Still thwarting Sloth's mind control... Circulation: 193,602,738 Issue: 701 | 2nd day of Collecting, Y17
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Adventures Aren't Just in Books: Part Two


by kitstar1

--------

      I groan. My head feels like it is about to split open. I slowly open my eyes but the sudden brightness just makes me feel even worse than I had before (which is saying something) so I close my eyes again. I hear a door open to my left and a couple of people step through.

      “Good you’re awake,” one of them says, far too cheerfully for my liking.

      I brace myself and squint upwards at an upside down head. I nearly scream until I realise that they are just standing behind me. The Neopet grins, pleased with my reaction.

      “I’m Brian. And you are?”

      “In pain.”

      The remaining ‘pet in the corner stifles a laugh at that but Brian just glares at them before returning his attention to me. “I see someone is a little grumpy this morning- is that right? Well I guess we-”

      I don’t know what Brian was guessing because a shadow had been cast along the floor. Somebody else had come into the room.

      “Brian.” The Neopet in question jumped a little bit before turning around to face the newcomer.

      “Heeey boss. I wasn’t talking to him honest, I was just waking him up-”

      “Get. Out.”

      “Yes sir, immediately sir.” With that the ‘pet hightails it out of the room.

      “You too.” I think that he is talking to me at first and I was just about to reply that I couldn’t get out of the chair let alone make it to the door when I catch sight of a flash of green. This ‘boss’ must have been talking to the Neopet Brian came in with. The only other person in the room takes a seat in front of me and I can finally get a good look at him.

      He’s a Shadow Elephante and whilst I think that it is a beautiful colour, all I can focus on are his eyes. They are deep amber and I feel like they are staring straight into my soul. I break the eye contact and stare at the floor instead. And then the questioning begins:

      “Who do you work for?”

      “Nobody. I’m unemployed.”

      “Nice try, I suppose you think you can fool us with your innocent teenager guise. Well that isn’t going to work. Who do you work for? Sloth? The Meepits? Us?”

      “Wouldn’t you know if I worked for you?”

      “I suppose so but-”

      “Look, what am I even doing here? All I wanted was to get back home for dinner but I have the feeling that that has gone to waste.”

      “What are you talking about?”

      “What am I talking about? WHAT AM I TALKING ABOUT? WHAT IN FYORA’S NAME ARE YOU TALKING ABOUT? IS THIS SOME SORT OF SECRET CODE? IS ONE OF MY FRIENDS PRANKING ME? IS THAT IT?”

      I try to stand up but find that I couldn’t. My legs aren’t stiff from me not moving them, they seem fully functional. I just can’t get up off of the chair. Then I realise that there is a rope around me tying me to the piece of furniture.

      “WHAT ON NEOPIA? WHY AM I TIED TO A CHAIR?”

      “It is just a safety precaution. Now would you please calm down before I am forced to take action?”

      “CALM DOWN? TAKE ACTION? SAFETY PREC-”

      And once more all I see is black.

****

      “...you can’t keep him here forever...”

      “...let me get some answers...”

      “...end up knocked out again...”

      “...try being friendly...”

      I lift my head towards the voices but can only make out a few colours and shapes. I am pretty sure that amongst them is Brian, his Green partner and the Elephante who had been questioning (though it was more like interrogating) me earlier on.

      “So what’s our plan?”

      “Why do we need a plan?”

      “Because shouting at the poor kid didn’t get us anywhere last time. It’s highly unlikely it will get us anywhere this time.”

      “How else are we supposed to get information out of him? He probably won’t crack under normal interrogation techniques.”

      “Why do you think that he even knows anything about what’s going on?”

      “Because he was there!”

      “He could have just been wandering in the woods.”

      “And then followed the Wocky going to get the package. No, that’s way too unlikely.”

      “Ha, unlikely. You can’t deny that it is possible.”

      “Possible? Yes. Likely? No. Why else would he be hiding behind the rocks?”

      “Oh, I don’t know, maybe because he heard two people approaching him?”

      “If he was scared enough to hide at the sound of two people coming from behind him, why would he have walked into the woods in the first place?”

      “Who knows whether it was voluntary? He could have been told to go and play outside and gone into the woods.”

      “Um... boss”

      “Not now Brian. Where’s your evidence that he was told to go play outside then?”

      “Boss.”

      “Brian he told you to be quiet. So what if I don’t have proof, neither do you. Where’s your proof that he is some kind of criminal mastermind capable of playing the scared teenager caught up in something he didn’t want to be a part of?”

      “BOSS.”

      “GIVE ME A MINUTE. For Fyora’s sake... The point is that until we interrogate him, using my methods that involve-”

      “Your methods involve shouting at him until he breaks down into tears. He won’t be able to handle your anger or rage or whatever this is.”

      “No, that’s what he wants you to think. He wants you to be sucked in by his young face and seeming naivety when in reality he is plotting the crime of the year.”

      “THE CRIME OF THE YEAR? THERE HAS BEEN NOTHING POINTING TO HIM DOING SOME PETTY SHOPLFITING LET ALONE PLANNING AND COMMITTTING A CRIME YOU WOULD READ ABOUT IN THE NEOPIAN TIMES!”

      “BUT HE COULD BE PLOTTING IT!”

      “LOOK!”

      “WHAT BRIAN? IF IT IS NOTHING IMPORTANT YOU WILL REGRET IT!”

      “HE’S AWAKE!”

      “OK, could you have said that any louder?”

      “You’re one to talk...”

      Their voices get gradually louder as the group of Neopets make their way towards me. They stop talking as they take a seat. They have set it up in a way that I can see all of them and they can all see me. Amongst them I can see Brian, an Elderly Ogrin, a Skunk Techo and the Elephante who seems to intimidate a lot of them. But the one that catches my eye was the Green Vandagyre from earlier, presumably the one that had entered the room with Brian as well.

      They go around the room one by one introducing themselves. The Ogrin is called Lucy, the Techo Albert and the Elephante mutters Michael under his breath. Finally the only one who hasn’t said their name is the Vandagyre she quickly mumbles something that I don’t catch. Nobody repeats it and I am a bit too afraid to ask.

      Now they are all looking at me expectantly. My brain eventually catches up and realise that they are waiting for my name before they continue.

      “Oh, um, Danny.”

      That seems to satisfy them as they stop staring at me and turn to look at Michael instead, obviously waiting for him to say something. Which he does. Quite loudly in fact.

      “WHO ARE YOU REALLY? WHO DO YOU WORK FOR? WHY ARE YOU HERE?”

      I try to think of some sort of coherent reply that won’t make me sound guilty or anything else bad. But somebody beats me to it.

      “Michael, go easy on him, he’s just a kid.” I bite back the remark about me being a teenager rather than a child and look gratefully at Lucy who seems to be the only ‘pet in the room who didn’t quake in fear when Michael shouted at me.

      “NO HE ISN’T HE JUST HAD SOME STUPID DE-AGING POTION OR SPELL FROM A DARK FAERIE OR THE MEEPITS AND HE IS REALLY A CRIMINAL MASTER-”

      “Michael, I think you should leave.”

      The Elephante’s eyes dart around the room looking for any help but everyone is averting their eyes instead of meeting his.

      “Fine, but you had better get some information out of him whilst I am gone.” And with that he turned and stalked out of the room, leaving the rest of the Neopets to talk to me.

      “I know Michael can seem a little harsh sometimes,” I scoff a little at that and she gives me a reprimanding look before continuing, “but he is just really passionate about what is right.”

      “Why doesn’t he go join the Defenders of Neopia then?”

      This just makes everyone laugh, dissolving some of the tension in the air.

      “What? What’s so funny that you all burst out laughing?”

      I expect Lucy to explain but Albert spoke first:

      “Perhaps we should start from the beginning.” He says wiping the tears from his eyes. “It all started with a young Elephante with dreams of becoming the next leader of the Defenders of Neopia.”

To be continued…

 
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