Retreat From Von Roo
I do not recall what horrible force drew me to Castle Von Roo, nor do I understand why I uncovered that stone coffin wherein the monster sleeps, suffice to say that my mind may have been enchanted by some everlasting curse on its grounds. This magic cast on me was not applied by my own hand, and I may only speculate as to what its origin was. My suspicions, which are all I may have now, make me wonder now if it may have even been that strange Kiko at the nearby lake resort who put a spell of hypnotism on me. Regardless of the cause, I now find myself in a nearly constant state of fear; paranoia strikes me each time I see the slight movements of shadows, and at night I now sleep with a wooden stake beneath my pillow and with a necklace of cloves of garlic around my neck to protect me from the horror that is Count Von Roo.
My name is Dr. Albert Ross, a medical professional, and I was one of the only remaining doctors willing to make house calls. I, of course, only take on these projects within good reason – so when a call came in from Kiko Lake, my first thought was to decline the offer. However, a promise was made to me that I would be paid at least three times my usual fees, as the patient in question had recently come into ownership of a large sum of money due to a few lucky scratch cards. In my greed I readily accepted the offer, though I now have come to regret that decision.
My patient in Kiko Lake was named Sebastian, a young Kiko who came from a wealthy, yet not politically inclined family. I engaged in conversation with him before my inspection, at which time he informed me that his ancestry could be traced back over two hundred years to Kiko Lake. He had taken vacation at Roo Island as a present to himself for finishing Neoschool, and had been playing dice games when he had suddenly fallen ill. Since contracting whatever illness he had, Sebastian found himself unable to eat or sleep, and bright lights tended to give him a headache. I told him that it was probably something like the NeoFlu.
"I don't think so, Doctor," he said to me. "Could you possibly perform a more in-depth examination?"
I agreed to do so, though I was certain that it was a case of the NeoFlu. Upon closer examination, though, I found that he was correct; it wasn't NeoFlu at all. In fact, the illness seemed completely foreign to my knowledge.
"Where exactly did you become ill?" I asked him.
"Near the old crypt. I don't remember much; my memory is a little hazy."
Great, I thought, it's probably some sort of foreign mold. I told my patient that I would need to investigate the crypt area in order to create a cure. He told me, then, that I would be paid in full after he had been given the medicine, and I agreed to those terms. From there, I took my belongings and made my way to Roo Island.
The crypt was nothing spectacular. Old and unused, it stood far from the bright and colorful Roo Castle. The outside of the crypt was crumbling and suffered from disrepair. Even the land was uncared for, as the grass was long and wild. In some areas, it seemed almost like a small Darigan Citadel. The old stone walls were grey and without paint, and no cleaning had come to the cold stone floors in a long time. The locals, for some reason, called it Castle Von Roo, though I at that time found the idea of the monster ridiculous. I was, however, understanding in that I could see why the locals told horror stories of this uninviting place; it was downright scary.
I found an unfamiliar purple plant near the place called Castle Von Roo, and decided that this may be the source of Sebastian's illness. It was a kind of thorny vine covered with large, smooth leaves. After collecting a sample of it, I found myself uncontrollable drawn to the large doors to the crypt. What could it harm? I placed the sample in my pocket and went to the doors. There could be no inhabitants, I assured myself, and so no one would notice; and it could, as well, be my only opportunity to go inside. Unfortunately, I did so.
I could see why the townsfolk referred to the crypt as a castle; for a crypt, it was magnificent, but as a castle it may have been underwhelming. There were two curved stairways leading to a second floor, a few large-open rooms, and between the two staircases there was a door. In each room, there was furniture covered by white sheets to protect them from dust or bugs. It may have been a country club at one point. I felt no need to advance to the second story, interested only in the large and decorated doorway between the two staircases. It had a large lock, but when I tried the door it opened with no difficulty.
The door lead to a curved stairway which lead down to a dusty basement. It was empty for the most part, truly dark and with high ceilings and no windows of any kind. I reached out and found, to my surprise, a box of matches and an unlit candlestick in a holding case. Upon lighting it, I saw something beyond horrifying.
A stone coffin lay in the center of the basement floor. I was shocked, but as a man of science, and being filled with an adventurous spirit, I did not retreat. Alternatively, I approached the coffin with the intrigue of a treasure-hunter. Could the king be hiding something in this old, ruined crypt? This did not seem decorated enough to be the resting place of anyone respected enough to be placed in a crypt, and there was no name anywhere on it. The possibilities were endless – I opened the coffin.
The stone lid opened with little effort, as if it were made not of stone but a hollow box of feathers. I saw in the coffin a pale orange and well-dressed Blumaroo. He did not look to be deceased, but resting, which puzzled me. Quickly, I remembered the crypt's namesake: Count Von Roo. Could this be the mythical monster which frightened the townsfolk so much? Scared, I ran to the peace and safety of the outside world. Behind me, I heard the sound of movement from the basement. Without hesitation, I made my way back to my home in Neopia Central.
Upon reaching my own home, I neomailed Sebastian, only to find that he had become better without my help. He had tried to contact me, but I had not been home. Thanking me for my trouble, he forwarded half of the original cost to my bank account. I did not mention what I saw in that crypt, though, for fear that he may call me a madman.
I examined the plant which I took from the crypt. The vines were related to garlic in many ways. I knew stories of vampires from my childhood, and subsequently remembered that garlic could weaken vampires. Had I accidentally let loose the great evil beneath Roo Island by removing this plant? I shuddered at the thought. Deciding not to test my luck, I took my newly gained fortune and purchased every book on vampires that I could find. I learned that they could be held back by garlic, but the only way to be rid of one forever is by a wooden stake to the heart.
And so I now live in fear. I have purchased wooden stakes for myself and placed them strategically around my house and on my person. Garlic as well has been placed around my home, much to this dislike of my neighbors, and I wear a necklace of garlic at all times. I know that I must be insane, but this does not matter. My business as well has failed, but I will survive – I must! Even if the monster Count Von Roo himself comes to me, I will survive! All that is left is to wait, and I will wait as long as I must. I will wait.