...But to his surprise, the Grarrls did not seem to see him.
"I swear I heard something. Must've been my imagination," the fiery Grarrl grunted.
"You and your imagination," the shadow Grarrl snorted. "Just because we were working with those ghosts doesn't mean you need to start spooking yourself every time a stiff breeze blows. Anyway, let's get a move on."
Zaco had stood stock-still through the whole conversation, afraid that whatever mystical shield that had made him invisible to the Grarrls might fade if he so much as twitched.
After the Grarrls were gone, a translucent blue figure suddenly appeared before him.
"Aah! G-g-ghost!" he shrieked.
The ghost rolled his eyes and put a finger to his lips. "If I'd meant to harm you, Neopet, I'd have let the Grarrls get you instead of protecting you from them."
"What do you want, then?" Zaco asked. "Aren't you working with them?"
"I was, until those no-good scoundrels double-crossed me. Should have known better," the ghost grumbled.
"What did they do?" the Lupe asked curiously.
"Ya have to understand, kid, that even though I'm a ghost and even though I steal, I do it for good. Sometimes rich folk have too much money and not enough kindness in their hearts. Is it really a crime to take some rich Neopian's pocket change to ensure some poor kid gets fed?"
"I think that's a discussion for another time," Zaco replied uneasily. "Where do the Thieves come in?"
"Right, right. We set up a deal, the Thieves and us ghosts. A heist of grand proportion! We would allow them access to our magic so they could steal more physical objects that we could not, and in exchange half of the proceeds would be donated to the Tree to benefit the poor of Neopia. Only, the Grarrls didn't play nice. They decided they were going to steal Fyora's staff and use it to take over Neopia."
"So my nightmares, everything, was the result of the Grarrls?" Zaco asked.
"Yes. I believe they were probing your memory for any information regarding Fyora's castle and Faerie City. There were others, but they were... drawn to you in particular," the ghost replied.
"But I've never met Fyora!" Zaco protested. "There was the time I accidentally wandered into the Hidden Tower, but - oh." Realization dawned on him. The nights of wandering dark corridors, creatures jumping from the shadows, voices whispering dark things at him... was that all so these nefarious Grarrls could learn how to access the Hidden Tower?
"We must stop them!" Zaco cried. "Let's go tell Fyora."
"I have a better idea," the ghost hissed, with a slow grin.
"Now, Ericson, you are sure this leads to the Hidden Tower?"
"Positive, positive. That kid wandered down this very alley. Saw it in his memories. Those ghosts weren't kidding when they said they had neat powers," the fiery red Grarrl replied. "Now, anyway, the kid leaned on this wall - here! Ah hah!"
When the secret entrance began to open Zaco and the ghost primed themselves for action.
"Begone! Begone!" Zaco shouted in a warbly ghost-like voice.
"Oh, shut it you ghosts!" the shadow Grarrl snapped. "We aren't sharing with you, and if you don't quiet down, I'll blast you with Fyora's staff. I have half a mind to anyway. Come on, Ericson, they're just ghosts - Ericson?"
The fiery Grarrl was doubled over, clutching his head. "Make it stop, make it stop!" he screamed. "I don't want to remember that anymore!"
"Shut up!" the shadow Grarrl hissed, but it was too late. Several well-armed Faeries and Neopets came down the stairs, weapons drawn.
"Halt! We have you surrounded, state your business," the lead Faerie replied in a stern voice.
"I, uh, special delivery?" the shadow Grarrl tried, clearly out of his element.
"Noooo, nooo, we're thieves we're thieves! We were trying to steal Fyora's staff! We surrender! There, see, I was honest, now get out of my head!" begged Ericson.
Zaco and the ghost watched from the shadows as the guards arrested the two Grarrls and led them to the dungeons. "What did you do to him?" Zaco asked the ghost.
The ghost shrugged his shoulders. "Just gave him something to think about, that's all," he replied enigmatically. "Anyway, we should get out of here before they come looking for more accomplices."
Outside, the ghost began to sink into the ground. "It's been fun, kid. Hopefully that'll teach those Thieves to not try and double-cross us ghosts with our own powers. Oh, and donate to the Giving Tree sometime, will ya?"
"I will," Zaco said brightly as the ghost faded out of sight.
"...and then out of nowhere the one Grarrl just starts confessing out of the blue. I mean, the guards knew they were up to no good, but they weren't expecting that," the Eyrie finished.
Zaco had managed to catch up to the Eyrie guard after the Grarrls were arrested, to thank her for her help at his house. He had no plans to tell her of his role in catching the Grarrls, though.
"He seemed like he was talking to someone, but it was just the two of them. And now he won't talk to anyone at all. How mysterious."
Zaco thought back to the ghost and smiled to himself. "Well, if he's not talking then I guess we'll just never know."