Jack and the Seven Curses of Renee: Part Three
“I’ve got it,” answered the female Aisha who’d been seasick on the boat earlier. “And you can call me Lena.” She had the kind of voice that suggested a certain degree of annoyingness. Not enough to really bother a person, but certainly enough to be considered a know-it-all. This is annoying because she really did know it all, of course. Which is so much worse, you know.
“Well?” Cyrus was looking at her expectantly.
“Well- open it! See what the next curse is, and how we can cure it.”
“Oh... right,” Lena said and unfolded the scroll. “The next name is... Herman. It says that he has to travel to 106 Neopia Central and make the building there... Meepit friendly? Oh dear.”
“Meepit friendly? What in Neopia does that mean? That’s preposterous! Everyone knows that Meepits don’t need encouraging. They’re already multiplying like Cybunnies.” That was Cyrus, of course. He has always had a particular dislike towards Meepits. No, this does not come from an overactive imagination or a paranoia problem. (Not that I am suggesting any of you suffer from those things.) Cyrus’ dislike for Meepits comes from the simple fact that he is unable to win the Meepit: Juice Break avatar. It’s sad, really.
“All right, back to business. Who’s Herman?” I glanced around for a second before realizing that the giant bulk to my right was not really a large rock as I had previously assumed. It was... the biggest Aisha I’d ever seen in my life. The large piece of seaweed in the corner of the boat in Maraqua... the pile of dirty laundry in the pound hallway... I was beginning to see a pattern. Apparently I had mistaken Herman for a piece of scenery everywhere we went. Which honestly doesn’t say much for him. In truth, ‘Herman’ was the ugliest thing I have ever seen in my life. His antennae were so large they probably could have strangled-
***Authorial Note*** I said Cyrus didn’t have paranoia. I never claimed that I didn’t. My other paranoia/suspicions include:
a)Fyora makes Baby Paint Brushes for under one thousand neopoints, and then resells them at ridiculous prices in order to fund her jelly addiction.
b)The Happy Birthday sidebar actually decreases your chances of stumbling across random events.
c)There is a giant underground headquarters where every single Neopian villain hangs out on Saturday nights to play Cheat.
d)If you fish for too long in Maraqua, you will turn into a giant squid. ***End***
Back to Herman. He was frightening. “Well... Herman. Let’s head out towards 106 Neopia Central and see what we’re dealing with.”
Twenty minutes later we had struck out with maps in hand down Neopia Lane. The numbers on the houses slowly ascended into the 100s... then we were passing 104... 105... 106. Our party of six Mutant Aishas and one Lupe (myself) halted in front of number 106 with varying degrees of displeasure evident on our faces.
“You’ve got to be kidding me...” I heard Cyrus mutter as he began to walk off. My thoughts exactly echoed his, apparently. We were standing in front of a house so pink that it made me want to spoon out my eyeballs. (One of my favorite phrases. Especially after I discovered chilled eye custard one day in the Haunted Woods after completing a quest for Edna. Apparently she appreciates the phrase as well.) Along with the sickening pink color, there was also a white picket fence and plastic pink lennies standing in the flowerbeds. The curtains were pink. In one room they were open, and I could clearly see a tutu hanging on the wall.
“I don’t think I can go in there. It insults my very manhood,” I heard one of the male Aishas behind me mutter.
“I concur,” Cyrus stated from the end of the driveway. I could tell he was a hard time making up his mind concerning whether he was actually going to leave or not. The pink was quite disarming. On the other hand, it opened up such a gold mine of sarcastic comments that I wasn’t quite sure even Cyrus could resist.
“Fernypoo... Princess Fernypoo,” Lena read off the welcome mat.
I heard Cyrus burst out into laughter behind me. “Fernypoo? As in... dung-” Ignoring him, Lena raised a paw to knock on the door.
“You won’t find Ferny home today! She’s gone to play Cheat with her friends just like every other weekend!” A Chomby and her pet Miamouse were playing in the yard next door, and she was watching us like a Grarrl. “What do you need, exactly?”
“We’re here for our weekly support group. Ferny is such a lovely Acara... She’s really helped boost our self-confidence.”
I glanced over at Lena in surprise. She was a brilliant liar, and smooth to boot. Apparently, Cyrus had noticed her quick wit as well, as his mouth was hanging open slightly in surprise.
“We’ll just go in and wait on her. Thanks for your help,” Cyrus told the Chomby and waved in a falsely cheery way before stepping inside. Apparently Fernypoo didn’t believe in locking her doors. Granted, I don’t think anyone would ever try stealing from her, because no one would ever want anything she owned.
“Good borovan, what’s that smell?!” I held my nose as the smell of fresh-baked cookies, lavender, and strong perfume invaded my sinuses. It was too much cute for anyone. Like a little cute army of aroma storming up my nostrils.
“So what do Meepits like?” Lena asked, looking around.
“Dark, dank, and evil,” Cyrus answered moodily and pawed at the antennae biting each other on the top of his head. “Blasted things! Cut it out!”
“So we’re just supposed to ruin her house, basically?” Frankly, I didn’t see much point in that. Why didn’t the Meepits just choose to live in the Haunted Woods? That place was definitely dank enough for them. Granted, that’s assuming that Meepits are as bad as Cyrus makes them out to be.
“I don’t think that’s it,” Lena answered and sat down on the floor. “Think like a Meepit... they want a place to stay where no one will expect them to be. Princess Fernypoo’s house is perfect for a secretive hideout. Who would ever think they would want to live in a place like this?”
I watched Cyrus’ brows rise in surprise. Either he suspected that she was secretly a Meepit, or he was honestly enchanted with her. “Well, what about a basement?”
“Nope, she doesn’t have one,” Herman stated before flopping down on the overstuffed loveseat. “I was looking around while you were talking.”
“Drat. Well, an attic might suffice. We just need somewhere she doesn’t normally go,” I mused and looked up at the ceiling thoughtfully.
“Everyone split up and see if you can find the stairs to the attic. And hurry up. I think the cuteness is affecting my ability to think clearly...” Cyrus said before pacing out of the room.
“I think I found the stairs!”
I pulled my head out from under Fernypoo’s bed and tried to distinguish where the voice had come from. Admittedly, I had gotten a little distracted. Fernypoo’s trading card collection was a bit unexpected. However, that didn’t compare to the Transmogrification Potion I found in her clothes drawer. I think becoming a Mutant might have improved her decorating style, personally.
Herman appeared in the doorway, motioned for me to follow him. He wobbled down the hallway and I tailed after him. Eventually we ended up in one the closet of the spare bedrooms. All seven of us. For once, I was glad for Fernypoo’s extravagant wealth. She’d used it to build a very large walk-in closet.
“I think we’re all here...” Lena popped her head out from behind Herman’s bulk and began counting heads. When she got to seven, she nodded in confirmation of her previous statement. “Good deal. Let’s go. Herman, if you please...”
The massive mutant reached up towards the ceiling and pulled on a cord of rope hanging down. A previously-concealed staircase unfolded from the ceiling, complete with handrails carved like Fernypoo heads. A blanket of dust scattered onto all of us.
“Perfect! It even smells moldy! And look at all that dust!” Lena exclaimed as she took the stairs two at a time.
“But how will the Meepits reach it? It’s too high for them. They’re so short...” another female Aisha mused.
“That’s all right... their excessive evil more than compensates for their height. Meepits are clever like that,” Cyrus replied as he followed Lena upstairs.
Once upstairs, we were all pleasantly surprised. The attic was as dank and nasty as any traditional villain’s hideout. There were so many cobwebs it looked like there were curtains hanging on the walls.
“All right, so now they just need easy access, right?” Herman said.
“Yup. And that’s your job,” Lena answered, watching him calmly.
“It’s too bad the laundry shoots don’t come all the way up here...” Herman mused. “I suppose we could connect them. You know, like bash a hole in the wall of the attic right above a laundry shoot in the wall below.”
“Sounds good to me. A laundry shoot should be big enough to accommodate two Meepits at a time, which is more than enough. The walls are probably hollow... so we just knock a hole in the wall right above the shoot. The Meepits jump in, fall down to the next story and into the shoot, and whoosh! The Meepits have their own express lane. Let’s hurry up and do it before Fernypoo gets home. I don’t know how long these Cheat tournaments generally last.” Lena was already headed back down the stairs.
I watched Cyrus and two others follow her down and turned to Herman. “All right, big guy. You wait for them to knock on the right wall... and then bash it with your head in!!!” I had meant the statement to be sarcastic at first, but when I saw the expression of excitement glowing on the big oaf’s face I couldn’t help but mean it. You really can’t blame me for this. I always get excited when someone is about to do something excessively stupid. I hadn’t seen this much excitement in weeks.
A knock resounding on the south wall alerted me back to the present. The other Aisha in the room darted towards the sound, pressing his head against the boards. His antennae began eating the cobwebs. I wanted to gag.
“Right here, Herman!” The Aisha shouted and then backed out of the way. ***Authorial Note*** I know... I’m only supposed to have one of these per section. But I needed to have some kind of disclaimer. As expected, Herman went hurtling towards the wall head first in all his mutant glory. The entire room shook. The entire house shook. Blast it all, I think the entirety of Neopia might have shaken! And it’s not my fault if he suffered brain damage, because people should know better than to listen to me. ***End***
“So, that’s it then?” Herman called down the hole in the wall to Lena and the others.
“I think so! Are you normal?”
Herman looked down at himself, and I swear in all my days I’ve never seen a Neopet look more depressed. He was still as nasty as before.
“... No,” Herman answered and sat down on the floor so heavily that I thought he’d put a hole in that too. “No... it’s no use. My antidote didn’t work...”
“Wait, bud. I have an idea,” Cyrus called up at him in a surprisingly caring tone. “Go get a mirror out of Ferny’s bathroom and put it in the corner. The Meepits need a place to practice their cute faces so no one will know that they are evil.”
“Cyrus, that’s absurd!” I heard Lena say. Apparently she’d cuffed him too, for he howled in pain.
“I’ll try it...” Herman said and disappeared down the attic stairs. A moment later he appeared, dragging a mirror up with him. With a final push, the thing was set up in the corner, and Herman sat down again, looking at it even more sadly than he had before. “I’m never going to-” His words were broken off when his body began to twist and melt back into shape.
“Oh, Herman, I’m so proud of you!” Lena said as she and the others galloped up the stairs. Once Herman’s transformation had completed, it was obvious she and the other female Aishas were quite impressed. He was the most strapping Aisha I’d ever seen; a good solid green with huge blue eyes and a smile that would have made any celebrity jealous.
“Well, I guess we’d better get going.” Herman led us down the stairs and reached up to push the stairs back up into the attic. Even his voice was strapping. That was annoying. I only came on this adventure because I was sure that no mutant Aisha could compare in the looks category. I guess it’s time for me to go home. Just kidding.
Once outside, we began saying out goodbyes to one another. Herman waved at us and sprinted off down the street in a great, galloping run that made Cyrus chuckle. “Five more,” I told them. “Five more Aishas.” They all looked back at me with smiles on their mutant faces.
To be continued...