Meegla and Fargon's Not-So-Intergalactic Adventures: Part Nine
Almost all of Meegla’s acts in her fight against Kanrik seemed to be focussed on getting away from him. She kept backing up from his advances, until he had forced her all the way up the dungeon’s steps. Fargon realized with growing horror that, backed up against the door, Meegla’s only escape would be to go tumbling off the side of the staircase, which would leave her too injured to fight back.
Kanrik had Meegla backed almost the entire way up the staircase before she began to viciously jab back. They left their mark on one another’s clothes, their torsos undoubtedly littered with small cuts from the fight.
When Kanrik swiped at Meegla’s neck and barely missed, her resolve began to disappear. Eyebrows furrowing, Meegla bellowed, “Why do you even care what I do? I didn’t steal anything from you, did I? I didn’t betray your secrets to any of our enemies, did I?! I left as quietly as possible!”
She stabbed at his chest, and he stumbled back, grabbing the railing to safety. Glowering at her, he replied, “You’ve just been waiting for the right time to sell all of our secrets to the highest bidders!” He jabbed at her torso, but she blocked it. “What about the Seekers, hm? Since you’re such a scholar now!”
“It’s not like that,” Meegla snapped, backing off. “I don’t pretend to be a scholar. I just want to know more about the universe - I just want more out of life!”
“You could have had everything with us!”
“No I couldn’t!” Meegla cried. “You lie and you cheat and you steal! If that’s what you want out of life, fine! I never opposed the choices you made! But that’s not what I want for me. Not anymore.”
The pace of their fighting slowed. Kanrik breathed heavily, mouth jagged with anger. “You never asked me. You never asked me if I’d leave with you.”
“Would you have?” Meegla asked incredulously.
“No,” Kanrik replied, honest. “But you never even asked. You never even said goodbye!” He trembled with anger. Again, he tried to stab Meegla, but using the railing for support, she ducked out of the way, and brought her dagger slashing across his torso instead.
Kanrik stumbled back. “We had a covenant,” he spat. “As Thieves Guild members and as friends.” He dropped his dagger and swiped a paw over his chest. The damage didn’t seem too bad. He was more startled than anything. He looked into Meegla’s eyes with raw hurt in his own, and all of the fury drained out of her.
“I…” Meegla bit her lip. Then she, too, dropped her dagger. It went clattering down the stairs to the dungeon floor. “I’m sorry, I’m not… very good at communicating with the people I care about.”
“That’s the understatement of the century,” Fargon scoffed. His face was pressed against the bars of his cell, and he and Nadine were watching Meegla and Kanrik’s conversation with deep fascination.
Kanrik gave a weary sigh. As if his legs were suddenly sapped of strength, he slumped up against the wall, legs dangling over the edge of the stairs. “We could’ve helped you achieve any dream you wanted. Any spaceship you wanted to buy. Any moon you wanted to conquer. We could’ve gathered the treasures to pay for it together.”
“Yes,” Meegla admitted, voice quiet, “but that’s not how I wanted to achieve my goals. I told you, back then. I was sick and tired of being a thief. I wanted to start over.”
“And yet here you are, teamed up with thieves,” he grumbled, shooting a dark look at Nadine. Frightened, she looked away.
“Like I said: I don’t care what other people do with their lives.” Meegla approached Kanrik and sat down beside him. “I just didn’t want to be that person anymore.”
“And now you’re not. You’re really, really not.” Kanrik stared at her, noting the six ears, the green fur, the spacesuit. Strangely enough, he began to laugh. Running his paw over his face, he muttered, “You’ve changed.”
“I’m sorry for not saying goodbye,” she murmured.
He began to laugh even harder. “You’ve really changed.”
Kanrik’s laughter echoed, bittersweet, off the stone walls. Meegla seemed vaguely annoyed that he was laughing at her, but she didn’t say anything. She just sat beside him until he grew quiet.
Eventually, Kanrik got to his feet. He even helped Meegla up.
“I’m going to go out there and call the rest of my men off.” He glanced at where Taiy lay, groaning, in the dungeon. “And I’ll take her to get medical attention.”
“I didn’t rough her up too badly,” Nadine confessed. “I think she’s faking most of it.”
“Shhhh,” Taiy hushed, before going back to groaning and pretending to be completely incapacitated on the floor of the dungeon. Kanrik shook his head; that Bori really wasn’t suited for battle…
Kanrik gathered up Taiy and headed out. Before he went, he gave Meegla the keys to Fargon’s cell. “Go. Free your friend.” Kanrik paused. “And… it doesn’t fix everything, but. An apology can go a long way.” He turned his face so that she couldn’t read his expression. “...I’m sorry for kidnapping your friend. I’m sorry for sending my men to attack you. I reacted childishly.”
“Eh.” Meegla shrugged. “It’s no big deal.” She could feel, even without looking, the horror on Nadine’s face. So Meegla amended, “So long as nobody’s hurt. All of the Desert Scarabs better be okay, or what you did is a huge problem.”
Kanrik promised he’d get medical attention for anyone who needed it. As soon as he and Taiy had gone, Nadine’s expression became one of fright. “Can we really trust him to call off his men?”
Meegla nodded, smile grim. “Yes. He’s a much more honorable person than I’ve ever been, in a weird sort of way.”
They ran to Fargon’s cell and unlocked it, embracing their Grundo friend.
“That was amazing!” he cried. He stepped back and beamed at them. “You fought so well, Captain! And you apologized - that was very humble of you!”
“Yeah…” The Aisha scratched her neck sheepishly. “I don’t usually act that nice towards my friends… and I’m sorry about that. I genuinely am. You’re not useless to the operation - you’re vital. You’re careful and reasonable and important.”
“No! I’m the one who should be sorry,” Fargon insisted. “Everything I said to you in Happy Valley was too harsh. You’re not unpleasant to be around at all!”
“Yes, I am,” Meegla countered. “And I am reckless.”
He narrowed his eyes. “Meegla, no.”
She spoke through gritted teeth. “Fargon, yes-”
“Stop it!” Nadine shrieked. “For Coltzan’s sake, stop it! Fargon, you were incredibly harsh to Meegla today, and probably shouldn’t say anything like that ever again! Meegla, you can be rather insensitive on a regular basis, and you really need to work on that!” She glared at them both. “Do I have the gist of it?”
They traded embarrassed looks before agreeing that, yes, Nadine did have the gist of it. With a triumphant hair flip, Nadine declared that she was leaving the dungeon to check on the other Scarabs. She sauntered off, tossing them pointed looks over her shoulder as she went. It wasn’t until the door thundered shut that they realized she was probably giving them some privacy on purpose. They stood in silence a while, not sure exactly what to say. Fargon felt they’d already addressed the Elephante in the room.
Meegla fidgeted. “If you have some questions about my past, I suppose I can answer them for you now.”
Fargon waved off her concern. “No, I think I already figured things out.”
“You see, I used to be a Thieves Guild member…”
“No, Meegla, really, I already…”
“...I was a master thief, robbing the wealthy all across Terror Mountain, and Kanrik, being in the area, liked my style and recruited me…”
“Meegla, it’s really okay.”
“We were an unstoppable team, up until I had this epiphany.” Meegla’s expression grew serious. Fargon stopped trying to interrupt her, realizing what she was about to say must be important. What sort of epiphany could drive her out of such a tight-knit organization? What could make her turn down the wealth, the intrigue…?
“I loved the stars,” Meegla blurted. She turned a deep crimson. “I just… You don’t get to see them on Terror Mountain that often, because of the weather. The clouds are always blocking them out. But we were camping out in the Lost Desert after a particularly dangerous heist on the ruins in Qasala. I remember we passed a whole bunch of really, really poor neopets on the way into the city. They probably had no idea what the treasures in the ruins were worth. And we just went in and took them all with so much as throwing them a dubloon.” Meegla smoothed her ears back. “I started thinking, this is wrong, isn’t it? We’re taking their heritage. We’re taking what’s left of their ancestors’ wealth. I thought about it all day. We camped out in the desert that night, and I had first watch. Everybody else was sleeping, and it was just me and the stars. They looked so peaceful. I realized I didn’t know anything about them. I didn’t know anything about that space stretching out beyond us, save for that Kreludor and Virtupets were inhabitable. I started to really think about space. I started to read a little more about it, too, and I talked Kanrik’s ears off about the stuff I learned. He always brushed me off, so I guess I didn’t think he’d be all that surprised when I just…” She shrugged. “Left. The Obelisk War provided the perfect opportunity; while everyone was busy, I ran away. I met Klaxa’s owner, and she showed me the Lab Ray. She said I could change my face and escape my past. I could start over. I could be with the stars and the planets I fell in love with, with no interference. So I took the chance, and I have absolutely no regrets.”
Fargon sniffled, wiping a tear from his eye. “Captain… that’s beautiful.”
Meegla coughed, face still red. “It’s not.”
“It is, Captain.” He scrubbed his eyes with both hands. “It really is.”
“Oh…” She rolled her eyes. “Stop sniveling.” Despite what she said, she patted him on the back a little, calming him down.
But she wasn’t finished. “You know, I always make fun of you for not being a ‘real’ Grundo from Kreludor, but I’m not even a real Alien Aisha.”
Fargon laughed meekly. “Oh, Captain, I’ve always known that. I gathered from what Kanrik said about your face, and I mean - we have access to the lab ray,” he pointed out. “That’s how Klaxa became robot. It wasn’t that hard to…”
“IwasaBruce,” Meegla mumbled.
Fargon blinked. “What?”
She sighed. “I was, originally, a Bruce.”
Fargon’s jaw dropped. “A… Really? Like… all chubby, with little wings and everything?”
She scowled. “I’m baring my soul to you, First Mate, do refrain from making fun of me.”
“I’m sorry, I just…” He shook his head. “A Bruce…”
“How did you rob people as a Bruce? Were you very swift?”
“I’ll lock you back up in that cell. I’m not afraid to.”
The purple and orange drained from his face. “Please don’t.”
Still, despite their squabbling, they smiled.
“Thank you for saving me, Captain. I don’t know what I’d do without you.”
Meegla patted him on the back. “You’d probably rot in a dungeon somewhere.”
He pondered this. “To be fair, it is usually your fault that I get kidnapped in the first place.”
And so they went on, marching up the stairs and out of that dungeon side by side. Although neither said it right away, they were both thinking the same thing: they couldn’t wait to get back to their regular day-to-day adventures. Soon, the universe would be their playground!
Several months later, Dr. Landelbrot was terrified. He was standing in the control room of the spacecraft The Coincidence, attempting to give a quest to a group of neopets who did not seem to care very much that he need three bags of Semolina, two Yellow Lupe Plushies, and a Snazzy Moon Comb. The neopets looked rather young, but rough - there was a Kougra, a Shoyru, a Skeith, a Korbat, an Ogrin, a shadow Ruki, a striped Xweetok, a split Grundo with a giant backpack, and, at the center of the group, nodding and speaking with an air of authority, an Alien Aisha. The split Grundo was the least frightening, having apologized when their group bumped into another visitor on the way in. Every so often, the striped Xweetok flipped her hair and threw a glare at the rest of the group. They all looked tough; he could see Cobrall Daggers hanging from their belts, and most of their clothes were ripped up. The Alien Aisha’s spacesuit particularly so.
“Um…” Dr. Landelbrot was starting to sweat. “D-do you have any questions?”
They bombarded him immediately. “What are the thrusters like?” one of them asked.
“How powerful is the generator? Where is its backup?” asked another.
“How long can you go before you need to refuel?”
“Have you tried to fly this thing beyond the outermost gravity sphere of Neopia?”
The Lutari scientist sputtered, trying his best to answer their questions. They seemed entirely uninterested in his proposed quest. As he struggled to cover everything, he noted that the shirt sleeve of the Skeith was riding up. There, emblazoned on his arm, was a tattoo of a scarab. Dr. Landelbrot’s eyes widened with horror. These neopets were Desert Scarabs! He was now alone in his spaceship with criminals!
He scurried back over towards the Random Event Generator, even knowing that its chances of defending him were totally unpredictable. “Wh-why are you ruffians really asking all of these questions?” He eyed the Alien Aisha. “Are you space pirates? Are you going to steal my ship?!”
The Aisha looked disgusted by this suggestion. “How dare you insult my crew. We are not thieves.”
“Anymore,” the shadow Ruki added with a wink.
“Co-captain?” The Alien Aisha turned to the split Grundo. “Give it to him.”
“Yes, Captain - I mean, Co-captain,” the Grundo answered. He slipped off his backpack and tossed it towards Dr. Landelbrot. The scientist didn’t approach it; was it a Bombfish? A sack of rabid Drackonacks?
“Well?” The Xweetok snapped. “Are you going to open it or what?”
Dr. Landelbrot nervously walked over to where the backpack lay. Swallowing, he opened it up… and his jaw dropped. Inside were more neopoints than he could count! Why, there must be millions in there! The neopets in the group smiled amongst themselves; they had become masters of the Games Room, especially everything Lost Desert themed.
Plus, the Maraquan Paint Brush that random fire faerie had given them certainly hadn’t hurt their little fortune. Meegla had just about fainted.
She now stood before Dr. Landelbrot with her hands on her hips, grinning triumphantly. Behind her, the former Desert Scarabs grinned along with her. “We’re not going to steal The Coincidence,” Meegla said. “We’d like to buy it.”