The Rusty Ghoul Catchers
Dawn was just breaking over the glorious kingdom of Altador. The bright sun shone through the glass window, letting in hazy streams of light. It made the usually dark and gloomy room look soft and welcoming. The room was almost bare, as all of the belongings and furniture had been boxed up. The only object in the empty room was a small bed. It sat against the dark blue wall, where a Neopet was sound asleep on it.
The Neopet in question, was a pirate jetsam. He turned over on his side, squinting his eyes as the light came upon them. He sat up, and yawned, stretching his arms out. Going back to bed felt like the best option. Sadly, it wasn’t the one the jetsam could choose. He had a long day ahead of him. There were things to do and places to see.
The Neopian rolled out of bed, standing up and fixing the bed sheets back neatly. Once he was satisfied with it, the jetsam strolled out of the room. He made his way down a small hallway, and into the kitchen. Sitting at the table was two adult Jetsams, which were his parents. They were chatting and eating breakfast. The two stopped talking once they noticed their son in the room.
“Well Rusty, today's the big day.” The jetsam’s mother gave him a soft smile. She wore a pink apron which had ruffles on the edges. Her voice was always soothing and sweet.
Rusty blinked, realizing what his dear mother had meant. Today was the day he would be moving out. After so many years of living with his parents, today was the final day.
It was...weird. The thought of going out on his own felt exciting. At the same time, he was nervous. It was the same feeling as being on a roller coaster. You’re excited on the way up, and once you’re almost there, you want to back out. You’re terrified of that final drop, but once it’s over, you want to go again. Currently, Rusty was in the nervous stage, terrified out of his mind because of the unknown.
The pirate jetsam sat down at the table and nervously laughed. “Yeah... today is the big day, huh?”
Rusty’s father placed a flipper on his son’s shoulder. “We’re so proud of you son.”
The pirate jetsam smiled. “Thanks dad.”
Hearing those words did warm Rusty’s heart. He never thought he could do anything that’d make his parents proud. Yet...apparently he already did.
Rusty had decided to finally follow his lifelong dream of becoming a ghoul catcher. Ever since he was a small child, he longed for the days of chasing ghouls and freeing Neopia of them. They caused constant chaos and mischief. He wanted to help with that. The world they lived in deserved peace and quiet. The days of mischievous dark creatures would soon be over.
Hopefully the jetsam could achieve just that.
Rusty’s new house would be in Altador, so it wasn’t like he was moving to the other side of Neopia. Just in another district, away from his parents. Leaving Altador would feel wrong, as the jetsam had lived there his entire life. He adored the sea and the surrounding mountains. It felt comforting and safe. Well...besides the times the Darkest Faerie tried taking it over and when the city was trapped in a time bubble.
Rusty’s parents asked him to stay for breakfast, so Rusty did. Mama Jetsam made blueberry pancakes topped with globs of butter. Her pancakes was Rusty’s favorite, so of course he had to stay.
“Oh sweetie by the way, Queen Nera mentioned she was having a celebration. The founding of Altador is soon and that kind soul wanted to host a festival.” Mama Jetsam handed out the plates, topped with pancakes.
Queen Nera was the city’s queen and wife of King Altador. The brown Xweetok seemed nice enough, but Rusty never met her before. She was always busy with royal official duties and their own children. Rusty was more likely to meet King Altador than Nera. Not that he really cared anyway. They were just royal officials, just Neopian celebrities.
Rusty nodded. “That’s nice, do you two plan on going?”
“Oh no dear, I have errands to run and your father has to be in Brightvale in a few hours for business.”
“Well...alright.” Rusty poked at his pancake with the fork.
Mama Jetsam sipped her juice. “Will you be attending?”
He shrugged. “Maybe? I haven’t decided yet.”
Rusty didn't really want to go to a big celebration alone. Standing alone in a massive crowd would felt lonely. Maybe if he had a friend or family member to go, he would.
Rusty eventually finished his breakfast and helped his parents clean up.
His father cleaned off the table and slid the chairs back in place. Rusty and his mother washed the dishes, dried, and placed them back in the cabinets. The three talked a bit more, mostly about Rusty’s new house and his future.
The concerned parents wished him the best. They assured him if he ever needed anything, they were close by. Those few words did ease the jetsam’s nerves. He knew his family would be worried about him, but Rusty was positive he had things handled.
And so, the young jetsam walked out the door to pursue his dreams. Rusty waved goodbye to his parents, who were standing in the doorway. They looked somber to see their only child leave.
Then he saw something in the distance, or rather someone. It appeared to be a small Korbat. Rusty watched as it approached him, only to realize who it was.
“Big Horner!” Rusty held his arms out. “I didn’t think I’d be seeing you here!”
Big Horner was the jetsam’s lifelong friend. The two did everything together when they were small. They both had a love of ghouls, wanting to study the creatures deep into the night. Seeing the Korbat made the jetsam’s day even better.
The Korbat’s face lit up. “Rusty! How’s it going?”
“Great! Well...besides having to move all these boxes…” Rusty motioned over to the ton of boxes in his front yard. The cardboard boxes looked like cheesy yard decorations. Or that someone dropped their store inventory in his yard.
Big Horner chuckled. “I’d be happy to help you!”
“Sure! You’re my best friend! I’d do anything for you really.”
The pair started to take the boxes into the house. They'd set a box in the empty living room floor, and then go back out for another.
“I’ve been thinking about moving out on my own as well.” Big Horner spoke as he carried a box inside of the house.
“That’s a great idea!” Rusty commented as he sat down on a box. “Oh hey, you could move in with me!”
“Yeah! I have an extra room and it’d be fun!”
“Oh sweet! Sure I'd love to!” Big Horner picked up another box. “I’m actually studying the ghoul catchers thing too! I joined a club for it. I actually have someone I want you to meet.”
“Caliidora! She’s an island Aisha and is as interested in ghouls as we are!”
They discussed the Aisha for a few moments, before someone interrupted them.
A large red Skeith walked down the stone pathway, noticing that the two Neopians were just moving in. He stopped walking and placed his large hands on his hips.
“Need any help with that fellas?” He asked, watching Big Horner struggle with a heavy box.
Rusty looked up from his box and shook his head. “No sir, we’re fine. Thank you anyway.”
Big Horner squeaked as the box collapsed on him, making Rusty facepalm. Okay... maybe someone needed help after all.
The Skeith raised his eyebrows in utter disbelief. “Well alright, and say...you two going down to the celebration?”
The two Neopets had forgotten all about the Altador celebration. It must have slipped their mind.
“Oh no! We forgot all about that!” The Korbat pushed the heavy box off himself and quickly stood up.
The Skeith chuckled. “Well...I’d hurry if I were you, the queen doesn’t like to delay events.”
Again, Rusty never met the queen but if one of her guards said she didn't like delaying stuff, that meant they better hurry. Getting on the bad side of the royal family wasn't something he wanted to do.
The two Neopians rushed down to the Hall of Heroes. They brushed by other Altadorians and darted through the growing crowd. Neither Rusty or Big Horner was paying much attention. Both would throw a joke at the other as they ran through the dozens of Neopians. Neither of them was watching what they was doing, which was clearly a bad idea.
Both of them suddenly collided into another Neopet, causing all three to fall onto the hard ground.
“Ow!” Rusty rubbed the top of his aching head. The impact did a number on him. He looked over at his Korbat friend, who was face planted into the ground.
“Hey watch where you’re going-” The jetsam started to scowl the Neopet they ran into, only to immediately stop.
The Korbat looked up to see who his friend was talking to. He recognised the other Neopet immediately.
Big Horner and Rusty both gasp, realizing who they had just ran into.
It was her.
To be continued…