I had never wanted to be a knight.
It was a hot summer evening in Neopia that I heard about the war that was being planned. I heard of the riches, and the fame that King Skarl promised if you became a knight, and suddenly had my heart set on it.
My small hut in Meridell wasn’t much to offer, but it was a roof above my head, and the view of the kingdom was amazing. I walked into the hut where my sister was making dinner. Veronica wasn’t really my sister; we had simply known each other for years and years, and when our owners disowned us, we got enough money to get our own little hut.
Veronica was dressed in one of her two dresses. Both of them were in rags, and her antennas were pulled back with a bandanna that was tied tightly under her little cherry-red chin. She was a very pretty Aisha, I admit that, but I only thought of her as a sister, like I always have.
“Good evening, Veronica,” I said and hung up my coat on the rack by the door. Veronica looked over her shoulder at me and smiled. “What’s for dinner?”
“I bought some food at the store this morning. I bought some flat bread, peas, and stew,” Veronica said, and stepped sideways to let me see the flat bread she was cutting and the peas that were cooking over the fireplace. I smiled.
“It’s a good thing we finally earned some money; there’s so much to do around here it’s hard to make any time!”
Veronica nodded in agreement. I sat down at a chair near the window and gazed out into the kingdom.
“It’s beautiful, isn’t it?” I asked.
“What?” She looked over at me as if I had suddenly caught a case of NeoMites.
“The Kingdom, of course,” I replied. She sighed and shook her head like I was nuts.
“Meekel, we’ve lived near the Kingdom for how long?”
“Four years... I know, I know... but it looked extra beautiful today,” I said and looked at her with a smile. “Did you hear?”
“Hear about what?” she asked as she went back to slicing and buttering the flat bread.
“The King is offering fame and riches for anyone who becomes a knight and fights for him.”
Veronica stared at me and listened carefully as I told the story. “I had just been walking through the streets when I heard the hum of the rumor spreading. I asked that old Ixi who sells petpets if she knew what was going on. He told me of what the King had said and I took off straight for the castle. By the time I got there, the sun was high up in the sky, and dozens of neopets were swarmed around the entrance of the kingdom. But over the drone of their excited whispers, I could hear the king explaining- probably for the billionth time- about the fame and riches that awaited the knights that joined.”
“Meekel....” Veronica sighed. “Dozens of neopets are going to want to be a knight now! I doubt King Skarl is just picking randomly from anyone who shows up. I’m sure that the neopets would have to have gone through a lot of training for him to even consider picking them.” I nodded. She was very right.
“Well, I’m going to go to the kingdom tomorrow and see the people he’s picking.” I stood up confidently and smiled up at the ceiling. Veronica handed me a piece of flat bread and waved a paw at me, telling me to sit down so we could eat.
Today I was a poor young neopet living off of the few neopoints I earned.
Tomorrow I just knew, I knew I was going to be a knight.
“Rise and shine, sleeping beauty.”
I groaned as light hit my eyes and rubbed a paw over my drowsy face.
“You’re the one who said you’d get to the kingdom to see who King Skarl picks! And neopets are already lining up.”
My eyes widened and I leaped out of bed and pulled on fresh clothes and raced out of the hut without even saying good bye to Veronica.
The sun was bright and the grass was coated in morning dew. My bare paws were nearly soaked by the time I reached the entrance. As I shuffled my way through to the front of the mob, neopets yelled at me to get back- I knew none of them so kept making my way up.
“Everyone, SILENCE!” the King boomed. I covered my ears and looked up at him. “No one will be picked to be one of my knights if everyone does not quiet down.” The whole earth seemed to go quiet. “Now, as many of you know I promised the knights who served me fame and riches... now, for those who don’t know- you will only get this fame and these riches after the battle has been won.” A few pets began whispering and muttering to each other. “Anyone who wishes to leave now, please do.” To my surprise, more than half of the group left.
King Skarl looked down at us and smiled a wicked smile. There were only a few dozen of us. I picked out a few, like an aggressive looking Moehog who looked as though he wanted to kill something at that second; an insane-looking, little yellow Korbat who was so jittery he couldn’t stand still; a big yellow Chia who just stared angrily at everyone and everything; and a crazy old bag of bones who looked very fragile compared to a normal Lupe. There were a few Shoyrus and Grarrls but none that looked peculiar or interesting.
“Now, my young knights... are you ready?”
It turned out that none of us were completely ready- even the aggressive looking ones. Some of the neopets were killed cruelly and some were killed instantly. I had been surprised at myself for making it so far. The last few neopets standing for King Skarl was me, the Moehog, the Korbat, and the Lupe- and we weren’t much of a team at all.
We had made our final attack on the heart of the kingdom, and all five of us were captured. Of course, along the way I learned a lot about all my fellow knights. It turned out that the Moehog was named Clomp, or that’s what we called him. He couldn’t speak, it seemed like, so stomped his hoof to communicate.
The Korbat’s name was Barallus; he really was insane. In fact, when we were imprisoned, they ended up putting him in a straight jacket and kept his dangling by chains from the roof just so he couldn’t try anything dangerous. I never understood this, because while we were knights together he wasn’t insane, just a little weird and jittery. It seemed silly to put a tiny little Korbat in so many chains.
The Lupe was kind of insane- his name was Number Five, and once we were imprisoned he kept banging that stick of his against the wall and talked about a place called Jelly World.
Oh, remember that aggressive Chia that was standing in the crowd I told you about? Well, I had heard about him leaving the Kingdom a while before we were supposed to attack, and tried to claim victory by himself. Well, he ended up in the cell next to me.
And now, all five of us, are forced to play a little game called Cellblock. But, if you beat us, and get all the way up to Master Vex and beat him... we’re promised that we’ll be set free.
But I warn you, be careful. Master Vex is a tricky one.
And he might just trap you here with us.