was watching them from the snow.

"A snake, huh?" he muttered to himself, "I'll show you how much of a snake I can be." With that said, he felt around on his left palm and pressed a button on a small contraption. The old penguin pixelated away, leaving only the figure of Frostbite Ice. He resumed his flight to where the crew was heading.

"That old penguin was a liar," Zidgel scoffed, "He said that we would regret walking down that path, but I have no regrets whatsoever!"

"Why was he trying to convince us to take the other path?" asked Fidgel. As soon as he asked that, Aleera noticed a blue mound blocking the path.

"What have we here?" she asked. The mound started to wiggle a little bit. Fidgel walked up to it and started investigating it.

"Hmm...it looks like..." After investigating the mound for a while, he thought about what the mound could be for a few moments. "No, it can't be possible," he finally spoke.

"What can't be possible?" Oceranne asked.

"The mound looks like a giant snake, but snakes can never survive in weather like this," answered Fidgel. However, no sooner had he stated that than the mound wiggled a lot more to reveal exactly what Fidgel said what the mound looked like. Michelle, Aleera, Zidgel, and Kevin screamed in terror and hid behind Jason, Samantha, Midgel, Fidgel, and Oceranne.

"You were sssssssssssaying?" the snake hissed. Fidgel was rendered speechless for a few moments.

"Uh...how did you get here?" he asked when he was finally able to speak.

"That'ssssss not important," answered the snake, "What'ssssss important isssss that I am the one who guardssssss thisssss path."

"What are you guarding this path from?" asked Oceranne.

"I'm guarding thissssss path from intruderssssss ssssssssuch assssss yoursssssselvesssssss," replied the snake.

"So, what do we need to do in order to walk down this path?" asked Zidgel, who was hiding behind Kevin.

"You have to clear all of thisssssssss ssssssssssnow," the snake answered as he used his tail to point at the giant snow mound that was blocking the path. Jason, upon looking at the mound, was not looking forward to clearing it all that much.

"Do we have to clear that snow mound?" he complained. Baring his fangs, the snake hissed and his eyes glowed blue, aiming to scare Jason into submission. "Okay, I'll do it!" He ran to the snow pile and started to clear it quickly. The other members of the crew, afraid that the snake might do the same thing to them, followed him to the pile.

After the crew shoveled the snow for a little while, Zidgel was starting to get a little tired.

"I need a break from all this work!" he groaned, "Does anyone else want to join me?"

"Believe me, a break is very much welcomed by me," Aleera responded. She and Zidgel then walked aside and sat down to rest. Michelle had a confused look on her face when she saw them stop shoveling the snow.

"Captain, Doctor, why did you stop?" she asked.

"To recover from the possibility of frostbite, what's it look like?!" Aleera snapped back in frustration.

"But what about all this snow?" she inquired.

"Don't worry, you and the others can clear it for us," answered Zidgel.

"Yeah, but it'll take longer," Michelle muttered under her breath. A few moments later, Jason wasn't clearing the snow as quickly as he was before.

"You know," he said, "I think I'd like to take a short break." When Michelle caught glimpse of Jason walking over to where Zidgel and Aleera were sitting, she got a little frustrated.

"Oh, Jason, not you too!" groaned Michelle, "Now it'll take even longer for this pile to be cleared!"

"Michelle, just let him rest," Samantha replied as she grabbed bundles of now and tossed it aside.

"We can manage this without them anyway," agreed Oceranne. By now, she had shoveled one-tenth of the snow in the pile. "Well, that's my share of the work. Now I can relax!" She walked over to where Zidgel, Aleera, and Jason were sitting. Midgel got a little confused at why she stopped at first.

"Eh, what the heck? I've cleared enough snow anyway," he said to himself as he joined her to take a break.

"Oh, wonderful!" Fidgel snapped, "About half of us stopped shoveling the snow!" In response, Kevin used his arms to shovel the snow faster. As he was about a little less than halfway done, he poked his head above the part the pile that he was clearing.

"Doctor, Lieutenant, I'm tired," he said.

"Kevin, not now!" Fidgel groaned in frustration.

"Doctor, I think you should let them rest," Oceranne told him.

"Fine," Fidgel reluctantly agreed. Kevin then joined the others in taking a break.

"I think I've cleared enough snow for now," Oceranne said as she shoveled the last bit of her share of the snow pile. She then walked aside and sat down with the others. When Fidgel wasn't looking, Michelle stopped clearing the snow and joined Oceranne and the others.

"I'm going to stop clearing the pile now," Samantha told Fidgel.

"What?!" exclaimed Fidgel, "but who's going to help me clear this snow?!"

"Look, Doctor," replied Samantha, "I can't come in direct contact with snow as many times as you can." She strutted over to where everyone else was sitting.

"You know what?! I don't think any of you are exhausted at all!" Fidgel yelled at them, "I think you're just using that as an excuse to be as lazy as sloths! If you're not going to be diligent, I'll just have to clear this snow myself!" The others groaned and joined him, albeit reluctantly and slowly, in clearing the snow pile.

After the crew finished clearing the snow pile, Fidgel approached the snake.

"The snow pile has been cleared," he told the snake, "although it would've been cleared sooner if somebody helped me!" He glared at the others, who looked a little regretful.

"Excellent!" the snake replied, "Asssssssssss a reward, here'sssssssss a map to show a shortcut to your dessssssssstination." The others immediately gathered around Fidgel to see what shortcut to the castle the map showed.

"What gives? This map is blank!" Aleera said in frustration. Everyone else nodded their heads in agreement.

"Excuse me, Doctor," said Zidgel, "but why can't any of us see what's on this map?"

"Becaussssssse you didn't work hard enough to clear the ssssssssnow," the snake hissed at him.

"And I suppose we could see it if we cleared more snow?" Midgel asked rhetorically, raising an eyebrow.

"Of courssssssse!" the snake answered with a gleeful smile. The crew huddled closer together in an attempt to decipher the map.

"Now where's this shortcut located?" Aleera asked.

"According to this map, it's through the Cave of the Icy Air Blasts," Fidgel answered.

"Can't we go somewhere that doesn't involve ice or snow?" Aleera complained.

"I wonder what we'll find there," Zidgel pondered out loud as they walked towards the cave. Once they've gone out of his sight, the snake used his tail to press the same button on the contraption located in the middle of his body. Just as before, the snake pixelated away and left only the figure of Frostbite Ice. With a sinister smile, he followed the crew to the cave.

"Here we are at the icy air blasts!" Fidgel announced.

"So, what do the air blasts do?" Oceranne asked. Not long after she asked that very question, a dart hopped towards the cave and entered it. However, no sooner had he entered the cave than an air blast froze him right then and there. All of the crew members stared at the frozen dart with mouths and beaks wide open in horror.

"Does that answer your question?" Zidgel asked with quivering voice. Oceranne nodded her head.

"How are we ever going to get through that cave?" Michelle asked in concern.

"There's a little trick to that," answered Aleera, "I've done it before."

"Hold on, I thought you hated the cold," Zidgel commented in a confused tone.

"I do, I was blackmailed into learning this trick," Aleera glared at Zidgel.

"So, what does that trick do?" Jason asked in curiosity.

"Well," replied Aleera, "It goes something like this." She then went on to illustrate how to get through the cave by grabbing Fidgel by the arm and bringing him to the cave's entrance.

"You see," she said, "there's a pattern in which the air blasts fire. Every three minutes, five of the air blasts become dormant for six minutes. Like so." She pointed at the first ten air blasts that went dormant. She and Fidgel grabbed the opportunity to get through the cave and quickly maneuvered through them by running around some of the air blasts and ducking the ones above them. It wasn't long before they came to a halt at another set of air blasts. Even though they were also dormant, Fidgel and Aleera still waited there.

"What are we waiting for?" asked Fidgel, "these air blasts are dormant."

"We can't continue yet," Aleera answered, "they could fire at any moment." They stayed in the crouched-up position for a few moments. Fidgel started to fidget around in his position.

"But you said the air blasts fire in a certain pattern," Fidgel replied.

"Hey, I made no such claim," Aleera retorted. Fidgel didn't know how much more of this he was able to take. Without waiting for Aleera's instructions, he attempted to rush out towards the dormant air blasts. Aleera stretched out her arm and grabbed Fidgel by the arm to pull him away from an air blast that just became active.

After three minutes had passed, Aleera looked back, and she saw that the active air blasts were getting closer and closer.

"Time to go. Now, are you satisfied?" Aleera asked rhetorically. She grabbed Fidgel by the arm and they resumed their run. They jumped over some more dormant air blasts and ducked below some other air blasts. Right after a few moments flew by, they stopped again before another set of dormant air blasts. They repeated this pattern about five more times before Fidgel decided that where they stopped would be the best place to complain to Aleera.

"Is it really necessary to stop every time we encounter certain dormant air blasts?"

"Unless you want to get yourself killed, then yes!" Aleera snapped. Tired of having to wait repeatedly, Fidgel got up from his spot and prepared to dash towards the exit, which was only a few feet away from him. However, just after he advanced one stride towards it, he felt a pair of arms roughly yank him back to where he originally waited.

"You idiot!" Aleera screamed, "Do you want to get yourself killed?!" Fidgel was about to reply when the air blasts began firing once again.

"You see?! If it weren't for me, you would've become a part of a typical Lehakian tour! " Aleera pointed at the air blasts. Fidgel had no response, for he was occupied with following Aleera through the labyrinth of the cave and out into the open area covered in snow. They stood at the cave's exit to recover from their run.

"Wait here," ordered Aleera, "I'll be back after everyone else has made it through. And don't try any funny business." Fidgel nodded, not moving so much as an inch away from the exit.

"Ugh! How long have Fidgel and Aleera been in there?" Michelle groaned.

"Yeah! Does it really take that long?" Jason complained.

"And why was he the only one she brought with her?" Samantha asked.

"Beats me," Oceranne shrugged. She turned to the cave's entrance and caught a glance of a skinny penguin's shadow. Slowly, but surely, more and more of the penguin's body became visible. First, the head emerged out of the cave. Then, the rest of her body followed suit. She began to look around at each and every person, as if she were deciding on which one of them she should take with her through the cave next.

"Welcome back, Doctor," she remarked. Aleera ignored the African penguin's comment, for she had immersed herself into choosing a new partner who will travel along with her as they dodge the air blasts. A few minutes flew by before Aleera narrowed her choices to two penguins. Giving careful consideration, she grabbed Kevin by the arm and led him to the cave's entrance.

"Mother of the Cosmos Keepers," Zidgel groaned in frustration, "is she going to repeat this with every one of us?"

"It looks like it," Midgel answered.

Aleera's encounters with the rest of the crew varied from person to person. With some of them, she had to scream at them for rushing deeper into the cave due to some of the air blasts being dormant. With others, they did not start running without her until they got close to the exit.

After she finished guiding Jason out of the cave, she turned and faced the rest of the crew.

"Be very thankful I have the patience to deal with all of your impatience!" she said with frustration oozing from every word she yelled. None of the crew members said a single word after she joined them in their continuation of their journey toward the castle ruins.

Behind the cave's exit, Frostbite Ice clenched his teeth and aimed his gaze at Aleera with fury. Keeping this expression, he resumed his flight behind them.

It didn't take the crew long to arrive at a large mountain containing a a door not much taller than Midgel. The wall the door was in contained no panels.

"Is there any way to open this door?" Fidgel asked. Midgel began to place his hands all over the door. He didn't keep up this action for very long, due to the door automatically opening, revealing a tunnel through the mountain. Midgel began to walk through the tunnel. Oceranne was about to enter the tunnel when an invisible force threw her away from the entrance.

"Owww, what gives?" she groaned in pain. Aleera attempted to stick her hand into the tunnel, but the same invisible force jerked her hand back.

"Looks like some sort of force field," she deduced.

"Does that mean we can't follow Midgel?" Zidgel inquired.

"No, Midgel will probably find a way to deactivate this force field," Aleera responded.

Midgel's journey through the tunnel was quite uneventful, save for a few encounters with an icicle or two. After his exit from the tunnel, he caught sight of a panel to the left of the exit. He assumed this panel would deactivate the force field. He began to fiddle around with the panel's buttons. He was about to press three of the buttons all at once when he heard a soft voice call out to him.

"Midgel," the voice whispered gently. Midgel thought nothing of this voice and continued his attempt to shut down the force field via finding the right buttons to press.

"Midgel," the soft voice repeated. Midgel continued to ignore the voice as he fiddled around with five of the buttons.

"Midgel," the voice whispered for a third time. Midgel ceased his button fiddling to search for the voice's source.

"Who's there?" he asked, looking around.

"Isn't being first officer, pilot, and engineer too much to handle for one man...er...penguin such as yourself?" the voice inquired.

"Now that you mention it, being all three of those things has been pretty stressful lately," Midgel pondered out loud.

"What if I told you you no longer have to hold all three of those occupations?" the voice offered. The voice's source, a Gentoo penguin dressed in light blue flowing robes with dark blue wavy patterns etched into them, emerged from the shadows.

"Wait, you have that kind of authority?" Midgel questioned.

"When you're a member of the Council of Brush-Tailed Penguins, the authority you hold can allow you to do a variety of things," the penguin responded.

"I see," Midgel replied with a hint of interest, "How can you help me hold only one occupation?"

"Well, all you have to do is sign this contract," the penguin held out a digital pad with said contract showing. Midgel took the pad and began to read it. The Gentoo penguin started to twirl the digital pen around while he waited for Midgel to finish reading.

"Blah, blah, blah, can choose one occupation," he read to himself, "blah, blah, blah, on one condition, blah, blah, blah." He went back to the last part he read out loud and read that one condition. "Wait, are you trying to tell me that I have to leave the Rockhopper in order to choose whether I want to be just a first officer, pilot, or engineer?"

"Why, I finally encountered someone who actually reads the terms and conditions!" the penguin said gleefully.

"So, does that mean no or yes?" Midgel asked, ignoring the penguin's six-second burst of joy.

"Yes, you do have to leave your ship," the penguin replied as if all of his previous joy was vacuumed out of his voice. Midgel pondered whether or not leaving his ship would be worth having only one occupation. He reached out for the pen and grabbed it, but he hesitated to sign the contract. He started to put the pen in its holding place on the pad, but drew it back at the last second. Frustrated at this decision, he bit down on the pen and slammed it into the holding place.

"Forget it!" he snapped, "Being first officer, pilot, and engineer may be stressful sometimes, but I'm not going to give up the Rockhopper to get rid of that stress!" He resumed his button fiddling on the panel until he heard someone coming from the other side. Glaring at him, the Gentoo penguin walked back to the shadows from where he exited before. Once the rest of the Rockhopper crew exited the tunnel, the Gentoo penguin glared sharply at Midgel and bared his clenched teeth. He clenched his left fist so hard the pen started to break. He hurled the pad into the snow and stomped on it repeatedly until multiple cracks showed up in the pad's surface. He activated a device on his left wrist. The form of the Gentoo penguin pixelated away, only the form of Frostbite Ice remained. Frostbite Ice continued his flight toward the ancient castle.

Standing at the great ruins of the castle, the Rockhopper crew gazed at what was left of this mighty castle with their eyes and mouths wide open in awe and wonder.

"It's hard to believe how majestic this castle once was," Aleera said in a breathy tone.

"It is still majestic now, though," Oceranne added with the same tone Aleera spoke in. Almost mesmerized by the castle's structure, or what was left of it, Samantha trod toward the castle's tall entrance. She stepped into the castle and walked up the stairs. The rest of the Rockhopper crew followed her up to the second floor.

Each crew member turned themselves around in an attempt to fully capture the vastness of this room's emptiness. They focused their gazes in different areas of the room, some gazed at the ceiling, others aimed their awestruck gazes at the walls. As if to break himself away from the castle ruins' hypnosis, Zidgel turned away from one of the walls to face his fellow crew members.

"It looks like we'll be able to find those elements since there's almost nothing here," he broke the silence. Fidgel ceased his gazing and faced Zidgel.

"But they may be hidden somewhere," he pointed out. Midgel stopped looking at the ceiling and started to look at Zidgel and Fidgel.

"Well, why don't we start looking for them?" he suggested. Aleera ended her ruins-gazing and turned to Zidgel, Midgel, and Fidgel.

"Good idea," she concurred. She clapped her hands twice to snap the other crew members out of their ruins-gazing. They immediately joined Zidgel, Midgel, Fidgel, and Aleera to begin their traditional huddle. Before they could move to their positions, a faint, high-pitched hum began to echo throughout the vast room. Accompanying this hum was the dematerialization of Jason's, Michelle's, and Samantha's bodies. The kids began placing their hands on various parts of their own upper bodies in a futile attempt to stop their bodies from dematerializing. Once the kids' bodies had completely disappeared along with the faint hum, the penguin crew members couldn't bring themselves to say anything. A few seconds flew by before Fidgel began his operation of his Quantum Spectrum Analyzer.

"Sensors indicate transporter residue," he deduced from his analyzer's readings.

"Can this residue tell us where Jason, Michelle, and Samantha got transported to?" Oceranne asked. Fidgel continued to operate his analyzer in order to provide an answer.

"It seems that they got transported quite far from here," he concluded from his findings.

"Do you know where they are now?" Midgel inquired.

"No, but the residue does form a trail," Fidgel answered, "It won't last for very long, though."

"You heard the doctor, follow the residue trail!" Zidgel ordered. Fidgel pointed to another flight of stairs and starting walking up to the next floor. The rest of the Rockhopper crew followed not far behind.

Jason's, Michelle's, and Samantha's bodies began rematerializing in another room not quite as empty as the one they were in before. Once their bodies finished rematerializing, the faint hum that was heard before began to fade once again.

"Where are we?" Jason asked.

"We must have moved up a couple of floors," Samantha deduced from the less detailed but more spread out view of the Odarmus Peninsula.

"Who would want to transport us here?" Michelle asked.

"Yes, who would want to do something like that?" a menacing voice asked from the distance. Jason, Michelle, and Samantha turned around to face the voice's source, the Lehakian King of Winter himself.

"Frostbite Ice!" the kids shouted.

"Who else? Did you really think you were the first ones to be here?" he inquired.

"We never saw you," Jason answered.

"Thank you!" Frostbite Ice took a small bow, "my hiding skills have definitely improved."

"What are doing here?" Michelle asked as she, Jason, and Samantha walked toward the Lehakian.

"Oh, you know what I'm doing here," Frostbite Ice responded, "The real question is, what are you doing here?"

"We're here to defeat you once and for all!" Samantha declared.

"Oh, how adorable," Frostbite Ice chuckled, "this little half-breed girl and her little friends think they can actually stop me."

"Don't. Call. Me. Half-breed," said Samantha through her clenched teeth, "And these two are my cousins."

"'Don't call me half-breed'," Frostbite Ice repeated Samantha's words using a mocking tone, "As king of Lehakia, I can call you whatever I see fit." Instinctively, Jason, Michelle, and Samantha formed their hands into fists and slowly approached the Lehakian king.

"Oooh, are you going to leave teeny tiny bruises on my lower legs?" Frostbite Ice taunted. The kids' reaction was only to quicken their paces.

"Dearie me, I am feeling so frightened right now!" the Lehakian placed the back of his right hand to his forehead in an over dramatic fashion. Samantha swiftly walked ahead of her cousins and positioned her fist in order to have it prepared to collide right in the middle of Frostbite Ice's body.

"Oh, my, I know you're looking forward to seeing me in great agony over your little attack, but I'm afraid that isn't going to happen today," Frostbite Ice said before he pulled out a phaser gun. He aimed it at Samantha's left leg and fired. Before Samantha could react to her injury, Frostbite Ice pointed the gun at her right leg and fired a second time.

"Ahhhhhhhh!" Samantha cried out as she collapsed onto the ground.

"Samantha!" Jason and Michelle exclaimed at the sight of their hybrid cousin getting shot in both of her legs. Frostbite Ice targeted the gun at Jason's left arm.

"Let's see, where on your arm should I shoot you?" Frostbite Ice pondered out loud. He alternated between aiming at Jason's hand and his shoulder. Once he decided where he wanted to shoot, he pointed his gun at Jason's shoulder. Right when he fired the phaser, Michelle thought quickly and pushed Jason out of the way. The phaser whisked past Michelle's right arm, taking little chunks of her skin with it. Michelle screamed and clutched her arm tightly.

"Not what I had in mind, but I'll accept it." Frostbite Ice shrugged. He pointed his gun at Jason's chest.

"Too bad you don't have any more uninjured family members with you," he mocked. He was about to pull the trigger when he heard some voices coming from the staircase.

"More nuisances to shoot?" he asked, turning his attention away from the kids and toward the staircase. When the penguin members of the Rockhopper crew had finished climbing up the stairs, Jason, Michelle, and Samantha gasped.

"Jason, Michelle, are you thinking what I'm thinking?" asked Samantha.

"The elements need them for activation?" Jason responded.

"Exactly!" she answered. Michelle caught glimpse of some symbols carved into tiles that formed a circle.

"Guys!" she called out to the penguins, "Stand over where the pictures in the floor are!" The penguins were puzzled at first, but they began to make their way toward the symbols. Frostbite Ice sensed what they were trying to do and pointed his gun at Captain Zidgel. Before he was able to pull the trigger, Midgel pulled out his phaser gun and fired right at his chest. The impact knocked Frostbite Ice unconscious.

"So...what do we do now?" Aleera asked once she and the other penguins arrived where the symbols were.

"We think we know how to activate the elements," Jason answered.

"And how are they activated?" Oceranne inquired.

"They must be activated when someone who represents a certain element activates it, that is, Kevin will activate the element of kindness since he pulled the icicle out of Heathrette's back," Samantha explained.

"Kevin, step on that picture representing kindness," Michelle ordered. Kevin walked over to the tile with vines carved into it and placed his foot onto it. The floor in front of Kevin opened up and a green ray gun rose out of the opening and pointed upwards into the air.

"Zidgel, you represent the element of generosity because you gave your hair to Shahara," Michelle inferred.

"Which means..." Zidgel looked at Michelle with a confused expression.

"She's telling you to step on the title with the symbol representing generosity, Captain," Midgel clarified. Zidgel mouthed "oh" and positioned his foot on the tile with a drop of liquid carved in it. Another section of the floor opened up and a red ray gun emerged and pointed in the same area as the green gun.

"Oceranne, you spoke softly to that old penguin when everyone else spoke harshly to them. Therefore, you represent the element of meekness," Samantha concluded. Oceranne proceeded to walk to where a chalice was carved and pressed her foot into the tile. This floor section opened to make way for a yellow ray gun to rise up and aim where the green and red guns were aiming.

"Fidgel, because you continued clearing the snow even after everyone else stopped doing so, you represent the element of diligence," Jason elaborated. Fidgel made his way to the tile where a book was carved and applied pressure to it via stepping on the tile. A blue ray gun rose from the opening and shared the same target with the other ray guns.

"Aleera, you waited for a few minutes before you took the steps towards the exit of that cavern. That means you represent the element of patience." Michelle explained. Aleera strutted toward the tile with a seed on it and stomped on it. The section of the floor in front of her opened wide. A purple ray gun ascended from the opening and pointed at the same target as the other guns.

"Midgel, you represent the element of loyalty because you refused to abandon your crew just to hold one occupation," Jason inferred. Midgel headed off to the location of the tile with a fist carved into it and placed his foot onto it. An orange gun emerged from an opening and aimed at the same area as the rest of the guns.

"So...where's the symbol representing the ninth element?" Zidgel asked. Before any of the kids could answer, a tile separated from the others flipped over, revealing a cornerstone carved into it. Jason walked over to the tile and stepped on it. The floor section surrounded by the ray guns opened up and an indigo ray gun larger than the other guns rose up and aimed at Frostbite Ice, who was just starting to recover from his phaser gun wound.

"Guns...won't be...able...to...stop...me," he strained, slowly standing up.

"The ninth element must be the element of-" Jason began.

"The heart!" he, Michelle, and Samantha all shouted in realization. The seven ray guns all fired at the larger indigo gun until the gun was fully charged. Frostbite Ice was about to pull out his phaser gun when the indigo ray gun fired multiple electric bolts at him. Frostbite Ice screamed as the multicolored electric bolts shocked him all at once. The electric bolts targeted various body parts, such as the head, the stomach, and the lower midsection area. His arms jerked away in a futile attempt to dodge the bolts. One electric bolt even hit his head, briefly making his head see-through. Once the electric bolts had ceased shocking Frostbite Ice, he dropped down to the ground.

"Is, is he dead?" Samantha asked.

"I certainly hope not," a queenly voice responded from underneath a floor section. The tiles separated, and a Lehakian with yellow translucent insect wings and hair in an upper bun with hair flowing from beneath it walked out of the opening. She wore a golden crown on her head and a regal yellow dress with dark yellow gloves accompanying it.

"Queen Alissa!" the Rockhopper crew exclaimed.

"Yes, I am still alive," Queen Alissa said. She flew over to where Frostbite Ice was. His appearance now consisted of a light blue crown, robes with varying shades of blue, blue translucent insect wings, and black hair. When he finally opened his black compound eyes, his beak began to quiver at the sight of the Lehakian queen.

"F-f-forgive me," he stuttered.

"All is forgiven, Modnus. I am just glad that you are back, big brother," Queen Alissa reassured, offering Modnus a hand. Modnus grabbed it and pulled himself back up.

"Brother?!" the Rockhopper crew shouted.

"None of you asked," Queen Alissa shrugged. King Modnus threw his arms around his sister.

"There aren't enough words to describe how much I missed you, twin sister!" he said, tears streaming down his face.

"Same here, twin brother," Queen Alissa agreed, hugging her brother back. Aleera turned her head to the left and caught sight of Oceranne jotting down some notes on her notepad.

"Lieutenant, what are you doing?" she asked.

"Just planning out the details for an upcoming welcome home party," answered Oceranne.

On the Planet Lehakia, within the city of Hadunor, thousands of Lehakians showed up for the reunion of their king with their queen.

"Citizens of Lehakia, we have gathered here to celebrate the return of my twin brother, King Modnus!" Queen Alissa declared. The Lehakians began to clap and cheer.

"If it hadn't been for the bravery of the Rockhopper crew, my brother would not be standing here right now," Queen Alissa continued. The Lehakians' claps and cheers became deafening. Once the clapping and cheering had died down, a female Lehakian flew up from the crowd and hovered.

"Penguins, we would like to thank you for bringing back our King Modnus," she said before descended to the ground. The Lehakians' claps and cheers began once again, this time, they began to shout the names of each Rockhopper crew member.

Samantha grabbed a pen and some paper and rushed to the nearest table. Once she had seated herself, she started to write. Grandmum walked by and caught a glimpse of her.

"Writing something?" she asked.

"Yes, a letter to one girl who tried to talk to me," Samantha answered, "I'm trying to make my first friend who'll stick closer to me than a brother ever could."

"And here I was, worried that you would ignore what I told you," Grandmum replied, "You have no idea how happy it makes me to see you applying what you have heard from the Good Book."

"What good would it do if I didn't?" Samantha asked.

"Not a whole lot," answered Grandmum, "I hope she is willing to become your new friend, poppet."

"So do I, Grandmum, so do I," Samantha responded. Once she finished writing her letter, she folded it up and slid it into an envelope. She stuck a stamp onto the envelope. She went outside and placed the envelope inside the mailbox.

"Bedtime, my crumpets," Grandmum called upstairs to her grandchildren, "Remember to say your prayers."

"Dear God," Jason, Michelle, and Samantha began their prayers.

"Thank you for yet another exciting day," Samantha continued her prayer.

"And for two new friends," Jason prayed.

"And for reuniting a brother and a sister," said Michelle.

"Help me to remember that I'll always have good friends whom you can always count on," Samantha prayed.

"No matter how close or far away they are," said Jason.

"Amen," Jason, Michelle, and Samantha concluded their prayers.
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The Lehakian King of Winter: Part 2
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