There are ants in my Lucky Green Boots Circulation: 177,588,188 Issue: 185 | 8th day of Eating, Y7
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Escape Artists - Part Three


by moosuem

--------

The boy with the mutant Draik sighed as he left the Pound. He had looked through the whole place, and there wasn't an experienced fighter in the whole place. The guards frantically searching for something had looked strong at first, but he had quickly realized that they were quite clumsy and not very bright.

      "Shame there weren't any Nimmos in there," said the mutant Draik. "They're usually really good at martial arts and that sort of thing."

      "Well, we'll try again next week," said the boy glumly.

      At that moment, there was a sudden uproar from the Pound. A chorus of yells and crashes ripped through the quiet night as all the Pound's lights suddenly went out.

      The boy and Draik looked at each other.

      "Then again," said the boy, "maybe we should go back and check one more time."

      Inside the Pound, there was chaos everywhere. Dozens of Neopets, some free for the first time in months, ran everywhere as the guards tried desperately to catch them all.

      "You give all us Skeiths a bad name!" roared a massive Skeith, lifting his cage above his head. The Skeith guard who had been chasing him decided to go chase someone else, but he was too late. "Take that!" the Skeith bellowed, and dropped the heavy steel cage squarely on the guard's head. The guard swayed back and forth for a moment, then dropped to the floor in a heap. A small army of Kacheeks and Usuls quickly tied him up and rolled him into the path of another guard, who tripped over him.

      "Who would have guessed those little Usuls were so good with lock picks?" yelled Midnight to Thefoi as they clung to the head of a large guard.

      "Get your paws out of me eyes!" yelled the guard, stumbling blindly into another guard. The two guards, startled, swung punches at each other instinctively, knocking each other out. Thefoi and Midnight jumped off as the guards fell to the floor.

      "I think we're done here," said Thefoi. The Kyrii looked contentedly out over the raging mass of escaping Neopets. Turning, she and the Pteri managed to sneak out of the room; in the darkness and confusion, it wasn't too hard.

      From the safety of the ceiling, Kevin the Korbat watched them go.

     The boy and Draik walked back to the Pound and looked into a heavily barred window. The boy looked around hopefully, but was disappointed when he realized that, though the escaping Neopets were fighting bravely, none of them were particularly good at it. Their only real advantages were numbers and the incompetence of the guards. The boy sighed and was about to walk away again.

      Then he saw her. A slender green Nimmo, dancing effortlessly around the room as she dealt out rapid kicks and punches to half a dozen burly guards at once. Flipping herself over the head of one guard, she kicked him in the head, jumped hard off the head of the next guard, and grabbed the ear of a howling third guard to swing herself back down to the floor and knock a fourth guard's feet out from under him.

      "Ah," said the boy and the Draik in unison, smiling at each other.

      "The Nimmo?" asked the Draik.

      The boy nodded. "You know what to do. Be back in five minutes."

      "Make that two," said the Draik, grabbing the bars of the window in his teeth. With a muffled roar, he ripped them out of the wall, leaving the window completely exposed.

      "That's quite a diversion you thought of," said Blue, the pale Zafara's head and arms deep in the main core of the Pound security system. "It's almost as good as that diversion of mine when I let a swarm of Mootixes into the guardroom. Oh, come on, where's the secondary surveillance circuit in this thing?"

      "Have you looked behind the power flow modulator?" asked Cassandra, beaming. Coming from Blue, "almost as good as mine" was very high praise indeed.

      "Found it!" said Blue triumphantly. "You really have been studying."

      "Ah, a jailbreak," murmured the mutant Draik to himself as he slipped into the Pound. "What fun." Letting out a deafening screech, he flung himself into the fray. The guards might have been strong, but the Draik was an experienced Battledomer. He reached the Nimmo in minutes.

      "You show considerable promise," he shouted, ducking as the Nimmo delivered a rapid kick to a guard behind him. "Would you care to join our Battledome team?"

      The Nimmo spun around, knocking out yet another guard and quickly scanning the room. She was just in time to wave to Thefoi and Midnight as they joined Blue and Cassandra in the room beyond. Her job was done. With a gleam in her eye, she turned to the Draik and nodded fiercely.

      "Shall we?" asked the Draik, gesturing towards the open window with one claw and knocking a guard flat with the other one.

      A moment later, with a delighted roar, the Draik and the Nimmo took off into the air, soaring through the open window and disappearing into the night.

      "Guards!" called Kevin, swooping down on a relatively unoccupied group of guards. "Prisoners escaping from the Pound!"

      "They can't escape!" yelled one guard. "The security system seals all the Pound's exits in an emergency like this!"

      "Obviously, they overrode the security system," replied Kevin, pointing to the open window. "See?"

      That was enough to convince the guard. Prisoners getting all the way out of the Pound? That could lose them meals for months! "Where are they?" he bellowed.

      "This way!" Kevin shouted, flying swiftly to the door Thefoi and Midnight had just left by. The guards began to shove their way through the crowd, stomping slowly but inexorably through the resisting Neopets with renewed determination.

      "Done!" gasped Blue, pulling himself out of the security system. "We should be able to open the doors now. Cassandra, you got the keys, right?"

      "Yes, they're right-"

      "Here?" The four escapees whirled around to see Kevin hovering near the ceiling, the Pound keys dangling from one claw. He gave Cassandra a sympathetic look. "You really should keep a closer eye on your stolen things," he said condescendingly. "If you leave them lying around, anyone can pick them up."

      Midnight bristled, opening his wings to take off after the Korbat. "Why, you little-"

      "Wait," Cassandra said with unusual firmness, holding Midnight back. The large Skeith looked seriously at Kevin. "Why are you doing this, anyway?"

      Kevin was taken by surprise. "Well - I - That is - "

      "Why don't you come with us?" asked Cassandra softly.

      Thefoi gasped indignantly, then was silenced by a stern glance from Cassandra.

      Kevin was shocked. After all he'd done to them, this Skeith was offering him a chance for freedom. He gaped speechlessly at her, torn between the safety of the Pound and the freedom of the outside world.

      Finally, Kevin recovered his self-control and frowned. "Well, don't think I'm doing it because I like you four or something," he said, and tossed the keys to Cassandra.

      Cassandra smiled at Kevin and handed the keys to Blue. "Thank you," she said softly.

      Thefoi, recovering from the shock of Cassandra's invitation, glared stubbornly at Kevin and was suddenly all business. "All right, genius," she snapped at Blue, "there are dozens of keys on that keychain. Do you have any idea which one goes to this door?"

      "Of course!" exclaimed Blue. "I've seen the guards using them, so I have every single one memorized. Let's see." He started flipping through the keys. "Here we have Adner's cage, Panther's cage, Thefoi's cage, Midnight's cage, Eagle's cage, Ormedin's cage, the cellar, Finny's cage, the guardroom, the refrigerator, Ollywolly's cage-"

      "Will you just get this door's key?" snapped Kevin. "The guards will be here any minute!"

      "GUARDS?" yelled Thefoi. "You told the GUARDS?"

      "Look, I hadn't decided to come with you at that point!" said Kevin angrily.

      "It's in here somewhere," muttered Blue, ignoring everyone else as he sorted through the keys.

      "Can you tell them we're somewhere else?" asked Midnight.

      "They've already seen me going in here!" replied Kevin. "If I go back out after all the time I've spent in here and tell them you're not here, they'll never believe me!"

      "Well, go and stall them, then!" retorted Thefoi. "It's the least you can do after giving us away!"

      "Fine! I will!" said Kevin. Then, to everyone's surprise, he whirled around and flew back out of the room.

      Thefoi stared after him. "I'll never understand that Korbat. Never," she muttered.

      "Got it!" said Blue cheerfully, holding up a key. With a flourish, he stuck it into the lock on the door and twisted. "Thanks to my incredibly refined powers of observation, we are now-"

      BREEP - BREEP - BREEP - BREEP

      "-In really big trouble," finished Blue weakly, staring up at the red lights of the alarm system flashing along the ceiling.

      "Did you deactivate the primary lock circuits?" asked Cassandra frantically.

      "Yes, of course, I-"

      "All four of them?"

      "Oh." Blue's face fell. "Oops."

      "Never mind!" said Cassandra, wrenching the door open. "We have to get out - wait! What about Kevin?"

 

      "Er, sorry, that was the wrong room," said Kevin, trying not to sound as nervous as he felt.

      "What were you doing in there, then?" asked a guard suspiciously.

      "Checking to make sure they weren't hiding in there," said Kevin. "I think they went into that room over there."

      The guards looked at the doorway Kevin pointed to, then at the entire seething, chaotic cage room between it and them, and finally at the room they had already nearly gotten to.

      "I think we'll just check this room first," said the guard, continuing to head towards the room with the escapees in it.

      "No, don't!" said Kevin, flying in front of the guards.

      "And why, might I ask?" asked the guard irritably.

      "Because - um - if you look in this room, you'll just be giving them time to escape!" said Kevin, gaining some confidence. "You don't really want to be responsible for prisoners escaping from the Pound, do you?"

      "Well…" The guard was torn.

      Kevin held his breath in apprehension.

      The guard roared in frustration and began to turn around.

      That was when the alarms came on.

      BREEP - BREEP - BREEP - BREEP, went the alarm, then added, "SECURITY BREACH AT DOOR THREE."

      Something was bothering the guard. He thought for a few seconds, then realized what it was.

      "Hey!" he bellowed. Kevin, realizing that something had gone quite wrong, tried to fly out of reach, but the guard grabbed his long, trailing tail and yanked him back down.

      "Door three," said the guard in a soft, menacing voice, "is in that room you just 'checked.'" Holding Kevin by the throat, he brought the Korbat within inches of his large face. "We're going to catch your little friends in there, but I can spare a few seconds to deal with you first."

      "You know," gasped Kevin, "you really should brush your teeth more often." With that, he bent his head down and bit the guard's fist.

      Korbats have very sharp teeth. "YOW!" roared the guard, flinging Kevin away.

      "Get out! Fast!" shouted Kevin, flying into the room where the other four stood by the open door. Blue ran out immediately, followed by Thefoi and Midnight, just as the first guard pounded into the room. The guard yelled at the sight of the Neopets escaping and slammed his fist into a large button on the wall.

      Before anyone could move, thick metal doors slammed down over every entrance to the Pound. Kevin and Cassandra were sealed inside; Blue, Midnight, and Thefoi were sealed outside.

      "No!" cried Thefoi, running back to pound on the door.

      The sound of sirens came from the street in front of the Pound. The police had arrived.

      "Prisoners escaping!" came the faint voice of the Pound warden from the front. "They went that way!"

      "Blue!" said Midnight, looking over every inch of the metal door, "is there any way to open this?"

      "Yes, but it would take hours," said Blue bluntly, without any of his usual chatter.

      The footfalls of the police came around the side of the Pound, growing steadily louder as they approached the Neopets.

      "Well, let's start, then!" said Thefoi, her usual self-control failing. Her oldest (and, for several months, only) friend was shut inside the Pound-

      "Thefoi, those police are going to be here in about half a minute," said Midnight quietly. "If we stay here, we'll just end up back in there, and I don't think they'll be careless enough for us to escape a second time."

      -And there was nothing she could do about it.

      "But we can't just-"

      "We have to get out of here," said Midnight, making an effort to remain calm as the police got closer. "We might be able to come back later, I don't know, but we won't do Cassandra any good if we end up locked in the same place she is." Turning away from Thefoi, he followed Blue into the woods around the Pound.

      Thefoi stared at the door, then let out a howl of rage and ran into the woods. Turning back at the edge, she glared fiercely at the dark shape of the Pound and whispered, "I'll be back for you if it kills me." The darkness hid the tears in her eyes as the Kyrii turned and vanished into the darkness under the trees.

To be continued...

 
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Other Episodes


» Escape Artists: Part One
» Escape Artists - Part Two
» Escape Artists: Part Four



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