A Waffle Paradise Circulation: 177,588,188 Issue: 185 | 8th day of Eating, Y7
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King Roo: Part One

by scarletrhapsody


Many know of King Roo as the ruler of Roo Island and who is obsessed with Dice-A-Roo. But how many know of King Roo before he became king?

King Roo was born Usha Roo. That, in Roo Island's official language, Rooish, means strength and bravery. But Usha was nothing his chivalrous name suggests. In fact, he grew up as a timid Blumaroo, more often than not bullied by the bigger and stronger Blumaroos in his neighbourhood.

     By the time he was in his teens, he was infamously known as the mouse of Roo Island, physically and emotionally weak, bursting out in tears should a baby Blumaroo pick on him. A gentle teenage Blumaroo, his heart often goes out to the lone street wanderer, or an elderly Blumaroo in ragged clothes asking him for a few Neopoints to buy himself a bun. Usha never once suspected that the old Blumaroo might be cheating him of his money, for in his pure, innocent heart of gold, he firmly believed in lend a hand to anyone who appeared to be in need.

     Usha led a simple life with his brother, Ron Roo, in a small cottage in the northwest of Roo Island. His parents abandoned the two Neopets when Usha was really young, and the brothers had no one but themselves to rely on for support. Every day, Ron, the older and bolder one of the brothers, would go out into the woods before the crack of dawn, risking the chance of meeting Count Von Roo, to cut trees. Usha, the carpenter, would take the day's wood and make them into durable tables and chairs to sell at the nearby market, while any leftover wood would be sold as firewood. Usha lived his life as a plain, nondescript carpenter until the day of his sixteenth birthday.

     That day, Ron was, as usual, was out selling the furniture. Because he often came home only late into the evening, Usha would prepare dinner beforehand, then heat it up for his brother when he came home to tuck into the simple meal. That night, Usha was silently hoping for his brother to come home early, seeing that it was his birthday. As he sat awaiting Ron's return, he reminisced of how his elder brother had been taking care of him for the past sixteen years without a single complaint. It seemed to him that it was only yesterday that they celebrated Usha's fifteenth birthday together as contented Blumaroos treasuring their close-knitted brotherly relationship.

     Just when Usha was deep in thought, a young faerie burst through the termite-eaten wooden door, causing it to fall apart. Usha was utterly shocked to see a faerie in his Neohome, or even in Roo Island, for that matter, and this was, of course, the first time he ever saw a real faerie in all his sixteen years. But he was even more surprised that such a small, weak faerie had the strength to break through his door. Alarmed by the sudden and abrupt happening, Usha stood up ramrod-straight as if in defence to face the intruder.

     "Oh, thank goodness there's someone here at last," the faerie heaved a barely inaudible sigh of relieve. "Everyone else already had their dinner and are fast asleep." The faerie took out a tiny scroll from behind her, cleared her throat, and read in a formal tone to the still shell-shocked Blumaroo.

     "I, Magenta, light faerie, has been tasked by the faerie queen to invite the leader of Roo Island to our queen's castle in Faerieland for an annual gathering of world leaders, Neopian Leaders Conference. By order of the faerie queen, I hereby cordially ask that you-" The faerie looked up. "Um, what's your name?"

     Usha snapped out of his shock.

     "Usha Roo," he replied.

     The faerie continued. "That you, Usha Roo, be present at the castle of the faerie queen at nine tonight."

     Usha stared at the faerie incredulously, then let out a shout, "But that's less than half an hour from now!"

     "Exactly," the faerie said matter-of-factly. "Actually, I had been ordered to invite the leaders of all the different lands, but since I only realised a few minutes ago that Roo Island is yet to have a king, I believe the first person I see is the best person there is." Then she lowered her voice and mumbled sheepishly, "Well, if I haven't taken that nap just now and arrived late, I probably wouldn't settle for a sloppy fellow like you. Now hurry up, get properly dressed and come with me."

     Usha glanced at his tattered brown clothes. He said softly, "But, this is the best outfit I have."

     Magenta nearly shrieked. "What? No way is the queen going to believe that you are any important person, let alone the very leader of Roo Island, what with these shabby clothes! How am I going to answer to the queen then? What are we supposed to do now? We have less than half an hour, and all the shops are closed!"

     "Well, you could use your faerie magic," Usha suggested meekly.

     Almost guiltily, the faerie said, "Uh, my faerie magic just got confiscated by the faerie queen yesterday because I was late for the weekly faerie meetingā€¦"

     "But couldn't you just tell your queen that Roo Island doesn't have a king? I'm sure she'll understand."

     "No way! You don't know how demanding she is," Magenta whispered, looking around her to make sure there was no one else around. "We used to call her the Tyrant of Faerieland until a few months ago, when she discovered it and banished all the guilty faeries. I was fortunate to have gotten away unscathed."

     Just then, Ron got home. He, too, was surprised to see a glowing light faerie in his humble home.

     "Who are you, and what are you doing--"

     Magenta stopped him in mid sentence and briefly explained her being there.

     "So, in short, I need your brother to come with me now and I need him to change into decent clothes. Do you have a proper shirt or something?"

     Usha was about to answer that both of them were just as poor, when Ron raised a hand to stop him.

     "Wait, Usha, look what I got you for your birthday," Ron held up a paper bag and took out a bright blue tuxedo. "I saw it in the shops just now as I was coming home and I thought how you would liked new clothes for your birthday. So I bought it for you. Happy birthday, Usha."

     Tears welled up in Usha's eyes when he recovered from the initial shock.

     "It must have cost you a bomb," he said, choking on his tears.

     "I worked extra late tonight to sell all the furniture and had just enough money to buy the shirt. Here, Usha, this is yours. Go change into it and go to the gathering a handsome sixteen-year-old."

     The light faerie was quick to remind them that they were taking a long time. "Quick, time's running out. You guys can talk about all that mushy brotherly stuff when he comes back."

     With that, Usha quickly slipped on the suit and went off with the light faerie. As he took a look back at the small, insignificant cottage, he saw a dark figure standing at the door, waving to him. All of a sudden, the figure seemed all so wise, so magnanimous, and it warmed his heart more than anything else ever did.


     Upon arriving at the annual leaders' gathering five minutes late, Usha and Magenta quickly proceeded to greet the host of the night, the queen of Faerieland, Fyora. Usha was immediately enchanted by the very sight of elusive queen. She was so beautiful, so charming and so charismatic!

     "And this, I suppose, is the King of Roo Island?" the queen inquired.

     "Yes of course," Magenta lied. Usha himself was too mesmerised by the queen's beauty to notice the error in Magenta's declaration. With a satisfied nod and a gentle "please enjoy yourselves" from the queen, the light faerie retreated, literally dragging Usha with her.

     Standing by the dining table, Usha was once again distracted by the piles and piles of luscious, delectable food. Cream cakes, turkeys, muffins, steak...Usha had never seen so much good food in his life! His empty stomach growled, and Usha was promptly reminded that he had not had his dinner yet.

     "Now, Usha, I need your cooperation," the light faerie whispered, looking furtively around, worried that someone would remember that Roo Island didn't actually have a king. "You must, to the best of your abilities, act like a King. And that means--" she glanced at him and slapped his hand which was stealing parts of a boiled chicken. "No pinching!"

     Usha apologised and looked guiltily at her. Before long, his attention was diverted to the rest of the room where many regal looking people wearing expensive, extravagant clothes, stood.

     "That, over there, is King Skarl," the faerie taught, pointing to the grumpy looking Skeith in a corner. "Trust him to be scowling at an occasion like this...see that green guy with the weird chicken hairdo? He's Dr. Frank Sloth. I have absolutely no idea why the queen would want to invite him over, but just so you know, he's from the virtual pets space station.

     One by one, Usha was introduced to the royalties of the world of Neopia. Finally, just as Usha had a relatively clear idea of who's who, the Faerieland queen spoke.

     "I see that most of those invited are already here, and those who are here must be hungry, so let's proceed to the dining table to have our dinner."

     Everyone was assigned a specific seat at the table, and Usha was to seat between Skarl and Kyruggi, the leader of Tyrannia. Because those around him, as he learnt from introducing himself, had hardly heard of Roo Island, Usha was not worried that someone would recognise him as a false king.

     "So you are from Roo Island," the ever-morose King Skarl grunted. "I hate Blumaroos. They're nothing but bouncing springs of trouble." Diffidence triumphed over the courage to stand up for his species, and Usha dared not retort the king's unflattering comments, afraid to incur the grumpy king's wrath.

     Dinner started, and Usha dug in. He had never eaten as much as he did that night, having at least three servings of the delicious food. Magenta was initially worried about what the rest of the guest might think of Usha's ungracious eating habits, but seeing that most of the others ate just like him (with Skarl looking even worse), she let out a sigh of relief.

     Usha was still savouring the delicacies when the queen wiped her lips and stood up, announcing that it was time for an official discussion, the main item of the night. Seated in a circle in another luxurious hall, the group was to voice out their individual land's distress and what they were going to do to improve the lives of their people. Usha was suddenly worried that he would say the wrong things, so he never initiated an opinion. But the queen faerie noticed that he was quiet, and prompted him to speak.

     "So, King Usha Roo," she said. "What do you think are some problems your land is facing right now?"

     Usha was lost for words. He was caught unprepared and did not know what to say. For a long time, he kept quiet, hoping that some other person would interrupt by speaking up. But no. All of a sudden he was on his own, and the leaders all around the world were waiting for him to speak.

     Usha looked around at the many anticipant faces. Everyone was waiting for him to say something. Skarl was obviously not pleased with having to wait in awkward silence, for he scowled even more. Everyone one else was getting increasingly impatient, even the queen herself. All these added up to more nervousness on Usha's part.

     Usha began pulling at his shirt, something he always did when he was nervous. Then an idea struck him. His new robe reminded him of how poor he really was. That in turn caused him to think of that little Blumaroo in tattered clothes who asked him for some food a few days ago. Usha remembered the destitute souls wandering in the streets, how he took pity on them. Taking a deep breath, Usha gathered all the confidence he had and broke the silenceā€¦

To be continued...

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