The Poossession: Part Three
Fearing for one's life sure worked up an appetite. After a quick snack, Huval and Collux geared up to face the MSPPs.
"For this to work, we have to move as one. The more in sync we are, the more believable we'll be. Collux, what are you holding?" Huval exclaimed.
"It's my specially designed ghost blaster." Collux hefted up the tube-shaped container. "If any ghosts come near us, vloop. They get sucked in."
"Are you sure you know what you're doing? Aren't you worried you'll suck yourself up?"
"Hahaha, Huval. I know how to use one of these things. Then again, I bet if I tampered with the settings enough, I could get lucky and accidentally suck you up instead."
"I get it, I'm not funny. But the less time you spend listening to my dumb jokes, the more time we'll have to spend with those MSPPs. Thanks for keeping us on track, buddy."
Collux rolled his eyes. "When we get caught, I'm telling the truth. You dragged me into this."
"Hey, we can't go on like this. When we're in disguise, there will be no teasing of any sort. That could really make us look fake."
"I can do it. Most of our arguing is brought on by you. If you control your thoughts, I'll control mine."
Huval let the opportunity to have a go at Collux pass. He did just agree that there was going to be no more of that for the time being. "Great. Now let's get out there and catch us some MSPPs!"
A little ways into the woods, Huval and Collux merged into their disguise. Their execution was flawless. Huval couldn't tell if it was him taking a certain step or Collux. They were moving as one.
So, how are we going to find the MSPPs? Collux wondered.
Well, I think they can smell fear. So the idea is to be scared enough that they come towards us, but not so scared that we can't turn it off when they get near. If they know we're the source of the fear they sensed, our plan won't work at all.
Snap. A branch broke somewhere nearby. "Gah! What was that?" Collux exclaimed from Huval's mouth.
Relax, dude. I think it's a Snowbunny.
I was acting scared like you told me to. You know, to attract the MSPPs.
Huval bit back a snarky comment. They had to cooperate. Okay, I wasn't expecting such a sudden flare up. Now, keep it going, but a little less intense.
It wasn't hard to be scared. Both Poogles were terrified out of their minds. The hard part would be turning off the fear when the MSPPs got near.
The Poogles waited. And waited. It seemed the MSPPs were never going to arrive. There was probably some poor lost Poogle more terrified than them on the other end of the woods. The longer they waited, the more relaxed they felt. Which was a good thing because if Huval and Collux had known when the MSPPs were to arrive, they would have been scared out of their minds.
"Hello, friend. I smell fear. What are you up to?"
At the sound of Cloezi's voice, the Poogles' heart rates spiked, but they quickly got it under control. Collux's mind went blank, but Huval picked up the slack. "I was… traumatizing Snowbunnies. Innocent Snowbunnies. That one was thoroughly terrified. He's never coming back to this neck of the woods again."
Collux sealed the lie by bearing their teeth and hissing. "The pointy teeth are quite terrifying to a Snowbunny. I'm sure you would know."
Cloezi laughed. "It's been a long time; I might have to find another one, if you didn't scare away the only one around. Did I ever get your name?"
"Oh, uh, I'm…"Huval stuttered, careful not to say we're. He thought of Leowinn. "I'm Leo." That had to be an awful name for an MSPP. The next words that came out of his mouth weren't his own, but he was thankful for them. "Leo the Atrocious, actually. But, as a fellow MSPP, you can just call me Leo if you want. Leo the Atrocious isn't a name you want to throw around in casual conversation."
"I've never heard of a Leo the Atrocious, but then again, I too believe in a certain degree of secrecy, so I can't talk. You do remind me a bit of someone. It's a shame we lost her… No matter, are you going to rejoin your old clan, or do I have a new recruit? I'll warn you, you can't decide you want to try something new after joining us. It's a lifetime commitment."
There was their ticket in, if they were brave enough to commit to this character. Who knew when they'd get a chance to escape? But Huval exuded confidence in his plan, so Collux didn't back down, even though Huval quite frankly thought they had just sealed their doom.
"I'm in," Huval said, ignoring his overpowering fear. When had his plans ever gone wrong before? They'd be fine. Cloezi couldn't watch them every single second of their lives. She did mention something about losing someone. He'd have to look into how she got out of the clan. Hopefully it wasn't by death. Gulp.
"Great. Now that you're in, let's talk—"
"Money. You want it, w—I know where it is." They'd almost slipped up that time. Huval wasn't sure if it was him or Collux who had made the mistake, but it didn't matter. They were working together, and they'd both be hosed if anything went wrong.
Cloezi smiled. "Straightforward. I like it. Tell me more."
"Well, back in Altador, my clan made out pretty well. Plenty of rich Neopians to terrorize and steal from. But there were whispers of something more. A greater treasure we could only imagine. And it's not that far away. The treasure was said to be in Brightvale actually. The citizens there are even richer than those of Altador!"
"We've been doing pretty well pillaging local towns, but Altador does have a lot of wealth. And Brightvale has even more you say? It's not that close, but my clan could easily make the trip if there is as much for the taking as you say."
One of the MSPPs from behind Cloezi spoke up. Huval sensed Collux's uneasiness. It did seem odd that none had spoken before now. And Collux's proposed explanation was just as grim. Perhaps they knew it was best to let Cloezi scare away the weak ones, or even that they would be cut from the clan if they interrupted her. Whatever the reason, she was feared, respected, or both, and none of those options boded well for the Poogles in disguise.
"How are we so sure they can be trusted? Deserters are not common among MSPPs. There must be something terrible in their past. A betrayal, not sanctioned by the leader?"
Cloezi snapped, confirming Collux's suspicions. "Thank you for your concern, but I know what I'm doing. If they really came from another clan as they say, they know what happens to liars. And if they don't, I promise them, they don't want to find out."
Huval felt his pride inflate. He was so much better than this trouble making MSPP even if he really knew nothing of their customs. "Trust me, we know all about it, thank you very much." The words were difficult to spit out, and after he said them he realized why. He'd said we. Collux had tried to stop him, but Huval had gotten caught up in the act. Maybe the MSPPs wouldn't notice?
"We?" Cloezi smiled. "Why, I never thought you'd say that word. You two have been acting so coordinated the whole time. Unfortunately that's not a characteristic we MSPPs share. I saw right through your act as soon as you showed up today. Your first performance was much better. Very irritable and realistic. I almost believed you."
Huval fell silent with shock. How? How could he mess up this bad? Sure his plans didn't always turn out great, but they always ended okay. He didn't see a happy ending coming in the future. He said the only thing he could think of. "But I am an MSPP!" He bared his teeth.
"Give it up," Cloezi snarled as she backed him into a corner. "I know you're really a plushie and some other kind of Poogle meshed together. We especially hate plushies. But if you did your research, you'd already know that. You'd also already know something else I'm about to tell you. MSPPs don't take prisoners."
Huval thought for sure he was a goner and closed his eyes, waiting for the end. But someone else fought them back open. Why would Collux want to watch their demise? Was this payback for failing his friend so miserably?
But Huval underestimated Collux. He might be timid and afraid most of the time, but that just made him more eager to get their tails out of this mess. "Stand back!" he barked, pulling his ghost blaster out from behind their back.
Cloezi laughed. Huval was ready to pass out, but Collux held them conscious. "There are two of you and hundreds of us. What can your silly blaster do?"
"This," Collux said, switching on the blaster. It whirred to life and began to shake uncontrollably. Collux tried to hold it steady, but the machine was too powerful. What are you doing? Huval thought.
Cloezi sidestepped the forming vortex, and it found a new target in the MSPP who had spoken up earlier. The blaster glowed as if it was about to overheat, but the chaos stopped with a loud pop.
Everyone was silent for a moment. The noise reminded Huval of the sound when the other plushie's disguise had failed during their first encounter. As Huval took a closer look, he realized Collux's blaster had managed to take out the disguise of yet another Poogle. The trouble making MSPP was nothing but another undercover plushie! But why the loud pop?
It was no matter to them because Collux's unexpected burst of bravado was gone. Instead of just having to save their own tails, Huval and Collux owed it to the other plushie to save him too. But at this point, the best they would be able to do was go down with him.
Cloezi smiled. "Excellent." The three doomed Poogle watched in horror as white pointy teeth lit up the forest all around them.
To be continued…