Invisible Paint Brushes rock Circulation: 93,823,843 Issue: 183 | 26th day of Running, Y7
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Beware the Meepits

by jade_steel


It was a beautiful sight. The rising full moon was perfectly framed by two twisted trees, the ground was blanketed with a thick carpet of leaves, the stars twinkled in the turquoise sky, many unblinking pairs of eyes stared at me through the doom, the-

     Wait. I returned my attention to the eyes. It was them. The Meepits.

     A normal pink one boldly led the buck-toothed petpets in the staring competition. Behind it were blue, red, purple, green, and even more colors of Meepits. They reached the horizon, eventually melting into a starey-eyed mass.

     I began to tremble uncontrollably. They wanted me to- to-

     "Crieste, wake up!" I felt myself being shaken, felt my long black claws catch on the fabric of my sheets.

     That had better not be who I think it is, I thought blearily as I sat up and opened big red eyes.

     It was.

     The face of my brother woke me up. "Get out!" I snarled, swiping a paw half-heartedly in his direction.

     The Christmas Zafara rose into the air fast and awkwardly. "Hey, no need to be so grumpy, Crieste," he told me, offended. "I just wanted to tell you that we're going to the Haunted Woods today, so Jade wanted to get up early and get going."

     I absorbed his statement, then thrust Arphite out of the room. "I said, 'get out'!" I huffed, slamming the door. Unlike my little sister, Ankhariyar, I could get away with that. I was stronger than him.

     Yawning, I padded across the cluttered room and stared at myself in the mirror that hung conveniently on the wall. Jade had a thing for mirrors. She had insisted that every room have a mirror in it.

     I looked at the face of a large Mutant Kougra who was sure to put terror into all. All but one, I thought with a sigh. My older brother, Moisey4, who was currently away from home, could beat me faster than you could say 'Meepit'.

     Thinking of Meepits... I replayed my dream in my head as I groped under my bead for the Starry Hair Brush from the Advent Calendar. I distractedly ran it over my short, coarse fur as I thought over the dream. What had the Meepits wanted me to do? Why had I been scared of them?

     "Scared of what?"

     Turning, I saw that the door had drifted open. Framed in the doorway was my younger sister, Ankhariyar. Her name's a bit of a mouthful, so we all call her Ankh. I'm rather fond of Ankh, in an odd way; she's my real sister, created just like me, even though she can be annoying sometimes. "What do you want, Ankh?"

     The little Red Eyrie tipped her head. "Well, I wanted to tell you that we're leaving for the Haunted Woods in ten minutes."

     "Arphite told me that. Anything else?" I prompted.

     "Umm, yeah. What are you scared of?"

     I frowned. "What are you talking about? I never said anything like that."

     Ankh contradicted me. "Nuh-uh. I just heard you mumble something about how 'why was I scared of them', or something like that."

     Meepits. I had forgotten that I talk aloud when I don't mean to, sometimes. "Hmmph. Well, you must have been hearing things. I'll be there in a moment."

     Night nodded, and turned to skip out the door. "Oh, and Ankh?"

     "Hmm?" The Eyrie poked her head back in.

     "You mention a word of this to anyone," I growled menacingly, "and I'll tear you into little shreds!"

     Ankh's eyes widened in fear as she bolted for the kitchen. I snorted as I turned my attention to finding my petpet. It was amazing these Pets believed me. Oh well, I find I much prefer a reputation for evilness and grumpyness to a reputation of kindness and pinkness. It just isn't my style.

     A small growl drew my attention to my petpet, Kalshiren, who was sitting on top of my pillow. I walked over to her, and she nudged me with her tusks, clearly asking to be petted.

     I ran a claw down the little Gruslen's back, and, oddly, she started purring. I chuckled. "Kalshiren, you'll have to stay here today. Jade's taking us to the Haunted Woods, and I don't want you to get lost."

     I turned to go, but as I did, a flash of smoky fur caught my eye, and I turned my head around enough to see Kalshiren sitting in between my shoulder blades. "You sure you want to come?"

     She poked me with a claw, urging me to get a move on.

     "All right, no need to get pushy." I sculpted my face into an elegant scowl and strode out of my room, heading for the kitchen.

     "Good morning, Crieste!" Jade greeted me cheerfully. She flipped a Molten Hot Chilli in my direction, which I speared on a claw, glaring at her.

     "Oh, all right." Jade sighed, I threw the Chilli at her, and she handed me an Orange.

     I nodded in approval and clamped the orange fruit gently between my fangs while I headed for the door, where Arphite and Ankh were already waiting.

     "Everybody ready?" Jade called.

     "Yes!" called my siblings. I grunted.

     "I'll be there in just a moment!" she cried, and I heard several things shatter in the kitchen. I was very sure that I didn't want to know what had happened.

     Ten minutes later, the teenager appeared at the door, flushed and breathing hard, a knapsack clutched tightly in her left hand. "Finally," I grumbled through a mouthful of orange peel, and trotted out the door, followed closely by Arphite and Ankh.

     The journey itself was mostly uneventful, save for when we approached the border of the Haunted Woods. Arphite bumped into me, and I adjusted the orange still in my mouth, then bit, squirting him with the juice.

     "Why are we here?" Ankh asked as we approached Edna's tower.

     "A number of things," Jade told her. "I want to try for that Cackle avatar, I also want to do a few quests for the Esophagor and Brain Tree, and a friend of mine asked me to pick up a Meepit for her. She even gave me the Neopoints!" Jade hefted the knapsack, then looked at us. "I can't do it all by myself. Arphite, I want you to go for the Brain Tree and Esophagor. Ankh, you can take a few of Edna's quests. Crieste, you and I are going to get that Meepit."

     I blanched visibly, and Jade, though she gave me an odd look, finished her instructions to us. "You all have your allowances, and we'll meet by Eliv Thade's castle at-" she glanced at her watch "-at 5. Go on, now!"

     "Can't you take Ankh with you while I go for Edna?" I pleaded. Not many things could give me that tone, but this was one of them.

     Jade's mouth firmed into a hard line. "No. You're coming with me."

     I looked around frantically, but my sister and brother had already left for their respective destinations. I grumbled, then whimpered as Jade went ahead. I already knew that this wasn't going to be good.

     I rushed to catch up with my owner, angrily digging my claws into the dirt as I passed her. "Can I just wait outside the shop while you go in?"

     Jade looked at me, and I hastened to reply to my own question. "I know, foolish question."

     She smiled, then led me into the dark store.

     The shop was mostly empty. A few lone Slorgs and Sludgies occupied an upper shelf, but that was all. "Hello?" Jade called nervously, into the gloom.

     A small chuckle from behind us caused Jade to fall backwards and me to launch myself on top of the one who had chuckled. She ducked, and I barely managed to correct my trajectory so that I didn't crash into the wall.

     Actually, it was the Cybunny who ran the shop, not some super-dangerous villain. She smiled indulgently at me, then turned to Jade. "How can I help you, miss?"

     My owner shifted uncomfortably for a moment. "Do you have any Meepits in stock?"

     The Shopkeeper flinched, clearly frightened, but said, with only the slightest hint of a tremor in her voice, "No, but there are several wild ones out by the Fairground, and they're rather tame. You may be able to snare one of those."

     Thanking the Cybunny for her help, Jade and I walked out of the shop, heading toward the Fairground. About halfway there, we stopped in our tracks, both amazed and frightened.

     Two trees framed the entrance to the Fairground. Slightly above and between them was the moon, which had risen early for some wonderful reason. And in front of this... was a horde of Meepits.

     The pink one at the front hopped forward a bit and began to meep. "Meeeeep meep-esh me-mep meepmeep!" To my astonishment, it almost sounded like, "Give me that orange and we'll all leave."

     "Jade?" I whispered. "Does it sound like it's talking?"

     She shook her head. "No, just meeping."

     I considered, then decided to try it anyway. Sometime during my travels, I had managed to give the orange to Kalshiren to hold, and now I retrieved it, though there was a bit of Gruslen slobber on it. I wiped it off as best I could and flung it at the Meepits.

     The one in front caught the orange, rocking back a little with the force of the impact. It turned to the others, holding the fruit over its head, and intoned, "Meeeeep-i- meep meepsa!"

     The entire collection of Meepits turned and wandered away, and Jade looked at me.

     I returned her gaze evenly. "What?"

     "We didn't manage to get a Meepit," she informed me.

     I smiled a toothy grin. "I think it's restock time."

     Jade bolted for the shop, and I followed her leisurely back. So I could understand Meepits. Just ducky.

The End

Author's Note: This is written from the point of view of Crieste, my Kougra. Stories from Arphite, Moisey4, and Ankhariyar are soon to follow. Neomails and all are welcome.

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