Neoplay: Two Faeries and a Wannabe Evil Overlord - Part Ten
Also by fsufan266
Panic-stricken, Cera looked at Ara. "Well, I think you found it!" she exclaimed fearfully. She grabbed Ara's arm and sprinted for the exit. Leroy still lay there with his broken leg on the floor, cursing at himself. She really wanted just to leave him there—
"Sixteen, fifteen, fourteen..."
—but that would be morally wrong, wouldn't it?
"Twelve, eleven, ten..."
Ara looked back and forth quickly. Finally she realized it might not help Cera's conscience to leave the Meepit here, though she sure didn't see reason to take him.
"Seven, six, five, four..."
She turned into wind, grabbed his wrist, making him wind, and then grabbed Cera and quickly shot down the hallway.
"One," muttered Arathyne softly.
An explosion was heard. The fires and smoke were hot on their tail, but she shot forward and followed her glowing chalk arrows to the exit. They exited the caves and solidified suddenly, flying out and hitting the ground several feet away from another explosion that died away at the cave entrance. She shook her head and looked up, still lying on her stomach. They were back on the outskirts of Geraptiku, and the night sky lay above her, the sky welcoming and the stars brilliant. She noticed Leroy had shrunk to normal Meepit size, and when he started yelling at her it was in petpet language and she could no longer understand him. She smiled slightly, then her head hit the moist leaves on the ground and her eyes closed, overcome with the weariness from so much use of her new powers that washed over her like an icy wave of sleep.
It had all happened so fast that Cera didn't know what to think about it. She sat there straight up, looking down at Ara and then over at the mini Leroy. She turned Ara over slowly, not wishing to disturb her, until she was lying on her back.
Then she turned to Leroy. "Not so big and bad now, huh?" she asked him mockingly, knowing she wouldn't understand the reply. And she could joke about it all she wanted, but it didn't replace the fact that she had been fearful of her life for the past several hours. She looked back at the Meepit. "Maybe we should bring you to the Kadoatery, so you can beg for food that is always too expensive for anyone to buy," she said lamely. They would have to find something to do with him. He was less of a threat now that he was smaller, but still... it would make her feel better. She looked back at her sleeping friend and smiled drowsily. "You've got a good idea," she told her, lying down, exhausted from their world-saving experience.
The Xweetok woke to the sounds of somebody calling her name. Several people, actually. She opened her eyes, but quickly shut them in pain. Being underground with such little light and having adjusting to the dimness made the sunlight hurt her eyes.
"Arathyne! Where are you?"
That voice she identified as Lucy's. She was nearby?
"Why are we even bothering?" came the unmistakable voice of Vinetaa the pirate. "She treats us like dirt anyway. We might as well go back home."
"We've been searching all night!" Roni cried. "We can't give up now!"
"Hey, look—there she is!" Trei said.
She heard many voices at once as Trei and Roni came running over to her. Vi was not so eager to find her sister. Their owner shoved them aside and shook her shoulder. She hissed. Her stomach was sore from the jab it had received the day before. "Arathyne, where were you all night?"
"And who's that?" Trei asked, poking Cera repeatedly in the arm.
"Don't poke people," Lucy scolded, swiping Trei's hand away. "That's my job."
"That's Cera," Ara mumbled, standing up weakly.
Lucy stood and slapped Ara across the face. "I thought I told you to stay out of trouble! Didn't you promise me you wouldn't?"
"I promised not to blow up the house," she corrected, rubbing her cheek. "And I didn't."
"No, but I came home after being attacked by two crazy pink people, and you were gone! Then I figured, maybe you were at the Trading Post. But you weren't there! I checked all of your weird hiding spots that I know of and I still couldn't find you. You had me worried sick!"
Ara looked at her owner, and could see that through the anger in her eyes there lay weariness and exhaustion and grief. She shouldn't have run off like that, she knew. She looked at the ground, for the very first time in her life that she could remember, in shame. "I'm sorry," she whispered.
Cera stirred. There were voices and someone kept poking her. She brought her hand to her head and slowly opened her eyes, using her hand to block out most of the light. She waited till her eyes got used to the bright sun before she fully opened them to see everybody. "Ara?" She said and slowly sat up, wondering who all these people were.
Ara couldn't look at Cera. Trei kept her interest locked on her, saying rather bluntly, "You're weird."
She blinked. What a weird thing to say. "Why thank you, so are you," she said flatly. She looked around. They were still on the outskirts of Geraptiku. "Where's Leroy?" she asked, not seeing him anywhere. She hoped that she hadn't gotten away; he might start this whole mess over again!
But then, at that moment, Vi called, "Hey, check this out! I just found a Meepit! Maybe I can go sell it at the Post!"
"Good, because I don't want any Meepits in my house," Lucy told her.
"That Bori is weird," Trei muttered, following Vi out. Cera ignored the comment.
Roni followed them, saying, "Now, that's not very nice, Trei."
"Bite me" was the reply.
Ara helped Cera up. She looked at her owner. "I'm sorry I caused you to worry. I didn't think anyone cared about me all that much, so I figured if I died down there, no one would notice or care. Vi would probably throw a party."
She scowled. "Don't talk like that," she snapped. "Your sisters care about you. Even Vi—don't give me that look, you know you care about her, too. And what about me, huh? I care about you. I care about you a whole lot. The next time I hear you say something like that, you're going to be in so much trouble."
Cera gave Ara a weird look at that. "I care about you," she said, hoping Ara wasn't in the depths of despair or something like that. She followed the others. "Where are we going?" She didn't recognize anybody. Ara had said they all got painted, but two Shoyrus and two Xweetoks... it was a little hard to differentiate.
Both Arathyne and Lucy held equally surprised looks when Cera told them she cared about Ara. As she walked away, Lucy looked at Ara with one eyebrow raised. "So, what's all that about?" she asked calmly.
"I... I think she's my friend. I feel the same friendship bond with her that I feel with you."
She paused, then smiled. "I'm almost completely healed. And now..." She shook her head, still smiling. "I hope this means you are beginning to, too." She patted her on her shoulder, then turned and walked after everyone else. Ara stood there for a moment, trying to contemplate what her owner had meant by that. Then she ran to catch up.
"Ummm, where are we going?" Cera repeated loudly. She sighed, and stopped to wait for Ara. They began to walk together, a little ways behind everybody else.
"I think you are going to have to reintroduce me to them and them to me," the Bori admitted. "Their new paintjobs have thrown me off, and I don't quite think that they remember me either."
"Well, Tahtrei's the ghost—we call her Trei—and she's never met you. Vinetaa is the pirate who's house you stayed at when she was yellow four months ago on Krawk Island. And the goody-two-shoes princess is Ronyshia, Roni, whatever."
They walked, following Ara's siblings. "Where are we going?" the Xweetok asked no one in particular.
"Vi's off to the Trading Post," Trei answered, "and Roni's with her to make sure she doesn't do anything bad. We're going home."
Cera sighed. Of course they'd answer Ara when she asked. She stopped walking when she saw Ara run up to talk to her owner, then continued on, listening intently.
"I'm going to take Cera back to the Sasoani," Ara said as soon as they passed the trail to it. Her owner looked at her skeptically. "I promise, I won't get into any trouble of any kind, and I promise I will go there and come straight home. One last chance. Please?"
She paused, then sighed. "All right, one more chance. Be back in half an hour, got it?" Ara nodded, and Lucy left.
"Sooooo, what?" She really didn't want to leave quite yet. She had only planned to spend a couple of days here, and she still had the rest of today, if she wanted to. She really didn't have anything to go back home to; everybody was busy doing their own things.
"Sooooo, how weird of a story will it be to tell? 'What did you do over in Mystery Island, Cera?' 'Oh, not much, just saved Neopia from brainless pink zombies and an oversized Meepit with an unidentifiable accent and a fake mustache.' 'Oh. Well, did you have fun?'" She put on two different voices, one as Sarah and the other as Cera, who laughed.
"Like anyone will believe me!" she said, shaking her head. "Oh, yeah, it was loads of fun. We destroyed a big ray gun that turned pets into zombified Meepit minions and went through life-threatening situations to do so. Fun, fun, fun!" Ara noted the sarcasm in her voice and laughed.
"The bad thing about all of this is that even though we did save the Neopia—sort of—we have no proof of it. The secret hideout is in ruins most likely, Leroy is getting sold in the Trading Post, and that was that. But, it's probably for the best. I mean, who wants all the fame and fortune that heroes get, anyway?"
"Yeah, too bad there's no proof or anything," Cera muttered. At that moment, a pink pet darted past them, the same crazed look in its eyes as the others. "Um, Ara?"
"Uh-huh?" Ara nodded slowly, an eyebrow raised, her eyes in the direction of where the pet had vanished to.
"I know you freed the unzapped pets," Cera said slowly, "but what did you do with the zapped ones?"
The End... for now.