Preventing a War: Part Three
A few of the prisoners looked hopeful at this suggestion of returning to Meridell, especially Meekel. Galgarrath knew that they wouldn’t try as hard in the Citadel as they would on Meridell soil. He just hoped they could prevent this conflict from getting any worse.
Suddenly, a loud voice started to sound all throughout the castle, and the rest of the land of Darigan as well. It was Lord Darigan! Galgarrath started to cheer, then stopped. He knew without realizing it, that that voice wasn’t their Korbat leader. It was that Halloween Cybunny, the despicable Mistress Haunt, whose glowing pink eyes and dark looks frightened every Neopian. But now, even her gaze wouldn’t scare Galgarrath. He was so determined to save Darigan that he would risk seeing his very soul, regardless of the consequences. And that’s when it hit him.
He had the perfect trap to set for the overreaching Cybunny. Now all he had to do was tell the others. He turned to get their attention, but stopped when he saw their faces. Whatever Mistress Haunt was saying scared them worse than the unconscious body of Haskol. Galgarrath started to listen to the voice of Lord Darigan, that came from the throat of that evil Cybunny.
“-have been spying on us for some time. We must find these prisoners, and make them tell us what they know. Then, we must right this wrong, and make all of Meridell pay for their treachery.”
“That lying fiend!” yelled Galgarrath, receiving multiple shushes from the prisoners. He quieted down, but fumed underneath the surface. She was rallying all of the Darigans by lying to them, telling them that the same captives that were now trying to save Darigan Citadel had been spying on it. How could she? He listened to her final words.
“Unfortunately, I am weak from many sleepless nights, so I am sending my new war advisor to help you. Meet her on the steps of the castle, and she will tell you what to do.” The imitation of Lord Darigan’s voice stopped.
“I know what we have to do,” whispered Galgarrath. “It’s like with the diagonal Kiko uppercut move. All we have to do is bait her into believing that we’re going one way, then wait for her to come to us. We’ll set a trap, then let her walk into it!”
The Kyrii immediately caught on. “And one of the others will go free Lord Darigan, allowing him to tell the crowd what actually happened.”
The others realized what they were saying, and nodded in agreement.
“Barallus, can you create a trap that will immobilize her?” asked Galgarrath.
The yellow Korbat nodded, and closed his eyes before speaking, already weaving the spell. “Where do you want it?” he asked.
“Right in front of the doors to the castle, on the steps,” Galgarrath replied. “I’ll wait for her out there, and bait her. The Yellow Knight and Clops can go free Master Vex and Lord Darigan, while our Kyrii friend, here, can go tell Mistress Haunt that I’m ready to be on her side.”
The Kyrii spluttered. “I don’t think that’s such a good idea,” he said nervously. “It’ll probably ruin your whole plan.”
Galgarrath eyed him warily. “And why is that?”
“Because... I’m the one who brought her here.”
The Yellow Knight immediately grabbed the Kyrii’s arm, restraining him as best as the Chia could, but there was no need. The Kyrii didn’t try to run.
“You misunderstand, Yellow Knight,” he said. “She’s the one who got me sent to prison in the first place. She used me to get up to the citadel, then staged a theft to get me caught.”
The Yellow Knight slowly released his grip, not sure whether to trust him or not, but Galgarrath nodded. Something about the Kyrii told the Grarrl he was telling the truth. “She promised you a grand theft,” he said understandingly, and the Kyrii told him he was right.
“Fine then, Meekel, you shall be the one to tell Mistress Haunt. Can you do that for me? I promise you’ll get to return to Meridell if you do.”
A new, more confident air appeared around Meekel. “Yes, sir,” replied the Kacheek, and he ran off to go tell the evil Cybunny.
The Yellow Knight laughed, and Clops stomped his feet four times. “No wonder they were able to get him to fight Darigan Citadel,” the Chia boomed, and Clops pawed the ground once.
Galgarrath laughed also. So that’s what four stomps meant! Suddenly, he realized what just happened.
“Barallus, have you finished that trap yet?” he asked urgently.
The Korbat's breathing was shallow, and he was kneeling on the ground. “I finished it, but it took a lot of energy,” he managed between breaths.
Galgarrath nodded to the Korbat in thanks, then turned to Clops and the yellow Chia beside him. “You two had better hurry up,” he said, and they both dashed up the nearest staircase, taking the long route so as not to run into Mistress Haunt.
Finally, the Kyrii spoke. “You need to get outside,” he said, and Galgarrath turned towards the door.
“Wait,” the Neopet said to the guard. “I never told you my name.” The Grarrl turned around expectantly.
“It’s Stan,” said the Neopet, and Galgarrath’s eyes widened in realization. The Kyrii wasn’t yellow, he was painted Lost Desert colors! He had just changed into normal clothes, which threw Galgarrath off.
“Quite a long way from the Lost Desert, aren’t you?” the Grarrl said, then turned to walk outside. Stan caught up, and followed behind. “What can I say, her eyes captivated me, until she betrayed me. I just wish she could look into her own eyes.”
“So do I,” replied Galgarrath, and then they were outside.
No Darigans had arrived yet, but Galgarrath could hear footsteps echoing from the hall behind them. “You should disappear,” said Galgarrath.
“If I do, you’ll never see me again,” he replied, and Galgarrath knew he was telling the truth.
“You still should go. Get out of Darigan Citadel, and don’t get caught.”
Stan nodded, then said goodbye. “Before I leave, though, you should know one thing. I let you win.” And with that, he was gone.
The doors to the castle burst open, and Mistress Haunt appeared with Meekel, smiling widely at Galgarrath. “You finally came to your senses,” she said. “Congratulations!”
“Yes, you were right. I was blind, until now.” Galgarrath watched as the Cybunny came closer and closer. ‘That’s it,’ thought Galgarrath. ‘Just a few more steps.’ But Mistress Haunt stopped a single step short. She looked straight into his eyes with hers, forcing him to face his soul.
Knowing the fate of Darigan depended on him, he gazed back. He watched himself, every wrong he had committed, all in the reflection of the Cybunny’s bright pink eyes. He saw when he had stolen from a citizen just for fun, the time he had hurt an innocent bystander, and every single order he hadn’t obeyed.
But then he thought of all the good he had done, and the enchantress’ eyes showed that instead. He saw himself defending Darigan, helping his Korbat lord, and finally, all he had done to prevent this war. He focused on that with such intensity, such strength, that he saw through Mistress Haunt.
It wasn’t just his soul being shown in the Cybunny’s gaze anymore, it was hers as well. He saw her living as an orphan in the Haunted Woods, all the Neopets who hadn’t noticed her in the shadows, and the disappointment she experienced. Then he felt the rage. Such passion against those who had ignored her. She had vowed to get her revenge against those cruel, neglecting Neopians.
Then, Galgarrath saw the moment that changed her life. The Fountain Faerie coming before her, asking for an item so cheap, even an orphan could afford it. Mistress Haunt immediately picked the color she wanted to be, transforming herself into the villain she was today.
Galgarrath felt such pity and sadness towards Mistress Haunt, she felt it too. She gasped, falling forward, but catching herself a second later.
A second too late. The Cybunny stepped on the trap, and coils rose around her, entangling her in a web of rope. From the doors of the castle burst the Yellow Knight and Clops, supporting a weakened Lord Darigan. Master Vex followed closely behind, looking proudly at Galgarrath. The Mynci took Mistress Haunt into custody, taking her into the cells to be locked away for her deeds. Moments later he walked out, leading a crazy Lupe as well.
A few hours later, the five heroes stood side by side in front of all of Darigan. The newcomers, freed from the spell of the Halloween Cybunny, had apologized for their misdeeds, and sat off to the side, being lambasted by a very angry Mynci. Lord Darigan, looking slightly less gray and stressed, had each of them kneel, and knighted them in the name of the Citadel.
Galgarrath couldn’t help but long for his Kyrii friend, mainly so that he could share the glory as well. He knew, though, the cunning thief would be long gone. As the Grarrl stared out over the audience of Neopets, he knew he only regretted one thing.
He wished he could have had a rematch with Stan.