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Neopia's Fill in the Blank News Source | 21st day of Swimming, Yr 26
The Neopian Times Week 139 > Articles > Balthazar: Bounty Hunter or Business Lupe?

Balthazar: Bounty Hunter or Business Lupe?

by reverbir

HAUNTED WOODS - The last place I ever want to be, but when one’s duty is too clear the record on so called “denizens” of Neopia, I have to go where I must. With my Sell-a-holic Yellow Poogle Poogleemee in tow, I had wandered deep into the woods in search of Balthazar, the large Lupe “bounty hunter” responsible for giving us bottled faeries. Of course, it’s hard to locate somebody if you don’t know where they live.

Fortunately, I have connections in the form of Ghost Lupe. After he’d saved us from a Meuka attack, I convinced him to take us to Balthazar.

After a rather short walk we arrived at Balthazar’s grove, which is populated by a few tree stumps and flowerless rose bushes. The Lupe himself came jogging in a minute later; a large net full of Faeries slung over one shoulder. I ran over and introduced myself.

Me: Hello Balthazar, I’m reporter reverbir. I’d like to ask you some questions.

Balthazar: That will depend on what the questions are about.

Poogleemee: (interrupting) I’d like to ask if you’d be kind enough to ship a bunch of Faeries to my shop.

Balthazar: Can you bottle Faeries?

Poogleemee: Uh, no.

Balthazar: (laughs) I’m kidding. We’ll discuss something later. Now reverbir, what is it you want to ask?

Me: I’m here to clear a few things up. First off: I’m sure you know Neopia’s popular opinion of you.

Balthazar: Yeah, I’m an “evil bounty hunter who captures innocent faeries just to get revenge.”

Me: And what’s the validity of that statement?

Balthazar: Not true. Well, at first it was for revenge. However that was only because the first faeries I ever met where those prankster Dark Faeries who hit me with rocks.

Me: I imagine that if Dark Faeries were the first faeries you’d ever met, you’d be disillusioned about faeries in general.

Balthazar: Correct.

Poogleemee: So when did you stop capturing faeries for revenge?

Balthazar: After two things occurred. First, I captured and bottled each and every one of the Dark Faeries who’d hurt me as a pup. Second, I learned how much demand there could be for bottled faeries.

Me: How’d learn about the commercial value?

Balthazar: Well, one day early in my career a Moehog broke into my cabin while I was out hunting. When I came back, I saw he’d released a lot of the faeries and that 90% of them had blessed him in some way or another. After I chased the intruder out and caught what faeries hadn’t gotten out the door, I realized my purpose in life.

Poogleemee: So you capture the faeries for a profit? You’re my kind of Lupe!

Balthazar: (to me) What’s that supposed to mean?

Me: He’s obsessed with selling things.

Balthazar: Oh. So that’s why he asked me about faerie shipments?

Me: Yes. Speaking of capturing faeries, how do keep them from escaping your nets? (I motion to the net of faeries)

Balthazar: Oh right! I forgot about them. Come with me. I’ll show you how I bottle them.

He picked the net back up and headed towards his cabin. When we got inside I saw that two walls had shelves on them, floor to ceiling. On one set of shelves sat a bunch of bottled faeries while the other shelves held empty bottles. Balthazar set his net down and grabbed a bottle.

Balthazar: All these bottles are recycled. If the guys that open them don’t keep the bottles for other uses, they reappear on these shelves. (Three bottles suddenly pop onto the shelf.)

Balthazar popped the top off the bottle and then reached into the net. He grasped a Fire Faerie by the wings and transferred her quickly to the bottle and put the top back on. He repeated this procedure as we continued with the interview.

Me: Well, for one who say’s he doesn’t want revenge on the faeries, you aren’t being very gentle with these ones.

Balthazar: Would you want to be stuffed in a bottle? I can’t count how many times I’ve tried to convince these girls that I’m-(stares right at the faerie he just bottled) just trying to make a living and I’d be quite willing to give them a percentage of my income if they’ll cooperate.

Me: If they cooperated, your reputation would pretty much die.

Balthazar: See, there’s another reason they ought to cooperate with me. They hate me, and I know that if any got out I’d be cursed so bad I’d never be able to work again. However, we naturally work together. I catch them, sell them, some other Neopet frees them, the faerie blesses that pet, usually, and flies away. I get some Neopoints, and the process restarts.

Me: You still haven’t told me how you capture them.

Balthazar: It’s all about my nets. The trees that used to grow in this glade had great magic-resisting properties. The wood is what makes up my cabin, so if any faerie escapes in here and the door is closed, they can’t escape. My nets are made up of the vines from those trees. The little faeries are powerless to escape.

Me: Do you catch bigger faeries? (pulls out a note) My brother Kingwerewolf was wondering if you’d net and bottle Illusen for him.

Balthazar: Sorry, no-can-do. Well, I could; I’ve got special nets that shrink big faeries down to a smaller size for bottling. However, I’ve got a rule about catching the big faeries: if they’ve given a quest to somebody, I don’t catch them until that quest has been completed or ended.

Me: Do they know about that?

Balthazar: Of course they do. I risked life and limb to deliver that message to Fyora. She read it and then had me catapulted out of the castle. Fortunately I landed in the ocean near Mystery Island. When I got to shore Jhuidah tossed me in her cooking pot and rocketed me to the Haunted Woods.

Poogleemee: Did she do that out of hatred or as a favor?

Balthazar: Take a guess.

Me: You claimed you don’t hunt for revenge. However, the Neopedia article on you doesn’t spout you off as a very kind Lupe.

Balthazar: A small portion of that was fictionalized. Like I said before, I recycle my bottles so I don’t need to punch air holes in each one. And I can’t take pleasure from struggling faeries because they don’t fight anymore.

Me: The info at the start of the article says you joked about your “one day hopes that…” What is it you really hope for?

Balthazar: I honestly hope that one day the faeries will forgive me for just trying to run a business.

Poogleemee: I’ve got a question for you. In the game Extreme Herder you are depicted as a Petpet eater. Is that true?

Balthazar: I think whoever created that game has me confused with Florg. I’d never eat any of the Petpets you try to save in the game. In fact, I don’t eat Petpets at all, unless they get cooked and served on a plate.

Me: I hope you’re referring to Snorkel-based dishes.

Balthazar: Of course. I’m a bounty hunter, not a savage.

Me: Well, considering how well your business is doing, do you ever take time out for fun?

Balthazar: Unfortunately, being a faerie-catcher is a full-time job. My day actually starts at 4:00 AM NST when I pack up the faeries I’m going to donate to the Money Tree. I keep three of each type around as decorations, then about a quarter of what remains goes to the Money Tree. The rest I ship off little by little to certain shops, and I occasionally pop a few by the Wishing Well.

Me: How do you stay so stress-free without free time?

Balthazar: Well, I do try to take a day off every now and again. I beat up on Punchbag Bob and Sid, play my favorite games, like Tombola, Dice-A-Roo, and Extreme Herder.

Me: But I thought you had complaints about that game?

Balthazar: It’s inaccurate, sure, but it’s a great game. Its actually quite fun to have to save Petpets from a fictionalized version of yourself. Oh yes, I’ve one more complaint. I’d certainly never munch on Kacheeks. They’re too cute, and I don’t like fur getting in my teeth.

Me: How can you know you don’t like fur in your teeth?

Balthazar: I ate an Evil Fuzzle when I was still a pup. Took me a week to get all the fuzz out.

Me: That brings up an interesting point. What’s you opinion on the Lupe-Chia debate?

Balthazar: the only Chia I’d ever eat is a Strawberry Jelly Chia. The real things are too tough to barbecue.

Poogleemee: Uh…

Me: That just put an interesting picture in my mind. Okay, thank you for this great interview Balthazar. Perhaps I’ll see you around.

Poogleemee: And don’t forget about shipping me those faeries!

I couldn’t drag my Poogle out of poor Balthazar’s hut until they had struck up a deal. Let’s just say I’ll be in debt for a month if I’m as good at games as I think I am. As for the faeries, something happened while they were in transit and every single one escaped its bottle.

As for Balthazar, my suspicions were proven true. The poor Lupe is just a victim of misunderstanding and is just trying to make a living and doing a fine job of it.

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