The Rusty Ghoul Catchers:Part Two
Big Horner and Rusty quickly help up the fallen Neopian. It was of course, Caliidora, the island Aisha the two had been discussing earlier. She looked frazzled and her hair was entwined with leaves. Her dress had bits of dirt smudged on them. Caliidora brushed herself off as the two Neopets kept apologizing over and over to her. They both felt guilty for running into her. They shouldn’t have been goofing off. Someone could have been severely injured. Thankfully, that wasn’t the case this time.
“It’s alright boys, accidents happen.” The Aisha laughed as she cleaned out her hair. She didn’t seem to mind about being crashed into. As she had said, accidents happen. Caliidora herself wasn’t pay much attention either.
Big Horner offered her an apologetic smile. “Well, okay...also we’re surprised you came.”
“Oh I was in this district already, and it just seemed convenient. I didn’t want to miss the celebration.”
Caliidora moved to Altador from Mystery Island. The new land and Neopians excited her. She never had been out of her own home island until recently. The Aisha joined a ghoul catching club and met Big Horner there. The two became somewhat friends, both having an interest in saving Neopia from horrid creatures of the night.
Rusty rubbed the back of his neck. “We’re probably late to it, so we better get going.”
The group rushed towards the festival, and eventually arrived at the Hall of Heroes. The large building towered over the city of Altador. The white stone walls glimmered in the sunlight. It was a sight to see and awed many who entered the city. Caliidora read that it took months to build the structure, which the citizens had done by hand. All of Altador was built by their hands, as it was what King Altador requested.
A large crowd of Altadorians had already formed in front of the large structure. A few tents were placed throughout the district, serving food, games, and all sorts of fun entertainment. Children were running across the green lawn, playing a wild game of tag. One child would chase their friends, finally catching them and tagging them. Then the chase would start once again in an endless cycle, until their parents stopped them or they tired out.
The famous high council of Altador was standing on the large stone steps of the Hall of Heroes. Familiar faces such as Jerdana the Protector and Kelland the Thief were there. Even Queen Nera herself stood with them, smiling at the crowd. The legends were chatting amongst themselves as King Altador stepped forward. The large white Lupe raised up his hand, asking the crowd to be silent. His smooth armour shined in the sun. He looked official and wise, like any other king in Neopia.
Once the crowd was quiet, the ancient king spoke.
“Over a thousand years ago, our great land was founded.” Altador cleared his throat. “These ten legends of Altador have helped me with the building of this fair city.”
The rest of the council smiled, and waved at the crowd. They were highly known and well respected all over Neopia. Caliidora’s favourite legend was Jerdana, a blue Aisha. The fact that a female Aisha like herself was a famous hero, inspired Caliidora.
The king then looked over to his beloved wife, and smiled. “Along with someone I hold dear to my heart. Thank you for helping me with this big dream of mine, and staying by my side all these years, Nera.”
Queen Nera smiled, but kept silent. Considering she organized the event, she should have been the one to make the speech. Rusty could only assume the queen didn’t like public speaking after all. She appeared to be more of a private being than her husband and fellow council members. Rusty could respect that. He too didn’t want Neopians all in his business, and he wasn’t much for public speaking either. It seemed to be too much of a hassle.
The king eagerly continued, looking back at the large crowd. “So today, we celebrate the creation of our wonderful city and for the life we are given today. There's food and plenty of activities to do around the great hall.”
Then, the excited crowd was excused to enjoy the grand feast. Rusty and his friends headed over to the center of the festival. A long wooden table had been set out in the middle of the tents. It held a variety of foods. Most were Altadorian cuisines, such as cobb salad, pastitsio, brie cheese platter, and a variety of fruits. Neopians were fixing themselves plates, and the trio got in line.
Once they had fixed their plates and drinks, the group sat down at a picnic table close by. They chatted about their lives as they enjoyed their food. Rusty rambled on about how he hated moving. Big Horner seconded that, saying whatever the jetsam had in those boxes, were extremely heavy. The two continued to bicker on what was exactly in the boxes, to Caliidora’s annoyance.
She then noticed that the legends of Altador were making their rounds, talking to citizens. Even the king himself was making conversation with a few Altadorians. The queen was nowhere to be seen, as she must had other errands to attend to.
King Altador approached the group’s table, with a smile upon his bearded face. “Hello there young man, I heard you had just moved in. I wanted to personally welcome you to the kingdom of Altador.”
“Uh...thanks?” Rusty had his mouth full of cheese, slightly embarrassed by it. He wouldn’t have shoved his face full of food if he knew the king would be talking to him.
The king then turned to Big Horner and Caliidora. “And these must be friends of yours?”
Rusty gulped down the cheese. “Oh yeah, Big Horner here is actually my roommate.”
The great king smiled, despite hearing that the Korbat had an odd name. “I’m joyed to hear that new subjects will be joining our dear city. I welcome you both.”
“Oh...well that’s..uh...thank you?” Big Horner stuttered, not knowing what to say. Speaking to a Neopian legend made his palms sweaty.
King Altador then excused himself so he could return to the council. The trio bidded him goodbye, and the Lupe walked off. His red cape blew slightly in the wind, making him look even more heroic.
Big Horner raised an eyebrow as he watched the king reunite with his Xweetok wife. “Doesn’t he realize you’ve been living here your entire life?”
Rusty tossed a piece of fruit in his mouth. “I rather not try explaining that to him. He might become even more confused.”
“You two be nice, he’s old and can’t remember every face that lives here.” Caliidora shushed the two. “He seems nice, anyway.”
Rusty and Big Horner shrugged it off, and finished their food. They cleaned up and sat back down at the table. They were told a firework show would be starting soon, just as the sun went down. To pass the time, the group played a game of Sakhmet solitaire. Neither Rusty or Big Horner could play the game well, but Caliidora kept winning at it.
“I don’t want to brag boys but..” Caliidora placed the final card down. “I win yet again, fellas.”
Big Horner groaned. “How do you just keep winning at this?!”
The Korbat couldn’t believe he hadn’t won a single game yet. He was usually great at board games and just games in general. For some reason though, he wasn’t doing so well at Sakhmet solitaire.
“I’m just smart I guess?” Caliidora shrugged as she stacked the cards back neatly.
The sun had started to set, making the summer air feel five times cooler. Caliidora placed the cards back in her small bag.
The large firework show then started, lighting up the Altadorian sky. Bright colors of red, blue, yellow, and dozens more flashed across the dark sky. The crowd watched the show, amazed by all the colors. It lasted half an hour, keeping the guests entertained.
The event then ended, and the crowd was called back to the stairs of the Hall of Heroes for a closing speech. This time, the queen herself stood out in front of her husband and the council.
“Thank you to everyone for coming out for this event.” Queen Nera placed her hands together, smiling at the crowd. “It was wonderful to have you here to celebrate our history together. I bid you a good night and please travel safely on your way home.’
The crowd disbanded, and everyone headed back to their respective homes.
The professional ghoul catching trio headed back to Rusty’s house. Their feet ached from walking around all day and their stomachs were dull. Now they just wanted to sleep. Caliidora decided to stay the night so she didn’t have to walk as far.
As the trio slept, their minds were at ease, not knowing the terrors of tomorrow would come upon them.
To be continued…