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Hooked On A Snarhook: Part Two


by imogenweasley

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It was late, night had fallen and Eral's boss and work partners had gone home.

     Needless to say, Erals was very disappointed about losing the Snarhook, and he couldn't ignore the feeling of emptiness inside him. It was one of those moments when you feel willing to do anything for the people (or Petpets) you love.

     He was standing outside Little Nippers, leaning against one of the walls, glancing nervously at the street every few seconds. It would be the best if nobody saw him doing what he was about to do, but the only people out that night were the occasional mysterious buccaneers, probably carrying illegal goods to sell on the Smugglers Cove, who never minded another business besides their own.

     Everything was planned: He would pretend he had forgotten something important inside the shop and he needed to go in for it. It wouldn't even be considered as breaking in because Erals had his own key, which his boss had given him in case he was the first to arrive on the morning.

     I better do it now, Erals thought to himself, finally gathering enough courage. He felt anxious and besides, he looked more suspicious if he just stood there with no apparent reason.

     Part one of the operation couldn't have gone better. When Erals entered, he felt relieved to find himself in a familiar environment. But the good feeling didn't lasted as he had to proceed with his plan.

     Erals was sure there was an archive of all the customers and sales of the shop. More than once the chief shopkeeper had mentioned it in his presence. He just had to find it.

     He ran to the front of the shop, colliding in his way with an empty cage which fell to the floor making a deaf noise. Erals froze on the spot waiting for the worse, but after a tense minute he decided it was safe to go on, just more carefully this time.

     He walked right to the counter, if there was an archive that was the place it was most likely to be, and sure enough in the first case he opened he saw a red binder clearly labeled "Sales".

     The brown Kyrii's hands were trembling slightly while he turned the pages examining the archives of Little Nippers. If there was a place where he could get more information about the ugly Skeith that had bought his Snarhook, it was there.

     "Erals?" a deep voice asked, and the Kyrii jumped in surprise. His brown fur flew around him as he turned to face the huge blue owner of Little Nippers.

     "Sir!" he exclaimed, shock filling his eyes. "I thought you'd gone home sir- I, I was just finishing the cleaning up-"

     "You wanted to know who t'was that bought the Snarhook, and where you could find 'em."

     Erals shook his head quickly, desperately, but the owner sighed and nodded.

     "I know it's true, lad. But ya' know I can't allow it. It'd be a distraction, a HUGE problem for th' place. Why do you think I never got a Petpet of my own? And think or the reputation we'd get! Everyone'd think the worse- Little Nippers takes back your Petpets once you've bought them, and grown to love them. No, lad. No."

     Erals gulped back the tears, knowing what was coming.

     "You have a choice to make, lad. Do you carry on working here? Or do you leave, abandon your dreams, for some Snarhook?"

     The Kyrii was full-out crying now, the droplets pouring down his face. He didn't want to give all this up, no- this was all he'd ever wanted. But that Snarhook…

     The pirate knew the choice immediately, and his eyes softened.

     "I understand, lad. That customer- he mentioned that he was sailing back to Meridell. He works in the castle there, apparently. Perhaps you could find him there?"

     Erals wiped his eyes and nodded. He tried to whisper his thanks, but his throat hurt too much, and in the end he just walked out the door, head hung low.

     ***

     The ship finally lurched to a stop, and Erals opened his eyes slowly. He had nodded off into a sleep filled with dreams of Little Nippers, of everything he had left behind, and now he sat cold and alone at the back of the vessel. Quickly he stumbled shakily to his feet and hurried towards the gangplank, rubbing his hands together to try and warm them up from the bitter wind.

     As he stepped over onto land a delicious smell wafted towards him, of freshly cooked bread. This place was pretty nice, he decided as he hurried forwards. The greenery and cheery faces were a pleasant change from the sour mood Krawk Island had, and that made his spirits lift every so slightly. It made anything seem possible.

     ***

     He didn't have to ask for directions, he could see the prominent castle in the distance, with its red and blue flags waving with the wind. He thought that would be the perfect place to start his search.

     After walking for several minutes he finally stood in front of the castle. Erals was amazed by the size and architecture of the building, but he had no time for distractions of that sort, so he walked right to the door.

     The entrance of the castle seemed to be very guarded, two white Draiks with elegant uniforms were standing on the sides of the door, each holding a spear. When they saw the Kyrii approaching, the one in the right side called on a loud voice. "Stay where you are. Where are you and what is your business here?"

     "My name is Erals," he answered omitting the fact that he was from Krawk Island, he didn't think Meridillians had a lot of trust on pirates, "and I came looking for a Skeith who works here."

     "A Skeith, huh?" said the Draik suspiciously, but he lowered his spear. "If you come looking for king Skarl I'm afraid we can't let you pass. Nobody can see the king without previous authorization unless it's for telling him a joke."

     "No, I don't mean the king," Erals explained, thought a little confused about the joke business, but he considered it was better not to ask about that matter. "The Skeith I'm looking for is yellow."

     "Well, then what's his name?" asked the Draik guard still skeptical.

     "I… I don't know, I just know he works here." At this point Erals could see how weak his argument was. He thought he would be thrown out, sent to be judged or at least shouted at, but he didn't expected what really happened.

     "That's okay. I think you're telling the truth," said the guard sympathetically. "The Skeith you're looking for must be Hitieks, he's the only one here who fits your description."

     Erals breathed with relief, now he could realize he was too used to the rudeness on Krawk Island. "Thank you, can you tell me where to find him?"

     "Maybe I shouldn't tell you this, but he is usually helping Snargan to count the winnings they get on Double or Nothing, so I expect you will be able to find him there."

     After thanking the Draik guard once more, Erals headed to the room he had been indicated.

     As soon as he entered the Double or Nothing room he was greeted with a scowl from Snargan, the castle treasurer. "Fancy a game of chance?" the big green Skeith asked with a sly chuckle. Erals thought he didn't looked very friendly.

     "No. No, thank you. I'm looking for someone called Hitieks," answered Erals politely.

     "Who's looking for me?" came a booming voice from behind a massive pile of Neopoints.

     ***

     "Uhh, hi!" Erals said quickly, turning on his heel to stare into the eyes of a huge pale-yellow Skeith. It was the same one from the shop, he realized excitedly as he continued. "Listen, that Snarhook you bought the other day, from Little Nippers- well, I'd like to buy it back." Quickly he dug around in his coat pockets and found the small package he had been given at Little Nippers, all the pay he was due. "I have almost twice the amount of Dubloons that you paid for that Petpet, and I'm willing to pay them all."

     The Skeith frowned, and Erals excitement started to fall. His stomach was getting that strange worried feeling again, and his fears were confirmed when the gigantic creature shook his head.

     "No. No, I bought him and we've become friends." He shook his head again. "I've even bought a playpen for him."

     "Please!" Erals exclaimed desperately, seeing his one hope fading away. "This is all I've got-"

     "And if you had twice as much I wouldn't. That Snarhook has got me being the coolest guy in this place. How many of us Meridellians have Pirate Petpets, do you think? It's all Whinny this and Turmac that-"

     Every word hurt the Kyrii more and more. He had come so far, given up so much- and all for nothing?

     "Please-"

     "No."

     The tears flooded down his face, and Erals turned around to wipe them away angrily. The Skeith sighed, and patted him on the back.

     "I'm sorry, but he's the best thing that happened to me in a long while. But, if you really want, I guess you could say goodbye to him."

     Those words hurt most. He didn't want to have to say goodbye to the Snarhook that he loved. But just seeing him one more time would be worth the trip, even if it was the last time.

     "… OK."

     "Follow me. I keep him in the storeroom."

     ***

     When they went through the storeroom door, Erals started examining the place, if he couldn't have the Snarhook at least he wanted to make sure he'd be well and happy. The room was quite little but nice and clean, it looked approvable.

     "There he is," said the Skeith pointing to a corner. Erals bent down, and when he did he heard the high-pitched noise the Snarhook used to make all the time when he was happy.

     "Something intrigues me…" said the Skeith, "Why do you want exactly my Snarhook? I bet you must have lots of Petpets in the place your work on."

     But Erals wasn't listening, the moment he saw the Snarhook the time slowed down for him, he opened his arms and hugged the petpet tightly, like he had done in his last daydream, before the Snarhook had been taken away from him. He wanted that moment to last forever, and he knew it would always be in his heart.

     When he finally let go, the Snarhook squealed happily one last time before going back to play in its playpen again unknowingly of Erals sorrow. Erals turned to face the Skeith.

     "He seems happy here, at least" said Erals in a sad, low voice.

     "Why don't you buy a Meridillian petpet? I bet no one in Krawk Island has one of those" the Skeith suggested seeing Erals gloomy face.

     "No," answered Erals bitterly, "I don't want another petpet." And he stood up ready for leaving when he felt something tugging the fur of his right arm. The Snarhook was clinging to him with both hands.

     "Don't little friend, I have to leave. If you are happy then I am too," said Erals directly to the Snarhook, but the petpet didn't loose its grip.

     The Skeith had to intervene to make his petpet let go of Erals, the Snarhook kept struggling to hold to him.

     "I think he wants to come with me," said Erals with a small smile.

     "No way. He's my petpet, so I suggest you leave. Now!" answered the Skeith pushing Erals towards the doorway. The Kyrii nodded glumly, and allowed Hitieks to guide him to the door, which slammed hard behind him.

     With a sigh he started towards the gate, but something stopped him momentarily- a high-pitched squeak, and shouts.

     "YOU STUPID LITTLE THING!" came the roar, startling Erals. "YOU'RE MY PETPET NOW- DON'T YOU EVER HUG SOMEONE ELSE LIKE THAT AGAIN!"

     The Kyrii felt rage building up inside of him, but before he could turn and go back into the storeroom a large Draik appeared.

     "You lost? I'll take you to the exit." And, without any say in the matter, the chocolate-brown Kyrii found himself headed for the exit, his Snarhook still squeaking in pain behind him.

     ***

     Erals shook his head as he looked up at the huge castle. Darkness was falling, but the moonlight had no tears to dance across- he'd had enough of the wrenching pain which stung his heart every second. He had to get back into the castle, and save his Snarhook.

     Finally the last of the lights faded from the castle windows, and he was running, his long fur flying behind his like wings. A couple of guards appeared from around the corner, but he'd been watching them all afternoon, as he'd struggled to make a plan- they were always chatting, and wouldn't notice his dark shape zoom across the soft grass that made little noise as his paws hit it. And, sure enough, he had reached the gate, and was halfway up it by the time they took any notice of their surroundings. He froze as they passed directly beneath him, but quickly he was back clambering up the cold metal.

     Erals reached the top quickly, but as he looked down he couldn't help but gulp. His arms hurt already, everything was a strange shade of blue that hurt his eyes- all this heroic stuff had seemed a good idea earlier, but now, as he looked down at the courtyard so far below, it didn't seem so appealing.

     The beat of wings nearby startled him, and he almost toppled over the edge as he spun around. Two Draiks had walked out from the small doorway in the gate, and were starting to take off, some sort of night patrol. Erals knew that he would be seen within moments if he didn't jump down, but his legs weren't responding- he gritted his teeth, trying to fight the fear-

     And then suddenly he was sailing over the edge, to the lush grass below. He'd been so shocked that he'd lost his sense of balance, which he realized was a very bad thing indeed as his thin body slammed into the ground. Pain spun sickeningly through him- the Kyrii only just managed to stop a cry of agony escaping his mouth, but nothing could make the stars dancing across his eyes fade, or the ill feeling in his stomach vanish. Finally, the pain in his head increasing, he lost consciousness.

To be continued...

 
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» Hooked On A Snarhook: Part One
» Hooked On A Snarhook: Part Three



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