Paparazzi: Part Three
I cannot tell you how annoying failure is. I thought that as a villain I could handle it the first couple of times, then improve so that I was failing less and less. Yet this plan seemed flawless and I’m still here empty handed. Why can’t villains ever get what they want; is Neopia against us? Okay, so they probably are, but I’d still like to win for once. And that holographic message only made us look worse; it would only invoke fear if we had actually gotten away with the crime.
I pace the lair angrily. The Cybunny had gone into a half sleep half energy conservation phase after she returned. I think about the image of the Kau that she had shown me; who is this person who thinks she can stand up to us?
“Myrtle, have you found any matches to that photo?” I ask my sister in the other room.
“Yeah, I, like, actually have,” she replies in her usually annoying tone. “It looks like she sorta works for The Agency, or something.”
“What agency,” I ask irritably.
“Y’know, The Agency,” Myrtle answers as if that would explain it all. “At the moment, she’s employed by this journalist guy.”
“She’s a journalist?” I ask, suddenly interested.
“Well, she’s not really a journalist; she’s kinda more like paparazzi,” Myrtle corrects.
“I don’t care,” I snap. “The fact is that she works for a newspaper; she could make us famous.”
“But didn’t she, like, humiliate us?” Myrtle asks.
“Bah, we’ll just send our new weapon to Neopia Central, but make sure that she doesn’t lose to that Kau again,” I explain. “Then she’s bound to write something about how dangerous we are.”
“By ‘new weapon’ do you, like, mean that dematerializing thingy? ‘Cause I really think that—“ Myrtle starts.
“I’m talking about the Cybunny,” I interrupt.
I sigh; sometimes I wish that I had a sidekick instead of a sister.
From the Desk of Samuel Peterson:
“Peppi, this is amazing,” I gasp as the Kau shows me her photos and notes. “I can’t wait to start writing this story; you are a real lifesaver.”
“Thanks, Mr. P,” she says with a blush.
I still don’t understand this girl’s obsession with Ps, but what’s important is that she turned out a great story, much more interesting than that whole Illusen and Jhudora thing.
“So, I was wondering if you knew anything about the names Larkin and Myrtle,” she asks curiously.
“I don’t recall anything about them,” I mutter as I wrack my memory, “but that’s not important.”
“Oh, but I think it is,” she says with doll eyes. “People are going to want to know who the latest evil maniac is.”
I sigh; the media is already swarming over the vast amount of Neopia’s evil maniacs, but I decide that I might as well see if I can find something for her. Maybe she can come up with another miracle story if I get her started. I flip through my folders looking for anything that matches Peppi’s description of the Lenny.
Eventually I return, saying, “There wasn’t much, but I did read something about a duo of bandits who robbed a museum in Shenkuu. One was a Lenny; her name isn’t given but ‘Larkin’ does ring a bell.”
“Was there anything else about them?” Peppi asks inquisitively.
“Not really,” I reply. “They were known for their unusual gadgets; all of them were Virtupets designs.”
“Well, I guess that’ll have to do,” she says.
I suddenly become silent and gesture for her to do the same.
“Do you hear screaming?” I ask.
She gasps and we both exit my office and see what the commotion is. People are running in terror in all directions. Nervously we depart from the Catacombs and realize that the problem is coming from the bank.
“What’s going on?” Peppi asks a fleeing Xweetok.
“There’s some monster Cybunny in the bank of Neopia,” he shouts frantically.
“This is my chance,” Peppi exclaims. “I bet I can learn more if I investigate here.”
“There’s no need for that,” I scoff. “We’ve got a good enough story and that Cybunny is probably dangerous.”
“But Mr. P, this could lead to something big; I just know it,” she pleads.
“If I say ‘no’, will that change anything?” I ask.
“Nope,” she replies with a grin.
With that she departs for the bank.
Once more I have terrorized everyone in a building and now I am the only one in the bank. I walk towards the vault and rip it off the wall with my immense strength. I begin to gather piles of Neopoints; however, this is not my primary objective. My true reason for this robbery is so that I can find and destroy the Kau who thwarted my earlier theft. In no time the Kau slips into the building with a notepad and camera.
“I just want to talk,” she says. “I have a couple questions that you can answer.”
Her words mean nothing to my programming. I focus my robotic eye at her and fire a deadly red laser. She is prepared for this and dodges, then runs through the door. I pursue her with unmatchable speed. I have her targeted and I approach her ready to grab at her neck. She predicts this too and ducks to the side, just missing my grasp. However, now I have caught up with her and she cannot run.
We are outside in Neopia Central. The Kau has led me off to a side alley where there are fewer panicked civilians. I charge at her with my metallic fist outright. She blocks with a garbage can lid; the lid is torn, but my attack is ruined. My ear folds back and fires several razor sharp discs at her. She tries to evade them, but her dress and some of her fur is cut. She is running out of energy so I try to finish her with another punch. She swiftly rolls to the side, causing me to hit the ground. To my surprise the ground cracks and we are both sent falling.
I realize that we must have fallen into the sewers of Neopia. I can hear her splashing through water, but my vision is still adapting. My eye switches from normal sight to night vision so that I can see her clearly as she rushes through the tunnels.
I chase after her, but the damp ground is much more difficult for me. My jets cannot function and I am forced to move cautiously so that I do not fall. The Kau momentarily leaves my vision. As I scan around for her, something is smashed into my head. My vision goes completely blank and my robotic brain can no longer process thought. My organic brain feels slight remorse for having to destroy such a strong willed creature, and is impressed at her skill at surviving my attacks. However, the rage is still present. Soon my robotic side becomes active again and I see that the Kau is wielding a broken pipe, which she most likely used to damage me.
She swings again, but I fire a beam out of my paw, which knocks the weapon out of her hand. I shoot my eye laser at her, but once again she skillfully dodges, this time by sliding under my legs. My laser instead hits the wall, which makes several loose bricks come falling down. The Kau is disoriented by this, but a few bricks also hit me, giving her a chance to start running again. I turn my wrist and hold it outward. A cord is deployed and targets the girl. My keen hearing picks up a thud, letting me know that I hit my target. I approach her and find that her legs have been bound.
“Please don’t hurt me,” the Kau pleads. “I promise not to publish anything about you. I’ll forget everything that’s happened.”
My living brain is no doubt feeling pity and sorrow for the Kau, but my robotic brain is in control and I know that her begging means nothing.
Suddenly I hear new orders in my brain. “Stop, don’t hurt her!”
My rage immediately tones down and I no longer feel the necessity to eliminate the Kau.
“There’s been a change in plan,” my controller tells me. “Instead I want you to bring her to us.”
I reach for the girl and grab her. She is beaten and helpless, yet she still struggles against my grasp. Now that my rage is gone, my living side decides to be gentle with her as I carry her away.
“My master wants to meet you,” I tell her, “and she gave me orders not to hurt you. I can tell you, you are in a better position than you were before.”
I told her that for two reasons. My robotic side wanted to make sure that she knew what was happening, and my organic side wanted to make sure that she knew that she was safe for now, after all I had put her through.
To be continued...