Hooked On A Snarhook: Part Three
Erals woke up hours later on a room he did not recognized.
He looked around to see red and blue painted walls, and groaned slightly. "What
happened?" he asked the air slowly, forcing himself to remember how he had gotten
"That's what we would like you to tell us," came
a response from nearby.
Erals focused his view in the answer-- it was
one of the Draik guards he has seen last night, when- when he had tried to enter
the castle. He finally remembered.
"What were you trying to do?" asked the Draik,
inquisitive. Erals ignored him and closed his tired eyes -- he couldn't tell
the truth, not if he hoped to get out without dungeon time.
Just as the guard was about to ask again, the
Kyrii heard footsteps coming closer -- someone else had entered the room.
"When I heard that some brown Kyrii had been
found lying on the castle grounds I knew it was you," said a familiar voice
next to him. It was Hitieks. He couldn't see him, but Erals knew.. "Won't leave
without a battle, huh?"
"The Snarhook means a lot to me," answered Erals
"You've caused us and yourself a lot of problems
already," accused the Skeith.
"Hey, Hitieks," the Draik Guard who was still
there piped in, "if he's getting himself in so much trouble just for a Petpet--"
"MY petpet!" Hitieks interrupted fiercely.
"OK, your Petpet. Why don't you let him take
care of it?" questioned the Draik
"No! I already made clear I wouldn't give him
the Snarhook!" exclaimed the Skeith quickly, anger flashing in his eyes..
"Not give it to him. Letting him take care of
it while you work or when you can't do it yourself," suggested the guard. Hitieks'
gaze remained cold.
"Why should I trust this scurvy Krawk islander?"
he snapped. Immediately the Kyrii spoke up.
"I worked in Little Nippers. I'm really capable
to do the job. Mr. Hitieks, please consider it," said Erals hopeful, his eyes
sparkling with a hope he'd thought he'd lost
"See Hitieks, that would be good for both," stated
"I… have to think about it," was the grunted
response. "Til then, stay away from me. Go tend to the Whinnies or something
till I've decided, since you seem to relish it so much."
After a little while Erals had found the stables,
and, under the stern gaze of a bulky Acara guard, was combing gently at their
fur. "How'd it get so matted?" he asked softly, not to the guard, but the Petpet
itself. The creature just made a sad neighing sound in response.
"I wouldn't waste too much time on them," the
silver-furred Acara said in a gruff tone. "They're too small for battle or anything,
we just keep them for celebrations. They don't need to be clean for another
couple months, the date people first came in from the future-- are you even
listening to me?"
The Kyrii was not, his interest gone from this
Pet who saw the creatures as nothing but decorations, and was combing the fur
of a second Whinny, lost deep in his own thoughts. His attention was drawn back
as the door to the stable swung open and the Draik guard form earlier walked
"I'm sorry about Hitieks," he said as he walked
over, adjusting his helmet with a sigh. "He's stubborn and annoying…"
"I…" Erals whimpered sadly. "He bought the Snarhook
fairly, but I just miss him so much…"
"… Did you do that?" the guard asked suddenly,
pointing at the Whinny. "Clean it's fur, I mean-- it looks so much healthier
and happier with that dirt gone."
"It didn't take long," the Kyrii said slowly,
brushing nervously at his fur. "So… did he say anything about…"
"He's still deciding. I'm sorry, I really am…"
"I'm not too hopeful anymore," Erals uttered.
Heavy steps were heard approaching and Erals'
stomach gave a turn, knowing that had to be Hitieks. He could picture his entrance
to the stables and what would come next, and was getting ready for it mentally.
Just get ready for it… you know it's gonna happen…
Slowly he turned from the Whinnies to face the
situation, and found himself, rather scarily, looking at a Skeith he didn't
"Drake!" King Skarl snarled at the Draik guard,
who was now stood at attention, "I was told you were skipping your guardian
duties to attend a visitor I wasn't even aware of." He glanced at Erals. "You
better have an explanation, I do NOT like being dragged all the way down here…"
"My name is Erals, your majesty," the Kyrii spoke
quickly. "I, uhh, come from Krawk Island…" He was desperately racking his brain
for something else to say that could excuse the Draik Guard- he didn't wanted
to get him in trouble after all he had helped him- but his mind drew a blank,
and he just stopped talking.
"I see. So, what's your business here on my castle?"
interrogated the King.
"He's a Petpet expert. He does a really good
job taking care of them," affirmed the Draik.
"You should get to work. I can talk to the visitor."
"Yes, your majesty." The Guard bowed his head
as a small reverence and walked away. Erals felt defenseless.
"Listen… uhh… person-" King Skarl started.
"Erals," said Erals quickly.
"Listen, Erals, I know you came from a distant
land, but we don't need someone with your qualities right now." Erals was very
confused at first. What was he talking about?. The king read his expression
as disappointment. "I'm sorry, the guards are enough to take care of the Petpets
we have," he added.
Then it hit Erals. King Skarl thought he had
come to apply for a job! He would have tried not to chuckle at the confusion,
had the loss of his Snarhook not been playing across his mind.
"I understand," said Erals simply.
The first Whinny he had cleaned had been licking
Erals' paw fondly while they talked, and it was at this point that the Kyrii
looked down and stroked gently at its fur. It was a beautiful creature, and
he wanted to say goodbye- he might have to leave the stable now…
King Skarl watched him. "Is that one of the castle's
Whinnies?" he inquired but didn't wait for an answer. "You… certainly have a
way with Petpets, Erals. I wouldn't have recognized it as one of our own were
it not for the castle colours…"
There was a brief pause. Erals continued to look
down at the Whinny, who made a small snort of happiness and licked at his paw
again, until he couldn't stand the uncomfortable silence anymore, and he had
to look up at Skarl, to face the idea of leaving the castle, and his Snarhook,
behind. To his surprise he found that the huge king was looking at the Whinny
with just as much fondness as Erals had been a moment ago.
The Skeith seemed to draw out of his thoughts
quickly, and glanced down with a disgruntled cough. "Yes? Oh, right. I suppose
you want to be escorted to the gates."
"No!" the Kyrii exclaimed quickly. "… I mean…
well, if you want me gone that's fine. But I was hoping to spend some more time
with the Whinnies. I could clean them all up…" and get my mind off the Snarhook
he thought silently to himself.
"You'd be willing to do that?" the king asked,
a puzzled look on his face. "With no profit involved, right?"
"Right," Erals said with a weak smile. "They
just need a wash…"
Skarl was silent for a moment, and then frowned
at the Whinnies, as if seeing them for the first time. "You're right," he said,
his voice almost sounding startled. "They do… when I was young, I used to ride
Whinnies like these all around the castle…" A peaceful look passed over the
King's face, and for a moment he looked years younger. "They'd happily trot
past the knights in training, the court dancers, and, quite frankly, I loved
it. I can't believe I let them get this bad…"
Erals felt sympathy for the King.
"I've always thought that the guards did a good
job with them, getting them ready for celebrations and keeping them fed... but
now that I look at them… they don't seem all that good. Being dirty and always
boxed in on the stables... They need to be taken better care of, to keep the
not only alive, but happy."
Erals was listening attentively and he made a
mental note not to listen those who said King Skarl was just lazy and moody.
He now knew for a fact he had a good heart, hidden behind the fierce scowl.
"Of course you can stay and clean the other Whinnies
up," conceded King Skarl, "and if you want to stay longer... well, you can be
the regal Petpet carer. I'd pay you, of course."
"But I thought you didn't need someone like me,"
said Erals, making sure his voice didn't show any hint of disappointment.
"Well, you proved me wrong. Who knows how long
I have needed someone like you?" A weak smile. "I just didn't realized before."
A wide smile spread through Erals face- he didn't
know what to say at first. He would work once again doing what he loved, and
was staying in the castle which meant he would get to see the Snarhook… it was
"Sir, I can take care of the guards and treasurers'
Petpets while they're working too!" suggested Erals, pleading silently King
Skarl would approve the idea.
"Are you sure? That would be making everyone
a great favor, but you don't have to," said the King. "I mean, I'd pay you plenty
to look after the Whinnies-"
"I'm sure! I want to!" Erals answered enthusiastically.
"Look! There come Hitieks," said King Skarl,
and Erals turned to see the Skeith making his way to the stables. "I wonder
why he's coming here. He's one of my treasurers." Erals gulped. He had never
explained King Skarl why he had come to Meridell in the first place…
Hitieks, meanwhile, seemed a bit startled to
see Erals with King Skarl. He greeted the King with courtesy, but at the same
time eyed Erals with confusion, and more than a little worry.
"What brings you here, Hitieks?" King Skarl questioned.
"I have some pending business, your majesty,"
the yellow Skeith answered politely. He didn't want to give away too much information,
clearly, Erals thought to himself.
"I hope there are no problems with the kingdom's
finances," said King Skarl casually. "Hate to have to increase taxes again."
And there he was, the old King back- the Kyrii in the corner couldn't help but
wonder why he put on such a tough façade around others, but knew that bringing
up something like that could only have bad consequences.
"Not is wrong with the finances," declared Hitieks.
"Everything is fine, my King. I just came to see why you were not attending
our weekly financial meeting, my Lord…"
"Well," the huge Skeith said shortly, "I'll be
there in a minute. Since you're here, it's an honour for me to introduce you
to the new Official Regal Petpet Carer, I know this wasn't on my plans, but
this young Kyrii has got a special ability, and it would be a shame to let it
go to waste…" As he said this he was looking fondly at Erals, who couldn't help
but smile sheepishly. "He has a way with Petpets, and we have plenty of funds
to pay him."
"Him?!" mouthed Hitieks, realizing that all manners
had been thrown out the window as he said it. Quickly he tried to backtrack.
"It's not that I want to question you decision your majesty, but…"
"There's more," interrupted the King "He has
volunteered to take care of everyone's Petpets. I heard you got a new Petpet
Erals gasped. This was exactly what he'd been
hoping for! It was perfect-
"Yes," spat Hitieks sharply, "but I don't want
HIM to take care of it."
- or maybe not.
"Why not?" Skarl asked. "I could swear I've heard
you complaining about how annoying Petpets can get at least once."
"I… maybe you misheard me…" Hitieks wasn't clever
enough to think of a good excuse, and it was clear.
"I don't know what you have against my new Regal
Petpet Carer, Hitieks, but it is my command that you let him look after your
Petpet, or get rid of it. I'm not letting you get distracted by Petpets at work,
and it IS his job- and, most of all, your Petpet will be kept happy." A sharp
nod, and King Skarl had professionally closed the matter.
"You can't--" Hitieks tried to argue again, but
King Skarl threw him a nasty stare and he had to stop in mid-sentence. His fate
was sealed, and all the angry glances at Erals couldn't change it. Erals, either
ignoring or not noticing the looks from Hitieks, smiled widely and found himself
running, not even realizing why, down the cramped corridors and passageways
of the castle, towards the Snarhook, and his dreams fulfilled.
A door slid open, somewhere in the castle, and
the creaking of the old wood was greeted by a high-pitched squeak. The green
Kyrii felt joy sweeping over his body as he practically leapt across the room,
to the small playpen and the awaiting Snarhook. Scooping up the Petpet and holding
him tight, Erals knew there wouldn't be a goodbye this time.