A Candychan Plot: Part Four
Dancing among the stars, we headed back to Virtupets again. Now that we had been here once before, it was quite easy to slip in quietly and move through the crowds.
It was much later in the day by now, so everything felt eerily quiet. I felt like my heart was pounding in my ears, but I knew that I just wanted to know what was going to happen exactly. I knew what we planned to do, but plans and reality don't always match up.
As we slipped back down the alley, and when we paused outside the familiar door, I offered Androcles a nervous grin. He gave me a thumbs up, and seemed perfectly calm. He was going to do the talking, which was probably the best. Talking incessantly was something he was very good at.
Slipping back into that brightly lit room, we were ready to fix Mystery Island.
This time, the lights were turned off, and we didn't see the two Candychans – Rune and Zeph. This felt too easy, but we shrugged and I let Androcles set to work, while I stood guard.
Androcles flapped his wings a couple of times and flitted toward the machine.
"Ah, hah!" the familiar voice exclaimed. Jumping out from the side, we saw Rune, and meek little Zeph.
"Hmm, can we help you?" Androcles inquired, as if we weren't intruding on them, but they instead, were intruding on us.
"How can you do this?!" Zeph shrieked in that oddly scratchy voice.
Androcles looked at me, and both of us shrugged. "Do what?" Androcles asked.
Rune stepped forward, and took control. He was much more eloquent than Zeph. "You know very well that you're about to ruin my plans? Why? I thought you hated pets? You agreed that Candychans should rule the world?
"You silly Candychans don't know what you're doing! Those pets out there, despicable all of them, they want to control you, they want to own you. Buy and sell you, like trophies or cupcakes, and you won't mean anything to any of them. Not for a single second.
"You think you can avoid it happening to you, but sooner or later, they'll find you sitting around and they'll catch you and stick you in a petpet store. It's the worst thing ever, and we can't stand for it anymore! We have to take a stand.
"So why, why, knowing all of this, are you attempting to ruin my plans?" Rune ended his monologue.
I blinked, and again, Androcles sent me a look and we both agreed.
"You want to know why we're doing this?" I asked.
Rune turned to face me, and Androcles took the opportunity to complete our plans.
Sloth was admittedly brilliant in his way, but he always seemed to put in chink in his own plans, a way of being stopped, as if he wasn't quite sure he really wanted to follow through on anything. This was no exception.
When we were here the first time, Androcles had been able to decent look at the machine. In his cockroach ray, he had left a slot. If you stuck in a One Dubloon Coin, it would fire another ray, one that would reverse the effects. Or so it claimed. You can never tell with Sloth.
As Rune turned his head to look at me, Androcles dove gracefully forward from where he had been hovering, and plucked the coin into the slot.
An odd noise emitted from the machine, as it charged up, and a bright blue zap left the end of the ray. With the size of the ray, and the size of our bodies, all four of us were blown up against the wall.
The machine powered down, and we all fell forward.
"Ouch..." I muttered as I rubbed my elbow.
Androcles took the moment to comment, "With my wonderful reflexes, I am not hurt at all," he said smugly, although his slight limp suggested otherwise.
I stepped forward to where Rune was sitting, his sad little head in his hands. I bent down and asked, "You really want to know why we foiled your plans? Time to guess: 1. We were lying when we said we hated pets. 2. We hate you. 3. We have no idea why."
Rune considered the question and exclaimed, "Two!!! Number Two!!!"
"All wrong," I said. "The correct answer was..."
"Because we want to be heroes," Androcles finished. "Duh. Haven't you heard of a little something called 'eternal fame and glory?'"
Rune blinked at him. Admittedly, it sounded like a crazy statement. But hey, that was Androcles for you.
I stood back up, and walked over to stand beside Androcles. We were both close to the door, and well, our dreams hadn't just been crushed. I was pretty sure we could get out of there before Rune or Zeph felt like following us.
"Anywho," Androcles said, as we started to sidle out of the room, "it was nice meeting you! You should visit us the next time you're at Terror Mountain. Just ask the Snowager for our location!"
"Toodles!" I called out. "Toodles" was just one of those words you had to say from time to time.
And with that, we dashed out of the room. I checked over my shoulder, once I let my wings lift me into the air. Rune and Zeph were standing at the door waving goodbye to us. Androcles and I waved back. After all his effort he had put in, trying to convince us he was right, Rune was still waving goodbye. Zeph was clearly doing it because Rune was doing it, but why would Rune not be angrier about us undoing his plans?
"Is it just me," I inquired, "or are Candychans not very good at being evil masterminds?"
Androcles replied, "We really aren't. Being evil means being a good loser. And let's face it, what Candychan is a good loser?"
Not one I can think of. Especially considering we do things just for fame and glory or perhaps a snack, losing is a very sad thing, and not a particular driving force for Candychans. It's like being offered the best slice of Neopets 7th Birthday Bundt Cake, and then having the offer rescinded. You could only take a crushing defeat like that once. Then you'd probably get distracted by something shiny, or at least that's how Androcles and I would respond.
"Back to Mystery Island?" I asked him.
Androcles nodded. "Yeah, I want to check back up on Killian. Make sure it worked. We're using something Sloth made, so who knows if everything turned out like it was supposed to."
It made sense, so I just nodded. With that, we flew out of the space station.
Swimming in the night sky, playing with the stars once more, the surroundings seemed much more interesting than they had before. We laughed, feeling ecstatic with this happiness that we may have successfully accomplished our task. I could swear, as we were heading back, that I saw the Space Faerie smile and wave at us, but Androcles claimed that if the Space Faerie really was there, he would have seen her, too. I didn't argue, and just let him think that would be the case.
We arrived back at Mystery Island, and this time, it was alive. Someone, or several someones, had gone around and lit several torches and started a bonfire.
"There they are!" we heard a cry, and as we landed, the pets gathered around us, applauding and cheering. They were mostly Island, but there were some obvious tourists who had gotten caught up, as I spotted at least one each of Strawberry, Aubergine, Electric, Robot and maybe even an Invisible pet, but you can never be quite sure with those. While it didn't seem like they had been stuck in as cockroaches for very long, they were all very glad to be back to normal.
We saw Killian push his way through the crowd, closely followed by his JubJub. We hugged Killian gladly, and even grinned sheepishly at Debonti. Despite being Killian's pet, and despite being coconut, which isn't intimidating in the slightest, he was still a Neopian, and thus, sort of scary, at least to a pet-less Candychan like me.
"I asked Debonti, and he agreed, that we should throw a feast," Killian exclaimed, "for all your hard work."
"Yay!" I screamed and threw my arms up. "Let's go!"
Androcles shook his head but followed me anyway.
We spent the rest of the night watching the natives beat drums and dance around the bonfire to the music. Some of them sang as well, and even the Island Candychans joined in, and threw palm leaves into the air, as a sort of confetti. Jhuidah and Mango Pango made many good foods using the Cooking Pot.
Neither Androcles nor I really actively participated in the celebration, but simply watched the goings-on. We munched on Ice Chocolate Cake and drank Cups of Hot Borovan. We clicked our glasses together, in a silent toast to ourselves.
"You know," I said in a slow, drawling voice, "this really is the life."
"Yeah," Androcles murmured back. "We should save an island more often."
"Next time, though," I said, "let's make sure the island does not have any cockroaches on it."
We shared a laugh, let our eyes droop, and watched the rest of the evening play out through a curtain of pleased exhaustion.