The Great Gelert Hype: Part Four
Arriving at the Food Shop at last, Fortuna walked up to
the front door without delay. "Alright… let's get the bread, so we can move on
to the veggie store."
"Alright then…" a muffled voice, belonging to
Tak's, emanated from behind her. Noticing that he sounded different, she turned
around, and saw Tak dressed up in a trench-coat, and floppy hat. He wore a scarf
around his muzzle, and sunglasses over his eyes, leaving him relatively concealed.
Puzzled she asked "What… are you doing?"
"Well I'm… Well I'm cold obviously," was Tak's
excuse. Fortuna was confused.
"You're cold?" she asked, with suspicion.
"In the middle of Summer?"
"Nothing weird about that."
"With the temperature hotter than that of the
"It's colder than Terror Mountain out here."
"And that Pteri over there is frying neggs on
"Frying… neggs… is… um… a great tradition to
perform in the cold weather…"
Tak was beginning to run out of convincing excuses,
so he immediately pushed his way into the shop-the same shop he had stolen food
from the day before.
The Chia shopkeeper greeted them. "Welcome. How
may we help you today?" While Fortuna dealt with them, Tak carefully and nervously
darted around the store, hoping that she would finish quickly.
"Excuse me, sir." Tak practically jumped into
the ceiling at the sound of that voice. "I DIDN'T DO IT!" he cried. Every customer
and employee stopped and stared at Tak, who stood there grinning sheepishly.
The Chia employee paused for a moment before saying "Er… you dropped some NP
on the ground…" Tak looked down, and found there was indeed some of his change
on the floor. "Thanks…" Tak, embarrassed, whispered.
He leaned down, and picked it up. As he did so,
his hat and sunglasses fell off, and to the floor. Tak quickly picked them up,
and replaced them, hoping no one would notice. Standing up, Tak looked towards
the front door of the shop, and to his horror, he saw a wanted poster with his
picture on it. He had to get there, and tear it down, before Fortuna noticed.
So he quickly and smoothly sidled up to the wall, and slid along, until he was
standing right next to it. Looking at the 500 NP reward, Tak couldn't help but
feel a little insulted by the meager reward for his capture. Nevertheless, he
reached his paw outward, and clutched the paper. Just a quick tear, and…
"Well they didn't have it," Fortuna, coming out
of nowhere, blurted. Tak snatched the poster off the wall, and hid it behind
him, hoping that she hadn't noticed. "Are you sure you're alright?" Fortuna
asked, "You've been acting weird since we got here…"
"Uh… well, I'm just a little queasy," Tak said,
with hesitation. "Maybe we should call it a day." Quickly, he tore the poster,
until it was mere confetti. He had the sneaking suspicion that she had heard
the tearing sounds, but hoped she wouldn't bring it up.
Fortuna did eye him strangely, but did not say
anything. "Let's go," she said, walking out of the store, which was a huge relief
for Tak to finally leave. At least until it dawned on him that they could be
going to more stores that he'd robbed.
"Even though I wasn't seen at any of the other
places I had stolen food from," Tak thought, "I don't know if I can keep on
At that moment, Fortuna stopped. "Take those
ridiculous accessories off at once!" she snapped, refusing to go another step
until he'd done so.
"Alright, alright…" Tak muttered, as he removed
the hat, sunglasses, scarf, and everything else.
"There now… At least you look a little less out
of place," Fortuna said.
Tak couldn't argue with that assumption. But
all at once, he felt someone grab him from behind, and pull him back.
"There you are!" Bones roared, "You've got some
nerve turning your back on me, little boy!" He lifted Tak high in the air, giving
him no chance to break free. Fortuna saw this, and was naturally horrified.
"Help! Someone Help!" were her cries. Even though
Tak would've loved to have some help in dealing with Bones, he knew that this
would attract the wrong kind of attention. "Um… Bones?" Tak said, in a constricted
voice, "Didn't you say we're trying to keep a low-profile?" Bones squeezed harder.
"Okay… just thought I'd ask…" he squeaked.
"Nobody move!" almost as soon as the cry for
help rose up, the trio was immediately set upon by two Neopian Police Officers.
"Looks like we got three of 'em today, Sarge,"
a green Kougra police officer reported. A blue Skeith officer, presumably the
"Sarge," walked towards them, and looked them over.
"Yeah, this looks like our three at-large suspects
wanted for stealing food from the Food Shop yesterday." Examining them closer,
he said "One red Grarrl, one yellow Gelert, and one more, who is presumably
a blue, winged Neopet-type unknown. I guess this is the one," he concluded,
looking at Fortuna.
"What's going on, Tak?" Fortuna worriedly asked.
Tak could not believe this was happening. "No!
She had nothing to do with it!" he protested. "Enough!" the Skeith shouted.
"I'm in charge here, so don't speak out of turn."
"So… the infamous Neopian Central Bandits," the
Kougra officer said. "I assume you're 'Bones,' the ringleader?"
Bones looked at him defiantly. "Yeah? What's
it to you?"
"Hmm…" the Skeith officer hummed. "Is Bones your
"'Course it is!" Bones snapped. "Why would I
The Kougra officer began to snicker. "Sure… we
believe you… Percival." At the mention of Bones' (or Percival's) real name,
both the Skeith and the Kougra roared with hysterical laughter. Even Tak began
to laugh a little, at the expense of Bones. That was until he looked over, and
noticed Fortuna's look of disbelief.
"You mean… you? You're…" Fortuna started to say.
"… A thief," Tak finished. He'd finally admitted
it, but seeing the painful look appear on Fortuna's face was a precursor to
an even more difficult situation. "I guess I should come right out and say that…"
While Tak was explaining everything to Fortuna,
Alissa watched the unfolding scene from across the street. "They think she's
me," Alissa sighed, as she watched the police question Fortuna. Looking down,
she gasped in horror to find that Elian, who she'd been watching, had disappeared.
"Elian! Where are you?!" she cried.
Meanwhile, little Elian had wandered away, and
had climbed to the top of a nearby tree, where he could see Tak, Fortuna and
Bones being questioned. Looking proudly at how high he'd climbed, he stood upright
on top of a tree limb, and began yelling happily over towards Tak.
"Hey, Tak! Look how high I cli-" *crack* was
the only sound the tree limb made, before giving way beneath his feet. "Whu-whoa!"
Elian yowled, as he began to fall downwards, before grabbing hold of another
branch, and dangled there, helplessly.
"Help!" Elian cried, despairingly.
Tak looked over towards the hill on which the
lone tree stood, and could see a green Wocky barely clinging on to a branch
near the top. "Is that…?" Tak wondered. Fortuna could see it too. "Oh no! That
poor little Wocky!" Almost immediately, Tak recognized the voice from the pleas
"That's Elian!" he shouted, breaking through
the picket of police officers, and sprinted towards the tree. "Hey! Come back
here!" the Kougra officer shouted.
Tak didn't even look back at him. "No chance!
That's my friend up there!"
The officers probably wouldn't have bothered,
if they had seen the Wocky stuck in the tree first. "Look! There's a kid up
there!" the Kougra officer yelled. "Get the nets! We need to get the rescue
squad in here!" the Skeith officer ordered.
But Tak could see that Elian couldn't hold on
much longer. "No time for that! Someone needs to climb!"
The officers looked at each other. "Well I can't
climb!" the Kougra officer shouted, "I have an injured paw!" he said, holding
up his bandaged paw.
The Skeith officer also excused himself. "Well
I can't climb either!"
"Yeah? Well if you didn't eat so many doughnutfruits,
you'd be in much shape!" the Kougra yelled.
"My stomach size has nothing to with anything!"
the Skeith argued.
"And this is supposed to explain why my grandma
beat you in the relay race at the Police Picnic?"
While the Kougra and Skeith were busy debating
weight, Tak had already scrambled up the tree, towards the stricken Elian. Below,
Alissa had heard the commotion, and watched as Tak raced up to where Elian was
"Oh, no! Elian! Tak!" she shouted up after them.
Tak did not listen. He was focused on reaching Elian before he lost his grip-or
the branch gave out under his weight. As he neared the precarious situation,
Tak forgot everything he'd done up to this point, and was fully intent on getting
Elian to safety.
"Hey, Kid! Kid!" Tak yelled, reaching out to
Elian with one paw, and keeping a firm grip around the tree trunk with the other.
"Grab on to my arm!" Elian shook his head. "No! I'll fall!" he cried. A crackling
sound could be heard from the branch he was hanging off of. The branch was beginning
to buckle under his weight…
To be continued…