The Adventure Before Dinner: Part Four
“Are you a prisoner here?” Puppy asked him. The Scorchio “harrumph”-ed.
“O’ course not!” he snapped. “What sort of Defender of Neopia would I be if I let myself get captured? No, I’m hiding here in this grate so they can’t find me!”
“Oh, so you can move around the castle and stuff?” Puppy asked.
“No,” he answered. “No, this vent is blocked off from the rest of the castle. I’m hiding from them!”
“So... you’re hiding in a vent that doesn’t lead anywhere instead of just sitting in this prison cell that is, like, fifty times bigger.”
“And they even promised us a meal later,” I said. “I hear that Darblats are excellent cooks. And we’ll be getting ice cream later. I know that we’ll be getting brain freeze from it, but that’s a risk you have to take with all ice cream and it’s usually well worth it.”
“Don’t question the honor of the vent!”
We didn’t. We just looked at each other awkwardly.
“Now, I hear someone coming, so don’t let on that I’m in here! And if any Defenders of Neopia come, tell them to get me out of here!”
“Oh,” I said with a smile. “You’re stuck.”
“I am not stuck!”
Puppy whirled me around, though, as we heard footsteps walking into the dungeon. We stood innocently in our prison trying to not look suspicious.
Within a few seconds, an Eyrie came walking into the room. He was whistling to himself and eating ice cream that a Selket on his shoulder was feeding him. He had a crown and one of those buckling sashes that princes wear and a poofy neck-tie thing. There was a Shoyru with a coat wrapped tight around him.
“What, what!” the Eyrie exclaimed when he saw us. “Hullo there! I wasn’t aware we had any new prisoners! Come, I give you poor souls permission to shake the royal hand.”
Me and Puppy exchanged a look as we walked up to the bars and shook the Eyrie’s hand.
“Who are you?” Puppy asked.
The Eyrie puffed his chest and flourished his hand.
“I am Prince Tobias of the number 551! And this is Sir Pinceron, my royal Selket and advisor,” he declared. “I am the noble of this castle, though that awful Lady Frostbite has turned it into this dreadful ice thing. She hasn’t got very good tastes, between you and me, though I do accept the excess of ice cream. Keeps me well-satisfied!” He patted his tummy.
“Who is that guy?” Puppy asked, pointing to the Shoyru. The Eyrie turned around and looked down at the scared-looking Shoyru.
“No idea!” he said. “I heard the Lady say he’s got pantophobia, fear of everything, and she had to take him prisoner because he got a whiff of her plot and was afraid she might do terrible things so he was going to turn her in. Now he just follows me around and I’ll give him scoops of ice cream occasionally, so the bloke doesn’t keel over on me.”
“That’s weird,” I declared.
“Indeed, ‘tis!” the Eyrie said and took a bite of ice cream. “Well, it was nice meeting you poor souls, and I do invite you to pay me a royally proper visit when you aren’t locked up and Lady Frostbite isn’t here making a hullaboo of things!”
He started to walk away.
“Wait!” Puppy shouted. “What if we got rid of Lady Frostbite right now?”
The Eyrie turned around.
“How do you propose doing that?” he asked with a spoonful of ice cream in his mouth.
“Well, we have a Defender of Neopia in that grate over there,” I said.
“’EY!! DON’T BLOW ME COVER!!”
“Never mind,” I said. “We don’t have a Defender of Neopia in the grate.”
“Well, we might, if you’re a good guy,” Puppy said.
“Or if you bribe us,” I offered, still thinking about a pool full of ice cream.
The Eyrie took another bite of ice cream from the Selket.
“If you would rid me and my castle of that Krawk, I would be more than willing to offer you a reward,” he said.
“What sort of reward?” Puppy asked eagerly.
“Well,” he perused as he took another bite of ice cream. “would ten million Neopoints be satisfactory?”
It took me a moment to calculate.
“WAAAAHHHH!!” I screamed. “We won the lottery! Or we picked the right number at Tombola! Or we did whatever it is that makes you win at the Fruit Machine! TEN MILLION NEOPOINTS! THAT’S LIKE... A BUNCH OF OMELETTES!”
“Omelettes are free, Umbreon,” Puppy told me.
“Well, whatever you use them for, those ten million are surely yours if you would get rid of Lady Frostbite and her aquatic flightless Petpet minions.”
Puppy and I did a high-five.
“For ten million Neopoints, we would hike up Terror Mountain in our bathing suits!” I shouted.
“For ten million Neopoints, we would paint me Faerie!” Puppy shouted.
“We would eat everything at the Rubbish Dump, even the Petpets!”
“We would eat banana pudding!”
“No,” I corrected. “Banana pudding isn’t worth any kind of money.”
“Umbreon, what is your-”
But I did not feel like getting into it with him anymore, so I interrupted him.
“What about you? Will you give us a reward?” I asked the weird Shoyru.
He looked at me with wide eyes, and I waited for him to talk, and he opened his wide mouth, and then he peeped and hid himself further in his coat hood.
We turned around. The flaming Scorchio was crawling out of the vent.
“’Ey! Lady Frostbite is a world-class villain, and it would be unresponsible of me to let you folks go after her by yourselves!” he declared and walked up to us.
“WOOOO!” I screamed. “WE’RE GOING TO TAKE DOWN A BAD GUY WITH A DEFENDER OF NEOPIA!!!”
I threw my hands up in the air and danced. Puppy grabbed my shoulder and stopped me.
“We haven’t taken down anybody yet,” he snapped at me. “We’re not even out of the prison yet.”
“Well, don’t worry about that,” the Eyrie said with another bite of ice cream.
I was getting jealous of him.
“I’ve got the keys to the cell.”
“How’d you do that?” Puppy asked.
“Did you swipe them from the pocket of the Lady using nothing but dental floss and candy canes?” the flaming Scorchio asked. “Did you torture a Darblat till he made you a copy? Did your little beetle friend crawl into the sewers to find a lost key that went down the drain?”
“This is my castle,” the Eyrie said. “I’ve got the keys to everything.”
“Lady Frostbite didn’t think to take them away from you?” Puppy asked. The Eyrie shook his head, and then he leaned in towards us.
“I don’t know if you’ve noticed, but the old gal isn’t the brightest of villains,” he whispered. “After all, she is trying to take over the world with an ice-cream-a-nator.”
“She changed the name,” I informed him. “It’s now the ice cream shoot-a-nator.”
After that, the Eyrie unlocked the cell door, and we all got in a huddle to discuss our plan, and this is another part that I do not like because it is boring, humiliating, and frustrating. I told them that I had a good plan, but nobody listened to me, not once, and instead we went with Puppy and the flaming Scorchio’s plan to distract the guards with a dancing congo line while they dismantled the machine. It did not sound like a bad plan, but I knew mine was better. But they didn’t listen, and we did theirs instead. And the scaredy-Shoyru and I started the congo line, and the guards were fully entertained, and Puppy and the Scorchio dashed for the machine, and the Eyrie stood around and ate ice cream, but before they could even reach the machine, one of the Darblats went up into Lady Frostbite’s office and requested that everybody take a congo-line break, and she got suspicious, and she came outside and saw us and then more stuff happened and the snow monsters stopped dancing and grabbed us and they got more snow in my socks and in that awkward place between your shirt and neck and they carried us and threw us back in the dungeon.
And we sat.
And we sat.
“Is this the part where we play Cellblock and become crazy prisoners?” I asked.
“No,” Puppy snapped angrily kicking something in frustration and crossing his arms. “I do not want to become a crazy prisoner.”
We sat a moment longer.
“Do you want to play I Spy?”
“NO!” Puppy screamed angrily. “UMBREON, WHAT IS THE MATTER WITH YOU? ALL YOU EVER DO IS ACT LIKE A CHILD AND EAT AND MESS THINGS UP AND ACT INSANE! I’M SO SICK OF YOU!”
There was an awkward silence.
I walked up to him, and put my hand on his shoulder.
“Are you upset that your plan didn’t work?”
He scowled and shoved his face in his hands and moaned very angrily (but I knew he knew I was right) and he sank onto the ground.
“How can you do that?” he asked. “How can you still act as if nothing big happened when I just yelled at you and the world might be taken over by a ridiculous villain and our plan didn’t work, and yet you act crazy excited when someone plays I Spy with you or I bring home chocolate cake?”
I patted him on the knee.
“Chocolate cake and I Spy are much bigger deals than that other stuff,” I told him. “If a villain takes over the world, it’ll be okay, because good will win in the end. And it’s okay when you yell at me, because you’re my pet, and I love you.”
He sighed and smiled and patted my knee.
We looked up to see the Flaming Scorchio blubbering.
“Oh!” he wailed. “These moments are just so cute!”
I held out my arms.
“Do you want a hug?”
He blubbered and ran into my arms, and then I shouted, “Everybody hug!” and everybody got in on it, even Puppy.
“So now what?” the Eyrie asked. “We’ve got the failed attempt down, and now the touching moment. This is where we correct things and good wins in the end, right?”
“Yep, that sounds about right,” Puppy said. “But how are we supposed to get out of this prison again?”
To be continued...