The Peculiar Incident that is Goldie the Snowbunny: Part Five
“Noooo!” A Pink Meepit beat on her force field prison. “Let me out!!!”
“All right!” Amrakarii cheered. “That’s the fourth one today!”
“Each captured Petpet gets us closer to Goldie! One step at a time!” Even Coanneranne was finally being optimistic.
“Thank you for getting rid of all those Meepits.” Illusen emerged from behind her curtain. “They’ve been nothing but trouble since the beginning!” Her face suddenly fell. “But I almost thought I heard one talking...”
“Of course not!” Coanneranne said sweetly. She turned sharply to Jane and shot her a ‘say something!’ look.
She jumped to action. “Oh, it’s n-no problem! B-but um...” Jane lost her words.
“Yes? I’m in debt to you and your pets. Ask anything, and I shall try my hardest.”
Jane was taken aback by the faerie’s beauty and kindness. “Well--we,” she swallowed and looked her straight in the eyes, “we’d like it if you kept an eye out for Goldie the golden Snowbunny. Any news you receive about him, we need to know.”
“I see. I’d be happy to help.” Illusen smiled, “Oh! And please accept this.” She went inside and returned with a yellow potion. “This is a Honey Potion; I’ve used it myself in battle, so it should prove useful to you at some point. It will render everyone, besides yourself, in a sea of the stickiest honey you’ve ever seen.” The faerie set it in Jane’s hands.
“Ah, th-thank you, Miss-uh- Illusen!”
Amrakarii laughed inside at her owner’s bashfulness. She wasn’t used to such kindness.
“Well, we’d better go; there are always more Petpets to capture.” Coanneranne turned to leave.
It was only morning, so there was a lot more time left to catch the evil creatures. The family had been at the job for a week now, and almost all the Petpets that didn’t have an owner had been sent to the Doc’s lab. The world of Neopia had yet to attribute any of the odd going-ons with Petpets to Goldie. As far as he was concerned, his entire plot was still protected in obscurity. Saphie found it odd that the talking Petpets didn’t directly talk to anyone besides them. The Times reported more and more Petpet store break-ins and missing Petpets by the day. The four of them could hardly keep up here in Meridell.
“You think the Petpets will give us any leads?” Saphie asked as they passed Meri Acres Farm. “We could tickle the answer out of them or something.”
“Sounds oddly family friendly,” Amrakarii said. “I like it.”
Before anyone replied, something leaped from a pile of dirt. “Arrrggghhhh!” a purple Slorg raved. “I will protect Master Goldie!”
“Not so fast!” Coanneranne tossed the two disks between him and the bright force field appeared to trap the Petpet.
“W-what is this?!” the Slorg demanded.
“Your new prison,” Amrakarii cheekily answered, “unless you can tell us where Goldie is.”
The mean expression on his face dropped slightly. “Okay, I’ll give you a hint, but you have to let me free!”
Jane hesitated; was this Slorg being honest? Would he send them in the wrong direction and still be released? What should they do?
“Okay!” Saphie hastily agreed.
“Wait, Saphie! How do we know you’re not lying?” Coanneranne eyed him with suspicion.
“Because, after this I’ll just join my buddies again to eat that Yurble’s crops. I don’t care about world domination.”
“But you care about a garden’s domination?”
The faerie Ixi looked for Jane’s approval, but her blank expression didn’t offer anything.
“We can’t just leave him here,” Amrakarii protested.
“Yeah, but...” Jane was cut off by the Slorg,
“Well, can you PLEASE make a decision sometime today?!”
Jane’s mind spun. How cunning could a talking Slorg really be?
“Okay, okay, okay! Uh... we... we let him go!”
Coanneranne nodded and pressed her face up against the force field. “Okay, Slorg, tell us what we want to know.”
He breathed a sigh of relief, and told them that Goldie had a secret base in Brightvale. As soon as the field broke, he disappeared behind a bush, leaving the girls to ponder the hint.
“Brightvale? Why Brightvale?” Amrakarii scratched her head.
“Another thing is whether or not to believe him,” Coanneranne added, “but a base in Brightvale sounds so farfetched it could be true.”
“It’s our only lead; we gotta follow it!” Saphie declared.
Jane slowly nodded. “Then I guess we should go.”
“Think, Mom,” Coanneranne started. “If we take out Goldie, we can take out his entire army of psycho Petpets a lot faster!”
Jane nodded again, and suddenly hoped that her pets wouldn’t be traumatized after this entire ordeal.
Immediately the girls began the trek to Brightvale. By the time they arrived in the evening they were too exhausted to try any more Petpet tracking. Although at the inn they could notice there was something eerie about the place. Everything was quiet, the only residents there were the clerk and a hotel maid, and neither spoke to them during their stay. They hightailed it out of the inn early the next morning, but the town was still abandoned.
“Where is anyone?” Amrakarii finally asked.
“It’s funny; everyone’s curtains are drawn, and the doors are bolted,” Coanneranne observed. “Something funny’s going on around here.”
There were literally no citizens in the streets of Brightvale. Throughout the day the girls remained alert for any signs of Petpet activity, but the city was abandoned down to the last Mootix hiding in the grass.
“I guess that Slorg was right about his hint.” Jane was trying to ease the tension around them.
“This is creepy. I wonder if the King is still safe?”
“Good idea, Saphie! We should go see him!” Amrakarii’s sudden cheerfulness brightened the air. “Maybe he’ll even help us if we explain-”
“Explain what?” Coanneranne interrupted. “That we’re after a maniacal Petpet?”
Saphie and Jane suppressed a laugh; there was a good reason they hadn’t told anybody what they were doing.
They walked quickly up the main path to their destination. Brightvale Castle loomed over the girls as they approached the doors. It seemed as deserted as the rest of the town, there were no guards, and the double wide entrance was locked.
“Darn!” Coanneranne seethed.“We should’ve figured it’d be locked!”
Jane looked up at a lone window. “Karii, Coanneranne, could you guys maybe fly up there and try to hoist us up?”
“Good idea, Mom! Come on, Karii!”
“Not so fast!!!”
The two winged sisters halted, and turned to see that purple Slorg.
“No way!!!” Jane hollered. “You said you’d leave us alone!”
“I was lying, you silly girl.” He returned his attention to Coanneranne and Amrakarii,
“You are all too gullible to be heroes! Goldie has this entire city under siege as you can see! What makes you think you can save Neopia from geniuses like us?”
“'Cause... we are secret warriors of justice,” Saphie replied half heartedly.
The Slorg saw right through it; she didn’t think they could save Neopia, and neither did the rest of her family.
“Yeah, Saphie, that was pathetic,” Coanneranne added.
The Acara whipped around to Coanneranne. “Whose side are you on?!”
“I’m just saying...”
“No, you’re not!!”
“Um, Saphie, Coanneranne, please...”
“Mom, it’s no use.”
“But I-I should try, Karii.”
“You’re just slowing us down, Saphie!!”
“Well, Coanneranne, maybe if you weren’t treating this like a game, Miss Detective wanna-be!”
“I’m taking it more seriously than you!!”
“Saphie, Annie, stop.”
“Don’t call me Annie, Karii!”
“I just want you to stop!”
“Stay out of it!”
“No one asked you, Saphie!”
“SILENCE!!!!!!” the Slorg roared. “For Fyora’s sake! How did you four make it this far!?? The way you all argue, I’m surprised your idiot owner didn’t dump you brats in the pound!!”
Jane looked as if she had been slapped across the face; she hated to see her pets fight, and now this Petpet was yelling at her. She hated getting yelled at.
Saphie’s eyes got an eerie red glow to them, she stomped up to the Slorg and shouted in his face, “Don’t you talk to Mommy that way!!!”
“We’ll turn you into Petpet food before you separate us!” Coanneranne added maliciously.
Amrakarii flew to her temporary owner’s side. “And we dare you to try and stop us!”
The purple Slorg looked slightly stunned, and quick as a flash Amrakarii lunged at him with the DIFTCOP. He had no time to react before he was re-imprisoned.
“Noooo! Not again!” And there he sat, defeated in the force field.
“Ha! That’ll teach you a lesson!” Coanneranne poked the confinement proudly.
Saphie looked up for her owner’s approval, but instead she was crying!
“Mommy? What’s wrong?”
She started sobbing, “I’m so proud of you guys! I love you!!” She gathered all her pets in a hug.
“M-mom?!” Amrakarii felt a little uncomfortable. She had never really been hugged by Jane before; but why should she? She wasn’t really a member of this family; she only called Jane ‘Mom’ on her request, and after that, she was just another lab rat....
“That’s right! Come on, Karii, we still have to get to that window!”
Coanneranne broke her chain of thought. “Huh? Oh, right!”
The pair started up the tower and looked through the glass; what they saw stunned them.
“G-Goldie?!!!” Coanneranne forced her hooves to muffle her cry.
The Golden Snowbunny sat in the room surrounded by machines and papers. On the wall were four posters with their individual pictures, Saphie, Jane, Karii, and Coanneranne, “Bring to Goldie Headquarters if Found.”
“What’s that satellite by the wall for?” Amrakarii whispered, referencing the giant satellite that hung from the right wall.
“Maybe that was how he made petpets evil without the ray...”
“What makes you think I know?” Coanneranne hissed.
“I’m just ask-” Amrakarii immediately stopped when Goldie turned around. He looked just as innocent as before; you couldn’t tell he was an evil lunatic just by looking at him. Why did poor Saphie’s Petpet have to be evil? Out of all the Petpets...
“Karii, we hafta get down!” Coanneranne whispered harshly. Jane and Saphie were eagerly waiting below,
“What did you see?!” Saphie asked.
“Calm down, Saphie!” But the faerie Ixi could barely control herself. “Goldie’s up there.”
“He must have the king locked up if he managed to get the entire town to stay in hiding...” Karii reasoned, but no one was listening.
Jane gasped. “What are we gonna do? There’s no other way to get in!!”
“Not yet! But there has to be another....” Coanneranne surveyed every little detail. Maybe there was a crack in the foundation, a hole, or a secret entrance by a fountain like in the mystery books.
“We could dig a hole under the door!”
Now the three of them gasped.
“Good thinks, sister!” Saphie cried with delight.
“Then let’s start digging! It’ll take a while.” Amrakarii set off to find some shovels in a nearby shed.
Jane seemed confused. “Coanneranne, you didn’t say anything to Saphie, didn’t you catch-”
“Yes, but what good would it do?” She smiled to her owner.
“Found shovels! Mom, Mom? Hello?” She waved a hand in Jane’s blank face, she finally snapped back to reality,
“Sorry, Karii, I’m just... still really happy.”
“Well, I won’t be until Goldie is stopped; he’s my Petpet! So he’s my responsibility!”Saphie was feverishly digging by the door.
“Not so fast!!!” a familiar voice called. The four slowly looked up at the window, “Your journey ends here, you naive fools!”
“...Oh, great...” Amrakarii sighed, out of all the things.
Goldie was standing out of the window laughing like Dr. Sloth if he drank fourteen cups of coffee.
“I shall free you, my minion!” Goldie announced to the imprisoned Slorg, “And we will be sure to lock you four up!”
Jane scooped up her pets and took off.
“Mom! Mom, where are we going!?” Coanneranne slipped out of her arms and flew next to her.
“Far away!!” Jane’s instincts had kicked in, and her only concern was to get her pets to safety. They ran for a long time until the shrubs thickened into a forest. Jane wasn’t much of a runner, but even fatigue couldn’t stop her. The adventure was over, this was serious, she was done, and running away from it all.
Suddenly a Symol appeared behind a tree, they zoomed past it, but then another one emerged, and soon Symols were occupying every tree. Now Jane stopped abruptly, her face drained. “Oh no.”
“Oh, yes,” a green minion approached them, “you’ve been caught.”
--A Really Dark Dungeon--
“Noooooo!” Jane was sobbing. “We were doing so well!!”
“We lost!!!” Saphie sobbed with her.
“Now what? We’re just going to rot here, I suppose, so much for an adventure,” Coanneranne mumbled.
But Amrakarii was still trying to keep her head. Goldie couldn’t keep them here forever, could he? She had to look on the bright side, since no one else was. She silently listened to everyone groan about their failure for the next few hours. Eventually everyone’s crying tapered off into a fitful sleep.
There were no windows, so Jane couldn’t tell what time it was when she dozed off. She woke up incredibly hungry, and there was nothing to drink. The dungeon was silent except for Coanneranne’s fidgeting. She sighed.
“Coanneranne, how are you feeling?”
“How do you think?” she snapped, but she immediately regretted it. “I’m sorry, Mom, I’m just really hungry, I didn’t mean to get grumpy.”
“It’s okay, I’m just sad. I’m... sorry I was a bad owner to you guys.”
“What??!!” an apparently awake Amrakarii cried suddenly. “You were the best owner ever!!” She took a breath before Jane could react. “You’re still the best owner I’ve ever had! My first owner gave me stuff, but you’ve given me something else! I-I don’t know what it is exactly, but I feel happy with you all! I don’t want to leave!!”
“Karii?!” Coanneranne had never seen her like this, the usually collected Korbat was crying, she wanted to help her sister, but the chains on her hoofs made that a little difficult. Jane was struck speechless; she had never even given a thought about abandoning her. She had automatically treated her like permanent family. Jane had never considered when she would abandon Amrakarii.
“Don’t cry, Karii, I’ll never abandon you. We’ll get a room made for you, whatever you want. It can be asparagus if you want! Or ice, when we get out of here-”
“Who says we’re getting out of here?” Coanneranne interrupted. “I want you to stay too, Karii, but I don’t think we’re gonna get out of here alive.”
They all sighed, only Saphie did so in her sleep. Amrakarii looked up into the darkness. If they died in here, at least she knew she was loved.
A few hours passed, or maybe a few days, they all passed in and out of sleep, until suddenly Coanneranne awoke to a small ker-plunk. It was a bright red Moltenore.
“Oh great,” she scowled, “another minion.”
He shook his head.
“Then what are you?”
He smiled and pointed up (they had been locked up in a pit). The Scorchio Doctor was staring down at them!
“What in the...”
A Wuzzle dropped down and stepped under Jane’s chains. They began to melt. “Oh my gosh!!” she gaped in amazement as her wrists were set free.
The links dissolved and the Wuzzle started on Saphie’s.
“Saphie, sweetie, wake up!” Jane said.
It feels really hot in here, Saphie thought. The sleep in her eyes gave way and she saw the Petpet.
“WAAhhh! Evil Petpet!!!”
“No, no, Saphie! The Doc is here, he’s gonna help!” Jane ran to comfort her Acara.
“Mommy, you’re free!!”
“She just told you, Saphie, we’re being rescued.” Coanneranne was disappointed to see that the disconnected cuffs were still on her hoofs.
Amrakarii only realized how hungry she was when she could stand up. Food was her first priority; Goldie could wait.
“Here’s a rope, girls. Hurry up, they don’t know we’re here!”
Jane grabbed Saphie and met her other pets at the top.
“I’m about to keel over from thirst.” Saphie felt herself crash to the ground.
“We’ll get you provisions, but first I’ll give you this.” He shoved another disk into Amrakarii’s claws. “I forgot to give you this one, the EPS.”
“The EPS, whuz’dat?” Jane asked.
“The Evil Petpet Shipper. I was going to give it to you beforehand, but I seemed to have forgotten about it. It’ll bring all the Petpets you capture and take them to me. It’s my hopes that it will prove useful this far in your little hero quest-”
“Space Station?” Coanneranne interrupted.
“Yes, the Space Station.”
They were all too hungry to be annoyed, but suddenly Coanneranne straightened. “Doc, how’d you find us?”
He smiled, looking freaky as always. “I noticed no one was shipping any more Petpets to me, so I investigated your DIFTCOP location and discovered you there, I apologize for the long wait.”
“How long was it?”
That news just made their hunger worse.
“Aarrgg!!!” Saphie roared. “I have to eat something before I start eating rocks!!”
“Thanks for treating us to the food, Doctor.” Amrakarii had finished her potato. Next to her Jane was still gobbling down her gruel. Medieval slop had never tasted so good!
“Now that you’ve regained your strength, are you going after Goldie? I’m sure he’s still at the castle.”
Coanneranne hesitated. “He knows we’re gone by now, he has to know...”
“Then all the better to stop him,” the Doc said.
Now Jane hesitated. “I don’t know if we’re ready.”
“Balderdash!” He rose to his feet. “You have everything you require to stop your Petpet! You’ve even been granted a second chance!” He stopped for dramatic tension. “Goldie must be stopped.”
“Mr. Lab guy’s right; let’s go stop Goldie!!” Saphie bounded out of the store.
“Saphie--SAPHIE?! Wait!!” Jane followed behind her. The two remaining sisters took a quick glance at each other and ran out.
“Good luck, girls! You can’t fail!” the Scorchio called on their way out, “’cause if you do, I’ll have to find a new lab...”
A plan had been devised on the way back to Brightvale Castle: the Lab Scorchio had removed a chunk of wall to the east side, so they could sneak in there. After that Jane and Saphie would find their way up the stairs, Coanneranne and Amrakarii would fly back up to the window and sneak in through there. They would set a perfect trap.
“You guys have to be super stealthy,” Coanneranne said. “I’m sure minions are everywhere.”
“It’s times like this I’m glad I painted you faerie...”
“Mom! Are you paying attention?”
“Eh? Yes, yes, we’ll be quiet.” She brought her voice to a whisper.
They set out in their directions, everything was still silent and abandoned when the castle came into sight. Jane heard her Acara swallow.
“Let’s teach Goldie a lesson!”
To be continued...