Undercover Defenders - The New Partner: Part One
In Neopia some things are better left unsaid, unheard, and unknown. On the other hand, these dangers cannot be left to prowl Neopia with their claws extended and fangs bared; it was for this purpose the Defenders of Neopia created the Undercover Defenders department. The Undercover Defenders were to fight the dangers born in the darkest shadows of Neopia and keep them in the shadows from which they were born. Even today, unbeknownst to the public, these secret members keep Neopians safe from harm, for that is the job of a Defender of Neopia...
I myself had not known about the Undercover Defenders of Neopia until my 23rd year.
I lived on Krawk Island after I moved from Neopia Central when I was 19. I had grown tired of the easy missions I was given at the Defenders of Neopia Headquarters because of my lack of strength and agility. I loved the Defenders of Neopia because they stood for everything I loved: justice, strength, courage, and nobility. I’d always wanted to become like that ever since I was a child. But I found that, as I got older, I could not become the hero I’d always wanted to be in Neopia Central. To change myself, I moved to Krawk Island and began studying the art of fighting at the Academy. For months I kept myself training rigorously before I discovered something that would change my life forever.
Krawk Island is known for its high population of pirates and many of these pirates were extremely dangerous criminals who were easily able to get away with crimes. No one ever did anything about it. It used to tick me off watching everyone around me just turn away as they saw a crime take place. But I decided to do something about it. I began catching those dangerous pirates and turning them in the Defenders of Neopia. I even gained a reputation on the island as Segyx the Pirate Hunter. I never knew if I had actually liked my name or not because a little while after I gained my reputation, an odd stranger visited my house.
The past, 8:00 PM, the 19th day of the month of Relaxing
I remember that it had been raining that day since I had stayed inside my Neohome instead of going to the Golden Dubloon. I had been making dinner for myself and my Zomutt, Storm, when I heard a knock at the door.
I went warily to the door, fingering at the dagger in my belt. My reputation as the Pirate Hunter had given me some unwanted visitors of late and I had become a little wary of someone knocking at my door at 8 o’ clock at night. But I wasn’t a coward; I opened the door cautiously.
A desert Gelert stood in his doorway. She was tall and lean though looked rather stern while wearing a long, brown raincoat. I had no idea who she was.
“Are you Segyx Elsly?” the Gelert said.
“Yeah,” I had said, wondering how she knew my name. “Who are you?”
“My name is Adella Kerwin,” said the desert Gelert. “May I come in? I need to speak with you and such words are for your ears only.”
I hesitated at first but the Gelert seemed polite so I let her in. She looked a little relieved of being out of the pouring rain.
I led her into the small kitchen table and went to check if my dinner hadn’t been burned. It hadn’t, so I sat down at the table with Storm on my lap, who was looking curiously at the stranger.
“So,” Adella started quickly without wasting a moment and put down her hood, “I going to be straightforward with you. Segyx, I am from Neopia Central and I’m here to ask you if you are interested in joining the Undercover Defenders of Neopia.”
There was a moment of silence with only the pounding of the rain on the roof heard.
“Undercover Defenders of Neopia,” Adella had repeated. “You shouldn’t have heard of it until just now. But I’m asking you if you’re are interested in joining.”
“What exactly,” I had said, completely confused, “is that? Why do you want me for it and why shouldn’t I have heard of it until now?”
“The Undercover Defenders of Neopia,” said Adella, “is a secret department within the Defenders of Neopia. Its job is to keep Neopia safe without anyone knowing about it. I’m the Superintendent of it. I’m asking you if you’re willing to join us. You have the skills we’re looking for as an Agent. You’ve been on our radar for some time now.”
At that point, my distrust and suspicion had piqued. “How do I know,” I had said slowly, trying to keep my suspicion out of my voice, “if this Undercover Defender thing is real? I’ve been attacked quite a few times this month, you know.”
“We do know,” said Adella simply. “In the first week of this month, you were attacked by a pirate crew out with revenge for their captain since you captured him. A week later, four pirates attacked you, trying to obtain the title of pirates who defeated the so-called ‘Pirate Hunter’. And about three days ago, a pirate broke into your home after you did not buy a sword from his shop because it was a fake. It was a fake, too, by the way. They’re all currently in our custody. Just escaping the first attacked unscathed is amazing, let alone three. I really want you to join the Undercover Defenders, Segyx; you’d be a great help.”
I stared at Adella, completely stunned from her knowledge of my life. “So you’ve been watching me? How long?”
“A while,” Adella admitted. “Ever since one of my Agents suggested you might have what it takes to become an Agent after they heard the rumor of the “Pirate Hunter” on Krawk Island. I’m not making this decision lightly. Agents in the Undercover Defenders are the best of the best, the greatest in Neopia. You face much danger, but it is also an honor to be able to protect Neopia every day. What do you say?”
“So these Defenders,” I said, “what are you guys, are you like spies?”
Adella smiled, the first time since she had entered my house. “Sort of. Are you interested?”
I had begun to think. Undercover Defenders sounded like the real deal – and it was everything I had been looking for on Krawk Island. Protect Neopia? Save it from bad guys? Become a hero?
“I would like to join.”
“That’s good then,” said Adella brightly. “I would like to tell you more but this place is too risky. This department is a complete secret and you must not tell anyone of this meeting. If you really want to join, move back to Neopia Central and I will find you at 5 AM on the first day of the month of Swimming at your new Neohome. I can tell you everything there.” She got up and began moving back towards the door. “That’s all I have to say. I really hope I can meet you there. Your future can be bright if you choose it to be. I will not intrude any further tonight.”
As Adella reached my front door, I ran towards her, quickly asking one last question.
“What if I don’t join?”
Adella looked at me and laughed. “Segyx, if I weren’t sure you were going to join, I wouldn’t even be here right now.”
Still smiling, she put her hood up and walked out into the dark, pouring night. Then I thought I smelled something burning in my kitchen but I honestly didn’t care about it. I felt far too excited to eat and started to plan my move since I only had eleven days left until Adella’s date.
Present, 4:55 AM, the 1st day of the month of Swimming
Today was the day Adella was coming. Unless it was all a hoax, that is. But I don’t think it was. Now here I was, in Neopia Central in a new home, barely unpacked.
As I was sitting on the couch, the doorbell rang. I quickly sprang up and went to the door, making sure I did not disturb Storm, who was sleeping in his bed on the floor. After all, it was early in the morning and still pitch black outside.
Adella was once again standing in my doorway though without the heavy raincoat she had worn the last time I had seen her; she now wore a long, black jacket.
“I’m not surprised you came,” said Adella, “and I’ll have to skip all the popular greetings since we must be off.”
“We’re going somewhere?” I said, surprised.
“I’m taking you to Headquarters,” said Adella. “We can talk there in full detail but we need to leave now.”
I nodded and before I called my Zomutt, Adella added, “Don’t take your Petpet. I’ll explain later. You won’t need anything at the moment.”
Wistfully, I looked at my sleeping Zomutt, who I took everywhere with me on Krawk Island. But things were different now and I knew change was coming. I grabbed my keys, went outside and locked my door and proceeded out of my walkway and walk along into the warm, July morning.
5:45 AM, the Defenders of Neopia Headquarters
Even though the Plaza of Neopia Central was still pitch black, the Defenders of Neopia Headquarters shone brightly with light pouring out of the building. I’d always loved walking past the Defenders of Neopia building as a child, wondering when I could enter the halls of famous superheroes and work beside them. But now I finally could.
Adella, however, did not begin walking towards the entrance but instead skimmed the side of the building and towards the back.
“Er, where are we going?” I asked as I followed.
“Just follow me,” said Adella quietly.
We reached the back of the building and Adella went towards a large metal door. It had no handle, but a large sign that said, “For maintenance use only.”
“Now, Segyx, press your paw against that square – yes, the area lighter than the rest of the door.”
I obeyed and pressed my paw against the square. There was a quiet beeping noise and the door opened.
A staircase appeared in front of them. We both hurried over the threshold and the door shut behind us automatically.
I began to climb the stairs, but Adella suddenly broke into a fast jog that I hastily followed.
“We don’t really have time to climb slowly,” Adella said apologetically. “Your Neohome was farther from here than I thought and there are eight flights of stairs to the department.”
“Eight flights?” I said, exasperated. Since it was early morning, my endurance was not even close to what it usually was and I was already out of breath.
“We had to keep our department separated from the main part of the building, so they made the department on the top two floors of the building. But the layout is convenient: the stairwells have security cameras everywhere so intruders will never get far if they break in and no one ever knows about us.”
I agreed with the sense of it, but I dreaded the idea of walking up and down the stairs every morning. Then again, no pain, no gain.
Up and up we went. The stairwell only consisted of dimly-lit lights, so I never knew how close we were to the top until Adella stopped abruptly ahead of me. There was a door in front of her, I noticed in relief.
She pressed her paw to a door similar to the one at the entrance. It, too, beeped and swung open while we hurried inside. There was another hallway with two doors at each end and stairs leading elsewhere. Adella went to the left and I followed her as she pressed her hand against yet another door. It opened with a beep and we both stepped inside.
“Welcome to the Undercover Defenders of Neopia, Segyx.”
To be continued...