The Great Gelert Hype: Part Five
"Kid, there's no time! You're gonna have to trust me!" Tak
desperately shouted. A crowd had assembled below, and watched the drama taking
place at the top of this tree. Worried whispers and murmurs echoed silently through
the ranks of Neopets, while Fortuna and Alissa stood side-by-side, and watched
with worrisome vigilance. Lupo, and Dad, who had seen the crowd, headed over to
investigate, only to see Tak and a young Wocky up in a tree.
"What's going on up there?" Lupo asked someone.
"There's a Wocky stuck up in that tree, and that
Gelert is trying to rescue him!"
Dad strained his eyes, and saw the familiar Gelert.
"Is that Taekush up there?"
"Sure does look like it," Lupo replied. Looking
over, he saw his sister, Fortuna standing there, staring at Tak with her jaw
agape. He went over, and asked her what was going on, but she did not answer.
She was too busy making sure Tak was doing alright. The Skeith and Kougra officers
decided they'd argued enough, and set up nets all around the tree to safeguard
Elian, should Tak fail. Even with the nets, though, it was still very frightening
for someone that age to be up so high, in so dire a situation.
"Oh… be careful with him, Tak…" Alissa whispered.
The branch began to crease further, and further downward, and Tak realized their
time for fooling around was up.
Tak threw out his paw one more time, and looked
at Elian with fierce determination. "C'mon Kid…" he coaxed, in a low whisper,
"Grab hold of my paw. You can do this… I know it."
Elian finally worked up the courage, and grabbed
onto Tak's paw, digging in with his sharp claws as he did so. The crowd gasped
in anxiety as he entrusted his grip to Tak's paw. Tak groaned with pain, desperately
wanting to scream, but didn't want to risk scaring Elian. So he pulled him over
the sturdier base of the limb, and set him on top.
"Whew! You did it, Kid," Tak grinned. "Now all
we gotta do is climb down…" Tak looked down at that moment, and remembered his
slight fear of heights. "Ooh… uh… Maybe you should go first…" Tak said, nervously.
Elian gave him an annoyed look. "No way! I can't
go down by myself!"
"But you climbed up here by yourself," Tak contended.
"I can't do it!" Elian whimpered. Tak didn't
know what to do. He didn't want to spend another second in this tree. Noticing
a piece of cotton sitting inside a vacated Weewoo nest on the tree branch he
suddenly got an idea. Breaking off a nearby stick, and pulling the wad of cotton
from the nes, he placed the cotton on the stick. "Look at the Snowbunny!" Tak
said, in a sing-song voice, as he held a stick with a wad of cotton at the end.
"Look! The Snowbunny is going to bottom! Better catch it before it gets away!"
"Haha-hehe!" Elian giggled, as he scrambled down
after the stick, forgetting all about his apprehension.
"Nice and slow, now…" Tak instructed, following
after him. But he realized that his plan was working a little too well. "Well,
you don't have to… you don't have to go that fast…"
Before he could finish, Elian was at the bottom,
and wild cheering and applause was all that could be heard from the crowd, as
Elian and Alissa ran up to each other, and hugged.
"Whoo… All alone now… Yep, no one here… all by
myself…" Tak muttered with increasing unease.
"You can come down now Tak! It's over!" Fortuna
"Yeah! C'mon Tak! It's easy!" Elian encouraged.
"I know it's easy!" he shouted back. Then, under
his breath, "Easy for you to say…"
He struggled to find his footing below, and began
climbing down. "That's right. Keep the rhythm, Tak," he coaxed himself. "Soon
you will be back on the-" Tak looked down, and realized the branch he was on,
had snapped. "Oh dear…" Tak sighed, before falling to the ground with a thud.
"Tak! Tak! Can you hear me?" Tak came to, and
could see blurred images all around him.
"C'mon… say something!" Alissa's voice urged.
Tak's maw opened, his lips began to move, and
everyone leaned in to see if he would speak. "Something…" Tak spoke weakly.
Alissa was not amused. "Think you're funny, huh?"
Everyone turned their heads. Even Bones couldn't
help but turn away. "This ain't good. I can't watch!"
Crashing noises were all that could be heard,
followed by a loud "OW!" by Tak. Alissa walked past the crowd brushing off her
hooves, and wearing a satisfied grin on her face. After Tak recovered once more,
the Kougra and Skeith police officers walked up to him, and shook his paw.
"Well, even though you'd done some bad things,
you did sorta redeem yourself by performing a heroic act, and a great service
to this town. Consider you and your friends free to go," the Kougra declared.
"What should we report to the Chief?" the Kougra,
addressing the Skeith, asked.
"We'll just tell him that those aren't the Neopets
we're looking for," he replied. "Just stay outta trouble, okay Kid?" the Skeith
officer told Tak. They then returned to their beats.
Bones strolled up to Tak, and kneeled beside
him. "Tak… since you have the chance to live here with a clean slate, and in
a nice Neohome, I think we should go our separate ways for now. You take care
of yourself, you hear?" He then walked off toward the setting sun.
"Bones…" Tak sighed.
"Let him go. It was hard enough for him to actually
show sensitivity for a change…" Alissa said. "You need not worry about me and
Elian either. A local mountain-climbing team saw Elian's moves coming down the
tree. They want to recruit him for their next competition… and me to coach him
Tak smiled. "They say they'll provide lodgings
for us, while he's there, so I guess this means there's no reason for Elian
and I to remain either…" she sighed.
"Then… I guess this is goodbye for you as well…"
"Yeah… But this is what I wanted: a chance for
Elian to live an innocent livelihood. Goodbye Tak…" She embraced him. "… and
thank you for everything." She turned, and then walked off. But before she could…
"Tak!" Elian cried, as he ran up to him, almost
out of breath. "I drew this for you…" He handed a picture of himself, and Tak
holding hands in a sunny meadow.
"How ironic…" Tak grinned, "… but it's a good
picture. Good luck to you Kid…" And with that, he and Alissa left the scene
as well, leaving Tak all alone with the very group he'd deceived.
"So… I guess you guys won't want me around you
anymore…" Tak sighed. The others remained silent. "It's alright," Tak said,
"I wouldn't blame you." He began to walk away.
"Tak…" Fortuna started, long enough to make Tak
turn around. "… even though we should be mad at you, we decided we're better
than that. Seeing as how you can show acts of bravery and kindness, we believe
you're better than even what you said you were."
"I said a lot of things," Tak said. "I couldn't
even remember what most of the things I said were…"
"But that doesn't matter, because Dad has a little
surprise for you."
Lupo and Fortuna's human stepped forward, and
said "Tak, we would be honored if you would come live with us."
Tak stepped forward, eyes wide. "You mean it?!"
Lupo nodded. "It'd be nice to have a brother,
too. Of course, we trust that you will at least try to earn your keep around
the house as long as you're with us."
"Doesn't seem too hard," Tak said.
He and Dad began walking home. "We're going
to go play some Kacheekers by the fireplace. Want to join?" Lupo invited.
"Sure!" Tak said. "See ya there!"
After they'd left, Tak sat down beside Fortuna,
who was staring at the setting sun. "So I guess you're disappointed at me being
nothing more than a street-Meepit, instead of all that other stuff…"
Fortuna looked at him, and sighed. "Well I was
at first, but I guess I sorta already knew about you from the start of today."
Tak couldn't help but wonder. "How'd you find
"That basket of Sutek muffins… I heard rumors
a basket had been stolen right off someone's doorstep," she explained, "and
since you said you don't have a lot of NP, I thought that seemed off. That,
and the fact that you were acting strangely all day today."
"Ah…" Tak said, embarrassed. Then changing the
subject, "What happened to those nets?" he asked, referring to the nets that
were there to catch him under the tree.
"I suppose I was so mad, that I may have kicked
the one that would've caught you, out of the way, to settle the score," Fortuna
said, with an evil grin.
"You did that?" Tak said before he burst out
"What's so funny?" Fortuna wondered.
"Nothing… I just figured you were saying that
to make me feel scared… Besides, you seem too good-natured to do something like
that, anyway," he said.
"Well you wanna know something even funnier?"
"I was telling the truth."