The Greatest Scheme of Tor: Part Three
Also by sambundrick963
PLAN E: GET BABY WHINNYS
- A male and female whinny
- A wedding ring
- Someone certified to wed
Seradar slammed his book shut, a nerve twitching near the base of his temple. Snorting, the elderly sorcerer abandoned his green armchair by the fireplace and made his way through his abode. It was decorated with a vast array of exotic artifacts that seeped with magic capacities beyond normal comprehension. The Gelert padded toward his front door, placing his novel—Lost Spells of Neopia—on a tiny table located in a corner by his closet.
Paw on the door handle, muttering, “Who could possibly be disturbing me at this hour—?” the second he began to creak it open a violent force on the opposite side of the door barged it open, thrusting him onto his back in an ungraceful fall.
Seradar rolled back his eyes to see Tormund and his apprentice, Roberta, pacing into the threshold. In each of their arms: a whinny petpet. Oddly enough, Roberta had a ring around her finger, an accessory he hadn’t associated with her previously.
Tormund gazed down at Seradar in bemusement. “What are you doing on the floor?”
“Lying here,” the Gelert replied gruffly, accepting Roberta's left hand as she helped haul him to his feet.
“We have an urgent question to ask you!” Tor declared, placing the steed on the carpet.
Roberta rolled her eyes, a wry smile breaking across her face. “Don’t be so impatient,” she breathed, casting her mentor an awkward and apologetic look. “Before he cuts to the chase, let me clarify one three things: We were desperate. It was his idea. And you were the first person we thought would be able to aid us in our time of need.”
His gaze cast upon the ring Roberta donned, Seradar’s annoyance changed to understanding. “Why, yes, of course I can help you in any way possible. What is it you require of me?”
Tor piped up, “We need to know: Are you legally allowed to wed anyone who wants to get married? You know, the whole nine yards?”
Seradar hesitated, then gave a sharp, single nod of affirmation. “That power is vested in me by your uncle, my dear. But I must ask you a question, Tor.”
Tormund blinked, rather startled by the way the elderly Gelert suddenly addressed him, and with such a scrutinizing, critical gaze, too. “Y-Yeah, sure.”
“Can you handle the responsibilities of being in a serious relationship with her?” he asked gently, his palms rested upon the top of his rounded staff.
“Wait—what are you talking about? With whom?” Tor burst out, gawking stupidly.
Seradar raised a paw and rubbed his wizened chin thoughtfully. “To Roberta, of course,” he rumbled, indicating the red stone ring slipped around her finger. “Isn’t that why you were asking me to marry you two?”
Horrified, Roberta protested hastily, “No, no, NO! This ring isn’t for me; it’s for the whinny couple.”
“‘Whinny... couple’?” Seradar’s face paled several degrees to an astounding shade of white.
“Yep,” said Tor perkily. “We need you to marry them on the spot!”
Regaining his senses, the Gelert blurted out, “I thought that the whinnys were wedding gifts, not the bride and groom!”
Roberta explained patiently to her flabbergasted mentor, “You see, Tor accidentally polished off his father’s herd of whinnys, and needs to replace them by tomorrow. He thought that if we wed them, then a stork would come and bring us baby whinnys.”
“Thus solving all of our problems,” Tor tacked on, flashing an award-winning grin.
Seradar could only stare in response to their proclamation. At long last, after five minutes without blinking, the sorcerer managed to choke out, “I see many, many, many gaping holes in your plan. First of all, you wouldn’t be able to acquire the number of whinnys you so desire in one night through that manner. I’m sorry—I think.”
Roberta released a pent-up sigh of relief before turning toward her best friend. “See?” The Acara couldn’t help but behave somewhat superior. “You have it from the expert, Tor; this plan was doomed to fail.” To her mentor, she apologized, “I’m so sorry we disturbed you.”
“Yeah,” sighed Tor sulkily, bowing his head. “C’mon, Roberta, let’s leave, go home, and start writing up my last words. You can help me pick out a coffin, if you want.”
“Alright.” To her teacher, Roberta curtsied and said, “Thanks for your help, but we’ll—we’ll think of something else.”
Tor managed to nod politely; carefully, he scooped up his whinny and began to back out of the door, saying to Roberta, “Let’s go.”
“Wait—!” Seradar began to say, only to be cut off a second later as the door was slammed shut in his face. The Gelert leaned against the wall, confused and dumbstruck at the same time. A minute later he managed to force his joints to move in sync with the rest of his body, and slowly, he loped back toward his armchair by the fire, pausing to snatch up his book as he did so. Once seated snugly in the green cushion, he mused to himself, “Where did I go wrong?” before resuming his novel.
- - -
Long skid marks mapped the two’s procession down the narrow dirt path toward Tor’s farm. It had been a silent, dreary trek from Brightvale, to Meridell, and finally down the last stretch of the road toward home.
Tor sighed, taking in the familiar surroundings of foliage and crops growing in abundance. “This is it, Roberta,” the Lupe mourned. “I’m a goner. My dad is going to mount my head on a wall for the viewing pleasures of visiting relatives. He’ll point and say, ‘There’s the disappointing son of mine who failed to replace our whinnys.’”
“Come off of it!” Roberta scoffed, walking at his side. “It can’t be that bad—”
“R-R-Roberta!” Tormund gasped, pointing toward the house. In the dusky gloom, three silhouettes were outline by harsh yellow candle light that poured through the window. They stood on the front porch of their ranch house, huddled together and conversing in quiet voices. He could identify them easily by their shapes: tiny-framed Lucy, his mother with her slender figure, and his broad-shouldered father. “He’s back early!”
Instinctively, Roberta raised her hand and gripped Tor’s arm comfortingly. “Shall I come with you?”
“Please don’t leave me,” Tor pleaded, meeting Roberta’s gaze with his own, intense yellow eyes.
Side-by-side they proceeded, their aura that of a person who expects a portent for impending doom to lay waste to everything in its wake. As they came closer to the ranch house, Tor’s father caught sight of them and glanced up from his conversation; with a large paw he beckoned them over.
“Roberta, dear!” cried Tor’s mother warmly. “It’s good to see you again.”
“And in such happy circumstances, too,” Tor’s father added on.
“Happy?” Tor’s tail stopped trembling. “What do you mean by ‘happy’?”
His father beamed. “Well,” he began, “I had nary any success in haggling in Market Town, so I decided to return home a day early. And on the way back I had a rather fortunate Random Event, where an odd stranger handed me a lottery ticket. And guess who won?”
“We’re rich!” cheered Lucy, skipping around her parents with unconstrained glee. “We’re rich!”
The older male Yellow Lupe let out a soft chuckle, and reached out a hand to ruffle the top of her head affectionately. “Well, not quite.” He turned toward tor. “Your mother told me about the whinny mishap when I came home this afternoon, so I used the neopoints that I won to buy fifty whinnys—nearly twice as many as we had before! Though I am disappointed in you for slacking on your chores, I couldn’t be prouder of you for trying to regain our previously lost livestock.”
Tor blanched. “How did you know we spent all day trying to get them back?”
Tor’s father replied somewhat dryly, “The expressions on your faces tell me so.”
“All of that trouble...,” breathed Roberta, clutching at her chest in shock, “for nothing?”
Slinging his arms over his mom and dad’s backsides, Tor beamed, pressing his flanks against his parents in a warm embrace. “Well,” he remarked, grinning, “there’s a good way to spend a Friday. Right, Roberta?”
Tor flinched when he noticed that the Blue Acara was slowly reaching for her wand.
“Uh, Roberta? You don’t look very happy.”
“I’m not happy, Tor,” she answered, twiddling the black wand between her fingers. Tor felt very nostalgic.
“Because I thought your life was at stake, and I wasted an entire day trying to clean up your mess.”
“YES!” roared the Acara, and she threw back her arm in a fluid arc before bringing it down, releasing violet sparks.