Meegla and Fargon's Not-So-Intergalactic Adventures: Part Six
Meegla headed up the peak of Terror Mountain. She figured what she needed right now was a soothing game of Snow Roller; after flattening all manner of annoying neopets and petpets with a giant snowball, she could use the pathetically small rewards to buy herself a smoothie. Comforted by this thought, she braved the gale without so much as a wince.
The top of Terror Mountain was much colder than Happy Valley below, prompting Meegla to push the button that put her space helmet on. Snow splattered against the glass, obscuring her vision. She paused at the edge of the peak, using an outcropping of jagged, snow-covered boulders for cover so she could wipe the snow off her helmet. Her gloves made the results smeared, blurred, so that the approaching snow looked bizarrely like a cloaked figure flying at her with a sword.
Meegla leapt out of the way just as the cloaked Lupe landed, weapon poised. Meegla grabbed at her ray gun, only for it to be knocked out of her paw. Frustrated, she jumped back from the sword’s swipes, sweeping her leg under the cloaked Lupe’s feet and sending him sprawling. While the stranger picked himself back up, Meegla ran towards where her Elegant Ray Gun had fallen, snarling uselessly to herself when she found a ray gun-shaped hole in the very high snow drift, forcing her to dig for it. Before she’d managed to unbury the ray gun, the assassin returned, and she paused in her digging to fight him bare-handed again. She ducked from his expert swipes, recognizing that if she didn’t hit him back soon, she was going to get hit.
Meegla managed to kick his sword out of his hand. Then, with an impressive burst of strength, she pushed the stranger off the edge of Terror Mountain. She grabbed the nearby boulder for support, watching as the stranger tumbled down the snow, only to be caught in someone’s game of Snow Roller, wrapped up in a gigantic ball of snow and randomly scattered smoothies. Although she was sweating from the effort of the fight, Meegla left her helmet up, just in case she needed to protect herself from another attacker.
Who in Neopia was that? Some Terror Mountain version of a Desert Scarab? Perhaps she should leave this place before she got robbed. Meegla made a point to stop by Happy Valley before she went home, vaguely worried about Fargon. Despite her anger at him, she wasn’t comfortable leaving him here when there were random, aggressive types wandering around. But when she returned to the spot where she’d last seen him, he was gone.
Meegla stood in front of the Gift Tags shop, searching the streets to some sign of a split Grundo. Even with the weather clearer here than it was up on the mountain, Meegla couldn’t spot him anywhere. Miraculously, though, she did recognize a Bori with a silver braid who had witnessed their fight earlier, and marched over to her.
“Have you seen the Grundo I was with?” Meegla called out as she approached. The Bori stopped in her pursuit of the Ice Cream Cart and looked at Meegla with a blank face. Then a light went on in her eyes. “Oh! You two were the ones fighting, right? Shame, all that he said to you. If I were you…”
“Whatever,” Meegla interrupted, ignoring the offended look the Bori gave her. “Did you see where he went?”
“He left,” the Bori claimed. She eyed Meegla. “In fact, if you'd like, I could-”
“No thanks,” Meegla said, cutting her off. Meegla left the Bori without another word, barely cognizant of what she was shouting after her.
Fargon must have already left the mountain. Meegla supposed she’d see him later at home; there was no rush to meet him. She was still angry about everything he’d said. What a pitiful liar Fargon was! Meegla wasn't unpleasant to be around; plenty of people liked her.
The stars didn’t look much different on Kreludor than they did on Neopia. She could make out all of her favorite constellations: there was the Dreamer, directly overhead, and further south was the Thief. Meegla pondered what sort of spaceship she’d need to reach them. The stars must be terribly far away, if traveling all the way to the moon barely changed their orientation. She looked a little longer, head filled with calculations, before she finally turned the handle and entered the front door of her house.
Klaxa immediately whirred her way over. “Where were you two?” the robot Usul cried. “You were gone all day! I was worried sick…” She stopped talking suddenly, the lights in her eyes blinking on and off. “...Oh. It’s just you, Meegla. Where is Fargon?”
Meegla frowned. “Fargon didn’t beat me here?”
“Of course not,” Klaxa scoffed. “You two are attached at the hip! You must know his whereabouts better than I.”
But Meegla didn’t. Klaxa was absolutely scandalized to learn that Meegla and Fargon had not only fought, but totally split up, heading off towards different places without telling each other where they were going. The robot Usul expelled a puff of black smoke as she chattered about the travesty of it all; had Meegla bothered to tell her she'd left Fargon behind after being attacked, Klaxa probably would have short circuited. So Meegla kept that information to herself for the time being.
“You shouldn't have left Fargon alone. For all we know, he’s been kidnapped!” Klaxa said sarcastically, whirring around the room.
Meegla rolled her eyes. “Oh, please. I think once is enough for today.”
If Klaxa had real eyes, they would’ve bulged. “What do you mean, once?! What exactly have you two been up to?!”
But Meegla, true to her usual lack of manners, neglected to answer Klaxa’s question. As she headed for the stairs, the robot Usul followed closely behind, shouting questions. “Meegla! Meegla, I am speaking to you! Our Fargon had better not be in danger because of you!”
Meegla gave an exasperated sigh as she touched down on the top step. “Why would he be in danger because of me?”
“Don’t you play dumb!” Klaxa warned. She followed Meegla into her bedroom, zooming inside before the Alien Aisha could slam the door on her. “You're always dragging him off on your ridiculous schemes! And to top it all off, you’ve got that rotten past! It could come back to haunt you at any time, you know!”
Meegla stopped in the middle of her room, turning to glare at Klaxa. “Would you stop digging up my past? I’m sure Fargon is fine, and there’s no way that…”
Meegla fell silent. Then, suddenly, she began to pace. Klaxa startled backwards, out of her way. She tried to ask the other neopet why she was behaving so strangely, but Meegla was too deep in her thoughts. Her mind had sprung back to her attacker earlier; she had assumed him a random ruffian. But now that she thought about it, hadn’t there been something about his clothes, so dark and bulky she could barely tell what species he was? His insistence on using a dagger? The way she’d been entirely ignorant of his presence until he attacked, almost as if he were an expert of stealth...?
The Alien Aisha stopped pacing so abruptly that Klaxa, who had apparently been following her around the room shouting questions, slammed into her. Meegla was unfazed by this. She was too busy staring at her wall, too overcome by her sudden realization to recognize her surroundings.
And then she snapped out of it. Without a word, she rushed over to her desk. She opened a drawer and pulled out a shiny object. Klaxa gasped. “Ylana’s Blaster,” she murmured, staring at the massively powerful ray gun in Meegla’s hand. Klaxa laid a hand on her cold metal chest in disbelief. “Why do you need something so destructive?”
“It’s them,” Meegla whispered, gaze fixed on the blaster. “They’ve taken Fargon.”
“Who?!” Klaxa cried. She whirred up to Meegla’s side. “Oh, why won’t you speak to me?!”
“There’s no time,” Meegla insisted, heading for the door. “I have to save Fargon. I have to get to the Lost Desert as soon as possible. The Desert Scarabs…”
“What?” Klaxa asked. “Did they take him?”
“Not this time,” Meegla said, opening the door. “But maybe they can help me get him back from those who did.”
The slam of the door marked Meegla’s exit. Klaxa stood bewildered for a while, mind reeling in confusion with all Meegla had said. In the end, all she could do was sigh. She had no idea what was going on with Meegla and Fargon, but clearly it was an adventure she wasn’t welcome on. She’d just have to trust them to sort it all out themselves.
The city of Sakhmet wasn’t as packed as it was earlier in the day, although the center of the city was still abound with activity. The sound of coins jangling and fortunes being lost and made were magnified by the high sandstone walls, cackles and shouts of despair bouncing off the many jostling bodies of tourists. But the deeper Meegla trekked out of the center of Sakhmet and into the closely packed slums, the darker and quieter it became. It was almost as though there were two Sakhmets: that which belonged to the average Neopian, and that which belonged to its poorer residents.
Meegla’s keen sense of direction helped her quickly retrace the steps she’d sworn, hours earlier, that she never would. When she arrived at the Desert Scarabs’ hideaway, she paused at the doorway, considering how she could knock when there wasn’t any door, before shrugging and ducking under the tarp.
“Hello?” Meegla called out into the darkness. “Are any of you street urchins around? I need help with something serious…”
A light erupted in the darkness, causing Meegla to shield herself with her arms. When she lowered them, she saw that the light was coming from a torch, held by a young striped Xweetok. “Meegla?” Nadine asked, disbelief commanding her features. “What in Neopia are you doing here?”
“Where is your leader?” Meegla asked immediately. “I need help.”
“Heqet is out,” Nadine replied. She approached Meegla, lifting her torch to better see the Alien Aisha’s face. The red triangle, the green features, the six ears - all were there, just as before. “What is it, Meegla? What’s wrong? Where’s Fargon?”
“It’s him we need to help. He’s been taken.”
“Again?” Nadine’s expression was one of bewilderment. “Who did it this time?”
Meegla paused. The flame flickered, making the shadows on their faces exaggerate and extinguish features at random. “...Can you summon everyone back here? I really need to see Heqet.”
Nadine scowled. “What? Am I not good enough?”
“No,” Meegla confessed. “I very much want your help, too. But I need Heqet here before I can really get into the details. Something he said to me earlier today tells me he’ll understand what is happening right now better than anyone.”
Nadine’s happiness at the fact that the negative Aisha had bothered to compliment her was dashed by her assertion about Heqet. Sure, he was the Desert Scarabs’ brilliant leader, but what could he do for Meegla that Nadine couldn’t? Nadine tried to keep her seething subtle as they waited, Meegla impatiently pacing the dilapidated room. Her impatience was making an indented circle on the sand floor.
“Quit that,” Nadine hissed at one point. “You’re making me nervous!”
“You should be nervous,” Meegla replied sourly. “Fargon is being held captive and we’re losing time standing around here waiting. Where in Sakhmet is-?”
And before she could even finish the question, Heqet and the others lifted the tarp and entered the dark space. Meegla supposed the sacks they carried held their spoils for the day. The neopets were chattering amongst themselves happily, but fell silent once their eyes adjusted to the dark, falling on their visitor.
“Back already?” a Shoyru sneered. A Korbat punched him in the arm.
Heqet stepped ahead of the group to address Meegla. “Why are you here?”
“You know who I am,” Meegla said. Some of the other neopets snickered at the obviousness of the statement, but Nadine stayed silent. Judging from Meegla and Heqet’s serious expressions, there was something deeper to the declaration. Something only those two were privy to.
“Of course,” Heqet replied. He set his sack of stolen goods aside. “We met just this morning.”
Meegla shook her head. “Earlier, when I told you my name was Meegla, you said you knew. Because you’ve heard of me before.”
They locked eyes for a long time before the shadow Ruki finally spoke. “Meegla is an extremely unique name. And… I had heard that you changed your face,” he admitted.
Nadine was seeing Meegla in a new light. Suddenly, the way the shadows and her torch’s flame danced along the Alien Aisha’s face, dramatically transforming it from one moment to the next, seemed to symbolize some greater anonymity. “Who are you, really?” Nadine whispered.
“I’m Meegla,” she answered, simply. “Alien Aisha. Future starship captain. Person desperately in need of the Desert Scarabs’ help.”
Meegla wasted no time drawing up plans on the sandy floor with the nearest fallen stick. The building she was drawing had an intricate layout, and, according to her labels, was located in the heart of Terror Mountain. She warned them her diagram might not be up to date; it was a long time since she had been there.
Meegla lowered her voice. “I am also a former high-ranking member of the organization that sent an assassin after me on Terror Mountain earlier today, which has undoubtedly kidnapped Fargon to get revenge on me… An organization that you all know pretty well yourselves. Or at least, if you don’t know it personally...” She stood back to admire her drawing. “You know it by name.”
Next Meegla’s diagram was the title, Thieves Guild Headquarters, circa Y15.
To be continued…