Sebastian's Spirits: Part Four
A month had passed, but it had become the most exciting month of Sebastian's young life. Each time he would return from an adventure in a new Neopian land, he would confide in Roger the illustrious tales of adventure that he endured. And it was safe to say that Sebastian and the four spirits were growing closer and more comfortable around each other. They now stood on the outskirts of Altador, having gone on a "private" tour of the Hall of Heroes, which was really just Sebastian sneaking inside. The Yurble janitor confronted him with his trusty mop and angrily chased him out, and Sebastian kept running until he took refuge in the forest.
"The box nearly took a beating when you were running away from that janitor!" Jerome chuckled.
"Not safe, but entertaining nonetheless." Viktoria smirked.
"Speaking of the box," Fredrick spoke up, and all heads turned towards him. "Sebastian, will you please open it? I need to rest for a moment."
Complying, Sebastian tilted the top of the box until it fell back on its hinges. Fredrick grew still, but only for a brief moment. His body twisted and morphed until it was sucked inside the box.
"Close it!" Viktoria demanded, and Sebastian slammed the top shut. "Sorry for being snappy, but you know it gets chilly in there after a while."
"I think I should check up on him." Jerome suggested.
"Viktoria, you go too," Ava urged her friend. "I'll talk to Sebastian!"
Viktoria mouthed a quick "good luck" to Sebastian and motioned for him to once again open the box, and their bodies twisted just like Fredrick's before being pulled into the box.
"Fredrick is still so bitter," Sebastian commented once the box was shut, and Ava turned to listen. "Has he always been that way?"
"Always, ever since he was cursed. Poor Freddie." Ava sighed.
"It's hard to imagine that he ever had any family or friends."
"Well, he did have one person whom he loved," she said gently. "You see, he had one daughter. Her name was Carolyn, and according to him she was the sweetest creature ever to grace Neopia."
"Was he as cruel to her as he is to you?"
"No, no. Freddie loved his Carolyn. She was the center of his life, and he would do anything for her. That was why it was so difficult to let her go."
Sebastian's eyes widened. "Let her go? You mean she grew up and he had to let her go off on her own. Right?"
"Not exactly, Sebastian," the Wocky whispered. "I would tell you the story, but I can't get through it without tearing up. My eyes turn as pink as my fur and I just cry and cry. It truly is horrific. Bottom line is, Freddie would do absolutely anything to see Carolyn once again--"
"That's it!" Sebastian interrupted Ava, convinced that he had just thought of the best idea. "That will be our next adventure! I'll bring Fredrick back to Carolyn. They can reunite!"
"That's such a sweet thing to do, it truly is," Ava sighed. "But it can't be done."
The Lupe's heart sank. "Why not?"
"Carolyn is the bride of the sorcerer Vandor. He's the one that has been seeking the box for years. It's too dangerous for us, but more importantly for you, to even consider facing him."
"So?" Sebastian said mockingly. "We'll just avoid this Vandor fellow at all costs."
"Oh dear, you are just like Roger," Ava proclaimed. "Sebastian, it's not that simple. For the longest time Roger wanted to reunite Freddie and Carolyn, and he tried once. We can't say no to commands, don't you recall? Freddie begged Roger not to risk his life, but it all went through. And when Roger finally made it to Carolyn's home, he was faced with Vandor. Your grandfather would not be as weak as he is now if Vandor hadn't cursed him."
The image of his grandfather formed in Sebastian's mind. The normally healthy Kougra had abruptly fallen ill and no one had the answer as to why; old age was to blame. "Vandor did that to my grandfather?"
"Roger claimed to you that it was just the late prime of his life that made him so feeble, but really, Roger is supposed to be lively and exuberant even now. Vandor cursed him to become weak enough that he would never dare bring Fredrick to visit Carolyn again," said Ava. "Vandor is the one that Roger was trying to warn you about the first day that you became the Holder."
"You really shouldn't have said that, Ava," Sebastian muttered, gripping the box in his paws. "I'm summoning the others. We need to face Vandor."
Nikoli was still not accustomed to the treacherous Neovian weather. As they rode off into the night after another day of chauffeuring Vandor and Carolyn, Nikoli's only thoughts were directed towards the beautiful Carolyn.
A few more paces and Nikoli could not take the guilt anymore. "Stop!" he ordered.
The carriage came to an abrupt halt to comply with his command. The Unis rolled their eyes, assuming that the aged Zafara missed a turn. "Wrong direction, Nikoli?"
He did not respond to their banter. "Turn around. We have to go back to Vandor's."
"Back to Vandor's? Why would you--"
"Do it without any comments, won't you?"
They reluctantly turned and pulled the carriage along, much to their confusion of Nikoli's wishes. It was only until Nikoli stopped the carriage in the middle of the road and jumped down from the driver's seat that the Unis become extremely puzzled.
Disbelief washed over the steeds, unable to grasp what exactly Nikoli was thinking. "But Nikoli!
When will you be back?" one of them asked.
The Zafara let out a sigh. "If I'm not back in an hour, then I'm not coming back at all."
"Oh dear..." Ava pressed her paws to her mouth and shrieked at her drastic mistake.
"Sebastian, please don't do this! The others won't approve..."
But Sebastian had already opened the box, and the three figures of the spirits formed against the gorgeous Altador landscape. The blunt introduction followed shortly after: "We're going to face Vandor."
The quietness was so deadly and the expressions were so shocked that Sebastian did not know what to say next, until Fredrick spoke.
"Sebastian, don't you do this!" he roared and approached the Lupe.
"I'm doing this for you, Fredrick!" Sebastian fought back. "For you and my grandfather!"
"It's not going to work!" Fredrick cried out, the first time Sebastian had ever heard the pompous Gelert raise his voice so loudly. "It never will! Roger failed, and so will you! Vandor is too powerful, and if you get in his way, he will without a doubt get a hold of the box! You'll be trapped with us, Vandor will have what he needs to become absolutely dictate, and Carolyn..." he winced. "My Carolyn..."
"We don't need you to be a hero," Jerome stepped in for Fredrick who had become too stricken with grief to protest. "You're going to get yourself killed! Roger was lucky that he got away still able to walk."
Viktoria was furious, but on the outside she stayed as collected as she could. "Save your breath. Roger didn't listen to us and neither will he."
"Why did you have to tell him, Ava? You've endangered Roger's beloved grandson!" Fredrick seethed. "Why are you such an incompetent fool?!"
"I'm sorry!" Ava's voice was shrilled as she pressed her pink paws to her eyes to catch the incoming tears. "I didn't think he'd actually listen..."
But the Lupe cut off Ava's protests. "If Grandfather went with the four of you and cursed him, why didn't Vandor take the box when he had the chance?"
"Carolyn stopped him," Jerome seemed to be recalling the scene to mind. "Whatever Carolyn asks of, Vandor obeys. But she warned us never to return to the mansion, or else she wouldn't be able to help us."
Sebastian was confounded. "She wasn't ecstatic to see her own father? Spirit form or not?"
"Stop, stop! I can't listen to this anymore!" Fredrick roared. "Sebastian, you want to know the truth? Well, here it is; Vandor has loved my daughter ever since he laid eyes on her some years ago. I did not approve of him, and most importantly Carolyn did not love him back. What I did not know of at the time was that Vandor had mastered the art of sorcery so thoroughly that he would have killed Carolyn if he couldn't have her. What father would wish that upon his daughter? The deal was either I live and Carolyn would die, or Carolyn survived and I would be cursed. And the curse... why, you're looking at it."
Sebastian put two and two together. "It was Vandor that cursed the box?"
"Yes, but he was unable to keep his filthy talons on it. The box passed from person to person numerous times, whether sold or passed on, the encounters being extremely brief, and Ava, Jerome, and Viktoria happened to fall to the curse when they lost the box and it was opened by another individual," the Gelert explained, his voice waning. "The monster... that box he confined me to was Carolyn's jewelry box from when she was younger. It was meant to be a permanent reminder that Carolyn belonged to him."
The box flashed in the Sebastian's mind. "CR." Carolyn Roland, Sebastian thought gloomily. Whoever this Vandor was, he was a monster. And he was going to be stopped.
To be continued...