King Roo: Part One
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
"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
"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
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 meeting…"
"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
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
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
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
To be continued...