A Waffle Paradise Circulation: 96,313,980 Issue: 190 | 13th day of Hunting, Y7
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Heroes: Part Two


by orginalcliche

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The next day I was dressed up in a ridiculous get-up. It was a purple suit with large green stripes running down the back and a little bit down the front. I didn't want to him stand out there all night, so I humored the guy. Or maybe it was something more, maybe I felt that I could learn something by going with him. I never learned much of anything, until that night. I needed an education badly. However, this was taking it too far. "I'm not going outside in this."

     "You could not go outside at all." Merrel smirked, sharpening his claws. He had used my sowing kit to repair his costume, and now was looking handsomely ready for some witless villain.

     "Hey, hey, play nice," I said as I took a couple of steps back.

      He shrugged, and handed me a ray gun. Without further ado he pushed me out the door, bounding out after and soon ahead of me. I nodded and followed after him, my cape flapping behind me like a wing. Merrel must have healed quickly as he was already supple enough to run at the same pace as my flight. I only began to get suspicious when he managed to leap up to the roof of Neopian National Bank. He didn't even have any wings!

      I don't know why I followed Merrel that twilight, it would have been easier to just have left him, but something made me worry, deep down in my stomach when I saw this guy. Something wild and instinctive in me wanted to destroy him. I hastily put those thoughts out of my mind, and looked towards Merrel. The air was cool, and the sky was a heavy violet, night was weighing down upon the sun. "It's getting late; you better do whatever you want to do quick."

      For the first time Merrel was beginning to lose his composure. "Night, no, it can't be night yet." I smell the faintest stench of fear on him.

      "Yep its night, superpet and what are you going to do about it?" I like feeling on top of things. I got the feeling from manipulating pets, and owners. Using my words, no mater how ignorant, because although Merrel could see things, I could feel them. I could feel what someone was afraid about. Merrel was afraid of the night. When I met Merrel I lost that cool veneer, but now I had it back. My grin was wide and malicious.

      Then he laughed spontaneously, his eyes were broad and almost insane. It was my turn to be afraid. He rocked back and forth like a small sailboat in a wild storm. He whirled towards me; his grin took over his face like wild fungi. "You don't know, do you, what you have gotten into, have you?"

      "Probably something I shouldn't have," I remarked in a whisper. My eyes fell to the ground as if I suddenly couldn't bear to look at him.

      "Just do this heist and we can talk about philosophy later," he hastily remarked. His paws tensed and the wind for a moment died down. All of Neopia lay before him like a map, and I his pawn to place at will. I felt small and helpless, which usually only happens when he is looking straight at me, but then he didn't need to look at me. I felt the strings connecting me to him as if they were palpable things. They weren't strong; one good hard tug could have easily freed them from my scales.

      Then he jumped. It wasn't a small jump, like between slippery stones in a river. It was a jump of insanity. He didn't gracefully fall either, his cape fluttered behind him, and his eyes were scrunched up tight, in both fear and concentration.

      "What are you do-" I began to yell, but before I could finish my sentence I noticed that he wasn't actually falling. He was flying. Not just the kind of jumping flying, but actually flying, the wind ruffling his fur. It certainly wasn't an easy flight though, as he was drenched in sweat, his pelt turned a deep gold. He looked like a hero.

      Then I took after him. I pushed on the air like water, breathing in and out as quickly as I could, as if I felt that I had to match his inspired flight or else be left in the dust. I was soon perspiring as much as he and he was still ahead of me. It was probably an hour flight, but it only felt like a couple seconds, though by the end of it I was thoroughly exhausted. I would truly be an incompetent thief that night.

      "Look there." We were on top of another rooftop, this one had a pool, and everything about it seemed luxurious, we were no longer on the rough side of Neopia Central. What Merrel was referred to was a large jewelry store. It spanned a couple of blocks and was draped in decadence. The windows, though slightly murky in the midnight moon, were still crystal and bright. Jewels of all colors shimmered from in-between large displays of amulets that radiated power.

      I pointed to the amulets that were blurry in the bad light. "I suppose you want me to steal one of those," I huffed, still out of breath.

      "You're never going to get a chance to steal anything, because I'm going to save it first." Merrel seemed preoccupied by something, he was glancing at the shadows warily every couple of minutes or so. I offered no comment on his obsession with darkness.

      "So what's the plan?" I asked, not really eager to do a big heist. I was a small crook, not one cut out steal jewels, or even to fail at stealing jewels.

      "Just go down and break the window, and I think it all comes spiraling down from thereā€¦" Merrel trailed off, his eyes looking to the shadows, he looked hunted.

      "Whatever," I muttered. I wanted to get this guy out of my life. He just waltzed in and rearranged all of my life to his taste. I wasn't the kind of guy who liked taste, heck I bought what was in style. So it was not out of malice that I broke the window that night, but frustration. I sliced through the crystal widow easily, like it was a piece of cake that I was cutting. Just as I was about half way around the circumference of the circle pane I felt a slight breath of wind against my cheek. I whirled around to see her.

      She was beautiful, a light faerie illuminating the darkness like an early sun. Her golden hair bounced with her every movement. Her eyes were pupil-less, gleaming slits of golden light. A small light weight Kougra stood proudly next to her, a large L was printed on her shirt in a bright maroon ink.

      I was about to splutter out a question, when there was Merrel. Before I could say a word, I felt his paw connect with my cheek. "Get back you foul robber!" If his language when I'd first met him had been proper it was nothing to this. This was like something out of an old story that my grandmother would tell me. Not that I ever knew any of my family but my brother.

      The light faerie had first looked poised to strike, but now surprise marred her features. "Merrel?!?!" After her mouth expelled those words like an unwanted pet cast into the pound, her mouth hung open.

      Merrel puffed up his chest importantly. I, realizing that I actually had quite a bit of a haul in my hands, and that I might want to actually steal something, ran. I tried to maneuver my way around the corner. I got to a point were Merrel's and the Light Faerie's voices were fading into incoherence, but then I felt my feet freeze. Eugh! That's what I get for meddling with magic. I was facing a dark wall so I couldn't really see much of anything, but if I strained my ears I could hear them arguing.

      "Merrel you almost let him get away!" a feminine voice scolded, not the full adult voice of the faerie, and not Merrel's either so, I deduced it must have been that Kougra with her. "I would have gotten him if you hadn't interfered Merrel!" The voice seemed to belong to the Kougra as it was neither the dark alto of the Light Faerie nor the even deeper baritone of Merrrel's. It was not innocent though, it was just as full as any voice I've ever heard, it was just more subtle. "Merrel, I thought your powers were drained after that fight with Maria," It was not the Light Faerie speaking. I supposed it must have been the Kougra that was with them, unless someone else had appeared when I had been thrown down against the sidewalk. I took me a while to figure things out, I had to deduce things a couple of times before they registered. There wasn't much I could discern from her tone as she tried to keep it pretty neutral sounding.

      "Well she didn't," Merrel proudly exclaimed, a thump shortly following, though a light one. He probably tried to do a trick; his success wasn't discernible however, as I was still stuck.

      "It was, I saw it," said the Light Faerie said skeptically. "Maria is very powerful." A stoic silence fell over the group. Maria, I had heard that before. Wasn't that the dark faerie that Merrel got in fight with? Maria was the one who wasn't giving him enough power.

      "She accidentally gave me more power, look what I can do," Merrel was starting to sound desperate. Then I could smell the faint stench of burning rubber, and hear the soft sound of crackling electricity.

      "Stop!" The light faerie that had once been calm and composed was now haggard mess. I could discern this only from her voice, it was amazing how open she was. I began to feel the spell on me loosening up. I could move my toes.

      "Why! Look at me Ada. This is the one you had to let go of because I wasn't strong enough!" Merrel was almost screaming. My waist was beginning to loosen up, though my legs still felt like rocks.

      "Take a breath Merrel, you need to learn how to let go. The days of your glory are over." It was the other Kougra's voice; it was cruel and almost jealous sounding.

      "You just wanted my place, didn't you Circe! Didn't you," Merrel whispered dangerously.

      The muscles in every part of my body except for my legs were completely free. I turned around using my hands to move my stout legs. While the Ada, Circe, and Merrel were arguing, I noticed a dark figure looming behind them all.

      "Hello," she drawled. The she was a dark faerie, who had just a moment ago been a mere shadow. It was not surprising how easily she blended into the darkness. She had midnight hair that ran straight down her back. She was wearing a skilfully fitted purple dress, that had every hue of night and even ones that night should consider adopting. Though she looked different from Ada in many ways, the most unexpected difference was her eyes. The dark faerie's eyes were not pupiless, unlike Ada's. Ada's eyes, though kind, held not a shred of humanity. The dark faerie's eyes made you care, maybe about the wrong things. I didn't ever know much about the right things. Ada's eyes were cold and endless. They weren't normal and that scared me. The dark faerie's eyes were ordinary, and that made me more comfortable with her.

      "Maria!" Everyone seemed to exclaim at once. So this was The Maria, I thought. Then I eyed her up and down more thoroughly. Although she was a more sympathetic character then Ada was she certainly was dangerous. I noticed it in the way she walked, like she was angry at you, a cool anger.

      "Maria, no. No!" Merrel howled, as if he said her name she might disappear.

      Maria only grinned, her eyes lighting up with glee. "Merrel, how nice to see you again," her tone was kind, but her eyes were not. "It's shame that you left me the other night."

      Although Maria frightened me a bit I was glad that she came. Now everyone was too focused on her for them to even notice me slowly backing away, jewels in hand.

      "The other night, that five years ago Maria, that you battled us. Or is your memory waning," Ada snickered. Her eyes focused out of their kindness for a moment. Merrel joined in, and they snickered together. For a moment they almost seemed friends and I could see the other Kougra, Circe looked a little put out.

      "Let's get rid of her," Circe said, straining to remain emotionless.

      Maria grinned at Circe. She looked like me, me when I was stepping on that Meerca's tail. "So. Circe. I know about you. Merrel's sister or half-sister is it? You were adopted. Nobody wants you, you only got Merrel's job, because he failed to capture me." Her manipulation tactics were brilliant. Not only did she use Circe's secrets against her, but she also mentioned Merrel's failings.

      "No, that's not true!" Unlike her brother Circe was didn't fall prey to Maria's manipulations, although I saw a bit of doubt in her eyes.

      "It is. Merrel, you don't deserve the power I gave you," Maria hissed, turning to face a trembling Merrel.

      "You gave Merrel power," Ada asked, confused. Her eyes went wide with betrayal.

      Then I look at Maria, not full on. That would be too dangerous, but I look at what she is doing. Did I really want to be not like that? Not just because of morals, because of how manipulation connects you with people. I don't think I could be friends with someone and then betray them. Not just because I didn't know how to be friends with someone, but because if I did, could I let go.

      Did I really want to become a villain? Being a nameless bully is all well and good, but being a villain sets you up to be known, and to be exposed.

      "Yes of course, who else. You didn't know!" Maria lets out a cackle at this, a smile tarnishing her once false expression. "You didn't know." She cares about things. Being a villain means you care, not about the right things, but you care.

      I don't want to be a villain. I realize it then, looking at them all. They were a pretty messed up bunch even the heroes. I drop the jewels and they clatter to the floor. "This is stupid."

      "What?" Ada explains, as if I just broke some unwritten code of conduct. The incompetent villain was supposed to be angry when caught. I didn't become a criminal to follow rules.

      "I don't want your jewels," I state plainly looking down at the jewels in disgust, and then to them, with the same expression. "I don't want this."

      "Oooh. The criminal gets a conscience, how touching," Maria drawled, but I could see worry on her face. I almost smiled, almost, but my days of manipulations were over.

      "What are you doing!" It was Merrel, he didn't mention anything about our friendship directly, but with Ada and Circe already suspicious, they figured it out pretty quickly.

      "You know him!" Ada cried indignantly. Her eyes flamed into two golden suns, cornering Merrel into an alleyway.

      "I see how it comes together, but I think I shall be taking back the power I gave you," Maria declared impatiently. She waved her hands around in some complicated pattern and Merrel slumped to the floor.

      "No!" cried Circe, rushing over to feel Merrel's heartbeat.

      "You know what's sad," I said addressing all of them. "You all are so great aren't you. You think you have everything under control. You try so hard to manipulate everything so that if favors you and you only. You take others pet's trust and warp it around. And yet they still give it. They give it because pets like to care about other people. You are all weak you know that. You can't just take pets and bend them like rubber bands. It's not that ethics matter, but if you do, you're going to hurt yourself. Actions are like rubber bands, whatever you do snaps back at you. Be it good or bad. I have time for this, but honestly I'm not going to waste it." And then I walked away. I walked away from my old house, my old buddies, all the people I hurt and terrorized. I walked away manipulating no one, not even myself.

  The End

 
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