Backfire!: Part Two
Redsy looked around in dismay. Clothes were flung everywhere, draped over chairs. Jewelry littered the floor. Books and papers were scattered in all directions.
As Redsy leaned forward to pick up a jacket, his head banged into Kizzy's dresser. Gripped with a sudden agony, the Lupe didn't notice the beautiful golden necklace as it fell, disappearing into the depths of the jacket with a barely audible ploopth. Redsy, mumbling a number of ways that would inflict suffering upon Kizzy, snatched up the jacket, angling it just right, so that the necklace was tilted right into a pocket. He flung the jacket into a pile of clothes, and then, still muttering, gathered the clothes up and took off for the tortured walk to the laundry room.
He trotted down the stairs, dropping things as he went and picking them up while vowing to make Kizzy miserable. As he passed the kitchen, the jacket nearly dropped, but he grabbed it up just in time, cursing his sister under his breath. The necklace slipped out of the pocket and onto the floor, escaping Redsy's notice, just outside the kitchen, where a standoff was taking place.
"But where is he?" Asha was asking, looking puzzled.
Kizzy eyed her older sister. "Where's who?"
"How should I know?"
Asha stamped her foot angrily. "I heard him down here! You guys were like, fighting!"
"I didn't hear any fighting."
"How stupid do you think I am?" snapped Asha.
Kizzy blinked. "Rhetorical question, right?"
The Royal Zafara spun around with an air of finality. "I don't have time for this. Lucas is waiting for me." And with a swish of her tail, she was gone.
Kizzy gave it a moment, listening for the pounding on the stairs, before she yanked open the pantry door. Kaz emerged, a smile stretched across his face, examining the ruined sweater with obvious glee.
"Geez, Kiz," he laughed. "How did you even manage this?"
"Please don't tell," she pleaded.
"I mean, did you just grab the mustard and take aim, or what?"
Kizzy sighed. She knew what he wanted; the price for his silence would be steep. It was the only reason he hadn't sprung from the pantry and showed Ashalica the ruined sweater right then and there.
"What do you want?" she asked, defeated.
Kaz faked a show of wide-eyed innocence. "Honestly, Kizzy. Would I do something that devious?"
She could have sworn he knew that she'd blackmailed Redsy, but then he probably wouldn't have hidden from Ashalica. Inwardly, Kizzy cursed herself. What was she thinking, blackmailing him? Of course it would all come back to bite her in the rear. She wondered vaguely who was in charge of karma around here, and if they were keeping tabs on her.
"Let's get this over with. Just name it, Kaz."
A malicious smile took hold of his features. It was astounding, how his face could change so easily. Innocence, my tail, thought Kizzy, irritated.
"Well," Kaz began, acting as if he were thinking it over, but Kizzy could tell he already had something in mind. "You know that I was recently framed for a crime I didn't commit." His eyes bore into her. Kizzy stared stonily back, repeating the thoughts in her head like a mantra: You don't know that I know who really did it... you don't know that I know who really did it...
"And, well, I'm thinking, since you owe me big-time... you might want to help me."
You can't possibly know it was really Redsy... and you can't know that I know about that...
"I want you to help me get back at Taylor."
Taken aback completely, Kizzy could only gape. "What? You want revenge... on Taylor? What about Asha? She's the one who told on you--"
Kaz waved that aside. "Taken care of. Taylor's next on my list."
It occurred to Kizzy that Asha was in mortal danger -- definitely doomed. The twin sister of a normal brother may have asked what misfortune was about to befall Asha, but she knew better and decided it was best left unknown.
"But she's our owner." She tried to stress the word. "She's going to ground me too, if she finds out who's behind it."
Kaz rolled his eyes. "Kizzy, you forget. I'm the mastermind behind this; I just need... a little assistance."
She narrowed her eyes. "You're trying to tell me that you never get caught? Who was the one who dyed the Rainbow Pool orange? Who pelted Dr. Death with marshmallows just to see how he'd react? Who told all of Mystery Island that an unavoidable natural disaster of mysterious origin was headed their way and got the entire island to evacuate for three days?"
"Don't forget the time I pants'd the Happiness Faerie."
Kizzy shuddered. "I was blocking that out."
"My point is, you get caught twice as much as you get away with stuff. I don't want to get mixed up in this."
Kaz smiled. "Fine. I'll just show Asha her jacket, then. I'm sure she'll think the yellow blob is very chic. Then we'll talk about natural disasters."
The horror on Kizzy's face was enough for Kaz. He nodded, handing her the sweater. "Good. I'll go get supplies."
And the Shadow Cybunny watched him go, feeling helpless. She sighed and let the sweater drop into one of the chairs at the kitchen table, chewing her lip, wondering how to get out of this mess. At that moment, her Faellie bounded into the kitchen, skidded to a halt on the tiled floor, then leapt at one of the boxes Taylor was planning to donate to the needy. Kizzy allowed a small smile, then hurried forward and scooped up her Petpet.
"You'll get taken away to the Money Tree that way," she told her Faellie, Pippa, with as much scorn as she could manage. But those eyes were too cute to allow a total reprimand, so she settled for stroking Pippa's long ears. She noticed something in Pippa's mouth, gold and glittering. A necklace?
"What's this?" It was a necklace -- a pretty one. It probably belonged to Asha. Muttering about her sister's carelessness, Kizzy put Pippa on the ground and set the necklace on the table. Asha would find it sooner or later. For now, Kizzy had other plans -- she needed to check on the progress in her room, and help Kaz dispose of the evidence. She snatched up the sweater, threw it a dirty look, and ran for the stairs, taking them two at a time.
In the kitchen, the beautiful, heart-shaped wonder had caught Pippa's eye. The Faellie gazed at it with awe from her position on the floor. She fluttered her wings and rose a few feet in the air with ease, making a great arc in the air as she dove for the necklace...
On the landing, Kizzy's ears perked up, and she sensed danger. She heard a muffled wail, the banging of a door, and then hurried footsteps. Asha was on the prowl. In a panic, Kizzy glanced down at the traitorous sweater, then quickly deposited it into a decorative vase off to the side just as the Royal Zafara came charging into view.
"I can't find it, I can't find it!" She rounded on Kizzy. "Have you seen it?"
Slightly disturbed by her sister's wild-eyed stare, Kizzy blinked. "Are you having a breakdown again, Ash?"
"There was this, like, totally gorgeous necklace that Kaz gave me from Danielle, it was a present for my birthday!"
Only Asha could be so stupid. "Asha, your birthday was six months ago."
The Zafara waved that aside as an unnecessary detail. "Danielle's very absentminded, you know. She probably just, like, forget, so she gave it to Kaz at the Marketplace."
"Danielle moved to Terror Mountain. Last year."
Asha looked stumped. "Well, she Neomailed it, then. We're the best of friends--"
Kizzy clapped a hand to her forehead. "You hate her!"
"She gave me a necklace!" Asha had that manic glint in her eye again. Apparently, all could be forgiven in the presence of beautiful presents, given for absolutely no reason at all. "If you're done interrogating me, I've got to go!" She flounced away with as much dignity as one can manage while flouncing.
Kizzy watched her go, and remembered the golden necklace she'd found in Pippa's mouth. "Hey, Asha--" she called halfheartedly, but then she heard the front door slam and she shrugged. It was sitting in plain view on the kitchen table. She must've found it... But she wouldn't put it past Asha to bypass the laws of reasonable idiocy.
She tensed when she heard the unmistakable sound of heavy boxes, and Taylor gave a cheery call from downstairs. "I think I've got enough! I'm off to the Money Tree now!"
"Okay, Taylor," she called back with a sigh, feeling immeasurable guilt wring her heart. She felt a pang in her stomach as she listened to her owner manage to open the door, humming contentedly, with no idea what her future held in store for her, if Kaz was involved in some way.
To be continued...