Saving the National Neopian Bank: Part Six
Ylana tapped her foot impatiently. Waiting was never something that she was good at. She considered asking Rex to spar for a while, but decided that it would look far too weird and attract unwanted attention. And that was something that they couldn't have.
Rex wasn't showing any signs of discomfort, but if she had to wait a second longer- ah, he had replied.
At first, she couldn't believe what she had heard. Then she ran it a second time. Rex had heard as well.
"We need to go to the docks quickly," Rex said.
"Of course we do! We can't let them board that ship," Ylana said.
As they both hurried towards the docks, Rex asked, "If they're headed towards Krawk Island, why not just get the pirates their to take them out?"
"Because," Ylana said, "the ship was full of model 8X-Z robots."
Rex grunted. Both of them understood how serious the situation was. 8X-Z was a model of combat robot made by Sloth and they were not enemies you'd want to face, but the thing was that these ones were knew. Ylana had had an accomplice put them on that ship, and the first person to enter the ship would be the person the robots accepted as their master.
That would mean that those two would be able to consider some of the most powerful weaponry on Virtupets. Of course, Ylana had a plan if something like this happened, she knew the deactivation sequence to the robots, but the problem was that would mean nothing if their ship left the shore.
And add on to that the fact that they were working with that Governor instead of with the banker, and that added a whole load of complexity to the situation.
Ylana had originally worked for Sloth, but with him gone for a long time, she had taken up other work on the side now that paychecks from him weren't coming. One of her contacts had told her about this bank job. She had initially refused, after all, she didn't want to help the bank. But then when she read the job description, she realized that just maybe the pirates would pay more.
As she was running, uninvited, the memories of that day flooded her.
Claymore Manor had looked amazing on that day, as it had always looked. Ylana vividly remembered each and every one of the rooms, their colors, the way the flowers were arranged in front of the manor in order and their sweet scents would spread for miles.
Yes, it was bliss. It was an idyllic dream. It was a time with her, her parents, and everything that they could ever want. Until of course, it all shattered.
That day, she had finished her lessons. The last one had been a bit boring, it had been about economics and involved a lot of words that she was sure that she would never have to use. Her father had made money seem so easy, buy low and sell high, he'd say, and she'd believed that it was that simple to earn neopoints.
The only thing that kept her awake was the thought that her parents were visiting her this time. They had been away on a long business trip, but they had had to cut it short for some reason. But that didn't concern her, she was just happy to know that they'd be back.
As she rushed through the halls towards the main gate, she wondered about what they were going to do that day. Maybe her father was going to take her on a stroll through the vast gardens surrounding the manor, all the while telling her amazing stories. Or perhaps he'd take her outside somewhere today, like that place called Kelp at the bottom of Maraqua. Her parents had taken her there when she had been little, but unfortunately she had started crying and they had been forced out.
But she was older this time. Or maybe they could go and rent one of those flying ships and visit Shenkuu. Or maybe this time her mother would want to spend some time with her alone, and they could go to Neopia Central and wander through the shops. Or maybe she'd want to spend some time pouring over their vast collection of books in their obscenely huge library.
Whatever they did though, she thought, she was sure that they would be happy. How couldn't they be happy, as long as they were together and they had all of this money to spend?
She raced forward and burst out the front door, expecting to see her parents smiling and eager to embrace her.
What she saw startled her and it took a few minutes for her to understand it. Her mother and father were there, but they looked worried. They tried to smile when they saw her, but she could tell that seeing her just made them more sad.
That's what she couldn't understand. It was then that she saw that there was someone else there. It was a Green Skeith in a suit, and she saw that there was an extra carriage outside the manor.
"I'm terribly sorry to know that this has happened, Mr. Claymore, but I must do this nonetheless," the Green Skeith said.
Her father only nodded. The Green Skeith then proceeded to walk inside the house. Outside, she saw a few more people, and they were putting a FOR SALE sign outside the manor.
Initially, none of it made sense. Why were these people here? Why did father look like he'd just seen a ghost? Why was mother wiping away a tear?
Her parents took her hand and led her out of the mansion. It took a few seconds for the pieces to fit together. After all, she was already nine, and she had had the best education that money could buy.
Still, she felt compelled to ask, "Daddy, what happened?" Her voice at that time sounded so weak.
Her parents paused and her father grabbed her by her shoulders and said, "Sweetie, I'm sorry, but I made some bad investments. It's a long story, but my business has gone completely bankrupt. I went on a trip to ask the bank for some time, but they wouldn't listen and they foreclosed our house."
"So, you mean all of our money's gone?" she asked.
"Yes," her father said and tried to put on a smile. "But it's going to be all right. After all, we still have each other, don't we, and that's something to be happy for."
And so they left, with the sweet smell of the flowers leaving the taste of ashes in Ylana's mouth.
Instantaneously, their lives were flipped around. They were forced to live in a crammed apartment in a dirty district in Neopia Central. Her father now worked as a bank teller and her mother worked as a retailer.
For some time, things began going smooth. Despite being bumped off from billionaire status, they will still not completely destitute. As a matter of fact, there were still hundreds of people standing outside near the Money Tree who would have given their front teeth to live their lives.
Ylana knew that. And yet she hated it. Somehow, she just knew that all of it wasn't right. She deserved better, much better.
And then a second blow came. Her father was fired from the bank. Things had gone worse.
Throughout that though, still things weren't that bad. They would have gotten out of it.
But she couldn't take it anymore. She ran away, and while that broke her heart, it also steeled for the harshness of what she would have to face.
Throughout everything though, during all those years, there was one thing that she still remembered. The symbol that had been on the carriages which had come to throw them out of their home. The symbol of that bank which had forced her father to work all of those long hours and then later fired him, throwing him away like a used piece of tissue paper.
She remembered the symbol of the Neopian National Bank.
The memories boiled her blood and a rush of hatred nearly overcame her. No, she had to act calmly, she had to make sure that the mission was done.
After all, she was a mercenary, and that was her duty. But then why had she betrayed the bank like that while still taking their neopoints? That certainly wasn't how a mercenary acted, that resembled the manner of the Zafara Double Agent more.
A thought then struck her: I wouldn't have helped them no matter how much they offered. That nearly made her freeze in her tracks. Nearly, but she had to keep going. She wondered if Rex was noticing her lapse, but if he had, he hadn't said anything.
A mercenary is like a tool, she thought. A fighter for rent, whose loyalties lie only with the highest bidder. Mercenaries had no loyalty of their own to any causes. But she did. She hated the bank and truth be told, wanted the satisfaction of ruining it.
No one can put a price on that, she thought.
To be continued...