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Rolfin's Orb
Book 4 - Emerald
Chapter 9

They ran, Elspet gazing up at the glacier when she could. “You know, Fiona, I saw a show on the telly once. Pieces of glacier fall off all the time. We’re running through a stream too. My feet are cold and wet. Are we almost there?”

Fiona pointed. “Another mile at the most. So far there’s no sign of Shane. We’ve got to hurry.” She stopped a few minutes later. “It’s right here, inside the glacier. Callum, you go and keep an eye out for Shane. Elspet, see if there’s a sharp tool in your pack. If not, we’ll have to use stones.”

“How do you know this is the right place?” Elspet searched through her pack.

“Because of these stones. Someone piled them here as a sign.” Fiona picked a big stone up.

“Answer this. If one of Kegan’s men hid the stone a thousand years ago, why would the pile of stones still be here? Wouldn’t it be under the ice? Glaciers move, remember? In a thousand years, it must have moved a long way!” Elspet held up a small pick. “Got this!”

“I don’t know the answer. All I know is what I saw in my vision. The emerald is a few feet inside this glacier. The pile of stones is a marker. How it got there, I don’t know.”

“Do they have fairies here, like in Iceland?”

“Maybe. Maybe it was Zerahemna. Maybe it was King Kegan. I don’t know, but I’m not going to argue. Come on. We need to start chipping away at this ice.” Fiona hit the blue ice.

Callum was the first of them to hear the growls. Being separated from the group by 20 yards, he slowly turned around. Between himself and the girls stood a saber-tooth tiger. It was the size of a small car, had black and orange striped fur and it’s teeth were as long as a pencil, only white and sharp. It snarled again.

This time Elspet and Fiona heard. “Uh oh,” Elspet said, turning to see the tiger. “I think you got your wish. You wanted to see a saber-tooth.”

“I think we’re in big trouble.” Fiona dropped the stone. “I’m not even going to ask where it came from.”

The tiger took a step closer to them. “Don’t look at its eyes. I read once that tigers are dominating. If you don’t make eye contact, they won’t attack us,” Elspet said.

“If I don’t look at it, then how can I know when it’s going to attack and eat us,” Fiona said.

“Make a fire, Fiona. Maybe saber-tooths don’t like fire. Remember, you have powers.”

“If I make a fire, then Shane will see it. Besides that, the tiger is between Callum and us. It will turn and attack him,” Fiona said.

“All right then, make yourself big. You can go huge and pick it up by the tail and throw it a hundred miles away like you did the pirates.”

“I’ve got a better idea. Why don’t I just talk to it? I can talk to animals now, remember?”

The tiger moved suddenly, darting toward Callum. “Oh no! We spent so much time talking that the tiger got fed up with us. It’s chasing Callum.”

Callum saw the saber-tooth coming towards him. “Play dead,” he told himself. He lay down on the rock and didn’t move. The tiger nudged him with its snout. Callum smelled the foul stench of its breath.

 “It’s going to eat Callum,” Elspet cried. “Do something.”

Saber-tooth tiger, don’t eat the boy.    It turned to face Fiona. Don’t eat him. He means you no harm.

“Are you talking to it, Fiona? I can’t see your lips move?”

“Elspet, be quiet. Yes, I’m talking to him with my thoughts. Silence!” We don’t want to hurt you and we don’t want you to hurt us. All we want is the emerald. I know it’s inside the glacier.

My job is to stop you from getting it. I was commanded long ago to guard it. I’ve been waiting for a long time, but someone has finally come in search of it. The low, deep voice echoed in Fiona’s mind.

The man who hid it is my friend. He sent us to get it. There are evil men who want it. We’re trying to save the world from them. Fiona watched the beast. It left Callum, who stayed still and headed towards Elspet and her.

Friends? Save the world? You’re nothing but a child.

“I am a child, but if you search your heart, you will feel that I am not lying.

The tiger moved in closer. Elspet was terrified. “Fiona, it’s going to eat us. We’ve got to get out of here.”

“Stand still and don’t move, not even an eyelash. Look at the ground, not at the tiger. Pay no attention to it,” Fiona urged her friend.

Enough of this talk. I was commanded to protect the jewel at all costs. I was never to let anyone near it, no matter what. I cannot let you take it.

Fiona had to think fast. It was obvious the tiger wasn’t going to cooperate. Just as the tiger lunged at Elspet, Fiona grew as high as the glacier. She grabbed the tiger as its jaws snapped near Elspet’s neck. She held it up to her face. I didn’t want to harm you. I told you I was a friend. I was sent to get the stone. You’ve left me no choice. I cannot kill you, but I am going to take you far from here. “Elspet, Callum,” she bellowed. “Dig the jewel out. I’m going to carry the tiger far away and I’ll be back shortly.” Holding it by its tail, she took it high into the mountains and dropped it at the top of the glacier. I mean you no harm, my friend, but I am getting that jewel. A lot of people will be hurt if I don’t. I’m sorry to do this. You need to go back to the Ice Age, where you belong. She left it standing there, its howls echoed of the mountainsides. When she reached Elspet and Callum she said, “Move back. I’m going to punch this with my hand.” She pounded the glacier, her fist ramming into it. She grabbed the emerald, though it was surrounded by ice. Fiona shrunk down to normal size. “You got it, Fiona! Where’s the saber-tooth?” Elspet hugged her friend.

“I left him at the top of the glacier. If we hurry, we’ll get back to where Shane is before it comes back. Wait a minute. All I need to do is hammer the ice away from the jewel. Blue ice surrounded a green emerald. Take a picture of it, Elspet,” Fiona said.

She took out her camera and snapped a shot.

 Fiona chipped the ice away with a stone.

 “Fiona, why don’t you melt it? Why are you going to all that work? You can make fire, remember?” Elspet pulled the stone out of Fiona’s hand. “Melt it, Fiona.”

Fiona shrugged her shoulders. “Makes sense.” She closed her eyes and thought fire. Small flames appeared on the ground.

“Put the iceball in the fire. It will melt quickly. When it’s almost melted, I’ll throw snow on it and the fire will go out,” Elspet said.

Fiona dropped the jewel into the fire. The ice melted within seconds. The last layer of ice was all that was left.

Elspet doused the fire with handfuls of powdery snow. Sizzling noises, bubbling water, and steam gushed forth. “There you go. There’s your emerald.”

Fiona held it up. “It’s quite pretty.”

“Put it in your pocket and let’s get out of here,” Elspet said.

 “I don’t think it will be that easy,” Callum said. “There are still two traps, or have you forgotten.”

Just then they heard a cracking sound. “Uh oh,” Elspet said. A huge chunk of the glacier broke off and fell to the ground next to them, barely missing their heads. “The glacier is calving. We’d better get out of here or we’re gonna die.”

Another piece of blue ice broke off, landing on the other side of them. Piece by piece the front edge of the glacier split apart and fell towards them. They had no choice but to run from one side to the other, hoping to escape the monstrous chunks of ice.  Finding themselves trapped in between two huge pieces, they ran forward. Another crack sounded and they turned. The frozen wall of the glacier opened up and a wave of water headed for them. “Where did that come from?” Callum ran towards the opening as the water poured out.

Fiona tried to talk as they ran. Her words came out with huffs and puffs. “Shane  told me that sometimes this glacier builds up a dam on the river and instead of flowing its normal path, the river flows right inside the glacier and builds up into a huge lake. When there’s too much pressure, it breaks open, like this. Run!” Fiona grabbed Elspet’s arm and they ran as fast as they could. They no sooner went around the side of one of the fallen pieces when the water rushed past, carrying huge rocks and tree trunks.

Feeling safe once more, Callum asked, “Where is all that water going?”

“It’s headed to the Donjek River, I think, or maybe to the Yukon River. No matter which one it is, I hope nobody is around when it hits,” Fiona said.

“Is it ever going to stop? Look at all of the water still coming out,” Elspet said.

The three of them climbed up on top of the slab of ice and watched the wall of water rush past until there was nothing left but chunks of ice and rocks lying in puddles of water.

“Let’s go inside it. Nobody has probably ever been inside a glacier; on top maybe, but never inside one. There’s a huge hole where the water gushed out. We can take pictures,” Callum said.

“I don’t know if we should. What if the ice on top of us collapses,” Elspet said.

“It won’t. Come on. You always call me a chicken. You’re the chickens now,” Callum said.

“Callum, what if trap number three is in there? I don’t want to go in there. It’s scary,” Elspet said.

“I’m going in. You two can sit out here if you want.” Callum walked through the mud and puddles of water. His boots were soon covered with thick brown muck, making it difficult for him to walk. When he got to the opening in the ice, he saw jagged shards, looking a lot like sharp glass. The hole was big enough to fit three people. Before he climbed in, he scraped the mud off his boots on the edges. “The ice is so blue. I can see pieces of trees and rocks in here. You should come in.” Callum stuck his face out of the hole.

“Well? Should we follow?” Fiona wasn’t sure what to do.

“I guess it will be all right. But if we have any sign of trouble, or hear weird noises, let’s leave. Do you promise?” Elspet hung back.

“I promise,” Fiona said. They went in through the hole in the ice.

“Wow, Callum, you were right. It’s blue. I can see rocks too and tree branches,” Elspet said. “Glaciers do that though, don’t they? It slides down the mountain and anything in its path is picked up and carried down.”

“It’s like a huge cave,” Fiona said. “Oh no! Not another cave. We don’t have a lot of luck with caves. Maybe we shouldn’t be in here. A cave of ice or a cave of rock doesn’t matter. It’s still a cave.”

Elspet wandered on her own, going deeper into the recesses and cracks. Something sparkled, catching her eye. “Hmm. I wonder what that was.” Heading in the direction of the glittering object, she found herself staring at a wall of clear ice. Leftover water sloshed at the bottom of it and the warmer air from outside crept in, causing it to form hundreds of tiny cracks right in front of her. “Callum. Fiona. Come and see this. I think there’s something behind this wall.”

Callum ran over to her.

Fiona, hesitant and unsure, took more time.

“What is it? It looks like just another piece of ice,” Callum said. “It reminds me of the time my dad was in a car accident. His windshield looked like this. They call it safety glass.”

“This is safety ice then,” Fiona said.

“I saw something shiny back there. It moved and flickered and sparkled.” Elspet  pointed. “It was over there.”

“It looks like the ice is cracking because it’s not so cold in here anymore now that the trapped water is gone.” Fiona touched the ice.

“Push it, Fiona. See if it breaks,” Callum urged.

Fiona put both her hands on the ice and pushed. It fell apart, shattering into thousands of tiny, glass-like bits of ice. “Wow! Look at that!” She stepped over the bits of ice into the room. Monstrous icicles hung from the underside of the glacier, each of them a different pastel color. “How on earth did colors get under a glacier?” She went over to one and touched it. “It feels like ice. It’s cold and frozen, but it’s green.”

Elspet pulled out her camera. “I’m taking a photo. This is too awesome to pass up.”  Once she took the picture, she put the camera around her neck.

“See how the light from the top of the glacier filters through the cracks. It’s making it lighter in here for us.” Fiona looked up.

“There are lime green, sea green, aqua green, sky blue, pale lavender, steel blue, and purple icicles. They’re all cool colors.” Callum moved around, searching for colors. “Hey! Up here there are pale pink ones and maroon.” He stopped talking for a moment and then said, “Oh brother. I sound like Elspet with all this talk about colors. Now you’ve got me doing it!” He winked at his friend. “Say, Elspet, do you still have the necklace I gave you?”

Elspet pulled it out from inside her shirt. “Yes, of course.”

“I was just wondering. We might need that lucky mouse today,” Callum said.

“What’s with this place? It feels magical in here.” Fiona joined Callum in her search. Whizzing past her head, something soft brushed against Fiona’s cheek. “What was that? Did you see it Callum?”

“What? I didn’t see anything.”

“Something moved. It flew past my face. I felt its wings on my cheek.” She heard a noise and turned. “There it is! It just flew past again.”

“I saw it, Fiona. It looked like a fairy.” Elspet ran to Fiona’s side. “Maybe we’d better leave.”

“Fairy? How could there possibly be a fairy under a glacier? It would have been trapped behind that wall of ice.” Callum did not believe them.

“Uh, Fiona, what’s that?” Elspet’s mouth gaped open.

Standing together, all three saw the tiny, fluttering fairy fly towards them. She was dressed in white. Her wings looked like they were made of thin layers of clear ice. She had long white hair that sparkled and wore a crown of tiny icicles around her head. She flew a few feet in front of them. “Hello,” she said. “My name is Crystal.” Her wings flapped up and down gently.

“Hello Crystal. My name is Fiona. This is Elspet and Callum. Do you live down here under the glacier?”

“I lived further north with the other fairies. One day a storm raged and I was knocked to the ground by the force of the wind. When I woke up, I found myself encased inside this glacier. I’ve been trapped in here for 1000 years,” Crystal said.

“1000 years? Didn’t the other fairies come to look for you?” Callum tilted his head to the side to get a better look at her wings.

“They must have presumed I was dead. It helped me pass the time. I’ve never stopped searching for a way out, but have never found one, until you came along. I decorated the icicles with color. I missed the colorful flowers above ground.  Do you think it’s pretty?”

Callum had a thought and leaned over to whisper to Fiona. “What if she’s not really a fairy? What if she’s our third trap?”

“Callum! Don’t be silly. Crystal’s as harmless as a snowflake,” Fiona said.

“Would you like to see my home?” Crystal flew a few feet into her cave.

“Sure. I think it’s beautiful. Can I take pictures of it?” Elspet showed Crystal her camera.

“I don’t mind. Follow me.” The fairy flew ahead

“Fiona, are you sure we can trust her? What if she’s the third trap?” Callum started getting nervous.

“Callum, does she look like she’s evil? Does she look like a trap? She said herself that she’s been trapped in here for 1000 years. Lighten up and stop your worrying,” Fiona said.

Crystal led them around the icicles. “Wow! You have even made some yellow ones and orange ones and red ones.” Elspet  took more photos.

A crackling sound came from behind them. Callum turned to see what it was. “Fiona! Look! The wall of ice has hardened again. We’re trapped inside Crystal’s cave. I’ll bet she did it. This is the third trap, just like I said.”

They ran over to the wall and started pounding on it. “Let us out of here! Hit it with something. Take off your boot and hit it. Try to crack it so we can get out of here,” Elspet shouted. “I don’t want to be trapped inside a glacier. We’ll die.”

“Crystal!” Fiona called the fairy. “Crystal!”

“Where is she? She’s disappeared,” Elspet said. “Hit it harder, Callum. I hate having all this ice on top of us.”

Callum took off his boot and hit the ice. It didn’t crack. “It’s solid as a rock. We’re trapped. We’re gonna die. I knew she was a bad fairy.”

“No we’re not. We just have to find Crystal. Where did she go?” Fiona ran to look for her.

“You stay here and try to break the glass. Try really hard. It’s only ice. Something has to break it. I’ll go and help Fiona.” Elspet left Callum to hammer with his boot. She found Fiona talking to Crystal.

“What do you mean we can’t leave?” Fiona looked confused.

“You aren’t allowed to leave. You took the emerald. It must stay here. I was commanded to keep it here. You cannot go,” Crystal said.

“We’ll die if we stay here. We’re not fairies. We have to eat and drink and run around and breathe air,” Fiona said. She looked at the ice fairy. “You’re a fairy. You don’t need to eat. Look at you. You’re white as snow and cold as ice.”

“We don’t want to stay here.” The fairy ignored Elspet. She had an idea. “What if we could help you get back to your friends?”

“I was commanded to stay here. My friends no longer matter. You’re wasting your time arguing. I can’t break my promise, even if I die too.” Crystal fluttered down to the ice-covered ground.

“You’re over 1000 years old. You probably will never die, but we’re just kids. We won’t live a long time like you. Please let us out.” Elspet took Fiona by the hand and pulled her away so Crystal couldn’t hear. “You can make fire, Fiona. You can make fires all over this cave and make it melt. We’re not that far from the end of the glacier. You’ve got to try and save us.”

“I wish I’d thought of that.  You keep our little fairy princess occupied and I’ll get started. Don’t let her see me,” Fiona said.

Elspet ran over to Crystal, laughing and skipping around her. “Crystal. I’ve changed my mind. I think I’ll like it here with you. Will you show me all the yellow icicles? Will you tell me how you made them colorful?”

Crystal nodded and flew deeper into the cave.

Fiona ran to Callum. “Callum, put your boot back on. I’m going to melt the glacier, at least this part of it. Hold onto something thick and strong because a lot of water’s going to rush out.”

Callum slipped his boot on and tied it. He found a wide bluish-green icicle and wrapped his arms around it.

Fiona thought fire. All around the cave tiny fires popped up, flickering against the ice. “It’s rather pretty, don’t you think? The flames shine on the ice.”

“Fiona? Who cares how pretty it is! Make the fires bigger,” Callum said. “We want to get out of here soon!”

She thought bigger fires. Each tiny fire quadrupled in size. Water started dripping from the icy ceiling. “It’s working!” Fiona thought even bigger fires. Once more the size of the fires quadrupled. The icicles started falling from the top and melting. Water flowed down toward the front of the glacier. “Hold on to something, Elspet!” She shouted, hoping her friend heard and grabbed an icicle. “Here we go!”

Water fell on them in sheets, drenching them with its icy coldness. A river of clear, pure water battered them, turning to steam as it hit the fires. The cave filled with a frosty mist. They heard huge slabs of ice falling, breaking apart when they hit the ground. Light streaked through the cracks, illuminating the ice cave. “It’s working,” Callum screamed 

 “You can’t do this,” Crystal cried. “You have to stay here forever with me. You’re destroying my home.” The fairy flew around the cave, frantically dodging falling ice and drips of water.

A torrent of cascading water broke through the glacier walls, rushed down the mountainside, heading the same direction as the earlier released lake of water. The entire front part of the glacier fell apart, breaking into huge chunks. A wave of water carried them to freedom. “That was fun!” Fiona snarled. “Now we’re out here in the middle of nowhere, in soaking wet clothes, no Shane around, and our backpacks are floating down the Yukon River somewhere.” Remembering her bracelet, she checked her wrist and was relieved to see it still there.

Elspet coughed and climbed onto a boulder of ice. “At least the sun’s still out. We might not turn to ice lollies.” She rubbed her arms and tried to squeeze as much water out of her hair that she could. She was relieved to find Angus’s camera still hanging around her neck.

“I am covered with mud. You two landed on grass. I’m in the middle of a mud puddle.” Callum complained as usual. He stood up and grabbed handfuls of mud out of his hair, tossing them to the ground. “That was some ride.”

“Oh no! Where is Crystal?” Elspet stood on the boulder and looked around. “She must have been washed away. I hope she’s all right.”

A flicker of light came towards them from inside the glacier. “It’s Crystal!” Fiona smiled.

“You’re safe!” Elspet opened her hands and the fairy landed on her palm.

“I’m free. I failed in my promise, but I’m free.” Crystal sighed. “I’d forgotten what it looked like out here. I always had to look at the world through the ice.”

“You didn’t fail, Crystal. We were sent here to get the emerald. We’re the good guys. In a little while, we’ll be meeting the man who gave you the command. I think he’d be happy if you went back to find your people. You are an ice fairy princess, aren’t you? You don’t belong with us. You need to fly up the glacier to the very top and I’m sure you’ll find your friends,” Fiona said. “Watch out for the saber-tooth tiger.”

The fairy’s wings shone in the sunlight. “That feels good. I’ll get to see flowers again and birds and butterflies. My wings feel lighter too.”

“They have butterflies way up here?” Callum still struggled with the mud caked on his pants.

“Yes. We have butterflies. Let me help you, Callum.” Crystal lifted her hand and opened it. Tiny specks of ice lay inside. She blew them off her palm. They flew through the air and landed on Callum. His body started to twirl around. Mud flew in all directions. When he stopped, he was perfectly clean, with no trace of mud.

“Gee. Thanks, Crystal. I feel better and I’m dry, but a little bit dizzy,” Callum said. “What about Elspet and Fiona? They’re soaking wet and will die of cold.”

Crystal blew another handful onto Fiona and then Elspet. Both spun dry and clean. “There you go.”

Fiona ran her hands up and down her body. “I’m completely dry.”

“Thanks for making all the fires. I don’t know how you did that, but thank you. Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’ll be flying off to find my friends.” The fairy fluttered her wings and flew up to the top of the glacier. She turned and waved and disappeared into the whiteness of the ice river.

“Spread some of that color on the flowers.” Elspet called after her. “That’s our second fairy. We had a fairy help us in Iceland and even though Crystal was supposed to keep us trapped, she turned out to be our helper here too,” Elspet said.

“At least Whitehorse isn’t an island. I was beginning to think we’d end up on an island every single time,” Callum said.

“Fairies and islands. That’s a nice combination. I wouldn’t mind running into a few more fairies,” Fiona said. She reached her hands down into her pocket and felt for the emerald. “Whew! I’m glad I didn’t lose it. I was afraid it fell out when we were washed out the glacier. I think it’s time to find Shane. He’ll probably ring our necks for disappearing on him.”

“He must be worried about us,” Callum said.

They headed in his direction. Shane sat on a hill of grass. He stood when he saw them and waved his arms back and forth above his head. He shouted at them. “Where did you go? I’ve searched everywhere for you. Where are your backpacks?”

“You wouldn’t believe it if we told you. Let’s just say a saber-tooth tiger chased us, pieces of the glacier fell on us and nearly crushed us to pieces and a lake of water that had been dammed inside the glacier chose the wrong moment to burst through. We’re lucky to be alive,” Fiona said.

“A saber-tooth tiger? Glaciers falling apart and washing you away? It sounds like you have quite the imagination. You had  better stick closer to me. Why did you run off? I wasn’t gone that long. I came back and you weren’t here. I didn’t know where you’d disappeared. I’m just glad you’re okay. I was about to head back and get the rescue team to begin a search. It’s a good thing you came when you did.” Shane rambled on.

“We’re sorry. I felt like exploring a little on my own and talked Elspet and Callum into coming with me. We’re all right now. That’s what’s the most important,” Fiona said.

“We’d better head back to the SUV. If you want to do any more exploring, ask me and I’ll go with you,” Shane said. “Since you lost your backpacks, you can have some of my jerky.” Elspet forgot about her disgust in eating moose jerky and gobbled it down, along with a handful of trail mix. They piled in the jeep and headed back to Whitehorse. Driving down the paved road, Shane said, “I’m afraid I’m going to have to charge you extra for the lost backpacks. I use them for all my other customers. You understand, don’t you?”

“Sure. Here you go.” Fiona slipped a wad of money into Shane’s front pocket of his shirt. “Sorry for all the trouble and worry. Can I have some jerky?”

Shane laughed and handed his pack to Callum. “Help yourselves.”

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