Deception, Suspicion, Alliance and Missions: Part Two
The Cheat Scandal
In their cheap tuxedos and suffocating ties, Lunor and Blint looked quite the part as they sat down to play Cheat. Blint's green eyes were narrow, attempting to read the minds of opponents. He eyed Brucey B up and down accusingly. The Bruce may look relaxed in his tropical shirt but Blint knew that, inside, he was as tense as a scarpering Uni.
Lunor, however, was acting as chilled as the Snowager. He had been given the apparently 'no risk' part of the operation due to the disaster that had engulfed his previous mission, 'Operation Wingoball'. All Lunor had to do was lose the game. Sound easy? Easier said than done in Lunor's opinion. He'd grown up with a pushy owner and, in his neohome, losing had not been an option.
Sensing Lunor's jumpiness, Blint shot a glance of reassurance in his newly gained friend's direction. Lunor smiled weakly in reply.
The game commenced. Both pets played their parts perfectly, Blint cruising through the rounds with Lunor just skimming in behind him. Everything was going as planned.
By now, Blint's pockets were heavily weighed down with battle cards and neopoints. He was beginning to feel the strain of the situation and perspiration was pouring out of him. Sometimes he wondered whether he was really cut out for the job – Lunor was better at it, not him; everybody knew that.
"Cheat!" Lunor growled, attempting to sound angry; something he did not excel at. The accused party, Agent 00 Hog, gave Lunor a look of hate as he was forced to pick up the huge pile of cards in the middle of the table.
Playing his final card, Blint noticed he was on the receiving end of a killer stare from Princess Fernypoo. She narrowed his eyes at him when he looked up and made eye contact. Slamming her handful of cards down on the table in a rage, the Acara was granted the attention of her fellow players.
Blint panicked and stood up next to the outraged Acara, dwarfing her easily. She knew they were undercover! He immediately spun round to give a shout of warning to Lunor but it was too late – Princess Fernypoo had already managed to send signals to the other players and they too had stood up, furiously.
Lunor scarpered, terrified of a repeat of his previous mission. He ran as fast as he could but, wherever he looked, all he could see were gnomes. They were falling from the ceiling, tugging at his shirt, swarming at his feet. They were everywhere!
Blint gathered that Lunor was not going to fulfil a heroic action (something he had previously been famous for). Leaping onto the game table, Blint was surrounded by his opponents. Making eye contact with each neopet in turn, Blint grinned sheepishly.
Eyes wide, he leapt higher than he believed any Lupe could, skimming over the heads of his opponents. As he did so, his back paw hooked Princess Fernypoo's magnificent crown, expertly.
"Don't just stand there! Get after him!" Princess Fernypoo ordered the Jetsam and Moehog who had been staring in awe at Blint's agility, both of whom sprang into action, desperate to impress the beautiful Acara.
Jamming the precious tiara upon his head, Blint continued his sprint. As he approached the doors, the two other neopets were hot on his tail, yelling for security guards. Their calls were answered.
Blint was overwhelmed by the sea of security guards. He was lifted up onto their shoulders and paraded around the lobby, like a newly won trophy. Blint managed to keep hold of the crown as, in all the commotion, none of the security guards had actually realised what crime it was that Blint was to be found guilty of committing.
A chant had started up as the jubilation of catching a secret agent hit the security guards.
Blint sighed; he loved the way that some neopets lacked so many brain cells.
Meanwhile, Lunor was facing a different battle, but just as challenging, in attempting to grab control of his sanity.
"It's just hallucinations! They're not really there! Come on, Lunor, don't be such a coward! Blint could be in danger and you're the only neopet that can save him!" The Kougra gave himself a confidence boost.
He looked up, transformed from a babbling wreck to a courageous hero in a matter of seconds. He started to walk towards the game but realised he had a better idea and set off in the opposite direction at high speed.
Blint's early optimistic attitude had vanished as he realised that he was alone. The clock was ticking and Lunor was not coming to save him this time. Crest-fallen, he gave in to the vicious security guards' hands and allowed himself to be carried away.
All of a sudden, the front door of the game burst open, and Lunor strolled in wearing the most ridiculous outfit Blint had ever seen. He wore a giant hotdog costume, complete with mustard, ketchup and extra fried onions. Blint stifled a snort.
"Free hotdogs at Hubert's Hot Dogs! Special offer! Limited stock only!" Lunor yelled at the top of his lungs. "Ketchup included!"
Immediately, there was a stampede as the crowd of security guards sped out the doors and into the streets, Lunor was shoved aside and Blint tossed to the ground. In just over thirty seconds, the lobby had been emptied. Blint couldn't believe the happenings of the last minute.
"Wow! Thank you so much, Lunor! It appears you do have a brain in there somewhere."
"I guess I owed you one anyway. And, if you want me to risk myself for you again, I suggest you lay off the sardonic comments!"
The two neopets smiled at each other. Lunor put out a hand to help his friend up, Blint took it.
"You still got it, then?" Lunor asked, looking down at the crown. The beautiful gems were a sparkling spectrum of colours which appeared to be calming to the Kougra.
Two hours later
Lunor reclined on his comfy, jelly sofa, munching on yet another hotdog. Blint sat on an office chair, scribbling wildly into a notebook.
"Do you ever stop working?" Lunor gasped, amazed at Blint's dedication to his job.
"Yes! And, do you ever stop eating?"
"Shut up, a girl likes a man with a healthy appetite. What are you doing now then, isn't that work?"
"Technically, this isn't work."
"Well, what is it then?"
"Oh no! You're not one of those meditating people from Shenkuu, are you?" Lunor groaned, staring at Blint as though he had just beamed down from Kreludor.
"No! I'm writing down possible suspects for the role of the informant - I think we can both agree that they were involved today as well." Blint put the lid back on his pen and looked up from his work.
"Well, so far, I've got The Big Cheese, Trixie..."
"Come off it! Trixie's about as innocent as they get – she's practically painted faerie! Besides, I don't think she could even change a light bulb, let alone pull off something this big!"
"Exactly! She'd have the perfect personality – quiet and secretive."
"Fine, if you say so..."
Blint's list continued for over twenty names. Lunor soon lost interest and started dissecting his hotdog, separating the onions from the meat and mustard. It took him a while to realise when Blint had stopped reciting.
"So, there are not many people it could be then," Lunor said sarcastically, while cleaning the sticky red ketchup from underneath his nails.
"Ha ha, very funny, Lunor."
"I've got to go somewhere now," Blint began, looking up at the clock sharply, as though it could jump out at him and bite his nose at any second.
"What? Where?" Lunor replied, startled by his friend's sudden statement. Why hadn't he mentioned anything earlier?
"Oh, The Big Cheese wanted to see me. Probably for another mission briefing or an explanation of what happened today. Don't worry, I'll stick up for you." Blint shrugged, as though it was no big deal that they could both be in deep water.
"Oh, okay then. I'll see you tomorrow."
Blint exited the room quickly, walking in a stiff manner. Lunor shook his head in disbelief; that Lupe sure loved and was dedicated to his work. Glancing at his desk, Lunor observed that Blint had left his notebook behind, still open on a page containing the list of names. Unable to avoid temptation, Lunor crept over to the chair and sat down. Picking the notebook up to place on his lap, a small slip of paper fluttered gracefully to the floor which Lunor quickly snatched up. Expecting it to be a long-misplaced mission briefing, Lunor unfolded it and read. He was both astounded and astonished at what he had found. It seemed to appear to be an unusual set of instructions – the type that, unless you knew what it was for, you had absolutely no idea what it was for. It was apparent to him that maybe the Lupe that had finally befriended him was full of secrets too...
To be continued...