Irregular Bane: Part One
Art by saro_the_legendaerie
Golden sunshine warmed the fur of a teenaged Darigan Cybunny lying on the beach on Mystery Island, trying to catch his breath after narrowly escaping the Tomb. He was a furtive looking sort, clad only in dark brown pants and elbow-length armored metal gloves, with sharp ruby eyes and black hair painstaking tipped with pale red. The leader of his thievery band The Dark Irregulars had sent him on a raid after his last contribution to the pile of loot- a Bag of Broken Neopoints- had been deemed unsatisfactory.
He watched a little blue and crimson Wind Up Potgatkerchi Toy bounce back and forth between his gloved paws, deep in thought. I just risked my life for a simple toy that was worth less than the dirt lodged under the talons on my feet? At this rate, I'm going to be bouncing between the Soup Kitchen and the Healing Springs for the rest of my life.
He stretched on the sandy ground, blinking as he slowly relaxed in the tropical sunshine, safe from the terrors of the tomb. Absently, he touched the fresh notch in his ear. Abandoned Tomb my tail!
A paper blew through the clearing, snagging on the point of his tail. Cocking an eyebrow he snatched it up in preparation to throwing it away, but the title words caught his eye.
'Does your life lack purpose?
Visit the Faerieland Employment Agency today!'
The Cybunny sat up, ruminating on this possibility. A job, huh? It'd be nice to not have to depend so much on the precarious moods of a bad tempered leader just to keep food in your belly. Being a Pound escapee, he loved the thought of being independent.
This decided, he got to his feet and sprinted for the boats on the Island's beach, waving down the Pirate Shoyru that was just getting ready to push his boat off shore.
"Can you take me to the nearest Faerieland portal?" X-X-X-X
The Faerie at the desk stared at the Darigan Cybunny. He shifted his weight uncomfortably, flicking a glance down at his clothes and wishing he had put something a little cleaner and more decent on. "Um... hello." He offered, feeling out of place. "My name's Bane. I'm looking for a job. "
"A job? You don't say," she stated dryly, looking down at him over her dainty glasses. "Have you had any previous jobs?"
He considered his 'jobs' in with the Dark Irregulars. "Not really."
"Any special skills?"
Bane scowled and ran his clawed fingers through his hair, wishing he had a least pulled it back into its typical pathetic ponytail for this. "Well, I'm kind of tomb raider on the side... "
The faerie sighed. Clearly, she regarded the dirty Neopet with disdain. Prissy little Faeries, Bane thought darkly. Finally, she snapped her fingers and pointed to a dusty desk in the darkest corner of the room. "Over there. Ask Jindy if there's any open spots. "
"Spots for what?" Bane asked, feeling quite insulted and wishing there was a suggestion box around here he could use to hit this faerie in the face.
Bane stood there for a few moments, trying to wrap his mind around this. "... what did you say?"
"Shop keeper. The only job in Neopia that requires no talent or intelligence or basic motor functions." She smirked lightly, laughing at him with her eyes.
"Shop keeper?" he shouted. "You want me to be a shop keeper?"
The faerie was reduced to rolling her eyes. "You're the one who wants the job."
Her thoughts were as plain as if Bane could read them. 'You'll fit right in, you moron'. He pinned his ears back in fury as the Faerie led him over to the desk and put him in the care of the bright-faced Meerca, the former of which seemed glad to be rid of him and get back to her dust-less desk.
Bane was furious and ashamed at this. You know how many shops you've robbed? Not once did a shop keeper hold you up for more than two seconds! They don't get weapons, they don't get fed, they can't leave- all they do is sit in a corner and watch the world go by!
"I... I don't want to... to..." he stammered, unable to form words.
The Faerie Meerca at the dusty desk blinked calmly, blew dust off a stack of forms and began filling one out, glancing up at the Cybunny every once in a while. She didn't seem phased at the Cybunny's reluctance in the slightest, probably assuming his Owner was putting him up to it.
Suddenly, Bane stopped. Shopkeepers are trusted, upright Neopets. I could steal items from the inside, and they'd never know the difference!
"Sign here." The Meerca sighed. Inwardly smirking, Bane scribbled his nickname on the sheet of paper and turned on his heel.
"Wait," the Meerca called to him as she tossed him a small pager that he just managed to catch. He flipped it over, noting the Virtupets logo on the back. "It's a pager that'll go off once we find you a job," she clarified. "Good luck, Mr. Bane!"
As he walked outside, holding the pager, he let a smirk cover his face.
This could be the best thing that's ever happened to me! Oh, Bane, your genius is showing.
Landing on the solid ground of Sakhmet as he tumbled out of the Faerieland portal, Bane started off for the edges of the city with the hopes of finding a Dubloon or something buried in the sand there. He had already stopped by the Omelette for breakfast, and after running around Neopia all morning and half the afternoon, he was getting hungry and reluctant to eat at the Soup Faerie's again. You knew you went there a lot when she started calling you by name.
Taking off his gloves to root through the warm sand with his paws, the Cybunny started to think about what he had done. Of course, life as a thieving shopkeeper won't be totally glamorous. I'll still be stuck in one place for hours at a time.
Ah well. It's not like I'm going to get hired right off the bat, so I can enjoy my freedom while I can.
He raised his head to stare at the clear blue sky. Fluffy white clouds scuttled across the blue expanse like prancing Babaas. Ahead of him was an expanse of golden sand shimmering with the heat of the midday hour. To his right, he could just make out the faint blue line that was the ocean on the horizon.
Could I really lose all of this? Sure, it's a fairly hard life as a bottom rung thief, but I can still breathe the fresh air.
The thought of losing his freedom sent his spirits plummeting.
But it's not like anyone's going to hire me, right?
The sun was setting as Bane marched though the Haunted Woods, munching on a Worm Burger he had found lying around. Catching the eye of a fellow thief and a good friend, a Ghost Usul named Lyce, he waved and called out. "Hey, Lyce! Over here!"
Her whole face brightened as she scurried over, cackling as she waved the Lab Map Piece in front of his nose. "Bane! Look at what I got! This'll cash in real nice."
He blinked and took a few steps back as she passed though him to peer at the bag on his back, reaching her hand through the fabric, then solidifying and slipping behind him to pull out the Dubloon he so laboriously dug up that afternoon. One of the definite perks of being a Ghost- she could pass through what she wanted and be solid the rest of the time.
"Hey! Put that back!" Bane jokingly menaced her with his Obsidian Dagger, the standard weapon for thieves of the Dark Irregulars.
She cackled again and placed the coin back in his bag, brushing the long bangs of her short gray-lavender hair out of her face. "Oh, don't get your pretty little Darigan tail in a knot, Bane! I'm too happy with my treasure to bother taking your little brass coin."
She sat daintily down on a rotting stump, fished around in the Slorg-print bag around the waist of her skimpy dark colored dress, and pulled out some Rancid Dung Coffee. Pouring a mug, Lyce offered it to the Cybunny.
"Thanks," he muttered, still miffed about her blatant carelessness with the only worthwhile item he found that day, sipping the hot strong beverage as she followed suit.
"So. You do anything else today?" Her head tilted to the side like a curious Spardel. Lyce and Bane were roughly the same age, but vastly different in mannerisms and general attitude towards life as a poor thief.
Bane bit his lip, mentally wrestling to keep the arrogant smirk from showing until he had broken the news. "I found a whole new way to steal from the Owners."
The Ghost Usul scooted forward on her stump, her fuchsia eyes gleaming as her two tails fluffed out in anticipation. "How?"
"I applied to be a shop keeper."
Lyce sat there for a moment, stunned. Then she exploded into horrendous, scornful cackles, falling off of her seat and rolling around on the ground. The bone-chilling sound echoed through the woods.
"Tee hee ha ha ha hee hee! Hah hee hee hah ha! Bane-" she gasped, "-shopkeepers have to pay for what they steal! Ha hee ha ha ha! You'll be- cha ha ha! -losing Neopoints! Tah hee ha hah ha hee hee ha!"
He crossed his arms, scowling. "Lyce! It's not funny! I didn't know!"
Lyce didn't hear him as she continued laughing like someone possessed. "Ha hah ha hee! Just wait 'till I tell- Tee hee hee ha ha ha! -tell Danter! Ha ha ha ha ha!"
Bane gathered up his bags and threw them into the top of the nearest tree, crawling up after it as Lyce managed to stifle her laughter into evil snickers.
"Hee hee hee hee hee.... Ah, Bane," she wiped tears of laugher from her eyes, "what are you gonna do about it? You gonna leave the Irregulars?" She knew as well as he did that a thief could never live a double life as a shop keeper.
"I don't know." He couldn't see Lyce as he lay on his back under a curtain of pine needles, but he knew her well enough to know she was at last serious.
"Well, whatever you do... I'll still be your friend. I owe you that much."
"Thanks, Lyce," he murmured into the darkness. "You're the best."
"I know," she giggled, and Bane could just make out her glowing form bounce away into the night.
To be continued...