Shay Peters and the Frivolous Fashionista: Part Four
Also by chocolateisamust
IV. The Man Behind the Curtain
You think you know somebody. That is, until you're tied and gagged by the edge of a pool, holding on for dear life. It's funny how these things happen. One minute, you're just a thief just trying to make his way in life. The next, you're stumbling onto secrets and finding out things you should never know.
I looked around, panicked, only to find that I was in the backyard of an unfamiliar house. Almost fake looking stars twinkled from above, and the moon cast an unnatural shadow over the pool. Speaking of the pool, it was quite big and had a diving board at one end and a jacuzzi extending from the side. No one seemed to be around.
I tried to loosen my hand restraints, but after a few minutes of wriggling about, I found out that it was impossible - I was locked up tight. I would have screamed for help, but I had a handkerchief wrapped around my mouth, barely letting me breathe, much less talk.
In the blink of an eye, everything became much brighter, and the air was significantly hotter. It was as if someone simply flicked a switch to make it daylight. A door opened from behind me, and I saw Julia James come out of the house from the corner of my eye. I was more than just a bit terrified. Sunrises normally took several minutes, not five seconds. Not to mention, Julia looked like she wanted to smash something.
“Who are you?” Julia hissed.
I tried to mumble something but couldn't, being gagged and all.
Julia came over and ripped the handkerchief off.
I gasped at the sweet air, but before I had time to enjoy it, she started pressing me for answers.
“Who are you?” she repeated, more threatening this time.
“Shayna,” I said, wondering how long I could keep up the act. “You know me.”
Julia took a deep breath and stared at me with cold yellow eyes. “Don’t lie to me.”
In an unexpected fit of rage, Julia grabbed a nearby lawn chair and sent it sliding across the concrete, landing near the edge of the pool. “WHO ARE YOU?”
I took a deep breath. I thought I was doomed.
“Shay,” I said after a while, reverting back to my real voice. “I’m Shay Peters.”
Julia nodded, almost smugly. “And why did you follow me?”
I shook my head. “I don’t know. I just... I don’t know.”
Julia laughed, and I was growing more scared by the minute. The light faerie was really freaking me out. She wasn't a harmless fashion designer anymore. She was crazy. With madness dancing in her eyes, she said, “Who sent you?”
“Oh. Sure.” She picked up another lawn chair and effortlessly tossed it towards me; the plastic contraption missed me by half a centimetre, and I reeled backwards.
All the while, I’d been just milimetres away from being in the water. The reeling spelled disaster. I flopped over the side of the pool, splashing down in the chlorinated liquid with a pathetic splash. I waved my arms around frantically, but being bound, I was unable to gain any leverage. I sank down into the water with squinted eyes, staring up at the surface. I could vaguely see Julia hovering above me, but she just stared down with a clear look of vengeance.
And as she stood there, blackness overcame me.
When I woke up, I was in a tiny bedroom with bars on the windows and navy blue walls. I had a horrible headache, and I sat up with a groan. My hands were still bound, but fortunately, Julia hadn’t put a handkerchief back in my mouth. Gritting my teeth, I stood from the bed and paced over to the door. I tried to grab the doorknob with my taped together hands, but it slipped from my grip. I tried again to the same result. Eventually, with a sullen look on my face, I walked back over to the bed and plopped down. How had I messed up this bad?
I didn't have much time to mull over this, however, as just a few seconds later, the door was pushed open. In stepped Julia, and alongside the light faerie was a stern looking green Lutari wearing business attire. He had a nervous look on his face and a stack of papers clutched between his paws.
The Lutari studied me for a few moments, and I glared at him coldly. Inside, I was just about fainting with fear, but I couldn't let him know that.
“Mister Shay Peters, is it?” the Lutari asked in a nasally tone.
“Yes,” I said. Then, I held out my arms. “Mind untying me?”
The Lutari chuckled. “No, no, Mister Peters. I don’t think that would be a good idea.” He shuffled around with his papers and raised his eyebrow. “Quite a record you’ve got here, Mister Peters.”
“Burglary... false representation... and that’s just the beginning. Coming to a branch of the Defenders of Neopia - I do say, Mister Peters, I admire your guts.” He forced a smile.
“You were going to con me, weren’t you?” Julia blurted out.
“Now, Miss James, I told you that you could only accompany me if you wouldn’t talk to Mister Peters,” the Lutari said.
Julia stared down at the carpeted floor. “Sorry.”
“That’s okay.” The Lutari turned back toward me and said, “Mister Peters, regardless of your... history... you have seen some things. Things we wouldn't like getting out to the general public.”
“You mean the department where you store rare pets that supposedly don’t exist until their pet days?” I inquired.
The Lutari blushed. “Yes, yes, that. Now, Mister Peters, I’m going to be frank with you. We’re not prepared to just let you go on your merry way now. The knowledge you hold - it could change the entire course of our... business.”
“Business?” I asked. “So that’s what it is? Drive up the demand for the rare pets, which somehow gives you Neopoints or-”
“It’s not like that,” said the Lutari. He was sweating buckets.
I sighed. “Whatever the case, maybe we can come to a deal. You know, maybe you pay me some... compensation... and I go on my way without ever letting my knowledge see the light of day?”
The Lutari laughed jovially. “Oh, Mister Peters, you hardly have any pull in this bargain. You’re a wanted conman who was currently in the process of swindling an employee of the Defenders of Neopia.”
“I wasn’t going to steal that much,” I offered. It was total hogwash, and it didn't even make much sense, but by that point, I was getting pretty desperate. I never had liked the businessy types, and this Lutari was making me feel awfully uncomfortable. Not to mention, Julia had been standing there the entire time, glaring daggers at me. If looks could kill, the light faerie would have been guilty of murder.
“Can you step out for a minute?” the Lutari said and looked over at Julia.
The light faerie let her stare linger for another moment before looking over at the Lutari. “Excuse me?”
“Miss James, please, step out of the room. I need to talk to Mister Peters privately.” He shuffled the papers in his hands, visibly nervous about asking Julia to leave the room.
“Fine,” Julia said disgustedly and opened the door sharply. She exited with a slam.
I sat on the edge of the bed and stared over at the Lutari, who seemed to grow suddenly sterner. “Yes?” I said, trying not to show fear. He was attempting to stare me down, intimidate me. I wouldn't let him.
“I can’t talk about this with Miss James in here, but I would like to tell you exactly what you’re facing with everything you’ve done.” While he talked, he pulled up a chair and sat down, placing his papers onto his lap. “You will be shipped away to a remote island on the other side of Neopia. You will never be heard from again. It’s a good idea to...”
My attention wandered as he talked to me about how bad this hidden island was. I was trying to think. How can I get out? How can I get out? A crazy idea came into my head. The guy was nervous. He might make a stupid mistake. “Hey,” I interrupted him, “can I have a glass of water?”
“Mister Peters, are you joking?”
“No. I’m thirsty. And... and I’d like to think about your proposition.” Hah.
The Lutari wiped his brow with his suit sleeve. “Very well, then. I’ll be back in a second.” He got up and exited the room. I saw Julia glaring at me as she peered in from the side of the doorway, but she turned away right as the door closed.
Once alone, I made one last attempt to break free of the ties that were binding my arms together. No luck, again. I didn’t expect much anyways.
Then the Lutari came back with a glass filled halfway with water. He placed it on the nightstand and took a seat again. “Okay, now, back to what I was saying -”
“How am I supposed to drink it?”
“Oh.” He wiped his brow again. “Well, I guess it’s okay if... you won’t do anything funny, would you?”
I shook my head. “I’m just thirsty.”
“O-okay.” The Lutari reached around me and loosened the rope so I could slip my wrists out.
Before the Lutari had a chance to think, I charged. The glass fell to the floor with a crash, and shards skittered everywhere. The Lutari was leaning against the wall, papers scattered about. He looked at me with frightened eyes. However, I couldn't spare a second for pity, as he started to move and get up.
I ran to the door and pulled it open. It smacked into something hard. There was a gasp and yell from Julia. “Henry!?! What are you--?” She noticed me and stopped.
I took off into the air quickly. The house was confining, but I could manage. I quickly descended over a balcony and to the bottom floor. Julia was right behind me. When I was on the ground, I ran to the front door and ripped it open.
Cool wind blasted my face as I took off into the air again. I looked behind me. Julia was about to take off, too. I picked up my pace, but the light faerie managed to grab hold of my ankle -- I tried to shake her off, but she had a good grip.
I wiggled my leg a bit more and ended up kicking her in the face. She flew back but seemed like she barely felt the blow -- she was back up and coming towards me. I was already far ahead of her, though.
I looked back. “Oh, and by the way, your dress is hideous!”
I flew higher into the air and didn't look back.
What was I going to do now?
To be continued...