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Orlitz and the Geraptiku Scandal: Part Three


by josephinefarine

--------

"Sparta!" Orlitz groaned, pulling a white blanket over her head. At the foot of her bed was a small gruslen. Playfully, he growled, pulling and scratching the covers. The blanket slipped off the bed, and with a loud thud! the Cybunny fell with it, landing in a heap of sheets on the plywood floor.

      "Ugh," the Cybunny muttered, scrambling up to a wobbly standing position, "why can't I be allowed to sleep in like normal neopets?" she scolded Sparta, who was at this point happily gnawing at his master's feet. Indeed, during the weekend, at precisely seven o'clock in the morning, her little gruslen would make it a point to wake Orlitz up and have her take him on a walk through the western portion of Mystery Island. Despite his small stature, Sparta was an active petpet who enjoyed spending every waking moment in action, either outside running around or inside demanding every possible moment that one play with him.

      "Alright, alright!" she retorted as her petpet growled at her, "just let me get ready, and then we'll go on a walk to the beach, happy?" Orlitz changed into a sundress, brushed her tangled blue hair, and half-heartedly splashed her face with some ice-cold water in an attempt to wake herself up.

      The small bungalow which Orlitz shared with her best friend, Iskeen, was quiet. The Ixi was evidently still asleep, having no reason to wake up as today was her day off from work.

      The Cloud Cybunny stumbled to the kitchen in a sleepy daze.

      "I shouldn't have gone to bed so late yesterday," she complained, grabbing her trench coat and her purse. Orlitz opened the bamboo front door, allowing Sparta the sprint past her and onto the gravel path that stretched away from the house and to beach.

      It had evidently rained over night. The gravel road was slightly muddy, and large drops of water clung to the vegetation bordering the street. Despite the irregularity of tropical weather, the morning proved to be a beautiful one. A couple of thin, white clouds floated lazily in the blue sky. The chirps of concealed petpetpets filled the air alongside the sweet tunes of singing beekadoodles. Some native flowers had bloomed in the moist soil, dotting the landscape with flashes of brilliant color.

      Orlitz strode after her gruslen who ran several feet in front of her. A cool breeze blew through her fluffy mane, causing a shiver to ripple throughout her body. The Cloud Cybunny stuffed her hands deep into her trench coat pocket, shuddering. Her left hand grasped onto a fragment of paper nestled snugly in the pouch, and she curiously pulled it out, examining the parchment. It was the encoded message that Orlitz had attempted to unscramble the other day.

LLCWLBDLVRDTELCTOMNAATEICIGOR

IASILEEIEEANWOAINODYTHWTHNHU

      The jumble of letters were still scribbled onto it, illegible, as if mocking the frustrated Cybunny.

      "I will figure you out," she remarked abruptly at the paper, as though it had somehow insulted her.

      The short walk to the beach from the bungalow was an uneventful one. Orlitz had not encountered anyone, as all residents were clearly still enjoying the Saturday morning nestled warmly in their beds. Apart from the crashing of the waves, the shoreline was peaceful. Taking advantage of the deserted site, Orlitz purchased a croissant from a nearby breakfast restaurant, and sat down on a mound of sand. Her gruslen was now playfully rolling in the sand a few inches away from her, so Orlitz pulled out the encoded message from her pocket and a notepad and pencil from her purse. She recalled what Iskeen had advised her to do the previous day.

      "Look at it in a different way," she muttered to herself, scrutinizing the letters, "let's see now..."

      The Cybunny began by reading the letters backwards while munching on her breakfast. When that tactic proved to be a failure, she read them backwards by jumping over a different number of letters. First she skipped one letter, then a pattern with two, then three, then four. No attempts seemed to move her forward from her position.

      "This isn't working," she mumbled, scowling at the fragment in her hands. Her eyes scanned over the mixed letters, trying to find something, anything, that might give her a clue as how to solve the riddle.

L L C W L B D L V R D T E L C T O M N A A T E I C I G O R

I A S I L E E I E E A N W O A I N O D Y T H W T H N H U

      Orlitz noticed that the letters had been written in two rows, even though the width of the paper had allowed the writer to inscribe the message in one. Stubbornly believing that this detail meant something, Orlitz read the letters in a zigzag fashion, starting with the first letter in the top row, then the first letter in the second row, and so on.

      In that order, she scratched the letters onto the notepad, and to her delight, they began forming legible words.

      LILACS WILL BE DELIVERED AT NEW LOCATION MONDAY AT THE WITCHING HOUR

      Orlitz jumped up to her feet, laughing. She had managed to decipher the message in an ironically short amount of time! The Cybunny pocketed the paper, replaced the notepad and pencil into her purse, and beckoned Sparta by her side.

      "Come on, boy, let's go tell Iskeen what I found!" she exclaimed, practically bounding towards the path beside the beach. The gruslen grudgingly followed.

      In no time, the pair had arrived at the bungalow and burst through the door, causing a loud clatter to resonate throughout the silent home. The sudden noise had woken up Iskeen, who rushed out from her room in a panic. The Ixi stumbled over a decorative pot placed against a wall and crashed on the floor, the pot landing on top of her.

      "Orlitz!" she screamed, glaring at her housemate from underneath the urn.

      "Sorry, sorry!" Orlitz stuttered, moving the pot back to its rightful place. Iskeen scrambled up and adjusted her distraught mess of brown hair.

      "What, in the good name of Fyora, were you doing?" she croaked, wobbling towards the kitchen. Orlitz followed, pulling out the notepad from her purse.

      "I figured out the message," she answered, handing Iskeen her work.

      "Lilacs will be delivered at new location Monday at the witching hour?" Iskeen mumbled, scrutinizing Orlitz's writing. "What's that supposed to mean?"

      "I think 'lilacs' is code for something else. 'Witching hour' means 'midnight', so something is going to be delivered somewhere on Monday at midnight, and I want to find out what."

      "Wait," Iskeen paused, looking at the paper in confusion. "Monday at midnight... does it mean the midnight between Sunday and Monday, or the midnight between Monday and Tuesday?"

      "I'm not sure," the Cybunny replied, surprised that she hadn't thought of that detail. "I think it means the midnight between Monday and Tuesday."

      Iskeen groaned at the idea that she would have to spend more time in the jungle. "You might have accidentally intercepted the note before it reached the person it was meant for," she pointed out, "anyway, I guess we'll figure that out later."

      "I think so too," agreed Orlitz, pocketing her notepad, "but right now, let's figure out what we're going to do at Geraptiku tonight."

      The two discussed their plan over pancakes and coffee. They would pack several torches, lots of rope, a grappling hook, a crowbar, raincoats (in case of a surprise tropical shower), several sandwiches, and snacks. The two would leave for Geraptiku at noon and wait for Emuk, the odd visitor center employ, to leave the premises for the night. Orlitz planned to interview some nearby locals while they waited.

      Having packed the essentials, eaten lunch, and sporting shorts and blouses, the two were ready to leave the house. On their backs sat backpacks, heavy with food and supplies. Iskeen had insisted on bringing a large dinner for the trip and Orlitz had hesitantly obliged. Her friend was not the most reputed cook on the island and most of the food she made ended up slightly burnt.

      "We're bringing Sparta?" Iskeen asked, surprised that her housemate was holding her gruslen on a leash.

      "He wanted to come," laughed Orlitz as Sparta tugged on his leash. "Besides, he may be of some help."

      Worriedly, Iskeen nodded. The Ixi was unsure whether it would be a wise choice to bring the petpet along, but she did not protest.

      * * * * *

      The group set off to the UNI Station. In a short time, they had reached the wooden platform marked "Boarding unit". A large wagon pulled by two Unis stood beside it. Aldar, the station's ticket master, was diligently collecting boarding fees from passengers wanting to board the final tour of the day. Orlitz gave the stout red Yurble seventy-five neopoints, and they all climbed into the Uni-drawn cart. In no time, the crowded wagon had set out in a northern direction towards Geraptiku. Squished between plump tourists, Orlitz and Iskeen tried to enjoy the sights whilst Sparta hung his head out from the cart's side and enjoyed the ride.

      An hour later, the wagon halted outside the gates of the Lost City, and the passengers hurriedly hopped off. Some walked towards the nearby restaurants, others to the neighboring resort, and some still hurried into the Geraptiku preservation, hoping to get a glimpse of the site before it closed for the night. Orlitz had chosen to linger by the station while Iskeen had entered a nearby tourist shack to purchase some maps of the surrounding jungle.

      The Cloud Cybunny approached the wagon where the two Unis who had previously pulled it stood. The two were engaged in conversation and did not hear Orlitz approaching until she cleared her throat in front of them. The pair stopped and turned their irritated gazes at her.

      The taller of the two, an intimidating Eventide-colored Uni, spoke first. "If you want a ride, you can forget about it!" he said in annoyance.

      "I'm so sorry," Orlitz replied quickly, glancing apologetically at the Eventide Uni, "I'm not here for that, I was just wondering if you could answer some of my questions."

      "Make it quick," the second Uni sighed. He was slightly smaller and Spotted.

      "Thank you," the Cybunny replied, pulling her pen and notepad out from her heavy backpack. "What are your names?" she asked hesitantly.

      "I am Brimeer and this is Ataso," the Spotted Uni answered, tapping the Eventide Uni standing beside him.

      "Do you two work on this particular route often?"

      "Every day, dawn till dusk," mumbled Ataso.

      Orlitz scribbled the information down in her notepad, excited that she may have found a lead to the mystery. If Ataso and Brimeer only transported passengers to Geraptiku, then they may have noticed something that might have something to do with the recent petpet disappearances.

      "So, did you notice anything strange recently? Like a recurring passenger?"

      "Lady, who do you think we are?" answered Brimeer quizzically. "We're not detectives, we don't keep track of all our passengers."

      "We transport hundreds of neopets everyday, you think we have the time to notice every single shady neopet coming in and out of Geraptiku?" scoffed Ataso.

      "I'm sorry, I just..." stuttered Orlitz.

      "Leave us alone, we're busy," the Eventide Uni dismissed her and returned to speaking with his co-worker.

      Frustrated and abashed, the Cybunny reporter decided that she would attempt to speak with Aldar, who was reclined in a lounging chair on the station's platform.

      "Excuse me, Aldar," she approached the sleeping figure, "could I ask you a quick question?"

      "What?" Aldar grumbled, keeping his eyes closed.

      "Well, have you seen a recurring figure on the transport recently? Someone who's been continuously going into Geraptiku for the past couple of weeks?"

      The Yurble said nothing for a few moments, frowning.

      "Come to think of it, this particular Kougra has been showing up in the city often. He would jump off the wagon as soon as it got here—usually in the evening—and run right into Geraptiku. I think he was Yellow or Spotted, or somethin'."

      "Thank you!" Orlitz grinned, jotting down what she had learned in her notes. She would have keep her eyes open for such a Kougra.

      The Yurble shrugged and rolled over onto his side. Orlitz quickly replaced her pen and notebook and jogged towards a nearby cafe. The detail that she had learned might prove to be the lead she needed!

      * * * * *

      Iskeen and Orlitz sat at a round table on the cafe's patio, observing the orange island sunset. They had watched Geraptiku all afternoon, waiting for Emuk and the visitors to exit the premises. Most tourists had already left, but the Checkered Bori was still in the city.

      "It can't be long now," mumbled Iskeen impatiently, eating a spoonful of the Kiwi Sorbet that Orlitz had treated her to.

      The pair waited still, itching for the Bori to finally leave the preservation. It was not until several stars had appeared in the night sky that 'E' finally walked out through the city's entrance gates.

      "He's leaving!" whispered Orlitz excitedly, grabbing Sparta. "Let's go!"

      The group left the restaurant and crept towards the city. They quietly entered through the gates and ducked behind some tall shrubbery. The air was uncomfortably humid, and the pair was already sweating.

      Iskeen pulled out two torches from her backpack and handed one to Orlitz. "I bought a bunch of maps of Geraptiku and the jungle. Where should we go first?"

      "Let's check out the place where I heard the footsteps in the jungle" whispered Orlitz, lighting her torch.

      The pair headed towards the location Orlitz described, near the visitor center. The air was still and warm, yet the two could not help but shiver. Geraptiku was even creepier at night, and the eerie silence did not relax their jitteriness. The quiet was only disturbed by the soft slurping sound of their shoes sinking into the moist mud. With only a faint crescent moon shining in the sky, the path to the jungle was almost pitch black, lit by the torch light that the girls held shakily in their hands. Distorted shadows and silhouettes lined the trail, cast by the light. Orlitz and Iskeen clung to each other, too afraid to glance behind them as they carefully tread towards the visitor center.

      "I knew this was a bad idea," whispered Iskeen hoarsely, tightening her frightened grip around Orlitz's arm. "How did I let you talk me into this?"

      Orlitz did not reply. She only shivered slightly, shining her light on the muddy path.

      "We're almost there," she finally murmured, directing her torch light towards a dense wall of leaves.

      Situated a few feet away from the place stood the Geraptiku visitor center, a now dark and deserted little house as Emuk had left it.

      Orlitz pulled out a piece of rope and tied one end around her wrist. She handed the other end the Iskeen, who copied her.

      "It's so we don't get separated," she explained.

      Taking a deep breath and clutching Sparta's leash tightly, Orlitz stepped into the dense undergrowth, pushing past the heavy tropical vegetation obstructing the way.

      The two friends pushed forward, crunching over leaves and twigs scattered everywhere

      on the ground. The sky was hidden by the tall canopy above their heads, allowing not one ray of light through. Orlitz walked quickly, directing her light at the earthen floor glancing behind her to make sure that Iskeen and Sparta were still there.

      "Or'," the Island Ixi huffed suddenly, breaking the obscure silence, "what is it we're looking for, exactly?"

      "Some evidence proving that someone was in the jungle when I was here yesterday," the Cybunny replied, inspecting the ground, "look for footprints in the mud, or broken twigs, or something like that."

      "But how do we know that it wasn't a petpet that made them?"

      "Because there have been fewer petpets, and so far, I haven't heard a single creature."

      "Ah," Iskeen agreed uncomfortably, gazing at the ground.

      The trio walked in silence for a few more minutes, anxiously casting their torch lights at the floor. Iskeen suddenly stopped walking, and crouched down, looking at the mud. Sensing the unexpected hindrance, Orlitz turned around and pointed her light at the ground where her friend knelt.

      "Found something?" she asked enthusiastically, scrutinizing the soil with her friend.

      "Yeah," Iskeen replied, pointing at the ground, "I found footprints, and I think they're fresh."

      Excitedly, Orlitz helped her friend back up and swung her torch in all directions. "Let's try to follow them, then!" she whispered, trying to locate more tracks in the mud. With Sparta in the lead, the two girls strode forward, glaring at the soil below them. They we able to locate more tracks beneath the leaves and twigs littering the ground, and quickly followed them.

      The prints vanished behind some tropical shrubs. Eager to continue the pursuit, Orlitz guided the way around the plants only to be horrified by a tall silhouette rising from the bushes.

      Iskeen and Orlitz both let out a shriek and stumbled back. Struck by terror, the Cloud Cybunny accidentally lost her grip of Sparta's leash, who took the opportunity to pounce at the shadowed figure, growling.

      Whoa!, a startled voice boomed as the angry gruslen attacked the silhouette. The figure caught the petpet and fell to the ground with a wet-sounding splash! Iskeen and Orlitz merely stood frozen in their place, shakily clutching each other's arms and staring in horror at the place where the figure had appeared.

      "Calm down, boy!" a voice laughed, startling the two friends. Orlitz let go of her housemate and cautiously stepped forward, gripping her torch like a weapon.

      "Hello?" she asked shakily, shining her light behind the shrubs. In the dark mud sat a Yellow Kougra, fending off the playful gruslen. His shaggy dark hair was hidden underneath a fedora, and he wore a pair of khaki trousers and vest, both soaking in mud. Beside him sat a brown satchel, propped up in the wet dirt. The Cybunny recalled Aldar having mentioned a recurring Kougra at the UNI Station and suspiciously approached him.

      "Hi," the Kougra replied, looking up in surprise at the Cybunny, "er, what are you doing here?" he stuttered, scrambling up to a more dignified standing position.

      "I could ask you the same," said Orlitz, grabbing Sparta by the collar. Iskeen had jogged up beside her and pointed at the Kougra in confusion.

      "Who?" she mumbled, staring wide-eyed at the tall figure.

      "Almos," stated the Yellow Kougra, tipping his hat at the startled Ixi.

      "Petpet Protection League agent, at your service." The Kougra pulled out a PPL identification card and flashed it at the two girls.

      "And who might you ladies be?"

      "We're researchers," Orlitz lied. "We uh, we are conducting some experiments on the vegetation around here."

      "Right," Almos winked, retrieving his satchel, "tell me what you two are really doing here. You are aware that you are prohibited from entering the jungle. I can have you two caught."

      "And if you do get us in trouble, you'll get into the same hot water as us, since you're not allowed here either," the Cloud Cybunny argued, putting Sparta back on his leash.

      Iskeen grinned sheepishly.

      "We're here to investigate the disappearing petpets for an article," she mumbled. Orlitz sighed and glared at her friend.

      "As it happens, I am also here to investigate the disappearing petpets," the tall Kougra stated, "only I haven't found very much yet."

      "I met another PPL agent yesterday," remarked Orlitz, dropping her gruslen, "her name is Vin, she told me that she thinks the petpets are deliberately being removed from the reservation." Almos glanced at the Cybunny worriedly.

      "I am the only agent who has been posted here so far, treasure," he mumbled, "and as far as I am concerned, there is no 'Vin' in our agent database."

      "Then who—"

      "Lady, I think you've been tricked, Vin's an imposter."

      Orlitz looked at the Kougra in disbelief. What Almos said seemed to be truthful, but if Vin being an imposter was correct, then who was that White Mynci really? The reporter decided that she would try to get ahold of Vin as soon as possible. She predicted that the imposter would most likely be situated near the Geraptiku petpet shop, where they had first met. On a hunch, Orlitz pulled out the encoded paper from her backpack and showed it to the Kougra.

      "I found this yesterday and managed to decipher it," she explained and told him what the message translated to.

      "Did you see anything shaped like a triangle?" she asked, pointing at the triangle inscribed on the paper, "it might have something to do with the petpets."

      "I wouldn't get too excited, treasure," Almos warned her, looking at the triangle. "It might be a false lead for all we know, but I'll keep my eyes open and let you know of anything I find in the jungle."

      Orlitz and Iskeen thanked him, relieved that they would not have to spend any more time in the frightful jungle.

      "You can reach us here," she told him, jotting down her name and address on a piece of paper.

      "Orlitz Livia, four-seven-eight-five, Jhuidah Drive," the Kougra read out loud before pocketing the paper. Almos promised he would contact them if he discovered anything.

      "One more thing, Almos," Orlitz called as the Kougra walked off, "were you in the jungle yesterday afternoon?"

      "I'm afraid not, I only got here today," he responded to the quizzical Cybunny.

      "So someone else was sneaking around in the jungle yesterday," Orlitz noted.

      The group parted ways and before long, Orlitz, Iskeen, and Sparta had scrambled out of the jungle, glad to have escaped the eerie vegetation and to have met Almos.

      * * * * *

      Yawning, Iskeen pulled out a map from her backpack and held it up for Orlitz to read.

      "Where to next?" she asked.

      "Let's go the the petpet shop next," she suggested, pointing at the marked building on the paper,

      "I want to see what's in that pit behind the shop."

      Having removed the rope binding the two together, the friends headed towards the petpet shop in silence. Upon reaching the store, the two were surprised to see that light was shining through the windows.

      "There's someone in there," Iskeen hesitated, pointing at the lit candles.

      "For all we know, someone might leave a candle in there for late-night shoppers," Orlitz reasoned, "but then again, the park is closed to visitors at night."

      Quietly, the pair crept up to the shop's window and peaked inside. The interior was lit with a couple of candles which provided enough light to see every corner of the store. The petpets within were excited, occasionally chirping and barking.

      Orlitz and Iskeen held their breaths as the witnessed a figure entering the building. The silhouette wore a hooded sweatshirt, so it was impossible to recognize who it was from behind. The figure turned around, carrying a bag of what appeared to be petpet food.

      Orlitz stared in surprise at the individual feeding the petpets. Recognising the White Mynci from underneath the hood, she scrambled up from her hiding spot underneath the window.

      "You!" the Cybunny cried out.

      The White Mynci looked up in fright to find the Cybunny, whom she had met only a day ago, pointing an accusing finger at her. Behind the Cybunny stood a very confused-looking Island Ixi.

      "You know her?" stammered Iskeen, studying the Mynci.

      "This is Vin, I bumped into her yesterday on my way to the petpet shop." Turning her attention back to the startled Mynci, Orlitz climbed through the window.

      "You lied to me," she accused. "You're not a PPL agent."

      Vin nodded, plopping down on an empty crate in defeat.

      "Who are you, really?"

      "Fine, you caught me," Vin snapped, tugging on her braided blonde hair, "I'm not a PPL agent, but before you go around accusing me of smuggling petpets, I haven't done any of that! I'm trying to figure you why the wild petpets are disappearing, same as you."

      "Fine," reasoned Orlitz, pulling out her notepad from her backpack, "so you aren't responsible for the disappearing petpets, but that doesn't explain who you are."

      "I run the petpet shop," mumbled Vin, slouching her shoulders.

      "I was given permission to by the PPL!" she stammered defensively, "anyway, I come here every night to check on petpets and take care of them. You caught me when I was about the feed the crocalus," she pointed half-heartedly at a large aquarium-like cage housing a pair of toothy petpets.

      "So, you capture these petpets with permission, and then sell them?"

      "Yes and no," Vin explained, "when I find an abandoned baby or injured petpet in the jungle, I rescue it and raise it in here to be sold. All profits go directly to the Geraptiku Park and Preservation. But recently, there has been such a frightening decline in the wildlife that I've been unable to find any petpets in need of rescue."

      "You told me yesterday that you thought the petpets were being smuggled out of the park," noted Orlitz, furiously scribbling down the new information in her notepad. Behind her, Iskeen and Sparta were both curiously examining the caged petpets.

      "I did," agreed Vin, "I haven't come up with any possible natural causes for their disappearance, so I conclude that someone is taking them away from the jungle on purpose."

      "I think I agree with you," replied Orlitz, "that Checkered Bori who runs the visitor center, Emuk, was acting rather suspiciously when I asked him about the jungle."

      "Careful not the jump to conclusions," warned Vin, "anyway, if you don't mind, I need to finish taking care of my petpets now."

      Orlitz, Iskeen, and Sparta exited the shop. Orlitz was hoping to visit the pit behind the store next.

      "Do you trust her—I mean Vin?" murmured Iskeen, following her friend to the back of the shop.

      "No," Orlitz replied in a decisive tone, "she lied to me before, and even though I caught her, it doesn't mean that she won't lie to me again."

      "What about Almos?" the Ixi asked cautiously.

      "I'm not sure," Orlitz admitted, "but he is more genuine than Vin, that's for sure."

      Having reached the edge of the black rectangular pit, Orlitz and Iskeen prepared themselves for the descent. They pulled out the grappling hook, which they secured between a pile of rocks, a few meters worth of rope, and even a crowbar which Orlitz had insisted on bringing. Then they discussed their plan over a bag of nuts, some miniature cheese sandwiches, and slightly burnt brownies that Iskeen had prepared. Admitting that Iskeen was slimmer and more agile than Orlitz by comparison, the Ixi grudgingly agreed to lower herself into the pit.

      Having finished their midnight snack, Iskeen and Orlitz were both ready. The Ixi tied a piece of rope around her waist and allowed herself to fall through the gaps in the grid on top of the pit. Holding the rest of the rope, Orlitz gingerly lowered her friend down into the hole.

      Iskeen's heart pounded in her chest. From the beginning, she had thought this to be a foolish idea. The Ixi would have rather been at home, cosily tucked into her soft bamboo bed, instead of performing wild escapades with her housemate.

      The descent was shorter than Iskeen had imagined. In no time, she had reached the pit's earthen floor and was roaming the area with her flashlight. The pit was cluttered with dozens of wooden crates. Using the crowbar, the Ixi levered the tool against the side of a box to open it. The wood splintered and gave way. Iskeen examined the crate's content's with her torch.

      The box was carpeted with a thin layer of hay. In a corner of the crate sat a trembling fleeper, shying away from the bright light. It made a few barely distinguishable peeps before pressing itself against the back of the crate and shutting its eyes.

      Iskeen suppressed a gasp. Unlike the petpets in the shop, this creature looked half-starved and did not seem domesticated at all.

      "Orlitz, you won't believe what I found," she called up. The Island Ixi picked up her crowbar and stepped towards another crate. She broke a side of the box away to expose a pair of very wild and very hungry looking crocalus.

      "Shoot!" Iskeen stammered, backing away from the approaching creatures.

      "Me and my stupid crowbar," she mumbled, grabbing the little fleeper and scampering up onto a tall crate.

      "Or', I think you can pull me up now!" she yelled, tugging on the rope. No response.

      "Orlitz, this isn't funny!" But her friend seemed to have vanished.

      Now Iskeen was the trapped one. Still carrying the fleeper, she climbed onto a taller crate, hoping to Fyora that crocalus could not climb.

      * * * * *

      Orlitz was impatiently waiting for Iskeen to inform her of what was in the pit. Peering down in the depth, the Cloud Cybunny recognized her friend exploring the bottom of the trench with her torch.

      A sudden movement in the corner of Orlitz's eye caused her to look up and shakily shine her torchlight at the surroundings. A dark figure in a cloak a few feet away from her caught the Cybunny by surprise. Standing up, the Cybunny hesitantly strode towards the figure.

      "Who's there?" she called out. The hooded figure, realizing that it had been spotted, bolted in the opposite direction.

      "Wait!" Orlitz called after it, picking up her pace.

      "Who are you?" She was now running after the figure, Sparta close at her heels.

      The figure stopped running at the edge of the jungle.

      "Leave, if you know what's good for you," it growled, before sinking into the foliage and disappearing.

To be continued...

 
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Other Episodes


» Orlitz and the Geraptiku Scandal: Part One
» Orlitz and the Geraptiku Scandal: Part Two
» Orlitz and the Geraptiku Scandal



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