King Altador's Substitute:Part Two
Early the next morning, King Altador departed for the Lost Desert. Accompanying him were two guards, a Draik and a Skeith. The king didn't seem to worry about leaving his beloved kingdom in the hands of his wife. He trusted that Nera could handle everything on her own. The couple always trusted one another, leaving a lot of worry behind them.
Queen Nera and Prince Alarick stood outside the grand Hall of Heroes, waving goodbye as they watched the white Lupe leave. The guards were bickering about something as they walked behind the tall white Lupe. The three Neopians strolled down the pathway, which led out of the city and towards the sandy lands of the Lost Desert.
As soon as the king left, Nera felt the weight of the kingdom fall upon her shoulders. A bit of stress also started to linger in her mind. Was she really cut out for this? She never took her husband's place before. The last few times he had to leave, the council would step in and share the king’s duties.
Nera only had to keep doing her own job, and care for their children. It was a handful, but nothing compared to having to multitask two jobs along with being a parent. Queen hood had its benefits, and some downfalls.
Honestly, Nera felt like she shouldn't have been declared queen in the first place. The only reason she became queen was due to the fact she married Altador. She never considered herself a good leader or a hero. Why did Altador leave her in charge? Any of the council members could easy take his place and do their own job. They were much more qualified for the task than she was.
Alarick turned to his mother once Altador was out of sight. “So what will you be doing today?”
“I have a council meeting to go to.” Nera replied, trying to sound somewhat excited for it. She smiled at her offspring, hoping he didn't hear the worry in her voice.
Part of her dreaded going to the meeting. The Xweetok knew it had to be important, but it just sounded extremely boring. Instead, Nera wanted to go out on an adventure. She wanted to see lands she never stepped foot on before. There was so much of Neopia she hadn't seen yet.
Sadly, Altador worried for her safety and always went instead. He's been all over Neopia, to the Haunted Woods, the Lost Desert, Faerieland, and who knows where else. Yes he was more experienced in traveling and defending himself, but Nera wasn't a child. She could take care of herself and not have to take over his position while the Lupe was away.
To Nera, being the ruler of a kingdom had to be the most boring job ever. Skarl, Hagan, and maybe even Kelpbeard might think it's glamorous and exciting, but it wasn't. A ton of work always had to be done, and you were always being watched. Make one simple mistake and you could be criticized by hundreds, even thousands.
It wasn't easy.
Alarick snickered. “Well, have fun with that.’
Nera rolled her eyes. “Anyway...what will you be doing today?”
Nera knew she should have expected that as an answer. Playing Yooyuball is all the prince ever did...well..besides getting into trouble.
Alarick walked off into the fields to play with other Altadorian children, and Nera went inside the Hall of Heroes for the meeting. She walked past the statues of the council, quickly glancing at Altador’s large statue and smiled to herself. Her long purple cape dragged on the marble floor behind her.
The queen then went up the elegant staircase, to the council chamber. The room had a large array of windows, which was being overrun by vines. Engraved on the walls were pictures of the kingdom. Fauna, a yellow acara and a council member, had engraved the pictures herself.
The other heroes of Altador were sitting in their chairs, chattering amongst themselves. They discussed issues in the kingdom and their own personal lives. All seemed to be close and care for one another. Each time they met, it was like an old group of friends getting together.
The group stopped talking when they noticed Nera in the room and welcomed her. Nera smiled at them and sat down in Altador’s chair. She felt weird interrupting their conversation.
“So what do you usually all talk about during these?” Nera asked, resting back in the chair.
Sasha, a blue Cybunny spoke up. “Well Nera, we usually start by talking about issues of the kingdom and how things are going.”
A yellow Kacheek named Florin chimed in. He was noted for being called the farmer. The Kacheek looked over the farmlands of the city. If it wasn't for him, the residents would be without food. So, you could say the Neopian was an important part of the council.
“Speaking of how things are going, the farmlands are doing well. The crops are prospering.” Florin said, leaning back in his chair. He seemed down to earth and never worried about anything.
Well...unless there was a drought or something.
The council discussed the surrounding farmlands for a bit. They talked about what was planted and how each crop was doing. Things appeared to be going well for the kingdom so far.
Gordos, the treasurer for the kingdom, then spoke about how the treasury was doing. They had zero debt and brought in enough money from the Altador Cup, so the kingdom had no money problems.
Nera found herself having trouble with focusing on the conversation. She worried about what she would do if something went wrong. What if the crops died out? What if the kingdom went into debt? Altador didn't tell her how to handle any of those things before he left. The only thing she could do is her best.
Jerdana, a blue Aisha, turned to Nera. Her light colored hair blew slightly in the breeze. Nera had sat down beside her in the beginning of the meeting. The two Neopian have always been close friends. They met when Nera arrived in Altador, while it was being built. The two hit it off immediately, becoming friends within a short amount of time. Jerdana had introduced Nera to Altador in the first place. She liked to tease them constantly about how she was responsible for their marriage.
The Aisha smiled at the queen. “How have you been doing since Altador left?”
“I've been doing fine actually.” Nera lied, hiding her stress from her friend. She didn't want to worry the sorcerer.
Jerdana raised an eyebrow. “Really?”
“Yes, why do you ask?”
“Well…” the Aisha rested a hand on the side of her face “...you were kinda yelling earlier about how stressed you were.”
Nera quickly denied her friend’s claims. “Oh no, no surely that wasn't me. I have everything completely in control.”
“Well….if you say so.”
The council continued their meeting, going over other important issues of the land. Soon enough the meeting was finished and the council was excused. Nera walked down the staircase, holding up her white dress to keep from stepping on it, and at the bottom stood a Yooyu waiting for her.
“Oh hello.” Nera stepped off the last step, and knelt down, so she could talk to the creature face to face.
The Yooyu was shy, not wanting to make eye contact with the Xweetok. Its blue eyes kept looking at the floor, often glancing back up at the queen.
“Uh..your highness, I… I mean we over at the Yooyu island need you immediately.” It rubbed its face, blushing from embarrassment.
“Oh? Why is that?” The Xweetok asked, tilting her head as she examined the Petpet.
“Well...the rest of the Yooyus refuse to participate in the Altador Cup anymore” the Yooyu tapped its small stumpy hands together. “Our island is kinda...run down. Our dock needs repairs and there's weeds and bushes that needs to be trimmed. We're having trouble fixing it ourselves.”
Nera felt sorry for the small creature. It looked exhausted, like it hadn't slept in days. She knew she had to help the Petpets out. They were important to the Altador Cup and it couldn't happen without them.
“I promise I'll see to it that it's fixed.” The queen reassured the Yooyu.
The Petpet nodded, and Nera stood up, walked off to find someone to talk to about the issue. The Yooyu retreated to its island, rushing to bring the good news to the other residents.
Nera started to slowly realize that her husband's job wasn't as simple as she thought. The man often had to solve disputes between residents of the sunny kingdom. He also had to make sure the buildings and surrounding areas were kept up and clean. King Altador had many duties to do, besides going to meetings and seeking justice.
Queen Nera wished she went to the Lost Desert instead of Altador. The next few days would prove to be difficult for the brown haired Xweetok.
She could only do her best and hope nothing else would go wrong.
To be continued…