An Interview with King Hagan
Eleven years ago, Neopians stumbled out of Meridell into a sunny neighboring kingdom we now know as Brightvale. Brightvale is ruled by one of the many kings in Neopia, the wise King Hagan. Today, in honor of Brightvale's discovery, we're sitting down with the King to ask him a few questions about his life as one of Neopia's many rulers.
"So, King Hagan, what is a typical day like for you?"
Reaching for one of the pastries I'd brought with me, he sighs.
"All day long, I listen to the citizens of Neopia, as they try to tell me the most wise thing they've thought of. Most of it is absolute rubbish."
"Like what?" I ask, secretly hoping to pick up some pointers on what NOT to tell him next time I stop by.
"Oh, you know, complicated statements. Most of them end up just listing off names of petpets at the end. I had one particularly dense Neopian try to tell me today 'I've always said that bravery are similar to the courage of a team of asparagus Baby Fireball.' You can't even paint a Baby Fireball asparagus!"
I managed a grin, knowing that I've told him similarly crazy statements in hopes that he will approve, handing me a book, instead of suggesting I go study.
"Most of the time they can't even get their grammar correct," he laments. "It's a pity no one ever opened that school for Neopets. I think a lot of them would benefit. So would I, for that matter, not having to put up with these kinds of 'wise' statements anymore. Some days I literally have to PAY a pittance to get people to leave me alone."
"Your brother Skarl is the ruler of Meridell. Do you get along?" I ask, trying to veer away from what is obviously a very touchy subject. Unfortunately, I seem to have landed on an even worse subject.
"Don't even get me started on Skarl! All he does is eat and pout, and wait for the citizens of Neopia to tell him jokes. Given his sense of humor, it's no wonder they come here telling me such silly nonsense. Some days it's all I can do to keep from laughing."
"Sibling rivalry is natural," I say, meaning to sound wise.
"Rivalry? Ha! It would take a fool to think that Meridell is a rival of Brightvale. Who would trade books, stained glass, and magical potions for potatoes and dung and cheeserolling? No thank you!"
He has a point. I do enjoy many of the pastimes of Meridell, but the smell of the rubbish dump is a bit much.
"I know you have a few hours per day where you block out the world and read. Do you have any favorite books?"
Without hesitation, he responds "I'm a big fan of Brightvale Wisdom and Advanced Poetry, but by far, my favorite is the Book of Pretentious Quotes."
"Seriously?" I ask, wondering if he's trying to be ironic.
"Oh yes. It's wonderful. It's filled with the quotes of notable Neopians who try to make themselves sound smart. Most of the time, they don't really know what they're talking about. Especially the quotes from my dear brother..."
"I'll have to give it a try. Barani_ballout, my avid reader, hasn't read much from Brightvale. We've only really gone through the books that we've won from the Wheel of Knowledge."
"Oh! The Wheel of Knowledge! One of my prized inventions! Do you like it?" he asks, beaming with pride.
"Well, perhaps I'd like it a bit better if I could win the avatar," I grumbled. "But overall, it's very nice!" I recover quickly. "I enjoy getting books and food for my pets. I do think I have enough stained glass windows by now, though, so I wish I would stop landing on that so often. Any chance you could give us some new game cheats?"
"What?" he replies. "You're tired of trying to figure out just how many u's and r's you need to type to clear the Snowmuncher's belly?" Grinning, perhaps for the first time since the interview started, Hagan reaches for another pastry. "Keep spinning. If you ever earn a Brightvale Job Coupon, you'll be rich. And if you don't, well, then, I guess you will just have to make do with the knowledge of how to make the Buzzer Game very easy."
"Have you traveled much?" I ask, changing the subject. Having never chatted with a king, I am a bit unsure of how much freedom they have to move around the rest of Neopia.
"I've traveled some. I periodically need to venture to other lands to stock up my library with new books I haven't read. I've recently begun reading the Moltaran books. They're fascinating! There is so much I don't know about the science of living underground. I also try to sneak off to Neovia when I can. I DO love crumpets. It's a pity the Crumpetmonger is so far away. I wonder if I can convince her to relocate? I can offer a nice large shopfront on the hill, and I'm sure Roberta can design a crumpet-themed window." He trails off, and stares at the bag of pastries. It's obvious he's considering whether or not to eat a third.
Feeling a lull in the conversation, I debate for a second. I haven't tried to tell Hagan anything particularly wise today. His hour of free time is coming to an end, but maybe he'll think of me as being wiser, having talked to me some. Somewhere, a clock chimes. Sighing, Hagan motions to one of his guards to open the door to other visitors.
This is my chance.
"Pity those who underestimate pride is comparable to the pride of Acko," I say, beaming at King Hagan.
"I'm not dense, youngin'. I already knew that." He looks at me for a moment. "You should know better. That might be worse than the asparagus Baby Fireballs!"
I think it's going to take a lot of studying for me to impress him.
Leaving the castle, I wander off towards the Wheel of Knowledge, wondering what lays in store for me today. Perhaps I'll even get more wisdom from Hagan himself.