Backfire!: Part Three
"This is your brilliant plan to get back at Taylor?"
Kaz nodded happily. "Yeah. Kind of ironic, isn't it?"
Kaz tossed her a dirty look. "It's not that hard, Kizzy. Taylor opens her bedroom door -- bucket falls, everything spills out on her head -- and voila! Revenge!"
"So she gets a little wet. Big whoop. That's the oldest trick in the book, Kaz, and Taylor probably knows you're planning on getting back at her. She's on her guard. She's untrickable."
Her twin brother tried to explain. "You're not looking at the big picture. Tay's expecting some huge, overblown prank -- she won't be suspecting a bucket of water over her door, now, will she?"
"Maybe not." Kizzy grimaced as she held the door in place for her brother. He was teetering atop a chair while he positioned the bucket just right. "But it's not much payback, is it? Water?"
Kaz flashed her a diabolical smile. "That's just it. It's not just water -- it's water mixed with a month's worth of Taylor's leftovers." He paused and let that soak in. "I don't have it all in the bucket yet, I just want to make sure this door is bucket-friendly so we'll be ready -- "
Kizzy stared up at him in horror. "Kaz, that's not even fair! Her food itself is lethal! A bucket of leftovers is a weapon of mass destruction!"
"She has it coming. She should've believed me when I said I didn't throw water balloons at the neighbor."
Kizzy bristled. "Yes, you're so innocent. What was Tay thinking? You couldn't have been the one to do that; you were too busy planning to Negg the house across the street."
"Exactly. I have an alibi."
"Couldn't it just be water?" Kizzy pleaded. She was honestly feeling extremely sorry for Taylor now, her guilt intensifying tenfold with each memory she had of the past month's dinners.
Kaz sighed. "She's been inflicting this garbage on us for years, Kizzy. If you look at it that way, even you have a reason for doing this. And thus, the irony."
"What I have are moral boundaries," Kizzy hissed. "Dumping a bucket of radioactive poison on our owner kind of exceeds that." When Kaz didn't respond, immersed in his prank, Kizzy added pleadingly, "It's a matter of life and death, Kaz!"
He nodded to his sister. "Yeah. That's what it'll be if we show Asha her sweater. I don't know if mustard-stained is quite 'in' just yet."
Kizzy sighed. Blackmail was so tricky. The pair of identical Shadow Cybunnies was quiet for a moment, until a startled yelp made them both jump.
Kizzy spun around, forgetting to hold the door. Kaz was thrown forward, but he managed to catch himself against the wall, miraculously keeping the bucket steady, and he slid ungracefully to the floor, eyeing the newcomer.
It was Redsy, the youngest of the family. The Rainbow Lupe regarded them suspiciously over a mountain of clothes in his arms. His gaze was drawn to the bucket that he could just barely see. "What are you doing?"
"What are you doing?" demanded Kaz, turning it around on Redsy. "You just came out of our room. What were you doing in there?"
"Just cleaning," Redsy managed, glancing at Kizzy, avoiding Kaz's eyes.
"Cleaning," scoffed Kaz, the disbelief in his voice very evident.
"He promised to clean my half of the room for me today," Kizzy said smoothly, coming to the rescue. "I said I'd buy him that new limited edition plushie from the Toy Shop if he did."
It was a tense moment. Only Kizzy knew the true tension of it, though, for Redsy was attempting to keep up his end of the bargain so Kizzy wouldn't rat him out, revealing that he was the mastermind behind the water balloon incident. Kaz, who'd been unfairly grounded for Redsy's prank, was trying to get revenge on their owner, Taylor, for not believing him. He'd recruited Kizzy for the job when he blackmailed her into helping him get back at Tay, so he wouldn't spill the beans about the wreckage of Asha's favorite jacket.
The world was a twisted place.
Kaz and Redsy were still glaring at each other suspiciously. "I won't ask you, if you won't ask me," Redsy said finally. Smart move, thought Kizzy, relieved.
Kaz nodded. "Deal."
Redsy scampered off, dropping clothes in his haste to get to the laundry room, away from Kaz and his withering stare.
Kaz looked up at the bucket thoughtfully, then smirked. "So, how'd you really get him to clean for you?"
His twin raised an eyebrow. She could lie with the best of them, but Kaz was just as good as she was, and better at recognizing it. "He was begging me for Neopoints for some stupid plushie. I said I'd get it if he cleaned my room. End of story."
"Right." Kaz looked delighted that Kizzy was keeping a secret, and even more so because he knew he'd caught her in the act.
Kizzy narrowed her eyes. "I don't share everything with you, you know. And you don't tell me everything, either. Why don't you tell me about your payback plan for Asha, hm?"
Kaz shrugged. "That's... irrelevant." He cast around wildly for a change of subject. "Speaking of Her Royal Highness, what was she blabbering about in the hallway before she bolted for the stairs?"
Still searching for a way to trick Kaz into telling her, Kizzy shrugged moodily, her answer short. "She lost some stupid necklace, I guess."
Kaz's face was a thundercloud. "She lost it!?!"
"Who lost what?" Redsy was back, all dirty laundry gone, looking eager to uncover their secret agenda concerning the bucket. But Kaz wasn't listening. He glared at Redsy for interrupting them, and then rounded on his twin sister, whipping around and managing to hit the chair, which smacked into the door.
WHAM. The bucket teetered precariously on the edge before gravity yanked it into freefall, at which point it slammed onto Kaz's head. The Cybunny let out a gasp of pain as the bucket clattered to the floor, his knees buckling as he reached out a paw for the wall, looking for something to help him maintain balance.
Redsy roared with laughter. "Nice, Kaz."
Kizzy was a little more concerned as she scrutinized him for symptoms, as if she suspected the bucket had messed with his brain and he was about to begin wailing Chomby and the Fungus Balls songs, waddling like a Mallard. "Are you okay?"
Kaz shook his head, distracted. "She... lost... the necklace?"
Kizzy sensed something fishy, and it had nothing to do with the thought of Taylor's leftovers. "What's it to you?"
Looking from his twin sister to his little brother, Kaz exhaled deeply and rolled his eyes to the ceiling. "It was... kind of a cursed necklace. I bought it, got Jhudora to put a spell on it, and gave it to her."
"And you said it was from Danielle, for her birthday," Kizzy finished icily. "You're lucky Asha's a moron."
"But that's not it." Kaz rubbed his head, wincing. "From the time Jhudora jinxed it, I had four hours until..." He swallowed, anticipating their reactions. "Well, it was... sorta... kinda... set to explode."
There was a ringing silence.
"Kaz, you idiot," snarled Kizzy, crossing her arms to intensify her glower.
Redsy's eyes widened. "And it's missing? She doesn't even have it? How long 'til it goes boom?"
Kaz checked his watch, looking agonized. "Two hours and forty-nine minutes."
Kizzy let out a sigh. "You're lucky, Kaz. I know where it is. Pippa found it on the floor; it's in the kitchen."
She'd never seen her twin brother so relieved before. He perked up, despite his throbbing headache, eyes alight. "What are we waiting for?"
The three pets bolted, scrambling down the steps and landing in an unorganized heap at the bottom. They struggled to detangle themselves, and then made a mad rush down the hallway. Kaz got to the kitchen first, whipping around as he examined every surface with a critical eye. "Well, where is it?"
But Kizzy's eyes had settled, horrorstruck, on her box-loving Faellie, who was curled up, in a ball, in the same place Kizzy had found her nestled in one of Taylor's boxes. Redsy followed her gaze and made the connection. "You said Pip found it... you think she ate it?"
"Well, there's one interesting scenario," Kaz said, intrigued.
Kizzy shook her head. "No... Pip doesn't eat inanimate objects." She glared at Kaz. "She hoards them. I wonder where she got that from."
Kaz blinked. "So you're saying..."
The trio of siblings crowded at the window, the one that framed Neopia Central in the distance, where Taylor had been headed to deliver her donations out of the goodness of her heart. They were frozen in horror as they stared at the city, where a whole lot of hapless Neopians would be in for one heck of a night.
Kaz let out a breath. "I think we'd better start running."
To be continued...