The Peculiar Incident that is Goldie the Snowbunny: Part Three
--Membury Close, Roo Island--
It was past dinnertime when Coanneranne arrived home. It was a lot later than she had expected, but after attack Snowbunnies and talking Meepits, Coanneranne wasn’t exactly feeling her sharpest.
“Coanneranne?!” Jane cried when the door opened. She glomped Coanneranne. “There you are! Oh, Coanneranne, I was really super worried and I thought something bad had happened and maybe you had run away, but I really didn’t think so and-”
Whenever Jane became extremely upset, she had a bad habit of rambling. Coanneranne tuned her owner’s voice out after the first sentence, which was rather hard considering she was smothered in Jane’s arms.
“-Do you want dinner? I made stew, I’ll reheat some!” She finally released Coanneranne and opened the fridge.
“No, Mom, that’s okay. I’m really just tired. I’m going to bed.”
And that was where the Ixi had been for the past couple of hours. Powder had returned to his Petpet bed to sleep, but Coanneranne was nowhere near tired. She wanted to figure this all out. She knew very well that Goldie had attacked her, and now a Meepit had spoken to her. It could be a coincidence that they both happened in the same day. She was so stupid for letting that Meepit get away!
“Sister?” There was a sudden knock at the door; it was Saphie’s voice.
Coanneranne sat up and stretched her tense muscles. “Yeah?”
“Can I come in?”
“Yeah, of course.”
The purple Acara timidly entered. “Sister, I think something’s wrong with Goldie; he’s looking out the window and scratching at the glass. His claws hurt my ears,” she whimpered.
“Of course, something’s wrong with him.” But Coanneranne stopped herself; it would do no good to bring up the past. “He’s probably still a little tweaked from the Petpet ray. After all, no one knows what that thing is capable of yet.” she put an arm around her little sister. “Don’t worry about it alright?”
Saphie’s eyes brightened with relief. “Okay!” In the blink of an eye, she dashed out the door and back to her room.
Somehow that conversation had stirred a sense of contentment within Coanneranne. She flopped back on her bed and closed her eyes for a minute. Hearing her own reasoning out loud made her feel better about the whole situation, except for maybe that deal with the Meepit.
“COANERANNNNNNNEEEE!!!!” Jane’s panicked voice screeched through the house and jerked Coanneranne from her nap.
“What is it? What is it?!” She flew down the stairs at full speed.
Jane was reading the Times again; Saphie and Amrakarii quickly joined them in the dining room.
“Did you read the back cover of this issue?” She shoved the article in her face, “The Petpet Protection League has actually put out a warning for the Petpet Lab Ray!”
Coanneranne read in earnest the warning they had now put out, “After a few investigations, the PPL is advising Neopets and their owners not to zap their Petpets. Side effects such as disintegrating, increased IQ, disappearing out of thin air, and super strength have been recorded from the use of this ray.”
She gasped. “That’s impossible! They can’t say that! Wouldn’t it make people want to stop zapping Petpets completely?” Besides, she thought to herself, who else was gutsy -and ignorant- enough to try something like a lab ray that did Fyora knows what?
Well, them, but that was different.
“I would think so,” Amrakarii responded after reading the article. “It’s dangerous, and no one wants to risk their Petpets with warnings like that. That poor Kookith is gonna go out of business.”
“You don’t think...” Saphie started. “You don’t think it messed up Goldie, do you?”
The girls shared a look of terror before they realized how silly it sounded, “Nah!”
Later that night, Coanneranne opened her eyes in the inky darkness of nighttime. Goldie wasn’t evil; there’s no such thing as evil Petpets! Except for Meepits, but what could they do? Nothing, that’s what; even the talking ones! After thoroughly deciding this, Coanneranne laughed and fell asleep.
--Secret Lab Ray--
Once again, the weather promised to be favorable when the four girls made their way to the Lab Ray. Saphie held the calm Goldie in her arms, and Coanneranne’s Baby Fireball trotted by her side.
“So we’re just zapping Karii today, right?” Saphie warily asked.
"-Only zapping Karii today,” Coanneranne added sharply.
“Yes, we’re only zapping Karii today.” Jane smiled serenely. “We’ll just wait until this whole Petpet hysteria blows over, or something.” Her face fell. “I don’t know...”
“Good morning, girls!” The Doc greeted them at the entrance. “Ready for today’s outcome, Karii?”
“Yup!” The purple Korbat was no longer fazed by the scientist’s creepiness; it was something one becomes adjusted to after a while. She stood under the Laboratory Ray and casually waited for the blast. Her adoptive family stood by and also waited; one flash and boom later, Amrakarii had gained two levels.
“Yes!” She danced around the room. “Two levels!”
It was nice to have something good to happen after the last few days of chaos, and it was beginning to show; emotional Jane was a lot more cheerful, Saphie didn’t cry so much, Coanneranne didn’t argue with everyone, and Amrakarii spent more time out of her room. The cause of all the recent drama, the Petpet lab ray, had ceased to be mentioned in the Roo Island household.
“Hey guys,” Jane said suddenly during breakfast one rainy day, “maybe we should take a vacation.”
“Eh?” Coanneranne looked up from the Neopian Times.
“Oh! A vacation?! Where?!” Saphie eagerly responded.
“I’d like to go to Faerieland, personally. I’ve never seen a Poogle race before,” Amrakarii said.
“It’s just that we haven’t done anything special lately, and I’d like to get away for a while.” She smiled at her pets. “Should we pack our bags for Faerieland?”
“Yeah!!” Saphie had already left the table and climbed the stairs to begin.
“Eager...” Coanneranne flipped a page. “When are we leaving?” she asked without looking up.
Jane laughed. “I thought Saphie would get excited. We could leave as early as tomorrow if you want.”
“Yeah! I’m getting cabin fever with all the rain,” Amrakarii declared.
Springtime in Roo Island brought a lot of rain and cloudy days. While this did give the flowers a chance to grow, it kept the denizens of the island cooped up inside for days on end.
“Great!” Jane put her plate in the sink. “I’m gonna get packed too!”
As the young owner passed the hall to her room, Saphie poked her furry head out.
“Mommy, have you seen Goldie?”
“No... isn’t he with you?”
“Nope, he wasn’t in his bed when I woke up this morning either.” She frowned. “This was the first night he didn’t try to take my blanket off...”
“I’m sure he’s hiding somewhere. Maybe Goldie doesn’t like the rain.” Jane smiled to perk up her Acara. “I’ll help you look after we finish packing.”
Amrakarii was last to leave the table. She finished reading the comics section in the Times and set her dishes in the sink. She felt a streak of excitement run down her spine; a vacation! This was the best family Amrakarii had ever lived with. Too bad it would have to end sometime. She didn’t want to think about it. No matter what, she knew she’d never find a better family; for all their flaws they were great girls to be with. She giggled as she thought of her fake sisters and owner and went upstairs.
“Did I forget to make my bed...?” she wondered aloud on the way to her room.
Suddenly a yellow blob appeared in the corner of her eye next to the window, but when she turned to inspect outside, it only revealed cloudy skies and rain.
“Weird,” she chuckled, “I thought I saw something.”
But the yellow flashed by the window again. Amrakarii flew to the window and came face to face with a yellow Meepit. He contorted his wet face into a scowl.
“Karii? Karii, what’s wrong?” Jane joined her at the window. “Was there lightning or something?”
“No! It was a Meepit! It looked right at me and glared at me!” she cried.
“Karii? We’re on the second floor, and there are no Meepits around here. It must have been lightning.”
She looked genuinely frightened, an aberration considering her calm demeanor. “No! Mom, I saw him; he was directly in front of me!”
“Well, he won’t hurt you. The door’s locked, I promise.” She pulled Amrakarii into a hug.
But deep inside her, Jane was beginning to get nervous. Two of her pets had seen something freaky in the past two weeks. That was too unusual to be coincidence, even in their household.
“Mommy.” Saphie’s voice had a whiny pitch. “I can’t find Goldie anywhere!”
“Mom!” Now Coanneranne emerged from her room. “There’s this blue Meepit in our garden.”
Jane stood up very slowly. The realization was beginning to set in: something was wrong, very wrong.
The girls piled behind the front door.
“I’ve heard that Meepits are really evil,” Saphie whispered.
“I read that they want to take over the world,” Coanneranne added.
Their comments weren’t giving Jane any of the courage she desperately needed. Her hand trembled as she gripped the doorknob.
“Okay... I just... shoo them off the lawn...” She took a breath and opened the door to a myriad of Meepits. She had never seen that many at once. “Okay, Meepits! Off my lawn!” Jane yelled, which sounded really quiet because fear stifled her voice.
“Never!” a Meepit opposed loudly.
“We’re following Goldie!” another said
“What?!!!” Jane bellowed in pure shock.
A golden Snowbunny emerged from the crowd of Meepits. “Hello, Jane.” His glowing fur was like a torch in the rain.
They were all stuck speechless, only Jane made an odd strangled sound as her jaw dropped.
He chuckled. “Where’s Coanneranne? I never got to finish what I started; she was far too quick for me.”
“I knew it!” Coanneranne joined Jane on the lawn.
“Goldie? Wh-why?” Saphie was already sobbing. “Why are you like this? What’s happened to you?”
“Because! Long before I was your Petpet I lived with the Meepits! An evil genius among them all, but then I was caught and forced to be your Petpet. I had no speech capabilities at that time, but the Petpet Lab Ray has changed everything, and now I’m free to rule the world with my Meepit army!” He let out a maniacal laugh.
“I bet you never thought that ray was capable of this!” The blue Meepit laughed with him.
“You!” Coanneranne fumed. “You were the one I caught!”
“What?!” Jane was near tears.
“When I went out a few weeks ago, I caught a Meepit, and he talked to me!” She glared at Goldie. “It was the exact same day you tried to attack me.”
“You’re clever, Coanneranne, not telling anybody about that.” The evil Snowbunny chuckled. “You knew no one would believe you.”
“Yeah, but they do now,” Coanneranne started. “The whole world’s going to know, and then you can’t take over!”
“I’d beg to differ,” a red Meepit argued. “Pretty soon, we’ll unleash every Petpet from the stores and homes of Neopia, and then we’ll zap them with the Petpet Laboratory Ray and turn them to evil geniuses! Mwuhahahaha!!!”
“The laugh must be a side effect of evil genius,” Coanneranne reasoned mostly to herself.
“It is, and it’s cool ‘cause none of you can do it!” Goldie showed off his evil laugh, and the other Meepits joined him.
“We gotta tell someone!” Saphie gasped.
“Oh no, you won’t!” Goldie opposed loudly. “Meepits! Tie them up!”
A sea of Petpets swarmed over the girls. Running did no good, since Saphie and Jane were too slow. Coanneranne and Amrakarii flew high enough, but the Meepits met them on the roof. They were tackled and landed with a splat.
“Thanks for the brief entertainment, girls.” The blue Meepit got out some rope. “You’re all hilarious.”
“Why, Goldie, why?” Saphie whimpered.
“Because, you’re all annoying, you whine too much; and you-!” He pointed a paw at Coanneranne, “-You’re an unbearable know-it-all!” Goldie knotted the rope binding Amrakarii and Jane together. “You’re childish and emotional, Jane!” He then turned to Amrakarii. “And you... I just don’t like Korbats.”
“Hey!! At least I don’t laugh like Dr. Sloth!” Amrakarii spat.
“Dr. Sloth is my idol!”
“Yay Dr. Sloth!!” the Meepits followed.
“This is too creepy!” Jane started to thrash and kick. “I want out! Get me outta here! How could my pet’s Petpet be evil?! Why me?!!”
“That’s exactly my point.” Goldie rolled his eyes.
“Master Goldie, we need to put our plan into action before someone sees us,” a purple Meepit said.
“You’re right. Commence Step 1! Unleash all Petpets!”
The sea of evil Petpets retreated off the front lawn, and left the girls tied up on the soggy grass. None of them spoke for a long time, and finally shock gave way to despair.
“If they had to tie us up, why couldn’t they do it INSIDE!!!??” Coanneranne nearly screeched.
“Now we’re gonna be all wet, I hope you guys don’t get the sniffles,” Jane whined.
A heavy silence, except the patter of the rain, smothered the group.
“This is all your fault, Saphie,” Coanneranne said suddenly. “It’s YOUR Petpet that’s taking over the world. Why did you zap him in the first place?”
Saphie, who hadn’t said a word for the past hour, finally burst into tears again. “I don’t know, I don’t know! It’s my fault!! The world’s gonna be enslaved cause of me!!!” she sobbed.
“Saphie, no! It’s not your fault! It’s mine, I decided to buy the lab map... It’s my fault!!!” Now Jane was sobbing.
“Way to go, Annie,” Amrakarii whispered bitterly.
“It’s true, though, and don’t call me Annie!” the faerie Ixi hissed.
All the arguing just served to distract them from the feelings of despair, and we all know how that feels: not very good. Like when you lose all your Neopoints after playing Scorchy Slots, or the Pant Devil stealing your Island paint brush.
“How could have Goldie been so evil?” Saphie finally asked. “He...just looks-”
“-So cute,” Amrakarii finished for her. “It’s hard to believe.”
“Well, looks can be deceiving,” Coanneranne started, “we look pretty pitiful ourselves. I mean... Petpets taking over the world.”
Everyone silently agreed: why couldn’t they have been tied up by something a little more fearsome?
“We hafta get out!” Jane began to struggle again. “I will not let my pet’s Petpet take over the world! What would my friends think?”
Coanneranne and Amrakarii rolled their eyes. “Mom, we’re not getting free; no one can see us and our hooves are bound,” Coanneranne stated.
“Claws,” Amrakarii added.
“Whatever! You get my point!” The exasperation was evident in her voice.
“Wait!” Amrakarii jumped. “Coanneranne! What if your Baby Fireball burned the rope?”
“He can’t come out in the rain!” Jane responded.
“Then we just have to wait for the rain to stop,” Coanneranne decided. “What a brilliant idea... not.”
Which is what they did. The four waited until the moon was high in the sky, and soon after that they all fell asleep on the front lawn. Saphie was the first to wake up. Her eyes opened to the burning sun; she quickly shut them.
“What are you doing here, little girl?” a voice asked above her. She looked up to see a yellow Lenny. “Why are you all tied up? And you’re wet...”
“Goldie and his Petpet army are taking over the world!!!” she cried. That got quite a reaction out of the Lenny.
“I think you’ve been out in the rain too long.” She concealed a snicker.
“No! I’m super serious. You gotta untie me!” Saphie was far too panicked to care what the Lenny thought of her (and she probably thought she was nuts).
“Sure, I’ll untie you.”
“Coanneranne! Karii! Mommy! Wake up, someone’s untying us!”
Jane yawned and looked over to see the Lenny lady releasing her pets from the rope prison.
“Oh... how long have... oh my gosh!” Life sprang back into her eyes. “We must've slept through the rain!”
“No duh, Mom!” Coanneranne sounded exasperated again. “How could we? Goldie and his freaky army are probably halfway across Neopia by now!”
“Hey! Don’t talk to Mommy that way!” Saphie yelled.
“Don’t butt in like that, Saphie! It’s your fault we’re in this mess!”
“If you hadn’t let Goldie attack you, maybe we wouldn’t be!”
“How was I supposed to know to attack him back!?”
“YOU GUYS!!! ENOUGH!!!” Jane roared. Both of them were prompted into a stunned silence. Even Amrakarii was more surprised than she had been in the last twenty-four hours. Jane rarely ever yelled at anyone or anything, and she wasn’t the best disciplinarian to her pets that she could be, which was why Saphie and Coanneranne argued so much. This aberration of rage had shocked them.
Coanneranne looked down at her hooves. “Sorry, Mom.”
She frowned, ashamed by her outburst.
“I-I’m sorry, guys, but we gotta get it together.” Jane’s voice returned to its usual placidness. “No one else knows about this yet, so it’s up to us to save Neopia! We’re gonna be heroes! Even if our enemy is a bunch of Petpets!”
“Heroes, yeah...” Amrakarii repeated doubtfully. “I don’t know how successful this will be.”
“Thank you, Miss Lenny!” Saphie turned back to the rather dumbstruck Lenny.
“Yep, no problem...” She turned to leave, and by the time she was out of their earshot she was muttering something along the lines of, “What a bunch of wackjobs! Petpets taking over Neopia, whoever heard of such a silly thing?”
--Back in the house--
“Alright, Karii, go get the Times. We gotta see if the news has any coverage on this yet. Saphie, go get some new clothes for me and grab some towels, and Coanneranne, go find Powder, just to make sure he’s safe.” Jane had turned on her inner leader, or at least she thought she had. “Oh, I hope I’m doing this right...”
“We’ll be fine, Mom,” Amrakarii said as she passed by. “I know we’ve never saved the world before, but how hard can it be?”
“If we mess up, the whole world will pay the price.” Jane frowned.
Amrakarii didn't answer.
Meanwhile, Saphie and Coanneranne were returning downstairs.
“Hey Saphie, you remember when I asked what’s the worst that could happen if we used the Petpet ray?” Coanneranne asked as she sauntered down the stairs.
“Yeah,” Saphie answered behind her.
“Now I feel like an idiot,” Coanneranne said.
“But why? What does that have to do with now?”
Coanneranne sighed. “That’s what you call irony, little sister.” The faerie Ixi’s voice was pure sarcasm.
“Irony...” Saphie repeated.
“There’s nothing in the news,” Amrakarii announced.
“Then they probably haven’t made any moves yet,” Coanneranne reasoned.
“Unless they’ve done something in secret,” Jane added.
“But wouldn’t some one have come in and seen them breaking into a store?” Saphie piped up.
“Not if they’re closed,” Jane answered for her pet. “We can’t underestimate genius: they might know the stores’ schedules or something.”
“But that still leaves the question of how we go about stopping them!” Coanneranne seemed to be having fun with this. Amrakarii vaguely wondered if her sister enjoyed this crime fighting and detective work.
“Maybe the Doc knows something!” Saphie exclaimed.
“Good idea, Saphie!!” Jane wrung the remaining water from her hair. “Let’s get going!”
To be continued...