Molly - Back to The Box: Part Three
Molly's eye blinked open and she looked about herself, wondering where she was. Everything seemed to be dark and she wondered, for a moment, whether she was dreaming. 'I am in some small space with an old broom...' she thought to herself. 'I must be dreaming. I hope I wake up soon, this dream is boring!'
“Another good night's work, I think!” came a voice from outside the cupboard.
'Hang on...' thought Molly suspiciously. 'That voice sounds all too familiar - I think I might be awake!'
“Now, where did I put that silly faerie meowclops?” came the voice again, followed by a cackle. “In the cupboard or something, wasn't it? But which cupboard?”
'I am definitely awake!' decided Molly, just as her brain awoke and remembered her plan of escape that she had made the night before. Outside, she could hear the sound of cupboards being unlocked one by one, searched and then locked again. There was the occasional cackle just before a cupboard was opened, and often a complaint when it was shut again.
Quickly, Molly activated her plan. It didn't involve much; she just managed to lean the broom against the door, right where it would open. Her plan was that the broom would fall on the Pant Devil when he opened the door, distracting him and giving her a chance to slip past. What she would do then she wasn't quite sure, but getting out the cupboard was a good start.
The first part of her plan worked smoothly; the Pant Devil opened the door and the broom handle actually hit him in the head. Unfortunately he was quick in recovery and as Molly tried to slip past him he reached out one of his claw-like hands and tried to grab her.
'Use your wings!' Molly's mind screamed at her. 'You were painted faerie for a reason!'
Unlike Bernard, all of Molly's mind was on the same side and with a determined flap of her wings Molly took off in the air, managing to just dodge the Pant Devil's frantic grabs. She looked about her hurriedly. She was in what appeared to be the inside of a tree, which was obvious because of the bark walls and general tube shape of the room. Covering most of the wall were small cupboards, similar to the one she had just escaped from.
In a space between two cupboards was a small gap that daylight appeared to be coming through. The Pant Devil saw where she was looking and dived at the gap, meaning to block her escape. Unfortunately for him, Molly got there first and without hesitation, she dived through it to find herself in the Haunted Woods.
Many of Kreludor's local residents, shoppers and tourists had a slightly confused morning. They woke up at their various times, got up, had breakfast, got dressed and then started their usual daily routine of either walking to their shop and opening it, walking to the shops to buy stuff or trying to think of something better to do with their time.
This in itself was not very confusing, except possibly for those who had never been to Kreludor before and were not entirely sure where to go to get to their particular destination. What started to confuse people were the 'LOST' posters that had been placed everywhere. Some shoppers were used to seeing posters like this up in Neopia Central but seeing them on Kreludor was an almost entirely unheard of matter and started to create a bit of fuss. Some people heard the about the posters from others and deliberately went out of their way just to read them.
LOST (well, stolen actually!)
A faerie meowclops who goes by the name of Molly. Molly is generally shy around strangers so she may not make her whereabouts obvious. She was stolen from Bernard's house last night. The thief is unknown, but if anyone has any information about Molly's whereabouts, please contact Bernard the Booktastic Book Store owner either by neomail or popping in while the shop is open.
A small reward will be given to anyone who has USEFUL information. A much larger reward will be given if anyone returns her.
Many of those who read one of the signs instantly rushed up to Bernard's bookstore. Some came just to do their normal daily restocking, some came to give Bernard useless information in hopes of a reward and others came just to see if there was any news. A few of Bernard's close friends popped in to see if he was okay.
Bernard spent the day sleepily at his desk, trying to haggle with customers while listening to useless information in hopes of hearing something useful. This annoyed some of his customers, who wanted a faster haggle. Others took advantage of it, getting their books much cheaper than usual. One unfortunate customer mishaggled and ended up paying far more than the book was worth. Shopkeepers also started to become jealous of all the attention Bernard was receiving and did their best to attract attention to their shops.
Over the next few days Bernard sent about fifty neomails to the Defenders of Neopia. Eventually he received a reply:
We are sorry to hear of your trouble, but unfortunately we are busy with other things at the moment; namely we have spent years trying to retrieve a stolen bike from the Pant Devil and still haven't managed. We will put you on our overly long waiting list and get back to you as soon as possible. Please let us know if your meowclops is found before then so that we can remove your name from the list.
The Defenders of Neopia
After that major disappointment, Bernard spent most of the day in his shop, assisted by a few friends who were starting to worry about him. He then spent most of the night checking his neomails, searching for Molly and seeking other investigators, inspectors or anyone else he thought could help.
As a result he became more and more tired and eventually fell asleep in the middle of haggling with a customer. Thankfully it was a slightly more caring customer who left the full amount of neopoints on the counter, took the book and alerted two of Bernard's friends who happened to be helping out at the shop at the time.
After a hurried discussion Bernard's friends woke him up, informed him that two of them were taking over the shop for a few days and that he was going with another friend to Neopia Central to search for Molly. Being half asleep, Bernard did not argue. In fact, he said nothing at all and merely nodded before falling asleep again.
Later that day he and his friend, another orange Grundo, arrived in Neopia Central. Somehow Bernard had been dragged back home, dumped on his bed to sleep for a while and then half dragged to the nearest transport to Neopia Central. Bernard had woken fully on the way and after a short amount of confusion understood the plan. He wanted to start searching for Molly the moment they arrived but his friend managed to convince him to sleep first.
“But tomorrow might be too late to start searching...” protested Bernard feebly. His friend pushed him in the direction of the Neolodge.
“Tomorrow wont be too late, silly!” he said, dragging Bernard up the steps.
“How do you know? It could be. She is my meowclops and I want to start searching now. She would be relying on me to do the best I can to find her!”
“The best you can is not a search when you are almost asleep, Bernard,” said his friend firmly, starting to become impatient.
They stepped into the neolodge and immediately an assistant showed them to their rooms. They were on the bottom floor which was fortunate for Bernard who, in his sleepy state, would not have been able to climb many stairs.
“Now, Bernard,” said his friend firmly when the assistant left them. “I want you to go straight to bed, ok? No slipping out in the middle of the night to find Molly either. We will both search tomorrow when you are awake. Got it?”
Bernard woke up early the next morning, used to his routine of getting up at dawn to open his shop for the early shoppers. He got out of bed and stared in surprise. 'This isn't my room, is it?' he asked himself. 'It can't be. But where am I then?'
He wandered over to his bedroom door and did what most people do when they walk up to a closed door. In other terms, he opened it. Sticking his head out he stared in even more surprise. 'This isn't my house either. I thought I didn't have a room like this. Where am I? The neolodge? That makes sense, I suppose... but how did I get here?'
At that moment his friend appeared from the room next to his. “Albert?” asked Bernard in surprise. “Have you got any idea what's going on here?”
To be continued...