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The chill of the wind may sting Maya’s cheeks, but it’s a comfort unlike any other. Though she’d grown fond of the desert with time, nothing compares to the frigid mountains of her home. Her snowboard was dusty when she’d first reached for it. The memories attached weighed heavy on it as she’d cleaned it off, putting the sandboard away for what she hoped would be a good long time. 

The desert hadn’t been so bad, really. The scenery was a beautiful change from the whites and blues of her home. No llamas to chase, unfortunately, but she hadn’t worried about waking the elders. Startling lemurs, though, was a whole other issue. Those little monsters had chased her onto the bunting grinds that she’d so loved, startling her into riding faster and faster until she’d crashed. 

Alto had immediately gone out to snowboard once again, but Maya had been content to just sit around for a little while. To take in the feel of home for the first time in ages. The snow stuck to the windows, little white dots blurring the view from outside. She’d breathed against the glass, glad to see the white cloudlike condensation she’d traced happy faces in as a child. 

Izel was waiting for her outside. The inventor’s spiky hair blew in the wind, flecks of snow getting caught in its tangles. She’d replaced her face covering from the desert with her red scarf and grinned brightly, her snowboard tucked safely beneath her arm. 

“Turns out they didn’t get any better llama security while we were gone,” she grinned as Maya approached. “Guess I’ll have to get on that myself.”

Maya laughed. “I’m sure you’ll do better than anyone here, but we have to catch them first.”

They readied their snowboards at the top of the hill, leaning down and letting their momentum carry them. Already four llamas stampeded before them within easy reach. As the pair flew past, the llamas sat in the snow, knowing what would come of them later. Maya had never figured out why they sat still instead of returning home but was glad she didn’t have to chase them back uphill.

The snowy mountains are just as she’d remembered them - frigid and comforting. She backflipped easily over a couple mounds of snow, giggling as Izel tried to do the same. The desert sands had nothing on the ice and snow of the far north. Her cheeks stung from both the cold and from smiling as she made her way through towns, across bunting grinds, and over inconveniently placed firepits. 

Izel whooped, making her spin around to see what was happening. The inventor made her way into the sky with her wingsuit, performing a loop-de-loop in the air. She showed off a bit more before readying herself for landing and sliding her feet back onto the snowboard. Maya countered by doing a double backflip and a couple more bunting grinds. 

As Izel readied herself for liftoff once more, they heard a shout from behind. An elder approached them on llama-back, definitely preparing to scold them. With a shared glance, the two picked up speed, using the treacherous terrain to their advantage. While the elder’s llama couldn’t make its way into the air, it was well suited for the mounds of snow that piled up. Maya tucked her small frame into another backflip - the only advantage to being the shortest in the group was the ease with which she could do tricks - and tried to catch some more speed.

There, just in front of them - a cliff! A small one, too, easy enough to cross over but difficult for the elder’s llama. Maya exchanged another glance with Izel, and they were picking up speed once more, leaning forward despite the stinging of the wind. They got closer and closer, until finally Maya could tuck herself into a ball and let the momentum of her backflip carry her over.

She turned and caught sight of the elder’s shaking fist, but grinned despite it. Izel laughed, sounding freer than Maya had heard her in months. The desert might have been a nice respite from the cold, but nothing compared to home.