Irregular Bane: Part Three
Art by saro_the_legendaerie
The stars glimmered faintly in the sky as Bane lay on his back on a grassy hill just south of Neopia Central, watching the sun slowly set on another day. Saedar had left him there while he was asleep, and in the faint warm light, the Cybunny decided to go through his bag and see what provisions he had left.
Someone, Surka probably, had taken all his meager wages. His Obsidian Dagger was still there, and either Lyce or Danter or both had slipped another Healing Potion into the bag. With shaking, weak arms Bane drank it, filling his body with the strength to go on.
Because he had to go on. If any of the Dark Irregulars found him, they would drag him back to base and probably kill him there, where he could not escape.
The Cybunny was able to walk now, but still exhausted and in dire need of food and more medicine as he stumbled down the hill and into the Soup Faerie's kitchen.
"Oh, poor Bane! What happened to you?"
The Soup Faerie had always disliked his lawless lifestyle, but she was not so unkind as to turn any Neopet away. She pulled up a chair for the Darigan pet in the corner of her shop and ushered him there, pushing a steaming bowl of Stone Soup in front of him as she hurried off to feed the pets who had just walked in.
Bane kept his eyes on them as they left, grateful once more for escaping the Pound, even if it meant a hard life. Better than being left to rot in an Owner's cage, without food or company!
The Soup Faerie sighed as she sat down beside him, watching the Cybunny drain the bowl and lick his lips.
"Had your fill?"
"Not quite. Can I have another small bowl?"
She obliged, even as she explained, "I meant about thievery."
"Oh. Sort of. I got a job as a Shop Keeper, but... I don't think I want it."
The Soup Faerie gasped. "Bane, that's wonderful! You must hurry to Faerieland! Here," she gabbled excitedly as she used her limited magic to create a Teleport Vortex, "go on in, Bane, you must take the job!"
Before Bane had a chance to tell her he had no such intension, she grabbed him by the scruff of the neck (which was still sore from Surka's grip, mind you) and tossed him through the flashing tunnel like a plushie.
"Hey," he shouted as his world became nothing but rainbow lights, "what about my soup?"
Moments later, Bane landed on his backside on the edge of Faerieland, just managing to catch the bowl of Negg Soup the Faerie had tossed after him. Draining it quickly, he rose to his clawed feet, carefully crossing the cloud bridge to the Healing Springs.
Thanks to the food and two Healing Potions, the Cybunny looked considerably better but still quite ragged. Used to such Neopets, the Water Faerie dutifully pushed him under the magical water, wielding a Golden Moon Comb.
"Soup Faerie told me about your new job," she explained as she drug the teeth of the Comb through his hair and the long fur around his neck. "You should look nice for it."
Bane sighed, having given up on weaseling out of this shop keeper job. She's right; Owners, or Employers as they are to their Shopkeepers, are good protection now, anyway. Rancru will probably stay away from me if I do this.
Oh, Fyora, keep him away from me!
The Pirate Shoyru waved to Bane as the Darigan pet landed nimbly in the warm, wet sand along the shore of Mystery Island. Shaking sand off his feet, Bane waved back and jogged into the center of the Island, seeking the Marketplace.
After passing by several seeming identical doors, Bane found the number he was looking for, and gently pushed said door open, surveying the shop with a thief's eyes.
It was low security to say the least- a few grass-and-bamboo tables spread scarcely with a spattering of various food and a Cloud Jetsam Keyring. Behind the makeshift counter, a Brown Uni fidgeted with the sleeves of her light blue dress, scowling behind lightly curled chocolate-colored bangs. Her mane was held close to her neck in a long, solid plaited braid, and her pitifully small wings twitched with nervous energy and blatant stress.
Her large blue eyes met Bane's from across the room, and she managed to mutter, "Welcome to Price Oasis. My name's Saosis." She scowled deeper. "How can I help you?"
"Um... I think I'm the new shop keeper?"
The transformation was instant. Brilliant blue eyes lit up, and Saosis' wings batted the air with joy as she trotted over to him, wrapping him in a hug. "You're my replacement? Thank Fyora you've come!"
The Uni was practically crying. "I found a new owner a few weeks ago, but my Employer couldn't decide on my replacement, so I've been stuck here in the dirt and the heat and the flies..." She sniffed, and wiped the back of her hoof-hand over her eyes. "Well, I'm just glad you'll be taking over."
Bane grabbed the Uni's shoulder as she passed. "Wait just a second. I don't know what I'm supposed to do! This is my first job, and you better teach me what to do!"
Saosis scowled, blue eyes darkening. "What's to teach? Stand there, read this script off, and make sure no one steals the stuff or you replace it."
"That's it? You've got to be kidding me." His tone was thick with disbelief.
She glanced upward at him, and Bane was once again given the powers of reading other people's minds. 'My Employer is trusting her shop to this guy? Sheesh. Talk about your shady Neopets...'
The Uni sighed heavily. "Here. This is my address. If you have a problem, Neomail my new owner, and I'll get down here as soon as I can. But only in emergencies."
She paused, and looked smug. "Not that I, like, really care or anything, but I'l ask anyway. Do you have a name?"
"You can call me Bane, " he ground out, tail lashing back in forth in fury. Arrogant little Uni!
"Fascinating." Saosis stood there for a moment longer, then flounced out of the shop. The Cybunny called after her, feeling vexed and confused.
"But what about pricing? And restocking? And-"
"The Employer takes care of that!"
With a heavy sigh, the Cybunny turned around and took the Uni's former seat behind the counter, rested his chin in his paws, and set himself to endure.
About two hours later, Bane was roused from his almost sleep by the door opening. An Ogrin rushed in, slapped 18 neopoints in front of the Cybunny, grabbed the Plain Omelette on the table to his right, and left as quickly as he came.
...Did I just make a sale?
Bane chuckled absently. Maybe this job won't be so bad after all.
A few moments later, he was eating his words. A blue Zafara burst in, wrapped in an ostentatious dress and a flurry of excitement. "My Owner needs that Keyring for a Faerie Quest!"
The Cybunny eyed her, feeling uncertain. "Ok...."
She fished a small bag of NP from her backpack. "I'll give you 320 for it."
Bane cast a look at the price tag. "It says here it costs 394."
"357?" The Zafara offered.
The novice shop keeper blinked. "Are you... trying to haggle with me?"
"369 is my last offer."
Outside the shop, the Zafara's Owner blinked as a message appeared.
'Something has happened!
Zimbera was attacked by Angry Shop Keeper!'
The Owner gave her Zafara curious look. "Did you get the Keyring?"
"...haluehhh..." The Neopet fell to the ground, knocked out. "I think that's a no. To the healing springs!" The Owner picked up the limp blue Neopet and vanished.
Moments later, the door to Price Oasis slammed open, and Saosis came storming in. "Give me that," she snapped.
"Give you what?" Bane challenged, not in the best of moods.
"Your Obsidian Dagger. Give. It. Now."
The Uni stomped her hind hoof in fury, tiny wings bristling. "Like, Shop Keepers aren't allowed to have weapons."
"Well, you should have thought of that before you hired me." Bane smirked, twirling the Dagger. "I keep myself armed."
There was a blinding flash of light, and the Darigan pet was sent hurtling into the far wall of the shop, the impact making the building shake. Saosis blew smoke off her Wand Of Supernova.
"So do I. Dagger, please."
With slow movements and gritting his teeth in pain, Bane handed his weapon over to the Uni. She blinked coolly, turned on her hoof, and left the shop with one last remark over her shoulder.
"If I hear you getting into trouble again, I will totally see that you get fired."
"I never wanted this job anyway, " he growled, wincing as he hauled himself upright. Saosis flicked her tail in dismissal.
"Too bad. You've got it."
To be continued...