Misadventures of a Neopian Times Reporter XIX
This story references events from Flufflepuff's Misadventures of an Innocent Bystander 3: Taelia
I was still steaming. It had been two days since my dear, wonderful, gullible, never wanted to go along for the ride when I was working, still a nice girl regardless of being a stick in the mud, friend Cassie had delivered a package from my mortal nemesis which had exploded in both our faces. I had been in the dinning room, supposedly working but actually napping after pulling an all-nighter hunting down the Shadow Usul for an opinion piece on how she hasn't gotten any new merchandise modeled after her in ages.
After the explosion, while I was still coughing my lungs up and Cassie was standing there trying to connect this attack with the Taelia she thought she knew, my neighbors called the Defenders of Neopia. So, of course, the more judgmental of my children found out about this latest disaster before I could fix the glass in the dinning room.
I wanted vengeance. I had left Taelia alone since the disastrous interview years ago. Seriously, half a decade had gone by since that day, and I hadn't set foot within a mile of her house. If I came up onto her turf, I could understand her going for me; that would be fair game. Sending my friend to my house with a booby-trapped package was crossing so many lines I couldn't even list them all.
Of course, getting that vengeance was the problem. First off, certain wonderful 'pets of mine had me on house arrest. Apparently, they knew me too well. They knew I would immediately start plotting payback, and probably stick my foot in it big time. Well, I was going to get that revenge, but I was determined to do it in a way that left me the winner.
And I wanted to do it the exact the same way Tae had done it to me: Cassie.
I was finally allowed out of the house to visit Cassie about four days after the incident. By allowed out, I mean that I fed Yanli a lot of sugar and let her go on a sugar-fueled tear through the house. I locked up all the valuables beforehand; I wasn't crazy enough just to let her loose without safeguards. Still, it was enough. By the time my darlings would realize that Yanli had been a decoy, I would be long gone. The problem with my lovely kids is for as smart as they are, they've forgotten that their brains had to come from somewhere. Theirs may work all the time, but I do have my days.
I found myself cutting through yards and jumping hedges so I came out two streets over, and then I took a circuitous route to Cassie's house. That was probably overkill, but the training I had gotten from Buzz Johnson had really sunk in and it was a subconscious decision to take those additional cautions. I came to her door and knocked.
Protector opened the door. He smiled at me and told me Cassie wasn't home. I pulled a bag of marshmallows out of my purse.
"If this bag of marshmallows asked, would you give it the same answer?" I asked.
"She's napping in the parlor," Protector said, opening the door wide and accepting the bag of marshmallows.
I was totally feeling like the best secret agent ever at that moment. No power in the 'verse could stop me, except maybe my kids, and my boss, and the Defenders of Neopia, and Dr. Sloth, and the Meepits, and the Feepits, and pretty much every other force you could name. I walked into the parlor to find Cassie fast asleep on the sofa. I walked up and leaned over her, grinning huge and psychotically, and then tapped her on the forehead. After a moment of my doing that, she opened her eyes.
The look on her face, followed by the scream of horror, was priceless. I dropped into a chair, laughing so hard I thought my spleen might explode. She sat there, panting, shaking, her hand pressed to her heart, glaring at me with an intensity that could have reheated cold borovan.
"Oh, Cass. Oh, Cass. If only- if only you could have seen your face when you woke up!" I gasped out.
"I'm going to kill you and then stuff you, and then let Aupey use you to train with instead of Punchbag Bob," Cassie threatened, so mad she was shaking like the ground in the wake of a Trumpadon.
"Aw, come on, that was perfect. You can't fault me for taking that," I protested.
"So you can't fault me for ending you for it," Cassie shot back, clearly not as amused as I was.
We sat there for a minute, her still glaring, me still giggling, before Protector walked in, breaking the standoff. Cassie turn to look at him and her glare deepened.
"I should have known. Marshmallows," she muttered darkly.
The seriousness with which she uttered that word sent me into another fit of hysterical laughter. I clutched my aching abdomen and struggled to breathe through each fit of giggles. Cassie directed her glare at me again.
"I hope you asphyxiate on your own laughter," she told me.
"It's a really good day to be me," I told her through my laughter.
After I regained control of myself, I sat upright, taking on what I hoped was a sinister air.
"Cassie, we need to talk."
"Kristy, why are you talking like that?" Cassie asked, raising an eyebrow.
"You know very well, Cassie," I said, threading my fingers together and leaning forward.
"Oh, for the love of Fyora, quit it. You look even more ridiculous than usual."
"I believe I will leave the room now," Protector said, and made good on that.
"Are you serious? You let her in and abandon me with her? Eesh, what did I do to you?" Cassie called after him.
"Cassie, I'm here about your involvement in the unfortunate incident at my house last week. More specifically, about you working as an agent of Taelia in her vicious campaign against me. I don't ask much, just to be left alone."
"I told you already; I had no idea about your history with Taelia. It was a huge shock to me what happened. I'm really sorry about the whole thing," Cassie cut in.
"I understand that, but wittingly or not, you're involved now, Cassiopeia."
"That's not my name and you know it," Cassie interrupted again.
"It's your code name. You're now part of a larger game, one far beyond you. It wasn't my choice to involve you, but the circumstances were beyond my control."
"By Coltzan's ghost! How many spy novels have you read in the last week?" Cassie demanded, once again interrupting me.
I took a small, round package out of my purse and set it on the table between us.
"All you have to do to make this go away is take this to Taelia's house. Go up there on any pretext you deem likely to work. Confront her about what happened, pretend you're over it and are asking for a quest, whatever you can make believable, the method of delivery is yours. Simply place this somewhere in her house when she isn't looking and leave. This is time sensitive; you have twenty-three hours. You won't want this still in your possession when those hours are up. Best of luck, Agent Cassiopeia, you'll need it."
I got up and left. Cassie called after me, asking if I had hit my head since she saw me last. I walked out of there feeling like an even better secret agent than when I had entered. I walked out there with a special kind of swagger. This feeling lasted until I reached my own home, where I was promptly locked in my closet by Elise with only a pad of paper and a pencil and told I could come out when she was sure I was sorry for trying to get myself killed.
I just smiled smugly, knowing I had beaten them all. Tomorrow, Taelia would get her comeuppance.
The next day started out normal. I had actually pretty much forgotten what I had been up to the day before. I went out to do grocery shopping with Bluejay, Yanli, and Molly. I had just finished at the Health Food store when there was sudden chill in the air. I turned to look and saw Taelia standing there in a cloud of flurries. People shied away from her, mostly due to the stench. She reeked like the deepest bogs of the Haunted Woods.
She turned her eyes on me, there was fire in them despite the iciness of the look on her face.
"You!" she shrieked.
"What?" I asked, playing dumb.
Taelia wasn't fooled. The next thing I knew I was waking up in the hospital. The doctor was there. He shaking his head at me, clearly disappointed that I hadn't learned my lesson last time. Elise was also there. The look on her face could have curdled dairy.
"I spent the last week protecting you from yourself, and you still managed to get yourself half killed. What did you do?" the Faerie Cybunny demanded.
I looked away, trying to play innocent.
"I will cut your Jeran pillows into confetti," she informed me, less of threat and more of a cold statement of a fact.
"I had Cassie drop off a stink bomb at her house."
Elise's lips twitched. She tried so hard to keep it in, but I had seen it, and she knew I had seen it. She gave up and gave into the laughter.
"Oh, Kristy, what are we going to do with you?"
"Love me, forgive me, and accept that I'll never be half as mature as my children?" I suggested.
Elise shook her head, purple curls bouncing, and laughed again. "Well, at least life is never dull. Please, let's go another five years before the next encounter with Taelia. I don't think I can handle this more than twice in a decade."