Come dance with the gypsies... Circulation: 190,988,443 Issue: 589 | 5th day of Eating, Y15
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Chronicles of a Caped Crusader: Perception - Part One


by kristykimmy

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Chloe smiled as she waved to her older sisters from the sidewalk. Today was her half day at her job at the Defenders of Neopia. That afternoon they were going to have friends over for tea. While she was looking forward to seeing everyone she always dreaded these events a little. Her friends were always curious to know about her job. They believed that Chloe was simply a secretary for the DoN, but the truth of the matter was Chloe was the superhero Morphica. It was six a.m. and a gorgeous day, there couldn't be a better day for tea with friends.

      She arrived at the HQ and found it active, which meant it was a quiet day so far. She was met at the elevator by Lightning Lenny.

      "Good morning, Lightning," the Christmas Zafara greeted him.

      "It is, Clo. How are you today?" Lightning asked as they got in the elevator together.

      "Excellent," Chloe replied as she pushed the button for the floor she wanted. "I'm having tea with friends this afternoon at my house. Couldn't be a better day for it."

      Lightning agreed as the elevator descended and then opened its doors. They parted ways there, each going the opposite direction down the hall. Chloe came to the changing room where she quickly twisted her orange hair up into a tight bun and changed into her costume.

      Once done she crossed the hall to the offices down there and sat down at her desk. She looked through the stack of paperwork she had to file. The paperwork was her least favorite part of the job, but she always reminded herself that doing it helped to keep the DoN running smoothly.

      Loraine walked in with a stack of papers of her own and sat down at her desk. She looked preoccupied, and not by the paperwork, Chloe decided.

      "What's wrong, Loraine?" Chloe asked.

      "Oh, Morphica, I didn't see you there," the Purple Ixi said. "Nothing at all, dear."

      "Liar," Chloe countered.

      "I'm that transparent, am I?" Loraine asked.

      "You never miss a thing," Chloe pointed out.

      "We might have a lead on Veronica, and hopefully she will lead us to Captain Iniquitous. As odd as it may seem, I'm on pins and needles waiting for a communication. Iniquitous may not be on the level of Nefarious, but I don't like having one of his apprentices on the loose," Loraine told.

      "Finally! Why didn't you want to tell me that?" Chloe asked.

      "Because I didn't want to get your hopes up if this comes to nothing. You're rather keen on finding her," Loraine explained.

      "Well, yeah. She thinks I'm some twit in a mask who doesn't know a thing about being a superhero. If I show her up again, think of how much that is going to sting," Chloe chuckled.

      "You're a bit vindictive," Loraine replied.

      "This coming from you of all people, Lynette," Chloe countered.

      There was silence between them for a moment then both of the women broke out laughing. Lightning Lenny entered the room, carrying a manila envelope, and stopped to look at them.

      "Don't you ladies know you're not allowed to have fun on Wednesdays?" Lightning asked.

      "What have you got there?" Loraine asked, regaining her composure.

      Lightning handed her the envelope and she opened it. She breathed out sharply as she examined the contents.

      "Lightning, Chloe, I need you two to head out right now. My contact believes Veronica will be meeting a Faerie on the edge of Faerie City in two hours. I need you to be there to catch them in the act. I will provide backup from the computer."

      Chloe flashed Lightning a smile and he returned it. They raced out of the room and left the HQ. Chloe took off flying and Lightning raced at top speed on the land route, but they would both arrive in Faerieland at roughly the same time. Loraine came on over the communicators to inform them that she was at her position and would give them further directions when they arrived in Faerieland.

      ***

      Chloe and Lightning laid flat on the rooftop of a building next to the alley where Veronica was supposed to meet the Faerie. They had put a Virtupets mini-cam on the edge overlooking the alley and were watching on the receiver. They had been waiting for close to the two hours. Chloe was working to keep calm, which took quite a bit of effort due to the sheer amount of adrenaline coursing through her body.

      Suddenly there was a burst of lavender smoke and an Air faerie appeared in the midst of it. She leaned against the wall of the building they were stationed on top of and looked bored.

      "Is that who we're waiting for? I was expecting a Dark Faerie," Lightning whispered.

      "Don't stereotype. There are plenty of good Dark Faeries, and plenty wicked of every other type. On another note, did you notice that she didn't even scan the alley? That doesn't feel right," Chloe hissed in Lightning's ear.

      "I guess she's pretty confident that they are untouchable," Lightning guessed.

      "It'll be fun to burst her bubble then." Chloe's grin was a little too sarcastic.

      She pushed the unease to the back of her mind; she needed to focus herself for this mission. Veronica should show up at any moment. Still, something told her this was wrong. It seemed too easy. Last time she had crossed paths with Veronica and Iniquitous the villainous pair simply appeared out of nowhere and captured almost all of the Defenders agents in one decisive attack. They had only made one mistake, failing to take into account that DoN might have extra backup. Morphica's unplanned for presence had allowed Judge Hog to escape the snare they set for him and capture a hired thug, leading to the revelation of Veronica's identity which had undone the whole scheme.

      A cloaked figure entered the alley and the Air faerie straightened up and nodded to her. The Defenders took that as their cue. Chloe and Lightning jumped up and leapt down into the alley, each blocking one exit.

      "Surrender, Veronica," Lightning commanded.

      "As if!" snapped the Air Faerie.

      "You!" Veronica hissed at Chloe. "As much as I would love to stay and pay you back for last time, I've got another appointment to keep. How about a rain check, Morphica?"

      "Don't you dare, Veronica!" Chloe shouted as she tossed her cudgels at Veronica.

      Veronica slipped a ring on her finger and vanished. The cudgels passed through the space where she had been, but the attack was not a complete waste. They hit the Air Faerie as she was preparing to teleport away. The Faerie collapsed to the ground, unconscious. Lightning bent over her and put anti-magic handcuffs on her.

      "Well, at least we got her. She might be able to tell us something," Lightning consoled.

      "Doubtful. Veronica and Iniquitous don't usually reveal more than they have to, which is why they are so hard to track down. Stupid Nefarious and his stupid cautiousness. Without his training they would be easy to catch simply because of their sheer egos," Chloe complained.

      "Don't worry, Morphica. Even they aren't perfect, they'll slip up again. We'll get them sooner or later," Lightning replied.

      "Yeah, because truth and justice always prevail. I know," Chloe shot back.

      "Your sarcasm is off the charts today, Morphica. Who put salt in your tea this morning?" Lightning tried to lighten the mood.

      "I drink coffee with breakfast," Chloe replied.

      "Your coffee, then?" Lightning chuckled.

      "Salt is supposed to take the bitterness out of coffee," Chloe informed him.

      "I can't win today, can I?" Lightning asked.

      Chloe let a grin rise to her lips. "Never. Now, let's get her back to HQ."

      ***

      Chloe pushed the glasses back up the bridge of her nose and brushed a stray hair out of her eyes. She and Lightning had returned and turned the Air Faerie over to Judge Hog. She had been told to change back to her civilian clothes and man the computer for the rest of her shift. She knew that Judge Hog and Orig the Great were interrogating the Air Faerie. She looked at the monitors and found that none of the agents were out on missions.

      "That's just odd..." Chloe said aloud.

      "What's odd, Clo?" Lightning asked as he entered the room.

      "Everyone is here," Chloe clarified.

      "So?" Lightning asked.

      Chloe didn't answer; she was busy bringing up the surveillance feed from the room where Judge Hog was with the prisoner.

      "Hey, Chloe, that's breaking protocol. You're not allowed to view it real time without permission from Judge Hog or Loraine," Lightning warned.

      "You gonna tattle on me, Lightning?" Chloe asked teasingly.

      "No," Lightning said slowly, as he leaned on the back of her chair to watch.

      "Partners in crime, right?" Chloe teased, her tone lightening for all of a moment.

      "Now you're going too far, Clo," Lightning said disapprovingly.

      "Lightning, is it just me, or is she starting to glow?" Chloe asked as she stood up to get a closer look.

      "No, it looks like that, but it can't be. Those rooms are sealed with magic to prevent magic; she shouldn't be able to use her power in there," Lightning pointed out.

      Judge Hog and Orig suddenly swayed and fell to the ground. The Air Faerie laughed harshly and stood up, the shackles falling from her wrists, and left the room.

      "I knew it! This was a trap, that's why we're all here! It's the opposite of last time when they lured us all out," Chloe cried.

To be continued...

 
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