Chapter 13: Nearing Completion...

At one of the local sports shops in the mall, Wildwing waited patiently next to Agnus while they waited for the clerk to find the bag that Phil had ordered. Eventually he returned with the bag, which looked more like a large sack.
“Here ya go,” he said, straining to lift the sack onto the counter.
Wildwing reached forward to help him lift it up.
“Whoa,” was all Aggie could say.
“Phew! You’re telling me. Thank you, Wildwing,” the clerk said with a smile.
“You’re welcome,” Wildwing replied with a smile.
“Thanks. Has Phil settled the account?” Agnus asked.
“Yep,” the clerk replied, “He said he’d be sending someone to pick it up and I guess that’s you two.”
“Yeah. That’s us. Now… uh…” Aggie looked at the sack, trying to figure out the best way to carry it back to the Pond.
“Don’t worry,” Wildwing said, noticing Aggie’s ponderous expression, “I got it.”
“Thanks, Wildwing,” Aggie replied, moving aside to allow him to pick it up.

Once out of the sports shop and on their way back to the Pond, Aggie spoke up again.
“I’m glad you came with me, Wildwing. I’d never have been able to carry this thing back on my own,” she said.
Wildwing smiled at her before replying, “It’s not a problem, Ags.”
Aggie just smiled at him again before turning her attention to the sidewalk in front of her.
“Knowing you though,” Wildwing started, “You’d have tried to bring it back without assistance.”
Aggie couldn’t help but smile and nod before replying with a slight giggle, “Yeah and given myself a hernia in the process.”
Wildwing chuckled quietly at the comment.
“But,” Aggie continued, “That’s just me. Stubborn as a mule.”
“You’re getting more lenient. Allowing me and the others to help you where we can,” Wildwing said.
Aggie just smiled up at him. It was true. Spending time with the Ducks had changed her a little bit; softened her to be more like she was before her life changed.

Meanwhile, back at the Pond, the other Ducks were crowded around Drake One. The computer had picked up a teleportation signal.
“So where is it?” Duke asked, taking command seeing as Wildwing was out.
“It’s out in the desert,” Tanya replied, tapping away at Drake One’s keyboard.
“Okay. Let’s move out, Ducks!”
“Wait! Shouldn’t we call Wildwing?” Nosedive asked.
“No time. Let’s go!” Duke replied, taking the lead and running off for the Aerowing’s hangar.

In no time the Ducks arrived at the sight of the teleportation, but found nothing except a stopped truck and its distraught driver.
“‘Moody’s Mood Rings’?” Duke said looking at the side of the truck as the team walked around to the back to meet with the driver.
“Sir,” Mallory said, gaining the driver’s attention, “Mallory McMallard. What happened here?”
“What’s it look like?! Some big lizards stole my shipment!” the man replied, gesturing into the empty interior of his truck.
“What was taken?” Duke asked.
“What? You can’t read?! Mood rings. Seventy cases of mood rings!”
The Ducks looked surprised by the news.
“Mood rings?” Duke asked.
“What would ol’ Lizard Lips want with mood rings?” Nosedive asked.
The others looked to Duke for an answer.
When he realised they were looking at him he replied, “Hey! I may be an ex-jewel thief, but mood rings aren’t my thing. Give me something valuable and we’ll talk.”
“So you have no idea what they could be doing with them?” Mallory asked. “Notta,” Duke replied, “Let’s get back to the Pond. Maybe with Drake One’s help we can fathom out what Dragaunus is up to.”
With that the team quickly made their way back to the Aerowing.

Meanwhile, back at the Pond, Wildwing and Agnus were having a talk with Phil.
“And you couldn’t have just paid the extra for a delivery?” Agnus asked.
“Come on, Aggie. You’re a strong girl; I knew you could handle it,” Phil replied with a smile.
Aggie sighed, but, before either her or Wildwing could say anything more, the sound of the Aerowing coming in to land interrupted them.
“The Aerowing?” Wildwing asked.
“Yeah, the guys took off in it a little while ago,” Phil replied.
“And you didn’t think we’d need to know?” Agnus asked.
“No. They could have just been going for a joyride.”
Agnus just rolled her eyes at her uncle.
“Let’s go check it out,” Wildwing said, putting a hand onto Aggie’s shoulder.
“Yeah let’s,” Aggie replied.
With that the pair began to head for the Ducks’ secret headquarters under the Pond.
Phil breathed a sigh of relief once they were out, but quickly snapped back to ‘attention’ when Aggie stuck her head back into his office.
“Don’t think this is over, Uncle Phil,” she said warningly before disappearing out again.

In the command room, Wildwing and Aggie found the others gathered around Drake One with Tanya tapping away furiously.
“What’s up?” Wildwing asked, skating up to his teammates with Aggie next to him.
“Dragaunus’ goons just picked up a shipment of mood rings,” Duke explained, stroking his chin while he watched the computer screen intently.
Wildwing and Aggie just gaped at Duke before asking in unison, “Mood rings?”
“What in the world is Dragaunus up to?” Wildwing asked, trying to piece together all of Dragaunus’ crimes over the past while.
“Isn’t Dragaunus supposed to be, like, oh… I don’t know, seriously evil or something?” Agnus asked.
“Yes, which is why these apparently ‘random’ crimes have us so worried,” Wildwing replied.
“Maybe he’s snapped.”
The Ducks looked at Aggie for a further explanation.
“You know the stress of fighting you guys and never winning. Maybe it finally got to him and his brain’s just snapped,” Aggie explained.
“I don’t think so. Dragaunus isn’t the kind to crack under pressure,” Wildwing replied.
“Chameleon, yes,” Duke added with a smile.
“Maybe even Wraith or Siege, but not Dragaunus,” Mallory added.
“Okay. So… ideas?” Aggie asked.
The Ducks just shrugged.
“Great,” Aggie said.
“I’ve got Drake One running a series of ‘scans’ on the items stolen by Dragaunus to see if any of the materials in them could be used for something not stated on the label,” Tanya said.
Aggie just nodded and looked up at the oversized computer.
“Let’s hope it comes up with something… soon. For your sanity’s sake if nothing else,” Aggie said, looking from the computer to the Ducks.
The Ducks just nodded in agreement, their eyes also on the screen.
“Uh… say, Wildwing, what’s in the sack?” Nosedive asked, having finally noticed the sack leaning against Wildwing’s leg.
“Oh! It’s those pucks that Phil sent Aggie to fetch,” Wildwing replied, nonchalantly, looking down at the sack.
“What?!” the others asked in horrified unison.
“Yeah. Sorry, guys, I didn’t realize it was going to be so big,” Aggie replied.
The Ducks just groaned.
“How many do we have ta sign?” Duke asked, rubbing either side of his forehead with his thumb and middle-finger as if he had a headache.
“I don’t know,” Aggie replied, trying to pick the sack up, but Wildwing quickly intercepted and hauled it up onto his shoulder.
“Where do you want it?” he asked with a semi-amused smile.
“The living room if you don’t mind, Wildwing,” Aggie replied, matching his tone.
Wildwing just smiled at her before heading off for the indicated room, leaving Aggie shaking her head at him and chuckling quietly to herself, while the other Ducks just looked from their leader to their human housemate and back again.
“What?” Aggie asked, noticing their looks.
“There something you and my bro want to tell us, Aggie?” Nosedive asked.
“Of course not. Wildwing’s just being a gentleman… gentleduck… whatever. Anyway, I think I had better get to work. Those pucks aren’t going to count themselves.”
With that Agnus began to follow Wildwing, while the Ducks just smiled to themselves as they watched her leave.
“A duck and a human?” Mallory asked.
“Could it work?” Tanya asked.
“Stranger things have happened,” Grin said with a smile.

Meanwhile, back at the Raptor, Dragaunus was more than pleased with his henchmen’s work.
“Perfect. For once you bunglers have performed a task satisfactorily,” he said, holding one of the rings up to view it.
“Piece of cake,” Siege replied.
“What, may I ask, do you need these human trinkets for, Sire?” Wraith asked.
“They are one of the last ingredients in my plan, Wraith. I want you and Siege to remove the glass and liquid crystal from each of these; set them aside as I will still need them,” Dragaunus replied, tossing the ring in Wraith’s direction.
Wraith caught the tiny silver-coloured ring and then looked at the crates they had brought back from the van.
“There’s got to be thousands of ‘em,” Siege said, also looking at the crates.
“Then I suggest you get started. Chameleon should be returning soon with the final ingredient,” Dragaunus replied cryptically before taking his leave from his lackeys.

Later that evening, the Ducks were looking forward to relaxing in the rec-room, but, when they entered, their plans took a drastic change of direction.
“What in the… world?!” Duke asked, looking at the strange white sight in front of him.
“It’s invasion of the albino pucks!” Tanya exclaimed.
“Oh! You’re back. Good,” Agnus said, coming out from around a corner.
“Aggie, what’s with the…,” Wildwing started, turning to face the young lady.
“Apparently these were specially ordered by Uncle Phil. I had a word with him about them and he explained it was to make autographing them easier… or so he says. Well, here ya go.” Aggie fanned out six pens; three teal and three purple. “Pick a colour.”
“How many do we have to sign?” Duke asked, looking at the green pen in his hand.
“Five hundred.”
“Five hundred?!” the Ducks asked in unison.
“There’s no way that bag coulda held three thousand pucks!” Duke exclaimed.
“No. There’s just five hundred, but each of you has to sign each puck,” Aggie explained calmly.
The Ducks just looked at the piles of Pucks. It was going to be a long night.
“Well, I guess the sooner we get started the sooner we finish,” Wildwing said, taking the lead.
The other Ducks just muttered and grumbled behind him.
Agnus just smiled at them sympathetically before turning to leave.
“I’ll be back in a little while to check that you’re all okay,” she said.
There were varying replies of ‘yeah thanks’ or ‘whatever’ except from Wildwing.
“Thanks, Aggie,” he said with a smile.
“You’re welcome, Wildwing,” she replied, looking back at him over her shoulder.
The pair smiled at each other once more before Agnus took her leave.
“You sure there’s nothing going on between you and Ags, bro?” Nosedive asked.
“I’m sure, Nosedive. Now, should we get on with this?” Wildwing said, taking a seat.
Mumbles and grumbles were all he got in response besides a few ‘yeah, guess so’s.

Meanwhile, over in the Raptor, Chameleon was running for his life.
“You little idiot!” Dragaunus exclaimed, throwing a sizeable chuck of debris at Chameleon.
“But, boss, if you’d just let me explain!” Chameleon pleaded, while dodging his employer’s varied ammunition.
At that moment Dragaunus grabbed hold of Chameleon’s neck and pulled him up to his eye level.
“Explain what?!” Dragaunus asked, looking as if he’d fry Chameleon if he didn’t like what he heard come out of his mouth.
“The-Ducks-will-be-at-an-event-soon-which-will-allow-me-to-easily-get-close-to-’em-an’-get-you-the-feathers-you-need!” Chameleon replied quickly.
Dragaunus pulled back from Chameleon, still eyeing him suspiciously.
“Dere was no way I could get close to ‘em today; besides, Wildwing left with their new female human friend so I’d have been a feather short,” Chameleon continued, at a calmer speed.
A growl rumbled deep in Dragaunus’ throat, but then he said, “Very well. Chameleon, but you better get me those feathers then. Is that clear?”
Dragaunus dropped Chameleon and began to take his leave.
“Oh. Oh! Yes. C-crystal clear,” Chameleon replied, relieved to be off the hook for now.