Being a Spy Isn't Always Fun
"Come on, Scout, fly up to that tree and listen for anyone around," Zelju whispered, ducking behind the Wheel of Knowledge. Dusk was falling and Zel was late returning to her mission. Why was she late? Because some pesky Tyrannian Lupe had been showing up wherever she was hidden. Was he following her? She wasn't sure, but she didn't want to act suspiciously. That was part of being a spy right? Acting natural.
As Zelju's petpet Scout the Karren flew up into the nearest trees the Darigan Lupe looked around furtively. There was no Tyrannian Lupe in sight. Good. Her Karren let out a shriek and waited a few moments as the echoes came rushing back at him. Karren are completely blind you see? So they rely on their hearing to make their way around. Scout flew back to Zelju's shoulder chattering quietly. The coast was clear.
Zelju slunk out from behind the Wheel Of Knowledge and kept close to the ground as she snuck towards the Brightvale castle.
"I'll get King Hagan if it's the last thing I do," she hissed to Scout. Zelju could only hope that King Skarl would forgive her for being late if she could get some good dirt on Hagan. She drew closer and closer to the castle, ducking behind objects almost un-traceable. That's one thing Zelju is very good at, melting into darkness like some sort of ghost. Speaking of darkness, night was falling fast around her, until her purple coat was undistinguishable from her background.
"I can almost taste it, victory," she whispered almost inaudibly to Scout, who could easily hear her with his massive ears. "King Skarl will reward me for being his greatest spy, and maybe, just maybe, he'll release me and let me live how I want to."
Zelju had reached the massive bridge that stood between the castle and the rest of Brightvale. She could smell fruity scents on the air from the Fruits Of Brightvale, could hear the Wheel of Knowledge creaking eerily in the wind, could feel the rough wood of the bridge underneath her paws. She was going to make it. She just knew it. Or she thought.
"Keep quiet Scout, don't make a noise," she hissed. Her Karren was an invaluable ally for her, however he did tend to make noises at the worst times. Zelju flexed her long claws menacingly and started slinking across the bridge. Nothing could stand in the way of her and victory. Not this time. Scout flew ahead as usual, landing on top of the large wooden doors, the entrance to the forbidding castle. She pressed herself against the wall and pushed open the wooden doors silently. Scout snuck in and listened intently for any noises, for any movement at all that might indicate a Neopet that could stand in the way of Zel and her victory.
Unlike in Meridell, the castle did not have games or shops within it. Only rooms that housed the royal King Hagan, his servants, guards and cooks.
"Why would a King with no family want such a huge castle to himself?" Zelju asked herself as she slipped inside the castle doors and closed them behind her. Scout was somewhere in the room, thankfully silent as Karrens weren't exactly common inside the Brightvale Castle. He was still listening for any movements from anyone other than Zel, who of course Scout could identify in a heartbeat. Thankfully Zelju had eaten many meals involving carrot (if Pea and Carrot Omelettes count) while living with Alice so she could see fairly well in the dark. That, combined with her many trips to the Brightvale Castle over the years, meant that she could navigate the main room easily. She bumped into some sort of fancy vase while making her way to the left door, however her amazing reflexes meant she could catch it before it hit the ground.
Suddenly there was a loud scuffling noise and Scout was shrieking in a muffled way for a few seconds before falling silent. Zelju heard a snicker close behind her and warm breath at her ear.
"Well, you didn't think you could possibly get past me, did you?" growled a deep voice. Zelju knew it was the Tyrannian Lupe who had been following her all day.
"Well, YOU didn't think you could possibly catch me, did you?" she responded with a sarcastic laugh. Before the other Lupe knew it the Karren had disappeared from his arms and a breath of wind told him that Zelju had escaped from his clutches yet again. He snickered yet again as his Tyrannian Doglefox, Sleuth, slunk to his side.
"She's a quick one. But once Mreyz sets his sight on his prey, there is no way they'll escape yet again," he hissed angrily. Sleuth yapped dopily and followed Mreyz through the door Zelju had been trying to get to.
"He's gone," Zel breathed, sliding out from behind a large couch in the corner of the room. "That was a close one, Scout. I don't think he'll be attempting to catch us again any time soon." The Karren chattered quietly in reply.
"Should we risk trying to get in or go back home to Alice and try again tomorrow?" she whispered. Scout seemed to want to continue on, so Zel continued toward the door that Mreyz had disappeared through. Scout flew in before her to check that the coast was clear. Zelju was quite shaken, despite putting on a brave face. That had been the first time she had ever come close to being caught since she had been caught stealing a potion from Kayla's shop years ago by one of the Meridell guards. She was also starting to doubt Scout's abilities; he'd obviously been completely clueless to the fact that the Mreyz (what a strange name) and his petpet had even been in the room. Was it Mreyz's abilities at being stealthy, or Scout's lack of hearing that had almost gotten Zelju caught? She had no idea which was correct, but she needed to focus on her mission. If she went back to Meridell now with no information whatsoever, King Skarl would be very angry.
Zel followed Scout up the wooden staircase to a long hall, one wall of which was lined with windows, the other had multiple doors.
"Do you think Hagan is behind one of those doors?" Zel asked Scout. She had no idea where Hagan slept, or even if he left his throne room at all, which was one floor up. Scout shook his head and flew towards the other end of the hallway where a door obviously led to another staircase.
"Is Mreyz through that door?" Zelju hissed, although she didn't want to admit that she was worried, the slight shake in her voice let the Karren know her true anxieties. He chattered quietly, assuring Zelju that nobody could come between her and getting information on King Hagan. She trusted her petpet, so she continued along the hall and through the door, up a second staircase.
She was scared. That was the only way to describe how Zelju was feeling. She was terrified. This was the first time she'd felt like this in a long time. What if she got caught? What if that Tyrannian Lupe was standing behind this door, waiting for her to set foot in the throne room? Was King Hagan even in there? Zel took a deep steadying breath and pushed open the door. She stuck her head in by the tiniest fraction of a centimeter to look around the room with one glaring red eye.
There he was. King Hagan. Asleep on his... throne?
"Strange guy," Zelju thought, "sleeping on his throne, makes no sense." His large stomach was moving up and down with every breath, his moustache ruffling. Under his hands, resting on his stomach, was a massive book. Exactly what she was looking for.
His diary, maybe? No, of course not, what king keeps a diary? Whatever it was, it was obviously a secret to his wisdom, so it fell under the criteria of any information Zelju could lay her paws on. The only worry she had now was, would she even be able to carry it? And HOW could she get it from under his massive hands without waking him?
"I've come this far, I can't turn back now," she whispered. Zelju kept forward, holding her breath, with Scout on her shoulder. She had no idea what to do next, but she had to at least try. If she was caught well... she wouldn't go down without a fight.
She was only a meter away from the sleeping king. She waited with bated breath. Her wait was rewarded. King Hagan rolled onto his side and the book slipped from his grasp and onto the stone floor with a dull thud. Zel reached out and snatched it from the ground, stuffing it into her Explorer Backpack then quickly but quietly made her way out of King Hagan's room. Scout sat on her shoulder keeping perfectly quiet, however with every step Zelju flinched, praying that Mreyz wouldn't make a reappearance.
She made it to the main room without interference. Things were going well, too well, but she didn't dare question her luck. Zelju made it out of the castle and ran across the bridge, desperate to take the book back to King Skarl.
"Maybe I'll finally be released. Maybe I'll finally have my own life," she whispered ecstatically to Scout.