There was a short period of silence. Then suddenly a booming megaphone-enhanced
voice came from down below.
"ALL RIGHT, THIS IS THE POLICE. PUT YOUR CLAWS IN THE AIR. I always wanted
to say that! Heheheh. HELLO? WAKE UP, BURZWAKH. HELLO? ANGEL, SWIFTY? ARE YOU
Swifty gave a sigh of relief. "It's Saf! And Burzwakh's out cold! That's the
best news I've heard all day! Oooooowwww." He winced, not being able to put
any weight on his left foreleg. "That stings."
Angel dipped under him in a shot and caught him before he fell. Her outstretched
wings supported his weight. "You okay? We'll just have to walk it from here."
"I suppose. Hey, what was that you were going to tell me? About how you got
Angel sighed. "I was hoping I could break this to you in a much more subtle
way. It's my big secret. I used to be quite an efficient spy. I worked quite
closely with the police in cases just like this. I retired early - very early
- because I just hated being away from my friends at the Swamp. But every now
and then a secret government agency called the NSPA call me back for a mission,
and that's who I got the gadgets from. It was a coincidence when Rincham and
Spike ran in stammering something about a monster in the Swamp. I was hoping
to get into the swing of it, y'know, get more practice. I had no idea it would
get this big until I thought it through in the restaurant."
Swifty laughed. "Yeah right. Pull the other one, Angel. How did you really
get the bow and locket?"
Angel sighed and opened the locket, revealing the very detailed circuitry inside.
Signed at the bottom in tiny tiny letters were the letters, 'NSPA'. "I'm deadly
serious this time, Swifty."
Swifty looked totally stunned, and winced as they walked down the stairs. "So.
That's your big secret. Who else knows?"
"Twist, Rincham and Spike have always known. Then there's you, of course,"
- Swifty blushed a little at that - "but that's it. Even Saf doesn't know. The
fewer people who know, the better, because enemies like Burzwakh might get wind
"No more secrets then?"
"No more secrets." Angel rubbed her beak against his affectionately. "Hey,
where did *Bleeper* go?"
"He'll be fine, Angel. Attacking your owner must be a pretty horrific thing
to do for a Petpet. He'll find a nice owner sooner or later."
"I hope so. We owe him a lot. When Burzwakh tied me up, *Bleeper* helped untie
me. And he attacked the Grarrl when he had you by the throat.
"He'll be fine. Look, here's the gate."
They pushed open the gate and were welcomed by a sea of policemen, desperately
trying to keep the now fully conscious Burzwakh under arrest. He had shrunk
significantly, and was missing several claws. He spotted Angel and Swifty, and
struggles to attack them. The police surrounded him and cuffed his claws. Too
weak from the fight, he gave up and stood there glaring at them.
"I'll get you, Agent. And you too, Swifty. You cannot hide in the Swamp for
long. I'll get you eventually. Just you wait!"
"Oh come on!" yelled Angel, "Why does every villain have to say that just before
they get locked up?"
Swifty smirked, "Yeah, try to be more original, Burzwakh!" They laughed at
his futile attempts to escape before being shoved into a police van and carted
straight to prison.
A familiar White Uni galloped towards them, yelling, "Angel! Thank goodness
you're all right!"
"Hey Haltred. We need to visit the hospital pretty soon."
Haltred looked at the two Eyries. "Man, that's a really nasty-looking wound
you've got there, Swifty. I'll sort it out right away. You too, Angel - you're
wing looks in a bad way."
They drove in Haltred's truck straight to Neopia Central Hospital, where Angel
and Swifty had their wounds tended to. Haltred walked calmly into the Casualty
ward and sat opposite them, arms crossed.
"I'm gonna take a wild guess, Angel. You don't want to give an interview, do
"You know me too well."
"Well you're gonna have to tell us how you figured it out sooner or later."
Angel snickered. "Gladly! Burzwakh was always a bit of a seedy character, but
I didn't suspect he was as evil as he proved to be. He was actually an ex-army
officer from Tyrannia who came work in Neopia City to hide his secret ambition,
which was to become a Grarrl Battlemaster. He had become fascinated by their
brutal power and confidence since the Land War, and was desperate to become
just like them. Neopia provided a perfect refuge against prying eyes, where
he could train day in, day out, to be a Battlemaster and eventually work for
Sloth. The benefit of this was that he owned his own weaponry company, where
he could practice and develop his new artillery while training. Unfortunately,
the waste product - sludge - sought to cost Burzwakh thousands of Neopoints
to recycle and more time he could spend training. Then he heard about a Swamp
in Kiko Lake that was barely inhabited. How perfect would it be to just dump
it there? No one would ever know. But there was always a chance someone might
find the sludge and trace it back to his company, obviously in the Industrial
District, as the sludge is pitch black. So he added brown dye to it to disguise
it as sludge from Tyrannia, if the stuff was ever found. He planned this over
ten years, which is how long it takes to train to be a Battlemaster. However,
after a few years the Swamp he was dumping in started to fill up. He was so
close to completing his task: then another problem cropped up. What if someone
came across him before he's finished? And he was getting bigger by the day,
so he couldn't hide himself for much longer. So he made himself more obvious,
wearing a hood and cape and disguised himself as a Swamp Ghoul, and working
part time as a police officer to influence any ideas his co-workers on the inside
might have. He made several mistakes. Firstly, he misjudged the intellect of
the Krawk Clan, who immediately recognised him as an impostor. Secondly, he
made the very important mistake of showing of his Tyrannian Land War badge during
the interview, which we immediately connected with the Grarrl Battlemaster.
And thirdly, what he didn't count on was that we would be right on the case,
and would pass right through his territory. He wore a trench coat in public
to make himself inconspicuous and check us out at the same time. By getting
more publicity in this case and laying down clues, like the so-called 'Tyrannian
sludge', he could completely discourage any spectators and divert them to a
false scene-of-crime, being thousands of miles away!"
Haltred was amazed. "That's brilliant! You've never lost your edge, Angel."
She flushed a little.
Swifty still felt a little resentful - jealous, even - of Haltred. "So you
two knew each other before now?"
"Yeah. We worked in the same precinct for a while. When Haltred first came
to the Swamp with Burzwakh we had to act like we didn't know each other, just
to dissuade anyone we considered to be working on the inside. Obviously, Burzwakh
"Hold on. You mean to tell me that you suspected Burzwakh all along?"
"No! No! Of course not! Burzwakh had been volunteering in the service for at
least six months before the end of his 10-year-long training. We became a little
suspicious when he so eagerly wanted to assist in this particular operation,
but never thought much of it until Angel started to follow it up. For a few
days Burzwakh had just looked sicker and sicker, and all of a sudden he took
today off. Angel called me through the transmitter in her locket just before
Saf called the station and described exactly what had happened, and we just
put two and two together."
Just then Saf ran in squealing and gave the Eyries great big hugs! She laughed
happily, relieved her friends were all right.
"You two must have had a blast up there. I would have loved to have shown that
ugly Grarrl what for!" She karate-chopped the air and fell off the sofa, making
everyone laugh. "I thought I heard my name there, Haltred. Anything I should
"Erm ... we were just retelling the story up to when you called the station."
"Oh yeah. It's a good thing you were at the station when I called, Haltred.
The officer that answered my call just laughed at me and said Burzwakh was a
police inspector and wouldn't do anything like that. How na´ve."
"Hey Saf," Swifty cried excitedly, "You wouldn't believe it. I just found out
Angel is -"
Haltred started in alarm. Angel gave him a panicked look and shook her head,
mouthing, 'No, don't!'
"Um, Angel is ... such a pro with a bow and arrow." The Uni breathed out. Angel
smiled. "Listen Saf, we don't want any publicity for this. We'd better not tell
anyone what happened: leave it up to this police." Saf grumbled, but nodded
her head. It made sense.
"Oooookay. I'll file the report for you. Oh and here's your rucksack. You going
straight back to the Swamp?"
Swifty fumbled about in the rucksack for a bit, then looked at his friends
inquisitively. "Maybe not quite yet ..."
They met up again the next night. Neopia Central - the Catacombs and Art District
- was booming. Why not enjoy their last night in the City? Swifty had his arm
bound. Angel had her wings in bandages, but she assured him it was mainly broken
feathers. They met up outside the Catacomb Theatre for Jazzmosis' performance.
It was incredible! Saf was just happy to see such famous musicians. Swifty was
kindling his new-found love for jazz!
During the performance, Angel leant over to Swifty and whispered, "So, you're
going to keep my secret, then?"
Swifty grinned and replied, "Sure."
"Great. You won't regret it." She rested her head on his shoulder. Finally,
everything was fine. No more cops. No more crazy Grarrl Battlemasters chasing
after them. And certainly no more missions.
After donating their hotel rooms back to the Royal Neopian, the Cloud Kau wished
them well and they set off back to Krawk Swamp the next day. Everyone at Krawk
Clan was talking about Burzwakh's attack. Jaziron the Purple Kyrii ran to greet
"Hey sis. Hey Angel, Swifty. Did you see what happened in Neopia City yesterday?"
Angel muffled a laugh. Swifty answered Jaziron: "No, of course not. What happened?"
Jaziron smirked and held up The Neopian Times: there on the front page in enormous
bold type was the headline, "SWAMP RAIDER FOILED IN INDUSTRY DISTRICT
"Well, the Neopia City PD arrested this guy - in connection with the sludge
dumping - for conspiracy and attempted murder! And get this: it was that psycho
inspector that came snooping around the Swamp a few days ago. And that Cheat!
player Branston got fined 100,000 NP and got two months of community service
for being an accomplice! How wild!" He showed them a picture of Branston in
a bright orange jacket, sidled with the quote, 'This outfit seriously clashes
with my fur.' Angel laughed heartily at him; glad he got his just rewards.
Jaziron stopped and thought for moment. "Hey, you three were in the City last
night, weren't you? Did you see anything?"
"No, of course not," Swifty said quickly, "Why would we have seen anything.
You know us, just your average Joe Bloggs."
Jaziron scoffed. "Yeah I should have known. A couple of bores like you couldn't
find excitement if it hit you in the face."
Angel whispered to Swifty, 'Little does he know; it did.'
All the way back home other residents of the Clan greeted the three friends,
and the same questions kept recurring: did you see the Battlemaster? And the
answer was always: no. But they were telling the truth. They never saw the Battlemaster
because - thanks to them - the Battlemaster never came to be.
The sun was beaming down on the friends, welcoming them back to the Swamp.
Angel breathed in deep, smelling the roses and lavender. Saf then turned to
Swifty. "Hey, what happened to the Avabot?
"*Bleeper*? I dunno. I heard him bleeping through the ruins of the factory
before we left. He'll just find another owner, I'll bet. But I have a feeling
that won't be the last time we see him."
"Okay then," Saf grabbed her boom box and turned across the glade towards her
own house. "I'll be seein' ya!" Swifty and Angel said their goodbyes and decided
to put their feet up at Angel's house.
Angel ran up to the front door of ~The*Eyrie*Oak~ and burst through, immediately
jumping on the sofa and stretching out. "Ah! I haven't had a chance to totally
relax for days!"
"No more missions then?"
"Preferably not. Not if I can help it, anyway. It's so good to be home!"
All the while, the two friends laughed and joked about their big adventure,
they never even noticed the package. The big brown package on the floor, just
below the letterbox. The big brown package labeled NSPA that was addressed to