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Escape Artists: Part Four


by moosuem

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"I'm sorry," said the Uni behind the desk, "but there are no Neopets whose names begin with "Cas" in the Pound at the moment."

      "What?" exclaimed Thefoi. "But she was here just a week ago!"

      "I'm quite sorry," said the Uni. She frowned uncomfortably. "Are you sure I shouldn't be talking to your owner?"

      "Him?" said Thefoi, surprised at the suggestion. "No, of course not. He has four pets already."

      The Uni looked at the waiting room behind the Kyrii. Sure enough, there was a tall, hooded figure, probably the owner in question; he was humming something under his breath. A Pteri, a pale Zafara (Blue's fur was starting to return to normal, but was still an unusual pale blue color), and a small blue Kau sat with him. Four pets, if you counted this odd Kyrii here.

      The Uni was confused. "Er - why are you all at the Pound, then? Is one of the four of you being abandoned?"

      "No!" snorted Thefoi. "We would never let Moosuem do that!" The Kyrii leaned closer to the confused Uni and whispered confidentially, "he's not very bright, but we try to keep him from doing anything that stupid."

      "Oh," said the Uni, thoroughly bewildered. She tried to think of something else to say, but failed.

      "Can we leave some time soon?" asked the Kyrii's owner plaintively. "I'm supposed to play Kacheekers in about five minutes and-"

      "Quiet, Moosuem," interrupted Thefoi, turning her head to give the owner a stern look. "We're staying here as long as we need to. Remember, you're still in your trial period; if you don't behave, we'll have to find a different owner." Thefoi turned back to the shocked Uni. "You're sure she's not here?" she asked pleadingly.

      "Uhhh," said the Uni blankly, gaping at the strange Kyrii and her… owner? Shaking her head, the Uni struggled to regain her composure. She had to stay calm and dignified, like a proper Pound official, no matter how weird this bunch was. "Yes, I'm afraid so."

      "Who's in cage 37 now, then?"

      The Uni consulted a list. "A male Kacheek named Ender Bender, age 678 days, height-"

      "Never mind, then," sighed Thefoi. She turned to go, then turned back and looked at the Uni. "Are you new here? I don't recognize you."

      "Er - well, yes, actually," replied the Uni. "I believe there was a large change in the Pound management about a week ago. All the current staff and guards that I've talked to have only been here for a week." The Uni frowned disapprovingly. "You wouldn't believe the state the old management let this place get into! There was no sanitation to speak of, the plumbing leaked, the Neopets were nearly all unhealthy, the food was little better than kitchen scraps-" The Uni stopped herself, breathing hard. Calm and dignified. Calm and dignified. "Of course, we are working hard to repair everything," she said, "but I can't imagine why the old management didn't get fired a lot sooner."

      To the Uni's surprise, the Kyrii laughed. "Well, I guess our little diversion had more of an effect than we thought!" she chuckled. Having delivered that enigmatic comment, Thefoi turned and pulled her owner out the door.

      "It was all my idea," said the Zafara cheerfully, stopping at the door. "Well, Cassandra helped, but it was mostly my incredibly advanced strategic intellect that-"

      "Blue, leave the Uni alone," said Midnight. "She'll be here all week if you start talking about yourself." With that, he pulled the chattering Zafara out the door, leaving one very confused Uni to puzzle over what all of them had been talking about.

      "Thefoi?" asked Midnight nervously as the four Neopets and their owner walked out of the Pound. "Are you all right?" Normally, he would expect Thefoi to be yelling in frustration at this point, but she didn't seem any more irritated than usual.

      "Why wouldn't I be?" asked Thefoi. "After all, even if Cassandra's not at the Pound, we can still look her up; her full name's CAS238-" the Kyrii froze. "CAS238 - 5… Or maybe 6… Oh, I'm so stupid! Why didn't I memorize her name? I can't remember all the numbers!"

      And for the first time anyone had seen, Thefoi - Thefoi the strong, Thefoi the sarcastic, Thefoi the confident - began to cry.

      Blue and Midnight could only stare. Eventually, it was the small blue Kau who walked over and patted her new adopted sister comfortingly. "There, there, it's all right, I'm sure you'll find her somehow."

      Thefoi looked up, her tear-streaked face suddenly set in determination. "You're absolutely right, Mooriel," she said. "I am going to find her. If I have to search for every possible combination of numbers that begins with CAS238, I'll do it, even if it takes me fifty years!" Wiping her face, Thefoi stood up and marched briskly down the road. "Well, hurry up!" she commanded, looking over her shoulder at Midnight and Blue, who were still staring. "I haven't got all day!"

      That was more like the normal Thefoi. Midnight, Blue, and Mooriel grinned at each other, then (pulling their new owner away from a larnikin he was staring at) followed the Kyrii down the road that led to their new home.

      CAS238498, Thefoi typed.

      "Error. Sorry, but nothing with that name exists."

      CAS238499.

      "Error. Sorry, but nothing with that name exists."

      CAS238500.

      "Error. Sorry, but nothing with that name exists."

      CAS238501…

      "Excuse me," said a soft voice from the road. Mooriel looked up from her book to see a yellow Eyrie reading something on a piece of paper she was holding. "Is this 14212 Sakhmet Slums Road?" the Eyrie asked shyly.

      Inside the house, Thefoi stood up to look out of the window. Something about the Eyrie's voice sounded familiar.

      "Um…" Mooriel darted a quick glance at the address sign on the front of the house, then said, "Yes."

      "Does anyone named Thefoi live here?" asked the Eyrie uncertainly.

      That was when Thefoi knew. Dashing out of the house, the door slamming behind her, she ran up to the Eyrie and stared into her face.

      "Cassandra?" Thefoi whispered in disbelief.

      "Thefoi!" exclaimed the Eyrie delightedly, giving Thefoi a hug. "I was afraid you wouldn't recognize me!"

      "What happened to you?" asked Thefoi, delighted and astonished. "Last time I saw you, you were a Skeith!"

      "I got adopted by this really nice person who didn't mind my name at all," said Cassandra, waving her new wings happily, "and then, a few weeks later, she won the lottery and got really rich, so she bought all of the Lab Map." She laughed. Her laugh was the same as it had always been. "I've been going to the Lab Ray every day since then, and now I can fly as well as Midnight!" She flapped her wings, lifting herself proudly off the ground.

      "Yes, I'm sure you can," said Midnight, walking up to Thefoi and Cassandra with Blue behind him. "But who are you?"

      "Midnight! Blue! Oh, it's so good to see all of you again!" Cassandra exclaimed, beaming and hugging the two of them. "And you too, whoever you are!" She gave Mooriel a hug as well. "And you all live right down the street from my new home! I'm just so happy!"

      "Um… Nice to meet you. I'm Mooriel," said Mooriel with a smile. This Eyrie seemed a bit crazy, but nice.

      "Could someone please explain what's going on?" asked Midnight plaintively.

      Thefoi and Cassandra looked at the confused expressions on Blue's and Midnight's faces and burst into laughter. Leaning on each other as they laughed hysterically, they walked towards the house.

      "I'll explain in a minute," giggled Thefoi. "Come on in, Cassandra."

      "Cassandra?" yelped Blue and Midnight, running after the two and slamming the door behind them.

      Mooriel smiled at the door. She still wasn't quite used to her unpredictable new brothers and sister, but she thought it was going to be fun living with them. With a small giggle at the incredulous voices of Blue and Midnight coming from the house, she settled back on the garden bench and went back to her book.

Epilogue

      Kevin looked around at the view from the spaceship. "Where are we going, exactly?" he asked his new owner. "We seem to be in the middle of nowhere."

      "You'll see when we get there," grumbled the girl in the ship's pilot seat.

      "That's what you said when you brought me to that surprise visit to the dentist," said Kevin. "Since then, I've preferred to know my destinations beforehand."

      "You'll like this one," said the girl, trying to sound enthusiastic. "Now stop talking. This is more complicated than it looks."

      "You also said I'd like the dentist," retorted Kevin. "I still don't think he was a professional. My teeth hurt for days."

      No reply.

      "Are you listening?"

      "No," said the girl, "and here we are."

      The spaceship was approaching a large space station. It seemed innocent enough until Kevin read the words on the side.

VIRTUPETS SPACE STATION - MARK TWO

      "What exactly are we doing here?" asked Kevin, beginning to feel slightly nervous.

      "Oh, just paying a visit," said the girl casually, opening the airlock.

      "To whom?"

      "An old friend." The girl walked out into the station. Kevin followed her apprehensively.

      Eventually, they walked into a small room off the main corridor. A door on the other side opened.

      "Hi," said the mutant Grundo who walked out of it.

      "Here's another test subject, if you can catch him," said the girl. "I expect those 50,000 Neopoints by tomorrow." With that, she turned and walked out of the room, closing the door behind her.

      Kevin froze momentarily in shock, then screamed in rage and flew at the door. It was locked.

      Kevin whirled in midair to face the Grundo. It had now been joined by several others; more were coming out of the door it had entered by.

      That door was the only exit, Kevin realized, and did the one thing the Grundos probably weren't expecting. With a maniacal screech, he flew straight at their heads. The Grundos toppled to the floor, leaving the door wide open.

      Kevin flew along the corridor beyond, startling several more Grundos, who fell down, then yelled and started chasing him. As Kevin turned a corner, he flew straight up into an open ventilation shaft on the ceiling. He sat there and watched as the Grundos ran by underneath, never noticing him.

      Then, with a chuckle, the Korbat flew off into the depths of the space station.

      This was going to be fun.

The End

 
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Other Episodes


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



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