|Mirynna and I have been best of friends ever since our days at Neoschool. I came to know her in our first week, when she had defended me against a bunch of bullies. We just sort of clicked after that. Her courage, trustworthiness and understanding traits still remain within her to this day, which makes me feel all the more guilty for what I am about to do to her.
I watch the brown Ruki's slender profile as she leads the way down the dimly lit corridor. I slither behind, my mind wandering off to the time when the both of us had decided to work as sleuths and promised to support each other's backs. Right now, we are heading towards a room believed to have the evidence that might lead to answers as to where the victims are.
But in actuality, that was an excuse I fabricated. Instead of possible clues, that room holds several booby traps meant for the capture of anyone who trespasses the grounds. Mirynna has no clue that I will betray her.
"Huh?" I snap to attention, realizing that I've been inattentive when she called me.
"Are you alright? You're blurring out."
"Yeah, I'm fine," I murmur.
Always worrying about others. I chew my inner lip. I feel really sorry for her but I swear that I will save her after all this is done.
"There's the room," Mirynna says a moment later, pointing towards a door in front of her. That door was a dead end to the hallway.
We reach the doorstep before Mirynna pipes up again.
"I'll go in and investigate while you guard outside?"
"Mmhmm." I feel relieved that she suggested that because guilt and shame are already gnawing at my insides. It makes me want to retch but I hold it in.
Once she steps into the room, I know that this is it. I cannot back down now if I want to succeed in this mission.
"I'm really sorry, Mirynna," I mutter my sincerest apologies as I lock the door as quietly as I can and slither away in a hurry.
I'm not doing this out of revenge or betrayal. My actions now, and for the rest of this case, is for one reason only, and that is ...
Date: Jan 16th
..to save myself. Somebody has to be the prisoner in order for the rest of us to escape from this horrible reality. Unfortunately, that person is Mirynna. It wasn't supposed to be this way.
It all started a few months ago when Mirynna and I had decided to work as sleuths. At first everything was great. But then dark things began happening.
Our co-workers began disappearing for days on end. when they returned it was like they were different people, like they were almost robotic. Their minds were completely gone and any sense of individuality they had was completely washed away.
At first I thought brainwashing neopets into clones was a rumor, it sounds so crazy. But then I began to investigate and the truth I discovered was even more horrible than one could imagine.
My first clue to what had been going on was..
Date: Jan 16th
...the letter that had been slipped through the door of my Neohome.
It had been just after Mirynna and I had investigated the latest clue we'd dug up. Though it had turned out to be a dead end, we had managed to get one step closer to the truth, and they were planning on chasing down some more leads the next day.
Being in the job I was, I was immediately suspicious of the note. I checked through the peephole immediately, but no one was there. Whoever had dropped it off had scampered off real quick. That was a hint in itself, since there were only so many Neopets with that kind of speed.
So, I turned my attention to the note. A cursory examination proved there wasn't anything wrong with it, like poison or a curse, so, warily, I decided to take a peek. It said:
"Meet me at the Deserted Fairground, behind the carnival rides. Midnight. Come alone. I know what's happening to your co-workers."
It screamed "trap", and I thought about taking it to my boss, or Mirynna, but I was worried they would find out and the lead would be lost. Though it was risky, I was determined to have answers, so I threw caution into the wind and decided to go...
Date: Jan 17th
... I was nearing the Deserted Fairground now; nothing moved, the only sound was the desolate whistle of a haunting breeze. No one in sight. I ventured further in.
At that moment, whether it were that gnawing guilt, the creeping fear, or the 7 cans of of lime Achyfi, I heard Mirynna's voice behind my ear, "Come back and let me help."
I gazed on, mesmerized by the voice I had just heard, and the growing shadow that was approaching me. Something told me I was about to meet the little bird who dropped off the note.
The fog grew thinner as the shadow drew closer. Hold on - I knew this figure. Not a second later, we were a few feet apart, and I stared at the familiar face in disbelief...
Date: Jan 17th
...it was our boss, Andy! The Green Uni walked silently towards me.
"Andy," I said, nodding towards him.
"Maccain," he said without any inflection in his voice. His face was expressionless. "I can see you followed my instructions and came alone. Good."
"Andy, what's happening? Why are all our coworkers--your employees--acting so strange?" I questioned.
Andy kept staring straight at me, unblinking, like a cold, stone statue.
"Do you know who is behind it? Do you know if we can fix this?" My voice sounded panicked, Andy's face was making me nervous. His expression had changed from a fixed nothing to a rather unsettling grimace.
Andy chuckled. His voice was deep and menacing. "As usual, Maccain, you're asking all the wrong questions. That's why you and Mirynna only had dead leads up to this point that got you nowhere."
Mirynna. I felt so guilty that I had left her alone. That I left her to be captured.
Andy slowly took a few steps closer to me. "You should have asked, why did I ask you to meet me all the way out here, in the Deserted Fairground, at midnight."
Andy's laughter seemed to echo off the abandoned structures nearby. In the corner of my I noticed a bit of movement among the shadows.
Maybe it was the guilt, but I definitely heard Mirynna's voice again. This time, her voice seemed loud and clear, "RUN...."
Date: Jan 18th
...I ran, fast as I could, which was, unfortunately, not as fast as it could be since I was slithering.
From the corner of my eye, I could see all too familiar figures chasing after me. My co-workers! They were all here, with that dead-eyed stare, running with surprising speed.
Fyora, couldn't I have gotten the slow-moving zombies instead? I thought desperately, as one Neopet got entirely too close to me.
"Hide!" Mirynna's voice shouted at me.
Slithering faster, I saw an opening in a tent coming up and took my chances, ducking in immediately.
It was dark inside, but my eyes adjusted quickly, and I immediately slithered further inside, trying to find a good hiding place. As I went deeper, however, I realized just where I was.
With horrified eyes, I looked up above me to see...
Date: Jan 19th
...tanks that held all of my coworkers.
They were in some kind of stasis. Eyes closed, tubes keeping them alive. As a hissi i flapped my wings and flew up to get a closer look.
Andy and Mirynna were both here as well as some of the towns people. My eyes widened as a saw an empty tank, suddenly; my stomach gave a heave as I noticed the name inscribed at the bottom of the tank in a wooden plaque.
"Maccain.." I whispered as I read it.
Panic set in, I flew to the back of the tent, it was darker back there.
I glided down into the darkness and nestled myself in between a few oval-ish objects. That's when i felt it one of them move....
Date: Jan 19th
It was another tank, being pushed by Edna..but why was she here?
"Edna," I stammered in fear. "What is going on?"
"Shhh," Edna hissed, "We need to speak quietly so they don't hear us."
"What is going on?" I whispered.
"I cant tell you that information." Edna replied. "Although, I can tell you that you are next. Unless of course you help me."
"Help you do what?" I asked.
"We need to get all of the tanks out of here and into my tower." She replied, "then I can whip up a potion to make this all go away. I need you to cause a distraction so I can sneak these tanks out of here."
I sighed, this was very dangerous, but it had to be done if there was any chance of saving the others. I stood up quickly and as loud as I could I yelled "Hey, come and get me then."
I started slithering away as fast as I could. My goal was to get as far away from the tanks as possible.
After a few minutes I looked back to make sure I was still being followed and ran right into...
Date: Jan 19th