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Neopia's Fill in the Blank News Source | 30th day of Storing, Yr 22
The Neopian Times Week 57 > Continuing Series > Spy Pets: First Assignment: Part Four

Spy Pets: First Assignment: Part Four

by jenjen26785

Rincham
    
After very little consideration, the duo decided to skip tea - it seemed toenail soup wasn't as much of a delicacy as Emvee might have guessed.

     The beds in the hotel room were cold, lumpy and rough.

     And breakfast went more or less the same way.

     It took a while before they were finally alone and could talk about the NSPA without their main suspect constantly hanging over their shoulders. Angel was bright and brisk, newly brushed and carrying a little cord bag around her neck. Jen was also feeling a little better, glad that Angel had finally freed some information about her past. She was wearing a purple tie-dye top and baggy blue cords so as not to get too hot in the dense and scorching jungle atmosphere.

     "I'm gonna test out some of this new equipment out," Angel announced. "This is gonna be so cool! Real hi-tech gadgets and fighting - James Bond style!"

     Jen had to correct her through laughing: "But don't take this too lightly, Angel. Your first assignment is always your most important if you're gonna make an impression on your piers."

     "Yeah, yeah, I know. So where did ya see Emvee run?"

     The human walked briskly over to the barn and slipped her thin fingers between the wide gap between the door and frame. No lock. Emvee's forgetfulness was still on their side, at least.

     The door creaked slightly as they gently pushed it open. The barn was sudden flooded with morning sunlight, accentuated by the golden hay bales dotted around all over. A few grains of corn and dust floated off into the atmosphere, giving the impression of lightly falling, golden and glittering snow.

     "What on earth was Emvee doing in here last night?"

     "I dunno. Sleeping? He probably couldn't stand your snoring!"

     "Har har, very funny. Look, my side's splitting, because that was just TOO FUNNY!"

     "Spare me the sarcasm."

     "Hey, look at this." Jen darted lightly over the hay bales and came to a halt in front of the top bale, where the corner of a small black briefcase had overlapped the side. "There's a note attached."

     "Well, read it out!"

     Jen lowered her voice slightly, aware of a gentle shuffle of hay from the other side of the barn. "Top secret. For the eyes of Mr M.V. only. That's all it says. No return address or anything."

     "Hold it up to the light."

     Jen squinted at the envelope, glowing coppery as the light passed through it. "To whom it may concern... generous... payment... thirty by fifty briefcase... I can't make anything else out."

     Angel folded her arms sceptically. "Odd. It turns out I might actually be right then. But... oh, shoot... remember what Angle told us? We need more evidence. Here, catch." She threw up a tiny PCB with the smallest of capacitors, resistors, and many other electronic mechanisms soldered to the board. "Jam it in the hinge. Attach the charm casing to the outside - we'll bug the barn and wait for the evidence to come to us."

     "I'll take your word for it."

     She attached the makeshift 'microphone' to the case and hopped off the hay bales. There was a sudden bang from outside, and the sound of someone arguing loudly whilst barging down the stairs like a small steam train. Emvee's voice bellowed through the jungle.

     "Quick! Emvee's coming back! Let's go!"

     The girl jumped nimbly from bale to bale, and Angel darted round the door and helped Jen to quickly - but delicately - shut the door.

     At that moment, the Skeith rounded the corner and stopped in front of the two, a little stunned, with his moustache falling off his nose slightly.

     "Uh... what exactly are you two doing here?"

     "Waiting." Angel replied quickly.

     "Waiting for what?"

     "Waiting for the tour. When's it starting? We've been waiting out here forever!"

     "Oh, did I not mention it to you two ladies yesterday? The tour is not until tomorrow. The first day is always a free day - you can do what you like. Oh, and watch out for Kougras. There's a wild one on the loose that we've been trying to trap for days now."

     Jen scowled, putting her acting skills to some use, and protested vigorously. "Well, this is a fine kettle o' fish! We wait for a-g-e-s, and for what? Nuttin'! I tell you, the state of the tourist industry is a disgrace nowadays!"

     And with that she marched along a jungle trail, dragging the Eyriess - stifling a laugh - with her and muttering all sorts of sarcastic comments under her breath. Emvee shrugged and continued along his way.

***

"Good work, Angel! That's quick thinking, bugging the barn. Maybe you'll make a spy yet!"

     "Thanks for the encouragement, Angle," came the far-from-enthusiastic reply from the Eyriess. "Have you finished scanning that interview yet?"

     "No, not yet. It's a bit tricky. But if you get fresh evidence off that bug, we might not even need it. Good luck, Agent 7221. Over and out."

     Angel closed the locket and smiled smugly to herself. Agent 7221. That had a nice ring to it! Oh my goodness... was Angle8285 just giving her a compliment?! She widened her grin, and leaned back on the snaking tropical tree trunk opposite the shaded rock where her owner was stretched out on.

     All the while, a set of hungry amber eyes glared at them through the underbrush, patiently waiting...

     Jen was looking utterly relaxed. Quietly she filed down her nails, and then turned to Angel and asked, "You wouldn't mind if I played a song, would you? On the flute?"

     "What? On the busted up, rusting piece of metal you call a flute? I didn't even know you took it with you."

     "It helps me relax. Can I though? Pwetty pweez?" She jutted her bottom lip and fluttered her eyelashes comically.

     Angel closed her eyes softly and laughed. "Aye, sure. Go on then. It's not gonna bother me."

     He girl sat up and, taking the silver flute to her lips, started a rendition of her favourite song - the Andante Semplice. It was a beautiful tune. The kind of song you could maybe hear a hobo play on his harmonica on the pavement, yet it would stay in your head for the rest of the day. A meaningful song. The notes told a story. The rhythm as constant and tranquil as the mood. Every crotchet accentuated - every soothing minim drawn out - every quaver emphasised upon - so that the song seemed to paint a portrait as if every note was a new colour or texture to the song.

     But the pair weren't the only ones listening to the song.

     Deep in the underbrush, two amber-coloured eyes softened as the melody continued to drift along the gentle sultry zephyrs, and his face - blemished with pain and aggression - suddenly creased into a relaxed smile. He padded forward, step by step, and stopped, just slightly in the glade.

     Angel opened her eyes a slit just by chance - and saw the Kougra. Her eyes sprang open and she felt the muscles in her legs tense, but she waited for a reaction from him first.

     There was none.

     Not only that, but he seemed to be enjoying the music!

     Angel looked over at her human friend to warn her, but her eyes were already wide and alert, fixed on the trespasser, but not bitter. She continued playing - music really does soothe the savage beast.

     Having him stand so still and in the light gave Angel a chance to see him properly. His eyes were closed slightly in an expression of serenity and peace. His yellow fur was covered in leopard-like black spots, except for his tail, which was black-tipped and covered in bands of stripes, and he had one black stripe that ran from his neck down his back and stopped at his tail. His paws were a charcoal, powdery black and faded up to halfway up his legs. He had a white front too. And his hairstyle was placed comically so three long clumps of fur stuck out in front of his forehead, almost obscuring his vision. But on his eyes were the most distinctive marks. His left eye sported a large scar that extended over his eye, though it didn't seem to have damaged the eye at all. And on his right was the most unusual of spots. A tear shape. A perfect raindrop, but black. Symbolic? Perhaps.

     But this was not the most spectacular part of his regalia. For on his left front paw, adjacent to his scar, was an enormous bangle, sparkling silver and gold-rimmed, with a purplish writing carved into it. Like hieroglyphs. An ancient Island language.

     But there was no time to inspect it now. They were coming face to face with a creature that had just attacked them yesterday! Angel's heart started to beat faster. Her eyes widened in time with the Kougra's own amber orbs, which raised to meet her panic-stricken face. But she was not met with an expression on hatred, of grief, or of bitterness. His eyes were filled with relief. Yes, relief. Relief, possibly, at not being turned out of the glade at first sight, or relief that Jen and Angel hadn't just ran away screaming, like most people had done, or even tried to hunt him down. Quite the opposite. After a few minutes they were starting to enjoy his company.

     But the peaceful serenity of the glade was short lived. A low rumble of thunder tore through the silence, interrupting their meditation and waking a few unwanted visitors from their slumber. In a few seconds, Emvee could be heard charging through the jungle and shouting their names.

     Jen edged gently up to Kougra so they were facing each other, looking each other straight in the eye in honesty, and said, "You'd better go. I dunno what those guys want with you, but I can vouch they'll do something horrible to you if you show yourself. Just stay around if you need help."

     The Kougra curled his lip. "I don't need any help from anyone. I can take care of myself."

     "Like you could take care of a Meerca riding a Uni? I don't think so. And - if we're right - this guy's a lot worse. You've never had an owner, have you?"

     The Kougra's fearful expression became suddenly bitter. "No. How could you tell?"

     "Just a hunch. That and you're not even that old, and only at level one, ignoring the fact that you tried to attack me and Angel when we first arrived here."

     "Oh. Sorry 'bout that."

     "S'all right." The sounds of size 16+ feet echoing through the jungle trail were becoming stronger by the second. "Do you want to tell me your name?"

     "NO! A Feerall's name is sacred, and only his closest friends and family can ever discover it..."

     "Like who?"

     The Kougra fell silent.

     Angel suddenly stepped forwards and hesitantly placed her paw on the Kougra's shoulder. The Kougra's fur tensed at the touch, and then relaxed slightly.

     "You... you're the nicest anyone's... ever been to me. Just by not running away, or not trying to trap me."

     "It doesn't take much. Now go. Get back to us if you want to talk. But avoid the resort. Go!"

     The Kougra sprang from the pair and pounced onto the rocks where Jen had just been sitting. He started to run... then stopped and turned a half-circle.

     "Oh, and by the way... my name's Rincham."

     "Rincham. Thank you. We'll remember that."

     Maybe it was just a trick of the light. Maybe it was just heat waves smearing their vision through the moist and humid jungle air. But Angel could have sworn she saw Rincham smile before leaping off into the bush.

***

"That poor Kougra," Jen whined, as she had been since they returned to the resort. "Who could have thought all he wanted was someone not to go running off into the horizon whenever they saw him."

     "Can you blame them?" Angel shook her fur free of water, and knocked a bottle of perfume off the counter with her tail. "We were terrified of him the first time we saw him. He tried to attack us! Wait... no he didn't. He tried to attack that Meerca, didn't he?"

     "Bingo."

     Another rumble of thunder emerged from somewhere beyond the mountains near Denholm Valley, many miles away from Retsinis Jungle, and a flash of lightning illuminated every edge the room. Angel jumped in fright, and knocked another bottle from the dressing table.

     "Will you quit that! That was my best Ice Musk spray!"

     "Sorry, sorry. Sheesh. Funny how quickly that storm came up, like."

     "Mmmmmm... I hope he's all right."

     "He'll be fine! Stop worrying!"

     There was another thump.

     "Hey! I told you to pack it in! I'm gonna have no perfume or deodorant left!"

     "Hmm?"

     Angel sat up.

     "Knocking stuff off the dresser! Pack it in!"

     "But, I've been sitting here. I haven't moved."

     There was another thump, and a voice rattled through the room suddenly...

To be continued...

Previous Episodes

Spy Pets: First Assignment: Part One

Spy Pets: First Assignment: Part Two

Spy Pets: First Assignment: Part Three

Spy Pets: First Assignment: Part Five

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