I've Never Felt Better: Part One
Lord Tamerson absolutely hated visitors.
They were noisy, they chattered too much, they hogged all of the best seats in the living room, and he never really got any company that he wanted anyways. The Wocky preferred to sit in his study with a thick book, reading glasses perched on his nose.
His mansion was deep into the Haunted Woods, with a path leading towards it from Neovia. The house loomed like an ancient castle, surrounded in mist and barren trees. Every so often a werelupe called out, or a ghost wailed. It was the last place anybody in their right mind would want to live. Lord Tamerson stayed there nonetheless.
On that particular day, it was actually somewhat bright and cheery. Well, as bright and cheery as you can get in the Haunted Woods. For once the sun was out, not blocked by ominous clouds, and the creatures of the woods weren’t making a racket. Lord Tamerson, though, did not like the sun to come in and ruin all of his precious books, so he drew the curtains and settled down with a large tome about the Lost Desert.
He was a gray Wocky, with no sort of color on him at all save for his mane, which was a rather gloomy and depressing shade of blue. He wore a suit, a top hat, and a frown. He was sitting in a large blue chair in front of a desk. His study was filled with shelves of books and a couch that looked as if a few petpetpets had begun to eat at it. Encased in glass were a few old yet beautiful vases. Lord Tamerson had always had a thing for antiques and artifacts.
He was deep into his book when somebody pounded on the door.
Lord Tamerson jumped up, nearly dropping his book. He scowled and put it on the desk. He grabbed his cane and headed downstairs to greet the visitor. He already knew who it was. Nobody but his nephew knocked on the door so loudly.
Lord Tamerson glared down at the red Wocky. “Hello, Haquin. Come inside.”
The two Wockies went indoors. Even though it was Lord Tamerson’s house, Haquin led the way, darting ahead. The halls of the mansion were decorated with the artifacts that Lord Tamerson had collected. “Be careful!” Lord Tamerson hissed. “These things are worth more money than what you’ll ever have!”
Haquin examined a statue of Coltzan III. “Don’t know about that,” he chuckled.
Lord Tamerson rushed over to the statue. “It’s not just a crumbling clay figure,” he growled.
“Really? Wow, I would’ve never guessed.”
Lord Tamerson’s tail flicked in irritation. “Up the stairs with you. I’ll talk to you in my study.”
The gray Wocky insisted on going in before Haquin, if only to make sure that his nephew wouldn’t run straight into one of the vases. He let Haquin sit on the couch. Lord Tamerson would’ve sat down, but he couldn’t relax with his energetic nephew around. “Now, what do you want?”
Haquin’s face was the picture of injured innocence. “What, I can’t just visit my uncle every so often?”
“Your father never sends you here unless you’ve done something or you want something,” Lord Tamerson said in frustration. “So what’s going on?”
Haquin laughed. “Alright, alright, I’ll tell you. I was thinking of going on a trip.”
“Good for you. Go.”
“No, Uncle, I mean... go on a trip, and bring you with me.”
Lord Tamerson’s eyes widened. “But why?”
“Because I know you like old and dusty things,” Haquin explained, “and where I’m going there will be a lot of old and dusty things.”
“Well, that would be nice, but...” Lord Tamerson eyed the room around them.
“I can’t just leave the mansion!” he exclaimed. “Who will clean it and dust it and keep my antiques safe?”
“Dad can probably send somebody over.” Haquin glanced at a vase. “It’s not like this place can’t get any dustier, anyways.”
Lord Tamerson glared at him.
“Sorry,” his nephew muttered. “Look, remember that Dad owns that book store in Meridell... he’s got quite a few people working for him. He can just send one of his employees. I know them, and they’re pretty responsible.”
Lord Tamerson snorted. “As if you could judge responsibility.”
“Do you want to go or not?”
Haquin sighed. “Come on, I know somebody who could take care of your house... he’s a Bori. Very organized. Clean freak. You two would get along.”
The older Wocky seemed to consider this for a few minutes. “Send a message to your father. Tell him that I want to meet this Bori in person.”
Haquin nodded. “I’ll go into Neovia and get a Uni to tell him.”
A few days later, a green Uni landed in front of the mansion. On her back was the Bori. His fur had stripes for all the colors of the rainbow, and he wore a red cloak. At first this put Lord Tamerson on the defensive. He and Haquin rushed outside to meet the Bori. He whispered to his nephew, “Are you... sure that he’ll be able to take care of my house properly?”
“Haven’t you ever read the phrase? ‘Never judge a book by its cover’?” Haquin chuckled.
“Hmph,” was all that Lord Tamerson said.
He marched up to the Bori, who was smiling at the two of them. Lord Tamerson held out a paw. The Bori shook it. “Good morning,” the Wocky said. “I am Lord Tamerson.”
“And I am Kapport,” the Bori replied. “It’s a pleasure to meet you.”
Lord Tamerson showed him one of his rare smiles. “Come inside, I’ll show you the mansion.”
Kapport nodded. “You want me to look after it while you’re gone, am I correct?”
“Yes,” Lord Tamerson replied, “and as you may know, I can’t just trust my mansion with anybody.”
“Well, just tell me what I ought to do and it will be done.”
“Good,” Lord Tamerson said, in a rather cheery tone.
The two went inside, and Haquin grinned. Finally, he had found somebody that his uncle actually liked.
“...And he expected me to pay that much! Honestly, I think that some people underestimate the intelligence of others!”
Kapport and Lord Tamerson were chatting and laughing over cups of tea while Haquin sat silently in the background. They told each other stories and jokes that Haquin didn’t understand, so he merely said nothing. His uncle had taken Kapport through the mansion and told him every story he knew about the place.
It had been built long ago, before Neovia had been founded. It had been built for their family, of course, and in times long gone it had been quite an active place. But now only Lord Tamerson lived there. It somewhat amazed Haquin that his own father had grown up in this old mansion. His father just seemed too lively and had too much a sense of humor to actually enjoy living in a place like this. Yet he’d often told Haquin about the little nooks and crannies he’d found in the mansion.
His uncle was more interested in the historical importance that the house had, though, and Haquin had never been the studious one. History bored him. But it was all that Kapport and Lord Tamerson would talk about. He decided to cut the conversation short. “So, Uncle,” he said, striding up to Lord Tamerson’s side, “I think that Kapport would make the perfect housekeeper while we’re gone. Don’t you agree?”
“But of course!” Lord Tamerson said enthusiastically. “Kapport, the mansion is all yours while I’m on this trip.” He and the Bori shook paws again.
Haquin breathed a sigh of relief.
“So, when are you two leaving?” Kapport asked.
“As soon as possible,” Haquin replied.
Lord Tamerson scratched his chin. “You know, you haven’t really told me where we’re going or how we’re going to get there, either.”
Haquin smiled. “I had to get you to agree first, that was the hardest bit. It’s not a very long trip... you’ll enjoy it, I guarantee you.” His uncle gave him a skeptical look. “We’ll go to the Lost Desert, we’ll go to Sakhmet, and then come back here.”
“Well, you have a long trip ahead of you,” Kapport commented.
Lord Tamerson nodded, and frowned at his nephew. “And how exactly are we going to get there?”
Haquin grinned. “I brought the hot air balloon.”
Lord Tamerson’s face fell and he groaned. “Oh, not that thing again. You know I’m afraid of heights. We couldn’t take a ship there?”
“This was cheaper. And besides, there aren’t ships around here, Neovia’s locked in by land on all sides.”
“What about hiring Unis? At least they’ll fly low if you ask them.”
“Like I said, cheaper. We already own a hot air balloon, and Unis always want you to pay too much money.”
Kapport gave Lord Tamerson a sympathetic look. The Wocky let out an irritated growl. “Fine. We take the hot air balloon.” He asked no one in particular, “Why did I agree to go on this trip again?”
To be continued...