Defender Scarlet Shadow in the Deathly Mission: Part One
Author's note: This story is a sequel to "Defender Shadow in the Gem of Rundeth." You can read this story and still understand it without reading its prequel first. However I suggest that you read it first by clicking here!~Orisasda (a.k.a. Megan)
In Neopia Central, a dark figure in the night dashed across the rooftops of the darkened town. The street lamps provided the only points of light in the darkness, which the figure gave a wide berth. They did not want to be spotted. Staying hidden was part and parcel of their chosen occupation. They got to the residential district and crouched down on a specific rooftop. The rooftop of the house they were standing on was just next to their target's supposed living place. They would wait until morning if they had to, to catch a glimpse of their target, observe their target and then, pick the right time to deliver a quick and easy end. That was their job after all and they had a reputation of never failing to uphold.
It was a normal day in the life of Sopherie Halaslom, the camouflage Kacheek. Or at least as normal as it got for her Defender identity of Scarlet Shadow. Her red cape streamed out behind her and she was in hot pursuit of a skunk Xweetok. The Xweetok had been robbing the Neopian Bookstore before Sopherie had spotted him while being on patrol in civilian clothing had leapt into action. The Xweetok had tried everything to shake Sopherie off his tail while holding a bagful of books, but Sopherie's Defender Training had left her an elite athlete. No one was escaping her today. Sopherie unclipped her red dance ribbon whip from her belt and thrust it forward, making it catch ahold of one of the Xweetok's feet. The Xweetok fell over as the foot was forced to slip out from under him, the bag spilling the stolen books and Sopherie quickly got a pair of handcuffs off her belt and quickly cuffed the thief. The police arrived on the scene shortly after and took over from there.
"Good work, Defender Scarlet Shadow." Said the police captain.
"Oh, it was nothing, captain. Just doing my duty as a Defender of Neopia. I happened to be on patrol so I took action." Sopherie replied modestly.
"Sometimes I don't know what we'd do without Defenders like you out on the streets." The police captain said and tipped his hat. Sopherie gave him a respectful nod. Suddenly, there was a whistling sound in the air. Sopherie caught a glimpse of something coming towards her, coming too fast for her to block and it hit her in the shoulder, just below the shoulder plate she always wore as part of her uniform. She yelped in pain.
"Defender Scarlet Shadow!" The police captain along with a few other police officers rushed over to her. "Are you alright?"
Sopherie pulled the dart out and inspected it.
"I'm alright for now but... No doubt this dart had... Something in... It... Ugh...." Sopherie said. But as she spoke the words she started to feel woozy. Then she collapsed to the ground, her world turning black.
Sopherie slowly opened her eyes to a white, sterile-looking room. She wondered for a moment where she was, then she remembered the dart. She looked down and saw she was in a hospital bed covered with white sheets. It's the Neopian Hospital. She thought to herself in relief. They must have taken her here after she'd collapsed from whatever was in that dart.
"Another lucky miss for you, huh Scarlet?" Remarked a ghost Ogrin who entered her room.
"I wouldn't have exactly called it a miss, Aspen. That was fast acting stuff and they got me in the shoulder this time." Sopherie said, sitting up slowly to look at him. Aspen, Defender identity Phantom Warrior, was her old mentor from her Defender Apprenticeship days and they still maintained a close relationship. Although the days of Master and Apprentice were long over.
"I know. I'm calling it a lucky miss because you luckily missed an untimely death." Aspen said.
"Oh, indeed. That dart had quite the poison in it.The doctors didn't have much time to discover what poison you had in your body and what antidote to give you so thank your lucky stars that they did it in time. Of course they wouldn't have been able to even do that if Lightning Lenny hadn't seen it fit to carry you all the way to the hospital by himself so thank him too."
"I'm going to, definitely. But that's the second one this week."
"Sixth one this month. Someone is clearly trying to cause your death."
Sopherie sighed and lay back in her bed.
"Please don't ask me who I think it might be because we'll be here all day. That list is a mile long." Sopherie moaned.
"Well, whoever it is, the higher-ups have decided to take appropriate action." Aspen began.
"Appropriate action? What do you mean by appropriate action?" Sopherie asked him. The way he was saying that told her that she wouldn't like what this "appropriate action" was. Aspen took a deep breath.
"Well, they sent me to tell you this because they thought you might take it better if it was from me... You've been suspended from active duty indefinitely until such a time when we've deemed it safe for you to continue your Defender duties." Aspen said with a grave voice. Sopherie sat up straight, a look of absolute shock on her face.
"S-suspend me? No, no. They can't suspend me! I've got work to do, I've got duties to fulfil! They can't do this to me!" Sopherie said, sounding progressively angrier.
"Sopherie!" Aspen shouted at her. Sopherie shrank down in her bed. Aspen only ever used her name instead of his nickname for her when he was deadly serious. "Someone has been trying to kill you and this isn't the first time either! Judge Hog and all the other higher-ups are just trying to keep you safe, per Defenders of Neopia code. And besides, you wouldn't be able to do work or duties if you end up dead. So you are suspended and you'll also be under house arrest after you are released from hospital for your own protection until we get this matter resolved, end of discussion. Do you understand, Defender Scarlet Shadow?"
"I... I understand."
"Defender Phantom Warrior."
"Good. I must be going now." Aspen said. Sopherie was completely miserable, she lived for being a Defender of Neopia and now she was suspended for who-knows how long and under house arrest on top of that. Aspen put a hand on Sopherie's shoulder. "I know you're upset over this, Scarlet. But this is for your own good. We all have your best interests at heart." Aspen said comfortingly, then he left the room.
After a couple of days, Sopherie was given the all clear to leave the hospital and was escorted by police to her home on a normal residential street of Neopia Central. Every way in and out of the house was guarded by at least two police officers as they knew that the assassin wouldn't stop trying just because Sopherie was inside and that Sopherie was likely to try and get out of the house, despite being under house arrest. Sopherie felt more trapped than she felt safe, after all she was until whoever was out for her was found. They had ruined her life for an unknown amount of time and she knew that she'd never forgive them for getting her suspended. She was so miserable thanks to the circumstances of her situation that she couldn't even spend the time doing any research to pass the time in her study. She just laid her head face-down on the desk. A small whimper came from beside her and Sopherie turned her head to the side to see her Faellie, Zoey looking at her with an expression of concern.
"I'm sorry to worry you, Zoey. I'm just going out of my head being stuck here." Sopherie sighed as she pet Zoey's head. Zoey licked Sopherie's hand. "At least I'll always have you, nothing can ever take you from me." Sopherie said to her. Suddenly, Sopherie heard sounds behind her and she turned around in her desk chair to see an all-purple figure making garbled sounds. Sopherie reached for a heavy folder on the desk to whack the figure when the garbled sounds began to form into words.
"Help me, please help me!" Said the figure.
"W-who are you?" Sopherie asked in confusion.
"Oh! Someone can finally hear me! Please, you must help me! I was exploring a tomb in the Lost Desert, but the last trap I came across I did not escape from completely unscathed. I broke my ankle and I'm all alone so I'm trapped. Please, you must help me get out of here, I beg of you!" The figure pleaded. Sopherie debated with herself. This person clearly needed her help and she was a Defender so helping people was in her job description. But yet she was suspended from active duty and would no doubt get in serious trouble if she snuck out to take this mission. But she was the only person that the figure was able to reach out to. Sopherie nodded to herself as she came to a decision.
"Where is this tomb?" Sopherie asked them.
"Then you're coming to save me? Thank you, oh thank you! Let me see if I can project coordinates for you. Hm... How's this?"
Suddenly a pair of coordinates appeared before Sopherie's eyes. She quickly picked up a pen and paper and wrote them down.
"Okay, I've got them written down. Just hang in there, I'll come ASAP!" Sopherie said.
"Thank you. Please don't take too long." The figure replied and with that, disappeared into thin air. Sopherie's blood was pumping in her veins. This was why she was a Defender. Now all she had to do was figure out where these coordinates fell on the map and formulate a plan to escape her house arrest.To be continued…