Sebastian's Spirits: Part Two
Sebastian, already well confounded, felt his vision begin to wane. Roger did not notice his grandson in distress and shook his head, seemingly defeated. "He's questioning my stories, and you know what? It's time for him to experience what I've been experiencing for years."
"Oh, come now, Roger, you're being ridiculous," the purple Ixi protested, crossing her arms over her white, loose fitting gypsy blouse. "We know you better than that."
"Quite frankly, I don't have the energy in me anymore to keep doing what I do. Please understand where I'm coming from."
The Wocky shook her head in disbelief. "Roger, you're still as snappy as a Puppyblew. You can wait!"
"Some time ago I could probably still climbs mountains and fight off the bad guys," Roger sighed. "But I can't anymore."
"It's Roger's decision!" the Gelert snarled at his three companions. "Let him be. And it's too late anyways. He already passed the jewelry box on. If he had not... you know what would have happened."
"And it's decided." Roger nodded without so much as hesitating to reflect. "Sebastian is officially the new Holder of the box."
The spirits said nothing but gazed longingly at Roger, praying that this was all just a misunderstanding. Sebastian finally broke the silence. "What is all of this? Grandfather, who are they? There are ghosts... spirits... in our living room! And you are not the least bit afraid? What are you talking about anyways? I'm dreaming, I know I'm dreaming right now, it's the only explanation-"
"Tell him everything for me, now won't you?" Roger smiled and staggered up from his chair and shuffled to the doorway. "I have to tend to the young ones."
Sebastian watched as his grandfather departed while appearing not the least bit concerned that he had left his grandson in a room alone with four spirits. Realizing what was behind him, the Lupe slowly turned to face the four figures.
"We're not going to hurt you," the Wocky assured him with a beaming smile. "Please stay. We'll explain everything to you."
Sebastian felt immobilized. The four figures had a hint of faded color to them but were all transparent, and he could see the mantle and fireplace right through them. If I close my eyes, this will all be a dream, and I'll wake up, Sebastian thought as he jammed his eyes shut. One... two... three.
He reopened them, only to find a pair of yellow eyes staring back.
"Jerome..." the Ixi groaned as Sebastian cried out in horror and stumbled backwards, tripping over his feet and falling onto the couch. His head sprang up, chest heaving as the shadow Hissi that scared him doubled over in laughter.
"It was a good one, Viktoria, you have to agree." He wiped away tears streaming down his face.
"Well, at least we finally got him to sit," she scoffed.
Fredrick, the red Gelert dressed in the finest black suit Sebastian had ever seen, stepped forward with his arms crossed. "So this... adolescent... is the new Holder. Sebastian, now that's your name, correct?"
He eyed every one of the ghosts before looking back at Fredrick. "Yes."
"Well, let me give you a little rundown, because based on the actions of our beloved Roger, you are now in charge. I'm Fredrick Roland the Third of Neovia. Behind me you will note three others. The Wocky is Ava, the Hissi goes by Jerome, and the Ixi calls herself Viktoria. We are individuals who have been cursed... cursed to be confined to the very object that caused our fate."
"Excuse him," Ava chimed in with a rather singsong voice, waltzing her way next to Fredrick. "He's quite blunt when it comes to explaining things. Freddie, be gentle, will you?"
"It is merely the truth, and I've been telling you for years, do not call me Freddie," Fredrick snapped, eyes fixated on the mahogany box that Sebastian had dropped. "And for goodness sake, pick the box up, will you? Don't just leave it on the floor."
Sebastian fell to his knees and grabbed the box, his mind whirring. "You can't pick it up yourself?"
Fredrick raised his paw and reached for Sebastian's arm. On impulse, Sebastian flinched but watched as the red paw passed right through his arm. "Correct."
Silence. "But then..." the Lupe murmured, still wrapping his head around the transpiring events. "What is it exactly that I have to... uh... do?"
"Simple," Viktoria hissed. "Keep the box from falling into the wrong hands."
That seemed simple enough. "Or else?"
"You'll be imprisoned for all eternity to the box, just like us," Jerome murmured rather curtly.
Sebastian began to piece the puzzle together. From what they were telling him, the box was quite valuable. "You four possessed the box at one point?"
"You could say that," Ava replied, her head slightly dropping. "Some weren't careful enough to keep someone else from opening it."
"Roger, on the other hand, has kept the box protected for all of these years," Jerome said. "And that is something very admirable. Now it's your turn."
Sebastian felt numb. "My turn to do what?"
"If you own the box, you are entitled to endless adventure," Fredrick scowled. "Presuming you don't mess anything up."
"Adventure? How so?" Sebastian was becoming curious, and the lingering uncertainty contributed to the fact that spirits were in the same room as him began to decline.
Ava turned to speak, but Viktoria held up a hoof for her to stop and stepped forward, tugging the hem of her tattered blue skirt and throwing it behind her. "We can take you on whatever magical charades you would like. Whether you would like to scour all of Shenkuu or travel to the Virtupets Space Station, if you'd like to explore the caves buried beneath the surface of the Lost Desert or unlock an Altadorian Mystery, we can make that happen," she purred. "But there are conditions that come with this opportunity."
"Ah, rules, more like it," Jerome chimed in. "Such as, one, you can't let anyone open the box, ever, unless you do what Roger did and pass on the box to someone else. To do that, just have someone else open the box while you're touching it. You'll end up like us if you just lose the box and someone else opens it up while not in your presence. And you don't want to be stuck with us, trust me. It's like a reoccurring nightmare, especially with the 'divine' Viktoria."
Viktoria ignored Jerome's sarcastic comment and exaggerated hand motions and spoke with a bit of edge in her voice. "Secondly, we are obliged to obey your every command. But we have the right to intervene and suggest the smart decision that you should make, being if you want to do something incredibly life threatening and stupid."
"We've had to do that a lot of times for Roger." Ava flashed a smile.
"And lastly..." Fredrick gazed upon Sebastian. "Do not tell anyone, and I mean anyone about us. If word gets around, then you might be in danger as well."
Sebastian frowned. "But Grandfather told all the stories and referred to a magical box..."
"Oh please," Viktoria chuckled. "Do you honestly think others will believe little ones? They would just dismiss the claims as a tale."
"Your grandfather wanted to inspire the young, so of course he would talk about the box. It's actually encouraged." Fredrick murmured.
"Freddie," Ava shrieked, wrapping her paws around the Gelert's shoulders. "Don't make it sound like Roger did something horrid! What Roger did was wonderful!"
"Fredrick, Ava, I am Fredrick!" Fredrick groaned, and Jerome struggled to hold back his laughter at the sight of dainty Ava latched onto a fuming Fredrick.
Sebastian fell into deep thought, gripping the box tightly with each passing realization. "That's why my grandfather tells all those stories... and all of them are real?"
"Roger has been on so many wonderful adventures," Ava stepped away from Fredrick as she clasped her paws and stared off dreamily into space, twirling around the living room and speaking in her high-pitched voice. "And he's such a captivating storyteller. It's a shame that he has felt that he has had enough adventure."
"Ava, I would love to continue with the adventures that have kept me ebullient for so long," Roger had returned from his outdoor excursion and was taking his time getting back to his chair. "I'm just too old for this. It's time for someone else to appreciate the powers of you splendid people. My darling Ava, my vixen Viktoria, my comical Jerome, and my dear old Fredrick... you four will always hold a place in my heart."
"Roger, you old mess, if I could hug you I would." Viktoria laughed, contradicting Sebastian's beliefs that she was cursed to be miserable at all times.
"So." Jerome crossed his wings, facing Sebastian. "Do you accept the duties of being the new Holder?"
Fredrick sniffed, straightening his crisp red tie. "Oh, like he has a choice..."
"Wait, I can't say no?" Sebastian's voice rose an octave as his plan began to unravel. After Roger returned, he was going to politely decline the role of taking over the unbelievable task of his grandfather. His eyes bore through Roger in a last attempt to get him out of the situation, but the
Kougra wearily shook his head and smiled.
"Sebastian, this has got to be the greatest thing that's ever happened to me behind when you and all of your cousins were born," his grandfather whispered. "I'll never let the memories go; I'll hold on to them as long as I'm still around to remember them. These kind folks want to let you live out your wildest dreams. Take hold of this, Sebastian, and never let it go."
Sebastian said nothing. His gaze met the four spirits, all who stared right back at him.
"I guess I just have to accept this."
To be continued...