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The Origins Of: Balthazar


by tambourine_chimp

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Now, I know what you're thinking. Oh, yes... right now you're reading this and saying to yourself 'Ah-HAH! So, that miserable rug-on-legs has reappeared again, has he? Wants to set the record straight, does he? Hah, says I, and HAH again!'

     But it's true. I, Balthazar Rory Snarlington Woof, have come out of hiding to reveal the truth once and for all, so that everyone may at last realise how my name and existence have become so maliciously tarnished.

     'Never judge a book by its cover,' I believe you Neopians like to say. Well, I ask for no more than ten minutes of your time to prove to you that you shouldn't judge a Lupe by its harsh, rugged, malevolent-looking exterior either.

     Please, just hear me out and I promise you you'll see not only the truth in my words, but also how many forces in Neopia have ganged together to blacken my name.

     Will you hear my side of the story...?

     ~**~

     It all began years back, when I was still a fairly young pup of a Lupe, my purple coat less jagged and my eyes not so pinched together in what may have been easily mistaken for a sinister glare (I'm just short-sighted, honest!).

     I was an adventurous Lupe, with no real owner to hold me by a leash or restrict my wandering spirit. I frequently went on solo rambling trips to the various multitudes of Neopia's natural landmarks. I claimed the tip of Terror Mountain for Fyora before the rest of the land had even been discovered. I trekked the sandy dunes of the Lost Desert to make international relations with their ruler in the Faerie Queen's name. Everything I did, I did first and on behalf of the Faeries.

     Yes, I can hear your giggles and snorts of disbelief, but it's true! Balthazar the Lupe, scourge of all Faeriefolk, acting as their friend and ambassador? I won't waste my time arguing the fact, as all will soon become clear.

     Anyway, since I considered myself a friend and ally of the Faeries way back then, I felt it my solemn duty to help out any of the Folk that happened to request my assistance.

     Imagine then, my surprise, when I came across a particularly drab and dishevelled Earth Faerie during one of my many rambles through the woodlands surrounding Neopia Central.

     She looked up at me with her sullen, tear-streaked face, apparently fearing the worst. "P-p-please don't eat me," she sobbed.

     "My Lady, I wouldn't think of harming one as regal and beautiful as you," I told her soothingly, paw on heart. "Now, please... tell me what ails you?"

     "I've been cast out of my clan," the Earth Faerie - who later I came to know as Gabriella - whimpered. "I'm alone, homeless... no tree will grant me accommodation."

     I nodding knowingly in sympathy as I knew it was common knowledge that a Faerie usually took up residence in something their clan embodied; Earth Faeries tend to live in trees, Air Faeries on clouds, Fire Faeries in volcanoes, Tooth Faeries in... um, cavities. Yeah.

     The Earth Faerie's eyes lit up as a desperate idea suddenly came to mind. "You seem like a kindly soul," she said. "Will you take me in?"

     "Oh, I don't know if I could, Lady Faerie," I told her apologetically. "My home is barely large enough to sustain me and my bottle collection, you see, and I doubt such a place is suitable for a being as graceful and lovely as yourself."

     "Nonsense!" Gabriella laughed daintily, although the desperation was clearly evident in her shrill voice. "A... a bottle will be fine! I'm not that big, and it would allow me to practise my magic in a safely enclosed area!"

     "Well, okay then," I sighed reluctantly, secretly honoured that a being so powerful would accept my squalid living conditions as her own. "If you're sure..."

     "Oh, I am, I am!" the Faerie squeaked excitedly, clapping her tiny hands together happily. "And, if it wouldn't trouble you too much, I know many Faeries in a similar predicament..."

     "Great..."

     ~**~

     And, before I knew it, the 'Balthazar Home for Faeries' was born. Almost all my bottles were occupied with a homeless Faerie within a week, and even more of the little lovelies came in by the day, seeking shelter and sanctuary (although from what I have no idea).

     Yes, I know now that this was probably a bad idea to start off with, but I just couldn't say no to Faeries when I had done so much for them in the past. And yes, I know my next idea probably sealed my fate in the eyes of the world, but you have to know the truth.

     The truth is, to be precise, it wasn't even my idea to give away the bottled Faeries.

     That's right.

     No, it was Gabriella, who had been with me from the very start, who made the suggestion. My little hut was getting ever so crowded, you see, and it cost an awful lot for me to buy more and more bottles, feed the Faeries and pay the rent (hey, build a hut on a farmer's 'land' and suddenly you owe him everything. And people called me greedy), but I was too kind-hearted and caring to give the idea of saying 'No, enough is enough... no more Faeries, please!' much thought. But good old Gabriella saw the obvious trouble looming - either that, or I was looking especially gloomy and troubled that day - and gained my attention by rapping on the side of her glass bottle.

     Padding over, I gently lifted up the bottle and unscrewed the lid. "Yes, ma'am? Are you hungry?" I asked.

     "No, but I can see you need help," she replied cheerily, and I perked up almost straight away at this. Faeries were wise creatures, and any help she could give me would be valuable indeed. "Let me let you in on a little secret. Exiled Faeries such as we," she added, sweeping her arms majestically around the small room, "need only grant one wish to be accepted back into our clans... but we can't just give out wishes willy-nilly, you see. No, a Neopet must want our help, must request it unmistakably."

     "I wish I had the space and funds to make you all happy," I announced hastily, but the Earth Faerie simply laughed and shook her head regretfully.

     "That's not how it works, I'm afraid... no, let me finish. You see, a Neopet must want our assistance but - and here's where it doesn't work for you - they must not return the deed. A Faerie's magic blessing is most powerful when it's selfless. So, you see," she added with a playful sigh. "I can't grant your wish because you've already done something for me - for all of us!"

     "Oh... then what am I to do?"

     "Easy... that I can help you with! You sell us!"

     The suggestion shocked me to the core, I'm telling you. Me, a lowly Neopet, attempt to barter off the wonderful Faeriefolk? It just wasn't heard of! "I-I-I couldn't do that!" I stuttered, shaking my head hurriedly. "It wouldn't be right!"

     "No, but don't you see?" Gabriella asked with a bright grin. "That's the beauty of it! We can't repay your endless kindness with a wish for money, but by selling us for a moderate price, you'd not only be getting those much needed funds, but you'd be setting us free and helping us return to our people! For, and let's face it, a Neopian will buy a bottled Faerie with nothing more than the hopes of a blessing upon its pet. Will it even consider returning our generosity? No! A selfless act, that's what it would be!"

     I placed the bottle back down upon the shelf and sat on the rug, contemplating this for some time. If what Gabriella said was true, then I could continue to fund my Home for Faeries, but also aid them in their quests to redeem themselves and return to their clans! It really was an amazing idea, surely one I would never have considered had I not received the wise counsel of the Faeries themselves.

     "Alright, I'll do it!" I agreed minutes later, and a collective cheer went up amongst the bottles.

     That night, the trips began as I made sure all the bottled Faeries made it safely to my shop in Neopia Central. It had remained empty for years, as I really had no idea what to stock in it with the little money I had. But now, as the new morning broke upon the great city, it was full to bursting with bottled Faeries of all kinds.

     None of them minded being given away for varying sums of Neopoints, and with hours the shop was a booming success. People far and wide came to purchase my bottled Faeries, and the air was alive with the hum and joyous laughter of freed Faeries and blessed pets.

     Then she came.

     Her.

     The one person I truly thought would be the most grateful for my great deeds.

     Now, picture the scene; my shop had been open for no longer than two days when who should step through the door but the Queen of the Faeries herself, Fyora! Upon seeing her regal form hovering across the counter I almost bowed out of sight, but instead I simply lowered my head in reverence.

     "Your Majesty," I murmured respectfully.

     "Balthazar," she hissed. Yes, you heard me right, hissed. "What right have you to imprison my subjects and sell them off for you own personal gain?"

     At this question a few nearby shoppers stopped what they were doing and nodded, muttering in agreement as if a veil had been lifted from their eyes and they were seeing my deeds as something far more sinister.

     "What? I-I-it's nothing like that, Your Highness -"

     "Silence! These Faeries were banished from their clans for good reasons, and I see no reason why you should profit from our ways. If a Faerie should want to seek redemption and acceptance back into her clan, then she shall do so in the usual ways - not from the inside of a glass jar!"

     "B-but..."

     "I will have silence! Balthazar Rory Snarlington Woof, I order you to free all of my subjects immediately!"

     "B-but!"

     "NOW!"

     Reluctantly, and oddly ashamed, I slunk around my shop, loosening the lids of all the jars I passed, Faeries offering me words of kindness as I did so.

     "Sorry, Balthazar... we had no idea it would end this way."

     "You tried your best, Balthy!" (that's what they called me; 'Balthy.' Oh, how I miss it!)

     "Sorry I got you in so much trouble," Gabriella told me sincerely as I opened her bottle last of all. All I could do was nod sullenly.

     "Now," Fyora went on, and I tensed, the worst of my punishment yet to come. "For this crime against the Faeriefolk, I hereby banish you to the woods from whence you came! You are to never live or trade here in Neopia Central ever again! And if I ever so much as hear of you bottling-up my subjects and selling them, I will punish you worse than this! You don't want to be a Donksaur now, do you?"

     "No, Ma'am..."

     "Then be gone!"

     And gone I was... went... whatever. Suffice to say I left that shop and that city with my tail well and truly between my legs. Where had it all gone wrong? I thought miserably as I slunk back home to my horrid little hut. I just tried to help the Faeries lead happier and healthier lives, and this is what I get!

     I was all set to become an enemy of the Faeries there and then when who should I find waiting on my shelf but fair Gabriella.

     "Cheer up!" she smiled, flitting over to me. "I've had an idea!"

     "Oh, no..."

     ~**~

     To be fair, Gabriella's second idea was much better than her first. Well, I say that now... but that's just because I haven't gotten in trouble for it yet.

     You see, Fyora had said I wasn't to bottle-up Faeries and sell them any more. But, as Gabriella pointed out, that left a nice little loophole with which I could continue helping the Faeriefolk. I still bottled them up if they asked for my help and shelter, but I no longer sold them.

     No, now I simply sneak over to the Money Tree early in the mornings to deliver a whole load of Faeries looking for acceptance back into their clans. So Neopians still help them when they open them, and if they decide to sell them on instead, it's their tail that risks Fyora's wrath, not mine!

     So, there you have it, fair reader! The truth behind the monster, as many of you think of me. I'm just another caring, loving Lupe eager to help out those in need.

     ...

     ...

     ...

     Did you buy all that?

     No?

     Aw, well it was worth a shot! Now, if you'll excuse me, I've got to go and have a great laugh at the Faeries' expense and then go on the hunt! See you around... although you better hope that I don't!

     -Balthazar

The End

Author's Note: I've always wanted to do another Origins story, and I've also wanted to tell Balthazar's side of things (does it matter if they were all lies?)... so I thought why not combine the two? And here's the result! Hope you all enjoyed it! Until next time!

Peace,

TC

 
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