A Waffle Paradise Circulation: 111,625,219 Issue: 222 | 6th day of Sleeping, Y8
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A Hero's Journey: Part One


by precious_katuch14

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AUTHOR'S NOTE: Before you read, know that this is my idea or interpretation of the entire prologue or introduction to Neoquest II. If you understood this, good. If not...just read on.

The knight took off his helm and smiled up at the sun. It was another mission done, another opportunity to keep Meridell safe from the forces of evil. Sir Reynold was coming home to his little family in the village of Trestin, after spending so much time with King Skarl and his fellow knights. The trek back was easier with his mighty Uni steed, one of the king's favorites, Fidelity. After he was dropped off at the village, he waved goodbye as Fidelity took flight once again to return to the castle.

     He hadn't seen Melissa, his wife, or his two sons. The yellow Blumaroo had missed them dearly, every time he was called upon to help keep the kingdom safe. In fact, Reynold had been offered by the Skeith ruler of Meridell permanent quarters in his castle due to his admiration and trust for the warrior, but he turned it down in favor of living with his family in a faraway village in the outskirts of the land.

     As he set foot into Trestin, he was happy to be home. Not only because of all the villagers cheering for him and his bravery, or because he was only the most famous resident there, but because he had been away from his family for several months. He had left while Reuben was the only bundle of joy. In fact, a few weeks after Sir Reynold left, he received a message from Melissa about the arrival of their second son.

     Gently he knocked on the door of their humble home and brushed some dirt off his shiny armor. A smiling white Blumaroo answered it and flung her arms around the knight.

     "Reynold," sighed Melissa, relinquishing her embrace. "It's great to see you home again. How was the battle?"

     "It was nothing," replied the father. "Although we led a couple of really long sieges - " His words were interrupted as a pair of tiny arms wrapped around his legs. The knight looked down and saw Reuben grinning widely at him.

     Looking remarkably like his mother, their eldest son hugged Reynold after watching his mother disappear into her bedroom. "Father, I missed you a lot. Did you get rid of lots of bad guys? Did you get to smite evil with your sword? Wow! Don't you ever get scared? I can't wait for my knight training again!"

     "Yes, yes, and well…yes. I'm also looking forward to training you to become a squire." The knight lifted Reuben up on his shoulders. "So…how's your little brother?"

     "Speaking of which," Melissa said, reappearing with her arms full. There was a bundle of blue cloth in her hold, with a small paw seemingly waving at the yellow Blumaroo and his white Blumaroo son. "I haven't named him yet, as you wanted to name him second time around."

     The Meridellian defender sighed contentedly, peeking into the blankets and slowly setting his other son down onto the floor.

     "He looks a lot like you, Father," remarked Reuben, cocking his head to see his younger sibling. "Are we going to name him after you?"

     Reynold smiled. "Nah. I want him to have a different name. Well, if we can't think of anything else, then perhaps we could." The female white Blumaroo stroked her chin and nodded.

     "Hmmm, what about Nathan?" she suggested, cuddling the baby yellow Blumaroo in her arms, caressing his cute head. "When I was a girl, I called my favorite plushie Nathan and told myself that, if I had a son, I would call him that." She sighed, reminiscing. "Then again, he doesn't look much like someone who could be named Nathan."

     Suddenly their son's eager anticipation dissipated and was replaced by a skeptical scowl. "Hold on a second…you two are making a big deal of naming my little bro. Can't we just pick between Reynold and Nathan? It's just the name of my sibling, not the name of the next king of Meridell! You never said anything about fussing over MY name when I was HIS age!"

     The knight scratched his head. "Reuben, what's gotten into you? One minute you were fine and the next minute you're raging like one of my worst enemies!"

     "Oh…" Melissa's voice trailed off. She snapped her fingers and grinned, and Reuben's brief moment of emotion was forgotten instantly as both of them turned to face the woman of the house.

     "Why, I think I know just what to name the youngest member of our family!" the white Blumaroo exclaimed.

     Reynold perked up. "Are you going to name him Nathan?"

     Reuben shook his head. "No way, Mother's going to name him after you, Father!"

     Melissa shook her head. "You are both wrong, I'm afraid. His name will be a combination of the two."

     "How's that supposed to happen?" asked their white-colored son. "Reynold Nathan? Nathan Reynold?"

     "No, not like that. I'm going to fuse parts of them into one name that will forever identify him. Let's see…we take the first two letters of your father's name, two more from the middle, and two from the one I always gave my plushie."

     The man of the household raised an eyebrow. "Okay, we have an RE. What else are we talking, Mel?"

     She continued on. "I chose the NO, and changed them around so the first and last ends of the name are RO and NE."

     "I'm hungry. Can we name him now?" grumbled Reuben. "Four letters is enough already! Come on…" But his parents kept talking as if their eldest son hadn't spoken a word, and the white Blumaroo continued sulking at their sides.

     His father nodded. "That's great. But which letters can we pull out of NATHAN that can fit between RO and NE?"

     "NA? No, it'll sound like a girl's name. TH? It doesn't sound like…well…a name we'd choose. How about…"

     "HA," whispered Reynold. "R-O-H-A-N-E. Has a nice ring to it, don't you think?"

     Melissa agreed and jumped for joy. "Oh, that's a good idea! From now on and forever more, our second son will be named - "

     At this point, the male white Blumaroo couldn't take any more. "I'm going to my room," he growled, glaring at his mother and father, who were still gushing over his little sibling. It was only when he slammed the door behind him that Reynold and Melissa craned their necks towards the source of the noise and away from Reuben's brother.

     ***

     Reuben opened his eyes, and found that he was staring at the ceiling. I must have dozed off while in my bedroom, he thought to himself, glancing at the new day that had dawned outside. But as he opened the door and departed from his sanctuary, a particularly strange sight met his eyes.

     A small yellow Blumaroo was asleep on a stack of silk pillows, a golden crown was perched on his head and velvet blankets wrapping every inch of him. Reynold and Melissa looked as if they themselves hadn't slept in days. They had a disheveled, tired appearance, yet they were running around as if their lives depended on it.

     "Father?" he asked, waving his paw in front of him.

     "W - Who are you?" asked the knight absently, staring widely and blankly at Reuben.

     The young white Blumaroo exploded in outrage. "I'm your son! I'm your eldest son, Reuben! You have trained me to be your page, and - "

     "Sorry, I don't know anyone named Reuben," mumbled Reynold. "If you'll excuse me, I have to serve - I mean, entertain our only son. We only have one son, you know."

     "He's right. Now run along to your real parents. They must be real worried," added Melissa. Deep dark circles glared beneath her usually bright eyes, and her dress and apron were covered in flour and what seemed to be chocolate syrup. "I need privacy as I bake him the biggest cake in the history of Meridell. Only the best for our dearest little prince!"

     "I used to be YOUR little prince! YOU are my parents!"

     "We are?" asked his father. "We are parents to only one prince."

     Melissa sighed. "Reynold, let's just ignore the little urchin. Perhaps he will disappear if we don't talk to him. Then we can have all the time in Neopia to build the finest cake for our son."

     Reuben gasped. "Mother! Father! IT'S ME! Why don't you know who I am? I was your first! I'm your bundle of joy, that's what you said when I was three!"

     Unfortunately the two older Blumaroos barely heeded his frantic speech. They were too busy breaking their backs for a tiny baby - who, at a young age, was inadvertently becoming a slave driver. At last, he collapsed onto the floor, sobbing wildly, feeling the hot tears slide down his cheeks and create a puddle…

     ***

     "It's dinnertime."

     Yelling in frustration, the Blumaroo kicked at thin air. "Oh yeah, dinnertime for him. What about me? Throw him out; he's not ours. He's just a simple urchin - "

     Suddenly, Reuben felt something slowly raise him up so he was half-sitting, half-lying in bed. Night had fallen, and Melissa was looking into his eyes, which had opened to the sight of his mother and were wet with tears.

     "Oh dear, we are so sorry," she was saying, holding his chin in her paw. "Rohane may be the new addition to the family, but he will never replace you. You are our firstborn, and you are still his older brother. Remember that your father and I will continue to love you, no matter how many siblings you have. In fact, being the first makes you very special."

     He sniffled, and wiped something out of his eye. "But just naming the little brat took you a lot of time," he retorted.

     Reynold entered the bedroom as well, and sat down at his son's other side. "Well, we didn't exactly spend our day picking a good name for you, but we sure had one and boy, did it suit you."

     "Reuben was the name of your father's grandfather," said Melissa. "He was the one who inspired him to become a knight in the first place. If it weren't for that old bloke named Reuben, he wouldn't be as famous as he is today."

     "In memory of my dear grandfather, we named you after him," added Reynold. He pointed to the Meridell coat of arms sewn to the Meridellian defender's roughly woven shirt. "As a lasting reminder of his legacy. That's why your name is also very special."

     The male white Blumaroo made a small smile, his lower lip quivering slightly. "You never told me that before," he gasped.

     "Well, you were too young to understand back then," said his mother. "In fact, we weren't planning to reveal this till you're a little more mature. However, since the arrival of Rohane - and your duty as his elder sibling and junior mentor - we've decided that it was time."

     Reynold patted his back. "So don't be jealous, okay? We love you both equally, no matter what happens to any of you. Come now, your mother's got hot soup ready for us." He and Melissa stood up from the bed and each planted a kiss on Reuben's head. But as they walked out ahead of him, they did not see or read his thoughts.

     "Rohane can never be better than me," muttered their older son. "I was the first and the eldest. I will not play second fiddle to my own sibling. My dream will never come true." He glanced at himself in the mirror, and a scheming, devilish smile resurfaced.

     "I'm the boss."

To be continued...

 
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