Made Me Realize
"Let's go," I said.
"What? Why? I can't, you can't! It's not practical, it's far too soon, you have no idea how-"
"I know it's not logical." I smiled. "I don't want to be here anymore. I want to go. I already decided, in fact. I want you to come with me but I'm leaving soon. I'm doing this!"
"Dakota!" I started laughing. "Have you decided?"
"To move to Terror Mountain? No, Lucas, I have definitely not decided in the last few seconds! My life, our lives, are here in Brightvale! My loyalties belong to the king! Who reigns in Terror Mountain? How much does it cost to live there? I don't have any money, you don't have any either. I don't understand why you think this is funny."
I have always felt stuck. I was stuck in Mystery Island. I was stuck in the Haunted Woods. I was stuck in Faerieland. Now, I'm stuck in Brightvale. Not from my own doing of course, but because of my friends whom I cared about. See, that's the problem when you're a traveling white Shoyru like me. You're never in one place for too long, but you meet the most incredible friends in your travels. You want to bring them along with you, to have someone share the experiences with you. As much as I like traveling, the 'make new friends' thing gets exhausting. I want someone to remember times in Mystery Island and look forward to new ones in Maraqua or Tyrannia.
I knew right when I met Dakota she would not be that one. A routine-set, mediocre goal-setter blue Usul rarely thought outside the box. The exact opposite of me. So how did we become friends? Well, out of necessity. I was simply looking at scrolls at the boringly named Scrollery, and she walked in wanting the last Scroll of the Sea, the one I was holding. Roberta said she had no shipments coming in anytime soon. So we talked. I ended up telling her how I needed a place to stay since I had just moved to Brightvale. She had a room but needed the scroll. It worked out perfectly.
So in a radical twist in her nature she became friends with the guy who lived adventurously. I learned quickly she preferred to read about riveting tales in books rather than experience them first hand. Books were never my cup of tea; why imagine someone's fictitious experience when you could go out and live your own? I always preferred having my vivid memory to remember than some book that gathers dust.
But, I digress. She was able to tell me the good parts about Brightvale, such as the caves where Xandra and Hanso were trapped in, as well she got me in the Brightvale Castle where we met King Hagan (boring fellow he was). She was able to get me a job at the Motery, where I observed their erratic behaviour and how to utilize their unique abilities in the Battledome. I also helped out at the Brightvale Fruits shop, tasted exotic fruits to both me and Brightvale. Later I volunteered as a glazier and made my own glass at Brightvale Glaziers. However shockingly enough I think the most surprising thing to me was how Brightvale is supposedly the most intelligent land in all of Neopia, yet they have the most uninspired store names I've ever seen. You would think at least one of these smart fellows would be able to come up with something.
Dakota and I became fast friends. Despite our differences when I would get to my room at the end of the day, I would tell her about my adventures and experiences and she would listen very attentively. She would tell me things about the history of Brightvale, which I presume she read in her books, or go on tangents about her own dreams. She had lots of dreams about seeing more of Neopia, but was content in staying in Brightvale as it was 'her home'. Talk about baiting me for a challenge.
"It's not funny, Dakota," I said, still with the same grin on my face. "I'm laughing because it's exciting! I've been here for a while now, and I'm ready to go on an adventure."
"I thought Brightvale was your adventure?"
I stifled a laugh. Brightvale? Adventurous? Maybe if more wraiths attacked. This was practically settling down for two months for me while I gained energy to go out and do something daring. And the peaks of Terror Mountain? They were calling my name.
"Well, yes and no," I said, trying to be polite to her. "Brightvale has been an absolute pleasure, but I'm not someone to stay in one place for a long period of time."
"But... it's only been two months since you got here," Dakota said sadly. "I was just getting to know you, Lucas."
"That's why I want you to come with me! You always said you wanted to see more of Neopia. You've never stepped outside of Brightvale. If you come with me, you'll see firsthand the peaks of Terror Mountain. The ice cold slushies. Play along with Raindorfs and Firs in Happy Valley and you could marvel at your reflection in the Ice Caves. Doesn't it sound perfect?"
"Well... yes. But my life is here. It's just that.. I thought... Lucas..."
"What is it?"
"I thought you liked it here. I thought you were going to stay here."
I'm not entirely sure what lead her to believe that, considering the fact that every day I've told her that I can't wait to see more of this world.
"I'm sorry, Dakota. I've always been held down in places. By people. People who don't want to see me go, and then I stay."
"Then stay!" she pleaded.
"I wasn't finished. I stay against my will. I do it for my friends, because I care for them. And nothing is different about you. I care for you. I want to see you grow, and experience life the way I know it can be experienced. There's so much more than what's in a book. There's people to be met, views to be seen. I've seen Brightvale a lot, and I think I've soaked in everything there is to soak. And I absolutely loved every moment, however now it's time to move on."
"This was really sudden, Lucas."
"That's the way I roll."
"I don't want to leave. Yes, I want to see Neopia. I want to experience life in Neopia Central. See the Mysterious Obelisk, and walk in the jungles of Mystery Island. But Brightvale is where I belong."
"Are you sure?" I asked.
"Yes," she responded.
"Then... well, that's your decision. But you can't ask me to stay. You've known this entire time that I live for adventure. A life here, that's not an adventure, that's ordinary."
"What's wrong with ordinary?" Dakota asked me.
"To you, nothing. To me, everything."
She looked down at the carpet. "I knew I couldn't convince you to stay. I just... I just had hoped I would've been able to be convinced to go with you."
"And you're not."
I stayed silent for a few moments. "I'm going to go pack, and then I'll be getting an Eyrie Taxi to Terror Mountain. I could fly, but I've heard the winds around the mountain are too strong for a small guy like me," I said. "Don't want to start off on a bad note."
When Dakota didn't say anything, I went into my room where I've stayed in for the last two months. It didn't take long to pack my stuff into my small backpack. I've learned how to travel light this past year and plenty of possessions can make things very complicated. I put my backpack on and walked with my friend to the front door in sheer silence.
I looked into Dakota's soft green eyes. "This is goodbye."
"Will I see you again?"
"Only if you came with me."
Her voice broke. "Then I'll miss you."
All I could say was, "You too."
"Best of luck with your adventures," she said as she opened the door for me. "And don't do anything too dangerous."
I let out a small smile. "No promises."
"I'll accept that."
A month and a half later, I was at the Mountainside Inn as I have been climbing up to reach the peak. It was a cheap place, and actually very comfortable. I even met Talinia sipping cocoa. We talked about archery and she had me convinced to take up archery lessons should I ever go to Meridell.
It was right after our conversation the caretaker, a large green Skeith, gave me a letter a Weewoo had given him.
I don't know if you'll get this letter, if you're up the Mountain or you very well could have moved on by now. But the day you left, you made me realize something. The true passion in my heart to travel. It's always been there, and I've fed it many books. I've had a lot of time to think. I realized that you did have me convinced to go with you. Only I didn't let myself. And I should've gone with you.
But the choice has been made, and I wish you well along your journey. Take care. And should you ever stop by Brightvale, even if for an hour, I'll be waiting to join you.