There are ants in my Lucky Green Boots Circulation: 194,677,420 Issue: 786 | 16th day of Relaxing, Y19
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Defender Scarlet Shadow in the Robots of Heart: Part Two

by orisasda


      Some of the hardest decisions any Defender has had to make during their lifetime is usually centered on a conflict between their duty and the right thing to do. Sopherie had decided long ago that when this choice was presented to her, she'd pick the right thing to do, which was what Director Redford had requested of her. Sopherie had asked Director Redford a few more questions, one of them being where she would be able to find the two runaway androids.

      "I told them about a lab bunker I have in Neopia Central in the Neopia Bazaar district. I go there when I'm stuck on a project and need the time alone to think. They should have been able to make it there by now and if not, you'll just have to wait for them to come to you. Do you have a map? I'll mark where the entrance to my bunker is." Director Redford had answered. She did have to wait a few days, as she had to get Headquarters to send a Defender to take over for her in the Substation while she came back to Neopia Central to look for these androids, which took another two days. She looked for it in the night as she didn't want to reveal where the androids might be hiding. She found the entrance easily enough, even in the evening light. It was camouflaged into the wall of a building and no one would notice it unless they were looking for it. Sopherie pushed against the wall and she found it was one of those rotating walls. She entered through the doorway and pushed the wall back into place behind her. Stairs heading downwards were before her. She shivered as this place was similar to Dusk's Hideout back in Meridell. Sopherie hoped that things would not go the same way this time. She carefully made her way down the stairs and eventually found herself at an iron door. She reached for the knob and it turned very easily in her hand. Behind the iron door was a workshop filled with robotic parts and a brown Gelert was there, not in the least bit looking like a robot and growling aggressively at her.

      "Um... A-are you Warren?" Sopherie asked the brown Gelert. The Gelert stopped growling and looked at her confused.

      "Did you just address me as Warren, like Director Redford would?" The Gelert said.

      "Then you are Warren?" Sopherie said.

      "I am Warren." Warren confirmed. "But for you to refer to me in such a way... Are you a friend of Director Redford?"

      "Well, not exactly. But he did send me to see how you and Elizabeth were. He couldn't do it himself. The diversion he made to allow you two to get away from the lab has left him rather busy." Sopherie said. Warren raised an eyebrow at Sopherie.

      "What would have made Director Redford trust you to find us?" Warren said, looking suspiciously at her.

      "I'm a Defender of Neopia. My Defender name is Scarlet Shadow." Sopherie said. She pulled out her Defenders of Neopia license as proof as Director Redford had said that Warren would be suspicious unless she provided proof. When Warren came closer to her to study her license, Sopherie held the license out to him. "Take it if you want a closer look. I have nothing to hide." Sopherie said. Warren took the license from her and gave it a closer look. He nodded as if satisfied and handed it back to her.

      "The database tells me that the license is authentic. I'm sorry I had to put you through that little exercise. You must understand why I am cautious, yes?" Warren said.

      "Of course I do." Sopherie replied. "But I only see you here."

      "Elizabeth is in the back, follow me." Warren said and went through another iron door. He led Sopherie to a small bedroom and a white Gelert was sitting on the bed. She tensed when she saw Sopherie.

      "Relax, Elizabeth. This is Defender Scarlet Shadow. Director Redford sent her to find us." Warren said. Elizabeth relaxed and a big smile came to her face.

      "Redford did? Then are you a new friend?" Elizabeth asked Sopherie.

      "Yeah. I guess I am." Sopherie replied, not sure where Elizabeth was going with this. Elizabeth jumped off the bed and gave Sopherie a hug.

      "Friendship hug!" She squealed as she almost crushed Sopherie.

      "Elizabeth! You're hugging her too hard! You're going to break someone's ribs again." Warren chastised.

      "Oh, sorry!" Elizabeth squeaked and let go of Sopherie.

      "It's okay..." Sopherie croaked. She felt her ribs and they were alright, but Elizabeth's hug had squeezed the air from her lungs.

      "I'm really sorry." Elizabeth apologised again.

      "Really, it's okay." Sopherie said as soon as she got her breath and decided to laugh it off. "Haha! But, darn. You really are a robot, huh? No one else like you could be quite that strong if they weren't."

      "Yep! Look, look!" Elizabeth said. A flap that Sopherie couldn't see before opened on Elizabeth's arm. Sopherie could see the many circuits and some of the mechanical skeleton inside of Elizabeth. She also saw tiny robotic things crawling up and down the circuits. This would have freaked Sopherie out badly if Sopherie hadn't learned beforehand that Warren and Elizabeth had tiny nanobots inside of them for maintenance purposes, like what blood cells and antibodies did for the Neopets body.

      "Wow, you two are miracles of science. I don't think anyone could tell you apart from the real deal. I certainly couldn't." Sopherie said.

      "Well, of course. We were designed that way." Warren said in a matter of fact way while Elizabeth closed up the flap on her arm. "Although, we do have other functions, to make further versions of us more marketable if they were to be sold commercially. For example, I have a database for seeing the authenticity of anything, licenses, documents, et cetera." Warren continued.

      "So I was told. You two have certain weaponry too." Sopherie said.

      "Yes, but we'd never use our weapons on Neopets unless in self-defense." Elizabeth said.

      "But it seems a shame, especially since that's what the others in the department wanted. Not Redford himself." Sopherie murmured to herself. She shook her hand and decided it was time to get back to the task at hand. "But back to why I am here." Sopherie said firmly. Warren nodded and thought for a moment.

      "Well, as you can see we're pretty okay here," Warren began after gathering his thoughts. "But we do have a problem."

      "My radar for detecting certain persons have been telling me that Director Sinis is in this land!" Elizabeth said, obviously distressed.

      "What? When?" Sopherie asked them.

      "Elizabeth says he's been in Neopia Central most nights. He's gifted with magic, despite being a man of science so he's probably been using it to travel from Moltara to here instantaneously. But we don't know why." Warren said.

      "At first we both feared he had figured out where we were, but he would of dragged us back to the labs if already if that was the case." Elizabeth said.

      "Well, I could find out why he's here if that would help you out." Sopherie offered. Both Warren and Elizabeth stared at her in surprise.

      "You'd do that for us?" Elizabeth asked, clearly touched.

      "Of course. It's all part of my job and Director Redford asked me to make sure that the two of you are alright. I think checking out what Director Sinis is doing here falls under what Redford asked me to do." Sopherie answered.

      After a few more grateful words from Warren and Elizabeth, Sopherie had Elizabeth mark on her map where she was feeling Director Sinis's presence and when she arrived at the place Elizabeth had marked she was looking at what she thought was an abandoned factory on the outskirts of Neopia Central. But the light showing through the windows of the factory was saying otherwise. He's only managed to keep people thinking it's abandoned because this factory is in a rather barren area so hardly anyone comes here. Especially during the night. Sopherie thought to herself. Then she wondered how she was going to get in without being noticed so she could see what Director Sinis was up to. Her eyes travelled the length and width of the building until her eyes zeroed in on a slightly open window. If she could climb up there, she would be able to force the window to open wide enough to squeeze through. She went up to the factory's wall to find it was made of brick and so had hand and foot holds as a result of some bricks sticking out more than others and chips on the bricks themselves. Sopherie deftly made her way up the wall and used the metal grip of her red ribbon whip as a lever to force the window to open up more. She climbed through once the window was open wide enough and dropped down onto a metal structure. She jumped down and she couldn't help but gape at what she saw. The metal structure held tubes and inside them were Neopets.

      "T-they can't be real. Can they?" She said to herself. Then a light on top of one of the tubes began to flash and the Neopet inside opened flaps very similar to the one Elizabeth had showed Sopherie on her arm. Sopherie sighed in relief that they were just androids like Warren and Elizabeth. But why? Why is Director Sinis making these androids and why in secret? I'm getting more questions than answers here." Sopherie thought while rubbing her temples.


      "Oh-oh. I'll find answers later. I gotta find a way out of here!" Sopherie said and quickly exited the room. But as she turned the corner to go down the hallway she entered into, she bumped straight into someone. She looked up and found it was the worst someone she could have bumped into.

      "Why if it isn't Defender Scarlet Shadow. I can't decide whether it's a pleasure to see you again or not." Director Sinis said coldly, his glacial, green eyes looking down at her.

      To be continued…

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