narrated by Don_Medusa (Ruby_4242 included with the permission of reeve_42)
Riahli, NayotakeNoKaguyaHime, Sallie_chan, Miss_dream, and I stepped off of
the ferry to Mystery Island to the sound of jungle drums and birds chirping
in the hot, moist air. It was a wonderful day for shopping and training.
"Okay, you two," Miss_dream said, handing both Riahli and me a codestone. "Tell
the Master you want the Basic Strength course, and I'll be back to pick you
up in an hour. Sallie_chan and Nayo and I are going to go out shopping, do you
"I'd like a snack," I said. "Training always makes me work up a hearty appetite."
"I would as well," Riahli said. "Preferably a Meaty Lupe Treat, but I would
not mind eating a hot dog."
"Okay, you two," Miss_dream said. "See you in an hour. Have fun!"
The "drop" for the stolen items was in a small cluster of palm trees on Mystery
Island, in a secluded forest near the Island Arena. Malkus Vile carefully placed
the dusty copy of "A Tale of Two Lupes" among a bed of palm fronds and looked
around. No one was watching. He stepped back, then turned to leave.
A noise from behind startled him. The leaves rustled, and when Malkus turned
around, the book was gone, a few leaves were fluttering in the air, and there
was a small note that read "Thanks."
Riahli and I went up to the Techo Master. "Excuse us," I said, "but our mistress
signed us up for a course here, and we were told to pay you."
The Techo Master looked at the codestones, and looked at the two of us. "Excellent,
young ones. Now, join my other students in the dojo and you will learn how to
Riahli wagged his tail excitedly. "Oh, I do love training," he said. "I want
to become strong and be just like Garon."
"Yeah, well, at least my strength came easy," I said. "That Lab Ray sure is
"Helpful?" Riahli chuckled. "You are happy after that ordeal that turned you
from a Jubjub into almost every other specie of NeoPet, and not only did that
but change your gender? I would not call that helpful."
"Yeah, but YOU were lucky," I muttered. "Come on, let's go see who we're going
to be training with. I wonder if we'll see any of the students that we saw last
We entered the dojo after bowing respectfully, and stood at attention at the
side of the room. As soon as we were settled, I noticed a red Eyrie bowing.
She looked up from her bow and noticed me.
"Well, if it isn't Mr. Identity Crisis, in the feathers," she said.
"RUBY?!?!" I growled, under my breath. Ruby_4242 is my main rival. It was because
of her that I asked Miss_dream to buy me an Eyrie Morphing Potion for my Hundredth
"Can't I train without someone heckling me?" Ruby said, heading over to the
line of students that was beginning to form.
"My worthy opponent," Riahli said. "I hope to spar with you today. It has been
a long time since we last fought."
"Okay, but I'd better have Donnie get a mop and bucket after we're done," Ruby
whispered. The Techo Master entered the room.
"Students, today we shall learn the basics of strength," he said. "Now, I would
like to demonstrate something for you." He took a box out from behind a closet
that was filled with Neoblocks, and he swiftly built a small tower. "The key
to learning the secret of true strength is to remember that all things have
a foundation," he said. "Find the foundation, and learn how to weaken it. When
the foundation goes, so goes whatever lies on top. Like so." With that, the
Techo Master's tongue shot out and knocked out one small block from the bottom
tier of the tower. It immediately collapsed.
"Is that all? We're going to play with blocks?" Ruby whispered.
The Techo Master eyed Ruby. "So, I have one who doubts," he said. He picked
up the fallen blocks and built another tower, this one slightly different. "You,
the Eyrie with the fire in your eyes. Knock this tower over."
"All right," Ruby said. She stepped over, and with the very tip of her wing,
pushed a small block out of position. The tower held.
"You may have found the foundation," the Techo Master said, "but you have not
made the tower crumble. Concentrate, young lady. You must find the place that
bears the most weight."
Ruby looked carefully at the tower, then reached out with her wing at one of
the edge blocks. It was knocked loose, and then the tower collapsed. The Techo
"So, you understand," he said. "Now we will begin our exercises. Form groups
of two and watch what I shall show you…"
Nayo gripped her bag of candy between her teeth as she carefully carried Sallie_chan
on her back. The shopping was almost done. Miss_dream had gotten a whole lot
of fruits from the Tropical Fruit stand and was munching on a ripened Peachpa.
Sallie was eating a bunch of Kraku Berries as her butterfly wings caught the
"It's going to be another few minutes before the lesson is over," Miss_dream
said as she checked her watch. "Do you mind if we head over to Tiki Tack? I
want to see if I can win something from the Tombola."
"I hope it's food!" Nayo said, dropping her bag of candy.
"Well, maybe," Miss_dream said. "Besides, I got a Codestone last time from
there, so I guess it can be anything. I'd better throw this pit away." She spat
out a Peachpa pit and walked over to a coconut-shaped trash bin.
A yellow wing reached out of the bin as she deposited her Peachpa pit and grabbed
something out of her shopping bag. Miss_dream shrieked and leaped back a foot
as the figure, who was covered in garbage, flew away laughing.
"STOP, THIEF!" yelled Miss_dream. "IT'S A GARBAGE COVERED PTERI!"
The people and Neopets in the streets suddenly swarmed into action. "Look!
He's flying away over there!" yelled an Acara, pointing to a rapidly disappearing
speck that was dripping garbage. Miss_dream dumped the contents of her bag out
and looked through them.
"Oh, phew, they didn't take the Golden Juppie I got, and that Silver Kougra
plushie-wait! Didn't I have some lipstick in here?"
"Yeah!" Nayo said. "I needed it for one of my jobs! I can't find it anywhere!"
"And all your money's okay!" Sallie said. "That's strange. Why did he only
want the lipstick?"
"Search me," Miss_dream said.
A group of Chia Cops came over, blowing their whistles and scanning the skies.
"All right, who was the one who was yelling here?" the leader yelled.
"I was," Miss_dream said. "While I was throwing away my Peachpa pit some Pteri
jumped out of the garbage can and took a lipstick from my bag!"
"Just a lipstick?" the Chia Cop said. "Nothing of value taken?"
"Nope. I've still got all my NP, and they didn't even take my Golden Juppie
or my Silver Kougra Plushie."
"Strange," the Chia Cop murmured. "It seems to fit with all the others…"
"'The others?'" Miss_dream asked. "What do you mean by that?"
"Those mysterious thefts that we've been hearing about on the news!" Sallie_chan
said. "They're taking little things that aren't worth all that much while overlooking
the more valuable stuff!"
"You're absolutely RIGHT!" Miss_dream said. "Officer, just file that under
'Those Really Bizarre Thefts That Have Been Happening Lately' and we'll let
the matter drop. Besides, that lipstick was only worth 5 NP. I can life."
"Sure you don't want to follow up on this?" the Chia Cop asked.
"Positive. I've got to go pick up the boys at the school now, so you guys can
handle this. Bye now!" Miss_dream hustled Sallie and Nayo out of the way of
the bewildered cops, who were busily questioning the witnesses.
At the end of our lesson, we all respectfully bowed to our master before we
headed to the courtyard outside the training school.
"There is our mistress!" Riahli said. "Miss_dream! We've become stronger!"
"You would never guess what happened to me, though," Miss_dream said. "I got
hit by the Bizarre Bandit!"
"You mean, just like what we saw on the TV this morning?" I asked.
"Yep. Whoever it was just made off with a lipstick, that's all. Did you guys
"Fun? Training is not fun. It is serious," Riahli said.
"Whatever," I sighed. "Can we go home now? I'm hungry enough to eat a whole
Grackle Stuffed Turkey."
Meanwhile, in a dark corner of Neopia, a shadowed figure gave a somewhat bulky
smaller figure a package. "This is what she has asked for. Deliver it to her
and you'll be rewarded. Don't run away like you did the last time, because I'll
be watching you, and if you do…well, it's no food for you tonight."
The smaller figure swallowed uneasily, stammered a "Yes, Master," and walked
out of the room, holding the package. The door shut as the shadowed figure rubbed
his hands with glee.
"They think they've seen the last of me, have they? They think I've run away
with my tail between my legs? They'll be sorry once my little pet comes to play
with them. Oh, it will be a glorious day, indeed…"
To be continued...