It’s been AGES since your last letter. I have a thousand questions to ask you, but I think I’ll just ask the really important ones. Like... where in Neopia are you and your friends now? What are you up to this time? What’s wrong with Terror Mountain that’s making all of you stay so long there – assuming you’re still battling blizzards and stomping through snow? Would it have anything to do with the Snowager’s disappearance, which currently plagues the Neopian Times and neighborhood gossip? And most of all... are you eating three square meals a day?
Never mind. Mother (she asked me if you’re eating three square meals a day) just handed me the latest issue of the Neopian Times and the Terror Mountain thing made the front page. As usual. But still... do you three have to go through it yourselves? On second thought, next question.
You better come home after that, or else I’ll march up there and drag you back to Meridell by your neck. I swear by this whittling knife you gave me for my birthday.
Speaking of knives, business is booming. I actually had a line once, and everyone in it wanted a knife. It was exciting, if exhausting. I was glad to have some volunteers help out with things like tallying the profits and arranging the goods. Only... I have no idea what to do with the extra money I earned. I mean, there really isn’t anything I want to buy. Even Mother’s telling me not to get anything for her.
On second thought, maybe it’s about time I expanded my work area. I mean, it’s been a small shed beside our house for a long time and if business keeps up like this... you get the picture. Yeah, that’s a good cause. I might even start tipping Ruben and Andrea, the Kyrii siblings who are always passing by to help me out, but every time I offer them a share of my earnings, they look as if I’m giving them old sweaty socks. They want me to keep every Neopoint I earn. So, does it work that way with you three out there too? Do you, Mipsy and Talinia split whatever you get – assuming you somehow get paid for running around Terror Mountain? Then again, you do manage to drop by an inn every now and then and send me your letters...
I feel like I haven’t seen you in an eternity and a half. Actually, it does feel like an eternity and a half. Successful business and good company aside, it’s boring here in Trestin without you. But don’t fret – Ruben and Andrea, especially Andrea, keep my ego in check, but I’m sure you’ll want that old job of yours back when you return. Your friends don’t sound like they need someone to keep their heads from ballooning, and you’re a really modest one, you know that?
Don’t let that get into your head. After all, I think you’ve still got a long way to go before you finish whatever you’re supposed to.
But I know you can do it. Just hang in there... and remember that Mother and I are always here, waiting for you. And everyone else. I’m just too lazy to list names down right now. My fingers hurt – I’ve been whittling bows all day. Speaking of bows, I’d like to know just how good Talinia’s aim is. I don’t know – it’s just a thought.
Maybe I should have just started making coats instead. You must be freezing there. Remember when we were kids and it snowed so hard that we couldn’t get out of bed and asked Mother and Father to bring us extra blankets? We used all the blankets, and I think we even had the tablecloth! Just thinking about it makes me laugh... and wonder how hard it must be for you to hop out of bed every morning so you could...
Honestly, I have no clue as to what you’re doing. Are you saving a damsel in distress like the heroes in those faerie tales Mother told us while we curled up in bed? You better not be hunting for some legendary treasure that you only overheard from old guys in taverns – unless there’s real proof that it exists. And don’t kill yourself. I can’t count the number of times I’ve told you that.
I’m betting you’re saving someone. It’s just like you to do that. I may not know what business you’ve got in Terror Mountain, but I still know you. I’m your older brother, after all. I can’t help it.
By the way, guess who I found in the Neopian Times? That’s right – I found myself staring at your face.
I thought, “That little yellow Blumaroo hasn’t changed one bit, even if he’s got a big heavy sword – I’m thinking you saved Father’s old one, and if I’m not mistaken, you wouldn’t sell it for all the gold in the world – and a real suit of armor.” And I assume the blue Acara is Mipsy, and the green Eyrie is Talinia, and the little Korbat... uh...
Wait, according to the article, you three found a lost kid in Happy Valley, and the entire village was totally indebted to you. The kid’s mother was actually sobbing on your shoulder. I can just imagine someone trying to gently pry her off so they can get a good shot of you for the Times... or they just didn’t want her to make your armor rust. You’re even more like Father now.
For one thing, you’re always saving everyone. Do yourself a favor – save yourself and get back here.
Oh, wait, I forgot. You’re also very stubborn and you don’t like listening to your big brother. And you insist on finishing everything you start, so I’ll play the role of the supportive brother, sit back here and wait for you to come back so I can start bragging to everyone about how great and heroic and chivalrous you are. After all, there are only two things I can do right now – complain or clam up.
I’ll clam up and cheer for you. Besides, complaining is a waste of time. I could spend that time figuring out how to forge this curved blade for Ruben. His birthday’s coming up, you see, and this is a great way to show my thanks for always helping me with my business. We hit a sort of slump for a while, but it was a nice rest for me. Then the clients came back as though they just vacationed on Mystery Island.
You’re the talk of the village again. Parents are definitely going to trust you with their kids. You could start a business of your own – as a babysitter.
I know, I know. You’re going to tell me you’d rather be a knight of Meridell, like Father. There’s another reason to come back as soon as possible to Meridell, so King Skarl can finally knight you, and I’ll be in the crowd with Mother and all of Trestin – we’re not a very big village, anyway, we could probably fit in the castle – clapping and making enough noise till I lose my voice. But isn’t protecting the children part of being a knight? Consider it a part-time job! Oh, if only I could see your face right now...
Seriously, I’m proud of you, all right? They better give you free nights at the inn and free stuff too, they should be aware of what you’re doing for them.
...whatever you’re doing for them, besides looking for lost kids. You know...
The white Blumaroo looked up from his desk. Several sheets were scattered on the surface, bearing his slightly untidy scrawl and a few smudges here and there in black ink. He blinked several times and stretched, wondering how long he had been writing – or better yet, how long the letter was now. Turning around, he found his mother standing in the doorway, an older, female version of him.
“Writing another letter – or is that the same one you’ve been writing lately? Rohane hasn’t sent anything at all these days. Do you know what happened to him?”
“Actually, I have no idea how to send this, since he told me to stop writing to him – at least, for a while. He’s on the move, I think, and it will be hard,” said Reuben, shrugging and putting down his quill. But he managed to grin and add, “I don’t know what’s happening over on that side of Neopia right now, but if there’s one thing I know, it’s that my brother has a mission he must complete, and nothing will stop him. Not even us.”
Melissa sighed thoughtfully, gave him a small smile and held out an envelope addressed to both of them.
“Well... perhaps now we can finally know.”