Still thwarting Sloth's mind control... Circulation: 113,881,443 Issue: 159 | 24th day of Gathering, Y6
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A Mind in the Moonlight: Part Three


by costa_rican_girl

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Clark

Clark sat at his desk, sorting out some papers and getting ready to leave. The headquarters closed at ten this night, so he still had an hour.

     Hm… What should I do to kill time today? There’s no specific case to solve, no more papers to file and no… no Keely.

     Clark fingered his charm that was hanging around his neck sadly. He missed Keely so much and had been hoping that she would return to the office. But apparently he was wrong.

     He unhooked the necklace, placed it upon his desk and stared at it. It was a beautiful thing. It was shaped like a moon and had a silver outline. Inside the silver was a deep, rich blue; it was almost indigo, but not quite. There were three white, twinkling stars within the moon, which gave the whole charm the sparkling effect. This was the charm that the Kougra used to retrieve hope. Whenever he gazed at it like he was now, he felt warmer and slightly happier.

     Woosh!

     There was a shadow moving about the room, but Clark took no notice. He was lost in the wonderful world of the moon charm.

     Then it disappeared.

     “What? No! What happened to my charm? Charms don’t just disappear on their own! Who’s in here!?” Clark whirled around, trying to find someone, anyone who might be a suspect. He found nothing but shadows.

     “Aaaaaa—aCHOO!”

     Clark turned in the direction of the noise. He put his spectacles on and looked closer. There! He could see the vague shape of an Aisha. A shadow Aisha.

     “Come out here. We need to talk,” Clark commanded.

Lael

When Clark ordered her to come out Lael’s first instinct was to run. Then she thought better of it. She realized she needed to talk to Clark. She needed it more than anything else!

     So she stepped into the lamp light, glaring.

     “It IS you!” Clark cried. “Keely, where have you been all this time? What’s going on?”

     “My name isn’t Keely,” was the simple answer.

     “Well it was Keely last time I checked! Stop fooling around, Keely! Oh my gosh I am so glad you are finally back!”

     “My name is Lael. Not Keely! Keely was a pea-brained nine-year-old who couldn’t detect a lie if it was slapping her in the face. That carefree Aisha exists no more.”

     “Ah, you changed your name.”

     “I changed everything. Not just my name, but my whole identity. I am now Lael the Aisha thief! Got it? All because of you.”

     “You’re a thief? Because of me?”

     “You betrayed me. We were best friends yet you put my life in danger just so you could hang with the cool boys. You changed my life. And my mother is still weeping! BECAUSE OF YOU! And now you’re trying to put my thieves clan in a dungeon! You—ruined—my—life!”

     Clark slumped his shoulders. She was right. About everything.

     “I wanted to move onto a different project. I didn’t want to catch thieves! But since Judge Hogg has that Kacheek feeding him information… He’s just stubborn sometimes.”

     “Kacheek? Tell me what his name is.”

     “I will, but only because I owe you. Okay, his name is Hank.”

     Lael swooped out of the room, leaving Clark’s precious charm behind. He had been forgiven.

++++

“Joden, it’s Hank!” Lael cried, bursting into Joden’s quarters.

     “What’s Hank?” Joden asked.

     “He’s the one feeding information to the Defenders of Neopia! It’s Hank!”

     Joden’s mouth dropped open. He didn’t believe it. How could he? Hank had been his main helper; he was as helpful as a knight’s loyal steed! This was unbelievable.

     “Lael, do you really believe this nonsense? Go back to the headquarters and find the real traitor.”

     “Joden, who else could it be? You wouldn’t believe it no matter who I found out it may be. It is Hank!”

     Joden sighed and put his head in his hands.

     “Fine,” he said, waving his hand in the air carelessly. “Find Dustin and tell him… tell him to kick Hank out. No, actually, put him in the dungeons. Tell Dustin to put him in the dungeons.”

     Lael ran off to send the message. Hank’s betraying was clearly tearing Joden apart.

++++

“Hank? You sure? Well, alright then. If you say so.” Dustin the Elephante stomped into the caverns to fetch Hank.

     Well, thought Lael. There’s just one more thing I have to do before complete satisfaction. I need to find my mom and tell her I’m okay.

     The Aisha returned to Joden’s room and knocked four times, like always.

     “C’min,” said a hoarse voice.

     Lael opened the door and stepped inside.

     “Joden, I know I have the worst timing, but there is something I need to do. I don’t know if I will return or not.”

     Joden turned around.

     “You-you’re leaving? Now? But why?”

     “My mother. I haven’t seen her in… in eleven years. Now is the time, but I don’t know if she will want me to stay with her or not. I have to explain to her what’s going on.”

     “And what about Poppy? She isn’t going to take this too well.”

     “Can you tell her for me? She’s the one person who would be able to persuade me to stay, and I can’t stay. So please tell her for me.”

     Joden stood up from his chair. He held out his hand and smiled.

     “You have been a wonderful addition to the Caverns. We will all miss you. Thank you for everything.” They shook hands.

     Lael wiped away some tears and turned around. She left the cave without looking back once.

++++

Knock, knock, knock!

     “Who is it?” Came a voice.

     Lael didn’t know what to say. She was now at her mother’s doorstep, and her mother asked her who she was! Who was she? Was she Keely or Lael?

     “I asked who it is!” Her mother was getting annoyed.

     Finally Lael decided what to say.

     “Keely.” She said. “It’s Keely.

Epilogue: Lael explained everything to her mother. Her mother insisted Lael stayed, so she did. After about a year, however, Lael decided she couldn’t live there any longer. Her special “trait” kept her from living a normal life. So she returned to the thieves’ caverns. She visited her mother every few months and sent her Neomails every week or so. She never saw Clark again.

The End

Author’s Note: Whew! This series took about two months to finish! Heh, it’s not even that long! Oh well, it was well worth the wait. I have had a few publications in the Neopian Times but no series yet, so this is a first! I must say I am rather proud :). Please Neomail; I love Neomails! Oh, but don’t ask to become Neofriends or invite me to your guild. Thanks SO much for reading everyone!!!

*Rose*

 
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