Not Everybody's Hero
Story by Doo, D19M1oY1999
Hoborg stood in the Nursery and cluelessly looked down at the tiny lifeseed still lying on the ground. He had no idea why it didn't sink in like the other two did. Nothing was wrong with the seed itself, he sure had taken care of that. But while the other two already were grown to happy 'Hoodians and had left the Nursery to explore their world, this one didn't show a lifesign. Lay there almost stubbornly, Hoborg found. As if.. it wouldn't WANT to sink in with the other two.
After a long while, Hoborg shrugged and said to the seed, quietly, as if he didn't want to scare it: "It is YOUR choice, son."
Then he left, not without turning around twice, to see if the seed would decide to grow before its father was gone.
For a little while longer, it just lay there.
Then, it started to shake. In the soft quietness of the Nursery it almost seemed a loud sound when the seed finally sank in and spat out a young Neverhoodian.
The door hadn't been such a big obstacle, but the new being left the room of its birth rather crankily - it didn't understand the sense of a door that you have to crash in *three times* before you could finally leave.
Just in time the Hoodian noticed that there wasn't any ground where his determined step wanted to lead him. He stopped, and suspiciously looked down.
The room was painted in a friendly light-blue, and five rings were hanging from the ceiling. All he saw beneath was a giant mouth of a plant sort of.. thing.
"Yeah, right.." mumbled the newbie to himself, being sure to NOT just jump down there.
He looked back at the rings, then around the room, not spotting any better possibility. Getting set for a jump he half-growled to himself: "I'm gonna complain about this.."
Getting a grip on the ring closest to him in mid-jump Hoborg's belated son got past the green, probably man-eating thing below him. To be sure to be out of its range he grabbed the next ring and pulled himself forward. Then the next. As he reached the fourth ring, he suddenly felt how the string gave and slowly dropped him to the ground. At the same time, the door in front of him opened.
With an almost victorious grin the Neverhoodian marched into the direction of the exit, but as he let go off the ring -
The door closed.
The annoyed look flew back into the Hoodian's face.
He looked around for a way that might keep the door open, but there was nothing but those rings, the pesky green thing and.. a button on the door.
Now, the new guy wasn't of the curious sort. He hadn't seen much of the world yet, but he didn't trust it. There just were.. too few obvious dangers here. So he quickly rammed his fist into the button and jumped aside - an action that showed useful indeed. A fist sprang out from a little hatch right above the button, hurled through the room and finally hit the small green monster and squashed it right against the opposite wall.
The Neverhoodian grinned, executing a 'STRIKE!' gesture. "Gotcha, scary thing."
But he still was caught in this stupid room. In a hopeful try, he pulled the one ring he hadn't touched yet, but nothing except a bell-like sound happened. He noticed the ladder leading down into a small room - but it lead nowhere useful. So, back to the fourth ring.
The door opened again as the fourth ring was pulled. Thoughtfully the Neverhoodian looked at the exit. The string was too short to walk outside with it and THEN let go. And there was nothing to tie it to.. except.. exCEPT....
The bigmouthed plant was still lying in the corner, out cold, one of its tiny legs dangling in the air. The leg looked like a hook.
The plan seemed alright, so the Hoodian let off the string again to get the plant into position. As he walked a step towards it and the door started to close again..
The new guy turned around to the door. Another Hoodian stood in the frame, holding up the door with one hand and rubbing his head with the other. "Dude.. take care where you drop your doors.."
The newbie Hoodian smiled. "About time, I thought you wanted me to rot in here."
He walked closer to the exit, but was stopped by his fellower who had recovered from the hit. Still holding the door up he shook the new guy's hand. "Hey, no introduction? I presume you're new here, coming from the Nursery and all - and you're blue..!"
Before the Hoodian could go on he was grabbed by the collar.
"Yeah.. SO..?!" the new guy hissed quietly, dangerously.
The other Hoodian blinked in surprise. "Cool, man..! That was meant as a compliment, it's a nice color!"
The newbie didn't like that buddytalk of his 'fellower'. Is everyone here like that?
"Uh-HUH.." he mumbled quietly, letting off the collar of his opponent, but not without giving him a half-powerful prod. As the other Hoodian stumbled into the room, the new guy stepped outside, unimpressedly, as behind him the door closed with a sort of definite *thud*.
Inside, the other Neverhoodian stood cluelessly, looking at the closed door. "Man.. that guy was created on the wrong floor, I'd say.."
His head shot around as some annoyed voice from the outside called out: "Hey! Whoever is in there, turn the radio on again, ya hear?!"
"Yeahyeahyeah..." Absentmindedly the Hoodian jumped up to pull the fifth ring back into 'turned on' position.
Meanwhile, the blue-skinned guy made his way through Public Park. Happy Neverhoodians were playing and goofing everywhere, chasing each other or just relaxing in a quiet corner.. it was sick. Wherever the newbie looked, everyone just seemed to follow brainless joy. Didn't that get boring after a while?
A red shack that was built into a wall seemed at least comparedly interesting, but when he reached the door the face of one of his 'brothers' popped out with a friendly yet excusing smile. "Sorry - explosive experiments, stay tuned!"
Then the door was slammed shut.
Turning around on the spot the newbie looked for his next random aim - so far nothing really had caught his interest. With hands rammed into his pockets he wandered on, to a purple tunnel. It was dark in there, but on the other side he saw light, so he investigated a closer look.
Half-running he reached the other end of the tunnel and saw.. a cannon! That seemed like fun. Some other Neverhoodians were using it, shooting at nowhere in particular, it seemed, so he just watched for a little while.
When the others noticed the newcomer they paused and greeted him nicely. Sort of TOO nicely, because all the newcomer answered was a defensive and bored wave with his one hand.
"Well, uh.." The person who just was in charge of the Cannon controls said, ".. want to.. try the Cannon?" He smiled, hoping that that would warm up the newbie's cold mood. And it did.
The blue fellow nodded and smiled a tiny bit, which was saying the same like "About time you asked me."
He sat down in front of the controls. He shortly studied the buttons and levers. Then he pressed and pulled a couple of them, the Cannon aiming downwards and right into the face of the previous hoodian-in-charge.
The guy looked into the dark tube in front of him and winced. "Hey! What sort of malicious loony ARE ya? You need to aim the Cannon UP! Up up!"
Right with the last "up" the squawk of the Cannon bird mixed in, and the next moment the Hoodian was boosted backwards and into the lakebed, which was waterless right now.
A second later there was a squishy *thop* from somewhere far down.
The other Neverhoodians who were around carefully walked to the rim of the Cannon platform and looked down. One of them shouted into the lake: "Everything okay down there?"
A voice from somewhere between the mud called back grumpily: "Get that loony away from the Cannon!"
They didn't have to force the new being, though. Still with a stupid grin on his face he jumped down from the controls and went on to new 'adventures', whistling.
Alas, nothing else in this world seemed half as interesting. Especially the people. They all were so.. silly, as if they wouldn't understand that they could make it to something way WAY better. The blue guy didn't know WHAT better, but he just knew that none of those others had even halfway the same interests like him. He felt sort of.. left-out. Aimless. And, as they say here: If you're aimless, your first aim should be Hoborg.
He headed for the Castle.
Hoborg was, as expected, in the Throne Room, not on his Throne though, but looking out of one of the slit-windows next to it, into space. He turned around calmly as his young son entered.
"So you've finally decided to awake from your sleep, yes?" he said in his usual friendly voice.
The blue Hoodian carefully looked around in the impressingly big and echoing hall. Then, in quite a bit of timid awe, at his father. He sure was aware of the powers of the king.
As he stayed silent, his father came closer. "What leads you to me, son? I can see something is bothering you."
Slighly stubbornly, but seeing that this was the fastest way, the Neverhoodian answered straight out: "I don't feel like I belong here, father. Everyone here is so.. playful and talkative, I can't find any place where I would fit."
Hoborg put his arm around his son, not noticing the small wince as he did, and walked with him a couple of steps while answering. "Everyone has some place to stay, you just need to find it. Have you already examined all the places? Did you read the Hall of Records?"
His son shook his head. "They're just a bunch of letters, what should be so interesting about that?"
Hoborg stopped and faced the blue-skinned being. "They contain all the collected wisdom of this universe. In them you might find the answer to what you want to do with your life. If not - they'll at least entertain you for a little while. Read it, son, if you still don't feel better then come back here and we'll figure something out for you."
The blue guy nodded. It was a rather doubting nod, but it was a nod. Before he left the Throne Room again to walk to that Hall, Hoborg called him back. "Wait up, son - do you already have a name for yourself?"
His son thought for a second, only halfway turned around to his father, then shrugged awkwardly. "Maloon?"
Hoborg nodded. "We'll meet again later then, Maloon."
Maloon replied the nod and left the Castle.
Just like he had suspected, reading the Chronicles was rather boring. Some parts of it were quite amusing, but overall he had a hard time to stay awake.
He had shortly met Willie earlier, and after reading about him and his journey he thought even more that he was probably one of the biggest idiots around.
The other stories were.. nice, but he really didn't see the sense and importance in it to write all this down in such an extend.
The part of Hoborg's long way to create this world was only skimmed through, up to a certain point, that awoke Maloon's interest:
"Bil continued under Hoborg's guidance, holding the little red-roofed house on his shoulder where Willie and Hoborg could ride and room together. After many years' journey, Hoborg returned and was ready to build 'The Everhood,' a neighborhood that would last forever...
... so long as nothing went wrong"
There was a big break in the letters then, and afterwards it went on like this:
"It was many years later that Hoborg finally woke up again. Around him the world had changed, but now that the righteous ruler was back to his throne the balance would be restored. He created a few more sons with his remaining lifeseeds, but this time not worrying about their future as much, because he had learned that only his sons alone can decide about right and wrong themselves.
Even with the power to create a world and life, alone he had been helpless when his throne was taken over by his own son, Klogg. Only the trust and courage of Klaymen, Willie and Big Robot Bil together had made it possible to fulfill Hoborg's dream."
This was where Hoborg's section ended, for now. Maloon read over the last few paragraphs again, but the middle of the story was simply missing.
"Awww MAN, just at the best part!" he growled out, banging his fist against the empty spot that should contain the rest of the story.
He thought about leaving some 'bookmark' at this spot here and reading on to the end of the Hall at first, but he figured that there was nothing related to this in Arven's Chronicles. So he did what his father had suggested: If there still was something that bothered him, he should simply go back and ask his dad about it.
Hoborg shook his head a bit. "The Wall must have stopped writing while my crown had been misused. I would like to fill you in, but as you might know, I know just as little about what happened as the Chronicles themselves."
Maloon sighed, being angry at the Wall that it just had left the probably most interesting part out.
"However", Hoborg went on, and his son lifted his head again, "The discs that Willie recorded back then do still exist. They might be missing parts now, but he told me that everything Klaymen needed to know was on those." The king laughed a bit to himself. "Maybe I should someday watch them myself."
He walked over to a small box next to the throne, opened it shortly, then nodded and gave it to Maloon. "All the twenty discs are in here. Please be careful with them and give them back to me when you finished watching. Best you go upstairs, that's the closest discplayer from here."
Mal opened the box for a second, smiled at the discs and almost ran into the direction of the elevator - this promised to be something exciting.
Upstairs he shoved all the pieces into the fitting slot, then sat down in front of the player and started the little movie.
While he was watching his eyes and grin widened in fascination. 'I declare myself, Klogg, ruler of the Neverhood.'
When he came back, box under his arm, Maloon seemed happy with himself.
"Well, son, found what you looked for?" Hoborg asked while putting the box back in place.
Maloon nodded. "Where.. is this Klogg now?"
Hoborg hesitated shortly before he turned around to his son. "He fell off this world."
Maloon's disappointment could be read clearly in his face. "He is the coolest guy I have heard of so far, I want to meet him!"
This shocked the king a little. "Oh nono! Klogg never enjoyed this world, and he was a loner - I never understood why he did.. what he did." A sad tone swang in Hoborg's voice at these words.
"He seemed to know way more than most people here.." Maloon mumbled, almost hurt. "He.. is my hero."
Hoborg just shook his head a little. "You don't understand, Maloon.."
But his son was already heading to the exit, still mumbling. "He's my hero.. I wanna meet him someday."
The king just looked after him, a bit worriedly. Two of his older sons who seemingly just had been on the way to him entered the room, still looking after their blue fellower. They turned to their father.
"Did I just hear that right, that guy thinks Klogg is a hero?"
The king nodded.
"I don't know.. that guy seems scary to me.." The other Hoodian added, pointing back over his shoulder. "Are you sure you just want to let him walk around like that?"
Hoborg sat back into his throne. "Yes. What should I do? It's his decision, and I can't just punish him for that. He's young. Maybe he'll learn soon enough that Klogg isn't the kind of hero to have."
The two Neverhoodians both looked back at the exit, doubtfully. Then back at the king, who just shrugged.
"Now, what leads you two to me?"
This got his two sons back on the track of their own thoughts. "Oh yeah. Well, we just wanted to tell you that the door to the Nursery seems stuck, could you please come and help us with it?"