Defender Scarlet Shadow in the Gem of Rundeth: Part One
It was a quiet night in Faerieland. No one was awake to see a dark and seemingly gelatinous figure make its way to Faerie Queen's Castle. It then turned into a blob and slid unseen into the castle through a window. The blob carefully traversed the castle hallways until it had arrived at a room sparkling with gems in the light of the half-moon. The blob reassembled itself into a figure. It was only interested in one particular gem, a cloud grey gem on a velvet-covered dais. The figure stepped into the light, revealing itself to be a jelly Lupe in a sleek lab coat and it grabbed a cloud grey gem and tucked the gem into its coat.
"The Gem of Rundeth is finally mine. Scarlet Shadow will not best me this time!" It said gleefully, then it quietly left with the prize it wanted in its possession.
A communicator rang on a bedside table in a small, quaint house in Neopia Central. A white hand slid out from under the covers of a bed to pick it up.
"Yes, what it is?" A groggy camouflage Kacheek said into it.
"Defender Scarlet Shadow, Sopherie. Sorry to wake you, but this is an emergency." Judge Hog said on the other end. Sopherie sat up, suddenly very much awake.
"Emergency? What kind of emergency, sir?" Sopherie asked.
"I'll tell you when you get here, Scarlet. However, I can tell you right now that it concerns your old nemesis, Baltove." Judge Hog replied.
"Got it, sir! I'll be there ASAP! Scarlet Shadow out!" Sopherie said as she hung up the communicator. She quickly got out of bed and threw on her Defender of Neopia costume. Sopherie was a member of the Neopian superhero syndicate named the Defenders of Neopia. They existed to fight off the villains the normal authorities couldn't handle and to fight for peace in Neopia. She went under the name, Scarlet Shadow. The "scarlet" part of her name was attributed to her scarlet red hair and was her temporary Defender name as an apprentice. The shadow part was how she was able to be as stealthy and quiet as a shadow. So much so that it was as if she could turn invisible, which she couldn't, surprisingly. She had no known powers, but no one ever said you had to have a super power to be a superhero.
Sopherie carefully fastened the red cape she wore with a brooch that had the DoN shield on it around her shoulders and clipped her weapon of choice, a bow and a quiver of magic-infused arrows onto it and clipped her other weapon of choice, a whip fashioned to look like a red dance ribbon to her belt. Sopherie favoured a long range fighting style with her prized bow, but did have knowledge to fight in close as it was mandatory to learn hand to hand combat and she could use her whip almost as proficiently as she could use her bow. She quickly checked how she looked in a mirror. Everything was in order from her black clothes, dark grey and red breast and shoulder plates, to her black mask which protected her identity. She exited out her home from the back door and quickly her way to the Defenders of Neopia Headquarters. Her old mentor, a ghost origin called Phantom Warrior, from when she was an apprentice greeted her in the lobby, Judge Hog has standing behind him.
"Hiya Scarlet. Long time no see." He said to her. As well as being Sopherie's temporary Defender name through her apprenticeship, Scarlet was also once her mentor's personal nickname for her. It had spread through the rest of the ranks of the Defenders so now it was everyone's nickname for her.
"Hi, Aspen. What's Baltove done this time?" Sopherie said, as the three moved to an unoccupied office room to talk. Aspen was Phantom Warrior's real name and what Sopherie always called him when they weren't on a mission together.
"I think I better leave it to Defender Judge Hog to tell you. He's better informed on what happened than me." Phantom Warrior said and stepped aside. Judge Hog stepped forward.
"So, what seems to be the problem, sir?" Sopherie asked Judge Hog.
"Well, late last night, someone broke into the Faerie Queen's Castle." Judge Hog said.
"What?! You mean the castle that Queen Fyora herself lives in? No way, that should be impossible!" Sopherie exclaimed.
"You'd think so, but someone managed it. Three guesses who and the first two don't count." Judge Hog said.
"Baltove, the Jelly Destroyer." Sopherie growled. Of course it was him, they probably wouldn't have called her if it wasn't. Baltove the Jelly Destroyer was the result of an experiment gone wrong. Dr Batove Taito was once a great scientist, but he was obsessed with creating a serum that would allow a Neopet to live longer and cure any disease. The last serum he made trying to accomplish this exploded and when the smoke cleared, the doctor had been turned completely into jelly. The transformation must of messed with Baltove's mind as he now desired to rule the world an iron fist using his newfound powers that he now had in his new jelly form, the most prominent being the ability to stretch his limbs and contort his body in strange ways. But currently his only goal was to be rid of the Scarlet Shadow, as she had foiled him before she even became a Defender and knew if he let her stick around that she would be a constant thorn in his side. So Baltove's goal was currently classified as getting everyone who would oppose him out of the way. "How in the world did he get in anyway?" Sopherie asked.
"It seems he took a page out of your book and used his stealth. Of course, the minor shapeshifting abilities he has from being made of jelly probably helped." Judge Hog replied.
"Probably. One more thing, how do we know it was him?" Sopherie said. She had to be sure as there had been false alarms before.
"We have eye witness reports of a Lupe-like figure being seen headed for the Castle around the time the crime was committed. We also found these at the scene." Judge Hog said. He got out a petri dish and inside it were tiny, blue jelly blobs. They were the same blue as the jelly Baltove was made out of. He often shed these blobs of jelly wherever he used his minor shapeshifting ability. But he never seemed to get any smaller no matter how many he shed.
"Ah. I see. So what exactly did he take?" Sopherie said.
"He took a certain gem and just the one gem. But it's an extraordinarily dangerous one. It is called the Gem of Rundeth."
"The Gem of Rundeth, sounds powerful." Sopherie remarked.
"Indeed, it is in fact. This gem is a power source that could power 100 Neopia Centrals at once. We don't know what Baltove wants such a powerful gem for, but we all can be sure that it's not for a good cause." Judge Hog said.
"Right. So where is he?" Sopherie queried.
"We've traced him back to Terror Mountain, around the Happy Valley area. Your neck of the woods, if I'm not mistaken." Judge Hog replied. Sopherie nodded, it was true that she had been living in the Happy Valley area of Terror Mountain ever since she was 16. She couldn't remember where she lived before then, much less who she was before. It was one mystery she somewhat hoped to uncover one day.
"Alright, I should be able to find Baltove's lair. He is about as subtle as a flying mallet after all."~~~
Sopherie was now dressed in her civilian clothing, it was best not to arrive in Terror Mountain in her defender outfit and alerting Baltove that she was in the area. It would give him time to prepare or move. She passed a fountain on her way to the ferry and stopped when she spotted a familiar face sitting on the edge of it. It was an eventide Kougra and he grinned when he came to notice her standing there.
"Hiya Sopherie." He said. Sopherie heard a small sigh escape her. This eventide Kougra was named Jaidenenk Cloud and it seemed wherever she went, he was there too. He called himself a treasure seeker, but Sopherie called that title a fancy name for thief.
"Hi Jaidenenk. What are you doing here?" Sopherie said.
"Well, I live here in Neopia Central actually. But I happen to be sitting here waiting for you, Miss Defender." Jaidenenk said. Sopherie rolled her eyes at his use of "Miss Defender." The Jaidenenk's grin wavered and then turned into a frown.
"Is there something wrong?" Sopherie asked, concerned.
"Yeah, there is. Isn't your arch-enemy some Lupe called Baltove, the Jelly Destroyer?" Jaidenenk said. Sopherie jumped in surprise. First, Baltove had stolen something and now Jaidenenk was asking about him.
"Why do you ask?" Sopherie said nonchalantly.
"Aha, I'm right, aren't I? You always have that tone of voice when I am." Jaidenenk said.
"Alright, yes, he is my arch-enemy" Sopherie admitted. "Why did you ask?"
Jaidenenk rummaged in his pocket and pulled out a folded note.
"This is why. Have a read." He said, handing the note over.
Sopherie unfolded the note and her eyes widened as she read. It was a ransom note. Baltove had a job for Jaidenenk and he wanted to exchange Arianoli Boardare, a royalgirl Wocky that was close to Jaidenenk, safely for this job to be done.
"Oh... Well, if you want my help this does happen coincide with what I'm doing. Leave it to me!" Sopherie said.
"Hey! I'm coming too! No one takes my Ari and gets away with it!" Jaidenenk growled. Sopherie sighed again, she should of guessed that this was no longer a one Neopet job. But Jaidenenk had proved useful to her in the past.
"Alright then. Come on, we need to catch the ferry to Terror Mountain. That's where we both need to go." Sopherie said. As Sopherie led the way to the ferry docks, she couldn't help but feel that there was something off about Jaidenenk. She couldn't quite put her finger on what it was. But she shrugged it off, deciding that it was because of how Jaidenenk felt about the predicament Arianoli was in. Worry does change a person.
To be continued…