"My dear, the Kiko Lake Team poses absolutely no risk to the kingdom," King Altador spoke, stirring his hot cup of tea with a small silver spoon.
Altador sounded calm and collected, as he always did. The man hardly ever raised his voice, but when he did, it was utterly terrifying. Thankfully, this wasn't one of those times. Neopians either feared or respected him, sometimes even both.
Queen Nera sat across the table from the famous Lupe and let a soft sigh escape her mouth. "They don’t necessarily pose a risk, they're just…"
"A minor inconvenience?"
The brown haired Xweetok nodded at the reply. "Al..they're always ‘accepting’ donations from unsuspecting Neopians. They're literally taking items without the consent of others!"
Nera was right about the team. She didn't like talking bad about others, but after so many times of dealing with the team, she couldn't take it anymore.
"Nera, please... we have already discussed this." Altador says, as he sat the small spoon on the table. He then lifted the cup to his mouth and took a sip.
The rulers of Altador have had this same argument a many of times. Nera despised the infamous Kiko Lake Team, mostly because the queen herself has fell victim to their donation scheme. Basically, the team would appear out of nowhere and take a random item saying it was a donation, so they could attend this year's Altador Cup. It has tormented many Neopians for years.
Queen Nera always wanted to punish the team for doing such things. Either excluding them from the Altador Cup for a season or deducting points, she wanted justice. Many other Neopians were also upset with the team. Most of the time when they buy an item, immediately it is taken by the Kiko Lake Team. It's a major inconvenience when you're trying to do a Faerie Quest.
Nera opened her mouth to argue, but was soon interrupted by the sudden sound of glass breaking. The king and queen quickly looked over, and one of the large windows had been shattered. On the marble floor, in the middle of broken glass, was a Yooyuball. The creature rolled up to the couple, popping open in front of the ancient king.
"Letter for King Altador!" the Yooyu held up a white envelope to the elderly Lupe.
"Thank you." Altador said as he took the envelope from the small Petpet. Their son Alaric has a Yooyu as a pet, so they knew plenty about the Petpets
The Yooyu then excused himself, hurled out the other window and shattering it as well. Nera wondered why the creature didn't simply go out the window from which it came. Then again, she wondered why it crashed through the window in the first place. Using a door would be so much easier, and less destructive. Actually...using a mail carrier that walks instead of flies would be less destructive.
"We really need to find a better messaging system." Nera shook her head as Altador opened the envelope.
Altador of course brushed her comment aside as he always did. He always used Yooyus for messages. As always, the man refused to change his ways. He was incredibly old fashioned where as Nera was willing to adapt to the new ways.
Nera then sipped her tea, not paying much attention to her husband reading over the letter. Most likely it was official king business that she had no part of. Nera was more of a public figure, making speeches and meeting with children. Altador dealt with trade summits, important meetings, and such. The council did most of the work, Nera was just a pretty face that kept the residents company. She didn't mind.
"This is troubling.." Altador set the letter on the table and rested back in his chair. A worried expression now shown upon his bearded face.
Nera looked over at him. "What’s troubling?"
The great king sighed, "Neovia wrote to us in need of aid. A source of dark magic has been corrupting the residents there. They're in dire need of our assistance."
"I'm guessing that's a no show for them at the Altador Cup then." The Altador queen sipped her tea once again. Part of her wished the disaster happened to Kiko Lake, but she wouldn't say that out loud.
"Nera! This is far more important than the Altador Cup! And I'm sure the rest of the Haunted Woods will be there."
Nera slowly put her cup down. "...Are you sure?"
"NERA." Altador frowned, disappointed in her.
"I'm kidding! So, uh...what exactly do they need?"
"Well…" Altador stood up from his chair, "they need me to go down there and investigate. They want me to find the source of the treachery and dispose of it immediately."
"...How about after you do all that, you give it to Kiko Lake?"
"IT WAS SIMPLY A SUGGESTION AND A SOLUTION TO THE PROBLEM."
Altador frowned, "anyway, I'll be leaving immediately to help them."
"Oh, nice! Can I come?"
"Absolutely not. It's far too dangerous for you."
Nera crossed her arms. "I've been in far more dangerous situations than this, Altador. I helped save lives from a evil sorcerer. I dealt with putting the Altador Cup pageant together and I also met your mother."
"I know, but I don't want you going on this one. I rather you be here safe inside of the city walls. And don't you dare bring my mother into this."
"Altador come on, you didn't let me go with you when the Faeries were turned to stone. Please let me come along this time..."
"And what happened? I myself was turned to stone. So was King Jazan and two of our most loyal guards. It was highly dangerous and you could have been hurt."
"Yes but-" Nera started to protest. She knew how dangerous the journey would be. She was prepared for it. She wasn't a child, she was a grown woman and could fight her own battles. Altador would worry about her no matter what, and going along meant she could help. Going along meant she might be able to get out of the castle for once. Skipping a ton of meetings and speeches sounded great to her.
"It's a definite no. You will stay here with the children and the council. You have a duty to perform and the Altador Cup is going on, you can't abandon it or the Miss Altador pageant."
King Altador excused himself so he could go get ready for his trip. Nera sighed, and looked back at the shattered glass in the floor. She would have to ask a guard to clean it up. The queen stood up from her seat and walked around the mess.
Nera wanted to go along with Altador to Neovia. She never really went along with him on trips. This time she really wanted to. She didn't care if she had to argue with him for hours, she planned on going.
King Altador had no idea what was in store for him.
Despite the king’s protesting and lectures, Nera went along with him on the adventure to Neovia. As most Altadorians said, the queen does what she wants. Neither Altador or the council could stop her. She insisted she needed to go along with him.
Altador finally grew tired of arguing with her, so he agreed she could come along.
Sometimes letting the queen do as she pleases was for the best. It saved someone the pain of arguing nonstop with her. Nera could argue with anyone for hours. The only reason she ever won an argument was because the other Neopian grew tired of arguing with her.
King Altador worried for the wellbeing of his queen and for the residents of Neovia. Whatever the dark source of magic was, it had to be stopped. Like with The Darkest Faerie’s evil scheme, it could end up tainting the land and other residents.
It could spread to the rest of the Haunted Woods or even Faerieland.
Maybe even all of Neopia.
Altador didn't know if the source behind the dark magic planned on taking over just Neovia or all of the Haunted Woods. He worried whatever or whoever it was, wanted to taint all of Neopia. Most villains try such a feat, thankfully none of them have succeeded, yet.
The king just hoped Neopia could be saved once again. The good guys always win, right? It's how it should be. The hero beats the villain, and the villain is punished. It sounds like a cliché children's fairytale, but that's always how it went in the land of Neopia. It had happened in the Altador vs The Darkest Faerie, Tale of Woe, The Faerie’s Ruins, and countless other scenarios.
Each scene had a different villain and a problem, but the ending was always the same.
The good guy wins and the bad guy loses.
Just how it always should be.
But Altador still worried the outcome may come out differently. Because maybe sometimes the good guy may lose.
And the bad guy may win.
To be continued…