Fighting Kass; The Tale of a Treehouse
When I was very young, maybe one year old, my parents moved to a cottage in Brightvale. It was all they could afford at the time, so we never complained about the small size of our new house... we just declared it snug. My domain, though, did not lie within my cottage, or even within the huge corridors of Brightvale Castle, where my father worked. I spent my entire childhood in what I considered the most magical thing any backyard could have... a treehouse.
The day I learned how to walk, I stumbled over to the base of the tree and looked up. The sun peeked through the leaves and lit up my little world. But then I noticed something peculiar. Nailed up the side of the trunk were little wooden ledges. Every day I would sit in front of those ledges and wonder what they were for. Maybe Illusen nailed them there because the tree liked it, or maybe a monster nailed them there because he thought it would scare me.
One day, my mother left the house to go to the Scrollery and I decided it was time to climb those ledges. My stubby little Green Mynci feet balanced on the first ledge while I pulled myself up to the next, then the next. Up and up I went, the leaves brushing against me and making me giggle. When I finally got to the top, I was so surprised I nearly fell all the way back down to the ground.
Lots of other neopets sat in one corner of this big, wooden platform, which had a small wooden fence around its edges. I scooted myself up, brushed myself off, and looked at them expectantly. They seemed like they had been waiting for me, though I didn’t know why. I looked around, and Brightvale in all its beauty unfolded before my very eyes, going so far into the distance that it touched the sky. I looked back at my company. They didn’t see how beautiful a view there was; they only saw me.
That’s when I noticed a shiny organ in the opposite corner. I gasped and turned angrily to the crowd. “Why are you keeping that expensive organ right on the edge? It’ll fall! You should build some stronger walls, honestly!” They didn’t seem to hear me, so I went over to the organ and sat down.
My fingers swept over the keys, longing to play something pretty to accompany the setting. I touched one of the keys, and a beautiful sound vibrated through the afternoon air. I touched another one, and this time it was a high sound that enveloped the tree. I played three notes in a row, and before I knew what I was doing, a song started swirling around in the air, like thick fog before a storm. My fingers skillfully danced like Spyders around the keys, wanting the song to last forever.
When I stopped, I turned to face my audience. They didn’t look so creepy anymore. Instead, they were smiling. I don’t know who started it, but applause began and grew louder until it was practically deafening. I took a bow and walked over to the wooden ledges as if I were walking offstage. “Thank you, thank you,” I called, and lowered myself down the ledges until I reached the dirt.
The next day, after a feeble breakfast of chopped tangella, I headed out to the backyard and greeted the wooden ledges with a grin. As I hoisted myself up the trunk, I tried to think about what I was going to play for them this time. Maybe a joyful jig, or a smooth waltz. However, when I peeked my head over the edge of the platform, my audience had disappeared. Instead, Lord Kass was sitting in a chair snoring, his head lolling to one side.
I nearly screamed. Lord Kass had shoved my organ off the edge and killed my audience! I stood up, despite my fear of this giant villain, and stepped on something hard. Looking down, I saw that it was an authentic palace guard sword! I picked it up and my eyes widened at how light it was. Apparently, the swishing sounds I made with it were loud, because Lord Kass jumped up. “Who enters the lair of Kass?” he grumbled.
“It is I, Lord... Lord...” I glared defiantly. “Lord Spass!”
“Does Lord Spass challenge Lord Kass to a duel?” the massive Eyrie rumbled.
“Yes! Yes he does.” I waved my sword aggressively, but the sight of Lord Kass bounding towards me was a little alarming, so I turned around, dropped my sword, and scrambled down the ledges as fast as I could. I didn’t stop until I reached the cottage.
That night, when my mother was tucking me in, I told her about fighting Kass.
“Did you win?” my mother asked, chuckling for some reason.
“No,” I said sadly. “Do you think I can beat him if I go back tomorrow? I sure hope he didn’t take my sword.” My mom patted me on the head and asked if I wanted to go to Brightvale Castle tomorrow to see King Hagan.
“Helloooo! Didn’t I just tell you? I’m going to fight Lord Kass tomorrow.” My mom nodded and said she would stay home if I wanted to play in the backyard some more.
Before the sun was even up the following morning, I found myself climbing those ledges. I called up the trunk to Kass, “I’m coming, you little Mootix! I’m going to beat you this time!”
When I reached the wooden platform, though, Kass wasn’t there. In his place was something—if possible—much more exciting. The wooden platform had transformed into a Yooyuball court. At the far end was a goal set up, and Orie Dinelle, in full Brightvale uniform, stood before it.
“Let’s see what you’ve got!” she called. A Normal Yooyu sprung up from the center of the court, but I was unsure of what to do. Glancing down and finding a uniform similar to Dinelle’s at my feet, I hurriedly changed into it and oohed at how it matched my green fur.
The Yooyu had drifted off, I assumed because I had taken too long donning my Brightvale uniform. It woke instantly when I picked it up and charged towards the goal. It squealed when I threw it, and sighed in relief when Orie Dinelle caught it in her arms. Before I could feel disappointed, a Faerie Yooyu had emerged, and I continued to play.
I got better as the morning progressed, and Orie Dinelle seemed to lose energy rather fast. When I hurled a cowering Snow Yooyu past the weary Ogrin, I heard in the very far distance (as though my house was in Terror Mountain) my mother calling me for lunch. I thanked Dinelle for the practice, and shedding my uniform, scuttled down the ledges and into the cottage for lunch. My mother didn’t notice my eyebrows were slightly singed from the exploding Clockwork Yooyus.
I had figured out by now that each time I went up to the treehouse, a new exciting activity would await me. I only kept from the treehouse when I was ill, or when I was made to go into town with my parents. My picture books and bouncy balls had lost all of their satisfaction, and I hardly noticed when my mother collected all my toys and brought them all the way to Neopia to donate them to the Money Tree.
I trained with Cap’n Threelegs, had a chat with King Coltzan about Chia Mites, and played Beach Volleyball with Fyora. I was always so pleased that such famous Neopians got up so early and traveled all the way to my treehouse to greet me every morning. The worst day of my youth was a smoggy Friday morning, roughly a year after discovering the treehouse, when my parents told me to pack my things. We were moving to Neopia Central, where my father had an opportunity to open a shop. I should’ve been happy for my parents, because they had worked so hard to save up money for a bigger house. But instead, I felt utterly miserable.
I learned to like Neopia Central just fine; I began accumulating toys again, but these were more along the lines of bikes, puzzles, and yoyos. I became particularly interested in detective work, especially after receiving a green magnifying glass for my birthday one year.
Last month, while doing some investigating in Meridell, I had the sudden urge to visit the old cottage. An elderly Buzz answered the door and kindly allowed me to look in the backyard. I was euphoric to see the tree still there and the wooden ledges on the trunk disappearing into the leafy heaven of my childhood. Though it must’ve looked a bit silly (a full-grown Mynci scrambling up the side of a tree, giggling like a toddler) I soon found myself near the top, eager to see what would there would be. But when I hoisted myself onto the familiar wooden platform with the delicate fence around the perimeter, my face fell. Nothing but a web, undoubtedly long-abandoned by a Spyder, occupied my treehouse. I must’ve sat there for many hours; I vaguely recall the moon coming and going. As the sun’s golden rays tinged the horizon, indicating a new day, I awoke from my daze and realized nothing was going to happen.
The climb down seemed longer than it ever had been, and I was thinking the whole way down. Had I truly imagined each and every single one of my treehouse adventures? I supposed I had. Every clank of a sword, every bite of Lime Nimmo Cake... was all in my head. By the time my feet reached the ground, a wide smile had spread from one of my ears to the other. I had proven that childhood, or even life in general, was not about material things. Anyone at anytime can have an adventure... they just need to have an imagination as well.