Humbug and the Symol Hole
It was just another normal day for Humbug, the blue Noil. The normal routine consisted of getting up at the crack of dawn to go fishing with Nappox, do a few quests for Edna, and then continue on with his day. However, today seemed a little different.
"Good morning, little buddy! We have a big day ahead of us. I have a surprise for you later on," Nappox said as she leaned down to scratch a spot behind his ear. He was slightly disgruntled by the sound of that, seeing as how Nappox's surprises were usually never that pleasant for him, although he couldn't help his leg from starting to twitch at the scratches.
He bobbed his head against her hand and followed her slowly out the door, wondering what this so called
"surprise" was going to be.
They continued on with their usual activities, and he started to wonder if she had forgotten about it altogether.
As he sat with her while she fished (Fyora only knows why she would ever be aiming to snag a Giant Squid), he thought back to his friendship with Nappox. He remembered the petpet shop, waiting day and night for someone to come adopt him. Being born a Gruslen, he didn't have as good of a chance of anyone coming and taking him away. He was, as he had heard Nappox's friend Muolle scoff, a common petpet. Hearing that had upset him, but Nappox had shushed Muolle immediately and told him that she had felt a connection the minute she had walked in,
He had his doubts about Nappox from time to time, however. For example, one day Nappox had happened upon a treasure map that led her to a secret laboratory that could alter his appearance. It was absolutely terrifying at first. He had never seen anything like it, and the scientist seemed a little off his rocker. Nappox reassured him though that it would be fine, and that he shouldn't be scared. This was the beginning of the experimenting.
Time after time, every single day like clockwork, they would enter the laboratory and he would be placed on the pedestal and watch his life flash before his eyes, It started losing its excitement after the first few times, seeing as it usually just made him either stronger or weaker. The days it altered his name upset him, seeing as Gruff was the name he had originally been given by Nappox, but nothing could prepare him for the day that it altered his species. Stepping off the stand and staring back at him in the mirror was a Noil. He remembered yelping in surprise and then hiding under Nappox's tail for a half an hour at first. Eventually the shock wore off, but he was very wary of going anywhere with her for a few weeks.
Thinking about it now, he realized that she actually talked him into doing a lot of things that were unpleasant. He recalled one fond memory when they were visiting a faerie in Meridell, and Nappox mentioned a spot they should check out. He didn't catch the name the first time, but he thought she had said
"Term" something. They had walked up to a huge pile of grass and dirt, and it took him a minute to realize that it was breathing and moving slightly. Asleep.
Nappox had nudged him, and softly said,
"Hey sweetie, can you go see if you can wake that petpet up?"
Humbug had stared at her in disbelief and pondered biting her tail in disgust. He gave her a look that he confidently felt said
"no way" but she pushed him forward slightly and said,
"Just try and yell at the top of your lungs."
He blankly stared her down, before slowly turning back towards the beast. He had crept up quietly behind it, roared as loud as he could, and then hid behind a bush. The beast had been awoken, and he was actually awarded for it with toys and food. He remembered being so happy, that is until a few hours later when Nappox was having lunch with her brother Nhaoki. As he laid curled up under Nappox's chair, he listened to them chat about the Turmaculus (apparently the monster he had so bravely woken up).
"I can't believe you let Humbug wake him up! You know that he could've eaten him, right??" he heard Nhaoki say.
Nappox brushed him off and responded,
"It was okay, we were safe and Humbug was very brave. I wouldn't have let him get eaten."
Humbug lay there in shock, since he had never thought that Nappox would ever put him into a situation like that.
He was abruptly brought back to the present by the sound of Nappox bringing her reel in for the day. He glanced over at the pile of boots and huffed. This girl had terrible luck and he would never understand why she kept trying.
"Alright, my sweets, you ready to go check out the next adventure?" Nappox asked. He begrudgingly got up onto his feet and followed her out of the fishing area.
After a little bit of traveling, they finally arrived in Meridell. Humbug began to get nervous before he realized they weren't going towards the Turmaculus again. After a little more walking off the trail, they finally arrived at what he could only assume was the destination. Before him sat a small hole in the ground, and he immediately stopped walking towards it. All of the adventures, all of the scary stuff that could've happened came rushing back to him.
Nappox noticed he had stopped walking and glanced back,
"Are you okay Humbug?"
He shook his head fiercely, and sat down with a loud thump. Nappox slowly walked back to him and sat down.
"Are you scared?" He stared up at her and whined softly. To his surprise, she giggled.
"Oh Humbug, you know I would never let anything happen to you. I promise on my life that there is nothing bad that will happen to you. I heard about this place from Muolle, and it's 100% guaranteed safe," she explained. He cocked his head to the side to show that he was still listening.
"Listen, this hole was caused by a Symol digging it up. This isn't going to be like the other times. There's nothing hiding in there, you just have to crawl down and see if there are any presents!" she continued. They sat there in silence while he stared at the hole with his eyes narrowed. Nappox sighed and leaned back.
"Humbug, I know that you're scared. I never want you to feel like you can't trust me. I understand that the Turmaculus and the laboratory both frightened you, and that's why I never took you back. But you're my best friend, and I would love you even if you were a pile of soot or a rock. You don't have to do it if you don't want to." She softly stroked his mane and he cuddled up to her in response.
After a few relaxing moments, Humbug slowly stood back up and started walking towards the hole. Before Nappox had a chance to interject, he cannonballed right down into the hole. He could hear her frantic calling of his name, but he didn't care. He had to do this.
It was dark and damp in the hole, and he could barely see a thing. He crawled around, trying to feel for anything. Finally his foot snagged on something big and he started pulling it up with his teeth. Once he got closer to the top, he felt Nappox pull him up the rest of the way by the scruff of his neck and then hold him tightly to her chest. Humbug felt like he couldn't purr loud enough. She set him back down, and said,
"I'm so proud of you. You earned yourself a comfy new bed for the room. Let's get you both home so you can relax."
He stared at the bed in awe and followed her out of the clearing. As they started heading home, she turned back and softly said,
"you're so brave. I'm so lucky to have such a great little guy like you, Gruff." He felt his tail start twitching and walked as close as possible to Nappox, purring all the way back home.