Flames and Lightning
Angel turned round, trying to look over both shoulders
simultaneously before making herself dizzy and falling over the bed.
"What? Where's it coming from?"
The room went eerily silent until the only
sound was the distant throbbing of thunder and the light patter of rain from
outside the window, drumming into their minds as they strained to hear the voice
'You should have hidden it, you dolt!'
Another voice had joined the conversation.
Angel recognised it as the Western accent of the Meerca who had chased Rincham
away the day before.
Angel lowered her voice to a whisper. "Where's
it coming from? It's like it's coming from all over! When I turn to the right,
it's over near my left somewhere. What's going on?!"
"It's coming from you, Einstein!" snapped
Jen. "It's your locket. We bugged the barn, remember?"
"Oh yeah... so this must be... Emvee! He does
have something to do with this! I knew it! D'ya think they can hear us?"
Jen gave her one of those 'no duh' looks.
"Well, if they can, they must be stone deaf, because you're talking loud enough
to wake the former residents of Maraqua!"
Angel smiled discreetly, and lifted the locket so they could both listen.
'Okay, here's the dolt from the outward shipping
for the last batch of pets. Let's hope on your life that those two ditzy girls
in the resort didn't find it.'
'Why would they find it?'
'They were snooping around here earlier
today. They might have just been waiting for the so-called 'tour' though. Anyhow,
I'm gonna turn my attentions to the Spotted one that escaped from the last batch
'The Spotted Kougra? M.V., he's gonna be a handful.'
"MV? Is he talking to Emvee, or to the MV
we saw on the front of the envelope?"
Angel cocked her head and thought, silently.
'Yeah, you heard me. The Spotted one. The
Feerall. We could charge a mint for fighting skills like his. Call the others.
We'll go after him tonight.'
Angel slammed the locket shut and turned to
Jen... but she was already storming down the stairs and towards the front door,
into the storm.
"Wait up, Jen. Don't do anything rash."
"Like what? All we have to do is warn Rincham,
then report this guy to Angle, and that's that!"
"No it's not."
Jen's hand stopped just short of the door.
"What're you on about?"
"This is more serious than I thought. Do you
realise who we're dealing with? You asked me before who the Meerca was talking
to. Either MV and Emvee are in this together... or Emvee is MV"
Jen's expression brightened. "Of course. A
pseudonym! I don't know why I didn't see it before! But why is that so serious?"
"I didn't want to believe it before," said
Angel, her face becoming steely and cold, "but I think it's Malkus Vile."
"Uh... I can see why that would fit, but why
him? No way. What the heck would he be doing in the middle of the Retsinis Jungle?"
"We'll never know until we find out."
It was easy for the duo to find where they had went - enormous Skeith, Uni
and even human footprints were scattered around, coming to focus in a trail
through the jungle near to where they had been sitting just before. The icy
wind was lashing against their faces, forcing them back towards the resort,
yet they persevered through the biting intensity of torrential rain to make
their way towards the rock.
Jen looked around.
"Well? Where are they? Rincham said he'd meet
us here. I'm worried."
"Y'know, maybe he just wasn't ready to trust
anyone yet. He is a wild animal, after all..."
"Don't you think all Neopets should be given
the opportunity to live the 'other' life? A life of love and cherishing? Rincham
has never been loved. That's why he blocks everyone out. He needs to have a
"And that's why he's not here, is it?"
"No. It's just --"
A hideous yelp echoed around the glade, making
Jen slip in the mud.
"See? I told you! He's in trouble!"
Angel sighed and looked to the sky.
"All right then. You stay here and DON'T follow
The Eyriess sprinted over the rock and disappeared
into the jungle before Jen even had a chance to pick herself up out of the mud.
Still running, Angel suddenly felt... different.
She couldn't explain or describe this feeling exactly. Of familiarity. Of knowledge.
Of this deep down feeling that she had an advantage over the enemy, which they
could not match. After some time she opened her eyes to the piercing sound of
Rincham's roar. Where was she running? It was like she was being drawn to the
mountains, like a magnet. Drawing her away from the poor Kougra and towards
the tempestuous peaks of the mountains near... some kind of valley. She'd forgotten
its name. Gritting her teeth she drew in her head and steered back towards
the sound of Rincham's cry.
How did she know where to go? What was drawing
her away from her friend's when he was in trouble. She felt her forehead burn
and sting with the rain. Her forehead? Her mark. The spearhead. What if they
had something to do with it...
But there was no time to worry about it now.
She skidded to a halt behind a boulder and peered over the top. Her breath caught
in her throat and she felt her mouth draw dry as she saw that Skeith. Minus
the fake beard and moustache now. His eyes were burning bright through the frighteningly
black night, and his face was illuminated - every corner caught by a bright
beam of light - by an electronic torch. She hated him. But she didn't know why.
And she also felt curious about him. What did he know about her past that she
Drawing her attention away from Emvee, her
eyes streamed to focus on the figure of Rincham, caught fast under a net, soaking
wet and exhausted. They must have chased him for an age. And he must have run
until he could run no further. Which was here. The young Kougra swiped maliciously
at them with a clawed paw, and felt himself slip and fall to the ground, exhausted.
Emvee's voice echoed through her mind.
"Get the shocker. I don't care if he's exhausted! Do you think it matters
to me - just get the job done!" This was too much for Angel. He was totally
outnumbered. He couldn't fight back. He had no one else to defend him...
The Skeith stepped forward, the shocker sparking
and illuminating his features like some kind of gargoyle, and Angel leapt forward.
"Not a move, Malkus. Not another move."
Malkus' eyes gleamed once... twice... as they
darted from her head to her locket, and then - for some reason - to her paws.
"I thought it was you," he sneered. "I recognised
those eyes. They're not normal Eyrie eyes. They're white-irised, not yellow.
They're... I know what kind of eyes they are. But do you?"
Angel's eyes screwed up in a frown. She glared
at the gloating Skeith.
"No? You don't know? Well that's odd. Think
of me as a piece of the jigsaw puzzle. The missing piece that you've been searching
for, for a long time now. If you stop us now you'll never find that piece."
He held the shocker to be level with her shoulder, which was blocking his way.
"So what's your decision?"
Angel held her stare. He was right. He did
know something about her. And if she stood her ground she'd never find out.
But would she still find out if she let him pass? And Rincham... she couldn't
let him down.
She stood her ground and stared him in the
eye. Malkus' face hardened, and he thrust the shocker into her shoulder...
Malkus' accomplices peeled their hands from
their faces, expecting to see a fried Eyrie, and they just saw Angel standing
there, grinning at them.
Suddenly it all clicked into place for her.
It had been nagging in the back of her mind since the Rainbow Pool, when the
handle of the Fire Paintbrush had burned her paw and Monsieur Plumedragon had
said 'Strange. They should not be hot to-the-touch.'
It was a sign after all! If she had taken
the Fire brush - no matter how beautiful it was - she would have been shocked.
Being painted electric helped absorb some of the electricity and deflect the
static fields, preventing her from being shocked.
"Like my new paint job, Malkus? It looks like
the shocker took a liking to it!"
Malkus' face dropped like he had a lead weight
attached to his nose. "The electricity! You're absorbing the electricity! Darn!"
He threw the shocker on the ground and yelled
for his comrades to follow. They advanced on the Eyriess menacingly, brandishing
knives and bats and all kinds of weapons.
Angel started to panic. Her eyes darted warily
from person to person, their visages marbled in the effect of the night sky,
and crouched back to protect Rincham, who was panting frantically.
But a flicker in the bushes told Angel there
was nothing to be afraid of. She simply sat up onto her haunches, took her paw
to her beak and whistled.
At that second, a dozen NSPA agents leaped
out the bushes. The look on the faces of the assailants was a picture as they
desperately tried to escape them. For a few moments, everything was utter chaos...
"Excellent work! Well done, the both of you!"
Angle had been rushing from Angel to Jen and
shaking both their hands enthusiastically for the past ten minutes. The raid
had been successful! Just after Angel had left, Jen had used her mobile to ring
Angle, who came with a few agents sent to the island at short notice.
"But w-w-why were you h-h-here in the f-first
"D'you remember that guy you met in the bar?"
Angle grinned from ear to ear, and put her
mouth to a small handheld gadget. "Just don't go to that resort, kids, if you
know what's good for you. Don't go back! Ooooooooo!!"
Angel sneezed once and laughed. "That's brilliant?
W-what is it?"
"Standard seven voice wave translator. It
can change the sound of your voice into anything. I used and up-to-date model
of an old man and hid inside, offering my voice while operating the robotics
from inside the model! And acting from the outside like that, I saw that you
have your priorities in the right place. You never let some urban legend scare
you away, nor did you allow your fears to overcome you. This is one of our most
hi-tech pieces of equipment - and one that I'm sure I can get you to use in
the next mission."
Angel spat out the hot chocolate she was drinking.
"Next mission? You mean... I didn't totally
screw it up?"
"No. Of course not!"
"Yes! Woohoo!" She leaped into the air, knocking
over the chair and nearly falling on top of a tall Spotted Kougra, who had just
meandered into the room with Jen.
"Hey, watch it!"
"Ah, Jen," greeted Angle, "have you come to
The girl sighed and smiled warmly. "Yes. Finally.
Rincham's decided to stay with us. I know it's a threat if we keep a crime witness
in the vicinity, but Rin could use the lab ray. I talked it over with him, and
he says it's worth a try. It'd make him stronger, at least."
Angel squealed and hopped over to Rincham,
wrapping him in her arms in a big bear hug and welcoming him into the family.
He choked a few times and pushed her away.
"HEY! Just because I'm your new brother doesn't
mean you can be all mushy 'n' stuff. I'm still wild, whatever you think... though... I've gotta say thanks for saving me from that jerk."
The Eyriess smiled, her eyes turning hazy,
and she curled up in thought on the chair. Jen rested her hand on her shoulder.
"I know how you feel. We stopped the illegal pet smuggling! But Malkus Vile
was never captured, so you feel like you let him get away. But it's not true.
Sometime our paths will cross again, and then we'll find out what he was ranting
on about. Just have heart and patience."
She sighed and rolled her head to the other
side. "I know. I know. I've been stewing over it enough. But there's something
that I just can't understand. Malkus is notorious for getting lower, less skilled
or important members of the crime syndicate to do his dirty work for him. Yet
he participated directly into this event. Why?"
"Never try and understand the minds of insane
creeps like him." The girl shrugged, and started to play the flute again.
Elsewhere, a certain Yellow Skeith was undergoing a lot of punishment.
"HOW DARE YOU DISOBEY MY ORDERS, MALKUS!"
Malkus rubbed his stinging cheek tenderly.
"I apologise, sir. I can assure you, it won't happen again."
"Too right it won't happen again. Because
I won't let it. You are suspended until further notice, Malkus"
"UNTIL FURTHER NOTICE! And I shall not tell
you how long that will be. It all depends on whether my other accomplices are
as incompetent as you!"
Malkus opened his mouth, as if to say something,
then closed it again. Hanging his head in shame, he sauntered out the room,
deciding not to tell his superior that there was another Kumlaa still living...
Note: Thank you so much Sonicoem for letting me use Angle8285 - you're a great