Despite all the attempts to comfort Shoyru, Kacheek was extremely worried.
Then he was even more worried when he heard a loud bang on the door. Gerald
rushed to the door, opened it without greeting and rushed back to help his mother.
A small, red somebody with a bandage on his left arm used for broken collarbones
walked into the waiting room, trying not to trip up. He looked around the room
at the pets in the chairs, frowning.
"Hey everyone," he said feebly as he recognised them with a start and changed
"Wingman?" Voltager piped up. "Is that you?"
"No," croaked the voice. "It's Red, and I've lost Goldy20001."
Shoyru's heart sank as far as he'd just sunk into his chair when he'd collapsed.
"No..." he sobbed. "It's all going to be over if we don't get back together.
But what happened to you Red? What happened to your arm?"
Red tried moving his arm but whined in pain and dropped the bandage.
"I thought I was hanging around the Shoyru Gang," he continued, "so I flew
up in a tree and watched the group. But it wasn't. There was this mean looking
red Shoyru, apparently he's the leader of the group and-"
"That's the group Felicity betrayed," put in Shoyru. "It can't be the Shoyru
Gang. Tell us more," he pressed on.
"I heard them mentioning the Shoyru Gang had destroyed one of their team-mates,
a yellow Shoyru I can't recognise, defeated several other pets, and imprisoned
another of their team-mates, Inferno, and..."
"THAT'S MY BROTHER!" shrieked Voltager, giving off electric sparks in the
vicinity. Shoyru ducked under a chair to avoid the sparks.
"BE QUIET!" hissed Kacheek.
There was a pause.
"The leader I think it was, slumped against the tree, it shook, and I fell.
I know I know," he said quickly before Shoyru came up with another comment.
"I could have flown, but I was in shock, so I hardly thought about it even when
I was just starting to fall, and a crash on the ground knocked my shoulder out
of place seconds later. I was lucky to have been spotted by a passing ambulance.
The paramedics inside sorted me out a bit, and took me here. I was grateful,
indeed, but I couldn't believe what I heard."
There was yet another long, ghastly pause.
Kacheek tried to look cheerful, but the news was too painful.
"But Wingman, Aqua and Goldy might be together to fight whatever tries to
hurt them!" he said brightly.
"That's chances, Kacheek!" Shoyru was on a chair again and howling into one
of the cushions. "Whatever might be trying to hurt them, it'll be happening
now for all I know!"
"Goldy's on a decent level," said Red, waving his good arm in Shoyru's direction
to get his attention. The bad arm was flopping loosely. "Level 14, and pretty
"And the Shoyru Gang?"
"What I'm saying," Red continued, "is that Goldy20001 is capable of holding
off enemies for a while before he and the others get back to us."
"For a while," hooted Shoyru. "For a while! I'll probably be a goner by then!"
"Honestly Shoyru," Kacheek said tutting. "You have a way of exaggerating things."
Shoyru went pink.
"What I mean is," he growled, trying not to lose his cool, "that they may
come across the Shoyru Gang themselves. What makes them different? There could
be anything out there. It's bad enough our old home was demolished, now we may
have to slip into the Adoption Centre and get picked by somebody. Not Goldy
and Red, they've got an owner. But," he continued, trying to make some sense,
"I'm going to find them. Excuse me." He shoved his way through desperate arms
that Kacheek suddenly jerked out to stop him, but Shoyru simply smiled weakly
and walked smartly out of the hospital.
There was a ghastly pause, but Gerald burst into the waiting room with a kindly
smile on his face.
"Good news," he said gruffly, as though even the smile hadn't changed his
mood one bit. "Your friend is OK. If she looked dead then that was just a trick
by whoever attacked her, she wasn't as hard to fix as many others. Hey!" He
raised his voice as Kacheek made for the door. "Where dya think you're going?
You're all in this together!"
"I... must... find... Shoyru!" he spluttered, spilling the magazines and the
table on which they rested. Voltager jerked out of her seat in horror and grabbed
"Oh no you don't," she shrieked at him. "Something might get you too, you
know. Can Felicity stay here for a while, just while we all get together?"
Without further ado, Voltager dragged Kacheek out of the hospital and turned
back to the burned forest. Kacheek couldn't relax himself and his attempts to
stop, only started to friction-burn his feet.
"Owww!" he squealed, jerking to his feet and stopping directly in front of
Voltager. "Where are we going? We've already been through the burned forest!
We need to go somewhere else to find Wingman, surely!"
"I... I don't want to have to do this," quavered Voltager worriedly. She stopped
and held onto one of the burnt tree trunks to keep herself standing. "I have
to stop Inferno myself, bribe him out of evil. After all, he is my brother!"
"What have relations got to do with this when they're more SERIOUS things
to worry about!" Kacheek floundered slightly, but didn't give up. "Life! Death!
Getting together! Emotions come last!"
"But... but we can stop him with OTHER power!" she floundered, grabbing Kacheek's
tail and jabbing him back, urging him to reconsider. "Our hearts have power
too, you know. The power to change Inferno! He may be evil now, but in his heart
he's NOT evil. He's my brother, and in my heart he's my brother!"
"Just because he's your brother doesn't mean he's not evil!" Kacheek squealed,
and suddenly, a stabbing pain in his head and heart told him that he'd lost
the argument. He slumped to the ground beside a burnt tree.
"G... Good luck," he said feebly, before hitting his head to the ground in
a dead faint. Sighting this, Voltager hesitantly turned her back on him and
her mind went wild. Can she really stop Inferno with the magic of emotion? But
wait! Voltager's head suddenly sparked with surprise and she clutched it in
"Um...." she stammered weakly. "The... the Shoyru Gang?"
A petrified scream behind her made her whip round in a flash. There, she saw
Shoyru. His legs were trembling as if he had a triple case of Parkinson's disease.
"There you are! Shoyru! We were looking for you!" Voltager looked relieved,
but Shoyru's lip was trembling. His eyes welled with tears and he could hardly
speak. "What's up?" she asked casually. But the next thing Shoyru did made her
heart sink as low as the Earth's core.
"I... I just thought you ought to know..." he said in a very shaky, quaky
voice. Voltager started to tremble and even held onto Kacheek's sunken body
for support. "Inferno," he blurted out, suddenly breaking down in tears. "The
S... Shoyru Gang destroyed him. Inferno was innocent! He wasn't really evil,
nor was he suffering from any disease, he was knocked out, brain-dead and then
confused!" A puddle of salty water was now sinking into the soil as Shoyru broke
out into high, large broken sobs. "Now I remember what Linda said," he quaked,
his voice breaking off every time he tried to say a word, "that she never knew
Inferno to be part of that gang! We should have listened to Aqua!" Voltager
let out a huge blast of lightning from her tarred body. Spilling tears conducted
it quickly and the blast suddenly soared into the air like a rifle shot and
exploded in mid air, stretching across the sky in every direction like a giant
sheet lightning bolt. Unable to cope, Voltager summoned the very last of her
newest supply of strength and dragged the two friends across the ground to the
hospital to spread the word.
After spending an emotionally painful and restless night in the hospital,
Shoyru sat up in bed in deep worry about Goldy and Wingman. He wasn't too sure
about Aqua, meeting him with the news about Inferno, although Voltager insisted
on trying to help find him, being one of her brothers.
Without any warning or a knock at the door, Gerald came bursting into the
guest room and marched in as if he owned it. The room was gigantic. Against
the left hand wall lay twenty, smartly made single beds with the Neopets logo
woven into it. At the back of the room was a separate smaller room for the toilets,
and at the right hand wall were threes tables cluttered with drawing paper,
mounds of pre-school toys and beanbags, a window with yellow and flowered curtains,
dark green and flowered carpet and orange and flowered wallpaper.
"Mother says you must stay until you are all properly recovered." Gerald said
shortly. This time he was wearing a tight, gold locket necklace with 'RPUA'
scrawled in a huge dent in the locket. In small writing just below it, read
the words: 'Recovery Period Unit Assistant'. "This town here was made to help
nomadic pets keep out of trouble. There's a pound down the road there and they..."
"But we're not hurt," Shoyru lied quickly. He was devastated about the attack
on Inferno, which was lethal. The sight of it made him sick.
"I'll tell Mother if you insist on leaving here before three weeks. No, I
don't want any explanations," he snapped shortly as Shoyru tried to protest.
"Your friends will wind up here in the end and then they'll be taken care of.
Stop your whining! And for once..."
"Gerald!" came a squeal from the emergency room.
"What patient this time, Mother?" Gerald called, with slight worry in his
voice just in case anyone was called into the emergency room.
"Mind your attitude. These are guests. I've asked them to stay in the Recovery
Period Unit for an RP. Treat them humanely, please dear."
"Call me when there's an emergency next time Mother..." Gerald grumbled, slumping
onto a beanbag cushion with plushies all over the cover. He spat and tossed
it aside, seizing a feather pillow and slouched on top.
"So, is it true Voltager," Kacheek cried, unable to draw his attention from
Shoyru, who was trying hard not to pass out. "Your brother, was innocent, and
he was defeated? No way!"
"Why did you try to stop me?" Voltager suddenly screamed. She threw a glare
at Kacheek. "WHY? It resulted in his demise!"
"He isn't the only one! The death of the Aisha judge was everyone's fault.
They should've realised that the judge was acting for the best! SHE DID WHAT
SHE DID TO SAVE US BECAUSE EVERY ONE IN THE STANDS SUDDENLY ERUPTED BECAUSE
OF SLIGHT SUSPICION!"
Voltager suddenly reared back into her bed.
"You... you mean..."
"Yes," Kacheek said solemnly. It wasn't his usual squeaky tremor either, but
very quiet. "I know you thought it was all my fault. You erupted at me just
because of slight suspicion, which was my point."
Voltager faced the ceiling for a few moments.
"We wouldn't have had any idea where to start looking for Inferno," continued
Kacheek, and he too faced the ceiling. "Shoyru tried to go out and find the
friends but gruesome memory of Inferno's end is triggering his memory sharply,
making him feel much weaker at heart, mind and even physical health and strength.
The disease is still lingering, though sometimes we don't know. Nor, apparently,
does Shoyru. But the biggest problem is, we don't even know what it is, or how
long it will last. For all we know, if it doesn't last long, then nor will he."
To be continued...