Let Me Tell You the Truth
“Go home, Fabian, I don’t you to be a part of this,” a blue Kyrii whispered in the dark to a figure beside him.
“Bu-but, Elliot, that’s Mr. Pottinger’s farm; what if he sees you?”
“He won’t see me - and besides - I’m going to stop them, not join them.”
There was a momentary pause before the Kyrii crept out of the tall chick-a-daisy plants, making a bee-line for three dark neopets that were standing casually beside a plot of carefully tended primula flowers.
“Elliot!” shrieked the invisible form left behind in the crops. He shut his mouth quickly after realising his mistake, but the sound was loud enough to capture the attention of the shadowy shapes in view. He could see one of them gesturing towards the Kyrii, obviously saying something, but nothing was audible in the smothering darkness.
Elliot came to a standstill just metres away from the group – he began to talk, Fabian could tell because his finger continuously jabbed the air in the direction of Mr. Pottinger’s flowers. He thought he saw the other neopets laughing, but couldn’t be sure. As Elliot argued, his arm stopped its pointing and eventually slumped back to a vertical position. Fabian looked on, unsure of what to do, when the neopet furthest away reached for something on the ground. It appeared to be a medium-sized vial – containing something Fabian could not identify. The neopet Fabian had now recognized as a Blumaroo lifted the vial and pulled the cork out cautiously. Elliot moved a small step closer, but was prevented going any further by the neopet he had conversed with previously.
The next moments happened so rapidly that Fabian could barely follow them. First, the Blumaroo made his way to the edge of the flowerbed. He lifted the potion up above his head, tipping it so the liquid inside began to pour out. Next, Elliot was sprinting towards the Blumaroo, grabbing desperately for the vial. Instead of grasping it, he tripped, falling headlong into the Blumaroo, who spilled the potion all over the flowers, and all over Elliot’s stunned face.
Immediately, ugly, pulsating warts popped up on the area of skin touched by the mysterious potion. The primula flowers began to expand and change in colour. They, too, were graced with the awful warts.
As all this occurred, the three wrong-doers took off in different directions, laughing at the misfortune of Elliot. Fabian was a second away from dashing out from the cover of the crops when a farmer, Mr. Pottinger, came jogging out of his house, yelling and brandishing a sharp pitchfork. He halted when he saw Elliot.
“Well, well, if it ain’t young Mr. Elliot destroyin’ my crops with an illegal potion. I always knew you were a bad’un. “
Elliot tried to speak, but the warts on his face had spread to his lips, and he couldn’t create a clear sound.
“Can’t even do it without making a mess of yourself. We’ll see what the soldiers have to say about this, eh?” And with that, Mr. Pottinger hauled Elliot up by his ear, dragging him away to his formidable barn.
Fabian arrived home in the very early hours of the morning. His owner, Cass, had been sitting in the old porch chair waiting for him and Elliot to return home. However, she had fallen asleep with worry etched upon her face. “Mum?” Fabian whispered.
She awoke with a jump and stared at him confusedly for an instant before flinging her arms around his neck. “Oh, Fabian! Where have you been? I was so worried!” she cried.
Fabian squirmed. “Mum, stop it; I have something important to tell you.”
Cass let him go and glanced around. “Elliot,” she muttered. “Fabian, where is your brother?”
“Mum, I –” but he couldn’t continue, tears leaked from his eyes as he stammered and stuttered, trying to get the story out. It took him a number of attempts before his owner understood what had happened only hours beforehand.
“I didn’t do anything, Mum! Nothing! I could have stopped him from being taken away, but I didn’t even try!”
“Shh, sweetie, it’s going to be alright. We’ll go to Mr. Pottinger and tell him what you saw.”
“But he won’t believe me, and the soldiers have probably already taken Elliot away.”
“Then we’ll go to King Hagan himself,” Cass said heroically.
The two of them arrived at Mr. Pottinger’s farm just as the sun ascended above the distant hills. Fabian found the primula flowers easily enough; he observed their sickly green colour and wondered vaguely what sort of potion could do such a revolting thing to such beautiful plants. He realised with a jolt that poor Elliot’s face must now look like these flowers. Fabian shuddered at the thought.
Cass knocked on the farmhouse door when they approached the building. There was no answer and Fabian didn’t doubt that Mr. Pottinger was currently at the Brightvale castle, telling the soldiers all about the misdeeds of his truly innocent brother.
Cass knocked once more, but again nobody answered so the pair trudged to the gigantic barn Fabian had seen Elliot disappear into. The door swung open easily and they peered inside. It was evident from the disappointment on their faces that Elliot had not been left in the barn.
It was time to pay a visit to King Hagan.
The afternoon was trickling on as Cass and Fabian entered the Brightvale castle gates. Two Draik soldiers were positioned on either side of the entrance to the palace, their spears glittering in the bright sunlight.
One looked lazily upon Fabian and drawled, “The King is about to go for lunch. Return to share your wisdom in an hour.”
“But we need to see him now! It’s very important. Please, sir. We will only be a moment,” Fabian implored.
The guard sauntered over to the other and they spoke softly together. “We will let you enter, but only you. Your owner must wait outside.”
Fabian looked worriedly at Cass, who smiled encouragingly, “Go on, Fabian. You’re the only one who can tell them what happened. I’ll be right outside waiting for you when you’ve finished, OK?”
Fabian nodded, and shook slightly as the massive doors opened in front of him. He stepped over the threshold and saw a sign to his left ‘This way to The King’ it read. Fabian walked along the corridor, staring in amazement at the intricate tapestries adorning the walls. He eventually came to a large, semi-circular hole in the wall. Covering the hole was a green, velvet curtain, which he pushed aside, revealing a large chamber. Inside were more Draik guards and plenty of green furniture. On an emerald throne, lazily picking at a bowl full of grapes, was The King – King Hagan himself.
“Sir –” Fabian began.
“What is it, boy? Come to share your wisdom? I’m eating my lunch, can’t you see that? Return in an hour – I’ll be finished then.”
“No, sir, I – I was wondering if you could release my brother from prison? He’s innocent, you see. And – sir – I can tell you what really happened.”
There was a pause. And then something loud and powerful erupted from the King’s mouth, like water bursting from a dam. Fabian watched as the King laughed, determined not to cry at his unexpected humiliation.
“Boy,” King Hagan chuckled once more, his laughter subsiding. “Boy, I don’t think you’re in the right castle. This is Brightvale – not Meridell. If you want to make someone laugh, you should head on over to my brother’s kingdom. He’ll reward you greatly.”
“I wasn’t trying to make you laugh, sir,” Fabian replied bitterly.
The King regarded Fabian with a steely gaze. “What’s that?”
“I said I wasn’t trying to make you laugh. My brother really is a prisoner, but he’s done nothing wrong!”
“And who might your brother be, young one?”
“His name is Elliot. He’s a blue Kyrii.”
“Hm, not an Ogrin, like yourself?”
“No, Mum didn’t want us to be too similar.”
Fabian shuffled his hooves nervously, avoiding any eye contact with the King as he was observed.
Suddenly, a strange voice spoke up, “Your majesty – if I may – I believe I know who this young Ogrin is talking about.”
“Continue,” King Hagan ordered.
“An arrest was made last night on a farm on the outskirts of the city – a Kyrii had been found by the owner of the farm with Essence of Mortog potion spilt all over his face and on the flowers beside him. The farmer believed him to have purposely used the potion to ruin his prized flowers.”
“Essence of Mortog, you say? That’s quite a rare and expensive potion to come by, is it not?”
“It is, your majesty, and very much illegal.”
“He didn’t do it!” Fabian’s voice piped up louder than he intended. “It wasn’t him who bought the potion. I saw the whole thing! Please let me tell you the truth!”
“Silence!” The King lifted his hand in a commanding gesture. “Before you tell me what happened, I would like to know what your brother, Elliot, does for a living.”
“He doesn’t do anything, sir; he is too young to work. We both help out on the farm, but Mum doesn’t pay us to do that.”
“So, I am right in assuming that you don’t have much money to buy things for yourself?”
“No, sir, we can’t afford to pay for much.”
The King surveyed his soldiers. “You there,” he waved to a stony-faced Draik by a side door, “please fetch this blue Kyrii for me. I wish to speak with him.”
The Draik nodded and disappeared through the door. “Now, what was it you said your name was?” King Hagan questioned.
“I didn’t, sir. It’s Fabian.”
“Well, Fabian, now is the time to tell me your story.”
“Oh, oh yes, sir, of course!” And with that, Fabian told the King the truth. He left no detail out about the three strangers and made sure to stress the innocence of his brother. When he had finished, the side door opened again, this time for a thoroughly surprised looking blue Kyrii and the same Draik guard who had left moments before.
“Fabian!” Elliot shouted, astounded to see his brother standing before the King himself. “What in Fyora’s name are you doing?”
Fabian grinned, relieved to see that the worst of Elliot’s nasty warts had vanished. “I’m proving to everyone that you are innocent!”
The King motioned for Elliot to stand beside Fabian in the centre of the room. “I have heard your story, Fabian, and I don’t doubt that it is the truth. For one, Essence of Mortog is very rare, not anyone could have afforded such a valuable item and clearly neither of you has the means to buy one.” He glanced down at their ragged clothes before continuing. “The other reason I am inclined to believe your story is that I am fairly sure I know of the three who star as the real criminals in your telling of the event. They are notorious for theft and pointless but infuriating pranks and we are working our tails off to catch them.”
Fabian and Elliot beamed uncontrollably as King Hagan spoke, barely able to believe their luck.
“Before you leave, I have something to give you both.” The King reached behind his chair and pulled out two large volumes. “These books are only for those who have proved themselves worthy of my applause – I hope you enjoy them.”
King Hagan handed the books to the two brothers and smiled before speaking once more. “You are both very brave, and sometimes, even courage surpasses wisdom.”