Defender of Neopia - A Krawk in Lupe Clothing: Part Two
Somewhere deep within the Haunted Woods a sinister character plotted more destruction...
"My plan is nearly complete. Part one went smoothly and now it is time to engage part two," the shadowy figure cackled.
We re-join Kyshriek as she rushes through a forest path towards the Haunted Woods...
The sky darkened as Kyshriek ran deeper into the woods. She had been running non-stop for nearly an hour and exhaustion had started to take hold. Her target was Balthazar's Grove which was found deep within the Haunted Woods. Finding it would prove to be quite the task.
"Balthazar," she puffed. She began to slow down to a walking pace. The adrenaline rush she had been running on was quickly fading and left her stiff with pain.
She realized that she would have to make a spot to stay for the night or she would quickly find herself without the strength to even topple a Chia Clown.
She saw a faint glow amidst the thick brush and decided to make her way towards it. There was a sharp smell of burning wood from a camp nearby. Kyshriek slowly limped forward towards the direction of the pulsing light. Her vision was getting blurry and her eyes felt heavy. She had pushed herself too hard in her fit of rage.
There was movement in front of the flickering light, a shadow, which seemed to get closer to her. She tried to call out for help but couldn't muster more than a squeak as she weakly lifted her paw towards the figure. She fell to the ground exhausted and could hear a muffled voice as she fell fast asleep in the leaves.
* * *
Meanwhile in Neovia there was some cause for concern...
"Gone?" Prigpants exclaimed. He rubbed his monocle. "What do you mean 'gone'?"
Prigpants, the green Lenny, is part of the eccentric pair running the tailoring shop in Neovia. Normally Prigpants and his partner Swolthy, the purple Mynci, would be busy at work designing and sewing fabulously fashionable wares for the general Neopian public however, an important item seemed to have disappeared.
"I say it just up and disappeared, Prigpants!" Swolthy shouted back. "I swear it was right 'ere!"
"You mean to tell me a priceless pair of pure silver sheers which we ain't finished payin' off yet, I might add, just 'up and disappeared'?" Prigpants countered.
Swolthy scratched his head for a moment as he thought about the situation.
"Wait a minute, just what are you sayin'?" he asked in an annoyed tone. His expression turned from confusion to that of anger.
The door to the shop swung open with a clanging of kaubells.
"Alright, y'all have some explainin' ta do!" a very angry looking green Meerca shouted from the doorway. She was brandishing a rolling pin with her tail. "Which of ye took it?"
Prigpants and Swolthy paused their bickering for a moment and looked at each other with a puzzled expression.
"Me apologies Ms. Crumpetmonger but I fear we are a smidge behind the times," Swolthy nervously replied.
"Don't ye be playin' innocent," Ms. Crumpetmonger shouted and waved the pin at them. "Somebody broke into me shop and stole all me silverware!"
Swolthy paused for a moment and the confused look returned to his face.
Prigpants grabbed him by the collar.
"Don't ya see, Swolthy? They stole her silverware and they stole our silver shears," he attempted to explain.
"Um," Swolthy said. He took a moment to ponder. "I don't see the connection."
"It's the silver, Swolthy!" Prigpants exclaimed. He covered his face with his wing and shook his head. "The thief must be stealin' our silver."
"Are ye accusing me of stealin' Ms. Crumpetmonger's silver too?" Swolthy replied in a furious tone.
"Excuse me, sirs –" Ms. Crumpetmonger interjected.
"You're excused!" they both replied and resumed bickering.
She waddled up to the arguing Neopets and bonked them both on their heads with her rolling pin.
"Now will ya both listen ta me fer a minute?" She glared at them both menacingly.
Prigpants and Swolthy rubbed the lumps on their heads as they listened intently to the angry Meerca.
"If ye didn't steal me silverware and had your silver stolen, it sounds ta me like neither of ye stole the silver," Ms. Crumpetmonger reasoned.
"Oh, I get it now," Swolthy declared. He smiled widely. "So if none of us three stole it, then who did?"
"That is the grand question, my dear Swolthy," Prigpants remarked. He placed his monocle back on his face and tapped his beak with his wing. "This sounds like a job for Detective Prigpants!"
* * *
Meanwhile at the camp site, Kyshriek was about to wake up...
"So you're finally awake," a deep but soft voice broke the silence.
The soft voice drifted into Kyshriek's ears. She heard the cracking of a fire and began to feel the warmth of it washing over her.
She opened her eyes slowly and her vision came back slowly. Sitting on a large log next to her was a large pink Elephante who was wearing odd-looking gypsy clothing.
He smiled widely at her.
"Oh," she groaned as she sat up slowly.
"Don't push too hard, drink this," the Elephante urged. He held out a small ceramic cup filled with a minty-fragranced liquid. "It will help you regain your strength."
Kyshriek looked at the cup suspiciously but grasped the cup anyway. It felt warm in her paws. She sniffed it lightly. It smelled like her favorite peppermint tea. She lifted her mask slightly and took a sip.
"You looked absolutely ravished," he said with concern.
"I suppose I should thank you," Kyshriek remarked coldly. She took another sip. "I apologize if I don't seem grateful."
The Elephante waved a hand and smiled.
"It is quite alright. It is quite fortunate that I had found you actually," he said. He reached behind the log he was sitting on and pulled out a purple fabric bag. "You see, when I stopped to set up camp for the night a passer-by took a very important item of mine. I assume that you are part of the Defenders of Neopia, am I correct?"
Kyshriek put the ceramic cup down beside her.
"Well, there wouldn't be much point in hiding that fact. Yes, I am part of the Defenders," she replied.
"Good," the odd Elephante chimed happily. "Would I be able to ask you to find my most precious item?"
"Forgive me if I am not completely comfortable just yet," she replied. She eyed the Elephante strangely. "What happens if I refuse to help you?"
The Elephante chuckled softly and placed the fabric bag next to him on the log.
"Ah but you are quick to trust. Perhaps, if you don't help me I won't give you the antidote," he replied and grinned.
Kyshriek choked and shot a glare at the small ceramic cup. She jumped up and grabbed the Elephante by his shirt, lifting him up off of the log.
"What was in that cup?" she shouted.
The Elephante seemed unfazed by the feat of the Kyrii's strength.
"It was just peppermint tea of course!" he responded and chuckled.
She returned the Elephante to the ground.
"You see, small Kyrii, you were quick enough to trust me and drink my beverage. Are you quick enough to trust me and look for my item?" The Elephante wore a smug smile.
Kyshriek pulled her mask down to cover her face again.
"Alright, what was taken from you?" she asked with a hint of frustration in her voice.
"A book," he replied. His smile faded to a look of despair.
"What is so special about this book?" She looked at him with a puzzled expression.
"It's not just any book, you see. I can't give many details about it but you need to trust me that it is vital that it is returned to me." His words were stern and cold.
Kyshriek pondered this a moment. She knew that this strange Elephante had the opportunity to unmask her and blow her cover but he didn't. Maybe it was in her best interest to listen to his words.
"Alright, I will help you," she agreed.
"Excellent!" the Elephant trumpeted. He clapped his hands in delight.
"Did you get a good look at who took this book from you?" she inquired.
"The book was taken while my back was turned but I did get a good look at the culprit's foot prints," he replied. He pointed to a sketch that he had made. "They were badly damaged due to the moist weather; however, I did manage to get a sketch of it."
Kyshriek grasped the sketching and looked it over. It appeared to be a very large foot. It also appeared as though the thief was wearing a very large pair of boots but there were small markings that resembled claws, Lupe claws.
"I think I know who these belong to," she said with a hint of fire in her voice.
"Wonderful!" the Elephante replied with cheer. "The footprints had trailed off towards a large clearing off in the distance. I was planning on travelling there after resting for the evening. Shortly after I had set up camp and started the fire, however, I noticed you had collapsed a short distance from my camp."
Kyshriek clenched her teeth tightly. She was furious that she was so close to catching Balthazar and he surely was long gone by now. She calmed down quickly when she realized that she was not very far from Balthazar's Grove.
"Thank you, Elephante," she said. She stared in the direction he had pointed. "I promise you that I will bring back your book."
"Thank you," the Elephante said happily. He nodded and smiled again. "I shall await your return."
"What are you planning, Balthazar?" she thought aloud to herself. Her strength had not yet fully come back to her but she felt well enough to carry on knowing that the grove was nearby.
She pressed on, not knowing what she would encounter next.
To be continued...