Chronicles of a Caped Crusader: Against All Odds - Part Three
The night guard lay in an unconscious heap on the floor of the National Neopian. The silent alarm had been triggered, but the robbers knew they had plenty of time before the Chia Police would arrive. By then, all they would find was an empty vault and a dazed guard.
"I can't wait to buy a copy on the Neopian Times tomorrow and read all about our heist in the paper. Best part will be paying for it with the money they are reporting about being stolen," one laughed harshly.
The others joined in laughing with him.
"I doubt the papers will be printing the story quite like you imagine, but at least prison gives you the paper for free."
Seven heads turned to look for the voice that had spoken. Standing framed in the doorway of the National Neopian was a dark figure. They would tell by the outline of his profile that he was a Moehog, though one much taller and muscularly built than the average Moehog. He took a few steps into the building.
"Eh, look what we have here, boys," the leader chuckled. "Some circus freak in a funny costume got lost. We should probably help him on his way. Who wants to give him a trip to dreamland?"
They all laughed as they pulled out clubs. One of them ran at the Moehog, club raised to strike. The Moehog just waited for him. The thug swung and struck, his blow landing against the outstretched hand of the Moehog. The force of the blow he had just caught did not seem to affect him. He gripped the club, squeezing it. The metal gave way beneath the force, extruding itself between his fingers. After a minute he let go, the thug surveyed the damage, completely incredulous.
He had no time to finish that sentence. The Moehog drew his arm back, his fingers curling into a fist. The thug flew across the room and landed in a heap, down for the count. The others gasped in horror.
"What are you?" demanded the leader.
"I am Judge Hog."
Vicki smiled as she leaned out the window to take in a breath of the ocean air. It was Saturday, her one day off. She liked being a doctor, but she liked Saturdays just a little more. The Island Acara always rose an hour earlier than normal so she could make the most of the day. She would take a jog on the beach while the sun rose, and then return home for breakfast. She had just returned and was opening her sitting room's windows to let in the sea tinged air.
She turned to go into the kitchen, but her steps were halted by a knock at the door. It was seven in the morning; she couldn't think who would call at such an hour. It could be the hospital. They would send for her if they had an emergency and were overwhelmed with patients and needed more staff. Vicki hurried to the door, hoping it was nothing serious.
She opened the door, and immediately her worry turned to delight. Standing there was an Electric Eyrie holding two suitcases.
"Marcus!" she shrieked, throwing her arms around his neck.
Marcus dropped his suitcases and returned the hug, holding her tight. "Fyora, I missed you something fierce, sis."
"Not as much as I've missed you, little brother. I can't believe you came, you almost never come. I'm so happy, Mark," Vicki told him.
He let her go and retrieved his suitcases, refusing to let her carry one. She led him to the guest bedroom, where he tossed the suitcases on the bed and followed her into the sitting room.
"Where is Veronica?" Marcus asked. Veronica was Vicki's daughter.
"She's got a touch of your bored genius. The schools here couldn't keep up with her. I might be a genius too, but not as much as her, so I couldn't do much more than they did for her. She's in Faerieland currently, at a super advanced boarding school. I miss her so much."
Vicki headed for the kitchen.
"Let me help you get breakfast," he said.
"No, you just sit. I can do it," Vicki insisted.
Marcus was not going to take no for an answer. He followed her into the kitchen and took a few juppies from the fridge and began to cut them up. Vicki smiled as she set Thornberry Crepes on plates and poured Thornata Juice into cups. Marcus brought the juppie slices to the table and split them between the two plates while she put down forks and knives. They sat down to eat.
"This is nice," Vicki said. "Reminds me of those days when we were both in Uni together and we used to make breakfast before heading to our classes."
"Those were good days." Marcus smiled fondly across the table at her. "Was it ever weird for you having me at the university at the same time as you?"
"Everything about our lives at that point was weird. I was fifteen, you were nine, both of us were young, though you far more startlingly than I was. But, I was happy to have you there, and getting to share the experience with you. Those late nights studying for exams, it was special. I knew that I would see a lot less of you once you graduated."
"I'm sorry, Vicki."
"Don't be. I may miss you so much, but I'm so proud of how amazing you are. And, I know you are so easily bored and that's not healthy for you, so I really appreciate you taking the time to come and see me when you do." Vicki reached across the table to take his hand. "You'll always be my little brother, no matter how far away you are, and I know you're thinking of me."
"You're never far from my thoughts." It was the truth.
She smiled. They ate their breakfast while reminiscing about the past.
Marcus sat in the doctors' lounge at the hospital, munching on a Nurako. It was a quiet day at the hospital, so he had had a lot of time to spend with Vicki so far. She had left to attend to a patient, but he knew it was minor and she would be back any minute.
She returned, a colleague right behind her, a Spotted Lupe named Joel.
"Ah, and you must be the famous Marcus. I prescribed one of the cures you came up with just ten minutes ago," Dr. Joel greeted him.
"A pleasure to meet you," Marcus replied politely. "I'm glad to hear that."
Vicki poured herself a cup of coffee. Joel settled onto a sofa and picked up a paper off the table.
"So, have you heard about Judge Hog, Vicki? Says here he busted a couple of crooks unloading stolen goods from Terror Mountain last night. He's making headlines every day now, the guy really seems to do nothing but fight crime. People are speculating that he has been hired by the police force, since they seem to have no problem with him, and he often hands over the criminals over directly. Looks like he's not a vigilante after all."
"I don't really keep up with news from outside the island, but I couldn't help hearing about him. Everyone is talking about Judge Hog lately. He's my hero," Vicki laughed.
"I've not heard of this Judge Hog before, but I have been pretty wrapped up in my work. May I see the paper, Dr. Joel?" Marcus asked.
Joel smiled and turned it over to him. Marcus read through it eagerly, something about this Judge Hog had piqued his curiosity. It only gave the rough idea of what happened at the scene; Judge Hog clearly didn't stick around for interviews. Marcus decided he would have dig deeper into this Judge Hog. He handed the paper back and said that Judge Hog was certainly an interesting character. Joel and Vicki nodded in agreement and the subject changed. Though Marcus participated fully in the conversations, his thoughts were on Judge Hog. A thought was slowly growing in his mind.
All heroes needed an arch-villain.
Chief Constable Alan Higgson smiled at Judge Hog from across the desk.
"Judge Hog, you're amazing," the Purple Chia said. "I don't know how we managed before you. Of course, criminals got away with it more because we simply couldn't arrive at the scene soon enough."
"I'm glad to be of service. There is nothing I'd rather be doing but serving the good of Neopia Central," Judge Hog replied.
"Well, off you go then," Alan said. "Catch me more wrong doers."
Judge Hog rose and saluted him, and turned to leave. He turned back when Alan called for him.
"Oh, sorry. I almost forgot about this. I came in this morning and found this sitting on my desk. It is addressed to you." Alan held out a white envelope with Judge Hog's name printed across the top. Judge Hog took it and opened the envelope. He pulled out the letter and stared at it in perplexity.
"What is it? Is something wrong?" Alan asked.
"I don't know, but I think this is a very bad sign."
All heroes need an arch-villain. I'll be in touch soon.
To be continued...