The Royal Reputation: Part Five
"We're going to send you away," Dad started. "To live with your non-royal cousins on Mystery Island, next to the beach and on the edge of the forest."
My jaw dropped to the floor. I had cousins? Non-royal cousins?
Dad must have sensed my thoughts. "We never told you that you had cousins because they were non-royal. They probably don't even know you exist. We didn't want you to ever see them, but now that your reputation is ruined, I guess we have no other choice."
Mom leaned over to Dad. "There's always a beheading I would love to attend," she whispered. Dad just frowned at her and gave her a little flick on the nose.
A clattering occurred upstairs. Footsteps echoed on the wood, and moments later, a jumble of fur and fabric, shouting and crying, fell down the stairs.
I looked at the ashamed faces of Noliona and Jakuliani as they untangled and skidded to a stop in front of me.
They were both covered in scratches and bruises, with bite marks on their ears and paws. I looked at Noliona, and she attempted to flatten out the wrinkles in her dress. Her eyes were on the verge of tears, as was Jakuliani's, and their lips were quivering at light speed.
After a few moments of intense staring, Noliona did finally break into tears. They spilled from her eyes as if her face had a leak that needed to be fixed. Jakuliani wasn't far behind her, his eyes breaking into spray and dampening the room.
"Aluendi," Noliona whimpered, "why are you leaving us?"
Dad whipped his head over to Mom, who smiled sheepishly. "I told Noliona and Jakuliani to watch, too, and they obviously listened. They deserve to know what's going on."
Jakuliani and Noliona threw their hands up and ran over to me. They smothered me in a huge hug, and I picked them up and hugged them back. Tears managed to find their way out of my eyes, and the salty water dripped on the soft fur of my siblings.
I put them down and walked up to my room, yet again avoiding the broken step. I walked into my unlocked room to realize it was untouched, Noliona and Jakuliani hadn't messed it up.
I went to grab the key off my desk and realized there was a small piece of paper lying next to them. I crumpled it up and threw it out the window, not caring if anyone was under the window down on the ground.
I ran over to a bed in the corner of my room, realizing I forgot to check on Dally for the past few days.
If you're wondering, Dally is my petpet. She is a friendly Alabriss, with a lime green mane and snowy white fur. I hope to someday get her painted Electric, but for now, she's just my plain old Alabriss. I've had her since I was really young.
Dally bounded up to me as I walked calmly over. She whinnied softly, and affectionately rubbed her head against my shoulder. I picked her up out of the air, and she snuggled close to my shoulder and neck.
There was no way I was leaving without Dally.
Dally thumped her hoof against my head. "Don't worry," I said happily. "I won't leave you alone for days like that again."
This made me think of Ding again. I guess if I was hereby banished to live here, I wouldn't really see him again.
I thought about the note I threw through the window. I quickly grabbed a piece of paper from the cheap Cloud Notebook on my desk and scrawled a note out on it. I used my best cursive for the signature, which was still pretty messy and was mostly made of loops.
I handed the note to Dally, and she took it in her mouth. I told her to go to the Koi Pond and whinny loudly. It was one of her favorite places to go, too.
She bounded out the open window and to the pond below. Even I could hear her whinnying when she got there.
I grabbed a few large suitcases out of my closet. They were dusty and mostly unused, as I wasn't allowed to go on many vacations that lasted more than a day. The brown leather was old and shriveling, and the shiny golden handles were rusty and no longer very shiny.
I took out the top drawer of my dresser and dumped the contents into the first suitcase. I picked out a few dresses and threw them back in the dresser. I had a feeling long sleeve dresses wouldn't be very useful on Mystery Island.
Hooves thumped on my windowsill, and I turned to see Dally standing there with a slightly soggy note in her mouth. She stamped her feet and snorted at me, which meant I needed to hurry up and get over there to read it.
I tiptoed over the suitcases to the window, and patted Dally on the head thankfully. She dropped the note in my hand, and I shook the floppy, wet paper out a little.
The words inside were smudged slightly from the water, but the inked letters were clear enough.
I'm sorry that you must leave the town. Your letter was enjoyed, and thank you for telling me why you wouldn't be able to see me again. Your Alabriss is cute and very friendly as well.
I will miss you, and I hope I haven't caused any of this. If you ever get the chance to come back, I will be waiting for you. –Ding
I placed the letter on my desk to dry, I would be keeping it. I just wanted to tell him that it wasn't his fault for all of this; I hope he didn't feel guilty about it.
I grabbed Dally's Disco Petpet Bed and brought it over to her. She neighed softly, and knocked the bed out of my hand to the floor.
Shrugging, I walked over and emptied the remaining contents of my dresser into the second suitcase. I dragged the suitcase over to my desk and dumped some pencils, a pen, a few old notebooks, and my feather keys on top of all the clothes. I'm not sure why I decided to bring the keys to my room with me, maybe I assumed I would get a new key for my new room on it instead. (If my cousins' house on Mystery Island even had rooms.) Or maybe I just liked to have it with me; maybe it gave me a sense of comfort and homeliness.
Or maybe I knew I would be back one day.
But whatever the reason, I brought it with me. I also managed to fit a few of my favorite books in there, along with a Green Cybunny Plushie I had since I was young. It reminded me a lot of Dad, who was a Green Cybunny before being crowned (and painted) Royal.
I took off my sweatshirt and placed it in the overflowing suitcase. I grabbed a cloak from the mess of clothes and placed it around my neck. Securing it in place with a brass button, I smoothed my ears down and slipped the hood over my head.
I looked down at the suitcases and realized it would be pretty tough to carry all of it. So I grabbed a small knapsack from my closet and picked a select few pairs of clothing, including my beloved sweatshirt. I picked the pen and my cleanest notebook, and my favorite book that I had read over and over for about a billion times. And of course, I grabbed my feather keys.
I slung the pack on a long bamboo stick I just happened to have for no apparent reason. After tying a secure knot and closing the knapsack firmly, I flipped the stick over my shoulder and called for Dally.
The Alabriss bounded over and flapped around my head like a Buzzer gone mad.
I walked out of my bedroom, Dally trailing behind, and shut the door tightly. I tramped down the stairs, and once again avoided the broken step.
Mom, Dad, Noliona, and Jakuliani were standing by the door to see me and Dally out. Dally flapped over to Noliona, the little Alabriss had always been fond of her.
Noliona's tears were still there, staining her face. But she laughed as Dally swirled around her head and swished her wings gently against the Kacheek's nose.
Dad gave me a concerned look. "Alu, are you really going to go out to Mystery Island with a knapsack on a stick? Where are your suitcases? It's much more dignified."
"Dad," I said, annoyed. "My reputation is tarnished, remember? Does it really matter if I use a knapsack to carry my clothes and whatever?"
Dad gave me a hurt look, and wrung his hands. He handed me a small bag of Neopoints. "Just to pay the boating fee," he whispered sadly.
Mom just scowled at me, like she had been doing all day. "You better be on your way," she said coldly.
I nodded at her.
Noliona and Jakuliani ran up to me and grabbed my legs. "Don't go! I don't care about your reputation, just stay here!" Noliona cried.
"Noliona," I said softly. "I'll see you again, don't worry." I smiled at her. "And you said 'reputation' wrong."
Through all her tears, Noliona managed a smile at me. She full and well understood she said it wrong, but she tends to mess up her words when she gets upset.
I hugged Jakuliani and Noliona goodbye, and waved to Mom and Dad coldly. I wouldn't miss them nearly as much as I would miss my siblings. I would miss them a whole lot.
Now let's pretend I never said that.
I walked out the door, Dally following me. I passed by the Koi Pond and saw Ding surfacing. I waved sheepishly under my cloak, but I don't think he saw me.
People gave me dirty looks as I walked by, and it was nice having no one know who I was for a short while. There was still plenty of staring and pointing, but not because I was royalty. Everyone probably thought I was related to Rin and now I was skipping town because I didn't want to destroy my reputation.
Little did they know, my reputation was already tarnished.
I got to the edge of the town and stood there for a moment, Dally hovering by my side.
The sun started to set, the sky turning deep shades of dark violet and bright yellow-orange. It cast a colorful glow over the ground, illuminating the trees and lakes and crops. I t stretched my shadow across the ground, covering a part of the path with a dark, cloaked shape.
As the sun sank under the horizon, I really started to think.
Now that my reputation is soiled, I really need to think about what I did. Rin seemed nice, but turned out to be a big jerk. He made me waste hundreds of thousands of Neopoints on a potion that was broken on the ground, and then ruined my reputation because I talked to him. And then he turned on me and got locked away by the guards for supposedly attacking me. Thinking, was it really worth having to leave town to live with non-royal cousins on Mystery Island?
"I don't think so."
Dally whinnied softly, agreeing with me.
I continued walking down the path, now far out of the town range. Neopets' eyes stared at me disgracefully all the way down the path, but I shoved the memories out of my mind.
I reached the boat dock and handed the Pirate Bruce in a sailor's uniform there my small sack of Neopoints. I boarded, and Dally flew onto my lap.
The Bruce boarded the boat and grabbed a paddle. The paddle sliced through the water, and we were off.
To be continued...