Evil Masterminds-- Not So Anonymous?
I stood with my disco Kau, Yotaria, and looked at the meeting
place for Evil Masterminds Anonymous. It was a mansion, towering above us on a
hill in the Haunted Woods.
They hadn't done much to conceal where they
met. Last week I'd seen the ad in the Neopian Times:
WORLD DOMINATION PLANS NOT GOING WELL?
MINIONS JUST DON'T OBEY LIKE THEY USED TO?
WELL, WE HAVE JUST THE GROUP FOR YOU!
EVIL MASTERMINDS ANONYMOUS
It then gave the address, which was of course
at an obscure location in the Haunted Woods. Where else?
I led the way to the gates, Yotaria following
closely behind. They creaked open to let us in, then slammed behind us. The
winding driveway led to a large pair of wooden double doors. There was a knocker
on the door, so I knocked.
No answer. I knocked again.
Yotaria pointed out the glowing button that
usually denoted a doorbell to one side of the door. I pressed it.
Finally, after a half hour of alternating knocking
and ringing the doorbell, I gave up and yelled, "We have you surrounded! Open
up in the name of the Dark Lady Fj0rd and her army of..." My creativity ran
out. Yotaria quickly took over, shouting a finish; "Greebles!"
The doors creaked inwards. Pleased with my idea,
I stepped inside. Yotaria followed.
The inside was a large, high-ceilinged hall.
Rows of chairs faced the end of the room opposite us, where a spotlight shone
on a podium. Yotaria and I sat in chairs in the middle of the room. While waiting
for the meeting to start, we peered around at all the villains, and giggled
about them to each other.
"There's Sloth!" I whispered to Yotaria, but
she didn't hear, being too occupied with waving a hoof at Darigan. "And Kass!
And there's the Jelly Chia, and the Grundo Spider, and... Lyrian?!" Yotaria
and I stared, dumbfounded, at the Sketch Kiko wearing a dark cape that floated
above a nearby chair.
"How'd he get here?" I wondered. "I thought
I left him at home, moping about his science project."
Yotaria shrugged. "I guess you didn't."
I didn't have time to answer; the meeting was
A dark shadow moved over to stand behind the
podium. Despite the spotlight, it was still simply a mass of darkness. "Hello
and welcome to the third Evil Mastermind's Anonymous group meeting. I hope all
your plans for world domination are going well?"
A mutter of assent came from all the villains,
particularly from the dark corners. Yotaria and I muttered along with the others,
"Yes... perfectly well... if it wasn't for that one Grarrl..."
"Okay then! Who'd like to start first?" No one
raised their hands, but the shadow-being, whatever he, she or it was, didn't
seem to mind. "Sloth, how good of you to volunteer."
Dr. Sloth got up and walked onstage. The shadow
walked off. "I'd like to say first," he said, "that my plans for world domination
are not crushed, just delayed."
The crowd cheered.
"That goody-two-shoes Hannah has pre-empted
my plot to rule Neopia," Sloth continued. "She thinks she can do a better job
than me. Hah! Let's see how many people think she's a hero-when I transmogrify
her!" The crowd cheered again, and he added, "Muahahahahahahahahahahahahahaha!"
"Go Slothy!" someone in the crowd yelled. The
rest of the villains picked it up. "Go Slothy! Go Slothy! Go Slothy!"
Eventually they quieted down. Sloth stepped
down, and the next villain walked on.
It was Hannah. The Usul. Better known as the
hero of Hannah and the Pirate Caves.
She didn't waste time with greetings. "Everyone
thinks that I'm the hero of the Pirate Caves, that I'm perfect because I recover
the stolen treasure. But you know what?"
"What?" the mob yelled.
"I'm not the hero here!" Hannah shouted back.
"I'm in league with those pirates. They steal things, and let me find them.
Then I sell them, and then the pirates go and steal them back!"
"Oooo..." the crowd said appreciatively.
"Yes! Yes! I'm not a hero! I've never been a
hero!" Hannah screamed, and the crowd cheered again.
"Hannah and the pirates! Hannah and the pirates!
Hannah and the pirates!"
Yotaria and I exchanged glances. Let's guess
what the crowd would do after the next speaker went up... This was becoming
terrifyingly, boringly predictable.
Hannah left the spotlight, Kass walked up, and
it all began again. "I never wanted to be a villain," he said tearfully. "I-I
wanted to be a disco star. But Mommy said that I had to help pay the taxes,
so off I went to join Darigan's army. And-and then I found that I enjoyed it.
So help me Fyora, I loved it! Bullying people about, waving swords in people's
faces-when Darigan lost the battle with Meridell, I was disgusted, absolutely
disgusted," Kass said, glancing nervously at Darigan sitting across the hall.
"I knew I could do better. And I almost-almost did. Except this slimeball came
back, and then, well-"
"Slimeball?!" Darigan stood up. "Slimeball!"
he repeated. "Look, Kass, I never wanted to be a villain either. I was an opera
star before I was enlisted in the army. And look at me now!" he shrieked. "Dead,
resurrected-I'm getting tired of all this! You," Darigan said, pointing at Kass.
"Battledome. Midnight tomorrow. I'll be waiting," he said, sneering. With a
flip of his cloak, Darigan left.
"Um... so... anyway..." Kass said nervously,
"then the slim-um, Darigan, came back, when he was supposed to be gone, and...
and... I'll never get to be a disco star!" He ran from the platform sobbing.
The next villain took the stage.
And the next.
And the next.
The meeting dragged on for Yotaria and I, half-asleep
in our chairs, which weren't all that comfortable, either.
There were a few high points, for which we deigned
to open our eyes and sit up straight.
Like the time a Meepit came on stage. In a series
of squeaks, whistles, and clicks, most of the audience figured out that the
Meepits wanted less juice, actually they hated juice with a passion and now
were thinking of demanding cocoa instead, or perhaps borovan, but maybe just
plain old mint tea... well, anyway, the Meepits were mad and they were giving
a three-day warning for the switch to cocoa and if the pestering owners and
pets still gave them juice then there'd be TROUBLE!
Or at least, I think that's what they said.
It was all translated by a Kacheek, who stood as far away from the Meepit as
possible. From the gestures the Meepit was making, its speech could've been
something far more sinister, but apparently even this was serious enough. I
made a note of it, jotting it down on the back of my hand.
Or the time when a White Weewoo came up. It
fluttered around the hall, going, "Weeeeeeeeewwwooooooo.... weeeeewwwwooooooooo...."
quite loudly. Eventually someone captured it and carried it off, probably to
sell it at a scandalous price, the Weewoo still determinedly saying "Weeeeeewwooooooo!"
through the bars of its cage. "Weewoo!" it finished, squawking out this last
firmly as it was carried through the doors of the hall.
The rest of the villains had their turns; they
told their stories and were appropriately cheered or booed off the stage.
Then... "Yotaria and extreme_fj0rd," announced
a voice. "Oh, and Lyrian_, too."
We walked up to the front of the room, Lyrian
bobbing along behind us and looking quite pleased about something.
"Um... hi." I tried a feeble wave. A few of
the villains waved back to me. "I'm extreme_fj0rd, and these are my pets, Yotaria
and Lyrian_. We kind of... wanted to see your meeting for educational purposes,"
I said, getting into the idea of it. "It's ever been ever so wonderful. Also,
I might be writing this up for the Neopian Times, so..."
The villains, who had been silent (except for
the occasional rude remarks whispered to their neighbors) during my speech before,
all jumped up at once. "Neopian Times?" they all exclaimed.
"....Yes..." I said nervously, backing away.
"...Please don't hurt me!"
"Can I get my name in there?"
"Mention me in a footnote!"
"Are you going to quote me? It'd do wonders
for my standing in the Evil Masterminds' Association!"
They crowded up on stage, forcing Yotaria, Lyrian_
and I out the back door. We resorted to a window to peer in at the villains,
who apparently hadn't noticed our absence.
"Tell about my latest plot!" was the last comment
I heard as we stood up and trotted off into the darkness.
"Why were you there?" I remembered to ask Lyrian_.
"Oh... school field trip, you know..." He looked
vague and tired. I waved him off to bed and made a cup of strong tea. It was
a few hours before I realized-Neoschools aren't out yet...
Author's Note: Please forgive me for the White Weewoo... it was a joke I
tell you... a joke! The Meepits I'm not quite sure about, as they seemed quite
busy when I last visited them. Something about exploding suitcases as a new
line of Battledome items?