Blue's Way: Part Six
Both Fura and Rei were quiet after hearing Blue’s life story.
The trio began to walk away from the SPO meeting place, and eventually Fura asked, “How did you end up here, as a spy?”
“Well, I was obviously the perfect fit, as I had once been an SPO member. It would be simple for me to come back again and say that I hadn’t attended meetings in so long because I had been in the Pound. That would have been most of the truth. For a long time nobody trusted me with challenging assignments; how could they, after I had acted when I first came to the DoN headquarters? But Judge Hog believed that I was meant for bigger things, and the worst naysayers were forced to concede when Suncatcher attached himself to me. Weewoos refuse to have anything to do with those with evil intentions, you know. So I’ve been doing espionage work in the SPO for a couple of years, now, and my work is almost complete. I’m sure you heard that the event the SPO has been striving toward all these years is happening tomorrow.”
Fura said softly, “We’re with you all the way, Blue.” Rei nodded grimly.
Blue nodded just as grimly back and replied, “Let’s go then. We have lots of work to do.”
* * *
“Where are we going?” Rei panted as she tried to keep up with Blue’s long stride. Blue glanced back at the two bone-weary girls and slowed his pace slightly.
“Neopia Central. We need to get paint jobs.”
“Why are we in such a hurry?” Fura asked. “I mean,” she continued hurriedly, “I know we have only fourteen hours now, but it’s not going to take that long to alert the Defenders about the SPO’s plan.”
“Fura,” Blue said slowly, “we’re not going to alert the DoN about what’s happening, at least not right now.”
“Then who...?” Rei let her question trail off.
“You two seem to have forgotten that I am a Defender. The SPO has been my job from the beginning. All of the other DoN members have their own crime rings to break open; the SPO is my responsibility. You were going to ask who is going to stop the SPO, Rei? We are, and we have fourteen short hours to do it.” The Kougra paused. “However, we do need rest, or we won’t be able to function tomorrow. Here, crawl in this bush. It isn’t a Spiky one,” he added jokingly. “Get some rest in there, out of sight. I’ll sleep right outside to make sure that nobody finds you.”
* * *
When they arrived at Neopia Central at around six o’clock the next morning, Blue went directly to the Defenders Headquarters.
“Wait, Blue, aren’t we going to the Marketplace?”
“No, Rei, paintbrushes are too expensive to be in shops. But there’s always a store of potions and paintbrushes kept here in case a Defender needs one. Ah, here we are.”
Blue swung sharply to the left into a small passageway. Doors lined every inch of the walls. “Paintbrushes, paintbrushes,” Blue muttered to himself. “Here, hold these,” he said, stacking large boxes into Fura’s and Rei’s paws. “Finally! Faerie Paint Brushes!”
“Faerie? Oh, beautiful,” Fura cried happily.
“Why are we going to be painted Faerie?” Rei asked.
“We’re going to Faerieland, so we need wings. Come on.”
Blue took the boxes back and re-stacked them in the closet. “I’ll hold these until we get there.”
The trio dashed to the Rainbow Pool. “Here you two go. Jump in!”
Fura did just that, enrapt that she was going to be painted her very favorite color. Rei hesitated.
“Rei?” the Kougra said softly. “Is something wrong?”
Rei blew out a big breath. “I’m worried, Blue,” she confessed. “Whenever one of my friends- former friends- was painted, they always became snobby. They would never speak to Fura or me again. Will that happen to me and Fura?”
Blue blinked at this unanticipated sentimentality that he hadn’t expected to outwardly see in Rei. “No, it won’t,” he said kindly. “Those pets bent under the will of their painted peers. They were, perhaps, afraid at first to do what is looked down upon- acting friendly towards unpainted pets. As time went on, they became used to acting in that way, and began to truly believe that painted pets are better. But you, Rei, are better than that. You are strong-willed; you won’t succumb to the wills of your unfriendly peers. Fura isn’t as strong as you are, but she is a loving and loyal friend. She will follow your lead.” Blue turned his yellow eyes to gaze at the Acara. “Now, don’t you think it’s time you dipped that paintbrush?”
Rei nodded, her throat tight and her heart happy. She hurried to the water’s edge and sloshed in without hesitation. She went under the surface, only to emerge moments later as a Faerie Acara. She flew straight up to join a stunning Faerie Wocky who was already doing flips in the air. Blue watched them with amusement for a moment, and then quickly glanced around. Seeing that no one was obviously staring at him, he hurried into the Pool. A moment later he, too, flew up into the sky.
“All right, friends,” he called. “Let’s fly back to the Haunted Woods.”
* * *
Once they had arrived back to the clearing where Blue had his black cloaks stashed, Rei asked, “Why are we going to Faerieland, Blue?”
“I need to get some information from the DoN- they are sending a message to me there today,” Blue told them. “But first, I need to go into the Haunted Woods’ marketplace to again buy a disguise for myself.”
“More things?” Rei said in surprise. “You’re already faerie!”
Blue shrugged. “One can’t be too careful. Someone could have followed us from the SPO meeting. They would have seen us painting ourselves faerie at the Rainbow Pool.”
“But, Blue,” Fura said in confusion, “why would anybody be following you? Surely you can’t be suspected of espionage, or you wouldn’t have been allowed to become a leader.”
The Kougra grimaced. “Unfortunately, the leaders of worldwide, dictatorial plots like the SPO are usually half-mad. Consequently, they think that everybody is plotting against them, especially the other leaders. You see, other leaders may want to get rid of them in order to gain more power for themselves.” Blue stopped and drew in air, then released it with a sigh. “And, of course, somebody could just want to get rid of me because they’re jealous of my quick rise to power. That is why disguises are necessary, Fura.”
“Oh. Okay,” the Wocky said in a small voice.
Blue gave her a small wink. “Don’t worry. We’re probably perfectly safe. But like I said, one can’t be too careful. I’m going to go get that disguise now, but I’ll be back soon. Oh, and don’t forget to pay attention to your surroundings. If there is an enemy nearby, you don’t want to be caught unawares.”
As Blue strolled out of the clearing, Fura and Rei looked at each other. They pressed tightly together and started to watch and listen closely for any enemy that might be about to attack them from behind a tree.
* * *
“I’m back,” Blue murmured a short time later. The two younger Neopets jumped and spun around.
“Did you have to sneak up on us like that?” Fura gasped.
“I told you to pay attention, didn’t I? I had a reason for telling you that. If somebody had been aiming to capture you two, they could have done so quite easily.”
“Oh, Blue,” Rei snorted. “Nobody even knows about us yet.”
The Kougra looked at the girls steadily. “Are you sure about that?”
Rei scowled and shrugged, while Fura bit her lip.
Blue watched them, and then shook his head. “No matter. If they don’t know about us now, they will shortly. Just remember to keep your eyes peeled from now on. Here- look at what I bought.” He held out a flask containing a purple, slightly glowing liquid and shook it slightly, causing the fluid to slosh around.
“What is that?” Rei asked suspiciously.
The Faerie Kougra just smirked. “You’ll see,” was all he would say. He popped the cork and downed the contents of the bottle in a single gulp.
Fura and Rei waited with baited breaths, but nothing seemed to happen. Blue sat there with a grimace on his face for a few moments, then promptly jumped up and started stretching out his wings.
He looked at his friends and smiled. “Well, shall we go?”
Rei and Fura gaped, for the voice was not Blue’s, but instead was light and feathery sounding.
“Blue- what was in that potion?” Rei squawked.
“It was a Strange Potion, of course. Now you two must call me Arabell. Quite a delightful name for a female Faerie Kougra, don’t you think?”
“Blue-” Fura started.
“Arabell,” Arabell interrupted lightly.
“Arabell, you seem very, um, polished at being a female. You sound like a sophisticated lady, and you don’t seem unsettled at all.”
The Kougra glanced around, and then turned back to the Acara and Wocky to wink at them. “I suggest you two start to get used to the DoN’s tricks,” she whispered. “This isn’t the first time I’ve changed genders for a mission, and it won’t be the last, either. In fact, it might be helpful if one of you-”
“NO!” the younger pets shouted.
“No way, we’re quite happy being females, thank you,” Rei answered for them both.
Arabell shrugged. “It was just a thought.” Suddenly she turned back into her role. “Come now, sisters, of we shall be late! Now remember, don’t speak to any strangers on the way home, of Mother shall be angry. If it is necessary, I am the one who will speak. Do you understand?”
“Yes, Arabell,” the ‘sisters’ answered quickly.
“Very well. Now, shall we go?”
With barely a sound the three rose out of the Haunted Woods and flew towards Faerieland.
To be continued...