MiracleStar regarded me calmly as I sat on the bed and plucked
at the sheets. She sighed and ran her hand through her hair.
"Well, we're in a desert, so I don't think we
can just find the local mall and get it done," she finally said, "but we can
always do it the old-fashioned way."
"Um, what's that?"
She nodded and walked over, picking up one of
my floppy ears.
"Huh? Whatcha YEOUCH!!!"
I dissolved into incoherent death threats but
remained still until she had both ears done.
"Leave 'em in for the next two months," she
"Whadya use to pierce 'em?" I asked, gingerly
touching my ears, which were now weighted down with the gold hoops Stan had
"Tip of my stiletto. It's the only dagger I
have slender enough to make the hole."
I nodded. MiracleStar's stiletto was seemingly
needle thin and I rarely saw her use it.
"Now, what's this about Taffin and Stan fighting?"
"We weren't fighting," Taffin growled from a
"Sure looked like it to me," I sniffed, and
bounced off to the mirror to examine my new look.
The earrings did look very good, glinting brightly
in contrast to my royal blue fur. I admired them for a bit while Taffin and
MiracleStar argued for a while.
"You're not doing this!"
"I am too."
"I forbid it."
"They'll be lots of cash involved…"
"I don't care."
"Our reputation is at stake!"
"Only in your mind."
He stomped over to the window and sulked. MiracleStar
sighed in exasperation, starting for the door.
"I'm getting dinner."
I glanced at Taffin and slowly followed her.
I was relieved to discover that everyone else, including the Kyrii, came along
We ate dinner at a small outdoor restaurant.
The food was quite spicy, surprising for a desert climate. Desert was bowls
of various desert fruits. I quite enjoyed the Tchea and managed to snag a couple
out of Skyil's bowl.
"I never thought a human could thieve," a familiar
voice said from behind me when we had finished.
Taffin stood up very quickly, his hand on his
glaive, which rested nearby.
"Ah. You must be Stan," MiracleStar replied,
not even looking up.
"I am indeed. Best thief in the Lost Desert.
But the lady Nianso here informs me that you are all thieves also. Dragon Thieves,
I believe you are called?"
"Yes, and we're the best thieves in Neopia."
"Really? Well, your pet there is certainly intent
of proving it."
Taffin didn't reply, but I could read the warning
signs etched into his impassive face. MiracleStar saw them also.
"He is indeed. But we always thieve as a group.
'All for one, one for all,'" she quoted. "We'll be going into the palace together."
Taffin developed a coughing fit to hide his
surprise at MiracleStar's sudden change of mind. Stan failed to notice also
for he merely glanced at him askance and turned his attention to me.
"I must say, the earrings suite you better than
I could have imagined."
"Thank you," I replied gracefully.
"Now, I'm afraid I must take my leave of you.
I acquire my dinner through other means and this 'acquiring' will not take care
He kissed my hand and sauntered away, the very
picture of a prince in disguise. I felt a goofy grin come across my face and
tried my best to hide it.
"Well Nianso," MiracleStar said quietly, "he's
quite the charmer."
"Women," Taffin growled in disgust.
And thus our fates were sealed. We were to burglarize
the royal palace. Skyil and Taffin headed over to scout it out the next day
while the rest of us went sight-seeing. The next day we simply enjoyed ourselves.
I occasionally caught sight of Stan, but only at a distance. Finally, on our
third night of staying in the Lost Desert, we acted.
We waited until two hours after midnight to
start. It was child's play to get past the castle walls. We flew in, hidden
in our Faerie-wrought cloak, and landed on the palace wall. From there, Jaix
let down a rope and MiracleStar scaled the walls in no time. Skyil kept watch
from above, and an occasional bird whistle showed us which path to take across
the grounds. We then chose a second floor window and let down another rope,
MiracleStar nearly invisible in the darkness under her cloak. By reading a couple
guards' minds, Skyil was able to lead us directly to our target with absolutely
Our target was none other than the esteemed
Senator Barca. We waited patiently while Taffin picked the lock of the door.
Skyil and MiracleStar had taken up positions down the hallway to warn us if
anyone approached. We had about fifteen minutes before the patrolling guards
came by again.
The door slowly slung open and we slipped inside,
silent as shadows. All was darkness but we were accustomed to working in such
light. Taffin kept a lookout while I rummaged through the Senator's desk. There…
I quickly grabbed her official seal and dropped it in my pouch. Then we heard
There was a pop as Taffin teleported towards
the sound. I rushed to the door leading to Senator Barca's door in time to catch
sight of two fire pets, locked in a struggle. The Senator herself was desperately
backing away, a deep cut on her shoulder. There was a thud as the two pets slammed
up against the wall and then the stranger grabbed Taffin and flipped him, straight
out the open window. I suppressed a gasp as my brother managed to latch onto
one of the other pet's arms and drag him through with him. The two vanished
from sight but I heard the telltale pop that signified Taffin had managed to
stop his fall through teleportation. The Senator staggered past me, not seeing
my shadowy form in the darkness, and started ringing a gong that stood by the
door. I hesitated for just a second, then dashed into the bedroom and slipped
over the window edge, spreading my wings and flying out into the night. I had
no idea what had happened to Jaix, Skyil, or MiracleStar. All I could do was
hope they got away before the guards caught them.
It was a frightening night. I returned to the
hotel room and waited. Taffin showed up shortly after, solemn and scared.
"There was another pet," he said softly, "an
assassin, I think. It was a fire Gelert. He was trying to… to destroy Barca,
but I managed to stop him."
"And the rest?"
"I don't know," he replied, "I got away as fast
as I could. The whole castle was up in arms."
It was not until morning that we finally discovered
the fate of our companions. MiracleStar showed up, looking extremely tired,
with Skyil in tow.
"Where's Jaix?" I asked immediately.
"Captured," she replied, "just outside the palace
walls. Technically we weren't doing anything wrong, but apparently whatever
pet attacked Senator Barca was fire with long ears. Jaix fit the description.
So they arrested him and he's now in the palace dungeons."
"No!" I shouted, "Didn't you do anything?"
"I tried, Nianso, believe me. I tried. But the
guards tried to arrest me also, and Jaix had to fight them off."
She stood and shed her cloak, then started removing
all the daggers and such she carried around on her. I was once again amazed
by how much weaponry the girl actually carried.
"What are we doing?"
"We're going to go plead our case," she replied,
picking up some fresh clothes from her shopping trip, "We're going to get our
MiracleStar did her best to make us all look
presentable, the absolute picture of innocence.
"Your earrings are a bit bothersome," MiracleStar
said softly, "because Stan said they came from the Palace. If they're recognized…"
"I can keep them hidden," I replied, pulling
my ears back and tying them with a bow, Usul-style.
MiracleStar nodded her approval and made certain
the tail of the bow hid the earrings.
"Now then. Let's go."
As we walked to the Palace, I was amazed at
the transformation in MiracleStar. She had gone from a streetwise thief to the
epitome of schoolgirl goodness. Her clothing was nondescript and tasteful, her
hair in a plain style, straight and held back by clips. Most changed, however,
was her attitude. She was no longer the confident and arrogant girl I knew,
rather, a meek and demure girl with her pets. I tried my best to look innocent
until MiracleStar instructed me to just look vague.
"Innocence is a little beyond you, I think,"
she said with a smile.
The guards at the palace gate weren't going
to let us in at first, and MiracleStar put on a pretty little act of feigned
hysteria. They quickly changed their minds as soon as she mentioned her fire
We were ushered into the royal throne room,
amazingly enough. Princess Vyssa herself sat upon the throne, looking rather
bored. Senator Barca stood nearby, looking pale but resolute. I could see a
bandage peeking out at the neckline of her clothing. A dark tan Kyrii approached
us, his eyes narrowed underneath his white head-dress.
"So you said this Acara is your pet?" he questioned.
MiracleStar blinked, seemingly surprised at
the Kyrii's directness.
"Yes, he is. He's rather wild, I'm afraid, but
I'm sorry, I try to keep him calm but he's just…"
"Yes, that's fine," the Kyrii interrupted, "What
were you doing out so late?"
"Well, Jaix, that's his name, will sometimes
sneak out at night when he's mad at me. He wanted to go see the Palace yesterday,
but I wouldn't let him, so I guess he decided to spite me by going anyway. I
followed him and tried to bring him home but he refused. So I sat there arguing
with him until the guards came running out and I was scared… so he told me to
go and I tried to make him come with me and…"
"Alright, that's enough," he snapped.
"Advisor Wessle," Princess Vyssa snapped, "What
do you think of this story?"
"Highly suspicious," he replied, casting a glance
at MiracleStar, "Senator Barca?"
"I already told you what I saw."
Thing continued in this vein for a little while
longer, the advisor snapping out questions and MiracleStar bluffing her way
through the answers. Princess Vyssa merely looked bored.
"Can we at least see him?" MiracleStar asked.
We were granted that favor and Advisor Wessle
led us in the direction of the dungeons. We were told to wait in the room preceding
the cell hallway. Soon two guards appeared, Jaix in between them, his paws bound.
I struggled to remain calm. The Acara was limping slightly and his fur was matted
along the shoulders and back.
"Jaix," MiracleStar whispered, and ran up, hugging
"I'm alright," he said stiffly, "You know I
didn't hurt the Senator, right? I wasn't even in the palace."
"I know," she replied.
"Please Advisor Wessle," Skyil pleaded, "You
must realize it's not him. He hasn't done anything."
"Unless you can prove otherwise, I'm afraid
your pet will not be freed; ever."
"And if we can find the real assassin?"
"Then he will be released, of course."
"Then that's what we'll do," I vowed.
To be continued...