A First Time For Everything: Part Two
Timu’s face hardened at those last words. “Fine!” she hissed through gritted teeth. “I won’t come back. And for the record, just because I hang out with them doesn’t mean I agree with their every word!” With that, the Pink Lupe spun around and ran in the direction of the Yooyuball field.
Altodar stormed over to his bed, but once he got there he sagged down with regret. Why had he said such mean things to the only Lupe who had stood up for him? Timu would probably never want to talk to him again. And Altodar would have to live with the fact that it was all his fault.
From that day on, Altodar rarely left his house. He locked himself in his room with only books to keep him company. Altodar swore that he would give up trying to fit in with others of his kind, and thus confined himself to the safety of his home. He wove an illusion that exploring and playing were unnecessary, and that he could get those experiences from his beloved books.
The years passed, and eventually Altodar moved out of his parent’s country home and into a place of his own in the city. His new home bordered the shopping district, so that he only had to leave his library for a small amount of time every week. For Altodar, it was the ideal life. The thought to break his promise of solitude never even crossed his mind, that is, until he met Blewby.
It was a rainy afternoon, perfect for curling up with a plate of Chocolate Chia Treats and a good book. Of course, for Altodar, every day was a good day for curling up with a book.
But this particular day was different. While Altodar was in the middle of his current favorite book, The Altadorian Archives, he heard a loud sneeze close to his window. One of the only qualities of a Lupe that Altodar possessed was curiosity, and that curiosity was what brought him to the window.
Lying down beneath Altodar’s window was a muddy and soaking wet Xweetok. The poor Neopet was shivering and sneezing every few seconds. Altodar knew that if the Xweetok stayed out there for much longer, it would probably die.
Taking action, Altodar sprinted out of his door and into the pelting rain. He headed straight for the Xweetok. It wasn’t even moving now. Fearing for its life, Altodar lifted it up onto his shoulders and made a dash for his front door.
Once in the safety of his house, Altodar gently set the Xweetok down in front of the fireplace. He took all of the blankets he could find and layered them on top of the Neopet. Then he made a nice, warm cup of Peppermint Cocoa and set it by the Xweetok for when it woke up. Satisfied that he had done all he could for the moment, Altodar settled down next to the Xweetok and waited.
After about a half hour, the Xweetok finally blinked open its eyes. Confused, its eyes darted around the room until they landed on Altodar.
“Where am I?” he rasped.
“You’re in my living room,” Altodar replied, moving closer. “My name’s Altodar. I heard you sneezing and brought you inside. Oh, and I made you some cocoa to help you warm up more.”
The Xweetok nodded gratefully, then lifted the steaming cup to his lips with shaking paws. After he had taken a big gulp, the Xweetok looked back to Altodar.
“Thank you,” he acknowledged. “It’s nice to meet you, Altodar. I’m Blewby.”
“It’s nice to meet you too, Blewby.” Altodar smiled. “You can stay here with me for as long as you need. I’ll go prepare you a bed right now.” He liked this Neopet already. Blewby hadn’t even mentioned the King, as almost all people did when they met Altodar for the first time. It got rather annoying when everyone expected him to be a mini version of the King just because they shared the same name. Altodar had tried to explain that there was a slight spelling difference, with the ‘a’ and the ‘o’ switched, but nobody would ever pay attention to that. Instead they would focus on the more obvious differences, like how Altodar wasn’t nearly as strong or noble as the King.
Altodar left the Xweetok to his cocoa and headed for the guest bedroom. He had to tidy up a bit and sweep away a few cobwebs; guests hadn’t stayed with him since, well, since he had moved into the house.
Altodar came back to find Blewby holding his paws to the fire for warmth. The Blue Xweetok was no longer shivering, and his fur was quickly drying. He turned around when he heard Altodar’s footsteps.
“I can’t thank you enough,” Blewby insisted as Altodar led him to his room. “Not many Neopets here would take a stranger into their home and provide him with everything he needed.”
“What are you talking about?” Altodar asked in alarm. “Who wouldn’t offer a Neopet food and shelter when he needed it?”
Blewby looked at Altodar with piercingly blue eyes. “Those country folk,” he explained. “I come from Neopia Central, and after a long journey-”
“You traveled on foot from Neopia Central!” Altodar asked incredulously. “That’s at least a month’s journey over the mountains!”
“Yes, it was rough,” Blewby agreed. “It had been two months since I had set out in search of a new life, and after the long journey I found myself on the edge of the Altador countryside. I had hoped to find a place to rest, but when I knocked on the door of the nearest house a Fire Lupe chased me away, yelling, ‘You ain’t welcome here, ya lurgee-bitten scoundrel!’ ” Altodar recognized the imitated voice right away. There was only one Lupe in all of Altador who had a country accent that heavy and resentment towards newcomers.
“Blaze,” Altodar snarled.
“You know him?” Blewby asked warily.
“Oh, I know him, alright,” Altodar growled, the memories flooding back. “When I was just a pup, he and his friends were nice to me until they found out I wasn’t any good at playing their games. Then they teased me and wouldn’t let me play with them.”
“I’m sorry,” Blewby sympathized.
“I’m over it now,” Altodar lied. Blewby raised his eyebrows skeptically. He could see from the hurt glint in the Lupe’s eyes that Altodar was definitely not over it.
Blewby didn't get a chance to say anything more, because just then Altodar stopped in front of a plain brown door.
“Here’s where you’ll be sleeping.” Altodar opened the door and gestured inside. The bed was in the center of the room, where it should have been the first thing one noticed. But the piles upon piles of books were what really caught the eye. They lay haphazardly stacked around the room. Altodar had taken care to move aside a few of these piles so that his guest could reach his bed, but other than that there was little walking room. “Sorry about the mess, but I usually use this room for storing my history books.”
Blewby’s eyes lit up in excitement. “History books? Would you mind if I read a few of them?” Then he added cheerfully, “I’m a big history buff.”
“Not at all,” Altodar replied a little hesitantly. He was very cautious with exactly who he let touch his precious books.
“Don’t worry, I’ll be very careful,” Blewby assured. “Actually, the whole reason I traveled to Altador in the first place was because this place is just bursting with history.”
Altodar smiled. It was obvious that Blewby would do anything to get his paws on the books. And Altodar felt suddenly that he could trust the Xweetok.
“Feel free to read all of them.” Altodar smiled. Blewby grinned back.
Altodar tilted his head as Blewby walked into the room and plopped onto the bed. He was asleep instantly, snoring lightly and looking completely different than the half-drowned Neopet that Altodar had taken in just a little while ago.
Turning around and heading for his room, Altodar started thinking. He usually didn’t like it when strangers called him by a nickname, but Blewby didn’t feel like a stranger at all. In fact, Blewby was already the closest thing that Altodar had to a friend, just as Timu had been. Timu... Altodar couldn’t help but wonder what had happened to the kind Pink Lupe. He had been so mean to her; what must she think of him?
Altodar shook his head. He shouldn’t be thinking about such things just before bed. He was bound to have nightmares.
Blewby stayed with Altodar until he managed to scrounge up enough money to purchase a place of his own. But the two didn’t forget about each other once they parted. They remained close friends, visiting each other all the time. There was barely ever a day when the two weren’t seen browsing through the bookshop or enjoying a meal at Exquisite Ambrosia.
Being friends with Blewby was the best thing that ever happened to Altodar. He began to slowly break down the mental walls that he had built around himself. He got out more, socialized more, and spent less time cooped up in his library. Soon the only wall left for him to overcome was the Altador Cup. After his Yooyuball disaster as a pup, Altodar didn’t think that he would be able to stand even watching a match.
And buried deep in Altodar’s mind was the fear of facing Timu again; the fear that she might hate him for the words that he had said. How could he explain that he hadn’t meant any of it? She would never believe him. And so he never even thought about going to the Altador Cup, at least not until the day of the biggest explosion in AC history.
To be continued...