"Herr Jub," Dr. Sloth said with an evil grin. "How nize
to zee you."
Jubby looked at Dr. Sloth, then at the army of
mutant Grundos behind him, and at the Uber Death Ray that each one was holding.
In his head, he calculated the odds… and knew he had to stall for time.
"What do you want, you night-gowned menace?"
he asked boldly.
"It is NOT a night-gown!" Dr. Sloth roared His
red eyes blazed murderously for a moment… then he smoothed down his green hair,
took a deep breath, and said "Vitty az alvays, I zee. But ve have no time for
pleazantriez. You have something I want."
"Get your own Doglefox!"
Dr. Sloth's cruel smile widened. "Oh, how amusink.
You try to dezieve me. Vell… I have no time for gamez. Give me the Shpoon!"
Jubby blinked as if surprised. "I don't know
what you're talking about." He said innocently.
"Really?" Sloth said, rubbing his chin thoughtfully.
"Zen you von't mind if I do ZIS!" Sloth gestured, and two huge mutant Grundos
raced forward and held Jubby to the wall. "Zearch Him!"
The two misused mutants took their free hands,
and began rifling through Jubby's bag, and even under his Kaudora.
"Rainbow gun," one said, dropping the item on
"Half nerkin leg," the other added, in the exact
same tone, dropping the nerkin leg to the ground in the exact same way.
"Hey that's my lunch!" Digger said, sticking
his head from under the Kaudora.
"Doglefox." And Digger was unceremoniously plucked
from Jubby's head and dropped with the other items. Digger, knowing he couldn't
do anything to help the situation, sat down and began to finish the Nerkin leg
"Signed picture of Faerie Queen."
"Leave that alone!" Digger cried around a mouth
of nerkin. The Grundos just looked at him and dropped the picture with the rest
of the stuff.
The two Grundos pulled an astonishing array of
things out of that bag; weapons, food, Usuki dolls, even a toothbrush and toothpaste.
They held Jubby upside down and shook him. Along with several balls of fuzz,
and some Cheesy Neos crumbs, fell the Wooden Spoon, shining with silver light.
"Aha!" Sloth cried as he snatched up the Spoon.
"Ze Shpoon! Ze vorld is mine!!!"
Suddenly, a massive and impossibly ugly spaceship
descended from the tropical sky. With the woosh of thrusters and the splinter
of several NeoHomes, the hideous craft landed. Sloth laughed evilly as he walked
into his vessel, examining the spoon the whole time. The Grundos, lost without
any orders, stood around and looked at each other like a herd of confused Baabas.
"Come on you idiotz!" Sloth bellowed from inside
his ship. "Ve need to get home zo I can figure out how zis thing vorks!"
With that simple order, the Grundos lined up
like deformed green plastic soldiers, and marched into the dark bowels of the
ship. Once the last minion was on board, there was a blinding flash, another
woosh, and a blinding swirl of dust. When Jubby and Digger could see again the
ship, Sloth, and the Spoon were gone.
"What are we going to do now, Jubby?" Digger
Jubby stood silently, looking up at the sky.
Digger pawed at his leg, and whined, but to no avail.
"Jubby… snap out of it! Sloth has the spoon!
We have to go up to his Space Station and get it back!"
"No," Jubby said quietly.
Digger gasped. "You're not… giving up, are you?"
Jubby looked down at his shocked sidekick, and
smiled. "Of course not."
"Then what are we going to do?"
"We're going to see… Edna."
"You want me to WHAT?" Edna exclaimed with a disbelieving cackle.
"You heard me," was Jubby's only reply.
"Well…" Edna stroked her bristly chin hairs
thoughtfully. "Something like that is going to cost you."
"Please don't say Doglefox on rye, please don't
say Doglefox on rye!" Digger whispered from under Jubby's hat.
"What do you need?" Jubby asked more calmly.
"Sure you're up to it?"
"Name your price."
Edna cackled again, her eyes gleaming. "It's
not so much a matter of price," she said. "It's a matter of ingredients."
"You realize that the fate of Neopia AND your
granny's spoon are riding on this, don't you?" Jubby asked testily.
"You realized that I don't give a flying Floud,
don't you?" was Edna's reply.
Jubby gave an expansive sigh. "Fine, fine. What
do you need?"
Edna quickly began to write, and write… and write
some more. Five minutes later, she had an extraordinarily long list, all scrawled
on the dried skin of… something. She put her list in front of Jubby with a triumphant
cackle. Digger and Jubby reviewed the list with dismay.
"Beef Roulandan? Grackle soup? Cherry-tastic
Faerie pie?" Jubby exclaimed incredulously. "Do you REALLY need all this stuff?"
"Yes I need it, and I won't help you unless
you get it!" Edna snapped. "Or… I could just ask for… Doglefox on Rye!"
Digger yipped and jumped back under Jubby's hat.
"Let's go get the lady what she wants!" he quickly said.
So off Jubby and Digger had to go. Edna's list
was like some kind of sadistic scavenger hunt; it required trips to just about
every public shop in Neopia, and a half-dozen visits to different shop wizards.
Some of the items on the list were even RETIRED, and most difficult to find.
"It's going to take me till Year Six to pay
off my credit card!" Jubby mumbled as the Redline took them back to Edna's.
"Maybe Fyora will give us a big reward for saving
the world again?" Digger sad hopefully.
"Maybe. Just ONE item from that tower of hers
would be enough."
"Yeah… something she's worn maybe…"
Jubby sighed, and somehow refrained from calling
his friend the names he was thinking of. "I meant one of the weapons…some of
those things are worth MILLIONS at auction."
"Oh…" Digger said, a little crestfallen. "Well
yeah that would be good too."
Once they actually arrived at Edna's tower, getting
the laundry list of items up to her workroom was a logistical problem in and
of itself. Jubby had no arms, and Digger didn't have thumbs… so carrying things
was VERY difficult. Fortunately, Edna got impatient after ten minutes of watching
them struggle lamely, and took over.
Finally, Jubby and Digger sat once more in Edna's
workroom. Edna rubbed her hands and cackled as she looked over her new acquisitions.
"So…" Jubby began hesitantly. "When can you
get to work?"
"Get to work? I'm already done."
"But… you said it was a matter of INGREDIENTS!
How could you have done what we needed without the ingredients?"
"I never said it was a matter of ingredients
for THIS project."
"Then… what is all this stuff FOR!?"
"For me! I figured that if you two were desperate
enough to pay any price, I might as well milk it. Thanks for doing my grocery
To be continued...