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Pet Name: Jerafiyell
“Good evening everyone! Today, LIVE, standing right next to me, is none other than the famous Kiyoshi Paco, Haunted Woods adventurer!”
“Hey, wha--” the blue Shoyru started as he was pulled unceremoniously towards the blonde-haired Usul, but broke off when he saw the large camera that he had been dragged in front of. He smiled uncertainly, though not looking entirely pleased, as if sizing up the situation.
“Well, maybe he’s not famous yet, but this reporter believes that it’s only a matter of time,” the Usul declared through an impressive set of teeth that seemed to beg for a spot on a Neo Toothpaste commercial. This statement was greeted by whoops and cheers from the cameraman and the small crowd of onlookers that had gathered.
Kiyoshi tried to move off surreptitiously, but wasn’t able. The reporter had somehow managed to grab hold of the collar of his jacket, and she wasn’t letting go in any hurry. “Um...” Kiyoshi said, aware of the camera thrust in his face and the shamelessly grinning reporter holding him there.
“Oh, I think Mr. Paco has something to say,” she said delightedly, as if she had just witnessed a very slow baby’s first word.
“Yeah, um, hi,” Kiyoshi said, for lack of anything better to say. “Beautiful day in Neopia Central...”
“FAN-tastic!” the Usul exclaimed. “And what brings you to the Bazaar today?”
“Um... just had to pick up a couple things...”
“Oh! And what does the renowned Ghostchaser have to pick up on such a SPLENDID day?”
“Nothing much, really... a scratchcard... milk and cheese... you know...” he said, trying to keep a hold on his backpack, but to no avail --the reporter grabbed it and flipped open the flap as if it were her own pack.
“What’s this? It seems to be a brand-new ratchet!”
“Actually, it’s a lug wrench.”
“Mr. Paco!” she cried, obviously not capable of letting any type of inside information slip past, even if it was something like what kind of tools Kiyoshi had bought on a trip to the Neopian Bazaar. “We never knew you had an eye for mechanics!”
“It’s for a friend,” he said quickly. It was true, and Jeri the Bori would be laughing his head off if he was watching this at home.
“Oh? That’s what they all say,” she said, winking knowingly to the camera, as if Kiyoshi wasn’t watching the whole thing.
He glanced at the camera, suddenly more wary than nervous. “Thank you, that was very fun. I think I’ll be going now.” He made to walk out of the camera’s sight, but the reporter grabbed his arm, and he was surprised at how strong her grip was, her nails digging in painfully. He bit his lip and tried not to wince as he was steered back in front of the cameraman, who he now saw was a yellow Zafara wearing a backwards baseball cap.
“Mr. Paco, how about an interview?”
“What? Noooooyyyeah okay,” he agreed as her nails dug in even farther.
“Excellent! Thank you so much!” the Usul trilled ecstatically. “Just think -- me, Tanya Deanyn, an average Neopian, interviewing the one and only Kiyoshi Paco! Do you have any idea how exciting this is?”
“Oh, I can only imagine.”
“Unimaginable!” she exclaimed. “Anyways, to start off... describe your current employment.”
“Umm... it’s kind of complex....”
“Professional spook hunter?”
“Defender of Neopia?”
“I don’t think so.”
“What -- no!”
“Surely, Mr. Paco,” the Usul said, scandalized, “you cannot be -- unemployed.”
“No, I’m just kind of... self-employed... you know, troubleshooting, problem-solving....”
“Oh, you mean -- Crisis Management.”
Kiyoshi raised an eyebrow. “If you say so.”
Tanya the Usul turned directly to the camera. “How about that,” she breathed in amazement. “Crisis Management.”
Kiyoshi would have left then and there, however, she had conveniently forgotten to let go of his arm.
“So, Kiyoshi, being involved in Crisis Management, I’d imagine you’ve had quite the adventures.”
“Well, maybe...” Adventures they may be, but Kiyoshi often found it hard to talk about them.
“Oh, Kiyoshi, don’t be coy, we’ve all read about it in the Neopian Times -- Desperate duels in the sky? Multiple Snowbeast victories? There’s article after article about it!”
“Yes, but who writes them if they weren’t there?”
“There are many secrets in the world,” she said dismissively. “Perhaps they were written by a spy.”
“I can’t believe I’m having this conversation.”
Kiyoshi once more tried to pull his arm away, but without success.
“Okay, last question! What does the future hold for the Ghostchasers?”
The Shoyru had thought he’d just spotted something a ways down the sidewalk, but with a blink, it was gone. Distractedly, he replied, “Oh, I’ve been doing a lot of thinking about my esca-- my future; I’ve been doing a lot of thinking about my future, yeah.” He cleared his throat, coming back to reality. “But there are many secrets in the world,” he said with a smile.
Someone screamed. The camera jerked and swiveled around to face the source of the noise. Something bellowed, sending some of the pets on the street scattering. Over the crest of a hill came a great, hideous lump, covered with matted, muddy white fur. It paused to let out another howl from a snout full of jagged, razor-sharp teeth, then came running down at them with terrific speed.
“Run!” Kiyoshi cried. “It’s the Snowbeast!”
In a panic, the pets gathered on the street surged back, fleeing in horror towards the safety of their neohomes. The air became thick with shouts and screams now. Dumbfounded, Tanya the Usul and her cameraman joined the throng of escaping neopets, dropping the camera in their haste. Kiyoshi, however, made no move to run, only stood there smiling broadly as the Snowbeast descended.
The creature slowed when it neared Kiyoshi. It paused to pick up the camera in clawed, furry paws. “Now where’s the off-switch?” it muttered in a muffled voice. “There we are.”
Kiyoshi grinned. “Aren’t you a little short for a Snowbeast? From what I hear in the Neopian Times, they’re at least half a mile high.”
“Oh, at least,” Jeri the Bori said, yanking off the mask to reveal very tussled hair and a grin at least as insane as Kiyoshi’s. “You know that was all live, right?”
“I’m sure the finale was a blast with the Neopian public.”
“Yes, well, after about thirty seconds I figured I’d better come rescue you. ‘It seems to be a brand-new ratchet.’ Huh.” He snorted, then looked down at himself, wiggling his toes as if intrigued by the white, matted fur that lay over top of his own red coat. “Do you like it? I was intending to save it for next Hallowe’en and try an’ scare Tyra clean out of her Split pelt, but I figured this was a worthy occasion.”
“Sure was. Thanks.”
“Don’t mention it mate.” He hefted the camera. “Think we should return it?”
“Definitely. They’re going to want some solid footage of this.”
“My thoughts exactly. Let me pull off this rotten costume first. I’ll tell them how you defeated the Snowbeast with a single blow.”
“Not at all.”
And with that, they walked off in the direction of the Neopian News Network building.
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