I can only imagine the expression my face must have been in.
Before me stood the uncle that I had not seen for years. The uncle that had begun my obsession with all things Frogsloth.
My mind went back to my early childhood, visiting his den, exploring, finding his notes. Notes on the Frogsloth.
I remembered asking him what they were for. Remembered listening to the story about a creature that so few dared to believe in. I remembered how everyone else thought he was crazy, and how he had gone on long trips to search for the creature.
The absences became longer and longer. And the last journey he had taken... he never returned from. No one was exactly surprised. We just kept on thinking he'd found something he thought would lead to the Frogsloth, and he'd come back when that lead was exhausted.
I went to his den, though. (Come to think of it, that was technically breaking and entering.... Whoops. )
I read his notebooks, the ones I could find. I began to keep my own journals, and from scribbled notes in his books, I learned of other Jammers who shared our interest in the Frogsloth.
I took a leap of faith when I met with Montiego. He is a magenta Crocodile, and the head of the society who call themselves the Frogslothians.
He was quite welcoming, unwilling to turn away one interested in his cause. Slowly, I came to know others in the organization, and became (though unofficially) a Frogslothian myself.
We were kinda secret... it's a lot harder to get laughed at when no one knows who you are. Eventually, through the web of fellow Frogsloth enthusiasts all across Jamaa, I learned of Lieutenant.
Roughly one week later, there I stood. In front of the Frogsloth, in front of Lieutenant, in front of Baron Vontoes.
My eyes widened as I realized the identity of the Jammer that was standing in front of me.
"Uncle Baron?" I asked.
"Professor Vontoes?" The Frogsloth said, almost in the same instant. He and I stared at each other for a few seconds in surprise, then looked back at my uncle.
"Wait a minute." The Frogsloth shook his head. "You can't possibly be the professor. I am struck by the remarkable resemblance, though. Almost exact."
Uncle Baron turned to me in amazement.
"You found him. After all these years, you found him."
"Found - he - who... what?" I blinked rapidly, jumbled bits of questions and answers coming out of my mouth. "How are you here? I thought you were - I mean - you didn't come back."
"I was following you." He looked down at me sternly. "When I learned of the foolhardy journey you were taking into the wilds, I considered it my responsibility to come in and rescue you from the situation. It never occurred to me that you would actually find him!"
He was delighted at being face-to-face with Walter, just as I was. A strange spark lit up in his eyes. "After all these years.... "
He moved closer to Walter, stepping around him to observe every angle of the Frogsloth. Walter narrowed his eyes.
"Who are you, and what are you doing in my living room?"
Uncle Baron collected himself.
"Ah. Yes. I am Baron Vontoes," He took a shallow bow, placing a paw on his chest. "A descendant of the same college professor responsible for that - unfortunate incident - in the laboratory, that led to your self-imposed exile from society. We - that is, those of our line - feel responsible for causing such a loss to the world. You were quite a brilliant student, by all accounts.
"We have dedicated ourselves to the cause of locating you, and making some form of reparation for the mistakes made in the past, however that may be done."
Walter's eyes stayed stern.
"Out." He pointed toward the door. "I don't want reparation, I want my life in peace. Out."
"But we have searched for you - I have searched for you - for so many years. Surely there must be something we can do, especially considering what happened after-- "
"What happened then," Walter interrupted, "is of no importance. What is important is that this is my house," he pointed at himself, "and you are trespassing! Now kindly remove yourself from the premises!"
"But-but-but I thought - I was sure-- " Uncle Baron tried to protest. "Are you certain? Oh, we can't, we just can't leave!"
"Fine then!" Walter was at the end of his patience. "If you won't leave, I will! And I dare any one of you to stop me!" His fury was barely restrained, and (to me) incredibly frightening.
Glaring at us ferociously, he stalked off into his bedroom (I presume the door did not lead to a linen closet), leaving Lieutenant, myself, and my presumed-dead uncle all standing in the living room, wondering what had just happened.