The Wise Whoot: Guardian of the Elements - Part Three
Blaze woke up in the familiarity of the spare room. His eyes wandered around, and he wondered how he had gotten here. He sat up in a frenzy when he remembered what had occurred. The pain in his left shoulder, then he blacked out. Where had the sudden pain come from? Then his mind went to Zihark. Had that been Zihark’s cry that he had heard, right before he fainted?
Dusk came into the room, surprised to see his son fully awake. “Blaze, are you okay?”
Blaze shook his head, confused. “I don’t know. What happened?”
“We were just eating when you collapsed. We weren’t sure what was wrong, and we figured you just fainted. You’ve only been out for a couple minutes.”
Blaze looked down. “I felt a strange pain in my shoulder, and I thought I heard Zihark’s voice.” He closed his eyes. It actually wasn’t his voice he had heard, it had been his cry. Something had hurt Zihark, and that must’ve been Zihark’s pain he had felt, he was sure of it. What else could it have been?
The Black Doglefox went to Blaze’s side. “Are you going to leave so you can find Zihark?”
Blaze opened his eyes. “I’ve traveled the world with Zihark. If there’s anything I know, the Wise Whoot can take care of himself. I’m sure he’s fine, but... I just don’t like this feeling.”
Dusk patted his son. “I’m sure everything is fine. Zihark would’ve sent you a message to say he needed help, right?” Blaze thought about the possibility, and nodded. Zihark could take care of himself... but if he couldn’t, he could’ve easily sent Blaze a message of some kind.
“Come on, Blaze. Your sisters are all worried about you.”
With his father’s help, Blaze stumbled a little toward the living room, where his sisters waited. They were eager to greet their brother after what had transpired. Blaze decided not to worry them any further about telling them his thoughts on Zihark.
The warm summer sun had gotten hotter after lunch, so the family stayed inside and played board games and such. Blaze lost again to Plum when he played neocheckers, and once again she was deemed champion of the game.
The day continued, and Blaze almost completely forgot about Zihark as he hung out with his sisters. When sleep called, he finally crawled into bed, his mind still wondering where Zihark was now.
The next day Blaze and Rivulet made their way back to their Hideout. They made extra sure that no one was following them, they didn’t want their secret to get out so soon. They had been quiet at the beginning of their trip, but Rivulet broke the silence.
“Blaze, are you okay?”
He was startled by the sudden question. “What do you mean?”
Rivulet stopped, so Blaze was forced to look at her stern gaze. “Back in the kitchen, all that happened yesterday.”
Blaze shook his head. “Come on, Riv, I told you already. It was nothing. I just got a little tired, that’s all.”
“Was it because we spent half the day outside in the heat?”
Blaze blinked. “You think that what happened yesterday was your fault, don’t you?” he sighed. “No, it was nothing like that.”
“Then what was it?” Rivulet shot back.
Blaze didn’t like the way things were going. “It’s nothing for you to worry about.” He paused. “Come on. Let’s go see our Guardian friend, shall we?”
Rivulet didn’t answer him, but followed anyway as Blaze led the way for a difference. He didn’t like the silence... it seemed as if a barrier had occurred between his sister and himself.
As the two of them played in the pond that day, there was still unfriendliness in the air. Nothing fun came of that day, and both of them were forced to head home in low spirits.
They had returned home later that afternoon, the two of them going their own ways. Blaze sighed as he walked into the spare room. He took out his backpack, which he had hidden under the bed, and placed it on top, looking through it. He wasn’t sure what he was looking for, maybe something to cheer him up, he assumed.
There was a knock on his door and he heard a small voice. “Blaze, are you busy?”
He turned and saw his one of his youngest sisters, Rosa. The Pink Doglefox tried to hide a few tears, and in her paws she held a Wind Up Cooty. “Daddy’s too busy working on something for the neighbors, so he can’t help. Can you fix Little Lou?”
Blaze smiled as he took the windup toy. Little Lou had been Rosa’s first toy, and strange as it was, the toy was always breaking. Rosa was always in a bad mood if Little Lou didn’t work. Blaze carefully examined the toy, figuring out the problem, remembering what his father had taught him. As he worked, he asked, “So, what’s new for you, Rosa? Gotten any new toys lately?”
Rosa thought for a moment. “No, not any new toys for a while now. Little Lou has always been my favorite, though!” she exclaimed cheerfully. “Remember how Daddy would wind him up, and you used to chase him all around the room, and you never caught him, either! Then I tried, and I caught him after one lap around the house!”
Blaze nodded at the memory. Rosa had been concentrating hard on Little Lou’s movements when Blaze used to chase the toy. Only Rosa had taken the time to memorize his tactics and then had been able to catch the toy.
When Blaze wound up the Cooty, it began to move within moments. He sighed in relief, glad he was able to fix the problem. He gave Little Lou back to Rosa and wiped her tears. “Thanks, Big Bro!” she called as she ran out the door, ready to play with her good friend.
The Doglefox sat down on the bed after his exhausting work. He pondered a moment on his past, on how every memory of before he ever met Zihark revolved around his family. He wondered what it would’ve been like if he had never left home. Still, it had been a tradition in his Petpet Village that once a Petpet gained a certain age, they would have to go on a certain ‘journey’ to find him or herself. They would also have to leave and travel the world, or do whatever they pleased. He remembered the moment very clearly, of when his father had summoned up the words of the ceremony and he was to leave on his own journey.
Blaze took a deep breath and thought about all that had occurred after he had left home. He had met Zihark... that had changed everything. Blaze finally knew what it felt like to be in a Neopet’s shoes. It had been a strange and startling process, but Blaze wouldn’t trade those moments for anything. His past had been a struggling one, with being the Wise Whoot’s apprentice and all. Then, for some reason Blaze’s thoughts went to the present. Was he doing the best he could today? He thought about Rivulet, and how their experience at the Hideout hadn’t been as pleasant as it had been the day before.
Blaze finally got up and went to his sisters’ room. He looked in and saw Rivulet at one of the desks in the room, and she was writing something. He knocked on the opened door a few times, and she glanced up. The Blue Doglefox took one look at him and narrowed her eyes, then turned back to her work without a word.
He quietly walked up to her side, asking, “What are you doing?”
“Writing,” she mumbled under her breath. Her face never left the piece of parchment in front of her.
Blaze tried to look but she blocked his view. “Writing what?”
“Why do you care?” Rivulet grunted.
“Since when did you take up writing class?” Blaze tried to laugh, but he didn’t dare. Finally he sighed. “Riv, about earlier... what happened to me wasn’t your fault at all.”
She put the pencil down and looked away. “Then what’s the real reason? Why don’t you trust me?”
“It’s not that I don’t trust my own sister!” Blaze argued, stating his point. “The real reason I fainted... was because I think Zihark was sending me a warning of some kind. I’m still trying to figure it out.”
Rivulet sat up and looked at him. “It was Zihark?”
Blaze frowned and paused. “I’m not sure if Zihark is in danger or not, but I think, somewhere deep inside me, that he’s okay. Zihark has always been able to take care of himself.”
Rivulet gave him a smile. “If it was just Zihark, then I think everything will come out okay.” She giggled as she pointed at him. “He did a good job with you, didn’t he?”
Blaze smiled too, glad that she was back to her old self. “So... what are you writing?”
Her grin widened. “Don’t tell anyone, okay?” She whispered into his ear, “It’s a storybook, about all your adventures you’ve had. You’ve told us all of them, and I think you’re an excellent storyteller, like Daddy! I want to remember those adventures forever, okay?” She winked at him. “Oh, and if I forget anything, you’ll tell me right? What’s true and what’s emphasized?”
Blaze was completely perplexed. His littlest sister... becoming an author? He was completely happy of the thought. This would be perfect for Rivulet. She always loved adventure, why not write about it? Especially if it were her own brother’s story... yes, he thought it would be good for her.
Standing there Blaze was once again reminded of his past and present. He had done all he could for today. But what about the future? What would happen in Blaze’s future, or in his sisters’ futures? Would Plum become a famous chef, and would Forrest become a librarian? What would the future hold for him and his family?
“It’s mine now! I already told you that!”
“Nuh uh! I found it!”
Blaze stuck his head out the door. What’s all that racket? he wondered. The Doglefox took a step out of the room and glanced toward his sisters’ room. His six sisters shared one room, which contained three bunk beds that his father had built after Blaze had left. There were two beds on each bunk bed, creating six beds in all. There were a couple desks in the room, two toy boxes, and there were toys all around the room.
Blaze walked into the room and saw both Snowdrop and Sunshine wrestling on the ground. The other four sisters were watching from on one of the top bunk beds. It was unusual for Snowdrop and Sunshine to act like this. The two of them were twins, and they were the oldest of the sisters. As Blaze was the oldest, the twins were closest to him in age. Just like when Blaze had to leave home and go on a journey, these two would leave in about a year.
He stepped into the room. “What’s going on here?”
The twins stopped their fighting, looking up at him. Snowdrop, the most outgoing of the two, stood up and pointed at her sister. “Sunshine won’t give back what’s mine!”
The Yellow Doglefox stood up and faced her sister. “It’s not yours!” she exclaimed angrily. “I won it far and square! You can’t go back on your word!”
“But I found it!” the White Doglefox growled.
Blaze stepped in between the two. “Stop fighting! Sunshine, what are you talking about?”
Sunshine showed him a beautiful gold necklace, with a Moon Charm. Blaze had seen one of them before. It was said that the moon on the charm changed shapes like the real moon did each night.
Blaze turned to Snowdrop. “Where did you find this? I’ve seen this in Neopet stores before, but none anywhere near here.”
Snowdrop looked down. “I found it outside, just lying on the ground. There was no one nearby, so I picked it up and brought it home.”
Blaze blinked. “Didn’t you try the lost and found? I’m sure someone’s missing their necklace.”
“But it’s mine!” she exclaimed. “Finders keepers, right?”
Blaze paused. “Well, think about it this way. What if you lost your favorite necklace in the whole world, and someone found it. Should they give it back to you, or is it finders keepers?”
Snowdrop frowned. Blaze turned back to Sunshine. “Now, why do you think the necklace is yours?”
“Because she told me I could have it if I won the next game of checkers against her!” Sunshine mumbled. “She said whoever one would get the necklace, and I won!”
Blaze shook his head. “I think both of you should head to the lost and found, or go to the neighbors and see if anyone lost a necklace. I don’t want either of you to come back home until you’ve visited every neighbor and asked if they lost something, alright?” The twins hesitated, then finally nodded their heads in defeat. They didn’t dare argue with their older brother.
Blaze sighed with satisfaction. “You can come down now!” he called to his younger sisters who were on the top bunk bed. One by one the four of them climbed down the ladder. “Why don’t some of you go with them?” he suggested. “You can make sure they don’t fight anymore.”
The girls glanced over at the twins with unsure expressions. Rivulet went up to Blaze and whispered, “Can we visit the Hideout today?”
Blaze nodded as the rest of his sisters piled out of the room. “Come on Riv, if we leave now, we have time to get back home before dark.”
To be continued...