Blue's Way: Part Two
Ten minutes later, Rei and Fura were seated in the blue Gelert’s classroom, but their thoughts were far away from the teacher’s announcements.
“BluesKing? Is BluesKing here?” the teacher called out. There was silence.
“Er... I think there was an emergency and he had to leave, Mrs. Bloom,” said Fura hesitantly. The teacher glanced her way and nodded before moving on to the next name.
Fura felt a nudge and something was pushed into her paw from behind. She glanced at the crumpled piece of paper there, and unfolded it to read: We need find out more about this guy. There’s something not quite right. Let’s follow him tonight. Meet you at the tree at six o’clock.
Fura swallowed hard, and nodded slowly so that Rei could see. Her friend was right. Something fishy was going on, and they needed to figure out what. Suddenly she became aware that Mrs. Bloom had called her name.
“Here! I’m here,” she called. She stuffed the note deep into her backpack, and resolved to not think about the plan for as long as possible.
* * *
At three o’clock that afternoon Fura opened the gate in front of her Neohome, trudged up the pathway, and opened the front door.
“Mono! I’m home!” she called out. There was no answer, and she frowned. She had expected Mono to be waiting to greet her and ask her for every little detail about her second day back at school. Mono was just that kind of owner. She walked into the kitchen and spotted a note sitting on the table. She grabbed it and read,
I have to be gone from Neopia for a few weeks. I know this is sudden, but the ‘rents said I have to go on vacation with them. I’ve left lots of money; just check yourself into one of the nicer Neolodge hotels and you’ll be fine.
Love you lots,
Fura blinked, startled and a bit nervous. After a moment she slowly folded the note and picked up an envelope that also lay on the table. She opened it and gasped at the amount of money inside. Why, Mono must have expected her to check into the AstroVilla and get all of the extras besides! She shook her head in slight consternation before settling down to do her homework. She worked quietly and became quite involved until eventually she glanced at the clock. Immediately she jumped up; she had just over an hour until she was to meet Rei in the schoolyard. She hurried over to the Neolodge and purchased a month’s worth of nights at the quiet and rather pleasant Mountain Lodge. She ate a quick dinner at the restaurant there before hurrying off to the school.
* * *
Meanwhile, Rei had entered her Neohome and thrown a ball against her ceiling for two hours. At a quarter of six she informed her owner Joshua, a Neopian Times writer, that she was going on a ski trip.
“Ski trip? In the summer?” Joshua had asked, mildly confused.
“Uh-uh. On Terror Mountain. It’s a school trip, and we’re going to learn how the natives live there.”
“Oh, I see,” said Joshua rather absentmindedly. “Well, have fun.” He immediately turned back to his typewriter and continued to pound away at the keys.
“Bye, Dad,” the Acara said as she opened the front door and left the Neohome.
“Hm? You’re leaving now? Oh, the ski trip...”
* * *
Rei had been waiting impatiently in the schoolyard for nearly five minutes before Fura rushed up.
“Sorry,” she said breathlessly. “I lost track of time doing my homework...”
“Shh,” Rei hushed. “He’s right over there, in his tree. He hasn’t seen us.” And so he hadn’t. As Fura glanced over, Blue’s Weewoo landed on his shoulder. The Kougra whispered something to his pet, and immediately the white beauty shot off again. Blue stretched casually before jumping off the tree branch and strolling away. Fura and Rei watched him until he exited the schoolyard, turned a corner and vanished from sight.
“Let’s go,” Rei hissed. The two pets hurried after BluesKing, trying to keep him in sight while not letting the Kougra hear them. They turned the corner and Rei almost ran into Blue, who was sitting and cleaning his paws. The Wocky and Acara hurriedly made shushing motions at each other and dashed back around the corner.
“Whew! That was close,” Rei gasped.
“We’ll have to be more careful,” Fura breathed.
Rei peered around the corner. “Okay, he’s moving on,” she whispered. “Wait for it... now he’s entering the woods. Let’s go!”
“You- you mean the Haunted Woods?”
“Of course, Fura! What other woods are there on this side of Neopia Central?”
“None,” Fura admitted with a tremulous, reluctant sigh. She cautiously followed Rei down the street and into the forest.
“He’s over there,” Rei murmured, pointing away to her left. “C’mon.”
“Careful where you step,” Fura warned, avoiding a Snake Rose that was thrashing about at her feet.
Suddenly, Blue sat down and began examining his paws again. The girls halted and held their breath, though Rei did hiss impatiently under her breath. After a moment Blue traveled on again.
They walked for nearly two hours, with Blue stopping occasionally to wash his paws. The girls’ spirits began to lag and they became very tired. When Blue sat down and began cleaning his claws for the umpteenth time, Fura decided to suggest that they try again another day. Before she could say anything, though, Rei spoke.
“We’re just wasting our time,” Rei hissed. “Blue’s not heading anywhere. He’s just going in circles!”
Fura was about to agree when Blue chuckled. “Correct!” he announced, sounding pleased. He turned his head and looked over his shoulder at them. “Come here. I was wondering when you would figure it out.”
“You mean... you knew we were following you? But we were being really quiet!” Fura protested as she and Rei sheepishly approached him.
Blue shook his head. “Actually, you were being fairly noisy. Also, I was indeed leading you in circles... look; here are our paw prints from when we came around here before. Didn’t you see your paw prints, or at least recognize some of the trees?”
“We were-ah, more intent on not losing track of you,” Rei replied with some embarrassment.
“Hmm” was the Kougra’s only reply. There was a lengthy pause during which Blue stared at the two girls intently. Just as they were beginning to shift awkwardly, he said, “Would you two like to know a secret?”
Fura and Rei exchanged confused glances. “Like what?” Rei asked suspiciously.
Blue answered slowly. “Let me think about how to say this... In the past couple of days, I’ve talked with you two once or twice. Since I first became aware of you, I’ve been watching you closely.”
The Kougra hesitated again, searching for words, and the girls looked at him nervously. Why on Neopia was Blue so interested in them?
But then the Kougra was speaking again. “As I said, I have been watching you, and I think that you two could be of great help to me. In fact, I would be delighted if you two decided to help me. However, you must not tell anyone of what I am about to tell you- that is, if you agree to my proposition.”
Fura’s brown eyes steadily met Blue’s yellow ones, and she saw sincere earnestness in them. When she glanced over at Rei, however, she saw skepticism painted all over the Acara’s face. Turning back to Blue, she stated quietly, “My friend and I need a moment to discuss this. We’ll just go over there,” -she pointed to a spot about one hundred feet away- “and come back to you with our decision in a moment.”
Blue nodded, and Fura showed more impetuousness than was normal for her by dragging Rei over to the depicted spot.
The Acara wrenched her arm free of the Wocky’s grip and spat, “Fura, what are you doing?! We can’t trust him!” At Fura’s frantic motions she allowed her voice a little, but not much. “We met him, what, two days ago? And now you mean to follow him on some cybunny-brained scheme, even though he won’t even tell us anything about it? Either he’s crazy, or he’s somebody evil! And-”
The use of her full name brought Rei up short. Fura had never used it before, and Rei looked uncertainly at her friend now.
“Rei, listen to me. Why shouldn’t we trust him? No, listen! I always have followed your judgment; couldn’t you please listen to mine for once? Rei, I know that I am usually very shy around other people, but Blue is different. I know that we can trust this pet. I know it.”
Rei looked at Fura and nodded slowly. “You’re right. I know he’s not crazy or evil; I can feel it. You’re right. We need to join him; it would be wrong if we didn’t. I’m sorry for screaming at you.”
Fura shook her head with a tiny smile curving her lips. Suddenly she punched Rei lightly on the arm. “Silly! What do you think friends are for? Of course I forgive you! Now let’s go tell that massive excuse for a Kougra what our decision is.”
Linking paws, the two best friends skipped back to where the Kougra waited.
To be continued...