The Great Gelert Hype: Part Three
Dawn approached with a gentle orange glow, and Fortuna staggered
out of bed, and proceeded down the stairs, and into the kitchen. When she entered,
she saw Lupo, and Pops sitting there, eating some fresh Sutek muffins. But there
was no sign of Tak.
"Is Tak up?" Fortuna asked, while helping herself
to one of the muffins.
"He said he had something he needed to do as
early as possible," Pops answered.
"But he was nice enough to buy this basket of
Sutek muffins for us," Lupo added, "those things are rare to see this time of
year. It must've cost him a fortune."
"Yeah, considering he doesn't appear to have
a lot of money," Pops sighed.
"So he bought these, placed them on the table,
and left?" Fortuna, beginning to assume that he'd left for good.
"He said he'd be back, Fortuna. Don't worry about
it." Lupo groaned. "I came down here just as he was leaving, and that's what
he'd told me. C'mon… would he lie?"
"I guess not…" Fortuna quietly whispered.
Pacing back and forth on the walk, Tak was busy
trying to debate how he was to go about telling Lupo, Pops, and especially Fortuna,
about what he really is. "I can't just tell them that I've been lying to them
all this time," he groaned. "But I can't keep on doing just that to hide my
true self." It was not long before Tak turned around, and came face-to-face
"Whoa! How'd you find me?" Tak yelped. Alissa
didn't look at all amused.
"Where have you been?" she growled, "We've been
worried sick about you!"
Surprise filled Tak's mind. "You mean to tell
me that Bones was concerned for me as well?" Alissa's anger calmed a little,
as she sat down underneath a tree.
"Well, the lunk-head, otherwise known as Bones
wasn't planning on looking for you. At least… until I reminded him that he doesn't
speak for all of us," Alissa explained.
"I thought so…" Tak smirked, "That Grarrl always
did have too much pride. Never openly showed any sensitive emotions." Then changing
the subject, Tak wondered how she had found him.
"Elian told me," she replied. "He was worried
the most out of all of us." Tak couldn't help but feel even more guilt about
this. "Was he now?" Tak, trying to play it off, coolly remarked. Alissa nodded
her head. "He said something about you having a family. Is that true?"
For once, Tak didn't have any wise responses
to fling back. All he could think of now, was the generosity of Fortuna, Lupo,
and Dad. Suddenly, he had an idea that he figured could help him and his group.
"This really nice family took me in, and said
I could live with them. Maybe… they'd let you, Elian, and even Bones in, and
get us out of this pathetic life we're living…"
Alissa was surprised to hear him say something
like this. "But Tak… Don't you think that you're being a little too trusting
of others? Namely complete strangers?"
Tak shook his head. "Naw, naw. I'm not reckless
enough to do that. Besides, aren't you forgetting how much you and Elian hate
stealing from others?"
Alissa couldn't deny this. Yet, she didn't want
to just leave Bones for her own interests. But then, she figured it would be
worth a try. "We could finally get Elian a warm bed and room to sleep in. Have
all the food we would need. And no more robbing stores of their hard-earned
stock," she sighed.
"That's the spirit!" Tak encouraged. "Let's go
But before they could, Fortuna strolled up, and
saw both of them standing there. "There you are, Tak!" Fortuna happily barked.
"I was wondering where you got to."
"Don't everybody try and find me at once…"
Tak muttered, reflecting on his being sought by, seemingly, all of Neopia.
"Who's this?" Fortuna, referring to Alissa, queried.
Alissa stepped forward, and introduced herself.
"I'm Alissa. Tak's told me a lot good things about you."
"Oh, please! I'm nothing to get excited over,"
Fortuna modestly said. "So… are you the same Alissa that Tak had saved from
Confused, Alissa wondered what this Lupe was
talking about. "Avalanche…?" was all she could say.
"You know… When you were taking your class on
a field trip, you were all caught in an avalanche, which swept all of you away,
and left you, three baby Neopets, and several cute petpets, dangling precariously
from a twig jutting out from a sheer rock wall, looking down at a potential
doom far below?"
"Not… really…" Alissa started to say, before
looking over at Tak, and realizing he was prompting her to play along. "… But
I did hit my head hard on the way down, so it is somewhat hazy."
Fortuna didn't appear the least bit suspicious.
"So it was you?" Alissa nodded. "Good thing Tak used his amazing mountain-Neopet
skills to climb down, and drag you to safety with his bare paws, eh?" Fortuna
"Yes…" Alissa, with a fake grin plastered on
her face, confirmed, "Quite a noble thing for him to do…" She looked over and
glared at Tak for a moment. "Would you excuse us?" she requested to Fortuna,
never taking her evil eye off of Tak, who stood there nervously grinning.
Taking him aside, Alissa angrily whispered "Avalanche?
Class? Twig? Bare paws?!" By the end of it, Alissa was so angry, that
Tak could practically see her shaking with rage.
All he could do was laugh nervously. "Yeah… but
that, and maybe a few other things was all I told her to, you know, make me
look good," he explained. Alissa growled a little, which scared Tak even more,
since Unis aren't really supposed to growl. "Um… geh… heh heh…" Tak stuttered.
"Is everything alright over there, Tak?" Fortuna
called from a short distance, "I could have sworn I heard Alissa growl."
Tak didn't want to draw anymore attention to
himself. "It was nothing! Probably just my stomach!"
Rejoining Fortuna, they apologized for their
sudden interruption. "It's no problem," she said, "I bet Tak had twice as many
interruptions, while he climbed to victory in the Cheat! Grand Finals," Fortuna
surmised, with great admiration.
"Oh, I'm sure of it…" Alissa quietly grumbled.
Then, leaning over to Tak's ear, she whispered "A few other things, huh?" Tak
"Well it sounds to me, like you should be in
the Gallery of Heroes, instead of on a wanted poster in the Neopian Post Office."
Then, she excused herself from the conversation, and prepared to leave.
"It was a pleasure meeting you!" Fortuna said.
"Oh! No… the pleasure was mine," Alissa corrected.
Again leaning over to Tak's ear, she said "After
this is all said and done, you and I… are going to have a LONG talk…" she hissed.
Tak almost swallowed his own tongue hearing this.
After she was out of sight, Fortuna examined
Tak, who was still shaking a little bit. "You okay? You seem rather pale…"
"I'll be fine…" Tak choked.
He started back home, but Fortuna stopped him.
"Could you help me with my errands today? We're restocking our storage for the
winter, and I could use an extra paw in carrying stuff."
"Sure!" Tak offered, without a second thought.
"I'm glad…" Fortuna smiled. "Well… let's get
to it, then," she ordered. Tak began to feel a little better-especially that
he was at least helping out already.
"So… where to first?" Tak asked.
"We're going to the Food Shop, to pick up some
bread," Fortuna answered.
Trumpets of Blasting went off inside Tak's head.
"Where did you say we're going?" he asked, wanting to make sure.
"The Food Shop, silly," she said. "It's not like
we can get food elsewhere any cheaper."
"Uh oh…" Tak hummed. Now he knew that he was
stuck between a rock and a jail block.
Cautiously, he tried to talk her out of it. "No
can do," she said. "The Marketplace is too expensive, and we're on a tight budget
after Lupo's Neomonia illness." Not even Tak could find a way to argue with
that. Yet, he could also feel apprehensive about going to the same place he'd
robbed the day before. After all, a thief isn't exactly a welcome patron in
any mercantile establishment. But what was worse, is that he still hadn't told
her the truth, and that now, it was much harder than ever to dig himself out
of this mess he'd created.
He didn't want to let her down, nor did he want
to deceive her anymore. It was a dilemma with no apparent escapes. I'll figure
out a way… Tak thought. Somehow, I'll make this work both ways, he
"Tak? Are you still with me over there?" Fortuna
snapped him out of his self-induced trance. "Yeah… Let's go…" he glumly replied,
as he began following her. Fortuna shrugged, not knowing what to think of Tak's
behavior, and walked ahead of him.
"Are you coming, or what?" Fortuna yelled after
Tak, who was lagging behind. Tak shot her a glance, before lowering his head
back towards the ground. Fortuna, again noticing something off about Tak, walked
back, and checked him over again. "Is there something bothering you?" He did
not answer. "Is there something on your mind that you'd be willing to share?"
Fortuna asked. For a moment, Tak felt as if she'd already known, but staring
into her gentle blue eyes revealed that not to be the case.
"I'm just a little sleepy is all," Tak sighed.
Once again, Tak felt a surge of guilt rushing through him. I've lied so much
now, that I don't even know what the truth is anymore, he thought. But even
then, Tak decided he would continue to try and keep the truth hidden from Fortuna,
and the others, and followed Fortuna to the Food Shop.
And so Tak trudged towards a difficult task.
Would he be able to pull off a miraculous move that could leave Fortuna none-the-wiser?
Or would the jig soon be up for him? Only time would tell…
To be continued…